To Sue or Not to Sue: Lingering Questions on James MacDonald’s Justifications for Suing Critics


Image by Ryan Ashton

“My initial response was to sue her for defamation of character, but then I realized that I had no character.” Charles Barkley

__________

Here are 4 article on James MacDonald’s defense of his lawsuit against The Elephant Debt, their wives and Julie Roys.

I’m watching my wording since, to be perfectly frank, I’m concerned that macDonald might try to sue me and everybody else who write about him. So, I frequently will be using words like “it appears* and IMHO (in my humble opinion). So, here I go.

On Novembers 2, 2018, Christianity Today posted an Op Ed by James MacDonald. James MacDonald: Why Suing Is Sometimes the Biblical Choice It was subtitled 1 Corinthians 6:1-9 does not apply to every situation.

I also plan to reference a post by Eric Rasmussen CHRISTIANS SUING CHRISTIANS? EXAMINING JAMES MACDONALD’S REASONING which is found at his website Warhorn.

… but HBC seemed to be saying that Dr. Grudem supported the lawsuit. I wanted to find out whether Dr. Grudem had really counseled that, so I emailed him.

I will be referring to the Harvest Bible Chapel’s Elders’ Update on October 19, 2018 in which the elders’ seemed to imply that they got all sorts of support from really cool Christian *leaders* who know their Scripture stuff.

Our goal was to end their prolonged and divisive effort to undermine the Elder governance of our church and to discredit our primary leaders. We have chosen to accomplish that by filing a civil suit in Cook County.

We believe governmental authorities, whether criminal or civil, are His protection when those who oppose us are actually breaking the law (Romans 13:1-2).  In consultation with highly regarded Christian leaders and students of Scripture, we received unqualified support for this difficult decision.

Finally, MacDonald got all huffy (IMHO) in October 2018 and wrote Enough is Enough: Why We Can and Must Take Bloggers to Court which is available on the HBC website. It appears he is upset that the great unwashed (bloggers) are allowed to have a microphone. He appears to be implying that all of his thoughts are rigorous and true.

Now anyone who breathes can get a microphone — even if their thoughts are not rigorous, even if their statements are not entirely true. In this new world, people who struggle with the same micro-ailment of mind or body, who uphold the same partisan creed or caution can gather affirmation on a world-wide scale with no regard for fact checking or due process. A few moments of impassioned typing after midnight on any subject, regardless of credential or credence, nearly ensures the blogger will have enough approval by morning to believe their work is urgent — and needs repeating.

Wayne Grudem and other unnamed celebrity leader need to be named and quoted accurately.

I’m looking at this again is because of this statement in MacDonald’s Op Ed.

A conversation with Wayne Grudem, the widely respected theologian and my seminary professor, helped me understand that we should model our response to criticism after Christ’s ministry (John 8:49) not his road to the cross, when his total silence was a unique fulfillment of prophecy.

I found this rather odd. Grudem, while a firm supporter of CJ Mahaney as well as all pastors and theologian in his Reformed (Calvinista) tribe, has not inserted himself into these battles as of late. In fact, I had heard that perhaps his health was giving him trouble. If so, I am sorry.

My lingering response to this statement could be summed up like this. I didn’t believe that MacDonald had a conversation with Grudem which ended with *proof* that MacDonald was supported by Grudem and maybe even other super Christian leaders who supported this according to HBC. I attempted to get a response by Grudem through Twitter to no avail. I also heard that a number of other people had tried as well with the same result.

However, Rasmussen was able to connect with Grudem by email (I am so grateful someone got him to respond) and he posted Grudem’s response.

When I talked with James by phone, I referred him to the section, “The Necessity of Responding to Slander,” on pages 334-335 of my book Christian Ethics. I also referred him to the notes on 1 Corinthians 6 in the ESV Study Bible. I stand by what I wrote in Christian Ethics and I agree in principle with the notes in the ESV Study Bible.

I have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the specific lawsuit that James McDonald has initiated, nor have I looked into any details about that lawsuit or the accusations from the people who have criticized his ministry online. Nor do I intend to.

—Wayne Grudem

Grudem’s response appears to say that he didn’t tell him what to do-one way of the other. Since the HBC elders did not share any communication with other super Christians, then that leaves me with the impression that HBC elders and James MacDonald are playing games and I don’t like it one bit.

So, it appears that  Wayne Grudem did not give MacDonald *permission* to sue the bloggers. But MacDonald claims that he has had confirmation of his actions by many influential pastors and Biblical scholars. Who are they? What exactly did they say? Why are they not coming forward with their names to defend MacDonald and HBC? Do they even exist? At TWW we would actually list the names of who advised us and quoted them precisely. That is not evident here and it causes me to doubt HBC and MacDonald.Also, it is possible to make Scriptures say what you want them to say.

We have carefully reviewed the Scriptures related to the purpose of human government and the church. We have contacted many influential pastors and biblical scholars, and received near unanimous confirmation of our thinking.

Rasmussen indicated that HBC elders and MacDonald may have been referring to certain books by celebrity leaders .

In my opinion, (my very humble opinion for the lawyers), it might appear that HBC and MacDonald are conflating what was verbally said. If they merely looked at books, they should quote them precisely. Are the sources actually giving explicit Scriptural reasons for suing the bloggers? In this example, Rasmussen shows how one resources is NOT discussing lawsuits.

HBC introduces and then quotes Grudem’s Christian Ethics as follows:

In wrestling with a biblical response to slander, we contacted my favorite seminary professor, Wayne Grudem. He directed me to his book, Christian Ethics.

Here is what Wayne Grudem wrote about responding to slander… — Pastor James MacDonald.

The Necessity of Responding to Slander. The Westminster Larger Catechism, in further explanation of the ninth commandment, says that it also requires “love and care of our own good name and defending it when need requireth (Question 144)…. [emphasis in the original]
What the book actually says is that a pastor shouldn’t be silent in the face of accusations, but should respond publicly. Of course, that isn’t the same as suing his accusers,

What could MacDonald and HBC have done to avoid this lawsuit?

This has been a sticking point for me. I have one solution but first let’s look at what Rasmussen suggested.

Suppose HBC thinks TED has defamed it, and TED disagrees. I Corinthians 6 is clear that for HBC to sue TED is a shameful way to address the problem. Rather, after “private appeal” failed, HBC should have explained the situation to some Christians without a personal interest in the case and, if they were persuaded, gone together with them to talk to TED. That’s what Matthew 18 tells us to do. If that didn’t work, HBC should have gone to the churches to which the TED people belong and presented its case to the leaders of those churches, who would administer appropriate discipline, perhaps even excommunication.

Rasmussen quickly points out the problems with this his suggested approach.

  1. HBC is autonomous with no other entity having any say over their actions.TED often discussed this problem.
  2. HBC is a member of the SBC which has no hierarchical function over any member church (editor says: unless that church appoints woman as pastor and then the SBC finds something stop that.)
  3. Finally, perhaps, both groups could find some celebrity leaders who could serve as mediators. IMHO, the problem with this is the tribal *protect our own* nature of the Reformed Baptist world. Would HBC/MacDonald even allow outsiders to arbitrate? I have no idea.

In my opinion, HBC/MacDonald could use social media to document the evidence of their claims and avoid the lawsuit.

