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.
How petty was David Platt when he took over McLean Bible Church? He made sure to never invite Lon Solomon, Pastor Emeritus, back to preach. Ever. We know this via an explosive 2021 letter sent to elders from recently retired elder Mark Gottlieb. Gottlieb made it clear that Lon Solomon wanted to return to the pulpit to preach at McLean Bible Church occasionally, but that David Platt was blocking it. (To understand how the lawsuit came about and what was uncovered see this summary of the case against McLean Bible Church.)
According to the former elder’s letter to Platt and the elder board in 2021, (Gottlieb rotated off the elder board in 2020) rumors were swirling that Lon Solomon had sinned and that was why McLean Bible Church had never invited him to return to preach.
What did Platt do about those rumors? Nothing. He persisted in refusing to have Lon Solomon back to speak to his beloved church.
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)
The fact that Lon Solomon was never invited back to speak to the congregation raised all sorts of uncomfortable questions.
According to Gottlieb’s letter, “So, the rumor mill continued over the years about what sin Lon must have committed since MBC wouldn’t invite him back. I as an elder felt embarrassed. We should all be embarrassed for not helping Lon finish well.”
There was no reason for Lon Solomon not to return other than David Platt. So, was it because David knew Lon would have prevented his liberal agenda from moving forward at MBC? Maybe if Solomon was present, his conviction that MBC “preach the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible” would be incompatible with David’s Woke theology? Was it because Lon Solomon was Jewish?
This was not the only insult to the former beloved pastor from David Platt. Other demands under Platt’s toxic leadership included the removal of all of Lon Solomon’s sermons from the church website and the removal of many of his sermons and books from the church bookstore.
One member described it as David’s attempt to erase Lon Solmon from McLean Bible Church. “Every trace of Lon Solomon was removed from the church,” a longtime church member and attender said. “And they did a good job of it.”
Platt belittled Lon’s legacy
While David Platt spoke publicly to praise Lon Solomon and embellished a relationship that was non-existent (like in this clip at the 11:52 mark), behind the scenes he was determined to overhaul McLean Bible Church’s operations, hierarchy structure and overall management and culture. Previously, we reported on a leaked document where Platt wanted the elders to relinquish more control over the church to himself and his handpicked leadership team. Platt even asked for the power to expel church members without oversight from the rest of the elders.
Platt also attempted to change the culture of McLean Bible Church from a largely conservative evangelical church to something nebulously defined as diverse. However, long before Platt arrived, MBC was a diverse church; one could argue, it is actually less diverse now.
According to a former member, “I can’t count how many ethnic ministries were at MBC i.e. Filipino Fellowship, Korean, Arab, and Chinese. You name it. MBC had it. It was extremely beautiful to see all those nationalities worship Jesus. It was a highlight during the members’ meetings and end of the year giving. Way before it was the Woke thing to do, Lon Solomon was reaching all peoples because he focused on preaching the simple gospel and outreach to neighboring communities.”
Yet, Platt attacked the church and conservative members as racist during a 2021 rant. And some of the very people he attacked were diverse and involved in various community outreach groups.
Another change that Platt wanted was to continue downsizing the workforce in the church—something he did at IMB to change the culture of the missionary force into something more acceptable to his theological biases.
In a never reported slide from a 2019 Elder Board meeting, Platt and his cronies wanted more control over finances. To achieve this, they cited David Platt’s brand. According to the slide that you can see on this page, “Leverage David Platt’s brand (faithfulness, zeal, character, expertise).”
Platt wanted to shrink the staff that was hired by Lon Solomon and at the same time increase giving by 200%. Seriously, you read that right. In 2019, Platt wanted the church to increase its giving by 200%, when in fact his leadership would see giving continue to freefall.
Apparently, doing church David’s way isn’t a recipe for success and David’s brand isn’t as reliable as he thought. All the while keeping everything a secret from his congregation, just like he kept the millions of dollars that went to the SBC a secret, truly giving rise to a whole new definition of “secret” church.