[before blasting some Borg] Lt. Commander Worf: "Assimilate this!" link
This is Part 2 in the series looking at Harvest Bible Chapel and James MacDonald. See Monday's post for a helpful overview on the matter.
The Infamous HBC elder video:
When my kids were little, their schools would have "plays" to celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. Usually, they would start with about 5 kids, dressed in period costumes, standing in a line. Each would have a small speech. One might start,"I am George Washington and I was the first President." Then another might say "I am Paul Revere and I warned the colonists that the British were coming." They would all nod together, looking appropriately serious. Meanwhile, the parents in the audience would mutter that little Susie got to play Martha Washington because she was such a suck up to the teacher and Joey, who played George Washington, probably got the part because his daddy gave the school $50 grand the previous year. This pageant mentality describes this "elder" video to a tee.
This cockamamie video will go down as an example why people are leaving churches in droves. So, I guess I need to thank James MacDonald and these elders for illustrating the loony maneuvering that poses for "elder oversight" in many of today's churches. As you watch the video or read the transcript, ask yourself the rather obvious question. The two guys they are discussing were part of the elder board until recently. They, along with other elders and a former chairman of the elder board were once "God's authority" at this church. Then, suddenly, they were not. How come? How does one morph from saint to Satan?
Then ask yourself a question. Why would I give money to this enterprise? It would be like throwing it away in a casino. Oh yeah, that's an uncomfortable analogy as you will see shortly.
Update 9/26: Special thanks to a reader and Paul Dohse
I am suspicious that someone might arouse the current elders from their stupor and they will see the error of their ways and the video will disappear, never to be seen again. So, I want to thank my good friend, Julie Anne Smith who called me yesterday and encouraged me to use the transcript of the video from her website Spiritual Sounding Board here.
Pastor James MacDonald: I am so thankful to be a part of this church. This church is such a great blessing to me and our family and I just want to remind you that God has entrusted a spiritual authority to the local church and every local church has an authority under God. We believe that the Bible that the authority of the church is vested in the elders. And that when the elders speak collectively in agreement, they speak for God to our church. That’s about as serious as serious gets. Here are four of the elders in our church that have a message for us that we would do well to take heed to, so listen very carefully. These four men are speaking on behalf of the entire elder board of our church on every campus – listen now.
From Left to Right:
My name is Paul Inserra.
My name is Steve Huston
My name is Randy Williams
My name is Jamie Harrison
Paul Inserra: All but one member meeting is successfully behind us. We come to you today further fulfilling our pledge for greater transparency with a sad but necessary message from our entire elder board of our church. We need to communicate with you regarding the discipline of two former elders and their combined effort with other former elders, all outside Harvest working to discredit our elder board and destroy our pastor.
Jamie Harrison: Three elders who broke with the rest of our 30-member elder board in June have continued to spread discord through their false and unrelenting viewpoint. It was unanimously rejected by the elders over many months and with finality in our June meeting. They made their point, we rejected their opinions, but they refused to submit to elder consensus, choosing instead to sow discord and create division. This is a very, very serious sin, one that we are told in Proverbs 6 that our Lord hates.
Steve Huston: This week, the elders received a letter with 13 accusations against our pastor and his integrity, all of which the elders have already unanimously rejected multiple times, nothing new, just a continued refusal to accept the consensus of the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel.
If these men would express even a fraction of the constant and ongoing grace and humility that we see so frequently in our pastor, they could move beyond their bitterness to healing. Their current refusal to do so is defiling many people and that is great sin.
Randy Williams: Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh have been notified that they are under church discipline and no longer welcomed in our church until they repent. A copy of our board resolution regarding their conduct was given to them personally, and can be seen online under Elder Updates. Please pray for their repentance and victory over persistent spirit of superiority and self-righteousness.
Paul Inserra: Together these men continue to lead and seditiously promote an attack on the credibility of the church elders, our governance of church staff and the integrity of our pastor.
Jamie Harrison: Their goal is to discredit our pastor and to divide this church and we call upon the people of the Harvest family to make sure this does not happen. This problem is not new.
As Paul said in 2nd Timothy 4, “Alexander, the coppersmith, did me great harm. The Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him, yourself; for he strongly opposed our message.”
Steve Huston: Church matters are not to be tried in the court of public opinion. Publicizing viewpoints rejected by the elder majority, for any reason, is satanic to the core and must be dealt with very directly. Those who have no standing in a local church, but continue to assault it from outside with factious messages must be rejected according to the word of God. We warn the people of Harvest Bible Chapel to separate themselves from these false messengers. Don’t stand in the middle, don’t seek to mediate. Please avoid these former Harvest elders at all cost, lest you incur great detriment to your own soul.
