James MacDonald / Harvest Bible Chapel – Examining the Elephant in the Room

"He’s got a HUGE church that he oversees in the Chicago area – Harvest Bible Church…They have real estate like you would not believe.  James has the spiritual gift of real estate acquisition.  He took me into buildings so big I needed an app to just find my way out.  The things are enormous.  He has the ability to raise resources."

Mark Driscoll

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Decorated_Indian_elephant.jpg

Decorated Indian Elephant (Wikipedia)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  The image above may be the best visual representation of the Driscoll/MacDonald alliance that is parading through Christendom.  Just this week they shared the stage with Rick Warren and Greg Laurie, among others, at the first ever Resurgence (R12) Conference.  Here is Mark Driscoll explaining why it was crucial to have James MacDonald address conference attendees. 

When James MacDonald came under fire last fall for inviting T.D. Jakes to participate in the Elephant Room 2 Conference (held in January 2012), he swiftly responded with a blog post.  Here is an excerpt:

"T.D. Jakes website states that he believes God has existed eternally in three manifestations which is modalist language.  I am looking forward to hearing him explain his position currently and how that may have changed from things he has said historically.   I am also excited to hear him state his views on money, which may be closer to Scripture than the monasticism currently touring [the] reformed world.  I believe T.D. Jakes shows immense humility by being willing to step outside his own circles to interact with christian leaders and discuss his theology.  Getting people together within the broadest spectrum of Christianity who don’t normally interact, is what the Elephant Room is all about.  Talking about issues that separate with grace and truth is what the Elephant Room is all about.  We are greatly honored that T.D. Jakes has agreed to participate."

It wasn't just Jakes' modalist language that MacDonald was addressing in his post.  We were startled by the following statement:  "I am also excited to hear him state his views on money, which may be closer to Scripture than the monasticism currently touring [the] reformed world."  That chiding remark directed at his reformed colleagues along with his praise of Jakes' humility may shed some light on the true conflict that led to his resignation as a Council Member of The Gospel Coalition (TGC).  We can only speculate… Shortly thereafter, Mark Driscoll also resigned as a Council Member of TGC. 

Two former members of Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) have recently established a website outlining their concerns about James MacDonald and HBC.  They are Scott William Bryant and Ryan Mahoney (not to be confused with 'Mahaney').  When they left the church in 2010, they remained tight-lipped; however the Elephant Room 2 debacle involving T.D. Jakes was the tipping point.  Please take the time to read their story.

Here is what Bryant posted on the website Blood Stained Ink:

"Over the past few months, Ryan Mahoney and I have spent a great deal of time researching and writing on the subject of James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel.  During that season, many of you have asked us why we write on this subject.  Tonight, we are prepared to offer you part of our story.  For some of you, this may be painful to read; and it may bring up feelings of anger, resentment, or even doubt.  For others, our story may offer you a sense of release – a sense of finally being able to put a finger on the unease many of you have expressed.  For us, we offer this with mixed emotions, many of which are too personal and complicated to fully explain.  But it should not go without mentioning that in the lectionary reading of October 6th, we find two passages (Psalm 92:1-5 and 2 Samuel 1:1a, 17-19; 23-27) that bring us comfort even as they bring us a measure of sadness and lament.  So without further comment, we offer you The Elephant's Debt."

Why do Bryant and Mahoney call their website The Elephant's Debt?  The following summary will answer that question.

Executive Summary

"The Elephant’s Debt is a website dedicated to exploring some of the underlying reasons why many people have recently begun to both privately and publicly question the ministry of Pastor James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel of Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

Over the first ten years of its active ministry, HBC could have been fairly categorized as a non-denominational, broadly evangelical church that was largely conservative in its biblical and fiscal orientation.   However, critical events in the early days of the new millennium appear to have brought about a significant shift in fiscal responsibility, which was later followed by an apparent shift in theological and methodological commitments.

By the close of 2010, Harvest’s balance sheet revealed that the church, while under the pastoral leadership of James MacDonald, had amassed approximately $65 million of debt.  While this number in and of itself is shocking, what makes it worse is that HBC leadership told the people in a letter that they were “not going to put our church in a bad position financially.”  Moreover, as will be demonstrated later, this debt load far exceeds what churches of similar size are known to carry.

Even more concerning is the fact that as of 2010, James MacDonald was making more than half a million dollars per year, not including any income potentially derived from sources outside of Harvest Bible Chapel and Walk in the Word. Finally, in the midst of Harvest accumulating these financial liabilities, James MacDonald purchased the $1.9 million Inverness estate formerly owned by U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald."

How did an almost debt-free church (in 2003) amass so much debt?  One word sums it up:  E-X-P-A-N-S-I-O-N. Bryant and Mahoney spell it out on their website (see below). 

The Debt

"The following is the story of how Harvest Bible Chapel went from being a church flush with equity to a church burdened by approximately $65 million of debt (please see The Documents for all supporting materials).

In 2003, Harvest Bible Chapel was a flourishing, single-site church located in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.  At that time, Harvest had been in their facility for eight years, and according to the leadership of the church, their mortgage was nearly paid off, as they had built up approximately $10 million in equity in the property.

Unfortunately, by February of 2003, things were beginning to change.  With the limitations of physical space pressing down upon Harvest, they were searching for a new property upon which to build a single-site church.  However, when another nationally known ministry decided not to accept the donation of the old Safety Kleen corporate headquarters in Elgin, Illinois, Harvest stepped in and gratefully accepted the donation…"

Please click on the above link to read the rest of the story. 

Bryant and Mahoney end this section on the church debt with the following question:  During the accumulation of this $65 million debt, did Pastor James MacDonald personally profit from the rapid expansion of his ministry?

Here is how they respond to that question.

The Salary

"In 2009, Pastor James MacDonald received over $500,000 in monetary compensation from Harvest Bible Chapel and Walk in the Word.  This does not include any monies received from Harvest through his access to a staggeringly large personal expense account. It also does not include any possible, additional income he may have derived from other sources including: preaching fees, outside speaking fees, Churches Helping Churches, Harvest Bible Fellowship, book royalties, advances on book sales, 403B employer contributions, health benefits, or any other potential sources of income.

In October 2005, Pastor James MacDonald purchased a home in Inverness, Illinois for $1.9 million…"

To read more, click on the link.

As our loyal readers know, pastoral authority and church polity are hot-button issues that are often discussed here at TWW.  According to Bryant and Mahoney, there was a dramatic shift in power at Harvest Bible Chapel which appears to coincide with the escalating church debt.  Again, here is an excerpt from The Elephant's Debt website:

The Power  

"From the earliest days of Harvest Bible Chapel, the church was governed by the consensus of the elders.  When a motion was put on the table, it was considered necessary for all members of the board to approve of the motion for it to carry forward.  If one individual dissented, the motion was tabled for future discussion.  When the time came for reconsideration, if the objecting elder had not come around to a place of agreement or a willingness to lay aside their objections, the board would not move forward.  Thus, every decision of the elder board was arrived at by the practice of consensus.

By 2007, as a direct result of the unprecedented debt that had been accumulated under the leadership of James MacDonald, there were significant and routine conflicts occurring between MacDonald and the elder board.  These meetings culminated in a particularly tumultuous confrontation which reportedly functioned as an ultimatum by the elders on MacDonald’s leadership.  At the climax of this meeting, the Senior Pastor of HBC reportedly said something to the effect of:

“If you want to remove me, you’re going to have to sue me to get me out of here.  And gentlemen, I have two things you don’t have: control of the pulpit and the control of the money.  So good luck.”

Following this meeting, further attempts to peaceably govern alongside MacDonald were made internally.  When these attempts failed, in the eyes of some, elders began the arduous process of disentangling themselves from this ministry."

There is much more under this category, which is definitely worth reading.

Bryant and Mahoney aren't the only ones who are deeply concerned about Harvest Bible Chapel and the leadership of James MacDonald.  According to their website "many long-standing elders and highly influential staff members have departed Harvest Bible Chapel.  While the circumstances of their departures are unique to each of them, each has his own story to tell."  To access that list of disenfranchised elders and staff members, click here.

So what's the plan to get the elephant (HBC) out of the ditch?  The 5G Campaign.  Why 5G?  According to the campaign information, the five G's are glorifying, growing, gracious, generous, and grateful.  May I add a 6th G?  GIVING (is that what is meant by "generous"?)  Here is a portion of what Bryant and Mahoney have shared about this campaign:

" How much of the money raised by this 5G campaign has been publicly earmarked for debt reduction?

According to Harvest’s FAQs about the 5G Campaign, two projects have been assigned the highest priority.  First, Harvest intends to utilize some of the funds raised to “build out the Worship Center at the Niles Campus,” allowing more people to attend and, more importantly, tithe.  Following that, the second stated priority “would be to make the Harvest Cathedral ‘fit’ to become a campus location.”  And after that?

“Other projects will follow as funding allows.”

So, faced with a staggering $65 million debt, James MacDonald and the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel have publicly elected to place the highest priority upon expanding their material assets as opposed to directly paying down on the debt and securing Harvest’s financial stability."

The 5G Campaign was rolled out during the latter half of 2011, and last September MacDonald announced that T.D. Jakes would participate in the Elephant Room 2. Now we know why MacDonald wanted to hear about Jakes' views on money. Has the prosperity gospel finally come to Harvest Bible Chapel? We will continue to follow this story and keep you apprised of further developments. We are anxious to see whether the elephant can get out of the ditch. Dee and I are absolutely astounded by the extensive investigative work conducted by Scott William Bryant and Ryan Mahoney, as well as their documentation.  Their website is impressive and could serve as a model for other whistle blowers who are fed up with hyper-authoritarian leadership at their churches.  We hope you will take the time to visit The Elephant's Debt website.

Lydia's Corner:   Exodus 34:1-35:9   Matthew 27:15-31   Psalm 33:12-22   Proverbs 9:1-6

 

Comments

James MacDonald / Harvest Bible Chapel – Examining the Elephant in the Room — 208 Comments

  1. Unbelievable! “Control of the pulpit and control of the money”! That says all that anyone needs to know about the man’s true character. Jesus’ words about the “hireling” come to mind.

    Right now I am so thankful for our local parish churches, where the minister is paid a fixed stipend by the wardens or committee of management (or whatever the particular denominational system is) and doesn’t touch the church finances at all, and the church accounts are given in detail at the annual congregational meeting.

    But then, I’m getting to the stage where if Driscoll promotes someone they’re almost certain to have something shonky about them. I actually think that Driscoll is a very gullible man

  2. How much is the collateral securing the debt worth? (I couldn’t figure it out from the documentation.) I also wonder what their cashflow is like.

  3. Maybe Joe can field that one since he says he does his homework and had a few things to say about Turner changing a number of things at MH.

  4. I don’t recall reading anything in Scripture about “the spiritual gift of real estate acquisition.” I guess I should be grateful that Driscoll didn’t call it “the gospel of real estate acquisition.”

  5. Jimmy- you should be concerned by this…

    And I’m…I’m just receiving confirmation…yup it’s coming in…yep, that’s confirmation that I have the spiritual gift of the acquisition of shoes (personal use only, sorry Jimmy). Not just any shoes mind, gospel shoes for all seasons & locations! What a relief.

  6. BeakerJ, I’m actually quite more concerned with my personal failing than I am with James McDonald’s.

  7. Hmmmm…Jimmy from here it appears that you are really quite concerned about the personal failings of Dee, Deb & us Warty Watchers (TM applied for) :)
    Now if you don’t mind I’ll stagger off on my anointed wedges & dig this plank out of my own eye…

  8. Jimmy’s comments (sarcasm aside) raise an important point. While I think it is right to at least point the searchlight on what may be questionable goings-on in some places, especially if the local congregation has difficulty in holding leaders to account, we shouldn’t be doing this in a spirit of superiority, gloating or smugness. Our prayer ought to be “Lord, have mercy”. And we should not let questionable or plain wrong doings of others cause us to overlook our own failings.

    Having said that, I agree that it is the first time I have ever heard of the “spiritual gift of real estate acquisition”! One might have a natural gift of acquiring real estate through shrewdness, wise dealing, etc, but even then I would argue that it’s only a gift if in the long run it doesn’t saddle the owner with a massive debt.

    Caleb W, thanks for the link to the Python sketch, which I’d completely forgotten about apart from the phrase “romance of the rouble” which has stayed with me ever since. I think the Puritan ladies were actually Welsh choir singers (the hats and the harp I think point to that conclusion ;-)).

