He’s Gone? It Looks Like James MacDonald May Be Out at Harvest Bible Chapel

This is going to be short and not sweet. It looks like James MacDonald is gone.You can read about it at The Elephant’s Debt. Mancow Announces “James MacDonald is No Longer a Part of Harvest Bible Chapel”

Mancow reportedly had this to say on his show this morning.

And this weekend, they will announce: James MacDonald is no longer a part of Harvest Bible Chapel.  That is what my sources are telling me.

According to TED:

Again, we must stress that this situation is very fluid, and additional meetings may take place that could potentially alter the outcome that Mancow is confidently predicting and was the first to report.  Thus, until we hear it clearly from the elders of HBC or MacDonald himself, we will but hope and pray for the elders to have the strength of character to do the hard thing.

I’ll keep you posted. Now, I hope I have time to prepare some dinner. I really can’t keep up!!!

Just in case this report proves to be true,  I dedicate this to TED, Julie Roys and all the good people who survived MacDonald.

 


Comments

He’s Gone? It Looks Like James MacDonald May Be Out at Harvest Bible Chapel — 140 Comments

  1. I would encourage all ex-Harvesters to seek legal redress for his abuse and misuse of funds. It is not enough to keep letting these snakes slither away with all of their wealth and, worse, reappear elsewhere to do more harm.

    Oh, and nix the ‘elder-led’ stuff. Money and power without accountability always leads to no good.

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  2. TS00: nix the ‘elder-led’ stuff

    Elder-led governance does not work when an overpowering “pastor” is in control (e.g., Mars Hill, Willow Creek, Harvest Bible Chapel). There is no accountability structure in place when a ministry is built around a man and his message, becoming a brand which cannot be challenged without losing it all.

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  3. This will be an interesting development if it really occurs. Hopefully this means that MacDonald’s two sons will be done also. I am sure they are there only due to their being Macdonald’s sons vs. being the best choice. Hopefully there will be a new set of elders.

    As they old saying goes though don’t count chickens till they hatch. If MacDonald is out I am surprised he went out this relatively easy. I would have figured it would have taken HBC approaching bankruptcy and loss of their building to convince MacDonald and/or the sycophant elders to have this done. I also wonder what kind of a settlement MacDonald and his sons received.

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  4. Having now ready the post on The Elephants Debt blog what apparently pressured HBC to get rid of James MacDonald is what I have said before: MONEY.

    Again we will see if this really happens but it appears that with contributions being down has been what has gotten the attention of HBC’s leadership. Sadly it is what apparently got their attention vs. integrity or practicing what the bible teaches.

    Again we will see.

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  5. Steve240: I also wonder what kind of a settlement MacDonald and his sons received.

    CEO’s and their key staff usually exit a business in good shape. In the Christian Industrial complex, I suspect there will be golden parachutes from Heaven. After all, there would not have been Harvest Bible Chapel or the Vertical Church brands without MacDonald – that’s surely worth something! Do you reckon the deal will allow JMac to have an amicable departure from HBC, while retaining the rights to Vertical Church to reinvent a ministry? Of course, all of this is speculation at this point depending on if/when HBC elders make an announcement.

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  6. Max: CEO’s and their key staff usually exit a business in good shape. In the Christian Industrial complex, I suspect there will be golden parachutes from Heaven. After all, there would not have been Harvest Bible Chapel or the Vertical Church brands without MacDonald – that’s surely worth something!

    I am sure MacDonald has already set aside a good amount of money and as you believe MacDonald will get even more money to leave. It is all so sad. MacDonald probably started out well but as can happen probably more than not his MacDonald’s success went to his head.

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  7. I disagree with one comment from Mancow:

    “And this will be the biggest story in religious news on earth today and you’re hearing it here first.”

    I’m guessing that most of the Christians on Earth have no idea who James McDonald is, and don’t care about his job status. Although it probably seems like a massive deal to folks in Chicagoland. I do feel for the leaders who have to dig themselves out of the financial hole the JMac dug for them, without the benefit of his celebrity star-power.

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  8. GSD [Getting Stuff Done],

    As a Chicagoland Christian, I wholeheartedly agree. We should remember our brethren in China and other countries where believers are being persecuted, and not give JMac so much credit. In the long run, he’s nobody. And if he’s a Christian pastor, he will agree with that as Paul did (1 Cor 3).

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  9. This comment was posted on Twitter. As the old saying goes when something sounds too good to be true it usually is. Good we are skeptical that MacDonald would go this easy.

    I MacDonald truly believed even a portion of what he taught he would do the right thing and resign but as narcissistic as MacDonald is I am sure he can’t see this.

    ThinkingGirl

    @ThinkingGirl5
    Following Following @ThinkingGirl5
    More
    FYI: staff meeting for HCA teachers today were assured James is NOT being fired or retiring. Word is nothing regarding this will be addressed this weekend at church services. @MancowMuller, you sure about that Source?

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  10. Steve240: Good we are skeptical that MacDonald would go this easy.

    There is good reason for skepticism relating to anything he or his followers say. The tweet did not say he is not leaving (that would be too unambiguous), it only states he is “NOT being fired or retiring.” This could just be weasel-words to hide that he is leaving with some kind of severance package or that he decided to quit the church and take his resources with him. We’ll just have to see what happens.

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  11. GSD [Getting Stuff Done]: I disagree with one comment from Mancow:

    “And this will be the biggest story in religious news on earth today and you’re hearing it here first.”

    New Calvinists have always thought more highly of themselves than they ought. Such is life in a bubble – this will only be big news in the small world of the new reformation; MacDonald has been one of their darlings. The biggest story in religious news on earth is the one you won’t hear about … millions of believers faithfully living for Christ, ministering in His Name without fame and fortune … and scandal.