Randy Williams: To be clear, the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel – 30 men – who meet frequently and closely with Pastor James and know first-hand his character and conduct, want you to hear that we the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel are completely satisfied with Pastor James’ growth and grace, including the way he responded to the three dissenting elders from January through June, and sought reconciliation with former elders as directed. Pastor James has gone out of his way repeatedly, to seek counsel, submit to consensus, and welcome and even solicit contrary opinion for the betterment of the church. The elders of Harvest stand behind his character and integrity without reservation or ongoing concern of any kind. Great pains have been taken to review and learn from these accusations. But there are no ongoing issues of any kind. We are satisfied and grateful to our pastor for his Christ-like behavior.
Steve Huston: We call upon the people of Harvest Baptist Chapel to support these actions of the elder board as biblical. Titus 3:10-11 says, “as for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self condemned.”
Also 1st Timothy 5:20 says, “as for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, [which, is, what we are doing] so that the rest may stand in fear.”
Randy Williams: Before honor, comes humility. In one week, we gather in one service to celebrate God’s amazing 25-year faithfulness to this church, but God is winning a mighty victory in and around us today. Nothing is covered, nothing is unresolved, nothing is ongoing – only this attack from the enemy. Let us examine ourselves, for unconfessed sin and seek to live in fear of the Lord, lest bitterness overtake us.
Let's take a look at the "gospel" claims of these "gospel" elders and their "gospel" pastor.
Bad news: The Borg have taken over Harvest Bible Church.
We believe that the Bible that the authority of the church is vested in the elders. And that when the elders speak collectively in agreement, they speak for God to our church.
So all of the elders who left, including the former chairman of the elders, are not part of the collective.This does recall the Borg from Star Trek. Who were these beings? From Wikipedia:
The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the Collective, or the hive. A pseudo-race, dwelling in the Star Trek universe, the Borg force other species into their collective and connect them to "the hive mind"; the act is called assimilation and entails violence, abductions, and injections of microscopic machines called nanoprobes. The Borg's ultimate goal is "achieving perfection".
Now, as soon as a Borg unit went off message or was not doing what it was told, it was usually destroyed. Conflicts or independent thought was not permitted. The Borg collective was always right. Who made sure of that? The Borg Queen who watched over the collective to make sure things were perking along.
Now, why did I go off on that tangent? Valid questions and concerns were raised by former elders about salary, lifestyle, debt and McDonalds' view on leadership which, in my opinion, was a bit condescending (see yesterday). Instead of honestly dealing with the issues, the current board got rid of the people who resist their hive mentality. The remaining elders became a supposedly unanimous collective speaking for God or was it James MacDonald? I am not so sure.
Since the current elder collective can't take the "malfunctioning" Borg Units off line, ( the police would not take kindly to this), they do the next best thing-get rid of them. "Discipline" (Dee's favorite undefined word) is applied.
the discipline of two former elders and their combined effort with other former elders,
But shouldn't another question be raised? Why did so many former elders malfunction at the same time?
As a nurse, I have been trained to ask questions when a patient's personality changes. Could it be a biological cause such as a brain tumor? Could it be a nervous breakdown? Maybe something is happening at home that is causing this? All of these former elders, along with the former chairman of the elder board, morphed from godly men who were selected to be elders because they loved the church and supported MacDonald, into seditious individuals, suddenly seeking to destroy the pastor and hurt the elder board.
- all outside Harvest working to discredit our elder board and destroy our pastor.
- Together these men continue to lead and seditiously promote an attack on the credibility of the church elders, our governance of church staff and the integrity of our pastor.
- choosing instead to sow discord and create division.
So everything was supposedly hunky dory. Then, these guys went bonkers and decided to destroy the pastor? For no reason? Was it mass psychoses? Did someone slip something into their water? Did they contract an alien virus? Or, maybe something was happening at the "big house" and they were the wise ones?
They needed to submit to the Collective and they would not do so.
…their false and unrelenting viewpoint. It was unanimously rejected by the elders over many months and with finality in our June meeting. They made their point, we rejected their opinions, but they refused to submit to elder consensus,
Were the former elders actually malfunctioning or simply connecting the dots?
You can read about the $500,000 salary and $1.9 million home in our post from yesterday link.
- They expressed concern over a $60 million debt
- They were concerned about the salary and lifestyle of the pastor
- They did not like the derogatory remarks made by the pastor towards the elders
- There was an issue with gambling on the part of the pastor
I have an MBA. I think that the concerns raised by the former members of the elder collective show superior functioning in their processors. So, what's the problem? Apparently, there is some glitch in the current elder collective.
The proof of the current elder collective's malfunction
They refuse to discuss the concerns of the former elders, claiming that all of them have been rejected. However, they do not list them. Why? Are they afraid of something?
…the elders received a letter with 13 accusations against our pastor and his integrity, all of which the elders have already unanimously rejected multiple times, nothing new, just a continued refusal to accept the consensus of the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel.
Due to their apparent inability to accurately portray the concerns, they begin to lob words without meaning, raising concerns about systems overload.
