David Platt is an academic prodigy. After graduating from the University of Georgia with two bachelor’s degrees, he earned an MDiv, a ThM, and a PhD from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; he completed his education in his early 20s, becoming one of the youngest students, if not the youngest student, to ever earn a terminal degree at NOBTS. The seminary hired Dr. Platt as an assistant professor of preaching and apologetics and the Dean of Chapel. Not long after, the Church at Brook Hills called Platt to be its senior pastor. At age 26, Platt became the pastor of one of the largest churches in the state of Alabama, in the heart of SBC country.
It wasn’t long before he became a nationally prominent preacher and Bible teacher. He wrote the acclaimed book Radical: Taking Your Faith from the American Dream and started the Secret Church bible study events. Not only was David Platt teaching the Bible but he was doing something many of other popular preachers avoid. He was warning about false doctrine and false teachers. Concerned with the souls of unrepentant nominal Christians, he referred to the sinner’s prayer as an “incantation” and “accepting Jesus into your heart” as “superstitious” and “unbiblical”.
Concerned with effective evangelism, Platt wanted people to know that true repentance precedes true salvation. In Southern Baptist circles, such strong language is unpopular. Platt said it anyway, because it was true. At Secret Church 13, he warned about the popular Heaven tourism books written by Don Piper, Colton Burpo, and Kevin Malarkey.
At LifeWay, the Southern Baptist bookstore, such books were popular. Platt condemned the books anyway (this was before the SBC voted as a whole to condemn them), calling them “contrary to everything God’s word says about Heaven”. It’s not popular for upper echelon preachers to condemn the practices of the Evangelical Industrial Complex. Platt did it anyway. Platt taught and taught…but everyone knew, as great as a teacher as he was, that his true passion was missions.
Eventually, Dr. Platt, the prodigy, was installed as the President of the International Mission Board. The move was met with suspicion by some and enthusiasm by others. Many criticized the commitment of Platt’s church to Southern Baptist Missions…not missions but Southern Baptist missions. Brook Hills gave generously to missions but not only through Southern Baptist channels. This just didn’t sit right with the most proprietary Southern Baptists. For them, Platt’s church showed a lack of loyalty by not giving more money through convention channels. Those enthusiastic about Platt’s appointment were happy to see someone with a more Calvinistic and less decisionistic theology of salvation to be appointed to the very organization Southern Baptists have tasked with evangelizing the lost people of the nations. Platt was still a young man, not yet 40, and could lead for years to come.
Of course, he would need money to do it. The IMB by far is the biggest recipient of collective Southern Baptist giving. The Lottie Moon Christmas offering, which brought in $153M in 2016 is no small part of that. Nevertheless, early in his leadership Platt discovered that he had inherited a multi-million dollar budget shortfall from the IMB’s previous management. He had to make the tough decision to call missionaries home. As part of becoming a Southern Baptist entity head, Dr. Platt, the teacher needed to become Dr. Platt the fundraiser.
Enter Beth Moore.
David Platt ecently retweeted a video of Beth Moore endorsing the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Moore is the long-time darling of Southern Baptist women’s bible study groups. She’s something of a LifeWay Godmother. She’s also something of a really bad Bible teacher. This is something of an open secret among Southern Baptist theologians and seminary professors. They know Beth Moore is just plain terrible but she makes a lot of money for the convention through book sales and events at LifeWay. She’s the Godmother… and you never go against the family.
Platt, who before would have been in the position to warn his fellow Southern Baptists about Moore’s folksy brand of pseudo-biblical nonsense, is now in no position to upset his base of Southern Baptist givers. He needs their money as much as they need his guidance and correction on matters of discernment. Unfortunately, money talks… and it sounds a lot like a promotional video on the Lottie Moon Christmas offering from Beth Moore that was retweeted by David Platt. Of course, nothing Moore said in the video was bad or wrong. She was speaking about supporting a good cause… but we wouldn’t expect anyone to retweet Roman Polanski soliciting for a children’s charity.
David Platt is now in a position where he needs Beth Moore. That’s a tragedy; one that should make Southern Baptists think long and hard about what they need out of an entity President. Do they need a theologian, a smooth-talking fundraiser, or a master-planner and organizer? There are many gifts, but the same Lord. Perhaps David Platt is best suited as a teaching pastor, a role he recently took on again in addition to his duties at the IMB.
Those with the gift of teaching, which Beth Moore sadly does not have, need to be in position to refute the worst teachers among us. Beth Moore is one of the worst and it’s a sad day when David Platt sees fit to retweet her to raise money, even for a good cause.
[Contributed by: Seth Dunn]
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
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