WASHINGTON — Popular megachurch pastor and author David Platt, who at one point was the youngest megachurch pastor in the United States, says that there was a time in his life when he needed to “repent” for not preaching enough on abortion as a younger pastor.
“There was a point as a pastor when I just kind of stayed away from abortion [because I’d think] that’s a political issue,” Platt, the lead pastor of McLean Bible Church in Vienna, Virginia, and author of Radical, told CP. “But I got really convicted. Far before it is any kind of political issue, it is a biblical issue that God speaks really clear about the value of life.”
The former leader of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board was on stage last Friday at the 2020 National March for Life rally on the National Mall. He delivered the closing prayer and didn't shy away from calling out sin.
“Everyone marching today is a sinner,” Platt prayed, adding that sin affects everyone “from the White House to every house” and how everyone needs “God’s mercy.”
“We have all turned aside from your ways to our ways — in our lives and as a country. How we have settled for racial injustice, ignored the immigrant, marginalized the poor and neglected the needy. How we have confused sexuality, abused authority, objectified beauty and how we have taken the lives of children,” he said in his prayer.
He further prayed for an end to laws that “make it legal to murder a child.”
Platt, 41, and his family began attending the annual national march against abortion a few years back when they moved to Northern Virginia. He joined the staff at McLean in 2017 after longtime pastor Lon Solomon resigned following 36 years of ministry.
“Since we have moved up here, my family and I have tried to come [to the march] consistently,” he explained.
Whereas before he was too timid to speak on abortion, today he believes that as a pastor who preaches “God’s Word,” he must speak clearly about the “value of life for babies, for women, for men.”
“I have an obligation to do that, especially in a culture where so many children’s lives are taken in the womb,” he said as hundreds of thousands of abortions occur each year in the U.S.
“If we are going to be faithful to shepherd God’s people in this culture, we have to address this issue.”
Platt said he doesn’t remember exactly what year the Lord convicted him on the abortion issue, but said that he had already been a pastor for a few years at that time.
“I just kind of dodged abortion altogether,” he explained. “I had to repent before the Lord for sitting idly by and not doing anything personally or pastorally to mobilize people to see the value of life according to God’s Word.”
After the conviction, he not only began preaching on abortion and the value of life but he also helped mobilize his congregation to take action.
“We did a lot then in the church I was pastoring (Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama) and we are doing a lot now,” he said. “It’s not just saying, ‘Here is what God says about life.’ But it is showing with our lives how we are caring for mothers with unwanted pregnancies.”
“So [it’s about] stepping up our efforts to do that in church. How do we care for kids in the foster care system and caring for kids in need of adoption? We should be leading the way in not just saying ‘give birth to a child’ but ‘we will be there to help you in the process and if you come to the conclusion you can’t care for this child, we’ll be there to care of this child.’”
Platt said McLean is in the early stages of foster care and adoption ministry.
“We are trying to create a culture of foster care and adoption,” he said. “I have preached on it each year. More and more families are getting involved in the foster care system here in Virginia-Maryland-D.C. More and more families are starting the adoption process.”
One of those families is Platt’s.
“My family and I are about to adopt our fifth child next week,” he revealed on Friday. “Two of our kids are adopted and this will be our third child that we have adopted.”
His family is doing an international adoption but he couldn’t yet publicly disclose what country the child is from.
Platt stressed that there is still a need to show “the dark realities of what’s happening to children and shine a light on the effects of that on women.” He urged churches to come alongside women who have abortions in their healing process.
“We have many women in our church who have had abortions,” he explained. “We have outlets where we are doing ministry with them as they walk through a healing process from having an abortion. We have got to make sure we are addressing this issue holistically and not just saying, ‘OK, let me make this political statement’ and move on. There is so much more.”