An Overview of McLean Bible’s Townhall Meeting; Plus is McLean Bible Controlling the Question Process?

An overview of McLean Bible’s town hall meeting on September 21, 2017. It was a question and answer session where people could submit questions to David Platt and the leaders of the Elder Board. Lon Solomon as well as Dale Sutherland, Larry Cooper and  Tom McMahon all call for David Platt to be McLean’s next Teaching Pastor. Meanwhile The Wondering Eagle is concerned about McLean controlling the questioning process. I published in this post the question that I submitted which asks David Platt who participates in T4G why he has been silent on the SGM child sex abuse scandal. 

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”

Peter Drucker  

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Barnard Shaw 

Give your love of justice to the king, O God,
    and righteousness to the king’s son.
Help him judge your people in the right way;
    let the poor always be treated fairly.
May the mountains yield prosperity for all,
    and may the hills be fruitful.
Help him to defend the poor,
    to rescue the children of the needy,
    and to crush their oppressors.
May they fear you[a] as long as the sun shines,
    as long as the moon remains in the sky.
    Yes, forever!

Psalm 72: 1-5 NLT 

David Platt on the big screen at McLean Bible 

***Made edit to what was written below on 9/22/2017 at 8:25 a.m. in regards to the question about David Platt and Calvinism and Armenianism. I missed the last part when I was note taking. Also edited the honorarium part.***

The Wondering Eagle is a blog that was born out of intense spiritual abuse and psychological trauma from a person in the position of authority at Eric Simmons and Jordan Kauflin’s Redeemer Arlington. This blog writes about atheism, doubt, Neo-Calvinism, modern evangelicalism and the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA). Here are some examples to make my claim, when atheists and secular humanists had their Reason Rally on the national mall last summer this blog went there and listened to many atheists speak and then wrote about it. You can read that in “The Reason Rally 2016 – My Experience on the National Mall.” When Covenant Life Church was looking at new pastors to replace Josh Harris this blog drove up to Gaithersburg, Maryland listened to the trial sermon by P.J. Smyth and then wrote about it. That post can be read in “From CJ Mahaney to PJ Smyth at Covenant Life Church? Some Thoughts from an Outsider.This blog writes heavily about the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) and I have sat in a number of churches on the east coast and listened, learned and written about this issues. For example I traveled up to Elverson, Pennsylvania to sit through a service and write about a dark story that became a major problem in the denomination. The senior pastor’s son allegedly raped his wife while drunk and on another occasion pointed a loaded gun at her. When she filed for divorce the senior pastor led his church through the church discipline process and excommunication of his former daughter-in-law. You can read that story in “Steve Estes and Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania: A Painful Story of Domestic Abuse, Inappropriate Church Discipline, and Failed EFCA Polity.” Its with all that said The Wondering Eagle attended McLean Bible’s (MBC) Town Hall meeting tonight to listen to what was said and write a report about it. 

 

McLean Bible’s September 21, 2017 Town Hall Meeting 

I would like to note that traffic held me up and I arrived at 7:32 and was late. If you live in the D.C. area you know how difficult traffic can be. Lon Solomon led off by speaking. It sounded like Lon did an overview and recalled the history of the last 37 years under his leadership. When I walked in Lon was stating that he wanted the church to walk by faith even when all the questions are not answered. Before I came Lon allegedly referenced Hebrews 13:17. Lon also talked about how when we don’t show faith we end up disappointing God. After that three people were introduced that sat on the stage. Those three are:

  1. Larry Cooper MBC’s Chariman of the Elder Board
  2. Tom McMahon MBC’s Vice Chairman of the Elder Board 
  3. Dale Sutherland MBC’s Lead Pastor 

Then David Platt joined them and the evening was moderated by Wade.  David Platt first started to speak at 7:43 and he introduced his family. Each of David’s kids said their name and age. David started speaking by referencing Hebrews 13:17 and the immense responsibility that was before him. He knew that he was going to have to stand and give an account to God for how he leads the church. He said that he loves to shepherd people. It was after that that Wade laid the ground rules for the questions that could be asked. This was to be considered as an “open family meeting.” It was to be off the record and that reporters who are there are not to report or discuss what is being said. The information there was not to be reported on the outside. Due to the amount of people present ( I would estimate about 300-400) there were no open microphones. Questions were to be texted in. All of McLean’s campus in the D.C. metropolitan area were connected and people from the other campuses were encouraged to text in questions as well. 

