Did James MacDonald Really Resign or Did He Just Grab His Toys and Stomp on Home?

"It's all about them: If a leader doesn’t understand the concept of “service above self” they will not engender the trust, confidence, and loyalty of those they lead. Any leader is only as good as his or her team’s desire to be led by them. An over abundance of ego, pride, and arrogance are not positive leadership traits. Real leaders take the blame and give the credit – not the other way around. Long story short; if a leader receives a vote of non-confidence from their subordinates…game over." link


Wikipedia

UPDATE 6/20/17 : Thanks to a reader, we have learned that Harvest Bible Fellowship is now a member of the SBC. I will add more info shortly.

This is a major development in the evangelical world. James MacDonald, a former Council Member of The Gospel Coalition, an authoritarian-focused Calvinista, and BFF of Mark Driscoll has just resigned, whatever that means. And he is not talking to anyone but his counselor because he has been *oppressed.* (Love that word.)

Throughout the years, MacDonald has been known for the firing and berating of elders, then apologizing much later, allegedly driving up enormous debt in his organization, living a fabulous lifestyle and indulging in gambling trips to Las Vegas with his other BFF, Jerry Jenkins. We have written extensively about all of this and have provided numerous links at the end of this post for those of you who need to play catch up.

Behind James MacDonald's Resignation from the Gospel Coalition

James MacDonald, pastor of the six-campus Harvest Bible Chapel, abruptly resigned from the Gospel Coalition on January 24 because of "methodological differences." MacDonald told Christianity Today his resignation was partly prompted by an invitation he extended to popular black preacher T. D. Jakes to appear in a debate event MacDonald sponsors. 

Many evangelicals have accused Jakes of heretical views of the Trinity and of preaching a prosperity gospel theology. Observers questioned his planned appearance at MacDonald's conference, the Elephant Room, when MacDonald extended an invitation to Jakes last fall.

The Elephant's Debt

This website came back online with the resignation of MacDonald. We were in contact with them during the time the blog was in full swing. Here is why they started this blog, and this is a synopsis of some of the problems that caused them to begin to write about the problems at HBF. TWW supports their efforts in airing what appears to be significant problems in this organization.

  • James MacDonald bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for accumulating $70 million dollars of debt.  He likewise bears the responsibility for telling the congregation that he would build out under certain terms and then proceeding to build out under very different terms, without correcting or revising the congregation’s expectations.
  • James MacDonald bears the responsibility for insisting upon a 40% (or $100,000) pay raise on the heels of a season that he himself has subsequently characterized as being a season in which the church was in “real danger of going bankrupt.”  While appropriate compensation for a pastor is admittedly subjective, no one could argue that a man living in a $1.9 million dollar home needed a $100,000 raise to adequately provide for his family’s needs, thus raising the issue of being a “lover of money.”
  • James MacDonald bears the responsibility for granting himself half of the powervested in the elder board structure of Harvest Bible Chapel.  While MacDonald maintains that this new structure protects the church in the event of an elder going “sideways,” it fails to answer the larger concern of what happens when MacDonald himself goes “sideways.”
  • James MacDonald bears the responsibility for inaugurating a massive financial fundraising campaign without publicly prioritizing debt-reduction as the most critical element of the campaign.  Furthermore, in presenting the campaign to his congregation, he dared to speak for God by telling them how deeply God wanted them to sacrificially give.
  • James MacDonald bears the responsibility for failing to adequately address the heretical theology of the men he has introduced to his congregation and to the broader evangelical community at large.  T.D. Jakes used well-known, Modalistic language to redefine Trinitarianism and James MacDonald did not explain why this redefinition was heretical and why this matters for the body of Christ.  Finally, he said not one word on Jakes’ well established history of preaching the prosperity gospel, which is built on the backs of the broken.
  • James MacDonald bears the responsibility for gambling in private homes, church offices and casinos after explicitly preaching on the sinful nature of “dishonest gain” through gambling.
  • James MacDonald bears the responsibility for confessing his sins to each and every member of The Void, as well as to many, many others who he has failed to treat with temperance, self-control, respectability, and gentleness.

James MacDonald's Letter of Resignation

On June 14, 2017, James MacDonald purportedly sent this letter to the members of Harvest Bible Fellowship. TWW thanks an anonymous reader who forwarded the letter to us.

I think it is helpful to read the entire letter since it gives MacDonald's perspective or the perspective that he is hoping you will buy. I have highlighted certain statements of particular interest. Look for:

  • He resigned from running the Harvest Bible Fellowship.
  • He is still the head pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel.
  • He is still going to plant Harvest Bible Chapels under his own church leadership
  • He doesn't want to talk with anybody in the organization for a long time.
  • He has been terribly oppressed.

Dear Brothers in this Great Work of Christ:

I want to write to you personally and share my heart about an important decision that I have come to over many months with my senior staff and Elders. First the decision, and then the parts of our rationale that I am comfortable making public.

As of this notice, the Harvest Bible Chapel that I lead is resigning all responsibility to lead our fellowship of churches and administer the funds that you send to our Elgin campus in support of church planting. I, too, am resigning my role as President and, as of this notice, retain no role of influence over the work of HBF. That work is being given over to interim Executive Director Brian White and his capable governance leaders, Ron Zappia, Bill Borinstein, and Robbie Symons. Please give them your full financial, prayer, and personal support — they are all good men. We will continue to plant Harvest Bible Chapels and Vertical Churches retaining ownership of those marks and brands which we gladly share without reservation or new condition with all of you. Our own church-planting efforts will happen under the governance of our own Elder board.

I am mindful of the time in 1999, when the best youth Pastor we had ever employed, Ron Zappia, became increasingly difficult to manage as the time for his church plant drew near. Looking back, we didn’t know how to let him leave the nest with the needed grace — and he was determined, but at times faltering, in seeking the freedom to fly solo. Today, this day, I love Ron Zappia more than ever and have truly been given a big heart of compassion for what he has endured leading “the other” Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago. Add to that, the regularity of controversy resulting from my efforts to refute false models of Christlikeness fashioned by culture not Scripture … all that to say, Ron has endured a lot these past 17 years.

Like Ron, the rest of you have persevered with me to the point of exhaustion, and I am grateful to the Lord to feel such a strong release which is enthusiastically supported by our Senior Staff and Executive Elders. In this next phase of multiplication, the final one in my mind, I want to make sure I give the grace I wish I had given that first church planter so many years ago. Today, I will meet with Joel Anderson and release he and Jill with joy to an exciting new opportunity with Harvest Flagstaff. They will no doubt flourish there. I am sad to say I have grown weary in doing good and have not responded well at times to being trapped between judgment for not regionalizing sooner, and judgment for making the staff changes needed to allow unhindered regionalization. While some churches clamor for greater independence, others cling tightly to what has become comfortable. “Ok, everyone out of the nest!” I strongly desire a lasting friendship with each of you, and hope that learning to fly, even if you don’t all feel ready, is our best chance at being together long term.

June 14, 2017 1

Some final pending actions and suggestions:

  • Give Canada immediate and full self governance, like Romania has — they need and deserve that.
  • No further Canadian funds accepted or desired in the US, and they become like other international church plants, receiving funding but not asked to give outside their own country.
  • Walk in the Word will drop all expectation of support from all HBF churches and will not request further assistance.
  • Conferences put on by our church to assist understanding of the vertical model will be suspended to help others succeed in that role without needing to compete with us for attendance.
  • Please consider calling a convention of delegates from each HBF area, including international, and hammer out a new model of governance and mutual commitment
  • If desired, our church would be willing to consider membership in a reorganized entity, but that possibility might be best considered by us, after an extended time of healing.
  • We have 10 candidates coming in this fall, and we'll complete their training in hopes of all planting Harvest Bible Fellowship churches.
  • Allow me an extended season of non-communication with all of you. I do not want to hinder your potential together in any way, and know you will put the importance of our cause ahead of any misplaced sense of loyalty that could be threatening to the emerging leaders and the common good. It is never about us, it is always about Jesus Christ, His Word and His church — please respect that.
  • Some of you will be looking for the ‘inside scoop.’ You wont get that from me. I will only say that I have been under the weight of intolerable oppression in seeking to gain support for the needed regionalization. As I have often taught you, “To make you feel better about our decision, I would need to make you feel worse about others involved, and I am not willing to do that.” Some of you know I spent a whole day with Henry Cloud at the end of May and will meet with him again soon. The sole purpose has been gaining understanding of why I have allowed people to treat me as they do and what I am blind to that may be causal. My staff and family are greatly relieved that I have finally sought the refuge of freedom from this most difficult assignment. I love church planting but never aspired to lead or control a denomination. Others among us have temperaments more suited to that leadership, and I believe you will be more helped by their emergence in my absence. No doubt, were I better leader and more compelling model of endurance under fire, I would not have provoked the conduct I have received. Please forgive me.
    My prayer is that by releasing you to be led by capable men in your church planting movement, I can in time be welcomed back into a level of friendship and partnership that a man in my season of life considers the greatest of treasures. I am cheering you on, believing God for your success where I have failed, and releasing you fully to embrace this season of opportunity as you are led. Christ is moving in His world today, the Vertical vision is right, the men are gathering to take the hill, and I have removed my church and leadership as the impediment it has become with full joy in my heart. Be assured of my love for you all, the fields are ripe for Harvest, and I am praying for the Lord of the Harvest to send out chosen laborers into this fruitful field.
    Forever your devoted brother in Christ Jesus, through whom we overwhelmingly conquer, – james

June 14, 2017

The other side of the story

  • A number of churches that were part of Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF) allegedly threatened to leave the organization if James MacDonald remained as the leader.
  • James MacDonald allegedly became angry when he was informed of this and he resigned. 
  • He allegedly fired the entire staff of HBF who were allegedly completely innocent, locked them out of their offices, changed the locks, and shut down their email accounts while they were having an emergency meeting at 6am in Elgin (the headquarter and home of MacDonald's church) then the HBC (MacDonald's church) staff escorted them out of the building. So, if this account if correct, then it appear is that that MacDonald is still running the show which is no big surprise to TWW.
  • If MacDonald's letter is correct, then it appears he has absolutely no intention of talking with anyone about it until he is ready since he claims he was under intolerable oppression!!

The curious story of the incident at Harvest Bible Academy

In February 2017, James MacDonald was teaching a Bible class before the entire high school student body. This is a Christian school run by HBC. MacDonald allegedly became irate at a couple of students and berated them before the entire student body for 10 minutes. Apparently, a cameraman associated with HBF was present and witnessed the incident, deeming it out of line and reporting it to HBF leadership.

The alleged incident upset the kids and teachers at the school so much that a number of families left the school immediately, and the camera man quit his job the next day. According to one source, this incident led to MacDonald being questioned by HBF pastors at a meeting in February. MacDonald was reportedly irate that his response had been questioned. This incident was supposedly the beginning of the end which eventually resulted in MacDonald's resignation™ letter.

A tony, new house for MacDonald?

If you look at the original list of complaints about MacDonald, written by The Elephant's Debt (listed above), you will see that MacDonald was allegedly criticized for taking an extremely large salary and living in a very fine house like his BFF Mark Driscoll. In 2014,it was reported that MacDonald agreed to live a less abundant lifestyle. Here is a copy of that agreement reported by the elders to HBC/HBF

Due to recent events, I am hesitant to continue to publicly post addresses, etc. for any public figure. I do have the documents to prove what I am going to say. If you do not believe me, please contact me via email and we can discuss how you may obtain these documents for yourself. Here is the info that I received from a kind reader.

He did sell his mansion in Inverness, and he moved to Elgin (a diverse community -although there are lilly white areas to be sure – that costs less that Inverness). Below are some files attached that provided mortgage documents and a interior photo. If you go to any real estate sales website or app and look up the property you can obtain interior photos – it was a rather nice 3500 sq ft home. For most that's a big step up, but whatever, for him it was a step down per his statement. You will notice these mortgage docs do not have James' name on them. I only knew it was his place because a close friend of his pointed out his new home. (Later documents confirm this tip)

…He no longer lives in the 3500 sq ft home on Gardinia. He built himself a new mansion on several acres. He bought it in trust to hide his ownership of the home. But, he messed up. I have attached three documents related to the new mansion James S. MacDonald built – they are named exhibit a, b, & c respectively. A is a mortgage on his new property. B is a newer larger mortgage on the same property, but C is a Mortgage Release, releasing the first mortgage before the second came become valid.

Take a look at the bottom of C. It says that these documents should be returned to James S. MacDonald at (address redacted by ed. ) So, this document connects James MacDonald to both properties. Now, here is some information about the new property.

According to the Township documents which I have screen captured, and you can check for yourself, state that this house is 8500 sq ft. A Mechanic Lien shows he has garage cabinet worth 26k – not bad. And the township has  a less than spectacular photo of the house on its website which I have also attached.

 James MacDonald appears to be the consummate Calvinista to me. It's his way or the highway.

MacDonald wrote this over the top piece on congregational rule: Congregational Government Is From Satan. Always ask why someone need to revert to biblical™ hyperbole to get his point across. When thoughtful  debate morphs into "you are of Satan," you can be sure the person has an agenda and it is not biblical in any sense of the word. 

