April 29, 2008

REDUX & Update: Jim Johnson’s Plagiarism in “Destroying Free Grace Theology”

Dear Guests:

A recent development in regard to Jim Johnson’s mass plagiarism necessitates a return visit to this issue. For complete documentation of the plagiarism please view the series, Copyright Infringement & Plagiarism: Jim Johnson’s Series, “Destroying Free Grace Theology.”

On Monday (4/28), Parts 1-4 of Destroying Free Grace Theology were removed from Mr. Johnson’s blog. These join Part 5, which he removed quite a few days ago. Furthermore, Mr. Johnson still continues to deny his plagiarism.

We had uncovered and were aware of more instances of plagiarism in Johnson’s series, but I decided the previously published thoroughly documented articles clearly identified the magnitude of Johnson’s plagiarism. However, with the anticipated removal of his series now realized, and expected reappearance to follow I want readers to grasp just how pervasive the plagiarism is. There is plentiful evidence of Johnson’s plagiarism. This includes, but is not limited to the following examples:

1. In Part 3 (several pages) from W. H. Griffith Thomas’s The Purpose of the Fourth Gospel, Part 1. (Bibliotheca Sacra, 125:499, July 1968)

2. In Part 5 (over 20 pages) from Ralph Rogers Hawthorne, The Significance of the Name of Christ, (Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 103, Number 410 April 1946; Number 411, July 1946; Number 412, October 1946.)

3. In Part 4, the types of writing were plagiarized from Analytical writing, Analytical/Syntheses, ect..

4. In Part 4, two large paragraphs on polemical writing plagiarized from Daniel Hindes: Polemic and History.

5. In Part 2, Johnson’s sections “The Meaning of Mashiach” and “The LORD’S Anointed” plagiarized from the Hebrew for Christians blog.

6. In Part 3, the text beginning with “probably the main Old Testament background for Jesus’ use of the term ‘son of man’” was plagiarized from Next Bible.

7. In Part 4, approximately 10 paragraphs under General Logical Arguments against the Grace Family Journal Articles were plagiarized from (c) Ian Bruce Johnson’s: Common Divisive Fallacies; Erroneous Methods of Inference; Errors of Comparison and Errors Involving Generalizations

There are a couple other instances in his series where Johnson copied and pasted a few sentences verbatim from other articles. Furthermore, from other blog comments by Johnson there are additional examples of mass plagiarism.

Johnson’s plagiarism is on a massive scale. It permeates and has come to be recognized as the chief characteristic of his writing. The plagiarism and especially his continuing denial of his actions has come to speak volumes about the direction of his moral compass. When and if Johnson reposts any of his discredited series it will be important to answer these key questions:

1) Has he deleted the plagiarized material?
2) Does he retain the plagiarized material and properly credit the sources?
3) Does he restore what he deleted from the plagiarized author’s work?
4) Does he remove the additions he wove into the plagiarized works.
5) Does he restore to original form the portions of the author’s thoughts he manipulated and revised to make them more suitable to his own views?
These are questions that will be answered when and if Mr. Johnson reposts his discredited work. The original documents of Destroying Free Grace Theology are stored for comparison to whatever version Mr. Johnson may repost.

Finally, in addition to his denials and blame shifting of his plagiarism he also claims that anyone who raises a concern that he plagiarized numerous authors are acts of slander against him. (The word he is looking for is “libel.”) Nevertheless, the perfect defense against charges of slander/libel is absolute truth. It is a demonstrable and irrefutable fact that Jim Johnson’s series contains plagiarism on a massive scale. That is absolute truth! No matter how loud he complains, denies or revises his series, the absolute truth is that his original posting is filled with numerous blatant acts of plagiarism. For any objective reader Johnson’s plagiarism may quite possibly be unparalleled in academic Christian/theological circles.

The sheer magnitude of Johnson’s plagiarism can in no way be excused as if it never happened or may have been an honest mistake. In light of Johnson’s combative and unrepentant attitude I think we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t admit we are going to view with suspicion anything new Jim might publish. Any objective and reasonable reader who is on the receiving end of any new papers by Jim Johnson would naturally be suspect about any future submissions.

I want to close with a comment made by Stephen (KnetKnight) in an earlier thread. I believe Stephen’s comment here reflects the feelings of all of us who have been resisting the spread of the Crossless gospel and had the misfortune to have to deal with Mr. Johnson’s plagiarism.
His (Johnson’s) arguments were unsound in the first place and are abundantly rebutted by articles and authors that Jim has refused to interact with. Anyone who says that it is we who are unwilling to interact with the arguments is ignorant of, or blind to, the facts. These actions only serve to further discredit him as a pertinent voice in the debate. We have not done this TO him, he has simply discredited himself through his unethical actions. Despite my disapproval of his actions, I am praying for the man.”


During the first weekend of May Mr. Jim Johnson deleted his entire Destroying Free Grace Theology five part series from his blog. This was the series that contained numerous episodes of mass plagiarism. Johnson not only copied and pasted other men's work, but he also manipulated some of the plagiarirzed material to make it appear to support his views, when some in fact did not.

Ironically, Johnson left the articles up at his blog in which he denies, and at the same time, inexplicably defends the mass plagiarism of the articles that he removed. When you click on links that are supposed to take you to the series, you are taken to a page that says, “Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.”

Because of the plagiarism Johnson never should have posted his series in the first place. IMO, his series should never be returned for the same reasons that plagued and discredited it and his reputation. If his article(s) do resurface, because of the plagiarism and his unrepentant attitude, they will be largely ignored, by both camps in the debate, just as his series was the first time around.



  1. UPDATE: Yesterday Parts 1-4 of Johnson’s series was removed from his blog. This morning they are back. It appears they are back, and in the same original plagiarized form.

    For example, Part #3 of the Destroying… series still contains the pages of stolen material from W. H. Griffith Thomas’s Bib Sac article.

    Furthermore, instead of dealing with the problems in his series he has posted a new article. Is it possible he is going to move ahead, leaving the plagiarism in tact and hope it becomes a forgotten issue?


  2. Today, I viewed Jim Johnson's blog. He has once again removed every installment of his series Destroying Free Grace Theology.

    IMO, because his plagiarism was on such a massive scale it is very unlikely he will ever be able to repost it again.


  3. Dear Guests:

    Early this month Mr. Jim Johnson deleted (for the second time) the entire Destroying Free Grace Theology five part series from his blog.

    IMO, the series should never be returned because of the massive plagiarism that plagued and discredited the series. If it does resurface it will be largely ignored, by both camps in the debate, just as it was the first time around.


  4. This is what should be a final update on the plagiarism fiasco of Mr. Jim Johnson.

    On May 31, 2008 Jim Johnson posted at his blog what he claims will be his final article. He also indicated that he is closing his blog. Both of these reports are welcome, and not unexpected news. The latter portion of his article contains the same kind of arrogance, vitriol and unrepentant defiance he has become infamous for.

    His mass plagiarism followed by his combative and unrepentant attitude effectively disgraced and discredited him. His plagiarism and arrogance has rendered him permanently irrelevant and that is where he will remain.

    He promised to, but we knew he never could repost his plagiarized series. It would have been very foolish for him to have done so.

    The Crossless/Deityless interpretation of what the lost must believe to be born again is a blight and open sore on the Free Grace movement.

    Mr. Johnson’s departure removes another dangerous voice that may have caused of an unsuspecting believer to fall into the trap of the heretical Crossless gospel.

    What we must do from here is to continue praying for Jim and others in the GES faction of the Free Grace community. Pray they will one day be recovered from the egregious errors that Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin have introduced into Free Grace circles.