“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Unknown
I spent this afternoon listening to a group who have experienced a church takeover. They didn’t see it coming and were experiencing the pain that occurred when they discovered the church had hired a deceptive church pastor. I will be writing their story soon. It differs from McLean Bible Church (MBC). Still, it bears many of the same circumstances, including a pastor who wanted a church with valuable infrastructure and a stable giving base that guaranteed a successful future. Like MBC, people are waking up to the reality that they hired someone with ambitions very different from the history of that church.
David Platt played a game with MBC. He smiled, nodding along with assumptions that Lon Solomon would be invited back to speak. Folks, that was never going to happen. MBC is a church in transition. The die is cast, and to turn it around is not impossible but very difficult. On the other hand, a group of people are committed to the long haul.
I don’t do politics.
There is concern amongst those searching for a way to return MBC to its former way of running a church. There is a political angle to some of the concerns. Some believe the church was involved in conservative politics, and Platt is somewhat left-leaning. I think it is a mistake for those seeking a change to emphasize this in their raison d’être. I believe they have problems, but this is not one of them. They should stick to the knitting.
A local church should have the freedom to choose their path.
Who are the people at MBC? What is important to them? Was this emphasized in their search? Did David Platt respect the people of MBC? Or…did he come into the church planning to change the emphasis? We follow the one who is the Truth. Did Platt tell the truth, or did the people of MBC ask the wrong questions?
Lon Solomon: was he suckered by Platt?
Solomon was a beloved pastor who built MBC. Platt was working at the SBC’s International Mission Board when he came to MBC. Folks, what did you expect? The SBC appoints pastors of big churches to run these entities of the SBC. They are paid very well, but their actual salary is not released to the public. Platt was selected because he was an insider. SBC insiders are the true believers. Why did anyone suddenly expect him to become an “independent bible church” believer? I think he is also a dyed-in-the-wool, hardline Reformed pastor who is friends with John Piper and SBC insiders like Mark Dever and Al Mohler. He then hired Joe Carter, who is another Reformed insider. From Linked In;
Indeed, did the church vote on all of this? Did Lon Solomon agree to this? Was he told the truth?
Capstone Report wrote this titled post: Petty Leadership: David Platt refused to invite Lon Solomon to return and preach as Pastor Emeritus at McLean Bible Church, according to a former elder’s letter uncovered during a legal fight to force MBC to accountability.
I’m afraid I have to disagree that it was “petty.” It was far worse than “petty.” In my opinion, it was deliberate action on the part of Platt to change the direction of the church, and he would make sure that Solomon wouldn’t be part of the new way.
According to the letter written by Mark Gottlieb and uncovered by subpoena, “If you remember, Lon promised to be back and preach occasionally. Yet David never invited Lon back to preach. At least 3 times over the next year–I would bring this up at an elder meeting. David’s excuse being he wanted Lon back to be recognized, and that Lon didn’t want to be recognized–he wanted to preach–as he promised. Two years ago–Lon confirmed with me when I saw him at some event that he has never been invited back to preach. I brought up the fact to the elders that this is not about what David or Lon wants–it’s about what’s right. And about helping Lon ‘finish well’ as he always hoped. David didn’t want him back–and the elders did nothing.” (emphasis added)
Here is a link to that letter.
Platt has, in TWW’s opinion, “exaggerated the truth” in the past to make him sound even more “radical.”
I quote this post I wrote in 2013: My, My Dubai: 9 Marks Played Hardball While Lifeway/ David Platt Stretched the Truth. At the time, Todd Wilhelm, who writes at TWW, was living and working in Dubai. The second section of the post is relevant to this post. Please refer to the full post to understand Todd’s points fully. Some links no longer work since the post is 11 years old.
Don’t Lie About Dubai
Todd, who actually lives in Dubai, reported on what appears to be a deceptive LifeWay advertising campaign which involved David Platt in a post here. He has given us permission to repost it here.
What is Dubai really like?
What comes to your mind when you think of being a Christian in the Middle East?
1. Open debates and dialogues are common in Dubai. Christian leaders are welcome to debate Muslim Imams. The Middle East is not monolithic in this regard.
I suppose all this and worse come to your mind when you think of the perils of being an unabashed follower of Christ in the Middle East. I don’t wish to discount this as in many countries in this region Christians do face persecution for their beliefs, sometimes even losing their lives.