  9. Has James McDonald ever criticized President Obama over the national debt? Because that would be deliciously ironic.

  10. Jimmy

    Are you really? You really seem more concerned with ours than yours.You just like Calvinistas better than us. 

  11. @Koyla – It certainly makes more sense for them to be Welsh choir singers. I’ve never been exactly sure what they were (Puritans being a guess that never made sense)…so thanks for the enlightenment!

  12. Koyla,

    I agree with your comment. My heart goes out to those who supported HBC with their time, talent, and treasure and then got saddled with this heavy burden of debt.

  13. Southwestern

    I tried to figure it out myself. There seems to be some indication that they have reached the tipping point and cannot “tithe” their way out of this debt. I think that mght mean the income does not cover the debt.

  14. Just another in a very long line of Gospel shysters who are in it for themselves and fleece the flock to support their lifestyle. They don’t understand that “All glory, laud, and honor” refers to God, not them.

  15. “If you want to remove me, you’re going to have to sue me to get me out of here. And gentlemen, I have two things you don’t have: control of the pulpit and the control of the money. So good luck.”

    Ah. Now we see why congregational churches are Satanic.

  16. O.o “James has the spiritual gift of real estate acquisition.”

    Does that follow or precede the spiritual gift of pornovision?

  17. Hester on Fri Oct 12, 2012 at 07:52 AM said:
    Has James McDonald ever criticized President Obama over the national debt? Because that would be deliciously ironic.

    Yes he has. When he was preaching his Revelation series.

  18. I can only do a couple of them, but here’s how you do the smile and the wink. For the smile you first type : and then immediately next to it type ). So, colon, right parenthesis for smile.

    The wink is the same except you use the semi-colon.

  19. No More Perfect,

    Smiley faces are simple. Put these three symbols together with no spacing in between. :-)

    : and – and )

  20. Living on the Left coast, I got to read this last night shortly after it was posted.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have. There were bad dreams.

    I woke up wondering if, as demonstrated by this leading people into debt-tation, Mr. MacDonald and ilk really believe that we Christians are their veal penned up in the pews, their flock of warehouse chickens …

    And then I remembered the movie *Fast Food Nation* and the animated add-on series about *The Meatrix*. Which pill are MacD and Friends feeding us? The Blue One … “The story ends, you wake up in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe.”

    … meanwhile, thanks Scott and Ryan, Deb and Dee, for The Red Pill wake-up call … “See how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

  21. Brad

    Sorry about your bad dreams. Thanks for coining a new word – debt-tation

    And lead us not into debt-tation, but deliver us from evil…

  22. I do not understand how these “pastors” look at themselves in the mirror knowing full well the damage they have done to the Gospel.

    Maybe I am overreacting but I think they have forfeited their call by the major damage they have and are causing.

    People need to run from these folks and run fast!!

  23. I don’t know a single one of the people in this story. I guess that shows how old I am getting and that I am not keeping up with what is trendy in some Christian circles.

    But while I don’t know the people, I have seen this story line before, just with different characters and a few less zeros on the debt.

    I am familiar with the concept of a consensus of the elders for any major decision. I guess the website would tell me how the church moved away from that to something less, but that was a very bad decision.

    I believe it is important to have unanimity among the elders for any major decision in a church. And then I believe that decision should be recommended to the congregation for affirmation or rejection.

    Something clearly went wrong here.

    I also believe it is important to have a mechanism for removing an elder. For MacDonald to make the statement that the elders could not remove him reveals another flaw in the leadership structure.

    We have a unanimity requirement for all new elders, but only a 2/3 requirement for the removal of an elder (including the pastor.)

    No system devised is perfect. It will either have too little or too much congregational participation or too little or too much centralized decision making.

    But assuming that statement from MacDonald is correct, whether the pastor stays or goes should not be controlled soley by popular vote. A well spoken, handsome and popular pastor is very hard to “vote” out. That’s why there needs to be a private deliberative setting where such decisions are made.

    This whole thing sounds awful. I would hate to be a member of that church.

  24. P.S. Kolya’s point is very important, about watching out that we don’t forget our own failings. No one is above temptation, and it’s far too easy for our deconstructing to shift into destructive mode. (Been there. Done that. With gusto. Gone busto.)

    It will take both deconstructing and (re)constructing to make the Church a place that’s safe from practices like this and the people who perpetrate them, and the organizations that promote them. (And I do see signs that this both/and is happening, and that these false kingdoms are increasingly in jeopardy as the light brings with a shout onto center stage what these leaders have kept quiet in dark corners.)

    Maybe this church-wide clean-up is a key calling for the Kingdom in this era, so that those generations who come after us don’t have to endure the drain and hypocrisy of such vampirism and empire-ism. Until we disinfect and correct our systems, it seems utterly irresponsible to conduct outreach to invite people into the church as if it’s a hospital for healing when it’s more likely going to mean automatic staph infection.

  25. P.P.S. I can hardly believe [feigned shock] that I mixed my metaphors! This is what happens when I’m up early without sufficient infusions of coffee …

    I should not have referred to vampires, but to their voracious cousins, the lycans.

    If we are just Christianized veal and chickens for “warehouse church” leaders like this, it is so much more convenient for wolves to have their prey penned up and supplying their tithes, than for the wolves to go out hunting.

  26. “The spiritual gift of real estate acquisition” =best laugh I’ve had in awhile, so thanks for that. I see a line of t-shirts…the spiritual gift of git r done! the spiritual gift of stylin’ and proflin. the spiritual gift of sleeping in. et cetera. These clowns are so far away from Jesus it doesn’t mean much to me. I’m so fascinated by Jesus, and things like luke 6, ‘give to ANYbody who EVER asks you.’ Sounds like the opposite of acquisition. In his Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce defined ‘Christian’ as n. Someone who follows the teachings of Jesus, until doing so becomes inconvenient.

  27. brad/futuristguy,

    The staph analogy is highly appropriate to describe this kind of church debt. It will destroy healthy flesh and may cause an untimely death.

  28. And I’m…I’m just receiving confirmation…yup it’s coming in…yep, that’s confirmation that I have the spiritual gift of the acquisition of shoes (personal use only, sorry Jimmy). — BeakerJ

    The Spiritual Gift of Imelda Marcos?

  29. I do not understand how these “pastors” look at themselves in the mirror knowing full well the damage they have done to the Gospel. — Mot

    If they are Calvinists, no problem. They are God’s Predestined Elect, who can do no wrong. Their Salvation was Predestined before the Creation. And everything they do was Predestined by God’s Omnipotent Will.

  30. I think Safety Kleen went bankrupt. Looking at the Harvest Elgin campus one can see that the property poses some problems. It’s a huge monstrosity with many rooms yet to be built out- just bare concrete. Not sure why Hobby Lobby would acquire such a distressed property then donate it to a church. The overhead alone.

  31. So even after walking away from all that I would keep getting these letters in the mail about making a sacrificial gift. Get this….I’m going to get another one in December pleading for more money. And my response will be the same? — Eagle

    Eagle, I’m still getting “Gimme Money” letters from the Cal Poly Alumni Association, and I graduated in 1978! I have never answered, yet they are able to track my location to the point that when I move, there’s a “Gimme Money” letter from them waiting in my new mailbox when I move in!

  32. It’s a huge monstrosity with many rooms yet to be built out- just bare concrete. — J Terry

    Like those 30-story luxury condos in Las Vegas that stopped construction halfway through the structural pour? Well, you could let them deteriorate a couple years, then film a post-holocaust movie at the site…

  33. Like those 30-story luxury condos in Las Vegas that stopped construction halfway through the structural pour? Well, you could let them deteriorate a couple years, then film a post-holocaust movie at the site…

    They could add to the movie as extras those Thug Harvest Bible Chapel ushers and Thug parking lot attendants

  34. I’ve been following the situation with MacDonald since the elephant room with TD Jakes. I also used to listen to him on the radio. My take on it is that he has always been very narcissistic. The only difference is that the REAL James has come out more to the public. Narcissists have a public image(false image) and then there is the real person that those up close get to see. But as usual, the mirror shatters eventually and more people get to see the real person. I do also believe that as they age and the more power they get, the more entitled and grandiose they feel about themselves, the mask just falls off. They couldn’t care less about people seeing their false image anymore.

  35. Eagle,

    Excellent rant!  These megachurches are starting to remind me of the Federal government.  They are operating in the red and expect to be bailed out.

  36. From my personal experience, they all don’t act like major jerks from the beginning. If they did, no one would follow them or want to be around them. So by the time things get really bad, you’re already in deep and you’ve been brainwashed. I think along the way that there are always red flags but the narcissist will make you believe that it’s just you, not them. You’re the problem and they are fine. These people are so delusional that I believe that there is no hope for them ever returning to a sound mind. They have infiltrated the church and poisoned it.

  37. For MacDonald to make the statement that the elders could not remove him reveals another flaw in the leadership structure.

    It’s a fatal flaw in all nondenominational megachurches. They are set up by a charismatic, egotistical ‘minister’ who install themselves as dictator. Usually the governing board consists of family members and cronies, and when, like at HBC, they aren’t family or cronies, they discover that they have been neutered and are really powerless.

    With that level of debt, HBC sounds like it may go the way of the Crystal Cathederal.

  38. I have just started doing some research on Harvest Bible Chapel and came across this interesting article that appeared last year in The Courier-News (a Chicago Sun-Times publication).

    Elgin mega-church hires hollywood director

    Here’s an interesting tidbit already mentioned in this thread:

    “Hobby Lobby had bought the former Safety Kleen headquarters in Elgin and gave it to Harvest to serve as the church’s Elgin campus.”

    Given their financial woes, I wonder if HBC is still planning to produce faith-based films like Sherwood Baptist Church.

  39. I know I harp on narcissism a lot but I believe that this is the root of the problem when we are talking about these situations with these pastors and so on. The money problem is just an extension of the main problem. Which is narcissism. I harp on this because my life has been taken down by people like this and so have others. It is a real serious problem in today’s society and churches.

  40. Until we disinfect and correct our systems, it seems utterly irresponsible to conduct outreach to invite people into the church as if it’s a hospital for healing when it’s more likely going to mean automatic staph infection.

    Brad/futuristguy,

    You have just validated me in an important personal decision.

  41. Eagle – great rant! In your honor, perhaps the neo-calvinists landscape should be called the “Reformed Plantation” since their puritanical heroes were slave owning racists.

    I am not a fan of the “Mega-Church” I seriously doubt that the “Mega-Church” culture is what Jesus had in mind when he taught to his followers. The money that the members gave to build them could have been much better used taking care of the poor and those in need.

    As far as $65 Million in debt – that is just nuts!!!!!!! The members of that church should be sickened by what their dear leader has done with HBC’s line of credit. It just shows me where the pastor’s heart is – it’s with money. I guess he thought the “tithe” would cover it and the current state of the economy wasn’t part of his plans. I guess now that people are making less than 4 years ago and more people out of work (which means that 10% isn’t as much as it was before), the “give until it hurts then give some more” sermons are coming.

    Just to throw in – the tithe as used today is a total scam. Back in the day (OT times), it was a tax to keep the government running. Today? A great way for churches to make budget. Not meeting budget? Time for the “tithe” sermon.

    Anyone wanna guess how Jesus would react to the Megachurches if he walked the earth today???

  42. I noticed that Mark Driscol says (in the video clip) he was looking to model a “theology of generosity”; interesting concept. But that idea brought to mind someone like George Mueller, building orphanages and relying upon God to supply all the needs – without solicitation. And I wouldn’t describe that spiritual gift as anything but faith.

    These events are so cautionary, personally, and corporately. Appreciate the tone in which Bryant and Mahony offer their observations and research, and their ability to “put a finger” on that sense of unease they have lived with and chose not to push down or ignore.

  43. “My heart goes out to those who supported HBC with their time, talent, and treasure and then got saddled with this heavy burden of debt.”

    Not sure I agree. If one gives to a church where they do not get regular (Quarterly, at least) detailed budget, they should not give one penny. The big problem is trusting elders to make wise decisions because the definition for ‘elder’ from scripture (spiritually mature) is rarely the one used when it comes to choosing a few men to run a mega.

    Blind trust is unwise as has been proven over and over in many mega churches where lots of money is flowing. We are a Holy Priesthood. There is NEVER any reason for those who are paying for it to not be allowed to see a detailed budget at anytime they ask for one.