  • Congregational Meetings Are Forums for Division
  • Voting Is Not Biblical
  • Eldership Is Sometimes Unpopular
  • Congregationalism Crushes Pastors
  • Priesthood Not Eldership of All Believers 

MacDonald seems to be totally opposed to input from the congregation.  Here is how he views what happens to elders under congregationalism

The Elders spend the majority of time trying to keep these blasphemous enemies of the gospel in line and often finish their term of leadership crushed by the weight of unrelenting criticism. 

  • A few years ago, when studying the ministry of James MacDonald, I reached the conclusion that he is a hard core Calvinista and that serious problems would be inevitable if he remained in charge. HBF has lurched from crisis to crisis and it looks like thing are not over yet.
  • Why does The Gospel Coalition seem to have a knack for picking men to honor as council members who have turned out to be pinheads?
  • I recently was told that the SBC was dating James MacDonald with the hope of pulling his group of churches into their rapidly declining denomination. That sounds unwise but, then again, numbers, rather than wisdom, usually rule the day.
  • If anyone who was present for any of these events and would like to tell their side of the story, please contact us ASAP. You can remain anonymous.

Old TWW posts:

Dedicated to James and Jerry in memory of better times


Comments

Did James MacDonald Really Resign or Did He Just Grab His Toys and Stomp on Home? — 239 Comments

  1. How they are able to coerce people into giving so much money is way beyond me.

    Sounds like he adores Driscoll so much that he’s emulating the Mars Hill train wreck.

  2. Poor James didn’t get his bottom kissed.

    If only people would one-day figure out the only reason these self-worshipping brats became Christians is to get their bottom’s thoroughly kissed and quick easy free money.

    Basically, these men are demanding that we pay them to become their trapped, submissive, bottom-kissing, money-giving, slave-robots.

  3. The other side of the story
    A number of churches that were part of Harvest Bible Fellowship (HBF) allegedly threatened to leave the organization if James MacDonald remained as the leader.
    James MacDonald allegedly became angry when he was informed of this and he resigned. 
    He allegedly fired the entire staff of HBF who were allegedly completely innocent, locked them out of their offices, changed the locks, and shut down their email accounts while they were having an emergency meeting at 6am in Elgin (the headquarter and home of MacDonald’s church) then the HBC (MacDonald’s church) staff escorted them out of the building. So, if this account if correct, then it appear is that that MacDonald is still running the show which is no big surprise to TWW.

    I haven’t read so many uses of the word “allegedly” since a piece whose author was exposing Scientology and trying to avoid Fir Game Law LRH.

    According to the Township documents which I have screen captured, and you can check for yourself, state that this house is 8500 sq ft. A Mechanic Lien shows he has garage cabinet worth 26k – not bad. And the township has  a less than spectacular photo of the house on its website which I have also attached.

    Keeping up with the Furticks, is he?

  4. If I was the Harvest Bible Chapel Fellowship, I’d lawyer up because of the ownership of the “Harvest Bible Chapel” trademark.

    I’ve pulled the records from TESS and “Harvest Bible Chapel CORPORATION ILLINOIS” owns the trademark, but “NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE ‘BIBLE CHAPEL’ APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN.”

    Thing is, there are a lot of churches out there, several in my own area, that are called “Harvest Bible Chapel.” Is “Harvest Bible Chapel CORPORATION ILLINOIS” going to demand money for use of this trademark? This is something that needs to be straightened out right away!

  5. You asked a very important question: “Why does The Gospel Coalition seem to have a knack for picking men to honor as council members who have turned out to be pinheads?”

    Something is wrong with their “picker.” They use the wrong criteria. I suspect their criteria is this:

    1. Must be Calvinist (part of the in-group)
    2. Must exude confidence
    3. Must look successful outwardly

    They don’t seem to look at character.

    They fool themselves that “believing Calvinist doctrine” is equal to “living a Christ-like life.”

    In my opinion, The Gospel Coalition seems to fall for “affinity fraud,” over and over. In affinity fraud, a con-man takes advantage of the people in his own religious group because they trust him. He fleeces them.

    –Founding member C.J. Mahaney allegedly took advantage of his church members by allegedly allowing pedophiles to run free in youth and children’s ministries.

    —Former TGC leader Mark Driscoll allegedly took advantage of church members who wanted to support overseas ministry,by allegedly using much of the funds for local expansion.

    –Former TGC member Tullian Tchividjian fooled his church members and his publisher by allegedly having four affairs while a pastor and Christian book author.

    –Council member James McDonald allegedly … (and so it goes)

    All of this appears to be very well documented.

  6. Janey wrote:

    1. Must be Calvinist (part of the in-group)

    I would make a slight change to that. “Must be a NEOCalvinist.” There is a world of difference between mild-mannered classical Calvinists, like my late Presbyterian grandmother (a university educated scientist), and these rabid, hateful, authoritarian, abusive NeoCalvinists.

    I think the NeoCalvinists have a problem with mild-mannered classical Calvinists, whom NeoCalvinists also see as heretics and not “true” (TM) followers of Christ.

  7. Velour wrote:

    I would make a slight change to that. “Must be a NEOCalvinist.” There is a world of difference between mild-mannered classical Calvinists, like my late Presbyterian grandmother (a university educated scientist), and these rabid, hateful, authoritarian, abusive NeoCalvinists.
    I think the NeoCalvinists have a problem with mild-mannered classical Calvinists, whom NeoCalvinists also see as heretics and not “true” (TM) followers of Christ.

    Yeah. I would argue that New Calvinism isn’t even a Christian set of doctrines, because of the way they minimize Christ as God via ESS and avoid talking about His ministry in almost every way.

    And I always find New Calvinist arguments for eldership hysterical! I APPOINTED MYSELF ELDER AND YOU’RE NOT IT!

    Most of them seem to worship themselves, as Guest said.

  8. ishy wrote:

    Yeah. I would argue that New Calvinism isn’t even a Christian set of doctrines, because of the way they minimize Christ as God via ESS and avoid talking about His ministry in almost every way.
    And I always find New Calvinist arguments for eldership hysterical! I APPOINTED MYSELF ELDER AND YOU’RE NOT IT!
    Most of them seem to worship themselves, as Guest said.

    Completely agree, Ishy.

    Good points.

    Thanks.

  9. Wouldn’t The Antichrist breeze through their real criteria?
    (Especially the “Slick Deceiver” archetype of Antichrist…)

  10. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Thing is, there are a lot of churches out there, several in my own area, that are called “Harvest Bible Chapel.” Is “Harvest Bible Chapel CORPORATION ILLINOIS” going to demand money for use of this trademark?

    Given some of the Christianese Crapola that’s been exposed on this blog, would that really surprise anyone?

  11. ishy wrote:

    Yeah. I would argue that New Calvinism isn’t even a Christian set of doctrines, because of the way they minimize Christ as God via ESS and avoid talking about His ministry in almost every way.

    I’ve heard it said that “Calvin Islamized the Reformation”.
    And these guys have ISISed it.

  12. Poor James didn’t get his bottom kissed.
    If only people would one-day figure out the only reason these self-worshipping brats became Christians is to get their bottom’s thoroughly kissed and quick easy free money.
    Basically, these men are demanding that we pay them to become their trapped, submissive, bottom-kissing, money-giving, slave-robots.

    This is the whole enchilada in a nutshell. Thank you guest.

    +infinity

  13. Remember when Mark Driscoll interviewed James MacDonald on a bus?

    My how things have changed in a short period of time..

    .

  14. The SBC Calvinist are courting these independent Calvinist groups because then they can have more Calvinist messengers every year at the SBC who vote for officers who appoint trustees and on and on. It's part of the "reformation" of the SBC. The NAMB plant Calvinist churches for the same reason. Every church gets I think a minimum of two messengers. And now you can see the Calvinists banding together to give "scholarships" to those who need help getting to the SBC.

  15. @ Deb:

    So James MacDonald told Mark Driscoll in this interview that MacDonald was going to be covering pride and money in a book and a conference, obviously his own failings which he has failed to see.

    (And by the way, I’m concerned when a man’s *bling* (jewelry) is bigger than mine! That was a monster bracelet that MacDonald was wearing.)

  16. @ Janey:

    We have shared this video before featuring former Gospel Coalition Council Members James MacDonald and C.J. Mahaney. 

    It's a classic!

  17. MacDonald has served Mammon from the beginning. I used to get a kick out of some of the ‘Walk in the Word’ podcasts. Then I learned about his million dollar home and gambling habit. The next time I heard him calling people to ‘sacrificial giving’, I wanted to throw up. This guy has an incredible nerve.

    And now he is whining about being abused – give me a break. What is it about evangelical neo-csl ‘Christianity’ that keeps generating these charlatans? And why to people empower and enable them, when it is pretty clear what is going on?

  18. These men just turn my stomach! How are people so deceived by these charlatans?
    All I see in them is: $$$$$$

  19. @ roebuck:

    And in my opinion, anyone who lives in a million-plus dollar mansion, and has a well-known gambling habit, is automatically and a priori (ed.) disqualified from any sort of Christian ministry.

  20. roebuck wrote:

    @ roebuck:

    And in my opinion, anyone who lives in a million-plus dollar mansion, and has a well-known gambling habit, is automatically and a priory disqualified from any sort of Christian ministry.

    That would be ‘a priori’. I wish we could edit posts here…

  21. roebuck wrote:

    @ roebuck:
    And in my opinion, anyone who lives in a million-plus dollar mansion, and has a well-known gambling habit, is automatically and a priory disqualified from any sort of Christian ministry.

    Yes.

  22. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    The core issue, IMHO, is all the pew peons that enable these guys…..

    Many of us never knew that by going to church that we would be enabling such atrocious, anti-Christian behavior. Many churches are downright dangerous — from the grifters leading so many churches to the false teachings (Complementarianism, authoritarianism) to the epidemic of child sexual abuse cases.

  23. I thought the HBF merger with the SBC was a done deal. We warned an elder at a Moody/DTS friendly church about MacDonald and he told the other elders. But it didn’t matter, and he ended up having his Vertical Church roadshow at that church anyway. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

  24. ‘We will continue to plant Harvest Bible Chapels and Vertical Churches retaining ownership of those marks and brands which we gladly share without reservation or new condition with all of you.’
    ===================

    what does this mean, exactly? share ownership? or just let them use the names?

  25. “I recently was told that the SBC was dating James MacDonald with the hope of pulling his group of churches into their rapidly declining denomination.” (Dee)

    It’s my understanding that MacDonald has already joined the SBC: http://www.sbclife.net/Articles/2015/09/sla5

    MacDonald already had his hand in SBC affairs by serving on “The Gospel Project” advisory council.

    Grow by networking is the theme of the day in SBC. In an effort to reverse the downward trend in SBC numbers, they have partnered with various New Calvinist ministries – including Mahaney, Driscoll, and MacDonald. The SBC continues to dig a deeper hole – one they may never get out of.

  26. Annoymous wrote:

    The SBC Calvinist are courting these independent Calvinist groups because then they can have more Calvinist messengers every year at the SBC who vote for officers who appoint trustees and on and on. It’s part of the “reformation” of the SBC. The NAMB plant Calvinist churches for the same reason.

    No doubt about it! I have been saying this for years and been accused of spreading “conspiracy theories.” Well, I wouldn’t be spreading them if the New Calvinists would stop giving us so much evidence to support them!

  27. I did a quick search. The average salary for a pastor in the US is $28,000/yr. Somewhat less than old MacDonald was making. Most of them live sacrificially, and obviously many work another job, or have a spouse that works.

    Personally, I just don’t understand how a few of these guys get elevated to celebrity status. I know there’s an element of entertainment, but I don’t see how Mac Donald was entertaining enough to attract 6 buildings full of people to show up weekly and give lots of money. There are people who feel guilty if they don’t go to a church on Sunday morning, and people will pay decent money to avoid feeling guilty. But there has to be more to it than that. And how did they listen to this guy on a regular basis and not pick up that something was off?

  28. “Some of you know I spent a whole day with Henry Cloud at the end of May and will meet with him again soon. The sole purpose has been gaining understanding of why I have allowed people to treat me as they do and what I am blind to that may be causal.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    the whole day…. $200/hour at least, for normal folk anyway…

    $1600 — to figure out why he is a victim. or maybe he was given some special perks.

  29. elastigirl wrote:

    “Some of you know I spent a whole day with Henry Cloud at the end of May and will meet with him again soon. The sole purpose has been gaining understanding of why I have allowed people to treat me as they do and what I am blind to that may be causal.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    the whole day…. $200/hour at least, for normal folk anyway…
    $1600 — to figure out why he is a victim. or maybe he was given some special perks.

    And Mark Driscoll also claims ‘victim’ status and that others owe him apologies (for his abuses to them). Grandiosity much, NeoCal boyz?

  30. Max wrote:

    Grow by networking is the theme of the day in SBC. In an effort to reverse the downward trend in SBC numbers, they have partnered with various New Calvinist ministries – including Mahaney, Driscoll, and MacDonald. The SBC continues to dig a deeper hole – one they may never get out of.

    Seems like the only requirement for a church to be part of the SBC is the subjugation of women.

