A Virginia county judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against David Platt and McLean Bible Church by current and former members who accused the church leadership of violating church bylaws during an elder election last year. Because the suit was dismissed with prejudice, it cannot be refiled, but the plaintiffs do plan on appealing.
In late June 2021, a vote was taken to admit three men into eldership. In a stunning outcome, the elder candidates failed to receive the 75% majority that the church bylaw demands, which was the first time in the church’s history. Members who declined to support these candidates say they did so out of a concern that the church was becoming liberal and on the downgrade by teaching critical race theory and social justice.
Platt claimed there was a conspiracy and suggested that it was a theological coup, commenting in a sermon that “a small group of people, inside and outside this church, coordinated a divisive effort to use disinformation to persuade others to vote these men down as part of a broader effort to take control of this church.”
The church had a follow-up election several weeks later. Instead of having a secret ballot as they had the last 60 years, the leadership of McLean said members had to sign their names to the ballot, in apparent violation of their bylaws. Amidst allegations that the church declined to allow some members to vote in a vote that saw these elders approved, the concerned members filed suit.
After months of back-and-forth in the courts, the church held a special election mere days ago, and the congregation approved the six elders on the docket. In this case, the church allowed all active members to vote by secret ballot, with the dissidents saying no members who joined after June 2021 should be allowed to vote. Church leadership disagreed, and with the current congregation in tow, they won.
With the vote passing, MacLean pastor Wade Burnett says that he hopes this will put everything behind them, as “We want to move forward in unity.”