    Now, if the congregation knew about this HUGE debt problem and the 100,000 per year raise, etc, McDonald demanded from the elders, then that is another story.

  44. Acts 4:34-35 in the English SLANDERED Version:
    The needy person among them was asked to give more and more, for as many as were owners of lands or houses bought more and more, and it was distributed to the aPostles to pay down the debt.

  45. “Until we disinfect and correct our systems, it seems utterly irresponsible to conduct outreach to invite people into the church as if it’s a hospital for healing when it’s more likely going to mean automatic staph infection.”

    In talking about how to figure out what is wrong (deconstruction) and what is right ([re-]construction), the medical analogy of quarantine gives us a lot to work with. Maybe the medically-minded and legally-trained among the readership here can might be included to help out with more details that fit the analogy:

    DIAGNOSIS. What exactly happens during a hospital quarantine or medical laboratory lock-down? How does the hospital management itself “diagnose” when a quarantine is needed in order to clean out the place? Or are there rules and regulations established by outside accrediting agencies that require a shut-down — or face severe consequences?

    ASSET IDENTIFICATION. Also, when an external evaluating/accrediting agency does a periodic inspection of both the physical premises and the system processes and procedures, what are they looking for in terms of the unique profile of “healing assets” and safe environment that gives that specific institution its personality? (In other words, “appreciative inquiry” into its special gifts and resources.) And what are the threshold assets/resources needed to provide at least basic services?

    CORRECTIONS, CLEAN-UP, CONSEQUENCES. When substantial physical clean-up or system corrections are needed for medical facilities failures, how does that work? Who is responsible to accomplish that? What outside agencies are available to help? What are some potential — or probable — consequences for refusal to fix the problems in sustainable ways, and how are those consequences imposed?

    POLICING THE EVALUATORS. Also – as we’ve seen in recent so-called evaluation reports on certain church/network situations – what happens when the evaluating agencies turn out to be compromised in their own objectivity by financial or friendship connections with the organization they’re supposed to be critiquing? What recourse would there be for stakeholders (congregation members) when these agencies should recuse themselves because of entanglements with shareholders (leaders-staff-elders)?

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I know that some denominations have such resources and processes in place, and that’s an indicator of relative systems health. But the dynasties of self-entitled bullies and wolves don’t; they are their own founders, dictators, accreditors, beneficiaries. And that’s an indicator of infection.

    There are those in the spiritual abuse survivors’ networks who have advocated some kind of *truly* independent agency or board to provide guidelines for safe/healthy versus abusive/toxic for churches, ministries, and non-profits. I guess that’s been more a behind-the-scenes discussion. But maybe a time is coming when that will emerge. If so, it would never be able to take the place of sites like TWW and Joyful Exiles and Elephants Debt and BGBC Survivors and SGM Refuge and Church Exiters [and that list has been growing and the documentation deepening and the recovery resources widening]. Such sites will long be needed, and are — I believe — plowing the way and seeding the ground for constructive standards and sources in the meantime.

    I’ve been writing on spiritual abuse survival and safe/sustainable ministries for four years. I have more hope now than ever before that a safer and stronger Kingdom is indeed emerging …

  46. Church members don’t think about the fact that church debt is THEIR debt. If the church owes $65 million then the members need to divide that among themselves and see what their liability is.

    We were members of a Baptist church several years ago. They wanted to start a building program and build a new church on property that had been donated. They did need the space, but there was no way a church full of mostly blue collar folks could afford to take on this kind of project.

    When the elders came to visit us and see what we were able to give, we flat out told them NOTHING. We were not going to sign on to a project that we knew the church could not afford. We were not going to obligate ourselves to a multi-million dollar debt of which we would be responsible for part of. The elders actually confessed to us that they, too, had concerns about the church’s ability to pay for it. Good grief. Then why were they out promoting this thing? We left that church shortly after that for a number of reasons, including the building program (and a seminary trained deacon who wouldn’t discuss women in the church with my husband and me because it was “too divisive”.)

    Over ten years later, the sign is still up on the property that a new building is coming, but it hasn’t moved forward.

  47. Stormy,

    “I know I harp on narcissism a lot but I believe that this is the root of the problem when we are talking about these situations with these pastors and so on. The money problem is just an extension of the main problem. Which is narcissism.”

    I agree with you. I’ve said the same thing here at TWW before. Unfortunately, ministry is an appealing profession for narcissists. Authoritarian churches seem to attract them the most, because everything can revolve around what the pastor wants and demands.

  48. I’m quite sure James McDonald has lived a life (in thought AND deed) fully deserving of Hell.

    I certainly have – sadly

    I find it difficult to criticize his sins when mine are equally reprehensible

  49. Jimmy:

    You said:”I’m quite sure James McDonald has lived a life (in thought AND deed) fully deserving of Hell.

    I certainly have – sadly

    I find it difficult to criticize his sins when mine are equally reprehensible”

    Why do you waste our time with such????

  50. Stormy,

    You have hit the nail so hard on the head, and you’re entirely accurate! I am familiar with this church as a former member and I have many friends who are now ex-members as well as many who are still there.

    I am also friends with a former staff member at an HBC plant, and my friend told me almost the same thing you said about narcissism. My friend told me that what we are now seeing of James is what many inside have always seen, it’s just now become more apparent now that he’s come out from behind his pulpit and has expanded into other arenas. We are seeing the “Real James” that insiders have known for a long time. And those of us who know James are praying that somehow good will come and that there will be repentance.

  51. Jimmy, those statements may well be true. But leaders are called to an extra level of accountability.

    Would you say the same about Charles Manson if time came again to judge him in court? Or, closer to home, Jim Jones? Of course you wouldn’t.

    As I said earlier, nobody should be gloating or feeling somehow spiritually superior. But that is not (I hope!) the point of these posts.

  52. Jimmy, doesn’t your statement do the very thing you condemn? You’re saying that because you have sinned, you shouldn’t call anybody else’s behavior sin. But this makes calling something a sin sinful, which is what you’re doing: Telling our bloggers it is wrong to point out the flaws of others. How are you different from them?

  53. “Spiritual gift of real estate acquisition”????!!!
    –Driscoll on MacDonald

    Who’s funding this real estate acquisition? Is it on the backs of the sacrificial tithing members??

    RUN DON’T WALK to your nearest EXIT.

  54. I used to listen to MacDonald on the radio on the way to work a long time ago. One “lesson” I remember was about tithing. (a very sore subject to me) He said that some have told him that they tithe but still have trouble making their bills, etc. and they questioned where God’s blessing was. He said that God may not always bless you financially for tithing. I WAS SHOCKED AND APPALLED!!! You mean you give money to your church even though you know you won’t have enough to pay your bills and God won’t provide for you to make your bills?????? The bible talks about rendering to the government what is owed by law, that also means making your financial obligations. That is what God would expect of us.

    These guys are just money hungry power freaks. they never tell their congregations that they can also give of their time, their help, etc. Oh, Oh, I’m angry now. I have to go and chill out!!!!!!!

  55. I have an increaslingly difficult time understanding how otherwise reasonably educated and intelligent people fall for the twaddle these guys preach.

  56. These Mega churches often bring to my mind a picture of the Venus Flytrap in Little Shop of Horrors. It starts off small and the bigger it gets the louder the cry of “FEED ME”.

    Having been involved in one a few years ago, not only was the constant plea for more money wearying, the constant plea for more of our time was devastating. My husband, a gifted musician, was constantly away spending precious family time in the worship band in a sincere effort to serve the “Kingdom”. I found myself alone most of the time at home with tiny children while he not only worked 50 hours a week at a demanding job, but spent an additional 20-30 a week supplying free music to the church. When I was thanked for my “sacrifice” that was the end of my emotional and spiritual commitment to that church.

    I do not think that particular church is bad, they were and are actually very well meaning people. But, I do think they were and are clueless about how their constant demands for more, more, more on many of their members led to serious spiritual and physical burnout.

    As a result, I steer clear away from Megachurches and any bandwagon hitched to a celebrity pastor as a defensive instinct to protect myself and my family.

  57. @ Sallie:

    “Church members don’t think about the fact that church debt is THEIR debt.”

    This was my first thought too. This guy’s fiscal failings become significantly less “personal” when he has wasted 65 MILLION DOLLARS of other people’s money and is now asking for even more. It’s esp. egregious after he (apparently) criticized the President in a sermon for accumulating public debt like nobody’s business (thank you J. Terry for confirmation).

  58. Just checking in to make sure I’ve got this straight, everybody: T. D. Jakes, besides denying the Trinity, is also a prosperity gospel, health-and-wealth type, right?

    Also, what did McDonald mean when he said that the Reformed are currently embracing a “monastic” view of money? Does he mean frugality, not taking out loans, what? I thought the “monastic” view of money was a vow of poverty, and last time I checked not even (economically confused) David Platt was advocating that. So does this mean that he’s presenting a false dichotomy between a vow of poverty and the prosperity gospel? Whatever the answer, I have a bad feeling that common-sense financial responsibility, reliability and character will be forgotten somewhere along the line.

  59. Hester
    Yes, Jakes is into the prosperity gospel. he lives high on the hog for the people he is serving.

    The new monasticism is what critics use to critique David Platt who they think is weird for living in the tough section of Birmingham. He even wanted to sell the church building because it is in the tony section of the hills of Birmingham but his board would not let him.

  60. Couple of comments:

    Jimmy,

    I get what you are trying to say..We all certainly have our own failings, probablly more than we would like to confess on this blog… It is certainly easier to discuss or “watch” others failings than our own… However, are you so sure that others here are not watching their own sins an dealing with them? (That is what you are implying…or am I off here?)

    Kolya makes an excellent point…As Christians we should watch/hold accountable others failings in a way..as long as it is true..And not superior or smug..I think direct confrontation (if possible) is a much better practice than a blog… However, A blog such as this can at least share a “voice” in Christendom that could give accountability to the subject at hand..and also allow those to voice their pain in a relatively safe community.. All of which I see nothing as sinful..

    Has their been a smugness at times in relation to these topics? Sometimes I think it can get carried away, but it is a rather large and diverse group here..

    It is important for us to discuss these things… Not to make our hearts bitter, but to make the church better.

    Is that so wrong Jimmy? What do you think?

    About the topic at hand:

    Guess I am not surprised by this considering his affiliation with Jake..I have never understood why a Pastor would feel comfortable in purchasing a Million dollar home..

    That is why I have respect for a mega pastor like Platt..,no super fancy home at the expense of his ministry or church..

    To bring it closer to home.. Certainly makes me think about my own spending and financial gain.. No millionaire here, but am I utilizing my finances for the Kingdom of God in an appropriate way or more for selfish gain.. Definitely makes me stop and think..

  61. Driscoll was probably impressed with the ability of MacDonald to aquire so much real estate and trying to learn since MHC is starting to add more churches. It’s safe to say if the evidence is credible on HBC, then I doubt Driscoll or Executive Pastor Turner (MBA, Harvard) would follow suit. Turner has already shown himself to be much more fiscally conservative & experienced than his predecessor Jaime Munson was.

  62. Dee, I’m in unbelievable debt; just not the monetary kind.

    SEEKER, I appreciate your post. I actually have a long history of seeing the “specs” in other eyes and ignoring the “planks” in mine. Should James McDonald’s elders/deacons hold him accountable? I think so. Are blogs and their commenters holding anybody accountable? I don’t think so.

    But this I know, I haven’t walked ONE STEP in James McDonald’s shoes, so I don’t really know first hand what he thinks or what he goes thru.

    Finally, am I capable of the sins of Charles Manson, Jim Jones? Unfortunately I think I am. I have wasted hours of my life plotting vengeance against those who crossed MY WILL. Thank goodness, no plans ever came to fruition.

    I just don’t think you can EVER overestimate your own sinfulness. I long since mastered justification and rationalization. It came easy.

  63. Jeneral Lee and Stormy,

    I’m afraid you are both about right. The James I knew in early 80’s was incredibly focused, driven, and with little time or patience for small people or things. I crossed paths with him again in the late 90’s and nothing had changed, however, I assumed he was able to keep it all in check.

    I am truly disheartened to see the reports coming out now. He knows better.

