"Shun, as you would the plague, a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being nobody has become a celebrity." —Jerome link
Another long and arduous step towards getting rid of James MacDonald was made in late September. When I was first notified, my first thought was "Wait a minute! Is he still around?" James MacDonald is now OUT in terms of having any authority for day to day or long term decisions at Harvest Bible Chapel. He is going to be a teaching pastor like David Platt. Here is a link to the Elder Update on 9/22/2017.
Let's review a little history
Just a few short months ago, on June 19, 2017, we posted Did James MacDonald Really Resign or Did He Just Grab His Toys and Stomp on Home? In his resignation letter, (which we later learned was a termination) we were informed that he resigned only from the of running Harvest Bible Fellowship, the umbrella organization for his many affiliated churches. He was still be the chief mucky muck at Harvest Bible Church. In a fit of pique, he announced that he was going to start planting churches under the name of Harvest Bible Chapel, giving the Christian version of the finger to Harvest Bible Fellowship. (I do get a bit tired of the *I feel led* phrase.)
This is from our post on June 19, 2017
- 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.
To top it all off, he had allegedly said he was going to stop living like a king in a mansion, downsized to a smaller home and then allegedly bought more fancy digs. Slumming is not part of his lifestyle.
Also, for years, his churches and organizations have been plagued by enormous debt while paying MacDonald a large salary. You can read about all of this on The Elephant's Debt.
The slow and painful death of James MacDonald at HBC (which is and isn't part of the SBC.)
Given what I have presented, you can figure out my reaction to the latest announcement. It appears the elders are going to move him closer to the door via the *slow and painful death by job description downsizing* approach.
As of the moment, there are 7 campuses of Harvest Bible Chapel which you can see here. Today I called the central number of HBC and was told that MacDonald preaches live from one of two locations, Rolling Meadows and Elgin. The other 5 campuses get his live streamed sermon. It appears that the Rolling Meadows location is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention. The other churches, which all operate as independent churches, can make the decision on whether or not to join the SBC. The individual with whom I spoke said she was not sure if any other campus had done so.
Having left the SBC for a liturgically based church, I find this approach to membership in the SBC a bit odd. So, if a person becomes a member of the Harvest Bible Chapel's Rolling Meadows campus, she is Baptist. However, if she chooses to switch to the Elgin campus, she is not Baptist? Yet, in both places she is listening to the same sermon? No wonder people are becoming suspicious of evangelicals! Make up your mind, already! The SBC must be deperate to allow these sorts of shenanigans.
Was he *released* or strong armed?
ROFL!!! If ever there was baloney, that elder's update is it. Here is what our friends over the The Elephant's Debt had to say.
As you know, on June 14, 2017, James MacDonald claimed to have “resigned” as President of HBF; we posted on this matter which can be found here. From a very reliable source we now can say definitively that this was a forced resignation/termination. This source also confirmed that certain HBF pastors threatened to leave HBF if MacDonald remained as President. (ed note: This is from the umbrella HBF group.)
The Elephant's Debt (TED) responded to the new announcement.
James MacDonald was relieved of leadership duty, and he is to remain on staff solely for purposes of teaching/preaching. James MacDonald has been released from the Executive Leadership Team or the XLT (the staff team that runs the day-to-day of the church), and a new team will be assembled. The new XLT will report directly to the Elder Board (EC) and not James MacDonald.
$500,000+ allegedly seems to be missing from the books. So, what else is new?
What story about James MacDonald would be complete without bringing up monetary concerns? From TED:
HBF auditors walked away troubled as to the manner in which a few select HBC staff members managed HBF funds. In short – we will get into the details in subsequent posts – HBF funds in the amount of $573,000 were not accounted for by HBC staff or elders in detail.
The diligent folks at TED pointed out this particular portion of the statement from the Elder's Update.
TED asks an excellent question in the following statement. This is a church and/or organization which is been riddled with complaints about alleged money mismanagement.
It appears by admission of the Elder Update from 9/22/17 that they were still not sufficiently “informed and proactive” in their oversight of key staff, and they discovered their “system of governance did not work nearly as well at protecting” the church.
Why does this Elder Board still not have control and true accountability over the finances of this deeply indebted church?
So what will happen next? Perhaps the elders will think up some *Pastor Emeritus* type title, declare it a promotion, and change the locks on the doors and the cash drawer.
Here are some older TWW posts on James MacDonald.
- John MacArthur Miffs Off Charismatics While Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald Crash the Party
- World Magazine: Is Jerry Jenkins a Gambling Buddy of James MacDonald?
- Selling Out the “Church”: James MacDonald and Mac Brunson
- The Elephant’s Debt Roars. Are James MacDonald and HBC Deaf?
- James MacDonald / Harvest Bible Chapel – Under Further Scrutiny
- James MacDonald – Vertical Church Book, Tour, T-shirt and Tattoo
- James MacDonald/Mark Driscoll: Sacrificial Servants or Serving It Up
- James MacDonald / Harvest Bible Chapel – Examining the Elephant in the Room
- 'Act Like Men’ – Are Driscoll/MacDonald & Gang Merchandising Manhood?
- Two to One Odds That HBC Elders Are the Borg!
- James MacDonald Asks Forgiveness for Unbiblical Discipline of Harvest Bible Chapel Elders (2014)