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  12. Max,

    Call me cynical, but I suspect a nice little set up here being orchestrated (once again) by James: Naples has been returned to autonomy, Harvest Chicago fires him, he sells his expensive house in Chicago pocketing all the cash and Naples invites him to become it’s new lead pastor. Someone else gets to clean up the mess he left behind while he and his lovely wife enjoy sunsets on the matchless Naples white sand beaches.

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  13. Leslie: I think it is ironic that he brought the denouement on himself by suing TED and Julie Roys.

    I see the answer to that riddle in something Mancow said. MacDonald was simply gambling, a practice he loves, or so I hear. He knew about Discovery, but note what he tried to do, and failed: He attempted to have the judge declare what was revealed in Discovery ‘top secret’, or whatever the appropriate legal lingo is. He didn’t care what Roys discovered, as long as she could not reveal it to the world. That was his gambit, because his only hope of hiding his crimes was to have them declared legally off limits for discussion. He knew the odds were long, but they were all he had. He lost. And he had his Plan B already prepared, for exit and escape. This, of course, is solely my opinion, and has not been approved by the FDA. 😉

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  14. GSD [Getting Stuff Done]: Edit I disagree with one comment from Mancow: “And this will be the big

    I agree. Mancow is living in his bubble that Chicago is the center of the known universe. I continue on y discovery of how “famous” John Macarthur is. So far, everyone has heard of Billy Graham. No one has heard of macArthur. I suspect I would get similar results inserting James macDonald’s name.

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  15. Leslie:
    I think it is ironic that he brought the denouement on himself by suing TED and Julie Roys.

    It seems as if the Lord is laying traps for abusers and tyrants who’ve taken over our churches everywhere. All these powerful people were so entrenched and seemed so big and untouchable, and they’re dropping like flies. God has His timing. As someone who’s experiencing it, when you’ve been abused by those pretending to do it in the name of God, and then you start seeing justice done, even when it’s not in your old church, it heals you a little.

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  16. On a completely unrelated note:

    Father and daughter John and Libby Beeden are currently rowing the Atlantic, having left Portimao in Portugal at the beginning of December. They were originally hoping to row to Miami, thereby making the first true continent-to-continent crossing of the Atlantic. Terrible weather in the first month delayed them enough, however, that they’ve had to revise their target and they’re rowing to Antigua.

    Interested Wartburgers can follow their progress at atlanticrow.co.uk. At the time of writing, they’re around 880 nautical miles (or around 1010 mile miles) from the finish. They’ve covered over 2500 nm.

    IHTIH

    In Other Sporting News, Ireland beat Scotland 22-13 at Sir Andy Murrayfield this afternoon; the Scots were let down by mistakes at crucial points in the game, having been arguably the better side for long periods. But you still have to score points, and Ireland did, so they won.

    Cricket is happening in the Caribbean, apparently, and I’ll give you an update later. I think England are “batting” first, which means they’re getting out cheaply.

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  17. dee: I believe that the elders at HBC has a moral responsibility to pay for the unjust legal fees incurred by TED and Roys and then provide a public apology.

    They certainly do. Evidence has since surfaced that the lawsuit was always intended to intimidate, and that therefore it was never more than a cynical attempt to silence criticism (that backfired spectacularly, of course, when a judge refused to do what the “elders” had always done, and give a goateed businessman everything he wanted).

    But then, they had a moral responsibility to stand up to the businessman as he co-opted Jesus’ name. Instead, they lined up behind him and denounced their betters as “satanic to the core”. There’s been some kind of apology since, but “sorry” is easy to say.

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  18. dee: I agree. Mancow is living in his bubble that Chicago is the center of the known universe. I continue on y discovery of how “famous” John Macarthur is. So far, everyone has heard of Billy Graham. No one has heard of macArthur. I suspect I would get similar results inserting James macDonald’s name.

    Even if the metro its not that big of a deal. When I lived in Minneapolis/St. Paul in the 90s and early-2000s, in Piper’s heyday, he wasn’t even the most influential name in evangelical Christianity in his own metro area at the time. That would’ve been Lowell Lundstrom or Morris Vaageness. Heck, Billy Graham Evangelical Ministries was headquartered there at the time. There was all kinds of stuff going on. People in the metro area were not sitting on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what Piper had to say. And outside of evangelical circles, he was basically unknown. I’m sure that no matter what MacDonald might tell himself, he’s not even much of a thing in metro Chicago itself.

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  19. dee:
    I believe that the elders at HBC has a moral responsibility to pay for the unjust legal fees incurred by TED and Roys and then provide a public apology.

    I agree, but most of it should come out of James MacDonald’s pocket!

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  20. Nick Bulbeck: Evidence has since surfaced that the lawsuit was always intended to intimidate

    There’s been an outbreak of that in New Calvinist ranks. The blogosphere continues to report bad-boy “pastors” who control their staff and the pew through manipulation, intimidation, and deception. None of which are fruit of the spirit … at least Holy Spirit.

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  21. dee: He may be up to something else. Rumors have it he’s out raising money for his new enterprise. Stay tuned…

    I fully expect him to take the “Vertical Church” brand and band into a new ministry enterprise. After all, he has it tattooed on his arm! One thing is for sure, MacDonald will not fade into the sunset … huge egos never do … they keep reinventing themselves (e.g., Driscoll).

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  22. I will be pleasantly surprised if MacDonald does indeed leave HBC this weekend, however I fear that the predictions made by others here about MacDonald using it as a springboard for his next ministry business venture will probably be accurate. I think it might be a possibility he goes the Driscoll route and ends up with the Charisma crowd, after concocting a sob story about his “trials” (with no mention of those he hurt) and how he had “a new vision”, which likely ends up with him opening a new franchise in a much warmer locale than Chicago, with far less baggage too.

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  23. Law Prof: All these powerful people were so entrenched and seemed so big and untouchable, and they’re dropping like flies.

