McLean Bible Church Pastor David Platt has been alleged to be taking the “liberal” direction by disgruntled longtime members and ended up in a lawsuit after a controversial election of new elders.
The Washington-based megachurch is at the center of turmoil that might significantly impact American evangelism due to the size of the congregation and its influence in the said community.
In an unprecedented event in the history of the church, nominations to the church elder positions were not elected. Instead, best-selling author Platt bombarded the members in a preaching in July that “a small group of people inside and outside this church coordinated a divisive effort to use disinformation to persuade others to vote these men down as part of a broader effort to take control of this church.”
An elder needs a three-quarter majority vote to be elected to the position. Unfortunately, Ken Tucker, Jim Burris, and Chuck Hollingsworthfailed to vote at a June 30 meeting. Thus, a second plebiscite was conducted on July 18, where the three nominees were finally elected.
Accusations were hurled against the three nominees that if they won the election, they would move for the building of a mosque in the church’s location, and the proceeds will go to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). This was the gist of the message in Platt’s sermon on July 4 that people informed voting members by email and in person.
Opponents of Platt’s leadership posted on social media, blogs, and emails that he revised scriptural teaching on sexuality, pushed critical race theory and affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention despite the church being prohibited to do that with any sect.
Serious allegations were hurled by the conservative Capstone Report in a blog post that Platt attempts to “purge conservative members.” Platt became a full-time pastor of the church in Washington in 2018.
Racial issues were also raised in an email that claimed the church is now Melanin Bible Church and not McLean Bible Church.
“I know it’s so ugly and painful to even hear, but I want to point out the approach that’s being used by people giving leadership to this group in these meetings,” he told the congregation, calling the claims made about him and the incoming elders “unquestionably untrue and in many cases completely unreasonable.”
The church partnered with the North American Mission Board in 2016 for a church planting program while staying nondenominational under the founding pastor Lon Solomon. However, as Solomon stepped down as the church leader after 37 years of faithful service, the church made significant budget changes by incentivizing staff departures and decreasing the income on personnel. This caused members to raise questions regarding the moves.
Former elder Mark Gottlieb lamented that David had changed the church into a supporting political institution. He called the Save McLean Bible Church members to “admit defeat and walk away” after the July 18 vote.
It has been noted that the conflict in the church is a recurrence from other churches who said that addressing social issues is a departure from fundamental principles. As a result, church leaders are accused of secular influence or theological liberalism.