Mclean Bible Church, an evangelical multi-site megachurch in Washington D.C., is preparing to redo an election for church leaders after it was contested last summer.
In July 2021, the church’s elder election was contested after the three elders failed to receive the required percentage of votes to be approved (75 percent), making it the first failed election in the church’s nearly 60-year history.
Several current and former members then sued the church for allegedly violating its own constitution during the election.
As reported by ChurchLeaders.com, the individuals who sued the church also accused its pastor, David Platt, of attempting to sell the church property to a Muslim group that would use it for a mosque. Platt, a bestselling author, was also accused of changing the church’s pro-life stance and expanding its definition of biblical sexuality.
Further, Platt was accused of teaching Critical Race Theory and social justice instead of the Bible, Religion News Service reports.
In a sermon last year, Platt attributed the failed election to a conspiracy by the individuals who sued the church.
“A small group of people, inside and outside this church, 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,” he said at the time.
Church leaders hope the new election will ultimately resolve the ongoing conflict with the group suing the church.
As per the church’s website, a special congregational meeting was held virtually on Wednesday night. During the meeting, church members discussed a “Plan For Lawsuit Resolution.” Members can now vote on the plan between May 18–22. If the plan is approved, another meeting will be held on June 1, where congregants can vote for new elders and new members up until June 5.
According to the resolution, the church will redo the election using secret ballots. The election would be supervised by a neutral observer who will also count the votes. Additionally, all active members, including any current members who were members at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be permitted to vote.
McLean has 90 days to select and present new elder nominees should the new election fail. If the church does not elect the new elders, however, Platt and the current elders will face a vote of confidence.
Wade Burnett, a pastor at McLean, clarified with Religion News Service that the proposal to redo last summer’s election is meant to resolve the conflict internally in the church rather than in court.
“This remedy, if approved by the church, essentially renders the lawsuit moot,” he said. “The plaintiffs will receive a revote with essentially all of the relief they are requesting from the court.”
The plaintiffs, however, have reportedly rejected the proposal and will go forward with the lawsuit, their lawyer, Rick Boyer, said.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.