David Platt is one of the most prominent pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention. The Big Eva golden boy finished his tenure at heading the International Mission Board to take a job at a megachurch in Northern Virginia. Since then the church has been in disarray that has climaxed in recent weeks. On July 15th a complaint was filed in court alleging that McLean Bible Church violated its own bylaws to bar certain members from voting on elder candidates.
In congregationalist church polity, the confirmation of pastors can be a contentious ordeal. After all, it drives the future direction of a church. McLean Bible Church has been reportedly hemorrhaging members by its woke trajectory. McLean Bible Church had three elders up for a vote by a congregation at once. The initial vote on these three failed during a meeting on June 30th, a Wednesday. But during the Sunday worship service on July 18th, they conducted a second vote.
Bizarre Business Meeting
It’s not customary to conduct a business meeting during a worship service. And when one member attempted to call a point of order, according to parliamentary proceedings, he was promptly shut down despite the support of the attendees. The complaint argues that the second vote was in violation of the church constitution. In other words, they are arguing that McLean Bible Church held a do over election to get the result they wanted. The vote succeeded. The complaint seeks to have the vote nulled.
There are a number of issues with what McLean Bible Church did, the do over election being the start. But conducting business meetings during worship services in multiple campuses at multiple times is not ideal, putting it mildly, and probably intended to get a desired outcome.
The obvious issue to address here is lawsuits within the church, as we have extensive Biblical passages discouraging such practice and providing other remedies. But when local elders are unwilling to listen to their congregation and unwilling to abide by their own bylaws, perhaps the civil magistrate was seen as a last resort by the plaintiff.
There are no perfect churches. Every Christian will have to decide whether they are going to be a puritan in their church or a separatist. However, if congregants must sue their church in order to save their church, their devotion to puritanism is more than likely misplaced, and they should just leave.