    It’s probably just a question of perspective. They look powerful because they’ve established themselves among professing christians, who believe it’s their god-appointed duty to bow down to them. A knock-on effect of the likes of MacDonald being surrounded by willing yes-men is that they themselves come to believe they’re more powerful than they really are.

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  24. David13: I think it might be a possibility he goes the Driscoll route

    (1) disappear for a season (3 months)
    (2) announce that he has wrong (go silent for another 3 months)
    (3) announce that he has repented (go silent for another 3 months)
    (4) announce that he has launched a new & improved ministry (in 2020)

    Charismatic Calvinism will most likely be his theme, Vertical Church with a new slant.

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  25. Law Prof: ese powerful people were so entrenched and seemed so big and untouchable, and they’re dropping like flies. God has His timing. As someone who’s experiencing it, when you’ve been abused by those pretending to do it in the name of God, and then you start seeing justice done, even when it’s not in your old church, it heals you a little.

    I remember one person telling me back in the day when a few televangelists fell (Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart) that their pastor interpreted this as God routing from His kingdom ministries that were not of Him. It looks like something similar is happening now.

    One account I heard about Jim Bakker and his PTL ministries is that David Wilkerson tried to get through and talk Bakker saying that it was an abomination what was going on there and was only able to talk with someone on his staff. Wilkerson said that if things didn’t change soon birds would be dropping their dung in the large building they were building. Basically that happened.

    I imagine if changes aren’t made soon you are going to see HBC implode.

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  26. Do we have even one example of a power- hungry pastor being brought to accountability and genuinely repenting? Serious question but, sadly, I think I know the answer. I sit here and wonder how (or if) all of these messes (Hybels, MacDonad, MacArthur, the SBC, the Roman Catholic Church, etc) can be cleaned up, a testimony restored, and God ultimately glorified. I think an incentive is found in Jesus’ agenda: “Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me to give to every man according to his work.” Hurry up and post e-church! I need to contemplate a good prayer.

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  27. I have another scenario. I think he’s going to pastor Naples, and they will disassociate from HBC. So, not out as a pastor, just out of HBC.

    Of course, Naples is a small church, but Jmac probably has dreams of another megachurch already.

    And the elders that should have stepped down, won’t.

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  28. Max: (1) disappear for a season (3 months)
    (2) announce that he has wrong (go silent for another 3 months)
    (3) announce that he has repented (go silent for another 3 months)
    (4) announce that he has launched a new & improved ministry (in 2020)

    Charismatic Calvinism will most likely be his theme, Vertical Church with a new slant.

    And don’t forget the new book that will undoubtedly come out along this continuum somewhere.

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  29. LeRoy: Do we have even one example of a power- hungry pastor being brought to accountability and genuinely repenting? Serious question but, sadly, I think I know the answer. I sit here and wonder how (or if) all of these messes (Hybels, MacDonad, MacArthur, the SBC, the Roman Catholic Church, etc) can be cleaned up, a testimony restored, and God ultimately glorified. I think an incentive is found in Jesus’ agenda: “Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me to give to every man according to his work.” Hurry up and post e-church! I need to contemplate a good prayer.

    I am of the opinion that we are looking at people with personality disorders who are not even capable of true repentance. Such people are driven to ascend to positions of power. Meanwhile, the meek shall inherit the earth.

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  30. Steve240:
    Having now ready the post on The Elephants Debt blog what apparently pressured HBC to get rid of James MacDonald is what I have said before:MONEY.

    Again we will see if this really happens but it appears that with contributions being down has been what has gotten the attention of HBC’s leadership.Sadly it is what apparently got their attention vs. integrity or practicing what the bible teaches.

    Again we will see.

    If, as appears to be the case here, “enterprise income” is the functional measure by which the “leadership” assesses that it has “God’s approval”, is that not in practice, if not in confession, a form of “prosperity gospel”?

    That appears to be set to continue whether or not JM remains associated with it.

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  31. LeRoy: Do we have even one example of a power- hungry pastor being brought to accountability and genuinely repenting? Serious question but, sadly, I think I know the answer.

    I have asked the same question before and haven’t been given an example. On the other hand can think of multiple examples where the sin has been hidden by others and/or the exposed leader claims he did nothing wrong.

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  32. Samuel Conner: f, as appears to be the case here, “enterprise income” is the functional measure by which the “leadership” assesses that it has “God’s approval”, is that not in practice, if not in confession, a form of “prosperity gospel”?

    That appears to be set to continue whether or not JM remains associated with it.

    Interesting way to put it.

    One thing to bear in mind is that HBC and a lot of other mega churches are typically “personality cults” to varying degrees where the attraction is the charisma of the speaker such as with James MacDonald. If the mega church loses their main draw of a speaker through whatever means chances are their attendance will drop. This creates an atmosphere where those around this drawing speaker work to protect him.

    Thus it is convenient for people to overlook and justify hypocrisy of a leader like MacDonald.

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  33. LeRoy,

    “Do we have even one example of a power- hungry pastor being brought to accountability and genuinely repenting?”
    +++++++++++++++

    well, there’s Larry Cotton — although i don’t know how power-hungry he is/was.

    “Larry Cotton, who was the pastor [Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church] to whom Jules Woodson reported what happened between her and Savage, announced his resignation from The Austin Stone Community Church last week. Cotton said in a letter to church members that he decided to step down from his ministry leadership position after coming to understand “the weight of my mistakes.”

