Presbyterian “Good Ole Boys Club” Allows Derek W.H. Thomas to Skate on Plagiarism Charges

By | October 11, 2019

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”
-Winston Churchill

Note: As background to this story, I suggest the reader review earlier stories found on my blog on Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas’ plagiarism:

Derek W.H. Thomas & Plagiarism – “The Brand is Fundamentally Corrupt”

“Derek W.H. Thomas and the Ongoing Saga of Plagiarism.”

And also see this story from World Magazine:

“A matter of attribution” World Magazine, March 14, 2019

 

“The “good ol’ boys club” mentality pretty much turns our place of work into high school. The popular kids do what they want and push people around, all because they have nothing to fear disciplinary wise.”
-Charles Morgan, “How the ‘good ol’ boys club’ mentality hurts us”

Who is Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas? Although Dr. Thomas no longer works for the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, below is a good biography of him I found on their website.

In December 2018 the Daily Genevan blog published an article by an anonymous author on Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas, specifically his rampant plagiarism of Sinclair Ferguson in a commentary on Acts authored (more or less) by Dr. Thomas.

I completely understand why the author of the article on Dr. Thomas chose to remain anonymous. In my opinion, Dr. Thomas is a high-brow knock-off of the low-brow, potty-mouthed Mark Driscoll. Driscoll had a lot of friends in high places, as does Dr. Thomas. When Janet Mefferd called out Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism on her radio show Driscoll’s supporters unsheathed their daggers and attacked Mefferd. The frenzied attacks reminded me of sharks moving in on chummed waters. The Daily Genevan soon removed the article on Thomas due to similar actions by his supporters.

Troubling to me is the support Dr. Thomas has received from many scholarly “Christian” friends. Included in this list is Dr. Ligon Duncan. (I documented Duncan’s support in an earlier blog.) Duncan has, in my opinion, placed friendship above ethics on at least two occasions now. He has strongly backed both C.J. Mahaney and Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas.

Derek W.H. Thomas and Ligon Duncan

I have also been on the receiving end of attacks from a cadre of supporters of Dr. Thomas. Were I to publish a few of the emails I have received the readers would be shocked by the content, as well as the prestige of some of the authors. One author, in particular, should write a note of thanks to his friend, a peacemaking former elder in a Presbyterian church, for persuading me to not publish his letter.

The emails I receive do not threaten me. I am not beholden to these men for a job, career progression or any other monetary benefit. I only desire the truth to be admitted. While I am actually amused by attacks aimed at silencing me, I am saddened by the length so-called godly leaders will sink in an effort to obfuscate the truth; choosing instead to support their corrupt colleagues.  Pastors, it ought not be so with you.

On March 10, 2019, the Commission on Minister & His Work recommended to the Catawba Presbytery that a special committee be formed to “investigate allegations of plagiarism directed towards our brother Derek Thomas” and report back to the Commission.

The Commission on Minister & His Work met with the special committee on August 15, 2019, to review their report.

Below are the findings of the special committee as recorded in the minutes from September 3, 2019,  of the Catawba Presbytery.

Special Committee Report on… by Todd Wilhelm on Scribd

The Presbytery Commission report was then distributed to Presbytery delegates in preparation for the upcoming October 8 Presbytery meeting. Not surprisingly, the Catawba Presbytery adopted the written report from the special commission without change.
Please read the following paragraph from the report closely:

“The Committee has verified that there are instances where the Committee’s accepted definition of “Plagiarism” would apply to some of the older published sermons delivered by Derek Thomas. Derek Thomas had acknowledged these instances even prior to the involvement of this Committee. However, none of the interviews and investigations of this Committee have revealed any credible evidence that Derek Thomas intentionally engaged in the practice of plagiarism.”

Do you recognize what the special committee has cleverly avoided mentioning? It’s the “elephant in the room.”

You will recall that the special committee was to “investigate allegations of plagiarism directed towards our brother Derek Thomas.” They never mentioned the commentary on Acts authored by Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas!  If memory serves me correct, that book was the main allegation of plagiarism, it was easily proved and very tough to dismiss.

I contend that Thomas’ sermon plagiarism is also blatant and not easily dismissed, in spite of what the special committee would have us believe. But more on that below.

Allow me to refresh our collective memory on what has been said about Dr. Thomas’ book on Acts. It appears the P&R Publishing investigative team was at least partially comprised of Dr. Thomas’ cronies. They were exceedingly generous when they termed his plagiarism “un-clear notetaking.” Nonetheless, they had no choice but to remove the book from circulation.

Iain Duguid appears to be an honest, principled man. (I imagine he was on the receiving end of some sharp daggers after his summation of Dr. Thomas’ book was published on social media.) I would disagree with Duguid’s sentence stating, “Derek himself has accepted that he is at serious fault, which is greatly to his credit.

Is it greatly to my credit when I get caught with my hand in the cookie jar that I admit that yes, I was copping a cookie?

I have yet to see an honest confession from Dr. Thomas stating that he blatantly plagiarized Ferguson. Rather, he holds to the story of unclear note-taking. In my opinion, Dr. Thomas knows, as do his colleagues, that he is a serial plagiarizer. Students are expelled from the seminaries he instructs at for much lesser instances of plagiarism. Dr. Thomas knows that if he comes clean, ceasing to minimize his plagiarism, he would rightly be removed from both the pastorate and his professorships.

 

Below is just one of many examples of what the Catawba Presbytery labeled  “unintentional plagiarism.” 

Am I the only individual who finds it beyond belief that Dr. Thomas “unintentionally” retold a factual story Sinclair Ferguson shared from his youth?  And then Dr. Thomas further embellishes the story by stating he still rewraps his presents to this day! I wonder if the Catawba Presbytery Special Committee ever interviewed Dr. Thomas’ wife, Rosemary? It would be a simple thing to ask her if, every year,  her husband indeed has rewrapped all his Christmas presents only to re-open them on December 26th.

Dr. Thomas reminds me of Aaron, although on a much smaller scale.  You may recall Aaron was Moses’ mouthpiece. Moses had been up on a mountain receiving the Ten Commandments from God for a lengthy period of time and the Israelites grew impatient. They asked Aaron to make them gods they could worship. Aaron did so. He collected all their gold and made the infamous golden calf.  But, as you can read below, Aaron would have us believe the crafting of the golden calf was “unintentional!”

“Then Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?”

“I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”

Then the LORD smote the people, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made.”
-Exodus 32:21, 24, 35 NASB

So it would appear the “good ole boys club” has successfully extricated Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas from his web of plagiarism and deceit. He is allowed to walk away with a slap on the wrist, an admonishment from the report of the special committee. His pal, Ligon Duncan has already obtained a slot for him in the upcoming “Together for the Go$pel” conference. All is well in the Celebrity Gospelly Boys Club; or is it?
Go back and reread Exodus 32:35.
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