What exactly have HBC/MacDonald done except to fuss and moan that they’re  being slandered? Slandered how? I’ve read extensively and I haven’t found one article in which MacDonald/HBC sets out their factual, point-by -point disagreement with TED’s claims. I have certainly been able to find TED’s beliefs (I haven’t yet found anything to even show that Julie Roys or the wives of TED have said anything exciting so I don’t get why they are being sued.)

I was excited to see that Rasmussen developed a similar idea. He first quoted Grudem.

Too often today Christian leaders mistakenly allow their own names or the ministries they lead to be slandered relentlessly in the public eye while they give no response. This can be immensely damaging in an age when Internet accusations can multiply rapidly with no accountability for the authors. These silent Christian leaders perhaps think they are imitating the example of Jesus at His crucifixion, but they fail to appreciate the uniqueness of that situation, and so they fail to imitate the example of Jesus during his entire public ministry, when he immediately defended himself and answered false accusations. I do not mean that we must answer everything we hear or read. For sometimes a false accusation has little influence and is best ignored: “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you” (Eccles 7:21). But when it seems that a false accusation will gain influence and do harm, it must be answered. [Grudem, p. 334, emphasis added]

So, why doesn’t  HBC/MacDonald respond, point by point, with documented evidence to TED’s claims.

They need to carefully outline, with documentation, why they believe that TED is lying. If HBC/MacDonald would present the facts in a rebuttal, I would happily print it.

Do MacDonald and HBC really want to discuss the facts? They will have to if they go to court.

I have often said that pastors who have engaged in coverup are scared to death to go to court since they will be required to open up all of their documents pertaining to the so called slander and defamation. My guess is that some of this information might be uncomfortable if it were to come into the light. Is HBC and MacDonald ready for this information to get out?

The US government is not into protecting people from critics. The legal bar that must be met in order to prove libel is quite simple. The plaintiff must prove the all three of the following points in order to win the lawsuit.

  1. The person must have told a lie.
  2. The must have know that they lied.
  3. They must have lied in order to bring malicious harm to another.

In my case, I have never knowingly told a lie on the blog. Perhaps I have been wrong in my judgement but I never, ever knowingly tell a lie. It is my opinion that TED and Roys never knowingly told a lie. I would never have featured TED’s posts if I knew they were telling lies.

What is really going on?

In this PDF we learn quite a bit.

It appears that MacDonald doesn’t like the little nobodies to have a voice. Read his words carefully. He appears to believe that he should be the one with the microphone. Why?

It used to be that you had to accomplish something to get your voice heard above the unceasing rumble of news cycles, politico-religious rancor, and the cacophony of sports entertainment. In the last millennium, if you didn’t have something profound, proprietary or penetrating to say, no one would stop to listen.

He claims that bloggers are nobodies who write their posts in just a few moments.

The bloggers I know spend hours researching and writing. It takes me 4 hours to write a post. That’s after doing the research. I do it during the day and am asleep at midnight.

Now anyone who breathes can get a microphone —

A few moments of impassioned typing after midnight on any subject, regardless of credential or credence, nearly ensures the blogger will have enough approval by morning to believe their work is urgent — and needs repeating.

Bloggers are hurting ministries and pastors.

Our blog is named after the castle Luther hid in because the Pope was not pleased with his direct confrontation and disagreement with the doctrine and actions of the church. Luther made his views well known via the Gutenberg Press. In fact, Luther was the original blogger of his day and he changed the church forever. The Pope was not pleased.

Our observation is that hobby bloggers harm too many ministers and ministries, and more importantly, the people we are called to serve.

Bloggers are hurting the people that MacDonald (and presumably other pastors) serve.

I think MacDonald might have enjoyed living in the old Soviet Union when all the news that was fit to print had to be accepted by the only newspaper in the land, Pravda (It means truth…) A loyal, communist committee decided what was allowed to printed because they believe that they had to protect the people from any ideas that might run contrary to the Communist party’s ideals.

Unfortunately, MacDonald appears to believe that the *people we serve* must be idiots, unable to seek out the truth for themselves. If I were in his church I would be insulted. I am perfectly capable of making up my own mind. I would not want HBC limiting what I could read or which voices I listen to.

The world has changed. Does MacDonald know that many news services are getting their news directly from  bloggers? Bloggers often have access to communities that the *official* media might not. The days of preachers controlling the microphone are over and HBC and others must learn how to function in this new world.

It’s time for those MacDonald and other leaders to step up to the plate and become a voice for their ministry. That means they must respond with facts and stop hiding under the covers.

By the way, Pastor MacDonald, my blog is not a hobby for me. I actually care about children and adults being abused by the church and am determined to make a difference with my writing. I’m a nurse and I have an MBA. I’ve started a medical ministry for victims of human trafficking. Are you implying that my credentials do not meet your standards?

Our observation is that hobby bloggers harm too many ministers and ministries, and more importantly, the people we are called to serve.

MacDonald claims bloggers look at issues and controversies that he deems trivial.

Again and again, he appears to want to be the one who gets to decide what is trivial. That is the beauty of blogging. He gets to hear what other people think is important. How many people oppose his ideas to his face? Is he just a nice guy who people feel comfortable approaching with differing points of view?

Again and again, as something trivial, controversial or difficult would happen in the church, the bloggers would show up online as carnal commentators distorting the record, then giving voice through comments to people who used anonymity to say the cruelest and most vile things.

MacDonald claims he has made many appeals to meet with TED who he says does not act like believers.

I would love to see documentation that this has occurred. I would like to read what was said. I would imagine he has copies of any emails that he sent. Was he kind and thoughtful in his approach or was he angry? Surely he has documentation of these appeals, right?

When professing believers refuse, over and over, to act like believers — refuse even to meet after many appeals over many years — we can, and I believe must, turn our attention to the matter of protecting our church family and seeking the protection God has established as His provision.

MacDonald claims that we must presume innocence over guilt and we live in an *age of rage* (cute) and fake news.

In a court of law, the presumption of innocence is the standard. A trial then occurs in which evidence must be given that someone is guilty. However, in real life, I’m not obligated to presume the innocence of an individual. For example, I believed that Tom Chantry was guilty of child abuse prior to his actual conviction. I had read the information available and formed an opinion. Also, there is the case of OJ Simpson who was declared not guilty. Yet many, many people believe he was guilty. Does MacDonald presume Simpson is innocent?

Once again, I believe what TED wrote. I don’t believe they were engaged in *fake news* not do they impress me as being filled with rage. However, as I’ve read MacDonald’s commentary, I sense something simmering under his surface.

We are indeed living in an age of rage, fueled by ‘fake news’ where the presumption of innocence has almost universally given way to the presumption of guilt.

MacDonald’s commentary seems a bit over the top but, for the lawyers, but that is only my lowly opinion.

Do I really have to comment on this?

No more sitting by doing nothing while digital attackers ravage the body of Christ.