  64. I think Annie Lennox answered my question above:

    “…Sweet dreams are made of these
    …Who am I to disagree?
    …Travel the world & the seven seas
    …Everybody’s lookin’ for somethin’…”

  65. Joe: “I doubt Driscoll or Executive Pastor Turner (MBA, Harvard) would follow suit.”

    Wow.
    “Executive” Pastor.
    MBA Harvard.
    Impressive.

  66. I understand that James is responding to all of this as he always has – to go on the offensive.

    Those of us who have been a part of his ministry (some like my family from the very first day) know what that means. He will seek the high ground of God’s anointed and assign any who speaks against his behavior as part of Satan’s army. He is delusional and has deluded his followers.
    We have so many stories to tell.
    None more important than the weekend of the giant fundraiser for the Rolling Meadows property.
    The congregation was around 1000 – this was 10 years ago. The decision was to be made – would the congregation pledge the amount needed to purchase the property it desired .

    We planned the special commitment for weeks. The total pledges would need to total into the millions of dollars. The morning came and the leadership gathered together for prayer before the service. James entered the room and shared that something wonderful had happened – someone had contacted him personally and pledged to add whatever funds were needed that morning to reach the goal. We were assured of the funds we were looking for before we eve took the stage.

    James saw it a different way.
    He demanded we keep silent about the pledge. He did not want the people to know.
    He took the stage and all morning forcefully drove the congregation into believing they need to make large and deep financial commitments to Harvest. He told them that what they chose about their pledge would demonstrate whether God’s blessing was on the ministry. The pledges were presented and counted at the end of the service. James came back out on stage and announced God had provided the resources and Harvest was in God’s favor.

    Many of us confronted James about the morning afterward. “You lied to the congregation,” we said. “You told them what they pledged would be a sign of the Holy Spirit’s work in our body. But you KNEW that we already had the money when you walked out on stage. Why didn’t you just tell them? Why wasn’t the truth enough? They would have still pledged. They should have celebrated in God’s provision like you did. You lied to them and faked the whole thing. You treated them like children who needed to believe in Santa Clause. You made them believe something that was not true.”

    There was a lot of fallout from that moment. Many of the leadership left. The youth pastor resigned over it.

    This has been going on for years. Now James is out on the street creating a new group of followers with an unsuspecting national audience. We have enabled something very horrible. We are on the verge of now making him a martyr for his cause. Harvest will have to react to this outcry that been hidden for years. Moody Bible Institute will have to respond by taking him off the radio station (call WMBI – 312-329-4100), especially now that he proudly sports a large forearm tatoo with his personal logo which his followers are now getting for themselves identifying them with their leader James. His publisher, Moody Publishing will have to cancel his publishing contract.

    And he will emerge bigger and stronger than ever, victorious over all of us who would stand in his way with a bigger book deal and a bigger broadcast deal and a bigger audience than ever.

    God help us all. We have created a monster.

  67. TedS/Joe

    MBAs, Harvard or otherwise are just as capable of sin and stupid decisions as anyone else. They are subject to the same pressure by their “superiors” and, in this instance, we know who the superior is. Then there was the bank loan crisis and I can assure that there were a few “Harvard MBAs” involved in that mess. 

    I knew a guy in my MBA class who said something insightful. When  asked if he was glad graduation was upon us, he told me that he had become too money oriented during the two years and he felt that it was affecting his perspectives on the real priorities in life. I think he should have gotten the smartest MBA ever” award.

  68. Jason: “Now James is out on the street creating a new group of followers with an unsuspecting national audience…especially now that he proudly sports a large forearm tatoo with his personal logo which his followers are now getting for themselves identifying them with their leader…And he will emerge bigger and stronger than ever…with a bigger book deal and a bigger broadcast deal and a bigger audience than ever.”

    With a mountain of dead bodies under his bus.
    That is the M.O. of these guys.
    They revel in crushing the “sinfully questioning” opposition and amassing more power and privilege. And they embrace, privately and sometimes publically, the infamous maxim attributed to P.T. Barnum.

  69. TedS

    Thank you for reminding us of those two unbelievable statements by Driscoll. They must never be forgotten. 

  70. TedS.-

    Not sure if your statement was sarcastic or not, but Turner’s resume is quite impressive from a business standpoint.

    Dee-

    Good point on MBA’s and people in general. Surprise, surprise we agree on something. I forget that you & Deb both have MBA’s as well. My point is that Turner appears to be about as well qualified of an Executive Pastor that I am aware of to manage the admin side of a church.

  71. TedS, middle link(s) on the MO doesn’t work.

    “Turner has already shown himself to be much more fiscally conservative & experienced than his predecessor Jaime Munson was.”

    Not sure anyone else caught the not-so-latent implication in this that Munson’s managerial experience or fiscal approach were at any point not completely above reproach. Not going to disagree with Joe on that if that’s what Joe was getting at.

  72. MacDonald will be speaking at the southeast Calvary Chapel pastors conference. Can’t say that doesn’t surprise me. They all stick together.

  73. “Not sure if your statement was sarcastic or not, but Turner’s resume is quite impressive from a business standpoint.”

    And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

  74. Joe
    What do you mean “qualified?” Did Jesus mean for his church to be managed like a Wall Street firm? This whole thing reminds me of the Ferengi on Star Trek. It’s all about “acquisitions,” isn’t it? This whole approach is so mundane that it is a tragedy.

  75. Anyone from HBC know anything about missions and that particular church? If so, I would be sick to see him asking for support for (third world/humble/poor) missionaries if he lives in a 2 million dollar mansion.

    I am glad he is being exposed. Even for his sake, it may cause him to realize that he is in the throes of good ‘ol materialism, and it will kill him, and is now killing his church.

  76. @justabeliever
    And I would also ask what exactly are the thought processes being conferred by the missionaries under HBC to those under their spiritual (and often physical) care?

  77. jason,

    Thanks for your testimony about James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel. I used to listen to MacDonald on the Christian radio station in my area. It features a lot of pastors which fall into the reformed category. I stopped listening to him when I saw him interview C.J. Mahaney over at The Gospel Coalition. None of this surprises me.

  78. Wait a minute!

    James McDonald has a “personal logo”?

    And….it is tatooed on his forarm?

    And…some of his followers are having it tatooed on themselves?

    I am trying to wrap my head around this bizarre cultish behavior. Church as Hollywood? The “pastor” as the movie star? What is going on????

  79. Does anyone remember the reaction of certain pastors when Frances Chan walked away from his mega church?

  80. Jason

    Welcome to TWW. I am sorry for the pain involved in confronting the issues at your former church. Many of us, including myself have been down that hard road.  Thank you for adding to the narrative of the problems. As you, and others, join in the chorus started by The Elephant’s Debt blog, may you get ot the bottom of the problems . Our sympathies and prayers are with you.

  81. Just had a read of the personal accounts at http://theelephantsdebt.com/your-story/.

    This was a very telling one by a female Haitian missionary. I have put the whole account below. She really punches it home in the last paragraph:-

    “My husband Joel and I are missionaries in Port Au Prince Haiti. We have served here as soul winning missionary evangelists since 1975. We produce, direct and host a Creole Christian TV show that proclaims the uncompromising word of God to 2,000,000 viewers daily. After the 2010 earthquake that brought Haiti to international attention, I posted a comment on a Churches Helping Churches blog. Months later a CHC representative Tom Kim contacted me that he would be in Haiti and wanted to meet us. The short of this story is that CHC funded a city wide crusade organized by my husband Joel Trimble. NPR reporters estimated the attendance at 100,000 Haitians. Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald flew into Port au Prince the morning of the event on Bob Coy’s, Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale, private jet. I picked them up at the airport. They traveled with body guards, film crews were already on site. They spoke for 15 minutes each and left the crusade before the crowd peaked. I sent a driver to return them to the airport.

    In the months following the historic crusade Mark Driscoll flew us to a Resurgence Conference in Orlando where Elliot Grudem was assigned to sign us on as Acts 29 missionaries in Haiti. Please note we never received any personal support or renumeration from either of these men or their organizations. All systems were go until I told him, “I preach.” The pushback was confounding for men with no mission experience and no evident burden for the lost. Uncompromisingly complimentarian and unashamed filthy lucre. I am not surprised that James MacDonald is a money man sidling up to TDJakes.

    The point of my Your Story. True Pharisees strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, thus MacDonald arrives in the world’s poorest country aboard a private jet yet disdains the 35 year soulwinning service of a woman who obeys God’s written word to preach the gospel to the poor. Egalitarianism will not put you in hell but the love of money will! Complementarianism is not scripturally or biblically supported it is American culture; as is the prosperity gospel to which MacDonald gravitates. As Jesus Christ healed on the wrong day for the Pharisees, I have obeyed and preached from the wrong gender. Beware the leaven of the Pharisees!”

  82. WTH-

    You are reading into my words your own opinion. I am not saying anything about Munson’s fitness for ministry. Only that in Turner’s short tenure, he has shown himself to be more conservative with funds than Jamie was, plus he has alot more experience in business or another church before coming to MH. Munson had a short stint in a corporate office before coming to MH @ 19.

  83. TedS-

    Bravo. The pick & choose scripture verse to answer game? KJV too. God does look at the heart and we should love him with all our heart, soul & mind so I am ok with someone in charge of stewardship having a little education for the glory of God too. I assume you are ok with your pastor that preaches being educated?

  84. Dee-

    I believe Jesus wants qualified leaders that He calls to oversee the church and steward it’s resources, which is done for God’s glory. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have pastors that know the Scriptures, or are wise stewards of the churches resources and have some practical skills in leading a church. Do you? Or do you just want to start a disagreement, since I said we earlier agreed on the MBA thing?

  85. Sorry, Joe, you made a snarky comment about Gore’s invention of the internet and then mentioned that Turner was more fiscally conservative than Munson. No comment about Gore earlier would have lead to no possibility for an implication that being fiscally conservative compared to a predecessor could be an improvement. It’s an election year, remember and some folks are primed to think of fiscal conservatives in contrast to fiscal liberals. The over-interpretation is too easy in an election year and for all we know you’re a staunch Democrat dedicated to Keynesian/Chicago economic thought. :)

    Munson’s short corporate stint is another reason why your earlier comparison comes across (by now obviously unintentionally) as saying Turner’s combination of managerial experience and his MBA makes him significantly better qualified than Munson to manage an organization as large as MH, which would probably true whether you intended to imply thatt or not. It is possible, after all, that MH may have hit a ceiling of complexity that went beyond Munson’s kingly gifts and MH said they’d needed a leader of Turner’s giftings badly for some time, after all.
    Formal credentials are fine, and it’s nice that MH has begun to take those seriously but Munson represents a leadership cultural phase in MH that mocked formal credential as not reflecting a real call to ministry so much as institutional approval. A lot has changed in ten years.

  86. Gore never claimed to have invented the internet. But as a Representative and later a Senator, he did two things which sped the development. In 1978, he put forward a budget amendment, adopted that year, for DARPA to address having a quicker and more secure way for academic researchers working on defense projects to share data and concepts. It was an early file sharing system that was an improvement on the earliest of those systems.

    As a senator, he also introduced legislation, adopted, that further enhanced the technological development of the internet.

    He did not claim invention. It was said on his behalf, and, when asked, he agreed, that those actions contributed to the development of the internet, which the did in fact.

  87. Deb: “Another interesting exchange between Driscoll and MacDonald. They’re on a bus.”

    Yes. And send them more money to pay for million-dollar, high tech equipped buses so these primadonnas can go “on tour” and pontificate from their privileged positions, while they crush those who question them.

    “I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus and by God’s grace it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done. You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options; but the bus ain’t gonna stop. And I’m just a—I’m just a guy who is like, “Look, we love ya, but, this is what we’re doing.” There’s a few kinda people. There’s people who get in the way of the bus. They gotta get run over…There’s also just, sometimes, nice people who sit on the bus and shut up. They’re not helping or hurting. Just let ‘em ride along. Y’know what I’m saying?”

  88. This is ridiculous. Pastor James has brought many people to God including myself. If he makes 500k from church but the rest from book sales, etc, who cares!! He wrote those books, he deserves to make a profit. Also, it’s highly unlikely that one man by himself caused all this debt. Harvest bible chapel would lose a majority of its members if pastor James left. Find something else to do people- tend to your families. Pastor James said not to consider you wolves, but that’s what you are. May God have pity on your souls

  89. WTH-

    Thank you. Points well taken. I was just trying to lighten the mood with the Gore comment, but you are right it’s an election year so I will choose my words more wisely.

