In doing some reading in preparation for a post comparing a passage from Dan Allender’s book The Wounded Heart with Mark Driscoll’s and Gerry Breshears’ book Death by Love, I found a glaring historical error in Death by Love. On page 170, Driscoll and Breshears wrote:
As an aside, James Arminius was John Calvin’s son-in-law and greatly appreciated Calvin. He said that, after the Scriptures, he believed Calvin’s writings to be the most profitable study for God’s people. Therefore, the acrimony that sometimes flares up between Calvinists and Arminians need not be so if the examples of Calvin and Arminius are followed by their followers.
When I say I found it, I should say I learned of it reading other blogs. For instance, about that claim, Westminster Theological Seminary professor R. Scott Clark wrote,
This is historical nonsense. Calvin married the widow Idellete de Bure in 1540. She brought to the marriage two children, a son and a daughter.1 Jean and Idellette were married for nine years. In that time she bore him a son, Jacques, who, in 1542, died in infancy.2 Idellete herself died in 1549 leaving Calvin a widower. Even if he had a surviving daughter, she would have been born in the early 1540s. Arminius was born in 1560. Calvin’s hypothetical (biological) daughter would have been about 47 when Arminius married. That’s unlikely and, as it happened, contrary to fact. Arminius married the daughter of a prominent merchant in 1590.
The paragraph above from Death by Love is a mixed bag. While it is not true that Arminius was Calvin’s son-in-law, it is true that Arminius respected Calvin’s commentaries on the Bible. On the other hand, Calvin died in 1564 and Arminius was born in 1560, so we don’t have any example of Calvin and Arminius as contemporaries to follow.
According to Arminian blogger William Birch, Driscoll and Breshears get the theology of Arminius wrong as well, especially on total depravity.
UPDATE: R. Scott Clark identifies another historical problem with Driscoll’s book on doctrine with the help of a book by Kevin Giles.
On The Allegations Of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll (12/2/13)
Zombies, Plagiarism And Mark Driscoll Helped Me Write This Blog Post (12/3/13)
Mark Driscoll And His Church On Plagiarism (12/4/13)
Janet Mefferd Removes Evidence Relating To Charges Of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll; Apologizes To Audience (12/4/13)
Ingrid Schlueter Resigns From Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (12/5/13)
Who’s Talking About The Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy? (12/7/13)
IVP Says Bible Commentary Improperly Appeared In Book by Mark Driscoll; Mars Hill Church Responds, Blames Researcher Mistakes for Errors (12/9/13)
Mars Hill Church Alters Statement on Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (UPDATED) (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Battle Plan Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Document Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter, Part Two (12/12/13)
Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the Case of the Disappearing Links (12/16/13)
See all posts on this topic here.