The questions started to come in with the first one being what does David Platt’s wife Heather think of of this opportunity? David gave almost a flowery answer and recalled how his wife supported it. The next question was answered by Larry Cooper when he was asked if MBC has joined the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Larry spoke about how MBC had not joined and how they have not changed at all and read from the first three paragraphs from the church’s constitution which states that MBC will be non-denominational. Larry also explained that the SBC is not a denomination and that the SBC doesn’t have control over their local churches. The SBC is actually a co-operative and all MBC is doing is working with the SBC to plant churches. After all it took years to launched several, now they launched  9 in the past year. 

The next question was answered by Larry Cooper. He was asked if David Platt is not going to be drawing a salary from MBC who will he be accountable to?  In responding the Chairman of the Elder Board stated that David didn’t want to be paid. David Platt will be paid no salary and allegedly an honorarium. MBC however will pay his traveling expenses. David then chimed in and said that the bottom line is that all he wants is to see the Gospel be advanced. He said his allegiance is to scripture and that he doesn’t want to be paid in this role. The next question dealt with who would do the preaching? David laughed and said that he wanted many people to do the preaching. He didn’t want everything to be built around him. Nate Crew will preach from time to time as will Mike Kelsey. Wade moderated the next question which dealt with Lon Solomon. What would happen to Lon in this transition? Would he stay or would he go? It was explained that Lon Solomon is not leaving MBC. He is going to become the Senior Pastor Emeritus. 

After that was explained the next question was aimed at David Platt. Does David Platt and Lon Solomon agree on doctrine? David Platt responded by saying that he looks at things at three tiers The first one would be along the lines of being saved by grace alone, and that he and Lon would agree on core doctrine. When asked if David Platt would sign off on MBC’s doctrinal statement, the teaching pastor candidate said that he would. He had some minor disagreements but again he would walk “100% in lockstep with Lon Solomon.” Issues that would bring about disagreement are how Jesus would be coming back. 

As the questions continued the next one went back to David and asked if there would be any changes to special ministries like Jill’s House. Jill’s House is a ministry for families who have children who have disabilities. Its really a neat program in my opinion. David responded that he wants to make Jill’s House stronger. The question that followed that is by someone who said that they read online that David Platt believed that the sinners pray is blasphemous. David Platt came back by cautioning the person not to trust everything they read online. David said that he is worried about the Gospel being deluded. Following that was another question that asked if David signed a petition in support of an Islamic Mosque. David explained the story of how the International Mission Board (IMB) signed onto an amicus brief in support for religious freedom. It was done by legal counsel and he was allegedly not aware of it. As a result of the situation the IMB changed the process and put policies and procedures into place to prevent that from occurring again.  Wade read another question that was submitted which asked where did David stand on the issue of open and closed borders and would he welcome refugees? Platt said that the nation needs strong borders but he is not going to be influenced or state his political opinions and thinking. David stated that he wanted Republicans, Democrats and Independents to be led by scripture and the word of God united in one. It sounded like an older person that submitted the next question when they asked what would be done as younger people flock to MBC. Platt responded about how older people are a fountain of wisdom and that he hopes that they stay. He would also want younger people to be welcomed and that change is an opportunity to share the Gospel with others. A theological question came in that asked how would Platt rank Calvinism, Arminianism and last p[art of the question I missed as I was note taking. David said that he what he likes about Calvinism is that they read the Bible book by book. But shortly after that it appeared as if Platt was downplaying being a Calvinist. That was followed by the last question of substance in this writers’ opinion. David was asked which books influence him the most. He responded by stating J.I. Packers “Knowing God” and Robert Coleman’s “Master Plan of Evangelism.” He also likes Jim Elliot and a two volume biography on Charles Spurgeon. The last question that ended the evening in regards to audience participation asked how could people pray for David Platt and his family. His response is to pray for peace and the transition of his family. Also for people to pray for grace during this time. 

With that said then Tom McMahon started to give his thoughts. He reflected on the momentous decision that had to be made. He knows when he stands before God that he will have to give an account for his recommendation for David Platt. MacMahon sated that Platt has been extensively vetted and that he is ready to stand behind his decision and defend his decision. He rallied behind Hebrews 13:17 and called for people to fall in line behind the elders. It should be noted that The Wondering Eagle heard Hebrews 13:17 be used 5 to 6 times in nearly 90 minutes. He also stated that he doesn’t want the church to be divided over this action. He has spent a lot of time in prayer over this situation and that he has been praying for Platt. He stated that he is also praying for the church in the concept of big C, while praying for McLean Bible church in the concept of little C.  He said that Platt was very humble and one of the most humble people he had seen. He respected Lon Solomon and he saw that the previous night when he sat to the side of Lon Solomon. He stated that Lon is an older warrior, where as David is a younger warrior. After stating that he asked Lon not to take that the wrong way. McMahon said that he wants unity and that the transition process has been very transparent. He closed out his statement by saying that God’s choice to lead MBC is David Platt, he would hold a vote tonight if he could. 