    On you second point, I think you nailed it. Munson probably started to realize MHC was getting a bit too complex for him and decided to opt out. I agree MHC has changed alot over the years, which makes them an interesting church to study.

  90. Paul: “He wrote those books, he deserves to make a profit…Harvest bible chapel would lose a majority of its members if pastor James left.”

    This is pathetic and sad on so many levels.
    As for deserving to make a profit – I agree that someone deserves to make a profit: the church, if they are paying him a $500K a year salary.

  91. TedS.
    +1 Couldn’t have said it better myself. Good grief. “Harvest bible chapel would lose a majority of its members if pastor James left.” That is a problem. There should be NO celebrity pastors. Are people there for James or for Jesus?

  92. The church should be the one to make a profit from Pastor MacDonald’s books? Sounds a bit socialist to me. Just because he makes a lot of money doesn’t mean he does not work for it. And yes, MANY people would leave HBC if not for P. James. Newsflash.

    How do you all blame one man if the church is in debt? Surely, these elders make many of the decisions there as well. Whatever, the truth may be, I pray it comes to light. But it’s sad that people have nothing better to do with their time than to bash Pastor James. So much so as to make a website? That’ ridiculous. Go read the Bible or something.

  93. I attend Harvest Bible Chapel for Jesus, of course, but Pastor James is the one who brought me to Jesus. It’s PAstor James’ sermons that have touched me and opened my eyes to Jesus Christ. I appreciate him for that.

  94. Yep, the core group around James is culpable too if it’s true. Is it bashing for an abuse victim to say they were abused? Even if it’s “spiritual abuse”? Not sure I can go there with you, Paula. When I read my Bible I find God takes abuse seriously.

  95. Aka I go to church where the word of God is powerful. Through Pastor James, Jesus Christ provides that. Nothing wrong with that.

  96. Paula,

    The Bible said that there would be wolves in sheep’s clothing, etc, etc. This is referring to preachers who preach for their own gain. We are not the ones who need your pity, it’s the ones who think that James can do no wrong and worship him as a god. Read your Bible, Paula. It’s all there in black and white.

  97. Geez Louise!
    er, I mean Paula.

    If an author’s employer pays him $500K a year to write books, it is the author’s employer who owns the intellectual property and is entitled to 100 percent of any potential profit. That’s not socialism. That is good business. But when an employee gets paid a huge salary to perform certain tasks and he is using his employer’s resources and staff to write books on company time, and then double-dips and takes the company’s profits after they already paid him a salary, that’s called stealing.

  98. Some other things are going on through Pastor James that is not of Jesus Christ. Something wrong with that.

  99. Paula

    I know that you are used to running around in HBF circles and using church lingo. Could you please help our readership to understand what you mean by “the word of God is powerful; through Pastor James?”

  100. Paula –

    Are you saying that problems should be ignored? Maybe you should do some research into what this discussion is about and ask the hard questions of James and the elders at his church (past and present elders). See how much information you get and how they treat you.

    P.S. Jesus is your savior not James. The Holy Spirit changed you – not Pastor James.

  101. Bridget,
    +1! +1! +1! I’m a former member. Haven’t been since 2004, but I have friends who are still there. Sadly, they aren’t willing to ask the hard questions.

  102. Paula:

    You said:”This is ridiculous. Pastor James has brought many people to God including myself. If he makes 500k from church but the rest from book sales, etc, who cares!! He wrote those books, he deserves to make a profit. Also, it’s highly unlikely that one man by himself caused all this debt. Harvest bible chapel would lose a majority of its members if pastor James left. Find something else to do people- tend to your families. Pastor James said not to consider you wolves, but that’s what you are. May God have pity on your souls”

    Maybe he can give this 500k towards the 65 million dollar debt he has helped run up.

  103. Paula

    Read my post today in order to see how you can blame one man for debt.

    Why did Jesus, Paul and Peter not live your pastor’s lifestyle?

    Could you explain why socialism is bad? In Acts, the followers of the Way sold all they had and distrubuted it to those in need amongst them.

    So, if working hard means you make a lot of money, how do you explain that to missionaries? How hard does MacDonald work?

    As for reading the Bilbe or “something” look at the bottom of each post. We, at this blog, are involved in a read through the Bible program. Could you tell me what else you believe that we should do?

    And, I know you hold you man in high esteem, but this website is dedicated to a lot more than James macDonald-difficult as that may seem.

  104. To Our Readers

    Pay close attention ot Paul’s comments. They are most instructive and might answer some questions as to how these things happen.

  105. Paula

    Check your theology. I believe that MacDonald would not say that he brought you to Jesus. According to your theology, you are regenerated solely at the call of God. You eyes opened at the behest of the Holy Spirit. I am not a Neo Cal but MacDonald is so I am arguing his perspective. Just one more service of TWW.

  106. TedS

    Many of these pastors triple dip. They write books on church time. Then, they are invited to conferences to speak about the book. They get paid by the conference. Then they get to push the book at conferences and their churches.  My husband is a physician. He can’t even accept a pen from a drug rep any longer due to potential conflict of interest. Can you imagine the conflict of interest going on here?

  107. Bridget

    I love it when people comment from these churches. It really helps me to see how these pastors get away with this nonsense. These folks do no understand their own theology. I explained it to Paula so that she at least expresses what MacDonal believes even though I am not a Neo cal like he.

  108. Dee –

    You are right, they don’t seem to understand their own theology. But I also see how they appear to be blind to what is going on in their church. It makes me mad because I think that it is their leaders that create the blindness. The leaders are not teaching people the Truth nor are they helping the people to be mature believers who can evaluate teachings and grow up in the Lord. These leaders seem to be creating perpetual teenagers, so to speak.

  109. Paula said: “The church should be the one to make a profit from Pastor MacDonald’s books? Sounds a bit socialist to me”.

    Oh my grey haired granny. THIS. Just THIS. These words are the perfect encapsulation of the casino churchianity mentality. “Kerrrrr-ching…”

    I feel incredible sadness at this comment – and for the many that would purport to follow this ideology of the self above others.

    So it has really all been a waste hasn’t it? Bonhoeffer feverishly writing in his jail cell, the priests and nuns who stuck their necks out for the poor in South America and took a bullet for it, those through the ages and today who aren’t lauded and who we don’t even know about who daily live out their faith with risk of retribution. Not to mention those who were martyred in horrific circumstances and have died in Jesus’ name. They just didn’t get it. They so obviously needed to be focussing on attaining a comfortable life and working to advantage themselves. I mean, that’s what Jesus did yes? I bet he asked for the cross that had been smooth-planed and had no splinters.

    Hint: it’s not about socialism or capitalism. They are paltry labels. It’s about your convictions – where your heart sits.

    So a cartoon to lighten the mood:
    http://stfuinhere.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/socialist-jesus.html

    Now, back to my essay on neo-liberalism (true story) ha ha!

  110. In the business world, the copyrights, patents and rights to royalties from publications and inventions belong to the employer, not the employee, unless there is a contract otherwise, whereas awards, such as a Nobel prize go to the individual. The assumption is that the ideas were generated in the workplace or while the person was paid, and the writing or inventing used corporate resources. Some entities enter into an agreement where the individual gets a small portion of the royalties, but gets to accept the other “benefits”, such as publisher paid promotional trips and speaking fees. But many corporations even collect a portion of the speaking fees.

    There are exceptions in academia and politics, but even in the academic world, there some institutions that limit a professor’s publication income or seek reimbursement if university resources were used in producing the publication.

    Only in the pastorate can a writer, without reimbursement or limit, use church resources — office, time of other staff, travel money, etc., and then claim ownership of the product. Some claim to own the sermons they were paid to write and present, and expect royalties for publication or airing of them.

  111. Church pastors: Agents of spiritual cancer?

        Hello,

           Church pastors practicing a legal trade that profits from the ill effects they generates for others, is the moral equivalent of tobacco growers. Are these church pastors agents of spiritual cancer, possibly moral cancer as well?

    When all possible attempts at reform have failed, have church members begun the arduous process of disentangling themselves from these financially ruinous behemoths?

    You decide.

    IronClad


    addendum: Even if a Christian does not demonstrate the willingness to walk away from their respective offending church, they should at least stop allowing themselves to be controlled, manipulated, and ripped off by their spiritual leaders.  It’s such a shame that so many church members allow themselves to be slaves to these evil environments where they are strongly encouraged to give ten percent of their income. “Giva your 10% or God is gonna send Tony and Guido to breakka your legs” (Malachi 3:11, dC version).

    Brovo,   AZAmy , Oct 12, 12:15 PM. Well said.

    Sallie, Oct 12, 2012, 01:43 PM. Thanks for having the courage to take a stand against unfunded or under-funded church debt! 

  112. Here is where websites like that elephant debt one completely miss the biblical mark: Nowhere in Scripture can you find where we are supposed to take out a pastor or ministry by taking the story to the unbelieving world.

    I left a church because of a spiritually abusive pastor – a man who would not listen to anyone. My current pastor gave me great counsel – pray for the man, tell his elders and let it go. What Ryan Mahoney and Scott Bryant are doing is the same as me taking out a full page ad in our town’s local newspaper to discredit my old pastor. It’s wrong. Plain and simple. And the wrongs that James MacDonald may have been involved in do not give anyone the green light to respond in a sinful way. “I know it’s not right but look at how bad he is … and we’ve tried all the other ways so this is our only hope!”

    The Bible is clear that we take it to the church – a website dedicated to destroying a pastor and the ministry around him is not taking it to the church – it is taking it to the unbelieving world.

    I would hope that Mahoney and Bryant’s pastor would have the spiritual courage to stand up to these guys and guide them into a more healthy response.

  113. Jonathan

    I do not know who your previous pastor is. However, I do know James MacDonals\d.  He has gone beyond the local church to a very public ministry. He speaks, writes books, etc. he encourages people to donate to his various enterprises. 

    1. When a pastor/speaker jumps up and down in public saying look at me, look at me, then you have the right to look at them. I have looked and I am concerned. You go public, you get public pushback. Do not conflate that with dealing with conflict in the local church. 

    2. How do you know that this was not dealt with in the local setting first? From what I can tell, a number of people may have expressed their thoughts by putting on their walking shoes.

    3.I will not give one thin dime to a guy who lives in a $1.9 million home. I am grateful for this information in order to wisely invest my money. 

    4.You comment comes across as a bit of spiritual gloating. In fact, I see sin in your statement. (You opened the door for this comment by your accusation of Mahoney and Bryant.-If the shoes fits…)

    So, you are the example that we should follow. You did it right. There are many people who left churches and did not reported many serious issues. If you think that hiding sin is a way to evangelize an unbelieving world, I disagree. I have news for you. The unbelieving world is watching and the numbers of church going Christians in the US are declining. (Read about the Nones).Many of them find theirr way to this blog. The stories are disturbing. 

    I have found that being open and honest with our sins is far more beneficial than putting on a happy, well-scrubbed face and pretending we are morally superior Christians.

    5. You have no way of knowing if these gentleman are praying for a resolution. You need to understand that Mahoney was a member of this church for 21 years. My guess is that plenty of praying went on.

    Finally, you threw in the “biblical” word as in “websites like this miss the biblical mark.” I have found this to be a bit of a game. Throw the word “biblcial” or “gospel” in front of your comment and you set yourself up as unimpeachable. Obviously, we/they are not biblical. Therefore, anything we say or do can be ignored because you have set the biblical standard. This is not conducive to getting your point across and is rather offputting. Bet I could play dueling Bible verses with you and justify my approach “biblically.”

     

  114. Dee,

    More important, your approach is “missional”. It tells the unsaved world that the excesses they can see and the abuse are not what real Christians do, but we worship God and seek to help those who are unfortunate and do not get a cramp in our arms patting ourselves on the back or putting an overstuffed wallet in our pocket. As such, it is an outreach to those to generalize from the celeb pastors to all of Christianity, and despise what they see. We offer them truth, uncomfortable as it may be, and let them know they are loved by a great and gracious God, and by people like you, Deb, Julie Anne, and me.

  115. Dee,

    Thanks for your argument about the use of the term “biblical”. That has always irked me as well. And now thanks to you, I have a better response. In the past, my response has always been to put it back on the person who pulls that term out and ask them to define it for me.

  116. “As MacDonald himself has put it, “A pastor should not be paid so little that he has to worry about money; and a pastor should not be so well paid that he has to worry about money.”

