The Wondering Eagle is notifying McLean Bible and the Washington, D.C, area to a predatory situation that occurred in 2016 and 2017. Scott Woods an adult volunteer at McLean Bible The Rock Ministries allegedly engaged in sexting and tried to groom minors for abuse he planned to commit after they turned 18. David Platt claimed he would take a strong stand on sexual abuse after the Mark Aderholt situation. Yet in this situation David Platt has been silent even when notified, but he has no problem talking about sex trafficking in Nepal. Yes #SomethingNeedstoChange, the Scott Woods story reinforces why the Southern Baptist Convention is struggling with sexual abuse. Even with Caring Well scheduled to start in early October of 2019.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Matthew 18:6 NIV
***This blog obtained the second letter that was sent out in a limited manner about the Scott Woods situation. I inserted it below. Change made 11:48 p.m. September 27, 2019***
David Platt at McLean Bible.
Today’s post is going to be one of the more difficult ones written at this blog. I have a long history with McLean Bible and it pains me to write about a difficult situation but this needs to be written. Before we get into the grooming of a teenager for sexual abuse in The Rock Ministries let’s look at a theological coup that helped make McLean Bible very unstable.
A Mega Church is Theologically Flipped and Spiritual Abuse Against the Staff
From 2015 until 2017 McLean Bible underwent a lot of changes. According to a source this blog was told that at the time Dale Sutherland built a relationship with Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. Capitol Hill Baptist Church is one of the key churches inside the Southern Baptist Convention for the Neo-Calvinist movement. When Lon Solomon was out on leave, Dale Sutherland had Mark Dever speak to the staff in small meetings of about 5 to 9 people about the 9 Marks theology system. The person I spoke with told me that they did not know what 9 Marks was. In a Svengali situation Dale Sutherland convinced Lon Solomon that McLean Bible was bloated and needed to be reduced. Its this blog’s understanding that close to 140 staff were purged in massive retirements while young Calvinists from several seminaries were hired in their place. The church was theologically hijacked and flipped. Some like Jim Supp made it over to Reston Bible or other churches. But many staff took buyouts that were inadequate and because of their age could not find another job in ministry. This blog has heard that some of the staff are currently experiencing depression as well as other mental health and some physical illness due to the stress that took place at McLean Bible. In some cases entire ministries were closed or cut back. This blog was noticing the changes and documented them as they happened and called it out beforehand. You can read more about what happened in, “Indicators and Warnings of McLean Bible’s Theological Hijacking that Would Culminate with David Platt Becoming the Teaching Pastor: An Overview of the Changes Chronicled by The Wondering Eagle from 2015 Until 2017; Plus What I Believe is Coming Down the Pike.” David Platt was more or less rammed through by the leadership. I sat through the question and answer session and noticed major problems. I observed Senior Pastor Lon Solomon almost cornered and put in a position where he had to give up power. Elder Larry Cooper stood before several hundred people and lied on September 21, 2017. He stated that McLean Bible never joined the Southern Baptist Convention. Shortly after he stated that Christianity Today wrote about how McLean Bible joined the Southern Baptists in 2016. This blog would like to know…who failed to teach Larry Cooper ethics and integrity? Was it the Bible? McLean Bible? Or the United States Army? You can read more in, “According to Christianity Today McLean Bible Joined the Southern Baptist Convention in 2016; If True Why did Elder Larry Cooper Lie Before the September 21, 2017 Town Hall Meeting?” David Platt became pastor after all this transpired. Against all this turmoil something deeply dark happened in The Rock Ministries.
An Adult Volunteer Grooms a Teenager in the Rock Ministries for Abuse and a Narrative of a Cover-Up
Scott Woods was a volunteer at McLean Bible going back to 2013. He went to undergrad in Yale University and attended law school at the University of Tennessee. Scott became a small group leader in The Rock during the 2014 and 2016 time-frame. In addition to that Scott was also a confirmed camp chaperone in 2015 and 2016. Scott engaged in some puzzling behavior and in December of 2016 McLean Bible was notified about questionable actions by Scott Woods. The behavior was off but at this time there was no proof.
In January of 2017 a staff member of McLean then confronted Scott Woods about how he was acting toward minors. Scott pushed back and denied any wrongdoing. He quit The Rock and continued to still attend McLean Bible. Scott allegedly maintained relationships with a couple of minors. In March of 2017 two other families independently expressed concerns to that same staff member about Scott Woods. It was then that evidence of sexting came forward and that was turned over to McLean Bible. Seven months after first being notified McLean Bible finally contacted law enforcement. During this time Scott Woods was allowed to attend McLean Bible both at the Tysons Corner location and Loudoun. In August of 2017 a detective from Fairfax County then tells one family that the statute of limitations had expired in Virginia. What had happened is that Scott aggressively started sexting a 16 year old male teenager. It was before graduation and their birthdays. Scott Woods did so with a full understanding of how Virginia law works and that within a year of the sexting the statute of limitations will have expired. Scott who is trained in law knew how to abuse the system. The Fairfax detective told the family that the law states that in Virginia the crime is one year from the incident and not when the crime is discovered.