  31. In the article, you linked to a post Mr. MacDonald made against Congregationalism in 2011. I am including a link to an article he wrote in August 2015, apologizing for it to his Baptist brothers and sisters. I do not know very much about James MacDonald, but The letter you quote in this piece seems to be promoting local control, which is good thing. You also mentioned that the SBC was trying to recruit HBC. This peeked my interest, so I looked it up and discovered that they did in fact join the SBC in June 2015. I have also included the link to an article which references that fact. Here is the apology to Baptists: http://blog.jamesmacdonald.com/elder-rule-church-government-is-from-satan-too/ Here is the joining up article: http://www.sbclife.net/Articles/2015/09/sla5

  32. I got as far as the section on ‘The Elephant’s Debt’ and read the indicator points;
    and it occurs that this MacDonald is a bit nuts mixed together with a whole lot of scam artist

    is there any OTHER way to explain those points? driving into debt that deeply, then demanding a huge ‘pay raise’ from a floundering faith community, and of course his gambling addiction which is so self-destructive and in THIS case apparently funded by ‘self-sacrificing’ worshipers’ that MacDonald instructs as giving that is asked for directly by God …..

    The only other thing I can’t bring up is WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE WHO FUNDED THIS MAN??????
    Was this a cult?
    What hold did he have on them?

    Now he claims he is ‘oppressed’. By whom? Satan? God? or was it the people who gave him all that money so he could make shipwreck of their community? Or was it maybe that they weren’t giving ENOUGH for him to be ‘free’ of ‘oppression’?

    What a mess.
    There’s enough mess here to go around to MacDonald AND all of his enablers.
    Sickening reading.

  33. Christiane wrote:

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE WHO FUNDED THIS MAN?

    There’s a theory out there that when you “plant a seed” by giving to “God’s anointed”, God will, in turn, give you what you ask for: healing, $$$, an empire, trophy partner, offspring, influence, etc.

  34. JYJames wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE WHO FUNDED THIS MAN?

    There’s a theory out there that when you “plant a seed” by giving to “God’s anointed”, God will, in turn, give you what you ask for: healing, $$$, an empire, trophy partner, offspring, influence, etc.

    Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, and other Reformers sought to put an end to this kind of abuse in the Church …. and it has re-surfaced ….. just within recent memory, we had a ‘bishop of bling’ in Germany who was called into the Vatican and busted for high living off of the contributions of the people, so it’s not a problem with just one part of the Church

    I guess it’s greed on the part of those who ‘promise results’ when they take the people’s money;
    however, you have to ask why the people fall for this in the first place …. maybe it’s a kind of desperation but that despair is not what the Church should profit off of, no way

  35. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Max wrote:
    Grow by networking is the theme of the day in SBC. In an effort to reverse the downward trend in SBC numbers, they have partnered with various New Calvinist ministries – including Mahaney, Driscoll, and MacDonald. The SBC continues to dig a deeper hole – one they may never get out of.
    Seems like the only requirement for a church to be part of the SBC is the subjugation of women.

    +100

  36. Velour wrote:

    Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Max wrote:
    Grow by networking is the theme of the day in SBC. In an effort to reverse the downward trend in SBC numbers, they have partnered with various New Calvinist ministries – including Mahaney, Driscoll, and MacDonald. The SBC continues to dig a deeper hole – one they may never get out of.
    Seems like the only requirement for a church to be part of the SBC is the subjugation of women.

    +100

    yes …. and a corollary would be to have to accept ESS as ‘gospel’

  37. “In February 2017, James MacDonald was teaching a Bible class before the entire high school student body. This is a Christian school run by HBC. MacDonald allegedly became irate at a couple of students and berated them before the entire student body for 10 minutes. Apparently, a cameraman associated with HBF was present and witnessed the incident, deeming it out of line and reporting it to HBF leadership.”

    James MacDonald is exhibitting a character trait common to another notorious “pastor” who shares the same first name. I would never attend a “church” led by such an individual.

    “but the best-educated among his followers posed an additional challenge for Jones. His sermons often misrepresented facts or ignored inconvenient ones, especially regarding the Soviet Union. Most Temple members accepted what they heard; if Father said it, it must be true. But a few who knew their history or at least kept up with current events squirmed when Jones insisted that everyone in the Temple should honor the memory of Stalin, whose ruthless purges cost countless innocent lives. In one San Francisco meeting when Jones praised “the Soviet government maintaining the wildlife and tribes and ethnic groups in Siberia,” Garry Lambrev couldn’t help himself. He stood up and asked, “Jim, what about the gulags, about the millions of people murdered?” Jones’s face turned bright red. He shouted, “You arrogant brat, you think you know everything,” and ranted at Lambrev for several minutes, condemning him and any other self-important intellectual who claimed to know everything. “He was screaming so hard that saliva was spraying out of his mouth,” Lambrev recalls. “I was humiliated.” When Jones felt that his point was made, not just to Lambrev but to anyone else who might ever consider correcting him in mid-sermon, he went on with the meeting.”

    Guinn, Jeff (2017-04-11). The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple (Kindle Locations 3234-3243). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

  38. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Grow by networking is the theme of the day in SBC. In an effort to reverse the downward trend in SBC numbers, they have partnered with various New Calvinist ministries – including Mahaney, Driscoll, and MacDonald. The SBC continues to dig a deeper hole – one they may never get out of.

    Seems like the only requirement for a church to be part of the SBC is the subjugation of women.

    The SBC leaders can not handle the truth-the SBC is dying.

  39. Max wrote:

    No doubt about it! I have been saying this for years and been accused of spreading “conspiracy theories.” Well, I wouldn’t be spreading them if the New Calvinists would stop giving us so much evidence to support them!

    Max: You have only been telling the truth. SBC were once called a group that followed the Bible; that has not been true for many years now.

  40. @ Velour:
    That is why we all need to pay attention, be diligent, and be willing to ask questions! And then endure the WRATH that these clowns send back at us. Or try to through us under the bus, or call us divisive, etc.

  41. roebuck wrote:

    @ roebuck:
    And in my opinion, anyone who lives in a million-plus dollar mansion, and has a well-known gambling habit, is automatically and a priori (ed.) disqualified from any sort of Christian ministry.

    Absolutely…..I can’t even imagine the title pastor, and word gambler, in the same sentence! WHAT?

  42. roebuck wrote:

    What is it about evangelical neo-csl ‘Christianity’ that keeps generating these charlatans? And why to people empower and enable them, when it is pretty clear what is going on?

    All churches do it to some extent but my evangelical experience was:
    1) conformity – you must believe what we believe wholeheartedly and without reservation. No matter how fantastic, ie the 6000 year old universe or you are not a Christian.
    2) authority – the leadership is correct in all things. You don’t criticize your fellow christians, no matter what intolerant or offensive pap they’re spewing.
    3) poor governance- in the church I attended, the pastor is chairman of the board that hired him, and sets his salary. No surprise his daughter was hired as an associate pastor.
    4) give without question. Give sacrificially. For God’s work of course. But when you pull back the curtain, the money goes to some pretty dubious ministries with poor or no accountability. Recently the church solicited funds for Uganda. In and of itself, ok. But they aren’t going to a reputable NGO or parachurch organization. They are going to be administered by a certain Bishop Simon Peter who was linked to the notorious anti homosexual legislation in that country. No surprise there, there’s an intolerant streak a mile wide in that church.

    It is so ingrained that without doubt if you dissent it is better to go.

    I was never that invested so leaving was dead easy. But it’s only recently that my wife has started to voice any criticism. I’m hoping this will precipitate a move to a more tolerant church but the programming is hard to go against.

  43. Jack wrote:

    I was never that invested so leaving was dead easy. But it’s only recently that my wife has started to voice any criticism. I’m hoping this will precipitate a move to a more tolerant church but the programming is hard to go against.

    Jack what is so hard for some of us is we have invested our lives for decades and now we are told if we do not like things we should just leave. That is a bitter pill to swallow.

  44. OCDan wrote:

    Basically, these men are demanding that we pay them to become their trapped, submissive, bottom-kissing, money-giving, slave-robots.

    Just like that crooked homeowner’s association I was stuck with at my last place.

    When we tried to throw them out, they doubled all our dues to pay for their lawyers. Took close to two years and bankrupted all of us.

    Oh, yeah. They copped a Moral Superiority and Poor Poor Persecuted Victim attitude all the way.

  45. Christiane wrote:

    The only other thing I can’t bring up is WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE WHO FUNDED THIS MAN??????

    You mean the SUCKERS?
    Can’t have a Mooch-and-Sucker Show without lotsa SUCKERS!

  46. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I haven’t read so many uses of the word “allegedly” since a piece whose author was exposing Scientology and trying to avoid Fir Game Law LRH.

    Just trying to keep it safe while stepping on toes.

  47. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Is “Harvest Bible Chapel CORPORATION ILLINOIS” going to demand money for use of this trademark? This is something that needs to be straightened out right away!

    I am so glad that you chimed in on this. I think this is going to be a fight over trademarks, names, etc. Lots o money involved.

  48. Gram3 wrote:

    I thought the HBF merger with the SBC was a done deal

    You are correct. I have updated the post. I was reading an article from a couple years ago and forgot to check for an update. Thank you.

  49. Max wrote:

    It’s my understanding that MacDonald has already joined the SBC: http://www.sbclife.net/Articles/2015/09/sla5

    You are correct. I have updated the post.Max wrote:

    MacDonald already had his hand in SBC affairs by serving on “The Gospel Project” advisory council.

    Yep-this is what I get for not checking an updated report. I have updated the post to reflect this info. Thank you.

  50. elastigirl wrote:

    the whole day…. $200/hour at least, for normal folk anyway…
    $1600 — to figure out why he is a victim. or maybe he was given some special perks.

    I bet he has worked out a quid pro quo-book deal and speaking engagements, perhaps? These celebrities do not use their own money for this stuff.

  51. Jerry Schultz wrote:

    . I have also included the link to an article which references that fact. Here is the apology to Baptists: http://blog.jamesmacdonald.com/elder-rule-church-government-is-from-satan-too/ Here is the joining up article: http://www.sbclife.net/Articles/2015/09/sla5

    Thank you for your info. I did not check an update on the SBC join and I have now updated the post. Actually, given that it took place in 2015, it goes to show how the merger did NOTHING to help SBC numbers.

    As for apologies to his Baptist cohorts… it is codswallop! MacDonald has apologized for lots of things through the years when it is to his advantage to do so. He was sorry for his lifestyle. Now he is back to living his lifestyle.It is all meaningless when it come to what he says.

  52. @ dee:
    MacDonald was on the LifeWay advisory council for “The Gospel Project” BEFORE he was a Southern Baptist! The council and various writers for TGP were all New Calvinists … which is why mainline SBC churches should steer clear of “The Calvinist Project.”

  53. Christiane wrote:

    The only other thing I can’t bring up is WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE WHO FUNDED THIS MAN??????

    They love celebrities. It is like spending bucks to see Katy Perry. They are entertained.

  54. mot wrote:

    SBC were once called a group that followed the Bible; that has not been true for many years now.

    Southern Baptists were once called a “People of the Word” … you can’t accuse them of that any longer! Few read it these days; few have a Biblical worldview. That’s why they are easy pickins’ for the New Calvinist movement – they don’t have enough Scripture in them to sort out the aberrant belief and practice of the new reformation sweeping through SBC ranks.

  55. Jack wrote:

    1) conformity – you must believe what we believe wholeheartedly and without reservation. No matter how fantastic, ie the 6000 year old universe or you are not a Christian.

    People love to believe something that is fantastical because it *proves* just how Christian they are. The real™ Christian are will to be ridiculed for the sake of Christ because it shows they are part of the in crowd God is going to reward their faith.

    There are many people who will not do the work that it takes to fully investigate the issues involved because it takes time and demands some effort. Blind faith is easier than figuring it out.

  56. Max wrote:

    mot wrote:

    SBC were once called a group that followed the Bible; that has not been true for many years now.

    Southern Baptists were once called a “People of the Word” … you can’t accuse them of that any longer! Few read it these days; few have a Biblical worldview. That’s why they are easy pickins’ for the New Calvinist movement – they don’t have enough Scripture in them to sort out the aberrant belief and practice of the new reformation sweeping through SBC ranks.

    Seems to me Southern Baptist used to have something called Training Union on Sunday nights, but I think the SBC leaders became afraid of just how much Southern Baptists might truly understand how the organization works and did away with it.

  57. mot wrote:

    Seems to me Southern Baptist used to have something called Training Union on Sunday nights

    Well, now you are aging me … I fondly remember Baptist Training Union (BTU). As you note, these sessions were held on Sunday evenings before the worship time. They were essentially discipleship times to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4). Here’s the kicker … national BTU leaders were mostly women! Sister Jessie Battle was a BTU President. I suspect the Conservative (= Calvinist) brethren weren’t too keen on that idea and defunded it at first opportunity since it disappeared from SBC life about the time of the Conservative (Calvinist) Resurgence. The more I think about it, why would a woman want to join the SBC in its current state-of-affairs?!

  58. Further clarification: Is it Harvest Bible *Chapel* that became an SBC church — just one church, the one that ol’ MacDonald appears to be keeping (as a base to plant more of their own churches maybe someday)?

    Or is it Harvest Bible *Fellowship* that joined the SBC… isn’t that a whole network of churches, that is (or is sort of) a denomination itself? Comments above seem to say both HBC and HBF with respect to the SBC, just want to make sure I understand.

