David Platt, McLean Bible Church facing legal challenge over ‘arbitrary’ actions

Conservative members of McLean Bible Church seek injunctive relief in Virginia court over David Platt’s move to eliminate secret ballot, purge conservatives from church membership.

UPDATE: McLean Bible Church elders lie again! See update below for the latest.

A group of conservative members of McLean Bible Church filed a request with a Fairfax County, Virginia court seeking an injunction to force David Platt and McLean Bible Church to conduct the July 18 Elder election via secret ballot. For the entire history of McLean Bible Church, elections like this were conducted by secret ballot. However, Platt and his leadership team changed the rules making it no longer secret how one votes. Also, Platt and his elders attempted to purge conservative members in an “arbitrary” manner, according to the legal filings.

Steve Gaskins, Michael Manfredi, Roland Smith, Deborah Ash, Adam Jeantet, and others filed the injunction request.

These conservatives allege in the court filing, “This is a breach of contract action seeking to remedy Defendants’ illegal actions to deny Plaintiffs their rights to cast a free and fair vote, to have those votes lawfully counted, and to enjoy their right to a secret ballot. Plaintiffs pray this Court to enjoin Defendants from taking numerous threatened actions to deny Plaintiffs those rights in a congregational vote scheduled for the morning of Sunday, July 18.”

The elimination of the secret ballot is viewed as an attempt to intimidate church staff into voting the way David Platt demands.

According to the legal filing, “The congregation includes some 100-plus members who are also paid staff of MBC. On information and belief, some of these staff persons voted against the proposed slate of Elders at the Meeting. The elimination of the secret ballot will likely subject these staff persons to ‘discipline’ up to and including termination and being ‘publicly dismissed from the Church fellowship’ at the hands of the powerful Board of Elders, who – should this Court not intervene – will know, to a person, how each member and staff person voted.”

Also, the legal filing notes how Platt and his current elders attempted to purge conservatives from church membership to win the elder election at the end of June.

According to the legal filing, “The Board began seeking to disqualify members from voting, attempting to purge members by designating them ‘inactive’ on an arbitrary basis, with no record that the members had missed eight consecutive Sundays, and without investigation into whether the members had ‘reasonable excuse,’ such as missing services for fear of the coronavirus, or even from the Church’s own cancellation of in-person services due to the coronavirus.”

Also, “Accordingly, the Board’s actions in selecting certain members to be purged, and others to be left on the active roll, with no measurable standard for making the determination the Constitution requires, were completely arbitrary and capricious, done with the sole intent of predetermining the outcome of the Meeting.”

The legal filing raises several other issues including how the meeting was handled inappropriately, according to Roberts’ Rules of Order and David Platt and the Elder Board’s noncompliance with the McLean Bible Church Constitution.

The injunction paperwork was served on Platt and his elder team late Thursday, according to a person familiar with the legal proceedings.

UPDATE: McLean Bible Church lies about injunction in email

Friday afternoon McLean Bible Church emailed church members and lied about the legal relief sought by Steve Gaskins, Michael Manfredi, Roland Smith, Deborah Ash, Adam Jeantet, and others.

In the email, McLean Bible Church claimed that the legal filing was an attempt to stop the elder vote. That is a lie.

Here is what McLean Bible Church claimed today, “With no notice at all, Steve Gaskins and four other people…filed a lawsuit against McLean Bible Church and the individual elders to stop MBC from voting on elder nominees this Sunday.”

The legal filing asks for injunctive relief to mandate a secret ballot during Sunday’s vote, to cease deleting conservative church members from the membership rolls to deprive them of the right to vote, and to adjourn the June 30 congregational meeting.

This is a significant difference between the truth and what McLean Bible Church said in its email.

The Save McLean Bible Church group sent out an email this afternoon urging people to read the claims made by McLean Bible Church elders and the actual legal filings. The email said, “Draw your own conclusions.”

In other words, David Platt and McLean Bible Church lied. Again.

What does this say about the state of the church if left in their care?

David Platt whines about the conservatives dividing the church; however, it was David Platt and his Critical Race Theory rhetoric that divided the church when about 40% of the members or about 6,000 people stopped attending and found new church homes.

Can you trust anything that McLean Bible Church elders say?

If not, why vote for their elder nominees?

This is yet another sign that the only way forward for McLean Bible Church is to hold David Platt and his regime accountable.