In August of 2017 McLean Bible leadership tells one of the families that Scott Woods will be kicked out of the church. Parents will be informed and that the church will minister to victims. Changes in security will be made and Dallas Theological Seminary where Scott Woods was enrolled and sponsored by McLean Bible will be notified. That same month McLean leadership tells Scott Woods not to come to McLean Bible or he will be arrested for trespassing. Dallas Theological Seminary is notified and Scott is kicked out. Changes are made to security at Tysons. However despite the promises made families who were tragically impacted by Scott Woods alleged predatory behavior learn that McLean Bible fails to remove him from the membership role. Families are neglected and forgotten. And many parents are not notified at the church about the Scott Woods situation.
In October of 2017 McLean Bible sends out a limited letter. This blog believes that it was only to parents inside The Rock Ministries. The letter as you can read makes no reference to Scott Woods and does not identify him by name. Also Scott had a lot of contact with other people at McLean Bible and the church allegedly did not notify the larger congregation. The families who were affected were not notified. The letter states that McLean Bible is making security changes.
One of the affected families tied to the situation at McLean Bible is puzzled and asks them why the letter that was sent out didn’t mention Scott Woods? Why was McLean Bible trying to protect him? In May of 2018 a family contacts the Southern Baptist Convention and informs them of what happened at McLean Bible. The Southern Baptist response is that each church is autonomous and they have no authority over their churches. In that same month Lon Solomon, the prior Senior Pastor at McLean Bible was contacted and asked why he never reached out to the families since he was the victim’s pastor? On the books at the time Lon Solomon was listed as an elder. Lon emailed back and said that he didn’t know who Scott Woods was or what he allegedly tried to do. Lon Solomon then states that the issue is for the current church leadership of David Platt and that he would not meet with any of the families. One family is under the impression that Lon Solomon consulted with an attorney who encouraged him to not engage or answer questions.
David Platt became the new teacher pastor and the Mark Aderholt and Anne Marie Miller story was ongoing. David Platt who led the SBC’s International Missions Board (IMB) makes a public statement about sexual predators and calls for an independent investigation at the IMB. In August of 2018 according to what this blog has heard David Platt learned of the situation with Scott Woods through an email. David Platt’s response is to ignore the family. In September of 2018 McLean Bible in a church newsletter from the Loudoun Campus wishes happy birthday to Scott Woods. Loudoun is contacted over what happened and Loudoun leader Nyke Gatlin states to a family lthat it was an oversight and that he recently learned about Scott Woods allegedly grooming teenagers at Tysons. In the congregational meeting in September Scott Woods was removed from the membership but the church didn’t explain why he was being removed. No references to predatory behavior in The Rock Ministries were made. In October of 2018 McLean Bible sends out a second letter to a number of parents on various distro lists. You can read that letter in, MBC Letter to Tysons Campus Parents. In the communication Scott Woods is not identified or the time period that everything happened. The letter states that there are at least three victims and is signed by the “elders and leaders of MBC.” To this blog’s knowledge there were no church meetings, no tweets, no blog posts, and no mention of this in MBC communications. That same month McLean Bible provides training on sexual predators. Only five people show up. It is poorly advertised. In the session Scott Woods is not mentioned nor is what happened at The Rock Ministries the previous year.
Notification About Scott Woods in the Washington, D.C. Area
This blog is notifying churches and the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. It is doing what McLean Bible should have done. Scott Woods left McLean Bible and can get involved in another church and engage in grooming minors for sexual abuse. From Mark Batterson’s National Community Church to Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg to Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Virginia. All churches need to be aware so that a minor is not abused. Churches need to be vigilant about this individual.
Questions The Wondering Eagle has About this Incident
This blog has a number of questions that need to be asked.
- Was Mike Kelsey and Montgomery County notified that there was a sexual predator? Was Kelsey aware of an incident that happened in The Rock at Tysons?
- Was Eric Saunders at Arlington notified about a sexual predator at Tysons?
- Were there any campus mailings or notifications that took place at campuses outside of Tysons?
- Who at McLean Bible pulled off a cover up?
- Who at McLean Bible refuses to identify Scott Woods by name?
- Why has David Platt been silent about this situation?
- Has Clint Clifton and the New City Network applied the proper safeguards so that Scott Woods won’t get involved in Aaron Nichols Mosaic or other churches?
- Does the Elder Board at McLean Bible know? Was Larry Cooper aware?
- Was Jill’s House notified of this situation so they can be protected?
Anne Marie Miller
Did David Platt Learn From the Mark Aderholt Situation at the International Missions Board?