    “Woodson said she reported the encounter the next day to Cotton, but police were never contacted.”

    https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/02/19/pastor-involved-andy-savage-sexual-assault-case-resigns/350446002/

    although Steve Bradley, senior pastor of Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church who went on to cover up the assault as news of it came out, continues to prosper from the whitewash. He is now pastor at Stonebridge Church.

    https://www.change.org/p/baptist-general-convention-of-texas-stonebridge-pastor-steve-bradley-resign-for-failing-to-report-andy-savage-sexual-abuse

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  34. Steve240,

    I wish God would raise up more men like David Wilkerson. One of the few who seemed more jealous for God’s integrity demonstrated through his ministry than gaining money & power from it. Perfection is impossible, but even integrity seems like a dream in this day. Praying for HBC whatever happens tomorrow, may all who follow Jesus not be shaken. Refined, but not shaken. Seems like our God is visiting his threshing floor tomorrow, in Chicago, Houston, all of America. My heart breaks for those who need Jesus & can’t see Him in us.

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  35. SiteSeer,

    So if so, the issue is Christians in America who can’t distinguish a Spirit-led leader from a personality cult. We need the Word & the Spirit- leaders who model for us not only how to teach & proclaim the Word but how to integrate it into their behavior & values, & demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. The model of “church as business” is one where we have embraced the wrong elements, I fear. I see it where I worship as well. Praying.

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  36. Larry Cotton is back with a new ministry. He calls it…”Worthy Leaders”:

    https://www.worthyleaders.org/the-cottons/

    “We cannot mentor emerging leaders alone. We need a team of ministry partners
    who will join us by praying for this work and giving financially to invest in the next generation. In partnership with Reliant Mission, we are receiving tax deductible donations payable to Reliant Mission for the work of the Cottons and Worthy Leaders.
    WILL YOU JOIN OUR TEAM TO PRAY AND GIVE?”

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  37. Max: Charismatic Calvinism will most likely be his theme, Vertical Church with a new slant.

    This part I doubt – Calvinism was only ever a fad for MacDonald, it was the fashion in the crowd he wanted to get in with.

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  38. SH,

    “My heart breaks for those who need Jesus & can’t see Him in us.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    i don’t recall ever hearing or reading in the bible the idea that Jesus is unseeable, unrecognizable unless demonstrated in other people.

    in fact, i think too often people distort the Jesus in them (not excluding myself, here).

    church culture has become sort of monstrous.

    my honest feeling is that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit would be easier for people to see in, say, a sunset, or many other moments of beauty, if christians faded from the scene for a while. if christians piped down and limited their activities to simple acts of quiet uncontrived kindness.

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  39. SH,

    “We need the Word & the Spirit- leaders who model for us not only how to teach & proclaim the Word but how to integrate it into their behavior & values, & demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    Hi, SH, it’s me again.

    well, i feel this description reduces responsible adults down to 4-year olds.
    i don’t think anyone needs a leader to do any of these things. i don’t think leader a, b, or c is any more capable of these things than anyone else.

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  40. elastigirl: my honest feeling is that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit would be easier for people to see in, say, a sunset, or many other moments of beauty, if christians faded from the scene for a while. if christians piped down and limited their activities to simple acts of quiet uncontrived kindness.

    This is my feeling now, too. I see Christ in each act of love and kindness, for God is love.

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  41. SH:
    SiteSeer,

    So if so, the issue is Christians in America who can’t distinguish a Spirit-led leader from a personality cult. We need the Word & the Spirit- leaders who model for us not only how to teach & proclaim the Word but how to integrate it into their behavior & values, & demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. The model of “church as business” is one where we have embraced the wrong elements, I fear. I see it where I worship as well. Praying.

    This could be on of the big issues that one can’t distinguish between the two: personality cult or spirit filled. Also many inthe US don’t want to think for themselves.

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  42. Steve240,

    It might be helpful to consider, and investigate the manner in which the now de-idolized Hybels led the charge and effectively turned the entire evangelical world into a cult of personality. This opened the door to what is now the norm of Mega-churches with rock bands and celebrity pastors. Who was behind and with him, who funded him, who was a part of this radical transformation? I don’t buy into the myths of ‘I invented this in my garage when I was a teenager’. Yeah, right.

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  43. Thom: Calvinism was only ever a fad for MacDonald, it was the fashion in the crowd he wanted to get in with.

    He certainly knew how to play that crowd – the New Calvinists darn near idolized him! As I noted earlier, most mega pastors become mega because they have a touch of charisma, a gift of gab, and a gimmick. New Calvinism appears to have been JMac’s gimmick for a season, and it worked for him. He was even able to weasel his way into the SBC before he became a Southern Baptist – he played a key role in creation of LifeWay’s “The Gospel Project” (Sunday School material which is a subtle introduction to reformed theology).

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  44. TS00: who was a part of this radical transformation? I

    Every person who enjoyed the show and paid their tithe. These churches aren’t entirely the fault of the celebrity pastor. Just like these so called takeovers. It’s a culture of total compliance that allows this to happen. The total obedience required works fine in a benign dictatorship. The Macdonalds & driscolls & Hybels are the symptom of the sycophantic madness endemic in evangelical (and maybe a chunk of the non evangelical churches)

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  45. Jack: It’s a culture of total compliance that allows this to happen.

    Celebrity Christians would not have a stage to perform on if they didn’t have an audience buying tickets to keep them there. The Christian Industrial Complex is not the Body of Christ. While the genuine may be embedded in it, the whole takes on the character of the counterfeit when they follow the cult of personality.

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  46. David13:
    I will be pleasantly surprised if MacDonald does indeed leave HBC this weekend, however I fear that the predictions made by others here about MacDonald using it as a springboard for his next ministry business venture will probably be accurate. I think it might be a possibility he goes the Driscoll route and ends up with the Charisma crowd, after concocting a sob story about his “trials” (with no mention of those he hurt) and how he had “a new vision”, which likely ends up with him opening a new franchise in a much warmer locale than Chicago, with far less baggage too.

    I think it was on this site (but maybe not) that he’s already been meeting with Robert Morris (like Driscoll did).