    I actually disagree with the first part of MacDonalds sentance above. I think a pastor should worry about money if the majority of his congregation and the people in the city where he ministers are worrying about money. The pastor should not be living comfortably off the tithes of the congregation when they are suffering. If the economy is bad, if the area is poor, the pastor should take less money to live. When we examine scripture in the NT, most of the money collected was to go to those in need . . . not to the pastor(s) of the monthly expenses of buildings.

  117. This was so done in the wrong way. The Bible says in Matthew 18:15-17 “15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. There should have been a three step process to this, but instead of taking it one on one, or to the elders, or to the entire church, it has been put on display for “The World” to see. For the brothers that posted this, how does this advance the gospel of Christ? Repent and ask the Lord for his Guidance and good judgement. Please, in the name of Christ, consider what you have done. If a preacher has done wrong, he will answer to the Lord. But, you could have argued your point to the elders and even to the church. I am not a member of Harvest. But, I am a member of God’s church. How does this help God? How does this help the unbeliever to believe in Christ? Consider the implications of what you have done. As a church, we pray for all those involved in this mess. We pray for James and the church. we pray for the brothers that created the website, and we pray for those who will read the information. May the Lord have mercy on us.

  118. Not a Member if Harvest –

    I don’t know that you are aware of all the steps that have been taken. Have you investigated the men who started the blog, or the blog, or what has been going on at Harvest? Maybe you should.

    If you are part of the Church and I am part of the Church, then hasn’t the next step been taken in “telling the Church?” Are you completely sure that this is NOT what God wants to happen? It’s quite possible that God wants the ways if the shepherds exposed. If pastors have a clear conscious and are living in a manner pleasing to God, then they have nothing to be concerned about. Although it is possible that their hearts have become hardened.

  119. Not a member of Harvest

    I continue to be startled by the number of people who pull  the Matthew 18 card on a public matter. I have to assume that they are being taught this reponse to any sort of conflict, private or public. That is not the intent of this passage and I am planning on writing up a careful explanation that I can trot out when the situation warrants which is almost every day.In fact, the standard, boring interpretation of this passage reminds me of the stupid interpretations of “I wish you were either hot or cold but since you are lukewar I will spew you out of my mouth.” So, the interpretation is that God would rather you hate him than be lukewarm about him? Wrong- he was referring to two ssprings in the area-one was hot and the other was cold. The cold one was refreshing and the hot one was used for medicinal purposes. But, i digree.

    1. There is an assumption, wrong in this case, that this has not been dealt with internally. 

    2. A number of elders have left.

    3.Ryan, for example, was a member of this church for 21 years! He has bee ninvolved with this situation for a long time. One could assume that the “typical” procedures did not work.

    4. Since MacDonald is a public figure who presumes to teach the world about finances, theology, whatever, then his evaluation can proceed in the court of public opinion. When a man takes to the court of public opinion to bring the “Word” to the owrld, then the world gets to judge him.

    5.The world needs to be warned. I for one, do not want to contribute to his his fancy house with my hard earned money. 

    6. Most importantly, you are naive about keeping his sins private. The wolrd already knowns about his wealth-the private pilot, the real estate agent, the guy who cares for his yard, the housecleaner, his neighbors, the heating repair man, his garbage collector, and everyone else. And they go home and tell others.

    We Christians have a penchant for pointing out the sins of the world and think we can pull the wool over the eyes of the unbelievers. We do not. I believe that it is vital that we admit our sins and critique them because the nonChristians already smile at our hypocrisy. I believe I do far more for the kingdom by admitting our collective sins, including mine, and discussing why we are still screwups. The happy faced, well dressed Christians who point out the sins of our culture are just as sinful but are forgiven. Let’s admit our sins and show we can be humble as well.

  120. “This was so done in the wrong way. The Bible says in Matthew 18:15-17 “15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over”

    Your problem starts with not understanding Matt 18. This is not a “personal offense” between JM and one other person. JM sinned against (and continues to practice sin) an entire body of Christ. He should be disciplined. But note what he said. They could not get him out without suing him. Such Christlikeness!

    Go look at the list in 1 Corin 5 at the end of the chapter.

    You have drunk the Matt 18 koolaid. It is taught wrong on purpose in most topdown churches to keep you in line.

  121. “Here is where websites like that elephant debt one completely miss the biblical mark: Nowhere in Scripture can you find where we are supposed to take out a pastor or ministry by taking the story to the unbelieving world.”

    Jonathan, The “unbelieving world” already knows most of it is fake. The best thing we can do is OUT this false teaching and horrible behavior and let them know there are Christians out there who believe in the real Jesus;. Not the fake one presented by these charlatans who are making bank off His Holy Name.

  122. Here is the bottomline. If a pastor wants to be a celebrity and market “his” message and teaching outside his local church, he is fair game to be analyzed and watched. So many of them try to make this a local church matter when they are caught or critisized. But then, we know why, because they have “yes men” to be accountable to. Sorry but it does not work that way. If they seek to be celebrity Christians, they need to man up.

  123. “Finally, you threw in the “biblical” word as in “websites like this miss the biblical mark.” I have found this to be a bit of a game. Throw the word “biblcial” or “gospel” in front of your comment and you set yourself up as unimpeachable. ”

    I will go one further than this. If this is “unbiblical” then so was John who wrote about Diotrephes in a letter for all to read for 2000 years. Adn then we have Paul writing about Peter’s bad behavior and rebuking him PUBICLY and NOT privately.

  124. Eagle

    I have a philosophy about ministry gifts. I have no problem with an appreciative congregation sending their pastor on a nice trip after  he has served them for awhile. I have no problems with donations of every day items like a gift of a washing machine or a car mechanic giving the pastor a break on a repair. But, I think that some pastors are making a big mistake if they accept gifts, like Mac Brunson, of FBC Jax lawsuit fame, of accepting free gifts of very expensive land in gated communities, or a $100,000 makeover of a pastoral office, etc. 

    I believe it is in the pastor’s best interest to avoid all appearance of living large. Unfortunately, times have changed. We received a note from an elder at one church that interviewed for a music minister. A guy from Ed Young Jr.s church applied. he expected a 6 figure salary. They sent him packing.

    It is NOT in the best interest of a church to have their pastor living in a $1.9 million home. Dumb, stupid, ridiculous, etc. Do not give your hard earned money to such an enterprise unless you approve of a pastor living much, much better than you do.

  125. Following the Apostle Paul’s lead?  

        Hello,

    “Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it can be confirmed by two or three witnesses.  Those guilty of sin must be rebuked  before all, as a warning to the rest.” 1 Timothy 5:19-20.

    Hasn’t that number squared been reached some time ago?

           Shall a bear willingly suffer the loss of her cubs, what say ye? How much more the Lord suffering evil rendered to his called out ones? Although grace has been shown to this wicked pastor, he has not learn righteousness; even in a church representing the Lord’s name to the general public, he goes on doing evil and has no regard for the Lord nor his majesty? Mark that man, for certain Satan, and the messengers of Satan, shall. 

    No. No friend, no one except Christ, deserves unlimited confidence. 

           Yes, to render evil for good is indeed devilish, however to remain silent when one smells smoke at three in the morning when there are babies in the house, excuse me?

    As for the advance the gospel of Christ? Sadly, that may have stopped along time ago. At least Schaeffer and Colson thought so. Does anyone wonder why?

    Schaeffer also made it clear:

    “I would want to emphasize from beginning to end throughout my work the importance of evangelism, the need to walk daily with the Lord, to study God’s word, to live a life of prayer, and to show forth the  love, holiness, and compassion of our Lord. But we must emphasize quality and at the same time to live this out in every area of culture and society.”  Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster. 

    Is the Christian Church currently modeling this type of behavioral witness out in every area of culture and society? I hardly think so. Neither do unbelievers. No one is fooling anyone. Is the curtain closing and the show about over for this type of institutionalized Christianity in America?

    Certainly something to consider?

    IronClad

  126. “Get behind me Satan.
    MT 16:23

    This thread is the work of the adversary.”

    These types of comments like this and from Paula show how these folks really think of their pastor as sort of god…a mediator for them between Christ. See, they really do believe that their celebrity pastor is doing the work of God and not using them for his own benefit. This is my concern at how many folks are worshipping man instead of God. It was never intended the Body of Christ would have indispensable people. It was never intended for people to follow a man and hang on his every word. This is where people do not understand not only how the Body operates but the function of the Holy Spirit. They have no clue. They equate any negative news,even if true, about their celebrity guru as evil and from satan. It breaks my heart. Satan loves it. Keeps them away from Christ when they are focused on the “great man of God”.

  127. Ironclad

    No friend, no one except Christ, deserves unlimited confidence. Comment of the day! Excellent. 

  128. Scott William Bryant and Ryan Mahoney should get a job or a life and learn what the GOSPEL means – which is man if flawed, spend some time reading the bible instead of creating websites like the Elephan Debt… I don’t believe God would feel their time spent brings glory to Him…

  129. To Eagle, regarding your comment from 10/12 @ 10:45 AM,

    This is where you and I differ. I too loathe the American, consumeristic, meag”church.” But I’m saddened that you thus concluded that Christianity is fraudulent. Just because certain people on one continent in one period of time, who aren’t Christians, used Christianity for personal gain and glory doesn’t in the least nullify Christianity. I’ve had the same experiences as you in mega”churches.” But I found a small church were the pastor loves God and loves people. Shortly after we started attending the church, I explained to the pastor that I was giving either very little or nothing at all to the church financially. His response??? “I don’t care.”

  130. Jeanette
    I believe they both have jobs. I can assure you they both have lives.

    As for the meaning of the word Gospel- man is flawed. Hmmm, so do pedophiles get a pass since, you know, man is flawed. What about Bernie Madoff- he is flawed.

    Let’s go into the church. So- does a man who is committing adultery get a pass-he is a sinner you know.

    I think you better define for me what you mean by the current word “gospel.” Everyone claims it, few seem to define it well.

    So, did Nathan bring glory to God for letting everyone know about David’s sin with Bathsheba?

    God seem to be in the business of highlighting publicly, for time and for eternity the sins of his people. Perhaps God should listen to you and hush up the little problem with Peter’s denial?

    And can you believe that Moses, striking the rock an extra time and getting banned from the Holy Land-God should have not let that secret out-after all-it wouldn’t bring glory to Him.

    Then there was the golden cow idol affair. God should have hushed it all up, right?

    I read a different Bible than you do. In it, I see sins being exposed all the time-publicly, and even worse, put into the Bible for people to read thousands of years later. Somehow, through it all, this seem to bring God glory. So, obviously there are some problems with your thesis about how God’s glory is blunted by exposing sin.

  131. Paula, sad that you can’t think for yourself. The NT warns us about those who use Christianity to get rich. But, I’ll take a wild guess that little Jimmy Mac never “preached” on that verse. You’ve had the wool pulled over your eyes. I pray that one day you will see the light.

  132. You’re so right Jeanette. How dare anyone expose Jimmy Mac for being the total fraud that he is.

  133. Dee and Deb, wow….I’m seeing all kinds of new posters here at TWW. Looks like Jimmy Mac is sendind his legions of sheep (with matching tattoos of course) to set us all straight.

  134. Jonathan and Not a Member of Harvest:

    MacDonald’s “ministry” is public. He is making a mockery of Christ and his so-called ministry is only building his personal empire and pocketbook. Sites like this one and Elephant’s Debt and mine are doing a service to Christ and His Beloved Church by telling the world that this man who calls himself a pastor and shepherd of Christ’s people is an IMPOSTOR. The world needs to know that Christians are strong enough to stand up against impostors. If we don’t do it, they certainly will and do. Here’s an example of how the secular media got to have a heyday with my story. The background is first and the fun commentary starts at 1:44: http://youtu.be/pzvI3ilLzZE

  135. Alan
    We were forewarned that this would happen-both with HBF and with CC. We are a couple of tough old broads who can handle it. Tomorrow: we deal with the “tattoo.” Dee wants a tattoo, too.