This situation at McLean Bible happened before the Anne Marie Miller situation broke. The situation with Scott Woods has dragged on and is still ongoing. In July of 2018 the Star Telegram broke the story of Mark Aderholt. The International Missions Board let an alleged abuser go and he was allowed to move around in the SBC. Mark Aderholt had abused Anne Marie Miller when she was a high school student and when he was a seminary student. David Platt promised a full investigation and stated that he was committed to halting sexual abuse. If you want to read more about the situation with Anne Marie Miller you can do so in, “Anne Marie Miller’s Alleged Sexual Abuse by Mark Aderholt, and Did the Southern Baptist’s International Missions Board Cover it Up? Plus David Platt’s Response” and “A Closer Look at Derek Gaubatz the General Counsel for the International Missions Board. Does “Religious Freedom” Mean the Right for the Southern Baptists to Cover Up Sexual Assault?” This situation with Scott Wood raises questions asking if David Platt learned his lessons from the Mark Aderholt situation? This blog is inclined to say no. If he did learn he would have acted swiftly and dealt with it appropriately. Families would not be ignored and David Platt would listen.
How Hard it is to Write this Post and Analysis of the Situation
This story belongs in the Washington Post or the New York Times. It would go well especially with the other stories written about Matt Chandler or Paige Patterson by both newspapers. Writing today’s post is exceptionally sad. This has been a hard blog to write and over the last five years I have learned a great amount about theology, Calvinism, church governance, domestic abuse, the legal system, sexual assault, child pornography and financial issues. I often have ended up writing about situations in churches I once called home. I had a history with McLean Bible at one point. I did retreats, Bible study, and a mission. You can read about my history with McLean Bible in, “The Wondering Eagle’s History with McLean Bible Church.” When I was involved in McLean Bible I heard a female once tell me about how she was sexually abused when she was younger. She called McLean home because she felt valued and appreciated. This was years ago. If she learned of the situation of Scott Woods and how her church mishandled it, she would no doubt be devastated. It breaks my heart to write that and its hard to even put it into words. The first time I heard about this incident was back in February of 2019. I was traveling back to Washington, D.C. after burying my father. I was deeply engrossed in writing about James MacDonald’s Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago. Against a massive church scandal this blog wrote about 150 posts. In writing about the story of Paxton Singer, a youth minister currently on trial for sexting one person left a comment on a blog post. I first read it in the Los Angeles airport. That comment was turned into a blog post which you can read that blog post here, “Did McLean Bible Cover Up a Child Sexual Predatory Situation? A Comment on The Wondering Eagle Raises that Question.”
Recently David Platt did a simulcast based off a new book he did about his trip to Nepal. It was pushed by The Gospel Coalition, Radical and McLean Bible. Called, “Somthing Needs to Change” David Platt spoke about his trip to Nepal. You can read about that in, “#SomethingNeedstoChange. An Overview of David Platt’s Recent Simulcast at McLean Bible” David on stage got all emotional and appeared to cry at certain parts. He spoke about combating sexual trafficking in Nepal and yet to this day David Platt remains silent on Scott Woods, an alleged sexual predator who groomed children for sexual abuse in The Rock Ministries. Its time for David Platt, Lon Solomon and the leadership of McLean Bible to come clean. People need closure and healing. This blog has a deep amount of respect for the victims and wants them to find peace. Denying a family peace is the cruelest thing that one can do. What is even more ironic is the upcoming Caring Well conference which is focused on sexual abuse and scheduled to take place in Grapevine, Texas and this situation is still dragging on. The question this blog has for J.D. Greear are the Southern Baptists committed to dealing with sexual abuse? This situation shows how the Southern Baptists have a massive problem with sexual abuse.
Lest one think that all a blog like this can do is discuss problems let me point to how another church responded to an abuse incident. This blog writes about the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) denomination. An EFCA church in Staten Island, New York had a sex abuse situation and the church acted swiftly. Within a couple of days of being alerted the church contacted law enforcement promptly, sent out a letter to the congregation, and posted it on social media. The church moved fast and did the right thing. I analyzed and wrote about it and thought that this could be studied by the national EFCA in Minneapolis and turned into a white paper on the issue of sexual abuse. You can read the letter in,
You can read more about the incident in, “How the EFCA’s Salem Church in Staten Island, New York Handled an Alleged Sexual Abuse Situation” and “Child Sex Abuse: A Look at How Two Churches Responded – John Welborn’s Salem Church in Staten Island, New York and Mark Mullery’s Redeeming Grace Church (Former Sovereign Grace Fairfax) in Fairfax, Virginia.” This blog stands with those who were hurt from Scott Woods and is doing this difficult post because people need to find peace and healing.
Parents of Victims Need to Contact Fairfax Police and Not McLean Bible
Families and those from McLean Bible or other churches who could be affected by this situation are encouraged to call the Fairfax County Police. Don’t report it to McLean Bible, go to law enforcement instead. The number to call is 703-691-1231. Also here is the page from Fairfax Police for victim’s services.