David Platt with Donald Trump praying at McLean Bible Church.

A letter from a former McLean Bible Church elder uncovered during discovery details how David Platt would not listen to the counsel of elders. Elder claims this showed Platt’s immaturity as a leader.

MBC Elders urged Platt not to send apology after praying for President Trump.

Discovery shows David Platt’s mishandling of Donald Trump prayer sparked exodus from McLean Bible Church.

On June 2, 2019, President Donald Trump arrived at McLean Bible Church asking that David Platt and the church pray for him. Platt’s performance on stage as was President Trump’s was respectful and the prayer appropriate. However, that was not the end of the story. Platt immediately wanted to send an explanatory letter to the congregation. As Platt was considering sending the letter, Woke church leaders like Mike Kelsey were sharing anti-Trump, anti-Christian rants on Facebook. Of course, Platt published his apology for praying for President Trump. However, the matter did not end there. This sparked the first exodus from the church, according to documents uncovered during discovery.

This is from a confidential letter to the McLean Board of Elders dated June 16, 2021, from Mark Gottlieb. Gottlieb was an elder serving 1996-2020. Here is what Gottlieb said about David and the Trump prayer:

David’s prayer for Donald Trump
Then came David’s prayer for Donald Trump. Personally, I think David and President Trump both did well–David gave a good prayer–and the president said nothing other than ‘thank you’ before walking off stage. David felt such remorse the next day for praying for the most powerful man on the planet–that he felt compelled to apologized to everyone publicly. When we elders saw a draft–several of us told him NOT to send it out. I said, ‘You never need to apologize for praying for your country’s leaders’. David ignored us and sent it out anyway showing his lack of maturity and understanding of the make-up of MBC–and completely ignoring the elders. As elders we did nothing. And a small group of people left the church. The first small wave.”


Let’s break this down.

David Platt showed a draft apology to the elders. The elders urged him not to send, and Platt sent it anyway.

According to Gottlieb, “David ignored us and sent it out anyway showing his lack of maturity and understanding of the make-up of MBC–and completely ignoring the elders.”

What is the point of having elders if David Platt is too good to listen to them? It raises several questions about how megachurch pastors can be held accountable. In large churches, it is almost impossible for the congregation to hold the pastor accountable. There is too much of cult of personality at play (this is true for small, medium, and large churches sometimes too.) But, if megachurch pastors feel free to ignore what they are told by elders, what does that mean for any non-hierarchical church polity?

Gottlieb also nails the point about Platt’s lack of maturity. He was the toast of the T4G crowd and got away with promoting absurd theology in Radical. Why? All because he was part of the Albert Mohler crew.

Mohler Southern Baptist Convention

You’ll note that every Woke leader in the SBC has ties to Mohler. Mohler promoted lifelong Democrat Russell Moore and was responsible for his rise in the SBC. While not critical to understanding what happened at McLean Bible Church, one should remember that Mohler’s network of cronies including T4G and for years The Gospel Coalition is why David Platt gained a celebrity status so quickly.

Back to Gottlieb’s letter.

This is another very important point—the Trump fiasco with David Plat refusing to listen to his fellow elders sparked the decline of church attendance.

Gottlieb said, “And a small group of people left the church. The first small wave.”

Why did some people leave McLean Bible Church over Platt’s apology after praying for President Trump? Take a closer look at Platt’s apology.

In a now removed apology letter, Platt said, “I wanted to share all of this with you in part because I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision. This weighs heavy on my heart. I love every member of this church, and I only want to lead us with God’s Word in a way that transcends political party and position, heals the hurts of racial division and injustice, and honors every man and woman made in the image of God. So while I am thankful that we had an opportunity to obey 1 Timothy 2 in a unique way today, I don’t want to purposely ever do anything that undermines the unity we have in Christ.”  (You can read the entire deleted letter here.)

Platt shouldn’t say the concerns were valid. They were not. The Bible commands the church to pray for leaders.

But there was more happening here than only Platt’s apology.

Mike Kelsey, someone Platt elevated to major leadership in McLean Bible Church and is now Lead Pastor at McLean Bible Church thanks to David Platt, ranted on social media against conservative Christians outraged at Platt’s Woke apology.

Kelsey said on Facebook, “To those of you (esp. in our church) who have criticized him for acknowledging the hurt his decision caused, and who have even had the calloused audacity to malign those who are hurt, your brash insensitivity is the reason why so many minority and marginalized people struggle to be a part of ‘Evangelical’ churches. If you *really* care about ‘gospel unity’, ‘racial reconciliation’, and ‘the least of these’, do better.”   

Kelsey would famously be exposed as a racist who wanted to “torch white people” several months later.

Where was David Platt’s apology for that?