More Apparent Plagiarism in Christian Books

Even though publishers infrequently acknowledge plagiarism in their books, some readers want to know which authors borrow from others and which authors do their own work. Hence, I continue to bring plagiarism news to light.

This is an easy post for me to write because I am citing other people. Notice how easy that is. I find material that is informative and I bring to my readers with a citation so everybody knows who did the work. I don’t need to claim it as my own. I point you to the source. That’s how you avoid plagiarism. See, easy.

Only One Life

First, let’s take this Twitter thread from Jill Hicks-Keeton. She demonstrates that the work of Museum of the Bible co-founder Jackie Green and Lauren Green McAfee in their book Only One Life about Rosa Parks is remarkably similar to Joyce Hanson’s biography of Rosa Parks. Hanson’s book came first.

Here are the tweets:

More Tim Clinton

Now comes Dr. Aaron New with yet more material from Tim Clinton. Aaron has a lengthy thread with all of the apparent plagiarism involving Clinton and various co-authors. I will let Aaron explain the recent finds.

If you click through the images, you will see a pull quote from Chris Thurman in The Quick Reference Guide to Biblical Counseling. However, there is nothing in the book that identifies Thurman as the source of the rest of the material highlighted by Aaron. Clinton and Hawkins cite Thurman’s Soul Care Bible article in the recommended resources list but don’t use any quotes to designate the verbatim use of his material.

In the remainder of the thread (go here to read it all, it is very long), you will find numerous instances where material has been taken from Soul Care Bible authors and use without citation in The Quick Reference Guide. Let me show just two more that Aaron provides in his thread:

No quotes are used for Norman Wright’s and Miriam Stark Parent’s words which come verbatim from the Soul Care Bible. In the Loss and Grief chapter of The Quick Reference Guide (the second book), Clinton and Hawkins included a Norman Wright book in their resources but there is no way for the reader to know that much of the chapter was quoted directly from Wright in the Soul Care Bible.

In the case of the material lifted from Miriam Stark Parent’s Soul Care Bible entry on Loneliness and Personal Growth, Clinton and Hawkins give her an unsourced pull quote but that is all. In the recommended resources, Stark Parent doesn’t get a mention. Clinton recommends three of his books, but readers have no way to know that much of the chapter they just read was originally written by Mirian Stark Parent.

To see more posts on citation problems in Tim Clinton’s work, click here. To see more posts about plagiarism and citation errors in general, click this link.

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4 thoughts on “More Apparent Plagiarism in Christian Books”

  1. I think one reason for this situation is the need to employ ghost writers. The Christian leader, unable to devote time to writing a book, sits down with a ghost writer and tells them what they want written. The ghost writer, probably not paid much money, then lazily copies and pastes text from other works.

    Of course, attributing authorship to a book that you didn’t write is a lie. So ultimately the fault is with the person who employed the ghost writer.

    I know a Christian leader who has worked with a writer for many decades. They have a mutually beneficial relationship – his writer actually does most of the work and checks in with the leader regularly to ensure that he’s writing what the leader wants. But here’s the catch – everything they write together is given dual authorship, so everyone who buys the books know that the two men collaborated to write the book. Nothing untoward or unethical going on at all. (Philip Jensen and Tony Payne)

    1. Sounds like a good working and honest business relationship there. Most of the theological books I have read are written by guys who have been dead a good 100 years or more. A few exceptions though (Packer, Stott, Lloyd-Jones for example).

  2. I wish I could be surprised, but I’m not. In the school from which I graduated, if a professor caught a student flagrantly plagiarizing, like some of those examples, the student would fail the course. A second offense would mean being dismissed from the university. What’s the standard in religious schools?

  3. I am shocked, just shocked that the Evangelical Industrial Complex would rip off other peoples’ work and pass it off as their own.

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