Larry Cooper then made a statement in which he echoed much of what Tom has said. He also said that he is concerned for David’s family during this time. But that he was committed to welcoming his family and make David Platt feel at home in the D.C. area. He knows the heaviness of the decision after all this is the first time they are making such a decision in 37 years. He admits that some of the communication during this process was not the best but that they were also working with the IMB. He believes David has been well vetted and that God wants David Platt to lead MBC. Dale Sutherland was the last person to spoke. He called for unity and pointed to how its been occurring. For example Eric Saunders from McLean Arlington  was supportive. Dale Sutherland also stated that McLean Bible is to be led by David Platt. That is who God wants to lead this church. After all God is on the move and its been the only time in his life where he has seen the Lord move in such a way. 

Lon Solomon getting a standing ovation 

David Platt then spoke and said that this morning he read the 72 Psalm and that he prayed that the Lord would bless Lon Solomon. He praised Lon for teaching people to fear God and Lon was called back on stage. Lon broke down and started to cry as he spoke. He explained that he married a lot of people but that sadly he would never marry his daughter who has a disability. Lon said that the relationship between a father and daughter is unlike any other. Since Lon can’t marry his daughter he viewed MBC as his daughter. This was his home and he poured his life into this church. He stated how much he loves MBC and that he worked hard at running this church and that he could go to his grave happy knowing that he passed it off to David Platt. Lon asked people to vote for David Platt. During much of the time he was speaking he was stuttering and crying. You could see the emotion of a man who lead a church for nearly 4 decades realizing that his pastorate is coming to a close. I never saw Lon Solomon cry before and I attended MBC for years in the 2005 to 2009 time frame. The audience stood up and responded by giving Lon a standing ovation that lasted for a few minutes. Lon closed out the Town Hall by praying. One of the things he prayed against is the enemy attacking the church during this time. And a few minutes before 9:00 p.m. it was over. 

 

Is McLean Bible Trying to Control the Questions that can be Asked? The Question I Submitted 

The Wondering Eagle submitted a question to David Platt when questions were encouraged. The question I asked was not out of spite, or an attempt to be difficult. Instead it was to ask about David Platt’s connections to one of the biggest church scandals today that keeps dragging out. The question I asked is below. 

David Platt…you are one of the few Neo-Calvinists that I respect. But there is one aspect that troubles me. You have participated in T4G. Yet you have been silent on the child sex abuse scandal that dogs C.J. Mahaney from Sovereign Grace. It has been a scandal that is tearing apart families and more. If you care about The Gospel why haven’t you spoken out about the allegations that follow Mahaney? 

For those of you who do not know child sex abuse allegations have torn apart C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM). Mahaney allegedly was involved in covering up child sex abuse allegations in his denomination. Recently it also came out that Mahaney signed off an a hush fund to buy a SGM pastors silence and keep him from joining the largest evangelical lawsuit at the time. Brent Detwiler wrote about it and you can read the sordid details of what happened as well as the email correspondence. That information is inHush Fund Set Up by Top SGM Leaders to Meet the Demands of a SGM Pastor Whose Son Was Sexually Abused” The issues of child sex abuse cover up in SGM has been written up by the Daily Beast, Washingtonian, and Washington Post.

David Platt participates in T4G in Louisville. David Platt to date has been silent about the tragic scandal that keeps dragging on and on. David’s silence has enabled C.J. Mahaney in many ways to re-launch his ministry despite the criminal allegations that follow him. Word is that a second SGM lawsuit is supposed to commence sometime in the future here in Virginia. David Platt could play a key role in bringing a lot of families peace. Plus he could help the Gospel by helping people whose kids have allegedly been raped and molested and it then being covered up. If David cares about the Gospel he would care about the rape of a child, wouldn’t he? I am not trying to be difficult for the sake of being difficult I am trying to ask a serious question. Its because of this concern as I write about religious issues that I submitted the question up above. My question wasn’t answered tonight and I don’t expect MBC to answer it. I am concerned about the questions being vetted and serious questions like what I submitted being ignored by David Platt. If MBC is going to go down this path questions like the one above are fair game if David Platt is going to go around and speak with C.J. Mahaney and events like T4G. After all when I was at MBC from the 2005 until the 2009 timeframe Sovereign Grace was considered a cult. I did this post tonight to both report on how the meeting went, but also to let members of MBC know that there were some difficult questions submitted. If MBC is going to vet and control the questions then the 300 or so people who were at MBC tonight were often mislead. That is not transparency and that is being dishonest, both to members, attenders and God himself.  That is it MBC I will be writing another post about David Platt before the September 27th vote. 

