Image by Ryan Ashton
“And in that fraction of a second before anything actually happened, Santino Corleone knew he was a dead man.” The Godfather
Mancow still has the ability to shock.
Today I was shocked by the revelations of former shock jock, Mancow. I say former because he apparently wants to clean up his act. However, according to the wags of the internet, even with Mancow’s conversion in 2014, he is still on the spicy side. Radio Insider reports It’s Official: Mancow Returns To Chicago’s WLS Jan. 3. Maybe Chicago listeners could report in how he’s doing. For those who have not heard of him, Wikipedia does a decent overview of his life, albeit leaving out his conversion.
According the Patch in Mancow Muller Calls For Harvest Bible’s MacDonald To ‘Come Clean’:
Muller, whose full name is Matthew Erich Muller, is best known for his “shock jock” days in the late 1990s and early 200s, and for his run-ins with the Federal Communications Commission. According to the article, Muller has attended Harvest Bible Chapel since 2014, and has been MacDonald’s friend since 2016. MacDonald baptized him in the Jordan River in Israel.
Quick Israel Vignette which fits this:
I was quite disappointed in the *get baptized in the Jordan” deal. It has become somewhat of a tourist trap. There are a bunch of concessions around the area with multiple levels of seating. Think concrete. The area in which one may be baptized is small and there is a metal barrier to prevent people from wading in further. On our return to Israel from Jordan (we went to Mount Nebo and Petra-more on that later) our guide pointed out another area that was most likely the spot of Jesus’ baptism. Thankfully, there did not appear to be any concessions.
I don’t know if Mancow understands how shocking his revelations are. Maybe you won’t find any of them loathsome but I did. Mancow: Speaking my truth to Harvest Bible Chapel’s Pastor James. I’m so grateful that a new friend in Chicagoland pointed this out to me. (Folks, never assume I see everything. I appreciate tips.)
I want to go through his lengthy article point by point, but I urge everyone to read the entire article. The highlighted quotes are Mancow’s own words.
1.”His preaching is good for the soul and good for the community.” “I believe Pastor James had a calling. It’s also why he was fascinated with me.”
Mancow clearly has appreciated the teaching gifts of MacDonald and seems to realize it is hard to be a celebrity pastor.
2. “But he also created THIS: a culture of authoritarianism, secrecy, intimidation, outlandish fundraising expectations, poor financial controls and debt.”
Wow! He sums up many problems in one sentence.
3. ” Like the two faces of Janus, he is a man of great complexities. Unfortunately, he and his caldron of yes men have lost their way.”
This is something we often discuss at TWW. Elders should not exist to be *yes* men. Frankly, that should humiliating to anyone who has accepted that role. My former pastor once said to me, “I’ve been a pastor for 28 years and the elders have only disagreed with me twice.” BFF elders are a really bad idea. It was my experience at that church that led to this blog 10 years ago as of March 2019.
4. “He has it set up so only Pastor James can fire Pastor James.” “How sick is that?”
He hits the nail on this one. Why didn’t the elders stop this? Did anyone even question it If so, did they have to leave the church? Or did the elders and assorted hangers-on let it go because they loved having a celebrity led mega-church of which they could say they were *leaders.* Good night! Shame on them!
5. “It was cultlike when Pastor James and elders instructed us to not listen to “outside noise” (meaning no news or blogs criticizing Pastor). And I didn’t.”
Mancow admits that he listened to this piece of advice. How many churches have instructed their people not to listen to blogs? The Georgia Baptist Convention passed a resolution against blogging. I wrote about it years ago in Georgia Baptist Convention- It’s the Sin, Stupid! Scroll down and you can read the entire document.
Slowly people are seeing the error of this *advice.* Many blogs today report the information that churches want you to overlook. Not only that but today’s Christian blogs often have the information before regular social media. Get it here, first!” 😉
6.” If they are lying, you must fight back!” I told him: “Get ahead of this thing!” I gave him the number of my lawyer.”
Mancow believed James MacDonald, who frequently called him and supposedly cried about the people who were *out to get him.* Slowly Mancow began to try to figure out why MacDonald was suing people whose only problem seemed to be “asking difficult questions.”
7. “He told me that simply by suing his detractors he would win because people would be afraid to talk about him for fear of a lawsuit.”
This is the statement that really got to me. MacDonald was not suing the bloggers because he mistakenly believed that he was standing up for the truth. He did it to intimidate people. If what Mancow is saying is true, then MacDonald MUST pay the legal fees for Roys and The Elephant Debt and hang his head in shame. This man does not belong anywhere near a pulpit, not now, not ever. He needs to go and hide out in some retirement community in Florida. Surely he’s got the money for living well.
8. “When he seemed shocked about this thing called “discovery” in a court case, the writing was on the wall. He would reveal nothing! The case was dropped immediately.”