    It should be noted that Morris is not preaching the latest Gateway sermon series, Jimmy Evans is. So he’ll be out of the pulpit for a month (the series is four weeks), plenty of time to help JMacD plan his next venture.

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  47. SH: the issue is Christians in America who can’t distinguish a Spirit-led leader from a personality cult.

    In my youth group, one big clobber verse was about lukewarm Christians (Rev. 3:16). I learned that Jesus wanted to spit me out if I was not fervent enough—of my own free will. Is it any wonder that Christians today are confused?

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  48. I haven’t tuned into TBN lately and this morning I decided to check it out and I noticed McDonald is still on TBN. What is going on? I can’t believe this mess has been going on now for so long. I first started hearing about this , when reading some of information posted by Ken Silva (RIP) several years ago now.

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  49. Jack: It’s a culture of total compliance that allows this to happen. The total obedience required works fine in a benign dictatorship. The Macdonalds & driscolls & Hybels are the symptom of the sycophantic madness endemic in evangelical (and maybe a chunk of the non evangelical churches)

    As true as arithmetic.
    Fundagelicalism is as American as Big Macs and KFC.

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  50. Max,

    Well, his FB Page now says Renewal and he is preaching on Restoration.

    Add to that the fact that Walk in The Word is going completely digital from 1st March in order to cut costs by 75%. He assures his readers that this service will be completely free and then aks that Change Partners will keep giving him money (Taken from the FAQ page). If you read closely you’ll see that the old guard is out “but we’ll stay personal friends” and he’s brought in a bright young thing skilled in multimedia.

    Oh and he seems to have got rid of the beard and the leather jacket! 🙂

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  51. elastigirl:
    SH,

    … God/Jesus/Holy Spirit would be easier for people to see …if christians piped down and limited their activities to simple acts of quiet uncontrived kindness.

    Perhaps not just easier; perhaps almost impossible otherwise (to echo SH’s thought a little)

    My intuition is that for many people, especially those who suffer or have suffered much, it may be very difficult to believe that “God is good”, regardless of how much natural beauty may be accessible to them. Sort of a “Maslow hierarchy” thing. To believe that “God is good”, it may be necessary to experience God’s goodness through tangible human kindness. We may need to “be” the goodness of God toward sufferers.

    My sense is that this ought to be a lot higher priority in the “prosperous” churches than it currently seems to be.

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  52. THREE of my seminary classmates have been convicted of child molestation, and the powers that be claim they can do nothing.

    How about psychological exams on future pastors while they are still in seminary?
    How about a database of offenders like Wade Burleson recommended long ago?
    How about kicking out churches who have covered up and protected child molesters and abusers?

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  53. elastigirl,

    I agree, this responsibility isn’t exclusive to church leaders, but it would be nice if leaders weren’t living at complete cross purposes with their calling. All of us are fallible but the lack of transparency is appalling & reflects poorly on Jesus – definitely in this case. I’m guessing we all agree on that.

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  54. Samuel Conner,

    “To believe that “God is good”, it may be necessary to experience God’s goodness through tangible human kindness. We may need to “be” the goodness of God toward sufferers.”
    ++++++++++++

    i don’t disagree.

    however, i observe and have experienced too many times the church brand of tangible human kindness.

    it comes with strings attached, trying to get me to do things and believe and think things. things that benefit the institution and make it and the ‘kind individual’ look good and feel good about themselves.

    it is clear that i am opportunity for them to earn God points. it is clear that it has nothing to do with me but everything to do with them.

    the acts of kindness are often not needed nor wanted. but foisted upon me and others. as some kind of publicity stunt.

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  55. elastigirl,

    Sure, it’s not impossible but it’s clearly what He’s asked us to do, bear witness to the Gospel. The problem is a lot of prominent Christians focus only on words while their actions & character don’t match up at all. You’re right that we’d be better off to let the beauty of the sky confirm God’s faithfulness than put on this kind of freak show.

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  56. SH,

    thanks for the interaction, SH. i don’t believe it is possible for christian leaders to be true to what they say their mission is.

    when their ability to support their families, justify expensive their education, and the existence of the institution itself is dependent on money and reputation and prestige, in the final analysis things like honesty, 100% truthfulness, transparency will be sacrificed. And then human lives will be sacrificed.

    they will be able to do this because they will find a way to rationalize it, and call it biblical.

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  57. ishy,

    I too say how bout’ it to all three recommendations.
    They could go a long way in the prevention of sex abuse in the SBC.
    Not only that, these measures would also contribute greatly to the SBC’s survival over the long term, which is Not Assured if they continue to cover up and thwart any real change.

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  58. elastigirl:
    Samuel Conner,

    “To believe that “God is good”, it may be necessary to experience God’s goodness through tangible human kindness. We may need to “be” the goodness of God toward sufferers.”
    ++++++++++++

    i don’t disagree.

    however, i observe and have experienced too many times the church brand of tangible human kindness.

    it comes with strings attached, trying to get me to do things and believe and think things.things that benefit the institution and make it and the ‘kind individual’ look good and feel good about themselves.

    it is clear that i am opportunity for them to earn God points.it is clear that it has nothing to do with me but everything to do with them.

    the acts of kindness are often not needed nor wanted.but foisted upon me and others.as some kind of publicity stunt.

    So often that’s the way it’s done. People do good deeds to earn brownie points, they do them to make themselves feel better or to look good in the eyes of others in the church—they very seldom do them because they look at the person they’re helping as one made in the image of God—and because of this fact is therefore of infinite value. If peple starting seeing others for their worth as beings in the image of God, they might make it more about the person who’s helped and less about them and their systems.

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  59. ishy:
    THREE of my seminary classmates have been convicted of child molestation, and the powers that be claim they can do nothing.

