After repeated losses in Virginia court, David Platt and McLean Bible Church surrender in lawsuit against the church’s violation of its longtime voting process.
What does David Platt and McLean Bible Church not want to come out during discovery?
McLean Bible Church has set May 18, 2022, to vote on a settlement resolution that grants most if not all the requests made by dissident conservative members of the church in a lawsuit filed against David Platt, MBC elders and the church. The settlement resolution vote was scheduled after repeated losses in court brought David Platt and McLean Bible Church within weeks of depositions and discovery.
Plaintiffs were ready to depose (a legal process where potential witnesses are interviewed under oath) current and past church leaders and were ready to issue subpoenas for evidence in the discovery process. Without question the desire to avoid discovery and depositions spurred MBC toward this settlement offer.
The lawsuit was prompted last year when Platt violated the MBC Constitution by denying ballots to active church members and eliminating the secret ballot for the elder election. Platt and the MBC elders altered the voting process because they lost the first round of elder elections—which resulted in a crybaby fit from Platt where he accused the conservative church members of being racist.
Platt’s claim of racism fell flat later when it was revealed that one of the MBC elders said he wanted to torch white people.
The church settlement offer restores secret ballot
According to the announcement posted by McLean Bible Church, “Conducting an elder election as part of our Congregational Meeting on June 1 that includes elder nominees from 2021 in addition to other elder nominees in 2022 consistent with the plaintiffs’ petitions in their lawsuit against the church (as described below).”
Those procedural protections for voting requested by conservatives that McLean suggests using now in a settlement include restoring the voting rights of members the church selectively canceled prior to last year’s second vote. Also, the church will return to secret ballot.
According to McLean Bible Church, if the church approves the settlement resolution then, “Voting at the new election may be by any active member of the church, including individuals on the Church’s active roll as of March 1, 2020 (when the pandemic began) who before God still claim to be an active member of the Church.”
However, it is far from clear if this would resolve the lawsuit.
There are other issues that the last year created. For instance, is the current budget even valid?
What about the use of online and remote business meetings that emerged to prevent member participation?
All these departures from church precedent unfolded over the last 10 months since Platt used his underhanded tactics to seize control of the church by overriding the will of the voters.
There is also the problem of all the several hundred new members brought into the church while a large segment of the church were removed under Platt’s obviously now unconstitutional membership purge. Are those actually new members since not the entire church voted on them? These are difficult issues that likely only an impartial court could decide.
Of course even when trying to settle the dispute, David Platt and his supporters are liars and resort to outright lies in their settlement argument.
“None of the procedural requests above are actually mentioned in the MBC Constitution, which is why this lawsuit is without merit. More importantly, the lawsuit is without merit because the plaintiffs are essentially asking a secular government to mandate procedures for a local church in a way that directly contravenes the actual leadership of that local church.”
Platt and his team know this is false.
The church constitution is a contract between the church leadership and the members. Church leaders are not allowed to break that contract—and since Platt and his elders were not acting like Christians (for example: torch white people and eliminating the secret ballot) the conservative and Christians were authorized to go to the legal system to seek enforcement of the contract.
Also, the lawsuit is very much with merit as precedents in Virginia courts show.
In any case, Platt and his team at McLean Bible Church would not offer this settlement now unless they have something to hide—which makes it all the more important for this lawsuit to continue and for the conservatives to find every means of forcing this to depositions and discovery.