My final thoughts:

  1. MacDonald should rebut TED point by point with hard evidence.
  2. If he does this, I will post it at TWW.
  3. He should drop the lawsuit.
  4. If they do not stop the lawsuit, I believe that TED, their wives and Roys will prevail.
  5. Maybe all of his really cool theologian advisors could offer to mediate…
  6. MacDonald should get some advice on how to get his points across in a world that is, and will continue to be, dominated by digital media.
  7. Remember, MacDonald will have to prove that the bloggers deliberately lied in order to bring him harm. It is often very difficult to prove that.
  8. MacDonald sounds like an old man who can’t accept the world has changed.
  9. Can someone help MacDonald to ratchet down the rhetoric. Bloggers are *ravaging the body of Christ*…seriously?

Comments

To Sue or Not to Sue: Lingering Questions on James MacDonald’s Justifications for Suing Critics — 135 Comments

  1. Does MacDonald have any connection to Ed Stetzer over at Wheaton? Stetzer has a book recently published called “Christians in an Age of Outrage.” I have not read it. I doubt I will ever read it, but it sounds like MacDonald is riffing off that.

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  2. My humble opinion is that when people decide to “move on” from a church, it is not a hasty decision based on something they read in a news or opinion piece. It is generally because of what they have themselves observed and experienced, and generally this decision is one that they delay and resist for a long time out of reluctance to walk away from the “sunk cost” of their prior involvement with and investment in the group.

    That this (people’s departure) happens cannot be blamed on external news/opinion. The problem is endogenous.

    In my opinion, even if (assuming it were possible to know all the facts of the case and all the motives of all the actors) a lawsuit has no merit but is nevertheless successful in silencing the visible and audible critics, the desired ultimate goal (to protect the enterprise that is perceived to be under ‘attack’) will not be achieved, because the internal problems will persist and will continue to alienate the people who remain.

    Someone here at TWW has argued for treating all churches as conventional non-profit enterprises for the purposes of income and expense accounting/reporting (Form 990). It sounds like a good idea to me.

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  3. At this link you can see a transcription of James MacDonald’s church performing “church discipline” on a few former elders.

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/09/17/learn-and-discern-harvest-bible-chapel-church-discipline-and-excommunication/

    What really shocked me is this part of the statement:

    Steve Huston: Church matters are not to be tried in the court of public opinion. Publicizing viewpoints rejected by the elder majority, for any reason, is satanic to the core and must be dealt with very directly. Those who have no standing in a local church, but continue to assault it from outside with factious messages must be rejected according to the word of God.

    So here we see one elder calling public disagreement as being “Satanic to the core.” I have seen where people will call disagreement “gossip” or “slander” or being “divisive” but this is taking it to a new level. If you want to talk about being full of yourself and assuming too much.

    To be fair James MacDonald that this discipline was wrong but I have seen where they addressed this specific statement. For a group of church leaders to make such a strong statement just IMO really shows where they are. The leadership appears to be quite arrogant and assured of their position assuming way too much and that anyone that disagrees with them must be wrong or an attack from Satan.

    It is no wonder when they have this kind of hubris IMO that that feel a lawsuit that appears to expose serious issues with James MacDonald and his church is justified.

    A video of this statement is here:

    https://archive.org/details/JamesMacDonaldHarvastBibleChapel

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  4. Re: “… Bloggers are *ravaging the body of Christ*…seriously?”

    Within the Reformed tradition (as I understand it, and my understanding is admittedly incomplete and imperfect), what it takes to have a properly functioning local congregation is a properly constituted session of elders, to include a teaching elder (ordained gospel minister) who can preach sound doctrine and administer the sacraments. It appears to me that you don’t actually require any laity (though of course their presence is desirable to provide material support to the more essential components).

    It appears to me to be a very top-centric vision of what “the body of Christ,” in its boiled-down essence, fundamentally is. Other traditions probably conceptualize the details differently, but the “top-centric” character of the vision might be widespread. IFBs seem to be like this, for example.

    From that perspective anything that called into question the legitimacy of the people at the “top” could be interpreted to be a harm to the body of Christ.

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  5. Re: “… Bloggers are “ravaging the body of Christ”…seriously?”

    The only people “ravaging” the Body of Christ are those people who are taking advantage of Christians sexually, financially, and spiritually. Teaching false doctrine is ravaging. Stealing money from parishioners is ravaging. Making merchandise of them is ravaging. Abusing their children is ravaging. Dividing homes, marriages, and families is ravaging.

    Not a blogger blogging. How stupid.

    The people who report on these and other problems within a particular multi-million dollar religious organization, a movement of those churches, and other religious organizations of a similar stripe are the ones who are acting biblically. They do so by exposing the wolves who are doing the actual harm.

    Good job on the reporting Dee. If you and others weren’t hitting the mark they would not be hollering. “Throw a rock into a pack of dogs and the one who gets hit yelps”, my old pastor used to say.

    If you can save people from getting involved with these “dumpster fire churches”, and open the eyes of those gentle souls who are stuck inside feeling hopelessly trapped, all the better.

    The name of Christ is blasphemed because of THEM. Not you or other bloggers.

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  6. ___

    Delayed Blog Dung: “The Contemporary LEGAL Religious Battlefield, Perhaps?”
    *
    hmmm…
    *
    Sue the bloggers that are spreading the 501c3 truth?
    *
    Sure.
    *
    Soon the Calvinestas will get into the fray in mass as well…
    *
    bump
    *
    Call macD that’s da name and away goes blog trouble down the drain?
    *
    huh?
    *
    More like its time to bail out.
    *
    What?
    *
    I’m afraid the truth is gonna disappear
    *
    Slip sliding away…
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BCdaI752XE
    *
    No need to live in fear…huh?
    *
    ;~)

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FS6uXysImpU

    – –

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  7. “In the last millennium, if you didn’t have something profound, proprietary or penetrating to say, no one would stop to listen.” A real coffee-snorter, that.

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  8. ___

    [ Delayed Blog Dung ] Ride The Lightning: “Whom The Bells Toll, Perhaps?”
    *
    hmmm…
    *
    Steve, these proverbial religious 501c3 wankers are getting harder to fool people, hence the legal action…
    *
    They can’t win…
    *
    (there are more of US)
    *
    hahahahaha
    *
    Heavy merchants of religious church death?
    *
    What?
    *
    could b.
    *
    *
    ;~)

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KO3l6qNA2Q4

    -=-

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  9. He appears to be implying that all of his thoughts are rigorous and true.

    “If the Fuehrer says so, Two Plus Two Equals Five.”
    — attr to Reichsmarshall Goering

    But MacDonald claims that he has had confirmation of his actions by many influential pastors and Biblical scholars. Who are they? What exactly did they say? Why are they not coming forward with their names to defend MacDonald and HBC? Do they even exist?

    Solitary Internet Trolls are famous for claiming to be a Large Influential Group or to have such a group backing them. In Bronydom, the type example is “Derpygate” a few years ago, where a single troll claiming to be a large group of “Concerned Mothers” triggered a liability panic reaction from Hasbro/Hub that almost killed off a popular character on the show. After the dust settled, consensus was it was a single troll with nothing better to do.

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  10. Samuel Conner: From that perspective anything that called into question the legitimacy of the people at the “top” could be interpreted to be a harm to the body of Christ.

    “L’etat, c’est moi.”
    — Louis XIV, King of France

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  11. Samuel Conner: generally this decision is one that they delay and resist for a long time out of reluctance to walk away from the “sunk cost” of their prior involvement with and investment in the group.