This is one thing I don’t understand. I told the folks at TED that JM’s goose would be cooked when it came to discovery. I knew that this guy who keeps his finances under lock and key would be opposed to releasing it during discovery. That is exactly what happened. However, I can’t believe that a man like James MacDonald didn’t know about discovery. I’m hardly the brightest bulb at Ace Hardware but even I know about it.
So was he just stupid or…did he think that TED and Roys would fold at the mere mention of the word *lawsuit?* Thankfully, TED and Roys are made of sterner stuff and I admire all of them. (Well done!) I suspect that he thought they would go crying home to mama.
9. “Why is Harvest $42 million in debt, as the church has stated on its website?”
Well, isn’t that what started the Elephant’s Debt? Going back through the elders’ ridiculous statements, I found all sorts of *nothing to see here, move along* when it came to the debt. Here is one of their statements from October 2012. So, how many of the elders still think they will be debt free in one year? I’d say the odds are low.
10.” Pastor James and a fundraising campaign called Closer asked me to donate $3 million recently. This seemed rather tone-deaf to me because I was unemployed at the time.”
This part of the article is fascinating to read. It appears that MacDonald was putting the screws to Mancow and didn’t care about the financial situation that Mancow was facing.
11. “So why call the long-planned, paid vacation to Naples, Florida, a “sabbatical” and “a time of enforced self-reflection?”
Now this is interesting. Does Mancow knows something we don’t? It appears he is saying that this *sabbatical* was planned in advance. If this is so, then the elders and MacDonald are lying to their people and all of them need to step down and go back to Christianity 101. This reminds me of the Pete Wilson resignation.
12. “Will Harvest lift all nondisclosure agreements that employees are forced to sign and let them out of these prisons of silence and allow them to finally tell what actually has gone wrong?”
TWW firmly believes that NDAs should not be used by churches except to protect a counselee who receives counsel from the counselor. NDAs are simply a coverup that protect the guilty.
13. “The service I attended this past Sunday basically began with “The elders and Pastor James agree that …” Uh oh.”He’s still calling the shots from Naples just like Capone from prison,” whispered the guy next to me.”
Of course he is. His elders are simply consiglieri. Which reminds me of this quote from The Godfather:
“Fredo, you’re my older brother, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.”
In the end, Mancow wants MacDonald to ‘fess up’ to the church, the elders to step down and a truly independent investigation to take place.
On the other hand, I do not think a truly independent investigation will ever take place with MacDonald as pastor. He needs to step down and fade into the sunset…after he pays the legal fees for Roys and TED. Repeat x3.
Now, switching over to John Secrest
John Secrest, former pastor of HBC Naples made it clear. They fired him because he wanted to leave the HBC *family.*
The title of the article in the Daily Herald makes it clear. Florida pastor: I was fired for suggesting my church leave the Harvest Bible network.
He told them he had asked the Harvest elders to reconsider their decision to let MacDonald continue a three-month preaching stint that began Jan. 6 in Naples, now that MacDonald is on leave.
He had also asked for the church to be released from its four-month-old affiliation with Harvest.
Secrest said he regretted not “standing firm in objections” he had raised when the church was considering the affiliation. He declined, in an interview, to say what those objections were.
He also said in the email he did not know at the time about criticism against the church or about a defamation suit the church was going to file in October against some of those critics
If this is true, any church thinking about joining this Mafia-like organization, needs to think again. Never forget, the Sicilian Mafia called themselves La Cosa Nostra as well as referring to themselves as *The Honored Society.* Just like those guys, it appears that Harvest Bible Chapel leadership and James MacDonald have a dismal understanding of the adjective *Honor* and an overactive view of *The Family.*
Secrest, bless his heart, had no idea what was required of a leader when joining the HBC *Family.* Perhaps a viewing of The Godfather is in order? (In case you haven’t noticed, I am a fan of The Godfather which was recently voted the best movie of all time.)
“Paulie sold out the old man, that stronz. I don’t want to see him no more. I want you to make that first thing on your list, understand?” – Sonny Corleone
I think Secrest should continue to cause waves to back into the church. My guess is that things are going downhill at a rapid pace and MacDonald is on his way out. The odds are in his favor.
Lets end on this note: $$$$$$$$$
Parishioners should stop giving their hard-earned money because Harvest will not change until we stop funding this madness
In the Secrest article, the following point was made:
According to a 2015 report by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, megachurches were more likely to suffer loss of donations when there was conflict in the church, compared to smaller churches.
Some denominations, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, offer programs to help any of their congregations that lose a longtime senior pastor hire an interim pastor and get through the transition to a permanent replacement.
“I would very much think they (Harvest) would bring in some interim to heal, and to find someone else good for the church,” Scudder said
Maybe HBC, to quiet the hoopla, will make Secrest “an offer he can’t refuse? ” In the meantime, it is time for the real men and women of HBC to step up to the plate to do and be what the church needs. Surely there are some people with courage.