  59. Max wrote:

    these sessions were held on Sunday evenings before the worship time

    And another thing … the SBC-YRR church plants in my area don’t even have Sunday evening worship services, or Wednesday evening for that matter. They only have Sunday morning services, where young reformers in skinny pants with spiky hairdos are propped up under a spotlight on stage to spout short “sermons” filled with quotes by New Calvinist icons, with little reference to Jesus. The congregations sway to the beat of whiny guitars and drums, partake of free coffee and pastries, and go home feeling good about themselves … except the women of course, who are oppressed.

  60. Max wrote:

    Well, now you are aging me … I fondly remember Baptist Training Union (BTU). As you note, these sessions were held on Sunday evenings before the worship time. They were essentially discipleship times to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry (Eph. 4). Here’s the kicker … national BTU leaders were mostly women! Sister Jessie Battle was a BTU President. I suspect the Conservative (= Calvinist) brethren weren’t too keen on that idea and defunded it at first opportunity since it disappeared from SBC life about the time of the Conservative (Calvinist) Resurgence. The more I think about it, why would a woman want to join the SBC in its current state-of-affairs?!

    I never did hear a good reason for stopping BTU.

  61. bendeni wrote:

    Comments above seem to say both HBC and HBF with respect to the SBC, just want to make sure I understand.

    It’s my understanding that MacDonald initially signed up HBC to SBC ranks, with the intent of bringing in all HBF churches under the SBC umbrella. I’m not sure if any other HBF churches enlisted before the plan vaporized.

  62. mot wrote:

    I never did hear a good reason for stopping BTU.

    Well, now you have one … primarily women at the lead. The Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) will be next. Royal Ambassadors (RAs) and Girls In Action (GAs) programs are also heading toward extinction, since women have historically coordinated those programs at the local church level via the WMU. Discipleship training is now under the auspices of the New Calvinists through their “Next Generation” indoctrination. If are visiting a church and see the discipleship pastor titled “NextGen Pastor”, you will know you have entered the New Calvinist Kingdom.

  63. Max wrote:

    If are visiting a church and see the discipleship pastor titled “NextGen Pastor”, you will know you have entered the New Calvinist Kingdom.

    And the Rule of The Party is Forever.

  64. Max wrote:

    It’s my understanding that MacDonald initially signed up HBC to SBC ranks, with the intent of bringing in all HBF churches under the SBC umbrella. I’m not sure if any other HBF churches enlisted before the plan vaporized.

    MacDonald began HBC in 1988 and decided to join the SBC in 2015. If he’s always been a baptist, as he claims, why did he wait so long (27 years) to make his church part of the SBC?
    Does he need some SBC CP/Lottie Moon/Annie Armstrong monies?

  65. Christiane wrote:

    What a mess.
    There’s enough mess here to go around to MacDonald AND all of his enablers.

    Biblical examples, perhaps, are the kings of Israel who led up to the more “stable” reign of Ahab and Jeze. One guy managed to reign a week before grabbing his toys and stomping on home:
    “When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him. So he died,” I Kings 16:18

  66. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    MacDonald … If he’s always been a baptist, as he claims, why did he wait so long (27 years) to make his church part of the SBC?

    The time was right – the new reformation and SBC Calvinization is well under way. His New Calvinist buddies within SBC most likely courted him … but he had to first “repent” of calling SBC’s prevailing church governance (congregationalism) as from the devil. Folks will say what they need to, to get at SBC’s vast resources – for example, YRR stealth and deception (lying) to gain control of traditional SBC churches. I guess the young rebels haven’t read that “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Samuel 15).

  67. Deb wrote:

    We have shared this video before featuring former Gospel Coalition Council Members James MacDonald and C.J. Mahaney.

    It’s a classic!

    Makes me think of The Coneheads from old SNL back in the day.

  68. Muff Potter wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    We have shared this video before featuring former Gospel Coalition Council Members James MacDonald and C.J. Mahaney.

    It’s a classic!

    Makes me think of The Coneheads from old SNL back in the day.

    Before watching, let us consume mass quantities!
    It will be a long time before we see another six-pack!

  69. Annoymous wrote:

    The SBC Calvinist are courting these independent Calvinist groups because then they can have more Calvinist messengers every year at the SBC who vote for officers who appoint trustees and on and on. It’s part of the “reformation” of the SBC.

    The new SBC growth strategy is by multiplication, not salvation.

  70. Uncle Satin AKA Dave A A wrote:

    Biblical examples, perhaps, are the kings of Israel who led up to the more “stable” reign of Ahab and Jeze. One guy managed to reign a week before grabbing his toys and stomping on home:

    “When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him. So he died,” I Kings 16:18

    I remember this line from a long-ago EWTN Bible study led by a Jesuit:

    Referring to the Northern Kingdom, “Look at this! So-and-so becomes king, lasts a couple months, is replaced by So-and-so who lasts a month, he’s replaced by Zimri who only lasts a week — It’s a Banana Republic!”

  71. JYJames wrote:

    Christiane wrote:
    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE WHO FUNDED THIS MAN?

    There’s a theory out there that when you “plant a seed” by giving to “God’s anointed”, God will, in turn, give you what you ask for: healing, $$$, an empire, trophy partner, offspring, influence, etc.

    Remember Facing the Giants, AKA “Just like The Secret, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”?

  72. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    James MacDonald is exhibiting a character trait common to another notorious “pastor” who shares the same first name.

    Churchill summarized history as “one dang thing after another”. He was wrong, it is the same thing over and over.
    (I’m not sure I could accurately quote Chuchill on this forum)

  73. Janey wrote:

    You asked a very important question: “Why does The Gospel Coalition seem to have a knack for picking men to honor as council members who have turned out to be pinheads?”

    I think this gets at what the purpose of the gospel coalition is. As far as I can tell, it’s to get fame and fortune. So they attract people with poor morals, who want to be famous and rich and use the ‘gospel’ to get there.

  74. ishy wrote:

    And I always find New Calvinist arguments for eldership hysterical! I APPOINTED MYSELF ELDER AND YOU’RE NOT IT!

    Ha! I mean, in my church we vote on elders. Who also vote on proposals.

    But voting is evil, somehow? Pft.

  75. dee wrote:

    They love celebrities. It is like spending bucks to see Katy Perry. They are entertained.

    “The church has decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment, she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers. So today, we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places rapidly crowding out the serious things of God.” (A.W. Tozer)

  76. @ Deb:
    Do these guys realize that half of the new testament is based on letters, which are basically emails? Do they think Paul give all his instructions in person???

    Hilarious. These ‘tone and facial expressions are totally vital’ but think they get everything some guy wrote in a letter 2000 years ago in another language perfectly.

  77. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I remember this line from a long-ago EWTN Bible study led by a Jesuit:

    I go back far enough (little kid in Wisconsin) to remember when Lutheran pastors still wore the cassock on high holy days. You couldn’t tell Pastor Sorensen from Father Doyle (at St. Catherine’s) the Jesuit on those days, because Lutheranism and Catholicism had pretty much the same church calendar.

    Back then the Bible was what it was, a revered book of mystery and magic until Papa Chuck came along and reduced it to a strictly linearized how-to and why-we-gotta’-do-it-this-way manual. Very similar to the trajectory Wahhabi Islam took with their Qu’ran. Neo-Calvinism is merely repeating the loop, it’s all been done before.

  78. dee wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    The only other thing I can’t bring up is WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE WHO FUNDED THIS MAN??????

    They love celebrities. It is like spending bucks to see Katy Perry. They are entertained.

    makes sense

  79. Velour wrote:

    Wow. These guys are such scam artists.

    You’re right, and it seems as though Ontario in Canada is going to the dogs more and more daily.

  80. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:

    And I always find New Calvinist arguments for eldership hysterical! I APPOINTED MYSELF ELDER AND YOU’RE NOT IT!

    Ha! I mean, in my church we vote on elders. Who also vote on proposals.

    But voting is evil, somehow? Pft.

    The Body of Christ is set up so that the members work TOGETHER, so it would seem that ‘voting’ or at least some form of ‘collegiality’ would be more productive in a Christian faith community. That is, if it is a community and not a cult.

  81. Lea wrote:

    Do these guys realize that half of the new testament is based on letters, which are basically emails? Do they think Paul give all his instructions in person???

    That’s a brilliant point. Paul also did a fair bit of correction via letter. “You foolish Galatians…”

    And you guys are right, it’s the Christian Celebrity Culture that enables these guys to draw large crowds, both at church and at conferences. It’s probably the same culture than enables them to sit at a table and pontificate about the “proper” way to correct people with no regard to how it was actually done in the early church. Celebrities with over inflated egos are pretty common.

  82. Muff Potter wrote:

    Back then the Bible was what it was, a revered book of mystery and magic until Papa Chuck came along and reduced it to a strictly linearized how-to and why-we-gotta’-do-it-this-way manual.

    And Hal Lindsay reduced it to a linear chronological checklist of History Written in Advance, starting in the 1970s. (tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick…)

    Very similar to the trajectory Wahhabi Islam took with their Qu’ran.

    And gave us the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and al-Daesh.
    “IT IS WRITTEN! IT IS WRITTEN! IT IS WRITTEN!”

    (Thing is, I once read a linked online article on al-Wahab himself, and he seemed extreme but not THAT extreme. Looks like todays Wahabi are more Wahabi than al-Wahab, as well as more Islamic than Mohammed.)

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  85. Lea wrote:

    Do these guys realize that half of the new testament is based on letters, which are basically emails?

    Oh, you silly, silly girl! Those are not letters! They are GOD’S WORD! (Sarcasm. ; ^ ) )
    I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a preacher/deacon/SS teacher say: ‘GOD said, ” I suffer not a woman ……..!”‘

    Not Paul …… GOD!

  86. My life at Harvest started 1997, 20 years ago, I’m stunned by how far away from God so many have fallen. I pray that honest people that truly love the Lord can make this work out for HBF and honor the name of Jesus Christ. I left years ago, and I’m grateful to be in a church where transparency and love to all is present.

  87. He built himself a new mansion on several acres. He bought it in trust to hide his ownership of the home. But, he messed up. I have attached three documents related to the new mansion James S. MacDonald built – they are named exhibit a, b, & c respectively. A is a mortgage on his new property. B is a newer larger mortgage on the same property, but C is a Mortgage Release, releasing the first mortgage before the second came become valid.

    Take a look at the bottom of C. It says that these documents should be returned to James S. MacDonald at (address redacted by ed. ) So, this document connects James MacDonald to both properties

    C’mon, James, that’s a rookie mistake. At least when Steven Furtick pulled this “create a trust to claim ownership of my mansion” trick, he had his lieutenant Chunks Corbett establish the trust so it would be in Chunks’ name instead of Steven’s.

    retaining ownership of those marks and brands which we gladly share without reservation or new condition with all of you

    Sounds like the “Harvest Bible Chapel” name is a franchise operation now. But I bet that those other Harvest Bible Chapels still have to pay a licensing fee to continue to use the HBC marks and brands, as that’s the essence of the franchise model. With most of that going into MacDonald’s pocket, I’m pretty sure.

    MacDonald also pulled the “it’s of Satan” card when he fired those two elders in 2013.

    “Publicizing viewpoints rejected by the elder majority, for any reason, is satanic to the core and must be dealt with very directly” – MacDonald lieutenant Steve Huston in 2013

    “Congregational Government Is From Satan” – James MacDonald, title of the article mentioned in the post.

  88. AnonInNC wrote:

    C’mon, James, that’s a rookie mistake. At least when Steven Furtick pulled this “create a trust to claim ownership of my mansion” trick, he had his lieutenant Chunks Corbett establish the trust so it would be in Chunks’ name instead of Steven’s.

    At least Furtick understood the concept of maintaining Plausible Deniability…

  89. I heard James speak at a conference in Canada a few years ago. The people at the conference “worshipped him” and the joke among the young staff was ” have you asked James into you heart” as they were tired of everyone spell bound. I heard him speak and I walked out thinking he was the most arrogant man I have ever heard. I have never listened to him since or would attend a Harvest church for that reason.
    Sadly, I believe most gifted pastors start off with great faith and intentions however along the way power, and adoration ( of them ) happen and they lose their focus and believe they are the power. Unfortunately we in the pew must take some responsibility for maybe promoting the pastor worship mentality.

  90. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    And I always find New Calvinist arguments for eldership hysterical! I APPOINTED MYSELF ELDER AND YOU’RE NOT IT!
    Ha! I mean, in my church we vote on elders. Who also vote on proposals.
    But voting is evil, somehow? Pft.

    Transparency seems to be evil too,(little/no financial disclosure) along with not allowing women in any leadership positions.

  91. lynn wrote:

    we in the pew must take some responsibility for maybe promoting the pastor worship mentality

    Celebrity pastors would not have a stage if they didn’t have an audience worshiping and financing them. The pew shares the blame for ministries off track when they desire the pulpit to give them what they want. When the pulpit asks the pew “Which way do you want to go?”, he will gladly get out in front to lead them where they are going. Thus, we end up with mega-churches one-mile wide, but only one-inch deep.

  92. Lea wrote:

    ishy wrote:
    And I always find New Calvinist arguments for eldership hysterical! I APPOINTED MYSELF ELDER AND YOU’RE NOT IT!
    //
    Ha! I mean, in my church we vote on elders. Who also vote on proposals.
    But voting is evil, somehow? Pft.