    Sunk Cost Fallacy — the con man’s greatest friend.

    Get the marks so financially and emotionally involved in the con that they CAN’T bail out, not even when they KNOW they’re being taken to the cleaners. Because they sank so much into the con that bailing out means not only losing their sunk cost but admitting they got taken. Get them involved deep enough, and they’ll actually fanatically defend the con man who’s fleecing them.

    “You be the Mugu,
    I be the Masta!”
    — “I go Chop You Dolla”, Nigerian pop song about a con man

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  12. Anonymous,

    YES!
    Please continue to keep Julie in your prayers!
    Thank you!!

    GOD+1=MAJORITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jeremiah 15:21
    I WILL DELIVER YOU out of the hand of the wicked,
    and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

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  13. Steve240: “Satanic to the core.”

    If Pandit James lets his suit go to trial, he’ll be rolling the dice and might shoot serpent-eyes. So he should play his cards right and follow the satin-ick-to-the-core strategy I gave Dr Ravi. (I think he’s chair of the Sitar department at Cambridge, but I may be forgetting. I think he sued a type A temptress and her type B husband Potiphar.) Anyway, the bottom line is that he protected his bottom line by settling out of court.
    So, Pundit James– pay the pesky pests to keep their traps shut, and magnanimously agree to keep yours shut as well. Any uncomfortable questions can now be warded off with “The judge told me I can’t say nothing.” Then post an article on social media admitting some mistakes were made, and my minions will take it from there, about how satin-ick the journalist, the bloggers, and their wives all are! Proceed with business as usual and cash in your chips!

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  14. Headless Unicorn Guy: “L’etat, c’est moi.”
    — Louis XIV, King of France

    Yes, I thought of amending my comment this with “L’Eglise, c’est moi”. I don’t think that the people I have known in the Reformed movement would accept that characterization, but it seems to me that that is the natural implication of their view.

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  15. From the main article up-top:

    “They need to carefully outline, with documentation, why they believe that TED is lying. If HBC/MacDonald would present the facts in a rebuttal, I would happily print it.”

    It would appear that MacDonald can’t ‘put-up’, but he wants TED (and you) to ‘shut-up’.

    Yours is a fair and honest proposal, just as I would also imagine TED’s to be.

    And if HBC has no goods show?

    They’re the ones who need to shutup.

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  16. Samuel Conner: Yes, I thought of amending my comment this with “L’Eglise, c’est moi”. I don’t think that the people I have known in the Reformed movement would accept that characterization, but it seems to me that that is the natural implication of their view.

    As it is of any sort of Autocracy.

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  17. Steve240: The leadership appears to be quite arrogant and assured of their position assuming way too much and that anyone that disagrees with them must be wrong or an attack from Satan.

    Very common in New Calvinist ranks. “If you question or disagree with me, you are opposing God.”

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  18. I’m a nurse and I have an MBA. I’ve started a medical ministry for victims of human trafficking. Are you implying that my credentials do not meet your standards?

    “ARE THEY GOD’S CHOSEN? ARE THEY GOD’S CHOSEN?”
    — Gordon Dickson, “Soldier, Ask Not” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldier,_Ask_Not – anyone recognize the scene?)
    (Global substitute string “YOU” for string “THEY” to get the JMac version…)

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  19. If the jurisdiction where the suit was filed has a “SLAP” law, then TED and the others who were sued should counter-sue for legal fees and damages.

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  20. Max: Very common in New Calvinist ranks.“If you question or disagree with me, you are opposing God.”

    Which is one small step from “I AM GOD!!!!!!”

    “If you question what I say or do
    YOU REBEL AGAINST THE FATHER, TOO!”
    — Steve Taylor, “I Manipulate”

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  21. Here’s a lingering question I have… why wasn’t HBC consistent, and also name Julie Roys’ husband in the lawsuit, in the same way that the bloggers’ wives were?

    In addition, in the church’s latest elders update, they wrote “We remain committed as a church to the biblical teaching on conflict resolution and forgiveness between believers. If any or all of the defendants agreed to cease their interference and leave the governance of our church to the Elders that God has raised up, we would drop them from this suit immediately.”

    So if they would silence themselves, the suit would be dropped immediately. How is this not an example of SLAPP?

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  22. Joe: why wasn’t HBC consistent, and also name Julie Roys’ husband in the lawsuit, in the same way that the bloggers’ wives were?

    Intimidation and manipulation … get to the men by dragging their women into the mess … “You mess with my security, and I’ll mess with yours.” Very un-Christlike behavior, of course.

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  23. Max: Intimidation and manipulation … get to the men by dragging their women into the mess … “You mess with my security, and I’ll mess with yours.”Very un-Christlike behavior, of course.

    Totally agree with why they are naming the wives. I’ve speculated on my own personal blog this scenario, that the bills are racking up, the pressure is mounting, and one of the bloggers is having dinner with his family. As they are discussing the what’s been going on over dinner, HBC is HOPING that the wife will say, “This is too much. They’re suing me too! All we have to do is take down the website, and leave it all alone, and this whole mess will go away.”

    It is blatant bullying. I think Julie Roys uncovered something even more damaging, and HBC is trying to silence them all before crippling info gets published.

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  24. Max: Very common in New Calvinist ranks.“If you question or disagree with me, you are opposing God.”

    Something that seems to be forgotten by believers who are quick to attribute opposition to “the work of Satan” is that standing behind “the adversary” is, ultimately, the purposes of God Himself. This ambiguity is present in the Scriptures; compare, for example, 1 Chronicles 21:1 with 2 Samuel 24:1.

    So when a confessed believer in a position of weakness disagrees with a confessed believer in a position of power, it is possible that the believer who is in the weaker position is opposing God. But it is also possible that the believer who is in the position of power, and who imagines that his power is a sign of God’s favor, is actually the one who is being opposed by God through the agency of the person in the position of weakness.

    IMO powerful people forget this at their peril.

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  25. Joe: blatant bullying

    From Julie Roys’ post today, citing former HBC elders:

    “We have witnessed the following attitudes and behaviors in James: pride and arrogance … acting as if the rules do not apply to him”

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  26. drstevej: WOW. This is a powerful analysis. (IMHO of course)

    Indeed it is.
    If MacDonald has a lick of sense, he’ll drop the suit (it’ll be his Stalingrad–to use a metaphor), cut his losses, and salvage what he can.

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  27. FREEATLAST:
    https://world.wng.org/2018/12/hard_times_at_harvest
    JULIE ROYS

    Things that stood out at first read:

    Former elders, pastors, and staffers from Chicago’s Harvest Bible Chapel accuse the church of financial mismanagement and a culture of deception and intimidation

    “It’s Happening…”
    — Reaction Video to Game of Thrones “Littlefinger Gets Fingered” scene

    MacDonald told WORLD that his new home, appraised at $1.4 million, is under 5,000 square feet when the new home’s garage and basement are subtracted from the total.

    Wasn’t that almost word-for-word what Furtick said about the ORIGINAL Furtick Mansion and Estate?

    But according to an appraisal that an attorney for MacDonald submitted to the Rutland Township tax assessor’s office, the home has 6,891 square feet of gross living area in addition to a 2,600 square-foot, 10-car garage and a more than 2,000-square-foot finished basement. (The appraisal also noted the home’s “vaulted and designer ceilings, high-end finishes, luxury bathrooms, [and] granite counter and vanity tops.”)