10 thoughts on “An Overview of McLean Bible’s Townhall Meeting; Plus is McLean Bible Controlling the Question Process?

  1. David Platt is an artful dodger and unfortunately the forum utilized at this meeting plays right into his hand. I am sure what the church members want to know is whether Platt is a Calvinist or an Arminian, yet the moderator chooses to allow some poorly worded question like the one below.

    “A theological question came in that asked how would Platt rank Calvinism, Arminianism and one of line of thought.”

    Platt’s answer is absolutely ridiculous!

    “David said that he what he likes about Calvinism is that they read the Bible book by book.”

    I didn’t realize one of the five points of Calvinism is they read the Bible book by book! Platt completely avoids the controverserial issue of what he believes instead making a statement that hoodwinks the theologically illiterate in the audience with a statement they can all support – reading the Bible book by book. So Calvinism equates to a yearly Bible reading plan! Of course the forum does not allow for any follow-up questions where those who know their theology could press Platt for a genuine answer.

    Platt stated he liked a two volume biography on Spurgeon. Anyone who has read Spurgeon knows that he said Calvinism is the Gospel. Platt attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, known to be a Calvinist leaning seminary. Platt is a Calvinist but he seemed to want to avoid that fact. If the average church member is made aware of that and is fine with it, then so be it, but I think it should have been clearly stated.

    Church leaders at this meeting made a mockery of congregationalism. Serioius questions such as yours were not given voice. No individual opposed to Platt was heard from. Instead, what they heard was
    McMahon saying that God’s choice to lead MBC is David Platt and Dale Saunders also stated that “McLean Bible is to be led by David Platt. That is who God wants to lead this church.”

    Well, who is the little pew peon to vote against Platt when the vaunted godly leaders had just told them that God had made it clear to them that Platt was the man? Unfortunately this is how many so-called congregational churches operate. The power brokers of the church have already determined who they want in the position and the members consent is easily manipulated making the vote a mere formality.

    MacMahon also stated that Platt has been extensively vetted. More member manipulation. Savvy church members should have challenged that statement. What exactly does extensive vetting mean?

    Covenant Life Church made the same claim about P.J. Smyth, yet within a month of Smyth taking the job some horrible truths about Smyth and his father came to light. Smyth initially lied about what he knew and then claimed memory loss. All very embarrassing for CLC leaders. Of course I am not saying Platt is another P.J. Smyth, but members deserve to know how Platt can justify appearing on the same stage with C.J. Mahaney, or why he pulled the untruthful publicity stunt in Dubai to sell his book. They may also want to know why he, in his roll of the director of the IMB was offering early retirement to experienced missionaries around the world in order to get the budget under control, while simultaneously recruiting young people to become missionaries. Members may also want to know why Platt had to resign from the church at Brook Hill in order to spend to the requisite time required to lead IMB yet can now continue to lead IMB and yet be the teaching pastor at their church.

    MacMahon also stated Platt was very humble and one of the most humble people he had seen.

    Similar claims are made about C.J. Mahaney.

    I am of the opinion that Platt lacks integrity. But, as the saying goes, not my monkey, not my circus.

    I hope I am wrong.

    Like

    • MacMahon also stated Platt was very humble and one of the most humble people he had seen.

      Every time I hear that, I ask “Did MacMahon blow long trumpets before Platt to announce how HUMBLE he is?”

      And given Eagle’s prior bad experiences with MacLean Bible et al, is it time to just “stick a fork in them — they’re done”?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Dale Saunders also stated that McLean Bible is to be led by David Platt. That is who God wants to lead this church. After all God is on the move and its been the only time in his life where he has seen the Lord move in such a way.

    Shouldn’t such a pronouncement of a private-revelation direct command from God be spoken with the same caution as “Please Castrate Me”?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Doesn’t sound like they actually had any women involved. I mean, why couldn’t they actually have Heather Platt speak for herself? Of course, I’m a horrible heretic who, when I go to church, goes to an affirming church with a LGBT assistant pastor so take my words for what they’re worth.

    Liked by 1 person

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