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LIAR: Discovery shows Pastor David Platt lied to McLean Bible Church

David Platt is accused of lying to McLean Bible Church members about affiliation with Southern Baptist Convention

EXCLUSIVE: David Platt knew McLean Bible Church joined the Southern Baptist Convention even as he lied about it for years to his congregation new emails prove.

A Virginia lawsuit reveals David Platt lied as documents become public highlighting Platt’s deception.

David Platt’s denial that McLean Bible Church was a member of the Southern Baptist Convention was clear. “We are a not a member of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Platt told the congregation during a racially charged rant on July 4, 2021. However, David Platt knew that was a lie and he intentionally deceived his congregation for years. In fact, McLean Bible Church sent messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting, the Capstone Report can reveal. This affiliation with a denomination happened despite the MBC Constitution forbidding such an affiliation.

This image shows McLean Bible Church elected two messengers to the SBC’s Annual Meeting. The full document is at the end of this story.
This image shows a church secretary certifying to the Southern Baptist Convention that McLean Bible Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia–a state Baptist Convention that MBC gave money to that entitled it to representation at the SBC Annual Meeting.

According to a summary of the legal findings a lawyer representing the current and former members of McLean Bible Church said, “Throughout the litigation, the affiliation, which the church referred to as a ‘partnership,’ has been colored as a ‘church planting’ operation by Church leadership and that the SBC relationship only amounted to joint contributions to MBC’s New City Network Program. This is not the case.”

And there is more. Much more.

But now let’s focus on the violation of the constitution.

According to the lawyers, “We discovered, through a subpoena of the SBC’s Virginia convention, that MBC transferred over $2 million in ‘gifts’ to the SBC. (A portion of this was from annual offerings which were unrestricted in nature and a portion was passed through by the New City Network). In return, the Church was given its own SBC ID number and was eligible to send delegates to the SBC’s ‘Annual Meeting’ to vote on binding SBC policy. This disclosure was confirmed by the Church’s own financial records and admitted under oath by Church leaders. In effect, an affiliation was formed with SBC, and we found that it was much more comprehensive than first believed.”

This lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jeremiah Burke, Laura Burke, Caroline Hiban, Michael Hiban, Salvador Cordova, and Judith M. Strother. J. Chapman Petersen of Chap Petersen & Associates served as lead counsel for the plaintiffs. Petersen served for 16 years as a state senator in Virginia and has a long and distinguished legal career. Without the legal work from Petersen and the perseverance of Jeremiah Burke, Laura Burke, Caroline Hiban, Michael Hiban, Salvador Cordova, and Judith M. Strother this would never have been uncovered.

Platt and his team relied on weasel words throughout to dodge his blatant violation of the Church constitution.

The Southern Baptist Convention is confusing to those outside its Byzantine political structure. Platt exploited this. The SBC is a body of churches that cooperate in funding seminaries and missions. The entire structure is governed by the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. This Annual Meeting is restricted to churches who certify they are affiliated with the SBC. There are strict criteria governing which churches can send messengers and how many messengers these churches are entitled to send.

There is no greater indication that a church is involved in the Southern Baptist Convention than sending messengers to the SBC Annual Meeting. And in fact, according to documents uncovered during discovery and reviewed by the Capstone Report, McLean Bible Church in fact elected at least two messengers to an SBC Annual Meeting. The two messengers elected by McLean Bible Church were David Platt and his wife Heather Platt.

According to the official registration for the SBC Annual Meeting obtained by the Capstone Report, MBC elected at least two messengers, “The McLean Bible Church located at 8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22182 has elected David Platt a messenger to the SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION. This appointment is made on the basis of and in agreement with the Convention’s constitutional requirement, as follows: (This church has $168,668.00 of undesignated receipts and gave $10,000.00 to convention causes during the preceding year and is entitled to 7 messengers.)

According to another document in discovery, Platt’s wife was the second messenger elected by McLean Bible Church.

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting participate in the political life of the SBC. For example, messengers elect the SBC President, other SBC officers, the trustees for SBC entities and set the budget for the SBC.

The document cited by the lawyer and published by the Capstone Report is critical to understanding how David Platt lied in 2021. Platt graduated from the SBC’s New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) with not one but three degrees including a Ph.D. Platt was also head of the SBC’s International Mission Board (IMB). Platt would know what being a messenger entails and according to the documents produced, Platt’s church elected both him and his wife as a messengers.

Bluntly, David Platt lied, and he knew he lied when he stood on stage and denied MBC was a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.

For a synopsis of the lawsuit’s timeline and other relevant information of the findings, reproduced below is the entire letter from J. Chapman Petersen regarding the case of Jeremiah Burke, et al. v. McLean Bible Church, CL-2022-12576.

Below you can find a summary of the case that explains the how and why of the lawsuit that resulted in these important findings. Below that you will find both documents showing that David and Heather Platt were elected by McLean Bible Church to serve as messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention. Tomorrow our series continues as we plan to post details about how David Platt undermined Lon Solomon.

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