- their bitterness
- defiling many people
- great sin
Further proof: the "Satan" word. This alone would warrant a recall of the current elder units. Also, I thought they were claiming that this was an attack by the former elder units, not "the enemy." They are not making sense.
Publicizing viewpoints rejected by the elder majority, for any reason, is satanic to the core and must be dealt with very directly.
…only this attack from the enemy.
These elder units appear to have a malfunction in their processors. Why would they have to learn from the accusations if the accusations were not true?
Great pains have been taken to review and learn from these accusations. But there are no ongoing issues of any kind. We are satisfied and grateful to our pastor for his Christ-like behavior
The former members of the collective appear to be doing a great job in communicating their valid concerns. So much so that they are being isolated. The tactics recall an influential Earth soldier: Sgt Shultz: "I see nothing. I hear nothing" link
Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh have been notified that they are under church discipline and no longer welcomed in our church until they repent. A copy of our board resolution regarding their conduct was given to them personally, and can be seen online under Elder Updates. Please pray for their repentance and victory over persistent spirit of superiority and self-righteousness.
Oh yeah, as for a spirit of superiority and self-righteousness, look not further than the current HBC Borg Queen who said link:
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.
A piece of advice: Borgs who live in glass Cubes should not throw stones. This is the first time I have ever heard of an effort to protect church members from former elders. This shows, at the very minimum, the lack of judgment by those who are in charge of determining who should be an elder. (Update 9/27-Let me clarify. What I meant was: If it is the singular goal to get a bunch of yes men on the elder board, then they failed. These former elders are speaking their minds. In fact, the are acting like real elders.) It also says something about the current elder board who made the mistake of putting their asinine words onto an ill- produced video and posting it on their website! Do they not understand how ridiculous they sound? That move alone shows that there are real issues back on the home world.
Gambling and James MacDonald
Your humble blog queens beg your forgiveness. We somehow overlooked an important piece of information on James MacDonald. It appears that MacDonald is known for previous gambling behavior here and here and here. Please let me assure you that we are not trying to impose a legalistic rule on gambling. Dee once dropped $1.90 in a Las Vegas casino. Yep-she started with $20 and came home with $18.10. She also bought a lottery ticket twice when the amount topped $100 million. She was hoping to be able to take the entire readership of TWW on a tour of mansions of the mega-pastors. Alas, it is not meant to be…
There is an old saying in the substance abuse world. "If people think you have a problem, you have a problem." If you read the posts, you will see that some people felt there was a real problem with the pastor's behavior. MacDonald was forced to admit it and claims he has retired from gambling. However, gambling is often a compulsive behavior and can be difficult to stop.
MacDonald confessed to gambling in private homes and in casinos link during a sermon in November 2012. He claimed to have ended the practice by the time of the sermon.
As you heard in the audio, James MacDonald has confessed to gambling in private and in public. He now sees that his liberty in Christ in this matter is an offense to some within his own body; and as an elder, he has agreed to lay this down for the sake of his weaker brother. We are glad to hear that as of Sunday, MacDonald is willing to bring his personal lifestyle on this matter in line with his public admonitions to others.
In addition to confessing his struggles to lay down his personal gambling practices, MacDonald also discussed the fact that he has hurt many people over the years with his “intensity” manifested in hurtful words.
If I have my dates right, it appears that MacDonald was gambling about the same time he was asking for an increase in salary and increasing the debt of HBC to around $70 million. During that time, there appears to have been some concerns that a couple of staff members were also involved in gambling link. Interestingly, it appears that MacDonald preached against gambling during the time in which he admitted to gambling. (Quote found in above links.)
Did you know that 90 million Americans go to casinos every year. They spend $300 billion on gambling. That’s 1/3 more than we spend on education. That’s 4 times the amount given to religious institutions.
Why, why why all the gambling? Dishonest gain. Trying to make money and looking for an easy way. A shortcut. Now, gambling and lotteries to get rich quick is dishonest. Ephesians 4:28 says, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands, the thing that is good.”
The biblical way to gain income, tell me, is to what? Work! Just go work! Just roll up your sleeves or focus your mind or get out there and make something or sell something or do something. That’s honoring to God, and earning your income through hard work . . . it’s right. And it’s honoring to God. And little sneaky short-cut-things and “we’ll buy a few tickets here at the gas station and maybe we’ll get lucky.” The way to gain wealth is through work, and anything else, biblically speaking, is dishonest gain.
Why is this relevant? Could there be any correlation between gambling behavior and the risky money management at HBC? Here are two interesting articles on gambling from the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health, both widely respected institutions.There is also a correlation between personality disorders and gambling as well link. These can include narcissism and borderline personality disorder. It is something to chew on and should not be ignored.
I leave you with thoughts from the Borg collective.
Lydia's Corner: Nehemiah 12:27-13:31 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 Psalm 35:1-16 Proverbs 21:17-18