An excellent and important post here from Kevin DeYoung.

Here is the outline, with a quote from each section:

1. Writing for others is a privilege.

(“Writing is hard work, but authors should never forget that to be read is also a tremendous gift.”)

2. Writing should be in the service of others.

(“All of us who write must constantly ask the question: am I really doing this to serve others or to serve myself?”)

3. Writing should be kept in proportion.

(“I need to be a faithful preacher and a caring shepherd before I am a good writer.”)

4. Writing should be kept in perspective.

(“If an older man publishes his magnum opus, let the accolades roll in. But when 30somethings and 40somethings marvel slack-jawed at their own writings—sheesh. It’s embarrassing.”)

5. Writing should be overseen with accountability.

(“There is no one way to work with a pastor-author, except that there should be some governing body within his church that encourages, approves, and holds him accountable.”)

6. Writing should be done by the person whose name is on the cover.

(“The simple fact is that for 99% of the reading public they assume that if your name is on the cover of a book that you wrote the book.”)

7. Writing should be done humbly.

(“Don’t pass along all the kudos about your stuff. ‘Let another praise you, and when they do, go ahead and retweet your awesomeness’—I don’t think that’s what Proverbs had in mind.”)

Read the whole thing.

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Comments:


16 thoughts on “7 Thoughts on Pastors Writing Books”

  1. Keith Russell says:

    “Writing should be done by the person whose name is on the cover.”

    Justin, is this an attempt to “walk back” your recent position on the Driscoll mess, and your comments on Janet Mefferd? If so, please keep walking.

  2. Daryl Little says:

    Writing should be original, not stolen. And noted when it’s borrowed or building from others’ work.

  3. a. says:

    good reminders from the Lord also: 2 Cor 2:17; Eccl 12:12

  4. Daryl Little says:

    Justin, you really do need to step back and apologize and retract your tweet regarding Janet Mefferd.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Daryl,

      I’m not going to have the comments section become a debate on Driscoll/Mefferd.

      So let me just say a few things by way of comment.

      (1) I thought that Ms. Mefferd acted unprofessionally and that authors should know something about her modus operandi here. First, she has every right to raise the issue, but it should have been done first to Mark or his publisher offline. It’s a violation of the Golden Rule. Second, I don’t know what more Mark could have said. He said that he may have made a mistake and that he would consult with Dr. Jones and fix it if he was wrong. But Ms. Mefferd kept badgering him on the point. Third, she told an untruth (conspiracy theorists notwithstanding) that he hung up on her. Her producer even emailed a breathless report to bloggers trying to make a story out of this. Maybe she has apologized for this but I haven’t seen it.

      (2) This is not the first time I’ve observed this behavior from her. I think it is very problematic that she has given a platform to a known slanderer regarding the SGM situation. She also tried to try the case in the court of public opinion and proceeded in an unbiblical way. In other words, this didn’t seem like a one-off situation.

      (3) I probably should have kept this opinion to myself, but I still hold it.

      (4) I did not defend Mark Driscoll or take a “position” or weigh in regarding the charges.

      (5) I have written about plagiarism and I think it’s a sin.

      (6) I think it’s somewhat silly and selective when people think that I or others need to weigh in on every new Scandal of the Week—or else suggest that we are hiding something or fearing man or protecting celebrities.

      (7) I think the footnote in the Resurgence book citing Jones should be expanded to say that this section is indebted to his work. A simple adjustment. But Tyndale has examined it and determined it is well within industry standards.

      (8) The 1 Peter material clearly is without attribution and is wrong. I have no insider knowledge on this, but I doubt Driscoll had anything to do with the writing/publication of it, so charges against him on this score are less than careful or accurate. I do think it needs to be changed, and I doubt it was intentional (though I don’t know).

      I hope that helps.

      1. Daryl Little says:

        Thanks Justin, that helps a little.

        Although this “(6) I think it’s somewhat silly and selective when people think that I or others need to weigh in on every new Scandal of the Week—or else suggest that we are hiding something or fearing man or protecting celebrities.” is pretty silly since no one asked you to weigh in on anything, you did that yourself.

        1. Justin Taylor says:

          Thanks, Daryl. Yep, point taken.

          1. Daryl Little says:

            Other than all that, great article. Quite helpful I thought.

      2. Jules says:

        Your lack of integrity and professionalism, in deleting comments and blocking those who raise questions, is the pot calling the kettle black, Mr. Taylor.

      3. MrsWebfoot says:

        Good article. Thanks.

  5. David says:

    Has Dr. Jones made any sort of statement about this whole thing?

  6. Joel K says:

    “I have no insider knowledge on this, but I doubt Driscoll had anything to do with the writing/publication of it, so charges against him on this score are less than careful or accurate.”

    His names on the cover.

    As for Mefford raising this with Driscoll/his publisher first…wasn’t the material in the public square? Driscoll didn’t sin against Mefford personally.

    1. Justin Taylor says:

      Thanks, Joel. I didn’t know his name was on the cover. On raising it first, I was thinking of the golden rule, not Matt 18.

  7. Frank Turk says:

    When I read this post, I got a little dizzy. So we should receive a list of rules for how and whether to write as merely constructive, yes? But what if one breaks these rules, or has broken them in the past — should there be some kind of umbrage? From who and by what means?

    Or what about someone’s “professionalism”? Are we allowed to criticize one’s professionalism? Or have we crossed the line when we have moved from the unspecific “one should” to “Frank Turk should”? If we have crossed the line by being specific, what has Justin done to Janet Mefferd? If that does not cross the line, did Janet’s sin that she did not back off Mark Driscoll when it was clear he was looking for the exit because his attributions were, at best, merely incidental? Or because Driscoll was doing her a favor and she wasn’t adequately flattered?

    It runs round and round like a rodent on a wheel if we keep chasing the questions, but what it really comes back to is this: what are standards, and who gets to police them? More to the point, what happens when those who are supposed to keep the standards think they can do so from behind a curtain, but the practical result is downgrade — a lower standard of attribution, a lower standard of associational accountability, a lower standard of orthodoxy, a lower standard of maturity, and so on?

    Is the problem really as Justin phrases it that there are just too many people looking for the Scandal of the Day? Or is the problem actually that the self-appointed gate-keepers have lost sight of the original purpose of the gate, and they now let so much pass by because they are center-bound and not boundary-bound that the gates are simply making things worse?

  8. Kamilla says:

    Justin,

    Thanks for confirming Mefferd’s assumption. I thought she was being a bit excessive to attribute your tweet to an attempt to silence her about SGM. I guess it was about SGM after all.

    And I agree with you about Mefferd’s coverage of the SGM situation.

    Kamilla

  9. R. Jones says:

    It appears that Mr. Taylor is holding Mrs. Mefferd to one standard and Mr. Driscoll to another and himself to yet another. There is a single standard of measure, which is Scripture alone.

    “‘You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.” Leviticus 19:36

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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