    How about psychological exams on future pastors while they are still in seminary?
    How about a database of offenders like Wade Burleson recommended long ago?
    How about kicking out churches who have covered up and protected child molesters and abusers?

    Of course, they can throw them out. Jesus spoke of throwing people who’d hurt/misled little ones into the sea with a millstone around their necks. Little bit worse than being expelled from a seminary. But of course, that’s Jesus speaking there, and I’m not sure the powers that be at a lot of seminaries care one tiny bit about what Jesus said. You can’t control Jesus, can’t control the Holy Spirit. They don’t fit well within the programs set up by the typical seminaries. So they’re often not welcome at all.

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  60. .i don’t think anyone needs a leader to do any of these things.i don’t think leader a, b, or c is any more capable of these things than anyone else. Amen elastigirl I totally agree, if any woman or man has the Holy Spirit in them they will produce the fruit of the Spirit…all living things produce after themselves you can’t put a pear tree out in an apple orchard and expect the apple trees to grow pears, it’s the same for true believers… according to Paul in the book of Romans our old nature was Crusified with Christ and we were given a new Nature, not that we dont battle sin in our flesh but our new Nature is a Gift from God it Convicts us when we sin and causes us to repent and follow after Christ… all believers battle sin in our flesh but our flesh will die and our new Nature will come home to new bodies not tainted with sin… God is doing all the work…false teachers make it alot harder for us but I think thats why the Bible warns us to watch out for them and contend for the Faith.

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  61. Bill Carson:
    I haven’t tuned into TBN lately and this morning I decided to check it out and I noticed McDonald is still on TBN.What is going on?I can’t believe this mess has been going on now for so long.I first started hearing about this , when reading some of information posted by Ken Silva (RIP) several years ago now.

    1. There’s probably a contractual agreement that he has to be on (or pay) until the contract ends.
    2. It’s TBN. It’s not called “The Blasphemy Network” for no reason.

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  62. That’s interesting regarding Morris not preaching at Gateway for a month, though it’s known that MacDonald and Driscoll are close friends. It’s certainly possible that Driscoll told his good buddy JMac how Morris helped him start a new ministry venture after leaving the wreckage of Mars Hill behind, and JMac may be looking to do the same in Naples.

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  63. Nick Bulbeck: A knock-on effect of the likes of MacDonald being surrounded by willing yes-men is that they themselves come to believe they’re more powerful than they really are.

    “Piram of Jarmuth, drunk with strange wine,
    Who dreamed he’d created all stars that shine…”
    — G.K.Chesterton, “Ballad of the Battle of Gibeon”

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  64. SiteSeer: Max: (1) disappear for a season (3 months)
    (2) announce that he has wrong (go silent for another 3 months)
    (3) announce that he has repented (go silent for another 3 months)
    (4) announce that he has launched a new & improved ministry (in 2020)

    Charismatic Calvinism will most likely be his theme, Vertical Church with a new slant.

    And don’t forget the new book that will undoubtedly come out along this continuum somewhere.

    With $210 grand to Result Source to make it a Best-Seller.

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  65. elastigirl: it comes with strings attached, trying to get me to do things and believe and think things. things that benefit the institution and make it and the ‘kind individual’ look good and feel good about themselves.

    Amen to everything you wrote, elastigirl. Church kindness can progress to shunning in lightning speed if you just so much as disagree, ask questions, express doubt… I can’t take any more of that sort of kindness.

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  66. Lowlandseer: Sorry for getting your hopes up

    Ahhh, don’t worry about it. It sounded reasonable that MacDonald would shave the beard and shed the black leather since he has been exiled to tropical climes. Driscoll cleaned his act up after his banishment to the Arizona desert.

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  67. SH: …the issue is Christians in America who can’t distinguish a Spirit-led leader from a personality cult.

    This is true. I’ve been surprised at how few Christians know enough theology to spot a solid heretic. But it also seems that a fair number of Christians are looking for a personality cult. They can’t see the red flags all around them. And then they are shocked with the whole thing blows up.

    SH: I definitely think we tend to Americanize “fervency” in a way that punishes introverted forms of expression.

    That’s so true. Someone around here said that modern church was designed by extroverts, for extroverts. It really helped me, a pretty solid introvert, understand why I felt so misplaced in those places.

    I wonder if these cults of personality have an intrinsic appeal to extroverts? Or maybe the introverts are more likely to see past the friendly veneer to the unhealthy truth beneath?

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  68. ishy:
    THREE of my seminary classmates have been convicted of child molestation, and the powers that be claim they can do nothing.

    How about psychological exams on future pastors while they are still in seminary?
    How about a database of offenders like Wade Burleson recommended long ago?
    How about kicking out churches who have covered up and protected child molesters and abusers?

    I can agree with #1 but remember that many offenders never went to seminary (or any religious school for that matter) so you likely won’t catch as many as you want.

    I agree with #3. Of course the church will simply “go independent” and we’ve already seen that this is just as big a problem in the indie ranks.

    The ONLY way I will agree with #2 is if the ONLY way a person gets on the list is by either being proven guilty in court, or pleading guilty or no contest. Otherwise we end up with a modern day Inquisition, where if you’re on the list you’re presumed guilty with no recourse to prove your innocence. And there WILL be people who will put someone on the list out of spite.

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  69. Max:
    Did I miss the news about an announcement on MacDonald at HBC yesterday?

    I think Mancow got bad info. There are rumors that the elder board was evenly split between those who wanted him out and those who didn’t.

    Of course the rumors may be true about JMacD working with Morris on an exit strategy, they’ll hold off for a month until setting up his next gig, then announce a “resignation”.

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  70. Max: Or they delayed their action to make him look bad?I wouldn’t put anything past those HBC boys at this point.

