“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”
“Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who steal My words from each other.”
-Jeremiah 23:29-30 NASB
Fresh off a slap on the wrist from the Catawba Presbytery for what the nameless group of men classified as “unintentional plagiarism,” The distinguished Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas had the honor of offering the Opening Prayer in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday.
According to Wikipedia, Dr. Thomas, Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC and a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, has yet to make a public statement about his plagiarism. It appears likely he never will, choosing instead to let his good friend, Dr. Ligon Duncan speak for him.
Duncan, Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary, appears to be a man of poor discernment, first defending C.J. Mahaney and now Derek W.H. Thomas.
Quoting from Wikepedia: “Reformed Theological Seminary, which he [Thomas] works for as a professor, also cleared his name, saying, “an RTS committee reviewing the Acts incident had cleared Thomas of ‘any knowing and intentional plagiarism.’ He [Ligon Duncan] added that Thomas will continue to teach. ‘From the standpoint of RTS,’ Duncan wrote, ‘the case is now closed.'”
Of course, it is. Who would dare argue with the influential Chancellor?
Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas is next scheduled to be a participant in the Together for the Gospel Conference in April 2020. Undoubtedly Chancellor Duncan was responsible for securing Dr. Thomas that slot.
This incident is just another example of the bankruptcy of American Evangelicalism. In my opinion, Dr. Thomas should have been removed from his position at RTS. He has also disqualified himself from the ministry. Students at RTS who committed plagiarism to the extent Dr. Thomas has would be expelled. I submit that any RTS student who has been expelled for plagiarism from RTS under the reign of Chancellor Duncan should receive a full apology from him and be reinstated. To not do so is not only hypocritical, it violates the scriptural principle laid out in James 2:9:
“But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
Yet we know this will never happen. The pompous evangelical Christian celebrity leaders cover for each other, much to the disgust of those of us in pews. They take us for fools, and to the extent we continue to attend their conferences, sit in their churches and donate our hard-earned money to them, they are correct.
We will hear nothing from the Evangelical Christian Celebrities on the travesty of having a plagiarizer offer the Opening Prayer in the U.S. House of Representatives. Instead, I would venture to guess that the distinguished Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas’ inbox was filled with congratulatory emails from his distinguished colleagues in Evangelical Christianity yesterday.
Contrast that with the concern many of these same Christian Celebrities publicly voiced over Josh Harris, their former colleague, announcing he was walking away from the Faith.
What is worse, sin in the camp, or a man being honest enough to say he no longer can call himself a Christian? The differing reactions by the Christian Celebrities will, in my opinion, serve only to drive more of us pew-sitters from evangelicalism.
The Emporer has no clothes. There, I said it.
“I am grateful to two editors, Richard “Rick” D. Phillips and Iain M. Duguid, who greatly improved and corrected elements of this manuscript. In addition, I am indebted to the staff at P&R Publishing for their labors in bringing this manuscript to fruition. On both occasions when these sermons were preached, I colabored (as the “evening preacher”) with two redoubtable giants and dear friends, J. Ligon Duncan (then the senior minister at First Presbyterian Church, Jackson) and Sinclair B. Ferguson (then the senior minister of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia). Like Ezra and Nehemiah, they were (and are) very different men. But both, in the Lord’s kind providence, were enthusiastic and supportive, believing that an exposition of these two Old Testament books would prove valuable for the church at the present time. And both encouraged me as I attempted to do that work.” Thomas, Derek W. H.. Ezra & Nehemiah (Reformed Expository Commentaries). P&R Publishing. Kindle Edition.
For further reading:
Derek W.H. Thomas & Plagiarism – “The Brand is Fundamentally Corrupt”
Derek W.H. Thomas and the Ongoing Saga of Plagiarism
Presbyterian “Good Ole Boys Club” Allows Derek W.H. Thomas to Skate on Plagiarism Charges