    Must Keep Up With the Furticks, you know.

    On a wall in the garage, she found a target with a photo of her on it that had been shot with what appeared to be a pellet gun.

    Former Camp Harvest groundskeeper Mike Hulburt told me that in 2010, he saw MacDonald use a butter knife to stab repeatedly a picture of a former Harvest pastor in front of 15 to 20 close associates. Another witness, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing his livelihood, confirmed that MacDonald stabbed the picture multiple times “to get his point across.”

    Maybe I’ve read too much Manly Wade Wellman, but the first thing that came to mind was “did the picture have any locks of hair or fingernail clippings of the person connected to it?” Because that sounds like a Magickal way of putting a death hex on someone — stab/shoot the image (like a poppet/”voodoo doll”) and the person takes the damage for real.

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  28. LeRoy:
    Great comment Samuel Conner re: JM home.Apparrently he no longer has to say “silver and gold have we none.”

    “Just a Mansion like Furtick’s.”

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  29. Muff Potter: Indeed it is.
    If MacDonald has a lick of sense, he’ll drop the suit (it’ll be his Stalingrad–to use a metaphor), cut his losses, and salvage what he can.

    I’d like to see his ego keep in in the game until Stalingrad falls.

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  30. I’m watching my wording since, to be perfectly frank, I’m concerned that macDonald might try to sue me and everybody else who write about him.

    JUST LIKE SCIENTOLOGY!

    So, I frequently will be using words like “it appears* and IMHO (in my humble opinion). So, here I go.

    JUST LIKE WHEN DEALING WITH SCIENTOLOGY!
    HAIL XENU!

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  31. Headless Unicorn Guy: I’d like to see his ego keep in in the game until Stalingrad falls.

    If he does, Stalingrad will most certainly fall. Julie Roys is a very intelligent woman, an ace investigator and researcher, and nobody’s fool. If he’s planning on intimidating her into just rolling over, he is so sadly mistaken!

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  32. roebuck: If he does, Stalingrad will most certainly fall. Julie Roys is a very intelligent woman, an ace investigator and researcher, and nobody’s fool. If he’s planning on intimidating her into just rolling over, he is so sadly mistaken!

    I’m hoping JMac’s ego won’t let him back out.
    The more he acts like a cut-rate David Miscavage in public, the more damage he does to himself and HBC.

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  33. Max: Intimidation and manipulation … get to the men by dragging their women into the mess … “You mess with my security, and I’ll mess with yours.”Very un-Christlike behavior, of course.

    i.e. Threaten their Families.

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  34. roebuck: If he does, Stalingrad will most certainly fall. Julie Roys is a very intelligent woman, an ace investigator and researcher, and nobody’s fool. If he’s planning on intimidating her into just rolling over, he is so sadly mistaken!

    A recent post at the TED ‘blog gives a glimpse into the filings in the case so far, and IIRC JR’s document production request was quite extensive and will probably not be cheerfully received by the plaintiff.

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  35. Vinnie:
    10 car garage, what? He is going down. Who’s gonna pay off the $42 million?

    Probably the Furticks have a 9 car garage. So, 10. I have come to believe that JM is deeply delusional, and headed for a big, big fall.

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  36. Vinnie,

    We left HBC back in 2012. They were $60-70M in debt and had just done their 5G Campaign, where they raise $60M. Where in the world does $120 Million go….??? Finances were just one of the many reasons we left.

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  37. Such ridiculousness, God gave to each person independence, a voice, and a brain, he would not have created us with those things if we weren’t to use them. In addition, our forefathers(and mothers) in founding this country formally recognized that each person has those rights, from God. What this “church” and others like it are advocating, is un-Biblical, un-Christian, and un-American.

    On a side note, this article took forever for me to read because as a South Carolina Gamecock every time my brain sees HBC it wants to read it as Head Ball Coach, i.e. our former coach the legendary Steve Spurrier. But maybe this HBC could learn something from him, as he got into arguments with critics but he didn’t try to sue them or their wives.

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  38. Samuel Conner: the one who is being opposed by God through the agency of the person in the position of weakness

    I once heard someone say, “If you believe strongly about something, and I completely disagree, maybe God wants us to talk.” That idea assumed a conversation between equals. But I agree that God strengthens the weak to speak truth to power.

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  39. I know sharing the word of God can be profound and penetrating, but proprietary? Apparently only special people can share their copyrighted enlightened wisdom available in a bookstore near you.

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  40. “digital attackers ravage the body of Christ” (James MacDonald)

    Ravage: to despoil, plunder, loot, pillage

    How many Christian bloggers have 6-figure salaries and million dollar mansions?

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  41. Look at how this fortress has been fortified. Now that Roys’ report has been published, the scrutiny will be greater than ever on James MacDonald. I’m seeing hashtags going around like “repent or resign”. He’s not going to repent while he’s still having his power needs fed with unlimited and unaccountable power. This is a form of bondage he is in. He’s going to dig his heels in, because he can. The church bylaws conveniently changed in 2015, so that the removal of the Senior Pastor calls for UNANIMOUS vote of a 30-man elder board, which according to the website, MacDonald sits on… plus, the unanimous vote of the mysterious 5-person Executive board, WHICH MACDONALD ALSO SITS ON!!!

    The church has made it so that for the Senior Pastor to be removed, the Senior Pastor himself needs to vote himself out twice. So really, the only way the senior pastor would be removed from his position from this church is for the pastor to have a come-to-Jesus moment and resign. He cannot be terminated for the good of the church and against his will. So this is going to get uglier.

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  42. dee: The SBC has lost its way in many matters. There is more to come in the near future.

    After nearly 70 years in SBC life, I left the denomination this year. I was a long-time Sunday School teacher, lay-minister, and served in assorted other capacities. As the prevailing theology, ecclesiology, outreach and missions began to shift with the reformed movement, I challenged it as best I could at the local level – I spoke truth in love. Most traditional SBC churches in my area, and all of the new church plants, have surrendered to the influence of New Calvinism. Few have listened to me. Mark 6:11 kept coming to mind “If any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So, after much agony, my family left a once-great evangelistic group of people. We did all we could do and carry no further responsibility for it.

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  43. Max: “…Most traditional SBC churches in my area, and all of the new church plants, have surrendered to the influence of New Calvinism…”

    My niece is going to a baptist church which I know a few years ago was American Baptist Church rather than SBC. Recently, I looked at this church’s website, and it appears as though everything is different-very vague belief statement, no profile or staff biography of the pastor or other staff, promoting stuff from Sovereign Grace Ministries, no one answers the phone when called. Looks kind of new calvinist to me which is scary as there is a school attached to this church. My aunt has only gone there a few times so she really doesn’t know much, but I told her what signs to look for as new calvinism, I.e., tulip, etc., but she thinks I am exaggerating as she says they are just nice people. I hope for her sake this isn’t some kind of nine marks stuff or something, but she’s not the discerning type. Kind of worries me.

