An Open Letter to Someone I Know From McLean Bible (McLean is Not the Church You Think it is…)

Recently at McLean Bible I bumped into someone I knew. My history with this person goes back for years. They asked me if I am still involved in McLean Bible and this is my response. McLean is not the church that people think it is. There is a lot of dark allegations under the surface. Plus I also explain why I am a done to the modern evangelical church to this person. 

“When you don’t take a stand against corruption you tacitly support it.” 

Kamal Haasan

I lift up my eyes to you,
    to you who sit enthroned in heaven.
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
    as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    till he shows us his mercy.

Psalm 123: 1-2 NIV 

Entrance to McLean Bible

This blog in many ways is deeply personal because I write about churches and organizations that I am familiar with. Here in the Washington, D.C. area I know people involved in McLean Bible, National Community Church, Redeemer Arlington, Acts 29, some of the Evangelical Free churches and more. I had a taste of that personal nature when I attended McLean Bible recently to observe and plan an article about the church led by David Platt. While there I bumped into someone I knew from my time in McLean Bible. It was an awkward experience and it reminded me as to how small some of these places are. I found myself in a position where there was a discussion and I explained frequently “it’s a long story to where I am at spiritually…” 


Dear Anonymous- 

Wow, when I attended McLean Bible recently I was surprised to bump into you in the lobby. We have a long history together through McLean, Global Impact and Frontline when that existed. I have known you for what…twelve to thirteen years now? It was awkward when you asked if I still am involved in McLean Bible. Likewise it was also unsettling when you asked if I was in a Bible study at McLean Bible. So this open letter to you in an anonymous way is my answer to your questions and how I explain myself. 

I know how much you love McLean Bible. I heard your comments about Dale Sutherland and David Platt. But I am here to tell you another story. And to let you learn a little more about where I am at. When I approached around 140 when I sought forgiveness from a painful faith crisis you were one of the first people I approached. Do you remember when you sent me the following email? 

Dearest Eagle,

It is with tears flowing down my cheeks that I want to say this:

There is nothing that I can think of that I need to forgive you of. God is SO good Eagle, He is faithful & w/this msg, He is showing that once again. Why He allows us to walk away in destructive ways; I dunno, other than He has a purpose to change us & makes us stronger & better in the process. I am beyond happy right now! These tears are of joy & such praise that God is allowing me to see this day, which I’ve prayed for so many times! Thank you! Thanks for sharing this very, very good news w/me. I am in awe of our Savior, His love is so vast — it’s bigger than all our sins, Eagle, so glad He is guiding you back to that! Allow Him to love you, to care for you, to soothe the sores that still exist in ur heart, He will cleanse you, restore you & make you shine again!!!

I have so much I want to say but I am at work so I better cut it here. Please, keep in touch & know that I never doubted for one second that you’ve always belonged in our family in Christ, not b/c of u but b/c of HIM!!! I’m living proof of the miracles HE continues to perform, so I knew He would bring you back! Welcome back to your family brother!

I need to tell you a lot happened since all that time. Plus you moved away from the Washington, D.C. area as well for a while. In the last two years I buried both my parents in California. And it took a long time to work at rebuilding my life from a false accusation. If you recall an Air Force Officer in 2013 taught me why rape and sexual assault is a problem in the military. For two prior years Andrew (pseudonym) tried to get my involved in a former Sovereign Grace Church called Redeemer Arlington. That has been a long road to heal from. But in the time span of everything happening out of frustration and pain I started to write a blog. You can learn a lot about me in the following post. “Unless You Experience Spiritual Abuse Then You Won’t Understand How Painful it is.” 

So here is what I need to tell you about McLean Bible. It is not the church you think it is. It has changed a lot and there are a lot of issues that are underneath the surface. McLean Bible under the surface has some dark allegations of covering up some sex crimes. You can read about how McLean Bible mishandled a sexual predator in The Rock in, “Did McLean Bible Cover Up a Child Sexual Predatory Situation? A Comment on The Wondering Eagle Raises that Question.” If I recall correctly you are a survivor of sexual abuse. The allegations with some of the sexual crimes at McLean need to be raised and explored in more detail. But I care enough about you to let you know that McLean Bible has a dark underside to this church. Its about protection of David Platt and his brand now. That is what Dale Sutherland, and the Elders have done. The Elders at McLean Bible are nothing more than yes men. They failed McLean Bible in how they played a role in flipping McLean Bible theologically. 

You referenced Dale Sutherland. This blog has no respect for Dale Sutherland. Sometimes in law enforcement police can become corrupt. And I wonder if that happened to Dale Sutherland. As Dale Sutherland departs McLean Bible many people will sing Kumbaya. Dale Sutherland should be remembered to being Lon Solomon’s Judas Iscariot. Dale Sutherland according to some of my sources deep inside the church reached out to Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church. According to what I heard behind the back of Lon Solomon and in small staff meetings he brought in Mark Dever who sold some people on 9 Marks. Dale Sutherland played the role of a Svengali in how he advised Lon against his will. Lon didn’t catch on until it was too late. Did you know that close to 150 staff at McLean Bible were purged in a theological coup? Did you know that many ministries and people were lost in the process? Are you aware that many of those 150 purged were forced to sign non disclosure agreements? Many former staff that were forced from McLean are having a hard time. Some migrated over to places like Reston Bible Church and more. But many staff are dealing with illness that came about due to the stress of the situation, depression and mental health problems. This has been sad to hear about. But McLean is not the healthy place that you think it is. 

Today in evangelicalism I am a done and don’t go to church anymore. I have seen too much and find many parts of evangelicalism to be deeply corrupt. I am exhausted and feel its best to stay away from a church. I attend different places to observe, research and write about the issues in many of these places. That is why I was at Mclean Bible recently. In knowing that Dale Sutherland was leaving  I wanted to observe, and take notes for a future post. I don’t know if you are going to understand all that I am writing here. But I hope you can. I love and care about you enough to warn you that McLean Bible is not the solid and healthy place that you think it is. Go back and read the posts I have composed about McLean Bible. Study them and consider them as a warning. If you want to talk more about this in person or through email (or anyone who reads this from McLean Bible) I ma happy to do so. 

Very Respectfully, 

David Bonner 

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