    I noticed they make really big deals on how everybody should do when the elders tell them because, you know, “Bible”, but they never talk about the qualifications for elders.

    And since most of them appointed themselves and their friends elders for no other reason than they wanted to be the ones in charge, I really have a hard time believing all the other things they say about authority in the Bible. Especially since there are so few verses about authority and there’s hundreds, maybe thousands of verses about how Christians should be loving and merciful that they just ignore.

    BTW, appointing yourself anleader/pastor/elder with absolute authority–major sign of a cult.

  93. @ AnonInNC:

    ““Publicizing viewpoints rejected by the elder majority, for any reason, is satanic to the core and must be dealt with very directly” – MacDonald lieutenant Steve Huston in 2013

    “Congregational Government Is From Satan” – James MacDonald, title of the article mentioned in the post.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    blimey, sounds like a cartoon.

    (where all the characters, their behavior and verbiage are exaggerated caricatures).

  94. i think i have a new idea for a premise for a cartoon.

    (i can see it all — the body posture, the exaggerated features and facial expressions… of course, we can all see and hear the speech bubbles…. “…Satanic to the core!!…”)

  95. I wonder how much he’s made out of being a Christian? Enough to support his gambling habit? How on earth does this kind of financial idiocy happen with so much need in the world?

  96. Beakerj wrote:

    How on earth does this kind of financial idiocy happen with so much need in the world?

    Today is World Refugee Day. Yes, need in the world.

  97. lynn wrote:

    Sadly, I believe most gifted pastors start off with great faith and intentions however along the way power, and adoration ( of them ) happen and they lose their focus and believe they are the power. Unfortunately we in the pew must take some responsibility for maybe promoting the pastor worship mentality.

    The similarity with politics and politicians is freaky.

  98. Max wrote:

    Annoymous wrote:

    The SBC Calvinist are courting these independent Calvinist groups because then they can have more Calvinist messengers every year at the SBC who vote for officers who appoint trustees and on and on. It’s part of the “reformation” of the SBC.

    The new SBC growth strategy is by multiplication, not salvation.

    The FUNAMENTALIST padded their votes years ago by busing in more votes and now the CALVINIST add these Calvinist churches whose members will surely vote Calvinist. It all makes sense to me.

  99. Muff Potter wrote:

    Back then the Bible was what it was, a revered book of mystery and magic until Papa Chuck came along and reduced it to a strictly linearized how-to and why-we-gotta’-do-it-this-way manual. Very similar to the trajectory Wahhabi Islam took with their Qu’ran. Neo-Calvinism is merely repeating the loop, it’s all been done before.

    In my view, this is a major point. The Bible is non-linear (my opinion). No matter how many straight-line segments the so-called verse by verse “Bible teachers” come up with, there will always be curvature in between points.
    Pastor Sorensen and Father Doyle knew this long ago. They reveled in it, embraced it, and didn’t require an airtight and iron-clad “Biblical” answer for all of life’s nuances.

  100. ishy wrote:

    And since most of them appointed themselves and their friends elders for no other reason than they wanted to be the ones in charge, I really have a hard time believing all the other things they say about authority in the Bible. Especially since there are so few verses about authority and there’s hundreds, maybe thousands of verses about how Christians should be loving and merciful that they just ignore.

    BTW, appointing yourself anleader/pastor/elder with absolute authority–major sign of a cult.

    BINGO.

  101. lynn wrote:

    the joke among the young staff was ” have you asked James into you heart” as they were tired of everyone spell bound. I heard him speak and I walked out thinking he was the most arrogant man I have ever heard.

    Good report, Lynn.

    He seems like a horrible man.

  102. mot wrote:

    The FUNAMENTALIST padded their votes years ago by busing in more votes and now the CALVINIST add these Calvinist churches whose members will surely vote Calvinist. It all makes sense to me.

    Instead of a bus, the young reformers get the vote out by tweeting everyone to leave the coffee shops and get back in the convention center to vote for New Calvinist candidates. This ain’t our grandma’s SBC, Mot. The youth group has taken over!

  103. Max wrote:

    Instead of a bus, the young reformers get the vote out by tweeting everyone to leave the coffee shops and get back in the convention center to vote for New Calvinist candidates. This ain’t our grandma’s SBC, Mot. The youth group has taken over!

    One thing that helps me sleep at night, Max is the youth group is not getting any financial support from me.

  104. Well….I haven’t read any of the comments yet, or even the entire article. However, what came to mind with regard to James MacDonald is a Proverb: When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.

    That rambling word salad of MacDonald’s is meant to throw people off his trail. It’s an attempt to deflect others so as not to ask any questions.

  105. Darlene wrote:

    That rambling word salad of MacDonald’s is meant to throw people off his trail. It’s an attempt to deflect others so as not to ask any questions.

    I have learned that asking questions is one way of figuring out if a group of Christians are homogeneous in their beliefs ….. but if they are NOT, but still agree around political and cultural ‘norms’ for their grouping, then they may very well get angry when questions on matters to do with theology. Well, ‘defensive’ maybe than ‘angry’, but the questioning is not well-recieved. When you are Catholic and question other faith communities, you have a template of ‘structure’ and ‘form’ in mind; but then you find out that the faith community you are trying to learn about may not have a ‘structure’ in its theology in the way you would expect of any faith community …. it’s THEN that you see a defensive push-back to questions that you didn’t think were problematic. It’s a journey …. you learn by experience. People are sensitive when they are probed for what their belief is and they are not completely SURE of what it is that they do believe; and I can understand why they would react with annoyance.

    Best thing I learned: you can tell a whole lot more about a faith community from how it treats ‘the others’ than from anything it says it ‘believes’. It’s in this particular practice of the faith that the beliefs are best outlined when observing any faith community, yes.

  106. “He has been terribly oppressed.”

    These guys all play the poor victim, while they make off with the booty.

  107. __

    “The Lord’s Fields Are White With Harvest?”

    hmmm…

    In the ninth hour the Lord Jesus is going out to the hiways and byways, calling upon all who will labor in His fields…

    Q. Who will heed His earnest call?

    ATB

    Sopy

  108. mot wrote:

    the youth group is not getting any financial support from me

    Southern Baptists – most unknowingly – are financing SBC’s YRR church planting program at $60 million per year through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

  109. Mae wrote:

    These men just turn my stomach! How are people so deceived by these charlatans?
    All I see in them is: $$$$$$

    Christiane wrote:

    The only other thing I can’t bring up is WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PEOPLE WHO FUNDED THIS MAN??????
    Was this a cult?
    What hold did he have on them?

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    You mean the SUCKERS?
    Can’t have a Mooch-and-Sucker Show without lotsa SUCKERS!

    I’m interest in learning any thoughts about the level of education achieved by the people characterized in the above responses. Is this a phenomenon of minimally educated people or are the well educated, such as medical doctors, caught up in this as well?

  110. Max wrote:

    mot wrote:

    the youth group is not getting any financial support from me

    Southern Baptists – most unknowingly – are financing SBC’s YRR church planting program at $60 million per year through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

    I would say most SBC know nothing about this.

  111. Max wrote:

    Southern Baptists – most unknowingly – are financing SBC’s YRR church planting program at $60 million per year through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.

    Didn’t Comrade Lenin get a big kick out of making the Capitalists pay for their own destruction?

  112. Darlene wrote:

    That rambling word salad of MacDonald’s is meant to throw people off his trail. It’s an attempt to deflect others so as not to ask any questions.

    MacDonald, Piper, PCCP Wilson — they’re all tossing word salad, all the time.
    “If you cant dazzle them with brilliance…”

  113. Max wrote:

    “He has been terribly oppressed.”

    These guys all play the poor victim, while they make off with the booty.

    Playing the Poor Poor Victim and shining the Stupid Ray of “Induce Pity/Induce Guilt” IS the most defining characteristic of a Sociopath.

  114. Muff Potter wrote:

    Muff Potter wrote:
    Back then the Bible was what it was, a revered book of mystery and magic until Papa Chuck came along and reduced it to a strictly linearized how-to and why-we-gotta’-do-it-this-way manual. Very similar to the trajectory Wahhabi Islam took with their Qu’ran. Neo-Calvinism is merely repeating the loop, it’s all been done before.

    In my view, this is a major point. The Bible is non-linear (my opinion). No matter how many straight-line segments the so-called verse by verse “Bible teachers” come up with, there will always be curvature in between points.

    Pastor Sorensen and Father Doyle knew this long ago. They reveled in it, embraced it, and didn’t require an airtight and iron-clad “Biblical” answer for all of life’s nuances.

    A couple years ago, Chaplain Mike speculated that the one-two punch of the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution caused a major shift in how we look at the Bible. From a wild brew of the Old Old Stories of God and Man to a monolithic Spiritual Engineering Manual of Axiom, Axiom, Axiom, Fact, Fact, Fact. From Story to Checklist.

    And Rob Bell’s blog (presumably the same Rob Bell who got piled on by Team Hell) called these “Poem Truth” and “Math Truth”, and that one major problem today is reading the Bible’s Poem Truth as if it were Math Truth.

  115. lynn wrote:

    Sadly, I believe most gifted pastors start off with great faith and intentions however along the way power, and adoration ( of them ) happen and they lose their focus and believe they are the power. Unfortunately we in the pew must take some responsibility for maybe promoting the pastor worship mentality.

    Like how Rush Limbaugh ended up listening to his own PR for too long.

    I very occasionally listened to the guy over the years, and noticed a deterioration. As Entropy set in, Rush lost whatever sense of humor he had at the beginning and developed all the sleepless unsmiling concentration of The True Believer. Increasing in intensity and volume along the way. From Conservatism as Theater to Hyper-Conservatism as The One True Way, Die Heretics.

  116. lynn wrote:

    I heard James speak at a conference in Canada a few years ago. The people at the conference “worshipped him” and the joke among the young staff was ” have you asked James into you heart” as they were tired of everyone spell bound. I heard him speak and I walked out thinking he was the most arrogant man I have ever heard.

    Arrogance and fawning worship…
    The two seem to go together, don’t they?

    After rinsing the Dispy interpretation of Revelation out of my brain, I wondered if this was a meaning of the real First Horseman of the Apocalypse, the nameless “Man on the White Horse”. He’s treated as a Messiah figure — maybe he’s good, maybe he’s evil, but he’s still a finite mortal, though treated as a demigod. Even if good, he’ll make mistakes; but the worship of his followers goes to his head, he figures he IS a demigod, overstretches and/or screws up. And the results follow — War, Famine, Pestilence, with Thanatos & Hades following behind like scavengers to scoop up the casualties.

    I figured this was the real danger both Obama and Trump face when in office. Both got elected basically on “Messiah Politics”, becoming (at least in the minds of their most enthusiastic followers) their Man on the White Horse who Will Make Everything Perfect.

  117. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And Rob Bell’s blog (presumably the same Rob Bell who got piled on by Team Hell) called these “Poem Truth” and “Math Truth”, and that one major problem today is reading the Bible’s Poem Truth as if it were Math Truth.

    Very insightful! The first 11 chapters of Genesis are about as obviously “poem truth” as you can get even to this half brain dead physicist yet these 11 chapters are the foundation for the recurring pro-YEC and anti-evolution comments here at TWW.

  118. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Referring to the Northern Kingdom, “Look at this! So-and-so becomes king, lasts a couple months, is replaced by So-and-so who lasts a month, he’s replaced by Zimri who only lasts a week — It’s a Banana Republic!”

    So I’m thinking all the new denominational leaders will be like those guys, whereas Macdonald himself is like both Jeroboam and Rehoboam before them. Jeroboam in his building up high places of a successful religion, as in “the Vertical vision is right, the men are gathering to take the hill,” and Rehoboam in laying heavy burdens of debt on the citizens, and whipping them with scorpions if they complain.

  119. MacDonald sounds like the typical abuser’s “apology.” You know, “I did not do anything wrong and if I would have it would have been your fault, but if you got your feelings hurt I’m sorry. You can’t fire me because I quit, except I’m gonna let you run the show but I’m gonna retain ownership and step in you mess up.”

    But he isn’t the only one who needs firing!

    When oh when are we gonna learn? Jesus warned us against following these lordly leaders, but we think we can’t bless the biscuits without one. Sit on your wallet, if your local church has good Bible studies or SS’s or whatever, join one, but attend church services ONLY if you have a preacher that truly understands he is to preach the gospel and not run a business.

    People are, according to the Bible, brought into the faith through the “foolishness of preaching.” If your preacher is constantly harping his job is equip you to win the lost, tell him to put the comma back in the verse and quit going to listen to his whipping sessions.

    We get the leadership we choose in this all volunteer army. Let’s seriously choose better!

  120. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    From the Daily Mail this week, 6.19.2017, summarizing brain research at McMaster University in Ontario: “Hubris syndrome is a disorder of the possession of power.” (The Atlantic also has an article about this brain research. It is trending.)

    “The brain activity of CEOs changes as they climb the career ladder and causes them to lose the ability to empathize.”

    Humility gone. Pride rules, a deadly sin, and goes before a fall/big fail. God’s Word.

  121. Boston Lady wrote:

    You’re right, and it seems as though Ontario in Canada is going to the dogs more and more daily.

