There is more news with McLean Bible in the Washington, D.C. area. The Southern Baptist mega church implemented more child safety policies in the wake of the Scott Woods situation. The policies were aimed at strengthening child protection measures. And then Caleb Moore who leads The Rock Ministries undermined those rules when he violated them communicating with a teenager behind a family’s back. Also Nate Reed emailed the staff in mid December 2019 about the changing McLean’s website and limiting social media interaction by staff. Also in the new McLean Bible website this blog is disappointed that 16 years of sermons and teaching material by Lon Solomon were purged from the website. The authoritarianism at McLean Bible is troubling.
“If I am to meet with a disappointment, the sooner I know it, the more of life I shall have to wear it off.“
Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live!
Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper,
just as you have claimed. 15 Hate evil and love what is good;
turn your courts into true halls of justice. Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will have mercy on the remnant of his people.
Amos 5:14-15 NLT
David Platt at McLean Bible
There are a number of issues to cover with McLean Bible. There is more news on the Scott Woods situation and the Southern Baptist mega church changed its website. Let’s look at the Scott Woods situation first.
How McLean Bible Reacted to the Scott Woods Situation. And How Caleb Moore Violated the New Rules and Brought Tension to a Family
Scott Woods was an adult male volunteer in The Rock Ministries. In 2016 and 2017 Woods had allegedly groomed up to 25 teenagers for planned sexual abuse. You can read about Scott Woods in, “How David Platt Never Learned From the Mark Aderholt Situation. The Disturbing Story of how McLean Bible Mishandled Scott Woods, an Alleged Predator in The Rock Ministries.” And you can read about how teenagers were groomed in, “What is Grooming? And how an Alleged Predator Operated in The Rock Ministries at David Platt’s McLean Bible.”
The damage done at McLean Bible due to a predator is troubling. A couple of teenagers were suicidal and many families were both embarrassed and frightened over what happened. McLean Bible interacted with one family who for this post I will call the “Thompsons.” Scott Woods groomed people for planned abuse in a program in The Rock called “The Upper Room.” Up to 20 to 25 teenagers could have been sexually groomed. To the Thompsons McLean Bible promised to go back and contact the families of those who had their children in The Upper Room. McLean promised to make parents aware and that they would re-train the staff at McLean Bible. McLean also promised to minister to the Thompsons and others. Mr. Thompson explained to me that when he learned about what Scott Woods had done to other teenagers he sat down with his son and asked if he was inappropriately touched or was forced to be sexual with Scott Woods. It was the hardest conversation that Mr Thompson had in his life.
Dale Sutherland told Mr Thompson that they would do a full investigation and that McLean Bible would take out a restraining order against Scott Woods that would be for all campuses. McLean Bible’s DJ Corkey promised Mr Thompson that the church would place a number of safety measures in place. Some of those safety measures included the following.
- Giving new phones to the staff.
- Having software monitoring programs installed.
- Preventing staff from texting minors after 9:00 p.m. each evening.
- Staff would approach parents about programs and any issues that would come up. The goal was to have parents more in the loop.
Some of the families as you can imagine were stressed and shocked after the Scott Woods situation. Then something happened which was deeply troubling. After many of these rules were implemented by McLean Bible Caleb Moore who heads The Rock Ministries began to violate them. Caleb started to interact privately with one of the teenagers that Scott Woods allegedly tried to groom. Despite the limitations put in place Caleb Moore allegedly began to interact with a teenager in a similar manner that Scott Woods did. Caleb began texting Mr Thompson’s son and doing it behind his back. Caleb invited this teenager to participate in a ministry program and this minor became excited. Not only that but he liked the attention the youth pastor was giving him. Mr. Thompson eventually found out and was both shocked and angry. McLean Bible had made promises to the families affected by the Scott Woods situation and Caleb Moore was allegedly violating them. A minor was being texted privately and behind the back of a family. When Mr. Thompson realized what had happened the father out of love said no to the program that his teenage son wanted to participate in. Mr. Thompson was upset that Caleb Moore was interacting with his teenager without his knowledge or consent. But Caleb actually did some harm to this family, as Caleb’s behavior made the father look like the bad guy. Mr. Thompson’s teenager wanted to participate in this program Caleb told him about, and his father said no. It created a divide and tension in the family and resulted in straining a parent and son relationship. Now does this blog believe that Caleb Moore was grooming a teenager for abuse? No, this blog thinks that Caleb Moore is naive to the issue of sexual abuse and didn’t fully grasp what just happened at McLean Bible. Still from this blog’s perspective it shows how McLean Bible and the Southern Baptists do not understand the issue of sexual abuse at all.
Nate Reed’s Emails Ministry Leaders at Tysons and Instructs How Staff are to Engage on Social Media
In mid December Nate Reed who is the pastor for Tysons sent out an email to the staff that dealt with the upcoming website, which was being revamped. You can read that email in, “Preserving an Email That McLean Bible Tysons Pastor Nate Reed Sent to Ministry Leaders on Upcoming Changes to the McLean Website.” For those of you who do not know Nate Reed is originally from Wenatchee, Washington. But he attended Penn State University in 2007 and graduated with a degree in Music Education. After a brief stint in teaching he moved to Washington, D.C. and went on staff at McLean Bible around 2009 or so. Nate picked up a degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. Nate lives in the Springfield, Virginia area.
What stands out for me in the email that Nate sent out is McLean Bible’s effort to control their social media presence. Is McLean Bible moving their information from online to brochures and handouts that you can pick up in the lobby of Tysons? By going to closed groups on Facebook the question needs to be asked, how does that promote transparency? In preventing staff from creating social media and more this shows an effort to protect the brand. Image is everything, and what matters overall in a mega church setting. But are some of these changes also in response to the Scott Wood’s situation? Is this an effort to control the means a pastor can interact with someone and for McLean Bible to protect itself? One other point I would like to make is that Nate Reed doesn’t understand how the internet works. With web archives and more information on the internet lives forever you just need to know how to research and access it. Yes the previous McLean Bible website is down, but through archives it can still be accessed. If it were not for web archives I could not write a blog like this, its an invaluable tool for research and analysis.
How Kin Jong Un of North Korea edited out his uncle from history. Study the two pictures and you will see revisionism.
McLean Bible Develops a New Website and 16 Years of Sermons by Lon Solomon Are Purged
After studying and looking over the new website I am not very impressed by what has been created. More simple yes, but I would consider it more disrespectful as well. With the exception of the history page its almost like Lon Solomon never existed at McLean Bible. As a part of the new website what McLean Bible did is purge almost 16 years of sermons and teaching material by Lon Solomon. This blog would like to ask the question is David Platt so insecure that he felt threatened by his predecessor? Is that why all the sermons that Lon Solomon gave were removed? This blog could care less about Dale Sutherland, especially after how he bungled the Scott Woods situation so the disappearance of his material really does not bother me.
This situation reminds me of what happens in authorterian countries. There are historical precedents in the Soviet Union, Iraq, China and others. For the purpose of this post I will use North Korea as an example. Take a close look at that picture up above that I took at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Jang Sang Thaek was the uncle of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. In December of 2013 Jang Sang Thaek was arrested in a Politburo meeting in a public way. Later on he was “tried” and “sentenced.” After Jang Sang Thaek was shot to death in an execution North Korea then worked to censor and edit him out of existence. It was like he never lived. As I study the new McLean Bible website I am taken back by how much material about Lon Solomon has been removed. Is McLean Bible as an authoritarian organization doing something similar?