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David Platt’s Church Will Seek to Revolve Lawsuit Over ‘Wokeness’ With a New Election

McLean Bible Church, the Washington D.C.-area megachurch pastored by David Platt, is trying to resolve a divisive church conflict by calling a re-do on their own contested election. The case serves as a microcosm of how broader culture wars and political conflicts are invading local church bodies, sometimes to devastating effect.

The story started last summer, when McLean Bible Church held an election to confirm three new members to the church’s elder board. The church’s constitution required at least 75 percent of the congregation to vote in favor of the elders for them to be confirmed, but the vote went awry when it ended up being too close to call. In the following weeks, Platt would announce that a vocal contingent of current and former McLean members had “coordinated a divisive effort to use disinformation in order to persuade others to vote these men down as part of a broader effort to take control of this church.”

Platt alleged that a disinformation campaign tried to convince members that the new elders, if confirmed, would take the church “down the road of leaving the Gospel behind, leaving the Bible behind, embracing liberal theology and cultural marxism like the author of the Communist Manifesto, that we would change our stance on abortion and sexuality, that we would allow Critical Race Theory and Black Lives Matter and defunding the police to drive our agenda as a church.”

Platt said that was “unquestionably untrue and in many cases completely unreasonable,” and furthermore alleged that this group had brought in voters to the church congregation from all over the country for the vote to help tip things in their favor.

In response, Platt and the current elders held a new vote, in which the three candidates received over 80 percent of the vote, securing their confirmation. However, some current and former church members brought a lawsuit against McLean, saying Platt and the elders violated the church’s bylaws by calling for a new vote.

Now, Platt says he hopes to resolve the lawsuit with yet another new election, this time utilizing secret ballots and a neutral third party to count the votes. This time, if the elders fail to secure 75 percent of the vote, the elder board will have to find replacement candidates within 90 days or face a vote of no confidence.

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“This remedy, if approved by the church, essentially renders the lawsuit moot,” McLean pastor Wade Burnett told Religion News Service in an email. “The plaintiffs will receive a revote with essentially all of the relief they are requesting from the court.”

However, the proposal may not satisfy the demands of the church’s current critics, many who have rallied together in a Facebook group called “Save McLean Bible Church.” They’ve retained a lawyer named Rick Boyer who says the new election is a non-starter, since it allows for new members to vote, too. Boyer says the vote should be limited to people who joined before the summer of 2021. “You can’t come in after an election is over and bring in a whole bunch of people who have no right to vote in that election, then redo the election,” he told RNS. “They’re inviting us into a rigged game and the whole reason we’re in court is because we’re trying to undo a rigged game.”

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