    Aww, that’s where I’m from… 🙁

    And apparently MacDonald was born in the same city I was. Who’da thunk it?

  122. mot wrote:

    I would say most SBC know nothing about this.

    And probably don’t give a big whoop, as long as you don’t mess with their potlucks. “Theology” has never really bothered the pew much. They may jump up and down to defend Bible inerrancy, but they don’t read it much.

  123. mot wrote:

    I would say most SBC know nothing about this.

    There needs to be a “Here’s What’s Going On With New Calvinism in SBC” insert going in the Sunday morning bulletin at all 45,000+ SBC churches … or pastors holding “family talks” about the matter … but that ain’t going to happen. Thus, the pew remains uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant as the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America slips firmly into the hands of the new reformers.

  124. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Is “Harvest Bible Chapel CORPORATION ILLINOIS” going to demand money for use of this trademark?

    Well, it’s not a scheme that’s beneath con artists and bullies. Just ask David Miscavige (as you well know), and Michael Ferris (of Patrick Henry College). Mind you, they tend to just use the threat of “copyright infringement” to deter public criticism and bad press, but still…

  125. JYJames wrote:

    “The brain activity of CEOs changes as they climb the career ladder and causes them to lose the ability to empathize.”
    Humility gone. Pride rules, a deadly sin, and goes before a fall/big fail. God’s Word.

    This comment by Dan on The Elephants’ Debt website made me tear up, and also want to reach out and go “Old Testament” on MacDonald…
    “I became disillusioned with James when, during a break while meeting with the production and worship teams, I approached James to ask for prayer. I had just been diagnosed (again) with cancer, and thought I can briefly describe why I was asking for prayer. I was quite disillusioned noticing James looking at his watch while I was describing in heartfelt detail the fear I was having. It was at that moment I felt the “You are loved” statement at the end of his sermon was not much more than a meaningless tag line to close the service. I certainly wasn’t asking to be friends or to go out for dinner; I just wanted a couple minutes with the senior pastor. Perhaps I felt entitled; if so that was my mistake – I simply believed that my faithful giving, sacrifice, and the many hours of volunteering in a ministry would allow me a minute of prayer.”

  126. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    That rambling word salad of MacDonald’s is meant to throw people off his trail. It’s an attempt to deflect others so as not to ask any questions.

    MacDonald, Piper, PCCP Wilson — they’re all tossing word salad, all the time.
    “If you cant dazzle them with brilliance…”

    I think the people who are impressed with word salad are generally people who don’t know what words mean. Everybody else is like huh? Diagram that sentence!

  127. @ Uncle Satin AKA Dave A A:
    Based on Dan’s testimony, it would be wrong to refer to James MacDonald as a “pastor.” The man is using the church with selfish intent, not serving it in love. The New Calvinist world is full of such characters.

  128. JYJames wrote:

    Humility gone. Pride rules

    “Humble” is not a word that comes to mind when you look across the landscape of New Calvinist leaders. Mohler humble? Not! Dever humble? Not! Piper humble? Not! The only reformed icon that has been called humble is C.J. Mahaney and he said that about himself! He arrogantly wrote a book entitled “Humility: True Greatness” … how in the world did Mahaney know enough about humility to write a book about it?!

  129. Uncle Satin AKA Dave A A wrote:

    This comment by Dan on The Elephants’ Debt website

    Regarding Dan’s story on his website:
    How many Christians in the pew have similar stories about the clergy in the pulpit?

    Granted, as anyone in a people industry or a service industry knows, there are folks that potentially exhaust one’s time and attention. However, wisdom and discretion are part of the calling, as opposed to lack of empathy. Deftly, politely, handling with finesse and discernment (real need versus attention grabbers), the various requests is part of the position.

    Again, the brain research about power destroying empathy, right at the brain cell level, is apropos.

    The pew people can equally be wise and discriminating when it comes to the empathy level of the clergy they support. As others here at TWW have mentioned, one votes with their feet and their pocketbook. And one shares their own anecdotal testimony, as Dan has shared. That, too, is power.

  130. Max wrote:

    @ Uncle Satin AKA Dave A A:
    Based on Dan’s testimony, it would be wrong to refer to James MacDonald as a “pastor.” The man is using the church with selfish intent, not serving it in love. The New Calvinist world is full of such characters.

    Well, MacDonald didn’t have time to pray with Dan who was diagnosed with cancer, but he sure had no problem hanging out with Mark Driscoll on the bus & getting a well-rounded pat on the back. These Neo-Cal pastors have no interest in ministering to the lowly pew peons. That won’t promote their career.

  131. @ Darlene:
    Whoops…I shouldn’t have even referred to them as “pastors.” They sully that name of those who are Genuine pastors.

  132. Darlene wrote:

    Well, MacDonald didn’t have time to pray with Dan who was diagnosed with cancer, but he sure had no problem hanging out with Mark Driscoll on the bus & getting a well-rounded pat on the back.

    That video with CJ ‘helpfully’ counseling Macdonald that he’s an idiot for taking comments, getting any feedback at all, etc, is an excellent case study in ‘how groupthink happens’. All these little pastor dudes telling each other not to listen to the little people.

  133. Ken G wrote:

    I’m interest in learning any thoughts about the level of education achieved by the people characterized in the above responses. Is this a phenomenon of minimally educated people or are the well educated, such as medical doctors, caught up in this as wel

    I think that a number of the folks supporting these churches are well educated. In my experience many of those attending these evangelical money machines have a college education or even higher.

    In his book “Why People Believe Weird Things” Michael Shermer posits that intelligent people are very adept at pulling the wool over their own eyes as they have ability to craft the arguments that make such belief possible.

    In the books I’ve read on cults, many of those trapped are not poorly educated or any less gullible than your average citizen.

    I’m not a Baptist but the evangelicalism I’ve been exposed to is very reactionary, the whole enterprise seems reactionary – to innovations in science, to expanded human rights, to marginalized groups in society- basically anything that challenges the bible as a literal, infallible, inerrant document.

    Combine that with a fear of God himself well….

  134. Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts? All I see are people making snide comments & being harsh towards others. (I’m not talking about towards James, but about “his enablers & others not in public sin.”) I do not attend his church, but it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart even more that people want to sit around & talk about how wrong “they” are. Don’t be so sure you have it 100% right.

  135. Ken G wrote:

    I’m interest in learning any thoughts about the level of education achieved by the people characterized in the above responses. Is this a phenomenon of minimally educated people or are the well educated, such as medical doctors, caught up in this as well?

    “Professing to be wise, they became fools…”

  136. Christiane wrote:

    @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    thankful for Alan Cross’s response to this terrible SBCVoices post
    I’m a fan of Alan Cross for a long time. He is still a hero of mine.

    Christiane, what post is that? Do you have a link?

  137. Corey Uber wrote:

    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?

    What do you mean but this catch all Christian meme?Corey Uber wrote:

    Don’t be so sure you have it 100% right.

    Yep- that is so typical a response. “You don’t have the whole story.” No one ever does. But many people can have most of the story.

    MacDonald has had issues for years but it is folks in la la land that let it go year after year. That is wrong.

    Here is a resource to help you cope with your grieving process.

    Grief and Loss – NCSU Counseling Center
    https://counseling.dasa.ncsu.edu/grief-and-loss/

  138. Corey Uber wrote:

    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?

    Absolutely. It grieves my heart that supposed pastors tell their membership to give and give and instead of helping people (widows and orphans and so on and so forth) they use it buy expensive property for themselves. And refuse to accept correction. And treat people poorly. I am exceedingly grieved by that. Is that what you meant to say?

  139. Max wrote:

    Mohler humble? Not! Dever humble? Not! Piper humble? Not! The only reformed icon that has been called humble is C.J. Mahaney…

    With Liveried Armorbearers blowing long trumpets before Him to announce how HUMBLE(TM) he is.

  140. Corey Uber wrote:

    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?

    No, Corey Pastor-Lapdog, the proper Spiritual term is to hint at Special Revelation about “Grieving the Holy Spirit”. If you’re going to guilt-trip us for blasphemy, may as well take it to the Top.

  141. dee wrote:

    Corey Uber wrote:
    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?

    What do you mean but this catch all Christian meme?

    Corey Uber wrote:
    Don’t be so sure you have it 100% right.

    Yep- that is so typical a response. “You don’t have the whole story.” No one ever does. But many people can have most of the story.

    Ever notice how these Defenders of the Faith (who we’ve never heard of before) all come out of the woodwork with Pious accusations and wagging fingers and Christianese buzzwords when their Pet Pastor/REAL Personal LORD and Savior gets exposed here at TWW?

  142. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Like how Rush Limbaugh ended up listening to his own PR for too long.
    I very occasionally listened to the guy over the years, and noticed a deterioration.

    We affectionately call our Chevy Volt “Rush” or “Rushie” in “honor” of his diatribes…

  143. Jack wrote:

    I think that a number of the folks supporting these churches are well educated. In my experience many of those attending these evangelical money machines have a college education or even higher.

    Education does not equal one ounce of revelation. It’s by the Spirit saith the Lord … not by intellect.

  144. Uncle Satin AKA Dave A A wrote:

    So I’m thinking all the new denominational leaders will be like those guys, whereas Macdonald himself is like both Jeroboam and Rehoboam before them. Jeroboam in his building up high places of a successful religion, as in “the Vertical vision is right, the men are gathering to take the hill,” and Rehoboam in laying heavy burdens of debt on the citizens, and whipping them with scorpions if they complain.

    Wasn’t Rehoboam the one who split the Jewish kingdom in two?
    Triggered a secession crisis/civil war?
    And the Egyptians rolled over the south and looted ALL that his father Solomon had built?
    All because he listened to the young men he’d grown up with (sounds like drinking buddies) instead of his father’s trusted experienced advisors?

  145. Max wrote:

    Education does not equal one ounce of revelation. It’s by the Spirit saith the Lord … not by intellect.

    Better qualify that, Max.
    “It’s by the Spirit saith the LORD … not by intellect” has been used to justify the “Holy Nincompoop”. A Pious Putdown I got all too familiar with during my time in-country. Often accompanied with many bogus “ounces of Revelation” that in retrospect should have been phone-ins on Coast to Coast AM.

  146. Corey Uber wrote:

    All I see are people making snide comments & being harsh towards others.

    Corey, if you have read TWW much at all, you would know that the commenters here are sick and tired of being sick and tired of church charlatans running rough shod over God’s people. Instead of snide and harsh, they are really a loving and peaceful bunch; albeit, a bit blunt at times. Many of them have come out of abusive ministries and are here to rescue others. They sound the alarm to those who will listen; to those who won’t, they ignore their correction. They are here to rebuke, not be rebuked. Watchmen ‘must’ warn … even if they have to get attention with a little shock and awe.

  147. Max wrote:

    There needs to be a “Here’s What’s Going On With New Calvinism in SBC” insert going in the Sunday morning bulletin at all 45,000+ SBC churches … or pastors holding “family talks” about the matter … but that ain’t going to happen. Thus, the pew remains uninformed, misinformed, or willingly ignorant as the largest non-Calvinist denomination in America slips firmly into the hands of the new reformers

    This same approach by the SBC was used over almost 40 years ago when the SBC was taken over and many very good people IMO driven out.

  148. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Corey Uber wrote:
    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?
    What do you mean but this catch all Christian meme?
    Corey Uber wrote:
    Don’t be so sure you have it 100% right.
    Yep- that is so typical a response. “You don’t have the whole story.” No one ever does. But many people can have most of the story.
    Ever notice how these Defenders of the Faith (who we’ve never heard of before) all come out of the woodwork with Pious accusations and wagging fingers and Christianese buzzwords when their Pet Pastor/REAL Personal LORD and Savior gets exposed here at TWW?

    Yes, and with James MacDonald’s money…the hired hands doing public relations spin may be showing up.

  149. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    They just keep getting worse:
    http://sbcvoices.com/southern-baptists-the-alt-right-and-doug-wilson-jeff-wright/

    Douglas Wilson should be a pariah, but this guy honors him! I bet he’d think differently if Doug Wilson literally owned him. Oh, wait, he’s a white guy, he’d never be owned. He’d be the owner.

    (Sorry, not giving Doug Wilson’s defense of slavery a pass, not after reading Prof. Edward Baptist’s “The Half Has Never Been Told.” I could say more, but I’m going to shut up before I lose it.)

  150. Just to make it clear where I’m coming from, here’s the quote I’m reacting to very badly from the SBC Voices article:

    Before we get started: Wilson has been, and remains, a major influence on me and I am very grateful for his work (one example from this very blog). In fact, I consider Wilson a top-shelf Christian thinker in this generation.

    No, no, no, no, no, no, NONONONONONO!!!! In between the way Wilson sees slavery and the way he sees women, EVERYTHING else Wilson teaches should be questioned! *scowl* Don’t honor this guy!

  151. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Just to make it clear where I’m coming from, here’s the quote I’m reacting to very badly from the SBC Voices article:

    Before we get started: Wilson has been, and remains, a major influence on me and I am very grateful for his work (one example from this very blog). In fact, I consider Wilson a top-shelf Christian thinker in this generation.