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  44. Noevangelical,

    “The only people “ravaging” the Body of Christ are those people who are taking advantage of Christians sexually, financially, and spiritually. Teaching false doctrine is ravaging. Stealing money from parishioners is ravaging. Making merchandise of them is ravaging. Abusing their children is ravaging. Dividing homes, marriages, and families is ravaging.

    Not a blogger blogging. How stupid.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    Agreed, all of it.

    but what constitutes false doctrine? what makes it false? what’s the litmus test?

    doctrine…such a serious word. at what point do ideas become ‘officialized’ with the word doctrine?… (that’s just a bonus question, here…. not that i have the answer)

    it’s kind of like a reverse “it’s biblical” (‘because i say so, so i win. and a celebrity backs me up here, so that’s proof.’)

    at the moment my beliefs have reduced down to a few brass tacks at the bottom of the pot. so many doctrines, championed and panned, flying around — having to duck for cover.

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  45. Noevangelical: Re: “… Bloggers are “ravaging the body of Christ”…seriously?”

    The only people “ravaging” the Body of Christ are those people who are taking advantage of Christians sexually, financially, and spiritually. Teaching false doctrine is ravaging. Stealing money from parishioners is ravaging. Making merchandise of them is ravaging. Abusing their children is ravaging. Dividing homes, marriages, and families is ravaging.

    But Rank Hath Its Privileges.
    Especially when that Rank is bestowed by Divine Right on God’s Speshul Pets.

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  46. Joe: The church has made it so that for the Senior Pastor to be removed, the Senior Pastor himself needs to vote himself out twice.

    FEATURE, NOT BUG.

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  47. Max:
    “digital attackers ravage the body of Christ” (James MacDonald)

    Ravage: to despoil, plunder, loot, pillage

    How many Christian bloggers have 6-figure salaries and million dollar mansions

    It took me forty years of rising in my profession to achieve a 6-figure salary.
    And my current place is a 1200-sq-ft (120 sq-meter) townhouse. (House prices where I am are INSANE.)

    JMac and his ilk sound like Mark Zuckerberg becoming a multi-Billionaire in his early Twenties.
    As in examples of how that can mess you up internally.

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  48. Jen: We left HBC back in 2012. They were $60-70M in debt and had just done their 5G Campaign, where they raise $60M. Where in the world does $120 Million go….???

    Keeping up with the Furticks?

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  49. Vinnie:
    10 car garage, what? He is going down. Who’s gonna pay off the $42 million?

    The tithing units in the pews of all HBC franchises, of course.
    “TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! OR GAWD *WILL* PUNISH YOU!”

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  50. Joe,

    I realize the by-laws may have been changed to give more elder authority, but my question has always been “Did the by-laws get changed by utilizing the organizations approval method to change those by-laws (eg. membership voting)?” When did that occur or were those by-laws just changed? Are those voting changes documented? If those by-laws were just changed, it seems fraudulent and may harm the non-profit status of the organization. Were laws broken when and if those by-laws were changed?

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  51. Headless Unicorn Guy: “TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! TITHE! OR GAWD *WILL* PUNISH YOU!”

    In Texas, Robert Morris cracks this whip (to use a metaphor) over the backs of the slaves hauling multi-ton granite blocks.
    It’s always better to be the whipper than the whippee.

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  52. Behold how many people one overblown ego can take down with him. At what point do the elders and other yes-men decide they’ve had enough and reclaim their own lives and vollition?

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  53. From Roys’article:

    “eight former elders—including longtime board chairman Dave Corning—sent a strongly worded letter to the remaining elder board. The letter stated that 2 Timothy 3:1-5 lists nearly 20 traits that disqualify a person from being a pastor or elder, and “it is our opinion that these apply substantially to James.”
    “The letter charged MacDonald with, among other things, “self-promotion … love of money … domineering and bullying … abusive speech … outbursts of anger … [and] making misleading statements,”

    It appears to me that McDonald’s words and actions of late are powerfully proving their point.

    The letter charged MacDonald with, among other things, “self-promotion … love of money … domineering and bullying … abusive speech … outbursts of anger … [and] making misleading statements,” adding, “We are prepared to bring forth a host of specific examples and witnesses.” (WORLD has published the entire letter here.)

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  54. SiteSeer: “The letter charged MacDonald with, among other things, “self-promotion … love of money … domineering and bullying … abusive speech … outbursts of anger … [and] making misleading statements,”

    Traits that aren’t fruit of the Spirit, for sure! There’s been an outbreak of such behavior in the American mega-mania-ministry. When a celebrity leader gets squeezed, the real man oozes out. The Christian Industrial Complex resembles very little the Church of the Living God.

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  55. SiteSeer: At what point do the elders and other yes-men decide they’ve had enough and reclaim their own lives and volition?

    If/when the Holy Spirit convicts them of their sin. Of course, in New Calvinist ranks, one does not really have the faculty or power to use one’s will. Being a yes-man elder was predestined until the potato becomes too hot to handle.

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  56. I am frequently nonplussed by the way in which people -in this case Mr Grudem – pick and choose their quotes. I say this as a frequent quote of quotes. Reference is made in the blog to Q.144 of the WCF Catechism in order to justify his particular view. It would have been more helpful if he had included Q.145 as well, as it is the second half of the answer. (144.What are the duties required, 145. What are the sins forbidden). This sheds more light on the current debate and enables the reader to arrive at an informed and balanced view of the matter, in my opinion.
    “Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?
    A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of the truth or justice; speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, talebearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults; hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any; endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.”

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  57. SiteSeer,

    “The letter stated that 2 Timothy 3:1-5 lists nearly 20 traits that disqualify a person from being a pastor or elder”
    +++++++++++++

    did they really need a biblical list?

    isn’t schmuck enough?

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  58. elastigirl:
    SiteSeer,

    “The letter stated that 2 Timothy 3:1-5 lists nearly 20 traits that disqualify a person from being a pastor or elder”
    +++++++++++++

    did they really need a biblical list?

    isn’t schmuck enough?

    Schmuck would seem to be a qualifying trait 😉

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  59. Another example of selective editing is the fact that reference is made to John 8:49 in order to justify standing up for yourself and, by implication, going to court to defend yourself. They should have continued reading to v50 where Jesus also says “And I seek not mine own glory….”

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  60. elastigirl:
    SiteSeer,

    “The letter stated that 2 Timothy 3:1-5 lists nearly 20 traits that disqualify a person from being a pastor or elder”
    +++++++++++++

    did they really need a biblical list?

    isn’t schmuck enough?

    No.
    They Require Exact Chapter-and-Verse SCRIPTURE(TM).
    Because anything else – ANYTHING – is Fleshly, Worldly, and Of The Devil.

    “Show Me SCRIPTURE!”
    — PastorRaulReesCalvaryChapelWestCovina, whenever anyone tried to reason with him

    “Don’t bother trying to reason with them. They’re Born-Again.”
    — Dialog line from World Enough and Time, a minor SF novel from the late Seventies

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  61. roebuck: Zuckerberg is his generation’s Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen.

    ftfy

    Actually, Saddam Hussein and his sons were a much closer match:
    Uday = Beast Rabban
    Qusay = “Lovely, Lovely” Feyd-Rautha
    Baba Saddam = the Floating Fat Man himself

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  62. SiteSeer:
    Behold how many people one overblown ego can take down with him. At what point do the elders and other yes-men decide they’ve had enough and reclaim their own lives and vollition?