    I think there’s likely negotiations behind the scenes to give JMacD a great severance package (probably like Driscoll he gets the rights to his sermons and Walk In The Word), then he “goes dark” for a while before reappearing having been “rehabilitated”. If we hear anything about Harvest Naples becoming Trinity Fellowship Naples then we know Morris and Evans were behind it all.

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  71. Mark R: The ONLY way I will agree with #2 is if the ONLY way a person gets on the list is by either being proven guilty in court, or pleading guilty or no contest. Otherwise we end up with a modern day Inquisition, where if you’re on the list you’re presumed guilty with no recourse to prove your innocence. And there WILL be people who will put someone on the list out of spite.

    I agree. If they ever agree to such a list, it will be used to silence troublemakers.

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  72. Max: GSD [Getting Stuff Done]: a fair number of Christians are looking for a personality cult
    Indeed! Cool bands, free coffee, and a cute sermonette are served up in such places!

    “WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS
    TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS!
    WE’RE SO GLAD YOU COULD ATTEND!
    COME INSIDE! COME INSIDE!”
    — Emerson Lake & Palmer, “Karn Evil Nine”

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  73. Max: I fully expect him to take the “Vertical Church” brand and band into a new ministry enterprise. After all, he has it tattooed on his arm

    Tats are effectively PERMANENT.
    Especially tribal recognition tats.
    It’s a main reason I never got into Ink culture.

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  74. David13: I think it might be a possibility he goes the Driscoll route and ends up with the Charisma crowd, after concocting a sob story about his “trials” (with no mention of those he hurt)

    Don’t forget The Black Helicopters(TM)!

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  75. ION: Cricket

    So, in the final Test in St Lucia, England are – for the first time in the series – in a commanding position. We’re currently 257-4 in the second innings, a lead of 380. Denly got his maiden Test half-ton, and Buttler (who’s just gone for 56) and Root (still in on 76) followed suit. The Windies have just taken the new ball, mind, and it’s flying around like the clappers. Plenty of life left in the wicket.

    On the domestic learning front, I have a git merge conflict to deal with. Sigh…

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  76. Headless Unicorn Guy: Don’t forget The Black Helicopters(TM)!

    ? Is that a Driscoll thing? That’s a joke in my family because we actually used to see black helicopters over our old house out in the middle of nowhere – so loud and low the house would shake. It was kinda ‘disturbing’; literally. I have no idea what they were doing. The kids would run outside to see ’em, but they never landed, so I guess they weren’t after us. 😉

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  77. Watchers will be interested in this set of links, which I’d guess Dee will get around to mentioning or making a whole post when she has time”

    1 – Original) “Abuse of Faith: 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms” (Houston Chronicle, 10 Feb. 2019), said to be First in a Three part series.
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/Southern-Baptist-sexual-abuse-spreads-as-leaders-13588038.php?fbclid=IwAR0Mn6xiG16ZbE06xIsiS2QVUO7nwRru3PAoCoBbpuOesSdI9FuPrH739UE

    2 – denominational press coverage) Paper’s sexual abuse report leaves SBC’s Greear ‘broken’ (Baptist Press, 10 Feb. 2019)

    3 – commentary) “Southern Baptists and the Scandal of Church Sexual Abuse” (Russell Moore, 10 Feb. 2019)

    I learned of these through a Facebook post by the Baptist Convention of New England.

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  78. Stop Press:

    Joe Root has got his century. As you’d expect, the England skipper’s celebration looked more like relief than anything else; he’s not had the best of tours up to now.

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  79. Headless Unicorn Guy: While making long prayers for justification.

    2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

    3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
    — Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 —

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  80. From Julie Roys Twitter ( @reachjulieroys )
    “@MancowMuller says he will begin filing a class action lawsuit vs @jamesmacdonald & @HarvestBible1 if MacDonald doesn’t resign by Tues, Feb 19. Tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. Atty. Jeffrey Leving will be on his show to discuss. Does this violate 1 Cor. 6 or not? jmlevinglawltd.com”

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  81. good luck with that. MacDonald will start shredding the books. Just curious how many LLCs MacDonald has??? Also, Mancow said that MacDonald would be fired/resigned last weekend. That never happened. Did someone give him bad info. MacDonald will excommunicate any rebel elders.

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  82. David:
    good luck with that. MacDonald will start shredding the books. Just curious how many LLCs MacDonald has??? Also, Mancow said that MacDonald would be fired/resigned last weekend. That never happened. Did someone give him bad info. MacDonald will excommunicate any rebel elders.

    Julie Roys already subpoenaed all that information.

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  83. Pablo:
    It wasn’t biblical back in October and it’s certainly not biblical now.It’s grandstanding,a tit for tat if you will.It accomplishes nothing except make money for attorneys.

    So did you speak up when JMac was suing several different groups last year?

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  84. Pablo,

    Christians are not supposed to sue other Christians…..The question is……..is James McDonald really a Christian????? Is Harvest Bible chapel really a CHURCH or is it a Cult???? In the book of Matthew it say you can recognize a False teacher by his fruit…or should we stick our heads in the sand and hope That they stop abusing the sheep and ripping off the gullible.

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  85. Dan keller,

    I do believe that when Harvest started out it started with good intentions and many people have had godly changed lives as a result.However now it has become all about the brand;all about James.God will allow things painfully that will ultimately bear good fruit.That is what is happening now at Harvest.

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  86. Wh
    Pablo,

    What about all the people that Jmac and his Elder Thugs have Crushed and destroyed, and how about The reproach Jmac is bringing on the body of Christ right now….Ted Bundy volunteered at a suicide hot line, Adolf Hitler turned Germany’s economy around and built the autobahn…Bad people are quite capable of doing good things it doesn’t mean we just turn a blind eye and do nothing…..evil flourishes when good people do nothing .