    No, no, no, no, no, no, NONONONONONO!!!! In between the way Wilson sees slavery and the way he sees women, EVERYTHING else Wilson teaches should be questioned! *scowl* Don’t honor this guy!

    I know some about Alan Cross but if this is what he thinks about Wilson, that changes everything I used to think about him.

  152. mot wrote:

    I know some about Alan Cross but if this is what he thinks about Wilson, that changes everything I used to think about him.

    My bad, not Alan Cross, but Jeff Wright the author of this ridiculous blog.

  153. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Just to make it clear where I’m coming from, here’s the quote I’m reacting to very badly from the SBC Voices article:

    Before we get started: Wilson has been, and remains, a major influence on me and I am very grateful for his work (one example from this very blog). In fact, I consider Wilson a top-shelf Christian thinker in this generation.

    No, no, no, no, no, no, NONONONONONO!!!! In between the way Wilson sees slavery and the way he sees women, EVERYTHING else Wilson teaches should be questioned! *scowl* Don’t honor this guy!

    I do not understand SBC Voices when they allow this kind of false drivel on their website.

  154. mot wrote:

    This same approach by the SBC was used over almost 40 years ago when the SBC was taken over and many very good people IMO driven out.

    Yep, the “Conservative vs. Liberal” game plan looks like the same one being used for the “Traditional vs. New Calvinist” agenda. The end result will be the same, as you note: “many very good people driven out.”

  155. I really appreciate your response Max. Thank you. It helped me understand. I will be honest, I am in tears by the harsh responses I am getting by the people here. To be honest, some of it is just mean. They will not reach those who have been abused by these churches & pastors by talking about them this way. @ Max:

  156. That was just rude. What purpose did your snarky comments serve? Are you trying to hurt me? Offend me? Make me laugh? Are you proud of how witty you are? By my “don’t be so sure you have it 100% right” comment I meant that everyone in here should be sure they have never been in doctrinal error….because they seem to know what everyone else is doing wrong. dee wrote:

    Corey Uber wrote:

    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?

    What do you mean but this catch all Christian meme?Corey Uber wrote:

    Don’t be so sure you have it 100% right.

    Yep- that is so typical a response. “You don’t have the whole story.” No one ever does. But many people can have most of the story.

    MacDonald has had issues for years but it is folks in la la land that let it go year after year. That is wrong.

    Here is a resource to help you cope with your grieving process.

    Grief and Loss – NCSU Counseling Center
    https://counseling.dasa.ncsu.edu/grief-and-loss/

  157. YES! All of the above. If it grieves your heart too, go & do something about it instead of sitting around being proud of how smart & snarky you are. I see nothing beneficial about sitting around congratulating each other on how right you are &
    how much more you know than everyone else. Men like James will always exist. Call them out & move on. Lea wrote:

    Corey Uber wrote:

    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?

    Absolutely. It grieves my heart that supposed pastors tell their membership to give and give and instead of helping people (widows and orphans and so on and so forth) they use it buy expensive property for themselves. And refuse to accept correction. And treat people poorly. I am exceedingly grieved by that. Is that what you meant to say?

  158. Corey Uber wrote:

    YES! All of the above. If it grieves your heart too, go & do something about it instead of sitting around being proud of how smart & snarky you are. I see nothing beneficial about sitting around congratulating each other on how right you are &
    how much more you know than everyone else. Men like James will always exist. Call them out & move on. Lea wrote:

    Corey Uber wrote:

    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?

    Absolutely. It grieves my heart that supposed pastors tell their membership to give and give and instead of helping people (widows and orphans and so on and so forth) they use it buy expensive property for themselves. And refuse to accept correction. And treat people poorly. I am exceedingly grieved by that. Is that what you meant to say?

    You must not be the one who understands TWW. Seems to me you are the snarky one.

  159. Wait what? You don’t know me at all. Your assumptions are your issue. I am literally zero of the things you qualified me as. I found this page because I googled more information on this recent Harvest Fellowship situation because I know people who attend & someone who is a pastor in the fellowship. How incredibly rude & shallow you must be. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Corey Uber wrote:
    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?

    What do you mean but this catch all Christian meme?

    Corey Uber wrote:
    Don’t be so sure you have it 100% right.

    Yep- that is so typical a response. “You don’t have the whole story.” No one ever does. But many people can have most of the story.

    Ever notice how these Defenders of the Faith (who we’ve never heard of before) all come out of the woodwork with Pious accusations and wagging fingers and Christianese buzzwords when their Pet Pastor/REAL Personal LORD and Savior gets exposed here at TWW?

  160. Are you serious? If someone has an opinion other than yours it must be PR? How arrogant. Velour wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:
    Corey Uber wrote:
    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?
    What do you mean but this catch all Christian meme?
    Corey Uber wrote:
    Don’t be so sure you have it 100% right.
    Yep- that is so typical a response. “You don’t have the whole story.” No one ever does. But many people can have most of the story.
    Ever notice how these Defenders of the Faith (who we’ve never heard of before) all come out of the woodwork with Pious accusations and wagging fingers and Christianese buzzwords when their Pet Pastor/REAL Personal LORD and Savior gets exposed here at TWW?

    Yes, and with James MacDonald’s money…the hired hands doing public relations spin may be showing up.

  161. I absolutely am angry by the responses I received. I definitely came to the wrong website for information & was appalled by the comments. I learned my lesson & will move on. 🙂 mot wrote:

    Corey Uber wrote:

    Corey

    Seem a little angry to me Corey?

  162. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    ‘Team Hell’ …. that is a phrase I can understand as something experienced when you come into a community of faith that is based on condemnation, judgement, prosecution, and dispensing final sentence on the souls of those that are held in contempt

    It’s a perfect term for them what condemn other ‘to hell’, I think. No humility or understanding of their place as imperfect creatures themselves still seeing ‘as through a glass darkly’,
    and yet they ‘know it all’ when they cannot see the heart of their victims as God is able to do.

    No humility. And condemning ‘the other’ affirms their own self-righteousness. This didn’t work for the Pharisee in the NT, and it won’t work for ‘Team Hell’ either.

  163. mot wrote:

    Corey Uber wrote:
    Corey
    Seems to me you came to this Blog reprimanding people. Why are you surprised at the response?

    Exactly, MOT.

    “Corey” started with the tongue-lashing. And then played the ‘victim’ card, complete with ‘tears’ for getting called out on it.

  164. Corey Uber wrote:

    Are you serious? If someone has an opinion other than yours it must be PR? How arrogant. Velour wrote:
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    dee wrote:
    Corey Uber wrote:
    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?
    What do you mean but this catch all Christian meme?
    Corey Uber wrote:
    Don’t be so sure you have it 100% right.
    Yep- that is so typical a response. “You don’t have the whole story.” No one ever does. But many people can have most of the story.
    Ever notice how these Defenders of the Faith (who we’ve never heard of before) all come out of the woodwork with Pious accusations and wagging fingers and Christianese buzzwords when their Pet Pastor/REAL Personal LORD and Savior gets exposed here at TWW?
    Yes, and with James MacDonald’s money…the hired hands doing public relations spin may be showing up.

    Actually, it is common place here to have the ‘hired hands’ who work for the big-name pastors show up here and defend their clients whenever there is a big story.

    It’s not ‘arrogant’. It’s ‘truth’.

    You were very rude and childish to start your first comment here on the attack. Have you always lacked social skills and manners, or is this just an aberration?

    You will find that if you’re nice to people, they will surprise you and be nice back.
    Try it sometime.

  165. Corey Uber wrote:

    I absolutely am angry by the responses I received. I definitely came to the wrong website for information & was appalled by the comments. I learned my lesson & will move on. mot wrote:
    Corey Uber wrote:
    Corey
    Seem a little angry to me Corey?

    And you can think of NOTHING wrong that you did to receive such a chilly response?
    Think carefully and re-read what you posted.

  166. __

    “Remember the sabbath day, aka the ‘rest’ of the seventh day, to keep it holy, perhaps?”

    Dear Old John J. ,

    You said: “The first 11 chapters of Genesis are about as obviously “poem truth” as you can get even to this half brain dead physicist yet these 11 chapters are the foundation for the recurring pro-YEC and anti-evolution comments here at TWW.”

    hmmm…

    Respectfully,

    Is Exodus 20 included in your ‘poem truth’ as well? :

    Exodus 20: 8″Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

    ATB

    Sopy
    __
    Ref:
    http://biblehub.com/kjv/exodus/20.htm
    http://biblehub.com/exodus/20-11.htm

  167. Sopwith wrote:

    Is Exodus 20 included in your ‘poem truth’ as well? :

    Sopwith, Thanks for your comment. The writer of Exodus didn’t have 20th century science to affect how the Genesis creation story was interpreted. While the present estimated age of the universe and our solar system are measured in billions of years the 1978 and 2011 physics Nobels indicate our universe is a one time creation: there was a beginning caused by something outside of the universe. It seems to me that “poem truth” still covers the creation event. Many of us still try to rest on the now first day of the week and keep at least a little hallowed.

  168. Lea wrote:

    In fact, I consider Wilson a top-shelf Christian thinker in this generation.

    Love to know what his criteria is a top-shelf christian thinker.

  169. mot wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    In fact, I consider Wilson a top-shelf Christian thinker in this generation.

    Love to know what his criteria is a top-shelf christian thinker.

    Theology prompted by lots of alcohol? Otherwise, who knows. He thinks thoughts. But they aren’t good thoughts. So.

  170. Corey Uber wrote:

    go & do something about it instead of sitting around being proud of how smart & snarky you are.

    The second part is why you’re getting all these responses that are supposedly making you cry. It’s rude. Really, really rude. If you can’t hear that, I suggest you take a step back.

    As for the first part, the things to do about this are

    1. Let people know. Which is what this site does.
    2. Avoid such people and churches, which is what I do. Starve the beast.

    I’m not sure what other actions you think should be taken.

  171. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Wasn’t Rehoboam the one who split the Jewish kingdom in two?
    Triggered a secession crisis/civil war?
    And the Egyptians rolled over the south and looted ALL that his father Solomon had built?
    All because he listened to the young men he’d grown up with (sounds like drinking buddies) instead of his father’s trusted experienced advisors?

    And ultimately because dear old Dad Solomon multiplied horses, gold, and foreign wives for himself, leading to his building vertical churches and harvest fellowships for Ashtoreth, Milcom, Chemosh, and Molech.
    God might have preferred to give the whole kit and kaboodle to Jeroboam had He not made pesky promises to David.

  172. Max wrote:

    Based on Dan’s testimony, it would be wrong to refer to James MacDonald as a “pastor.”

    True. Motivational speaker and business leader, perhaps.

  173. Lea wrote:

    1. Let people know. Which is what this site does.
    2. Avoid such people and churches, which is what I do. Starve the beast.

    Many TWW commenters are “watchmen on the wall” … whether they realize that or not. The Bible is clear that watchmen are to sound the alarm.

    If the church doesn’t starve the beast, it enables it to do more harm to the Body of Christ. Better to deprive it of sustenance, than to release the beast.

  174. Uncle Satin AKA Dave A A wrote:

    Motivational speaker and business leader

    Just because a man has the gift of gab, doesn’t mean he has something to say to the church. There are many excellent communicators in the pulpit that God didn’t put there.

  175. JYJames wrote:

    one votes with their feet and their pocketbook. And one shares their own anecdotal testimony, as Dan has shared. That, too, is power.

    And “as anyone in a people industry or service industry knows”
    I’ve not had an encounter like this with a current celebrity pastor, but am reminded of a former pastor/chaplain who turned into a celebrity gourmet chef. He had a restaurant/store and we went for some lunch. There were hardly any customers but the waitress seemed totally overwhelmed, forgetting both water and coffee and getting the orders wrong. Then it took forever for the meals to be cooked. All this time the chaplain/chef was sitting up front sipping wine with some important muckeymucks, not lifting a finger. When we complained on the way out, he blamed us for ruining our digestion and enjoyment of god’s wonderful gift of food by being upset. Of course not another penny from us entered his til, and we stopped watching his TV show. This was years before things came out about his indisgressions and mistakes with teenaged boys.

  176. Max wrote:

    There are many excellent communicators in the pulpit that God didn’t put there.

    If he were not being given really large sums of money for being an excellent communicator, I’d let this nitpicking of his letter pass: “Today, I will meet with Joel Anderson and release he and Jill with joy to an exciting new opportunity with Harvest Flagstaff.”
    My junior high English teacher told us to eliminate excess words to get our pronouns correct. “I will meet with Joel and release he.” Hmmm… But I’m sure most of the time he communicates more gooder than my teacher did.

  177. Darlene wrote:

    he sure had no problem hanging out with Mark Driscoll on the bus

    Whilst the bus was rolling over numerous troublesome former Mars Hill members and leaders.
    Until, that is, he saw the bus headed for a cliff and jumped off at the last moment.

  178. Uncle Satin AKA Dave A A wrote:

    I’m sure most of the time he communicates more gooder than my teacher did

    Gooder enough to build a mega-church and reach celebrity status. New Calvinism is an amazing phenomenon. But, not all religious movements are movements of God.

  179. Uncle Satin AKA Dave A A wrote:

    This was years before things came out about his indisgressions and mistakes with teenaged boys.

    Was this the late Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet tv show?

    I think seven men sued him for sexual abuse.