    When they’re no longer Personally Benefiting from it.
    Tabaqui the Jackal wouldn’t hang out with Shere Khan if he weren’t getting scraps from the tiger’s kills.

    And a lot of autocratic Jerk Bosses are obsessed with Loyalty among their “elders and yes-men”. In such an environment, being More Loyal than Everyone Else is a definite survival trait. As in “Stay Alive by Out-Flattering All the Others”.

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  63. Jeff:
    Joe,

    I realize the by-laws may have been changed to give more elder authority, but my question has always been “Did the by-laws get changed by utilizing the organizations approval methodto change those by-laws (eg. membership voting)?”When did that occur or were those by-laws just changed?Are those voting changes documented?If those by-laws were just changed, it seems fraudulent and may harm the non-profit status of the organization.Were laws broken when and if those by-laws were changed?

    It doesn’t appear that those questions have been scrutinized. Those by-laws regarding what is required to remove the Senior Pastor were amended in 2015, according to Roys’ report. I doubt that we would find any chicanery in that process, and the elder board probably ratified the changes with their normal processes. The fact that 30 men approved the change, requiring unanimity in two different boards (and MacDonald himself is on both), and the elder board never considered if it is turning the Senior Pastor into a monarch, strongly leads me to believe that they were puppeted yet again by James.

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  64. Headless Unicorn Guy: Actually, Saddam Hussein and his sons were a much closer match:
    Uday = Beast Rabban
    Qusay = “Lovely, Lovely” Feyd-Rautha
    Baba Saddam = the Floating Fat Man himself

    Excellent! Saddam needed to put on a little weight to truly fit the role, but close enough!

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  65. This church’s current ruling Elders can not be allowed to continue the’re apparent blantant mis-use and financial mismanagement in a deliberate public vacuum. Those in faithful attendance have a summary need of swift providential relief. Lord Jesus, we appeal to you, please make that so as you see fit. Amen.

    ;~)

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  66. SiteSeer: Behold how many people one overblown ego can take down with him. At what point do the elders and other yes-men decide they’ve had enough and reclaim their own lives and vollition?

    Apparently it doesn’t matter what they think, if the vote requires McDonald to vote against himself. All one can hope for is that they all resign, but I doubt that happens.

    I don’t see how a congregation could have approved this type of arrangement if, in fact, they did.

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  67. elastigirl: did they really need a biblical list?

    isn’t schmuck enough?

    Or the Westminster Confession? Can people really not look at the man/the situation and determine that it is wrong?

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  68. Bridget: Or the Westminster Confession? Can people really not look at the man/the situation and determine that it is wrong?

    Bridget, since I first encountered this blog and began reading the litany of the misdeeds of these megapastors, I have asked myself that very question. At the end of the day, congregation as the power. If nothing else avails, they can leave. And some do. But many don’t.

    I guess for a lot of folks, church is a social club, entertainment venue, day care, feel good thing. What Christ has to do with it, I sure can’t see. But it makes them feel religious and good, or something.

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  69. Bridget: Or the Westminster Confession? Can people really not look at the man/the situation and determine that it is wrong?

    Well yes. If you refer it to Scripture you are, in theory, removing any personal animosity or bias against the man. In other words “Sola Scriptura”.

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  70. Joe,

    According to the Corning letter

    “I rotated off the board in November 2009. It was clear to me and I said so, that the church would have to change its Constitution in order to enact James’ new structure. This can only be done with the full understanding and agreement of the congregation. The current Constitution must be shown to the congregation with the proposed changes in red letters. As far as I know that has never occurred, which would mean the church structure has been operating against the Constitution of the church since 2009. When Scott Phelps, an elder, asked to see a copy of the Constitution he was told there wasn’t one by Steve Huston. I carried one to every board meeting I ever attended.”

    The constitution would need to change by ratification by the congregation in a very specific manner. I see no evidence this was done. Therefore and assuming this has not been done, every single decision, payment, change and likewise has been done in a potentially criminal and fraudulent manner. A non-profit by-laws should have been filed with the state upon creation and any changes should be documented. Given a lot money is involved here and benefits one particular individual or family we are talking a serious situation.

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  71. Bridget: I don’t see how a congregation could have approved this type of arrangement if, in fact, they did.

    Asking the HBC congregation what they thought about this, or anything, would have been extremely doubtful. MacDonald thinks congregational governance is from Satan: https://theelephantsdebt.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/congregational-government-is-from-satan.pdf

    He waffled on this position later, sort of repenting of his words in this regard, in order to be accepted into SBC membership which (at the time) still believed in congregational governance … although that is disappearing as elder-rule sweeps through the denomination riding the wave of the New Calvinist takeover.

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  72. Max: Asking the HBC congregation what they thought about this, or anything, would have been extremely doubtful.MacDonald thinks congregational governance is from Satan: https://theelephantsdebt.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/congregational-government-is-from-satan.pdf

    He waffled on this position later, sort of repenting of his words in this regard, in order to be accepted into SBC membership which (at the time) still believed in congregational governance … although that is disappearing as elder-rule sweeps through the denomination riding the wave of the New Calvinist takeover.

    And a bunch of snakes they are, the lot of ’em.

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  73. Last Friday our 15 year old female sheltie got out of our house some how. We looked all over for her, posted signs, posted on neighborhood web pages etc. and heard nothing at all. The today, one week later I got a call saying his daughters found a sheltie with our number on the collar and wanted to know if we had lost a dog. I hurried over to his house (about 1 mile away) and it was her and she was in good shape. I brought her home and fed her (she was so hungry) and now she is enjoying our other dogs and seem thin but healthy. How she survived I don’t know… nights were in the 40’s and we had lots of rain. There are coyotes and even some alligators within a mile or two so were were afraid she would be a victim.

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  74. He uses charged language to increase the emotional response of the reader. As the reader becomes more emotional, this actually distracts from the message. It’s a very clever tool abusers use to control “their people” and the narrative (IMHO).

    When he talks about being in an “age of rage,” I think this is an example of projection (projection is “keeping unwanted thoughts, feelings, and/or impulses out of your own conscious awareness, and seeing them in others”). We all do this at some point but most people are able to recognize it over time. People like MacDonald don’t recognize it though because they are, quite honestly, too full of themselves. To recognize it means you have to self explore; to self explore would mean the possibility of having to take responsibility and accountability for poor behaviors. And we all know Macky MAC ain’t about to none of that. Especially in light of everything that has happened in the last 24 hours! (IMHO)

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  75. drstevej,

    so happy for her and for you. i’m sure she’s the happiest pup — warm & cozy, safe, feeling all the love in her pack.

    ooooh, vicarously i feel it, too!

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  76. drstevej: now she is enjoying our other dogs and seem thin but healthy. How she survived I don’t know…

    Welcome home, doggie! It was lovely of your man to share your story.

    Right now I’m trapped in my chair, weighed down by a snoring old mutt. Her rib cage is serving as a lap desk, though a rather lousy one. My notebook computer is slowly rising and falling with her breath. Once in awhile she wags her tail… must be a good dream.