But I would like you to know that I live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Christians have nothing to fear in this moderate Muslim nation. The UAE is socially progressive and is a fine example of what an open society in the Middle East can and should look like. The leaders of this country have donated land for Christians to build churches on. They welcome open dialogue between people of different faiths. They have approved public debates between Christian Pastors and Muslim Imams. Thabiti Anyabwile, the author of the book below, has been the Christian representative in four such debates in Dubai.
2. Arab leaders donate land on which to build Christian churches.
3. One cannot do street evangelism in Dubai but talking about the faith, with Muslim friends, is easy, maybe easier than in the United States.
4. Did David Platt and LifeWay knowingly misrepresent the culture in Dubai?
Apparently, this “simulcast” was presented as a live broadcast (it was taped) in an “undisclosed location.” Todd’s daughter actually attended this event.
Todd continues: All this to say that, in my opinion, David Platt and LifeWay Christian Resources are attempting to boost sales of Platt’s most recent book, Follow Me, and accompanying study manuals, by creating an aura of cutting-edge excitement based on number of things which just are not true.
The following is from the announcement of Platt’s visit and talk.
Broadcasting live from an undisclosed location, David Platt will challenge you, your group, and your church to take the next step in your relationship with Christ. In this place where proclaiming Jesus could mean literally losing your life, Platt will invite us to forfeit our own lives for the sake of the gospel.
My daughter attended this “simulcast” event that was taped in Dubai on August 14th beginning at 7:00 P.M. local time. So even if the “simulcast” would have been broadcast in the USA at the originally advertised time of 6:00 P.M. Eastern time, it would not have been “live” as claimed it was to have been. When it is 7:00 P.M. in Dubai it is 11:00 A.M on the East Coast of the USA. That pretty much debunks the “live” claim.
Next it is claimed this “live” broadcast will be from an “undisclosed location.” Here is a link on the Redeemer Church of Dubai’s website which openly announced that the event would be held at the Marriott Hotel. That debunks the “undisclosed location” claim.
Lastly, they claim this “undisclosed location” was one “where proclaiming Jesus could mean literally losing your life.” I am happy to say no one involved in David Platt’s presentation in Dubai on the evening of August 14th lost their life, nor was there ever any danger of doing so because of “proclaiming Jesus.”
All this is to say that Platt can sometimes present himself as more “radical” than he is. This tendency should be taken into consideration by MBC.
Is David Platt “radical?”
For the record, I live in a nice house. I have nice clothes and good food. I had a good education. I am not “radical.” Well…some might consider me a bit radical due to this blog. 😎 When Platt wrote his book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, he wrote about those who gave up their homes to live in poor areas. He suggested that he had people in his former church, Church at Brook Hills, who gave up their homes to live in impoverished areas. He seemed to imply that he was also residing “radically.” Maybe he was back then.
However, now, he lives in a lovely home. I understand that MBC originally purchased this home for their “radical” new pastor for $835,000. So it has gone up in price.
Now he owns a $1.1 million home while the average American home in 2023 is worth $412,000 and the average Virginia home is worth $413,000 and the average home in Washington, DC is worth $626,000, according to data published by Forbes.
Platt preached a December 3, 2023, sermon wondering how many Americans have a blind spot because of material comforts. Platt said, “I wonder if followers of Jesus a hundred years from now, if Jesus has not returned, will look back at Christians in America today and wonder, ‘How could they worship, sing, study the Bible and live in such affluence, while billions of people were going to hell without even hearing how they could go to heaven, many of whom were living in impoverished, dire conditions on earth? They gathered for worship, they read the Bible, they sang the songs, they lived what they said were Christian lives. How could they keep prioritizing their comforts and preferences to the neglect of so many people in need?’
I do not claim to be radical, whatever in the world that means. I’m sure I have more to learn on this front, but I think there may be better tutors than David Platt.
Let this serve as a warning to churches who are calling a pastor. How well do you know them? See where they are now, and do not expect them to change.
MBC: You are officially in a church takeover, and you have become Baptists. Your representative, Mrs. Platt, voted on your behalf, which means the SBC recognizes your church as a member of the SBC. You didn’t get a pastor; you got a Baptist talking head who is taking you in a direction you didn’t see coming. He should have told you. That’s what Christians do. They level with one another.