  136. Wow, so many so quickly to condemn. How Biblical! Do any of you even attend Harvest or know Pastor James? Imposter, have you ever sat under his teaching, spent years listening to his teaching of the Gospel, never have I heard a man speak so passionately about God’s Word and trust me I am not easily swayed, you can keep all the Prosperity Preachers and Whats his name in California. Why dont you wait till the facts come out before you throw him to the Lions. And Jimmy Mac, really could you be more disrespectful. And oh yeah the tatoo comments , come on do you really think God cares about a tatoo, isn’t he more concerned about the inside

  137. The celebrity Gospel hymn:

    “O Lord won’t,you buy me a Mercedes Benz, my friends all drive Porsches I must amends”

  138. Reverend James MacDonald’s  disturbing “dCubed”: “Distort, Disdain, Deny”?

        Hello,

           Reverend James MacDonald said: 

    “When I see how they”:

    1.   “distort what I have written,” 
    2. “disdain my record of ministry and ”
    3. “deny my commitment to the Scriptures,”

         Is his words, his ministerial record, and his scriptural commitment under attack? Is someone is distorting Reverend James MacDonald’s written words, disdaining his  ministerial record, and deny his scriptural commitment?  Furthermore, are these the actions of “mindless fear mongering”, as he openly declares? Why would that be? And what ever gave him that impression?

    Anyone care to take a close examining look at his words, ministry record, or scriptural commitment? Is this Right Reverend maybe getting a bad rap?

    Reverend MacDonald continues:  “I am reminded of the kind of mindless fear mongering I left behind.”

    “Sue Me?” Bring in the public lawyers, says he? Sounds like he is “done” with his church elders, and  scriptures like 1 Timothy 5:19-20.

    Maybe it is him and possibly “his” church that should be left behind, far behind as dust in the wind, or something with a foul smell picked up on the bottom of one’s shoe? 

    Something to consider?

    IronClad

  139. Please correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t James on the radio and the internet…So like others have already said, James ministry is public so it is our business. Also, there are people who give to his radio ministry who don’t even go to his church.

  140. There will always be a hard core of people who hate religion so much that they will denounce the behaviour of any minister (or rabbi, or iman…). Equally there will always be a larger number of people who are cynical enough to have their cynicism tickled by any possible bad press for the clergy.

    However there are also people who dislike what they see in some ministers’ (or rabbis’, or imans’) lives for genuine reasons, because they appear to fly in the face of what they believe in. Nobody loves the extreme ayatollahs because what they preach seems largely to be angry hatred of anything Western or Jewish, even if in the past they’ve had some legitimate grievances. Similarly nobody loves men (and women) who espouse religious belief but who seem to grow fat on the proceeds. Most people, however reluctantly, will concede that there is not much to pin on, say, Billy Graham, Mother Theresa or John Paul II, even if you disagree with their theology. However there was a lot of gleeful (and sadly, understandable) finger-pointing during the televangelist scandals of the 80s and beyond. A millionaire living the high life is less reprehensible because after all the aim of his life is apparently the acquisition of the goods and riches this life has to offer.

    Nobody is suggesting (I hope) that ministers should live in poverty, wear a hairshirt and eat lentils six days a week. “The labourer is worthy of wages”, and personally I think that ministers where possible should be paid enough to be able to devote themselves full time to their ministry, including prayer and Bible study.

    I do however question the whole idea of ministers having a gift for real estate acquisition! It’s one thing a minister making a few investments with his own money to retire on…. another thing racking up debts to acquire church property. Could someone please remind me again why Mr MacDonald has done this?

  141. Kolya –

    Why to spread the Gospel! You need all that money and property to properly spread the Gospel (and become the biggest church in your area).

  142. Rich

    You did not mention the money situation at all. Also, you dd not show any concern or compassion for Yvonne Trimble.

    Also, I have no trouble with tattoos unless tyhey are used to show you are “one of hte gang.” And you care about the tattoo. if you didn’t, you would not have brought it up. Have you received one yet? This is quite a trend. 

     

  143. Kolya, sorry to burst the Mother Teresa bubble but Hitchens had a bit to say about it. Yes, he may have had a cart to push, but all the same check out what he had to say on You Tube, and testimony of others who worked in Calcutta. If you’re a more visual person, check out the pictures of those who lay dying on the floor with inadequate palliative care. I’m still asking the question, “where did all the money go?” Truth is, we’re all human and have failings and frailties just like everybody else. That includes John Paul 2, Billy Graham and Mother Teresa. But unfortunately we don’t like to think of our ‘idols’ as anything less than perfect. As evidenced by some commentees who ignobly don’t like seeing John Mac’s bubble burst.

  144. Rich: “Imposter, have you ever sat under his teaching…?”

    LOL
    Sooner or later someone had to bring up one of my favorit christianese expressions – “under his teaching.”
    Ugh.
    Feels like a heavy burden just thinking about it.

    But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. — St. Matthew 23:3-4

  145. The Biblical examples given of a “public” rebuke we’re all letters written to …. Churches!! Paul and John didn’t take out an ad in the local paper or mass mail their letters. They were sent to churches.

    The quote from I Timothy does not say “all” as in the unbelieving world – it means the church.

    Dee, you have said you could go verse for verse with me and I don’t doubt that … I would not claim to be a scholar – so if you could lead me in the right direction with some Scripture that’d be great (sorry for hammering on the “biblical” but I don’t know where else to turn for answers for life and godliness)

    God Bless

  146. Jonathan, not to put too big a hole in your argument, but there was no local paper or media of any sort in Paul and John’s day.
    And given that money- and power-hungry ministers bring the gospel into disrepute, making responses to those errors public helps to show that Christians aren’t all like that. I’d say that helps the gospel.

  147. @Rich,

    The problem is not that Macdonald got a tattoo. The problem is that he invents a bizzare false dichotomy (‘vertical’ verus ‘horizontal’ church) that he gets to define (because it means nothing) and then parades it around as his ‘deep’ analysis of a problem in the church today. Of course, like any good Pop Christian author with social media sense, his concept is punchy and easy to market – it is, from its inception, a brand. So he has someone design a reconizable logo for his punchy new concept – like a Nike swoosh or Reebok logo – to make that punchy concept visual and easy to reproduce in books, on websites, t-shirts, hats…just you wait.

    And THEN he tattoos his little made up thing on his arm. This, to me (and apparently to others here) is a sign of a massive ego and of much of what is wrong with Pop Calvinistadom. That is, it consists largely of a media savvy but intellectually shallow, naval gazing, authoritarian/hierarchial network of mini brands run by middle-aged white ‘dudes’ that are completely immersed in self-promoting American consumer capitalism beneath a thin veneer of piety and spirituality.

  148. That should be navel, not naval. They might enjoy gazing at submarines, but that is irrelevant.

  149. Haitch, thanks for your comments. I was aware that there had been some criticism of Mother Theresa. I agree we should not make idols of any person. My point is really that some people become conspicuous even before their death for apparently denying in practice what they claim to believe.

  150. Haitch

    I read Hitchens take on Mother Theresa. Hitches was my guilty pleasure. I disagreed with him on many things but boy could he make me laugh. I admired Mother Theresa and her work so i had a hard time understanding Hitchen’s criticism. Are you saying that Mother Theresa lived in a mansion and had more than 2 changes of clothes? If so, I need to do some more reading.

  151. TedS

    I, too get annoyed with the term “under his teaching.” It reminds me of Rush Limbaugh’s tongue in cheel opener (no political commentary intended) “I was born to speak; you were born to listen.”

  152. Jonathan

    Before we go to dueling Bible verses, something I used to relish but not so much any more, I want to get the concept behind “biblical.” You said” Sorry for hammering on the “biblical” but I don’t know where else to turn for answers for life and godliness.”

    Do you understand that I go to the bible as well for answers and godliness? You seem to be turning this conversation into Jonathan “who goes to the Bible and is therefore Biblical” and the rest of the people who do not like what some public figrures are doing as “not biblical.” This appears that you are  throwing out the subtle suspicion that these poor folks are biblicaly illiterate, naive, etc. but you havetalked to your pastor and know that you are doing it “right.”

    This is a well known tactic in some circles to marginalize those who do not see verses in the Bible in the same way the accuser does. Let me give you a couple of examples. “The Biblical view of creation must involve a literal 6 day, 6000 year creation.” “The Biblical view of baptism excludes infant baptism.” “The Biblical view of gender roles means a woman is subordinate to all men in the church.”

    The upshot of this is we have 5000+ denominations and adding more every day (including “families of churches, alliances, etc). And every single one of these groups have their pet doctrines and “understanding”  of the “biblical” way to do things. They can’t all be right but  they are sure that they are. 

    I have come to believe that, if God wanted ccertain issues to be clear, He would have made them clear. He certainly did that with the Cross and Resurrection. He did do that by telling us he is our Creator. Now, I am sure that you, along with people who disagree with you or us, will claim that it is saliently clear. If that is true, then you have to say everyone is just plain “deceived” and “stupid” when the read the Scriptures.

    At the bottom of this blog are Scripture verses. If you click on them and read them you will get through the bible in about  11/2 years. We love the Bible here. Tell me how many blogs that you know who do that?

    I would contend that you are misapplying the Bible verses in order to butress that you must leave nicely and quietly. Let me give you two examples in my own life. One time I left a church loudly-furious about the way a church handled a pedophile situation. Another time, I left quietly. I just did not like the theology of the pastor. There is a time and place for each.

    God publicaly shamed many people in Scripture-David, Peter, Moses-to name a few. He made sure people knew about their sins and then he made sure those sins would be in the public eye for time and eternity via the Bible. Note: these men were leaders and in the public eye.

    If one is in the public eye, asking to be listened to and followed, then one is now subject to public scrutiny. I, for one, am glad that these guys are being exposed. i certainly would not give one dime of my money to their ministry. 

    So, that is my perspective on “biblical.” And I believe that I am probably just as devoted to Scripture as you are. So I would think carefully before placing yourself before a group of people as the one who is “biblical.” 

     

  153. Pam

    See my response to Jonathan. In fact, God recorded, in His Book, the sins of some of His people. Talk about public. Every day, somewhere in the world, someone is reading about David and Bathsheba.

  154. Caleb

    Excellent analysis at 550 AM! I am considering designing a tattoo for TWW-maybe a Cross? 

  155. Dee, nope, she didn’t go Imelda Marcos or anything (well, I don’t think so anyhow – definitely not in public!), but to try to paraphrase the wordmeister Hitchens, the big $ raised (and who knows how many millions) went to what I believe was ‘central administration’ (ie the Vatican) and not on improvements to those who were suffering, eg dying of painful cancer. She was a good earner for her employer. The living conditions were very simple and palliative care was basic, bordering on primitive and cruel (read: cheap), yet those who gave monetary contributions believed it was for modern health care that would relieve suffering. There is also criticism of the suffering ethos that she subscribed to (and enforced on the ‘inpatients’). I have no reason to doubt the critiques, which included former staff. PS Hitchens on YouTube is my guilty pleasure too, I find him quite sexy when he’s argumentative ! (I really don’t like referring to him in the past tense)

  156. Re. Mother Teresa, novelist Jeffrey Eugeneides recently published a book (The Marriage Plot) in which his own time as a volunteer for Mother Teresa’s mission (in India) is a major part of the plot.

    He has said in interviews that he did not exaggerate re. the appalling conditions and lack of care given to the sick and dying.

    It’s quite a sobering read.

  157. One of the things Eugenides describes in detail is a routine for bathing severely ill patients – buckets of cold water dumped on them.

    The character in the novel ends up fleeing the mission, sickened by the misuse of funds, refusal to give humane palliative care – and the misuse of donors’ money.

    I would have to doublecheck to be certain that his fictionalized portrait of the mission is wholly accurate, but many of the details have the ring of truth (sadly).

  158. There is also criticism of the suffering ethos that she subscribed to (and enforced on the ‘inpatients’). I have no reason to doubt the critiques, which included former staff.

    This is corroborated by Eugenides, in some detail.

  159. “The Biblical examples given of a “public” rebuke we’re all letters written to …. Churches!! Paul and John didn’t take out an ad in the local paper or mass mail their letters. They were sent to churches. ”

    Jonathan, If you want to split hairs, what was John’s relationship to the church Diotrephes was “ruling over” so John publicly rebuked him in a letter thjat obviously MORE THAN the local church read for 2000 years. If it were a sin, they would not have made it into the cannon.

    What were Peter and Pauls relationship to the church were Paul rebuked Peter? Was Paul even writing the same church about the incident? Again, it was read by MANY more than any local church for 2000 years.

    I will be so happy when the followers of man will start thinking for themselves and relying on the Holy Spirit when studying scripture than James McDonalds interpretation.

  160. By the way, Jonathan, Any pagan can read about Diotrephes in many hotels all over the world. Not exactly keeping it “local”. :o)

  161. “…if God wanted certain issues to be clear, He would have made them clear.”