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  77. roebuck,

    “I guess for a lot of folks, church is a social club, entertainment venue, day care, feel good thing.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    with God points (just to be on the safe side)

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  78. Lowlandseer,

    Since I found TWW 6 months ago, I have been reading a lot of the old blog posts. I finally see the light that abusers will twist anything so that they can hold on to their power. It does not matter what is said in the Bible, they will find chapter and verses to support their behavior AND turn it around framing the victim as the one who causes all the trouble and violate Biblical principles/doctrine/whatever they can come up.

    Just read the statement released by HBC today. If they are really taking the high road, James McDonald should have stopped the law suit immediately. Do you not see they are double-speaking?

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  79. drstevej:
    Last Friday our 15 year old female sheltie got out of our house some how. We looked all over for her, posted signs, posted on neighborhood web pages etc. and heard nothing at all. The today, one week later I got a call saying his daughters found a sheltie with our number on the collar and wanted to know if we had lost a dog. I hurried over to his house (about 1 mile away) and it was her and she was in good shape. I brought her home and fed her (she was so hungry) and now she is enjoying our other dogs and seem thin but healthy. How she survived I don’t know… nights were in the 40’s and we had lots of rain. There are coyotes and even some alligators within a mile or two so were were afraid she would be a victim.

    I am a dog person, and I know the panic and ache of having a dog go missing. When I see a flyer at the corner store that someone lost a dog, where it was last seen, etc., I go looking for it.

    I live in the woods in NH, and we have coyotes, and bears, and all sorts of ways for a dog to come to grief. I am very glad that you got your sheltie back safe and healthy.

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  80. roebuck: church is a social club, entertainment venue, day care, feel good thing. What Christ has to do with it, I sure can’t see.

    The Greatest Generation (before it was called that) was accused of going to church for “social reasons.” I never thought this was fair: the people I knew from the WWI and WWII generations were equally serious about their faith.

    A big difference between those folks and Christians in the US today is that they were fairly calm. They had gone through absolutely everything, and they valued a bit of peace and prosperity. Our society no longer values calm behavior as it once did. I don’t think constant excitement is helping us very much.

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  81. roebuck: And a bunch of snakes they are, the lot of ’em.

    Stealth and deception is their modus operandi.

    I spend a lot of time outdoors. I don’t have a problem with snakes as long as I know what species they are. There are three poisonous snakes in my area; I have learned to quickly identify and avoid them. After 70 years in church, I’ve honed my observation skills in an effort to detect the genuine from the counterfeit in the pulpit. I’ve been bitten a few times, but for the most part I have spotted deceivers quick enough to find the exit. It continues to amaze me how many church folks fall for this stuff.

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  82. Ray: If they are really taking the high road …

    The problem with deception is that you don’t know you are deceived because you are deceived. When you truly believe you are on the high road, everyone else is on the low road.

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  83. Max: Stealth and deception is their modus operandi.

    I spend a lot of time outdoors.I don’t have a problem with snakes as long as I know what species they are.There are three poisonous snakes in my area; I have learned to quickly identify and avoid them.After 70 years in church, I’ve honed my observation skills in an effort to detect the genuine from the counterfeit in the pulpit.I’ve been bitten a few times, but for the most part I have spotted deceivers quick enough to find the exit.It continues to amaze me how many church folks fall for this stuff.

    Heh heh, as a forester, ecologist, and hiker, I too have spent much of my life out of doors, sometimes in odd parts of the world. In NH where I live, not many poisonous snakes. However, when I lived in the southwest, there were rattlers aplenty. I must say time in Panama was ‘interesting’, though, because I was so out of my element.

    All of which is to say that I think snakes are actually beautiful and admirable creatures in many respects – too bad for them they became the symbol for wicked stealth and deception. So to all you real snakes out there, I truly apologize.

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  84. roebuck: All of which is to say that I think snakes are actually beautiful and admirable creatures in many respects – too bad for them they became the symbol for wicked stealth and deception. So to all you real snakes out there, I truly apologize.

    I couldn’t agree more! I spent 45 years as an environmental biologist. Snakes, as a group, get a bad rap. Now, bad-boy preachers on the other hand …

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  85. Headless Unicorn Guy: To me, Zuckerberg comes across as a high-functioning Autistic.

    As is Bill Gates. As are many. Until they miscalculated the amount of chemicals people were actually getting, or perhaps the cumulative effect over generations, and ended up with seriously neurologically damaged, totally dysfunctional people, rather than simply those whose emotions had been severed, and who could function like genius robots with no remorse for evil deeds.

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  86. elastigirl: “I guess for a lot of folks, church is a social club, entertainment venue, day care, feel good thing.”

    It is the community that no longer exists. In traditional societies, people lived among family, friends and neighbors who had known one another for centuries. There was a sense of belonging. The modern church has become that lost ‘community’ for many people, and if they lose it, they have nothing with which to replace it. I know. It’s lonely and sad, but a cult is not a safe and healthy replacement for a diverse, self-policing community of people with relations to watch their backs.

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  87. Bridget: Or the Westminster Confession? Can people really not look at the man/the situation and determine that it is wrong?

    No they can’t.
    When you live your life encased in fundagelical bubble-wrap (reformed or non, it makes no difference), you can’t even burp sideways without some kind of ‘Scriptural’ mandate.

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  88. Muff Potter: Bridget: Or the Westminster Confession? Can people really not look at the man/the situation and determine that it is wrong?

    No they can’t.

    When you live your life encased in fundagelical bubble-wrap (reformed or non, it makes no difference), you can’t even burp sideways without some kind of ‘Scriptural’ mandate.

    “Show Me SCRIPTURE!”
    — PastorRaulReesCalvaryChapelWestCovina, any time someone tried to reason with him

    Many years ago, I was listening to someone who worked Army Intel in Iraq, and he said when dealing with the locals, no matter how educated or “Westernized” they seemed, there was a point in their minds beyond which ideas or thoughts could not go. He said you could actually “see the wall slam down in their minds”, after which there was only “IT IS WRITTEN! IT IS WRITTEN! IT IS WRITTEN! AL’LAH’U AKBAR!”

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  89. TS00: As is Bill Gates. As are many.

    Gates and Zuckerberg promised the populace instant Satori and they indeed delivered.
    You don’t even have to add water and microwave.

    Never before in human history has every conceivable bauble and bangle (both literal and figurative) been obtainable at the touch of a screen or with the click of a mouse.

    Who needs community (in the old fashioned sense before the world had moved on) with real skin in the game when the no muss no fuss faux version is so readily available?

    I think we might be closer to Huxley’s Dystopia than previously conjectured.

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  90. Max: Traits that aren’t fruit of the Spirit, for sure! There’s been an outbreak of such behavior in the American mega-mania-ministry. When a celebrity leader gets squeezed, the real man oozes out.

    “Over all this their good manners, their expressions of grave respect, their “tributes” to one another’s invaluable services form a thin crust. Every now and then it gets punctured, and the scalding lava of their hatred spurts out.”
    — C.S.Lewis, Preface to The Screwtape Letters

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  91. Muff Potter: Who needs community (in the old fashioned sense before the world had moved on) with real skin in the game when the no muss no fuss faux version is so readily available?
    I think we might be closer to Huxley’s Dystopia than previously conjectured.

    Well, they call it SOcial MediA…

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