  180. Max wrote:

    New Calvinism is an amazing phenomenon. But, not all religious movements are movements of God.

    Unless God predetermines all religious movements before the foundations of the world. 🙁

  181. Dave A A wrote:

    Unless God predetermines all religious movements before the foundations of the world.

    Only the Calvinist God would do that … not the God I know.

  182. Velour wrote:

    Was this the late Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet tv show?

    Yep. I first met him at a seminar he catered soon after he left off pastoring. Seemed like a great guy. Public personna like a lot of the guys we discuss here. Later my roommate worked for him and went from bottle washer to right hand man to gone in 3 months (bad boss, sexual harassment, or both). After he was famous my out of town relatives tried to snap a photo of his house from the public street and he screamed at them. I say all this thinking of MacDonald (some resemblance, no?)

  183. Dave A A wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Was this the late Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet tv show?
    Yep. I first met him at a seminar he catered soon after he left off pastoring. Seemed like a great guy. Public personna like a lot of the guys we discuss here. Later my roommate worked for him and went from bottle washer to right hand man to gone in 3 months (bad boss, sexual harassment, or both). After he was famous my out of town relatives tried to snap a photo of his house from the public street and he screamed at them. I say all this thinking of MacDonald (some resemblance, no?)

    Wow. That’s terrible.

  184. Corey Uber wrote:

    Are you serious? If someone has an opinion other than yours it must be PR? How arrogant. Velour wrote:
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    dee wrote:
    Corey Uber wrote:
    Shouldn’t this grieve our hearts?
    What do you mean but this catch all Christian meme?
    Corey Uber wrote:
    Don’t be so sure you have it 100% right.
    Yep- that is so typical a response. “You don’t have the whole story.” No one ever does. But many people can have most of the story.
    Ever notice how these Defenders of the Faith (who we’ve never heard of before) all come out of the woodwork with Pious accusations and wagging fingers and Christianese buzzwords when their Pet Pastor/REAL Personal LORD and Savior gets exposed here at TWW?
    Yes, and with James MacDonald’s money…the hired hands doing public relations spin may be showing up.

    By the way, Corey, I was responding to H.U.G. and not to you. Please read more carefully next time before you jump on your high horse and call people like me “arrogant”.

    H.U.G., I, and others here are well-versed in the professional public relations people showing up to defend their clients, well-known pastors. Along with the blinded faithful.

  185. “They will not reach those who have been abused by these churches & pastors by talking about them this way.”

    They reached me. After I left Christendom because of the rampant child sexual abuse and misogyny, I hated all Christians. The Wartburg Watch and the Spiritual Sounding Board showed me there are Christians that hate child rape and don’t hate women. Because of these communities, I have more trust and respect for Christians.

    As someone who grew up in a family who owned their own church, The Wartburg Watch and Spiritual Sounding Board is the PR American Christianity needs if they want people to know they care and are not hypocrites.

  186. Guest wrote:

    As someone who grew up in a family who owned their own church

    My wife and I were at a Gaither Vocal Band concert last Friday. While waiting for it to start, we struck up a conversation with a couple on the parking lot next to us. She was bemoaning their church experience. In one Baptist church, the pastor ran off with the secretary – so they left … in the next Baptist church, the pastor ran off with the song leader – so they left … next stop was a non-denominational church, in which the pastor bought the church and closed the doors. They are “Dones” now, but worshiped the Lord with others at the concert.

  187. Guest wrote:

    “They will not reach those who have been abused by these churches & pastors by talking about them this way.”
    They reached me. After I left Christendom because of the rampant child sexual abuse and misogyny, I hated all Christians. The Wartburg Watch and the Spiritual Sounding Board showed me there are Christians that hate child rape and don’t hate women. Because of these communities, I have more trust and respect for Christians.
    As someone who grew up in a family who owned their own church, The Wartburg Watch and Spiritual Sounding Board is the PR American Christianity needs if they want people to know they care and are not hypocrites.

    Ditto with me.

    The Wartburg Watch was an oasis for me in a sea of NeoCalvinist insanity. People here helped deprogram me of all of the nutty beliefs that had been shoved down my throat.

  188. @ Max

    My cousin told my little sister our grandmother had an affair with the preacher who preached at the biggest church in our town in the 80s. Our great grandmother forced him to go to the preacher’s church when he was a teenager while the affair was going on. My cousin was the only atheist in our huge family while I was growing up. Now I understand why. Most of my family are dones, but are still Christians.

  189. “The Wartburg Watch was an oasis for me in a sea of NeoCalvinist insanity. People here helped deprogram me of all of the nutty beliefs that had been shoved down my throat.”

    It has been so refreshing finding people who get mad and speak out against child sexual abuse.

    I sincerely believe this website is much-needed PR for Christianity because I hated Christians before reading the passionate compassionate post here. Thank all of you for getting mad, caring, and speaking out. I wish more victims knew about all of you, it would make them feel better.

  190. Guest wrote:

    “The Wartburg Watch was an oasis for me in a sea of NeoCalvinist insanity. People here helped deprogram me of all of the nutty beliefs that had been shoved down my throat.”
    It has been so refreshing finding people who get mad and speak out against child sexual abuse.
    I sincerely believe this website is much-needed PR for Christianity because I hated Christians before reading the passionate compassionate post here. Thank all of you for getting mad, caring, and speaking out. I wish more victims knew about all of you, it would make them feel better.

    I was kicked out of my church for opposing the pastors/elders bringing in their friend a Megan’s List sex offender/child pornographer and telling no one. I found him on Megan’s List doing a separate legal research project for a former prosecutor.

    The pastors/elders — 4 men — had me in a meeting and screamed and yelled at me and said that ‘child porn wasn’t a big deal.’ I had to bite my tongue from saying, “Oh really? And what’s on your computer’s hard drive?”

  191. Max wrote:

    In one Baptist church, the pastor ran off with the secretary – so they left … in the next Baptist church, the pastor ran off with the song leader – so they left … next stop was a non-denominational church, in which the pastor bought the church and closed the doors.

    Maybe there needs to be a paradigm shift, like there is systemic error in what has become the format of the traditional “church”. Like it is predictable that a person with that much power (clergy) will fail/fall, eventually, as a general rule. If all of the spiritual gifts listed in Eph. 4, Rom. 12, and 1 Cor. 12 were equally expressed and balanced in a church fellowship, what would that look like?

  192. Velour wrote:

    The pastors/elders — 4 men — had me in a meeting and screamed and yelled at me and said that ‘child porn wasn’t a big deal.’ I had to bite my tongue from saying, “Oh really? And what’s on your computer’s hard drive?”

    Good question, Velour.

  193. JYJames wrote:

    If all of the spiritual gifts listed in Eph. 4, Rom. 12, and 1 Cor. 12 were equally expressed and balanced in a church fellowship, what would that look like?

    Well, it would look like the Church of the Living God! I’m convinced that all the offices and gifts outlined in the passages you note are supposed to operate in the church today … not in just the 1st century church, but the 21st one as well. We are living far below the privileges God intended for us through Christ, but we have largely forfeited them because we have bought the lies of the teachings and traditions of mere men.

  194. JYJames wrote:

    If all of the spiritual gifts listed in Eph. 4, Rom. 12, and 1 Cor. 12 were equally expressed and balanced in a church fellowship, what would that look like?

    My wife became a believer reading the New Testament after the tragic death of her mother. She gave her life to Christ after reading the words in red. She had never attended church – just picked up the Bible and started reading … for hours each day, for months. When she finally did start church, she was disappointed (shocked, actually) that it looked nothing like she had discovered in her journey through Scripture under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. After our long trip together through the organized (apostate) church, we find there is more Church going on outside the church, as believers engage the world around them with salt and light.

  195. JYJames wrote:

    there is systemic error in what has become the format of the traditional “church”

    No doubt about it! Good way to put it, JY.

  196. Max wrote:

    After our long trip together through the organized (apostate) church, we find there is more Church going on outside the church, as believers engage the world around them with salt and light.

    Wonderful story about your wife’s journey.

    Yes, the organized church has been a shocker for me too.

  197. Max wrote:

    We are living far below the privileges God intended for us through Christ, but we have largely forfeited them because we have bought the lies of the teachings and traditions of mere men.

    What is really strange about the whole situation is that these are GIFTS of the Holy Spirit, AKA God. Why wouldn’t one accept gifts from God (as opposed to demanding $$$ from parishioners)? Have we replaced the spiritual with the material?

    Your wife’s story is incredible. Of course, she is right. What she saw in reality as the “church” is nothing like what the Bible describes. We seem to be off track in our institutions.

    Still trying to figure out what the real – as in spiritually real – church looks like.

  198. JYJames wrote:

    Still trying to figure out what the real – as in spiritually real – church looks like.

    like the still waters

  199. JYJames wrote:

    Have we replaced the spiritual with the material?

    Yes.

    JYJames wrote:

    Still trying to figure out what the real – as in spiritually real – church looks like.

    Read the book of Acts – compare it to the American church. Oh, by the way, you won’t find Acts 29! There are thousands of Christian denominations and organizations worldwide … which one has a corner on the truth? A search for what the genuine looks like must center on a study of Scripture, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit … don’t rely on counterfeit interpretations offered by the teachings and traditions of men. Scripture not only reveals what the true church looks like, but what the authentic one is not. Much of what we call “church” is not the Church at all. To begin with, it’s not a building – it’s a living organism, the Body of Christ. It’s amazing how many folks believe the church is brick and mortar (the material), rather than living stones (the Spiritual).

    “From Him the whole body [the church, in all its various parts], joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in [unselfish] love.” (Ephesians 4:16 AMP)

  200. Velour wrote:

    the organized church has been a shocker for me too

    I saw a lady the other day wearing a tee-shirt “I don’t go to church – I am the Church.”

  201. MacDonald probably has been abused and under extreme oppression. The crowds he runs with, the backstabbing that goes on, the intrigues, the power plays, the Machiavellian schemes amongst self-proclaimed leaders such as MacDonald, the abuse he suffers from his peers must be horrible. I’d as soon run with the Mafia, the Gangster Disciples, the Crips, the Bloods, at least they’re forthrightly, openly, honestly given to evil. At least, to the long list of lives destroyed, they do not add the sin of hypocrisy as MacDonald’s crowd does. At least they only kill the body, they don’t seek to destroy the soul.

  202. Max wrote:

    After our long trip together through the organized (apostate) church, we find there is more Church going on outside the church, as believers engage the world around them with salt and light.

    That’s the truth, at least as I’ve seen it.

  203. Max wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    the organized church has been a shocker for me too
    I saw a lady the other day wearing a tee-shirt “I don’t go to church – I am the Church.”

    Amen. I should check Amazon to see if I can find that.

  204. Velour wrote:

    Max wrote:
    Velour wrote:
    the organized church has been a shocker for me too
    I saw a lady the other day wearing a tee-shirt “I don’t go to church – I am the Church.”
    Amen. I should check Amazon to see if I can find that.

    I didn’t find the t-shirt on Amazon. I did find a book of the same title.

  205. Max wrote:

    “From Him the whole body [the church, in all its various parts], joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in [unselfish] love.” (Ephesians 4:16 AMP)

    Excellent.
    Christiane wrote:

    Best thing I learned: you can tell a whole lot more about a faith community from how it treats ‘the others’ than from anything it says it ‘believes’. It’s in this particular practice of the faith that the beliefs are best outlined when observing any faith community, yes.

    On the lookout for the real community of Christ.

  206. Max wrote:

    My wife became a believer reading the New Testament

    Similarly, my [late] husband became a Christian after coming to the US (naturalized citizen) and reading the Bible.

    This has its advantages. Every Sunday after church, he would ask, “Now where is that in the Bible?” If it wasn’t in the Bible, his response was, “Then, why bother.”

    He also clearly had the Gift of Discernment from the Holy Spirit, although, being new to this country, the church never listened to him. As a family, however, we have greatly benefited. He could size a person up immediately, motives and all, discerning of spirits.

    The church’s loss, unfortunately for them. We’ve seen clergy entangled in gnarly stuff – all due to lack of discernment (not malice).

    If he would have had the gift of finances or giving, it would have been a different story. The church would have endlessly been at our doorstep.

  207. Pingback: The IM Saturday Brunch: June 24, 2017 | internetmonk.com

  208. Internet Monk just mentioned MacDonald in their Saturday Ramblings.

    Also mentioned JMC is a gambling man known for junkets to Vegas with best bud Jerry “Buck” Jenkins, GCAAT (i.e. Greatest Christian Author of All Time) whose best-selling literary masterpieces (which read like truly awful fanfic) get regularly snarked at Slacktivist & Heathen Critique.

  209. JYJames wrote:

    What is really strange about the whole situation is that these are GIFTS of the Holy Spirit, AKA God. Why wouldn’t one accept gifts from God (as opposed to demanding $$$ from parishioners)? Have we replaced the spiritual with the material?

    I think that’s exactly the problem. Most of the church where I live is a middle class social club. People go through the motions, and they have rejected the messy gift-giving discipleship God offers in favour of neat and tidy materially-driven religion. They’re not interested in the tools God offers to get His job done, because let’s face it prophecy and discernment are a bit weird and uncomfortable. They just want bland, private worship which is actually no worship at all, because while it mentions Jesus, He isn’t actually welcome to show up and take charge.

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