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  87. Sooooo … will SBC excommunicate MacDonald when this news hits the press? After all, he is an SBC member. He is a prominent SBC New Calvinist who brought with him more nickels and noses with his Harvest network of churches when he joined the denomination a few years ago. He is also an architect of LifeWay’s “The Gospel Project” and a key influencer of SBC’s growing army of young, restless and reformed – many idolize him. Thus, he’s been a big potato in SBC ranks since joining the team in 2015. But “excommunicate”? Probably not. I suspect that even Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler still hold their SBC cards. How hot do these potatoes have to get before SBC executives drop them? Oh, I forgot, there’s this “autonomy” thing in SBC life … they can’t interfere with whatever the local churches want to do with bad actors.

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  88. Autonomy really is the get out of jail free card the SBC uses when it needs or wants to, isn’t it?

    Baptisms must rise, and to heck with anything that interferes with that reportable number.

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  89. I was young and now am old … and now for my tidbit of wisdom:

    Very few church folks read their Bibles on their own and pray as they ought. They are too trusting of church leaders to impart “truth” to them. They have little spiritual discernment to see red flags. This is the underlying reason so many folks get duped by charlatans and are shocked when they are exposed and fall.

    My wife and I visited a church plant in our area to see what made them tick. We had heard that they were running about 2,000 in attendance. Much of what we saw was what we expected: charismatic “pastor”, cool band, free coffee. But the shocking thing was that we only counted about 10 souls carrying Bibles into the crowd that gathered there. We’ve lost our way, folks.

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  90. Max: running about 2,000 in attendance. Much of what we saw was what we expected: charismatic “pastor”, cool band, free coffee

    Forgot to add the P.S. to this: the “pastor” fell shortly after our visit … yep, had an adulterous affair with a member.

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  91. In announcing MacDonald’s termination, Harvest elders stated they are “committed to fulfilling our fiduciary duty as the leadership of this congregation”

    In view of MacDonald’s attempt to silence critics by suing other Christians, who simply flagged the problems leading to this action, I hope the HBC elders now feel they have a fiduciary obligation to compensate TED and Ms. Roys for legal expenses.

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  92. Max: In view of MacDonald’s attempt to silence critics by suing other Christians, who simply flagged the problems leading to this action

    It’s getting juicier.
    Mancow claims he has many hours of JMac live on the air in his archives and the guy’s got a mouth.

    “Interesting thing about Egomaniacs. They can’t stop talking about what they have done.”
    — some old Sherlock Holmes movie

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  93. Headless Unicorn Guy: Mancow claims he has many hours of JMac live on the air in his archives and the guy’s got a mouth.

    Here’s the link:
    http://julieroys.com/mancow-airs-shocking-comments-james-macdonald-response/

    Money quote:
    “I never thought I would hear an evangelical, mega-church pastor talk about planting child pornography on the computer of an executive at a Christian publication. But today, Chicago radio personality Mancow Muller played shocking clips of someone sounding exactly like Harvest Bible Chapel Pastor James MacDonald discussing putting child porn on the computer of Christianity Today CEO Harold Smith.”

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  94. A glimpse inside the mind of James MacDonald from the Harvestgate tapes:

    He allegedly called Christianity Today a “”… pipe-organ protecting, musty, mild smell of urine, blue-hair Methodist loving, mainline dying, women preacher championing, emerging church adoring, almost good with all gays and closet Palestine promoting Christianity” magazine and predicted that in 30 days, Julie Roys would be “riding a tricycle with a midget on her shoulders.”

    Whew! Inappropriate comments? Uhhhh … yeah!

    https://www.charismanews.com/us/75192-megachurch-pastor-james-macdonald-fired-following-highly-inappropriate-comments

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  95. __

    “True Community”

    Chantel Ferraro,

    hello,

    We heard your message.
    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCgKYgM_P4Wzxu0K3KCOqJUw
    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCgKYgM_P4Wzxu0K3KCOqJUw

    We heard your cry of pain.

    Hurting people are welcome at the Wartburg Watch Blog community.

    Hurting so bad you have a hard time trusting others, and speaking the truth in love?

    You are NOT alone.

    You are doing every thing you can do to be godly?

    We commend you.

    (tears)

    What you say DOES matter.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=efQb_3IKnfw

    ATB

    Sòpy

    “God’s word is a lamp…”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d0YBCCJRH1g

    ;~)

    – –

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  96. ___

    “Immediate action regarding Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago Senior Pastor, Dr. James MacDonald?”

    hmmm…

    “Following a lengthy season of review, reflection, and prayerful discussion, the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel have determined that Pastor MacDonald should be removed from his role of Senior Pastor.  His employment has been terminated from Harvest Bible Chapel, effective today, February 12, 2019.” – The Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel
    https://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/2019/02/13/february-2019-elder-update-2/

    Love Well, Live Well, Harvest!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1vh7-RSPuAA

    ;~)

    – –

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  97. elastigirl: my honest feeling is that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit would be easier for people to see in, say, a sunset, or many other moments of beauty, if christians faded from the scene for a while. if christians piped down and limited their activities to simple acts of quiet uncontrived kindness.

    Maybe that’s one of the purposes behind Nones and Dones.
    Once the “Take Your God And Shove It!” reaction burns out, they might be more receptive to such things.

    Some years ago, in an Internet Monk comment thread about Bad Christian Art & Media (I think the title was “Selling Jesus by the Pound”) someone related a private revelation. Coming from a church where “Mary Channeling” is the characteristic way to flake out, I am normally skeptical of private revelation claims. But as a Compulsive Creative, I was sympathetic to this one. In short:

    He claimed that since Christian creative media (artists/writers/musicians/filmmakers) had dropped the ball so bad, God had “removed his mantle” from them (“Mene, Mene, Tekel, Uparshim”), and was placing it upon (certain?) SECULAR creative media. Henceforth, their creations would start saying what God wanted said.

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