    Exactly!!! It irrates me to no end when people try to read something into scripture that is not there.

  162. …Then if you don’t believe what they think it means, you’re being rebellious towards God or not mature enough to understand it yet.

  163. Anon1

    Thank you for bringing up how all those letter, although addressed to churches were meant to be distributed throughout the early church. By around 100, many of these letter were already recognized and being read by all churches. To be frank, I am so grateful that God didn’t decide to documnet old Dee’s sins in such a way.

  164. Anon1

    I think this issue that was raised by Jonathan is very important to today’s churches who do proof texting by pulling out a particular verse and do not put it  context. We must have a big view of Scripture. So, instead of looking at the letter to the Corinthians as a specific letter that was only to be read in a hush hush way by those church members, one must step back and see how that letter was used. Since we are talking about  it today, 2012, it is obvious that this letter served as a warning to the church in all locations and all times. If God is sovereign, then He planned to have this letter read and studied. 

  165. “Pop CalvinistaDom ©: Consisting largely of a media savvy but intellectually shallow, navel gazing, authoritarian/hierarchial network of mini brands run by middle-aged white ‘dudes’ that are completely immersed in self-promoting American consumer capitalism beneath a thin veneer of piety and spirituality.” Caleb W.

    Brilliant!

  166. Dee: “I, too get annoyed with the term ‘under his teaching.’”

    Yes. And add to that “sitting” or “sat.”
    Such as: “Have you sat under his teaching?”
    or, “I have been sitting under his teaching.”
    When you think about it, it just sounds sick and passive. Just sit there – as if Sunday after Sunday listening to monologue one will become a fully-equipped disciple via osmosis. But then, that thinking fuels the whole top-down system.

    “Don’t ask questions. We know what we’re doing and we know how to do it better than you because God speaks directly to us. By obeying us you’re obeying God. Bring your whole tithe into the storehouse. Don’t concern yourself with how we are using it. Just honor God in your giving and trust that he will honor your faithfulness – trust me.”

  167. TedS

    They ignore the Bereans who were commended for asking questions. I am a Berean on steroids.

  168. Stewardship: Has a few 800 LB gorillas (stewardship ‘accountability’ and ‘fiscal integrity’) just stepped into Elephant room?

    “Check-The-Book”: Does ‘the Bible’ say that we have to tithe 10% of our income to Churches like Harvest Bible Church? Should these type of churches be subject to thorough outside audits by independent reputable auditing firms? Should all those that give to this non-profit organization strongly request, or quietly demand an independent public audit, all things considered?

    Stewardship? Accountability?, and Fiscal Integrity? What has become of these “lost” arts?  Is Reverend McDonald going to need to feed these 800 LB gorilla(s) more that tropical yellow bananas?

    Check-The-Book: Tithes were part of the Bible Old Testament law that Jesus fulfilled, and is no longer today considered binding on Christians.  (Lev. 27:30; Gal 3:10-13) i.e. Christians are told in the Bible New Testament to give what is ‘in their hearts’, for God loves a cheerful giver!

    Paul, The Apostle: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; (2 Corinthians 9:6-8 ;NASB)

    God today, because of what Jesus has done for us, in the New Testament, leaves the choice strictly up to you! Be cheerful! Be bold! Be blessed! Be free!

    (Also, back in the Old Testament the Israelites were required to leave portions of their fields ‘un-harvested’ for the poor to glean food. There was no stipulation on how much of the field was to be left unharvested. Lev 19:9, 23:22 )

    Christians today, should also be really good stewards of God’s bounty, wise as serpents and gentle as doves with their pocketbook.  A certain care should be exercised of what offering plate you place you hard earned $$$ in.

    Gorilla Poo?: Wolves come in all sizes, and shapes now a days. More and more, their change their cloths, and darn white fuzzy wool, and stand in today’s American pulpits!

    Something to consider?

    IronClad

  169. Dee,
    I am sorry if I came across dogmatic. I am just a dude with a Bible and a strong desire to live it out. If you disagree with me that’s cool as I said, I am no scholar.

    I still am trying to get my head around that the letters in the NT were to churches (obviously not one and obviously not hush hush) not to the unbelieving world in TMZ style.

    But I’ll prayerfully continue to give it more thought.

  170. JOnathan

    No worries. We like to debate here. The unbelieving world picks up the Bible all the time. I had a friend who became a Christian readingthe Bible in the airport. So the Bible is used by the unbelieving world.Therefore, the lettesr were sovereignly meant for all people in all times. If God is not embarrassed by it, why should we?

  171. Dee, Totally agree concerning a big view of scripture. Here is how I put it all together concerning the letters and how sin is dealt with sin in the camp:

    12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

    15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

    There are those who sin out of ignorance as Paul labels himself before he was saved. For them we MUST have great mercy. Then there are those who do not hold on to a “good conscience” and blaspheme on purpose. Those, we are to hand over.

    You think seminary grads and long time pastors practice the stuff we discuss on this thread out of ignorance? Teaching Esther is a whore out of ignorance? James McDonald seeks wealth and fame out of ignorance? We see several instances Paul does not name names such as 1 Corin 5. And some where he does name names like using Peter as an example not to follow with the Judaizers, Alexander the Coppersmith and John mentioning Diotrephes as wanting to lord it over the Body.

    It is interesting to track those situations in the letters.

    I see a parallel between the corrupt priests written about and the prophets railed against in the OT and many pastors today. Same stuff except we should only have Jesus as our “high priest” but many do not know that in a way they practice it. History is repeating itself from Isreal to the church.

  172. Dee, yes, you and Deb both need tattoos. A cross would be good, but don’t make it look too Catholic. That would be bad press. And you should both start wearing bandanas. That could only help the stature and market saturation..er…gospel reach…of this site.

  173. I just found out about this yesterday and I feel sick. I am a member of HBC and have been attending for about 3 years. We are not in the inner circle by any means and had no idea any of this is going on. We like Pastor James’ preaching and have grown spiritually, which is why I feel betrayed. When we heard of people leaving, we didn’t question it. What makes me feel sick is that my husband and pledged to this 5G campaign. We are stretched financially and try to cut out monthly expenses so that we can give to Harvest. Now I find out that Harvest is in so much debt and James lives in a McMansion and earning 10 times the salary we make. I said “no” to paying for activities for my kids because we pledged to the 5G. I’m heartbroken and angry, and i want Harvest to provide answers!

  174. MG,

    I really appreciate your comment. I am sorry you are learning these things about your church and your pastor on our blog. Where is the transparency?

    Please know that I will be keeping you in my prayers.

  175. MG

    First things first-give NO money until you get answers. Your money will only go to feed their habits. Let the kids do their activities instead. Do not let anyone tell you  that you are breaking a vow. You are not. The people who presented this “campaign” to you did not give you the full story. The contract broke on their side.

    Secondly, always ask questions when people start vacating a church. There is usually something going on that is worth exploring.

    Then, question why someone is expanding his “business” (or do they say God’s vision??) so quickly. Does it really serve God or does it seve those who are in charge?

    Also, I think a bottom line evaluation, presented by one of our readers, is this. Find out where your pastor lives-does he live in a mansion ($1.9 million is what i read about MacDonald). Did Jesus build such a mansion for Himself?

    Finally, compare this to the ministry of Jesus. Does it add up?

    I am sorry for your church. This stuff is going on all over the place. But MacDonald’s church debt is truly enormous.

  176. TO OUR READERS CAUGHT IN SANDY:

    Are you OK? Safe? Please check in when you get power. We are praying for you. This storm was devastating. Boone, NC which is about 3 mours from here is getting a foot of snow. This is bizarre for NC. I hear parts of West Virginia will get  close to 5 feet.

    Please pray for everyone that has been harmed by this storm.

  177. I am from Harvest Canada and this report was forwarded to us by a friend. I have read most of the contents and am prayerfully trying to sort through all that I am reading. I have a heavy heart about all of this because I feel that God is working in a amazing way through our Canadian churches and abroad. I am sitting at my computer and crying to God for wisdom in all this “stuff”. But quite truthfully what makes me so sad as I read is the “sarcasm and glee” that seems to be apparent in some of the blog. What is the intent of the blog – To see God glorified ? I wish that there were more “crying” and “seeking of God’s grace” evidenced here.

  178. Barb K

    I am afraid that you are judging us based on your own cursory understanding of this blog. Many people here have been victims of churches that preached on thing and practiced another. Instead of exhibiting glee, many of us are relieved that our concerns are being publicized. In fact, the critique of our reaction is just one more way that others, who cannot accept the sins of their churches and leadership, can use to not deal with the very real problems within their churches.

    God is God even in human failings. God is glorified in our truthful accounting of our weaknesses and sins. Many in the world see us hypocrites, preaching about sacrifical living and hiding our mansions I believe that our witness is enhanced by truthtelling. 

  179. I attend HBCRM, and have been studying up on the Elephants Debt for about 2 months now, and am very disappointed and angered by what I have found. I came to Harvest 11 years ago and have loved it. But had some questions that I have been putting together since all this has been coming to the surface. I feel like we are being treated like sheep on a need to know basis, and we dont need to know. I would expect this from the Government not my Church. James has been speaking in guarded terms as of late about all this, but most of the Congregation have no Idea of whats going on. The debt, his salary and the salaries of the staff which we are not told, his associations with questionable Pastors, accusations of Gambling and on and on. We still attend but have stopped giving as apparently alot of people have because they are down 4 mil for the year. Maybe this is the only way to get answers. But I think its time for the Elders and Leaders who have left Harvest to come clean and call James out for what has been going on. They know, they were in the inner circle, they are the only one’s who can add their reliability to this discussion. How bout it Joe Stowell, and you others. The time to remain silent has passed.

  180. “What is the intent of the blog – To see God glorified ? I wish that there were more “crying” and “seeking of God’s grace” evidenced here.”

    God is never glorified when we help to hide evil or deception. Accusing people of “glee” for reporting what is going on is an attempt to make seeking truth a sin. It is redefining Christianity in a very basic way.

    The question I had to ask myself as I was involved with mega’s that “were doing great things for God” but I knew of the nefarious dealings of the inner circle was this: What exactly do we think we are saving people “to”?

    I came to the conclusion it was all really about “saving” people to a specific “church”. Growing numbers. Are there saved people? yes, but, like me, immature in my understanding of how God operates. Many folks see growht as a sign of God’s blessing like what happened in Acts. What they fail to realize is that many saved in Acts where disapora Jews who went home after the festivals.

    The other problem is in thinking the leaders are “true” elders as in the spiritually mature. Spiritually mature is not about being theologically brilliant. It is about living as Christ.

  181. @Rich,

    I am in the same boat as you. The LORD has changed me in a significant way over the past 12 months. I am talking about
    real repentance and sactification. He gets ALL the glory! While the way James is able to present God’s word is no doubt powerful, and has helped me understand the true nature of God in a way that has softened my heart tand openned my mind to His ways, there is too much being exposed that needs to be addressed.

    God calls me to guard my heart above all things and I must do that now. Hoping and praying for the truth to be aknowledged (in full), confession (of all sins without minimization of them) to continue, and repentance to be seen. This is Gods work now and my faith is in His ability and power. He is sovreign and will use this for His good in His time.

    My action will be to stop giving and continue to pray for all involvec and that I am shown where my church home should be. Stay or go, too early to tell. But i will be worshiping at a different church this weekend.

  182. Who has cast this first stone? Who has not said those things they regret in moments of passion? Where is God’s Glory in these things you say? The truth has alienated you from the greater good. Have you lost sight? Has the bitter ring of worldliness deception blinded for ALL THINGS WORK FOR THE GLORY OF GOD FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE?

  183. I noticed the change on the board of Harvest Bible Fellowship via the web site…instead of all the Sr Pastors (within the HBF) being included, it has now beeen shortened to a select few. I’m sure most of them are close to James MacDonald. Interstingly, I noticed that his brother John is one of the Board Members. John is obviously a aman well versed within tax/finacial matters, clearly James had the sense to have run some of financial decisions and what he was doing fiscally wtih his brother???? I am struggling to understand all of what has recently come out via the Elephant Debt web site. ~ I am still stunned!! I am wondering whether any of this has been addressed with the congregation of HBC-RM? Has James responded to any of this information that has come out or has he simply kept quiet. I can’t imagine that by this time the entire congregation isn’t talking about this?!?!?!