“Any fool knows that bravado is always a cover-up for insecurity. That’s the truth. And on that note, I’ll say goodnight. God love you.” Bobby Darin
James MacDonald Is Given the Boot
The Elders Speak with *Heavy Hearts*
Dear Harvest Bible Chapel Family:
It is with great sadness that we as the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel wish to convey to you a very recent development that has caused us to take immediate action regarding our Senior Pastor, Dr. James MacDonald.
Following a lengthy season of review, reflection, and prayerful discussion, the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel had determined that Pastor MacDonald should be removed from his role of Senior Pastor. That timeline accelerated, when on Tuesday morning highly inappropriate recorded comments made by Pastor MacDonald were given to media and reported.
Our Elders and Staff are committed to fulfilling our fiduciary duty as the leadership of this congregation, knowing that at times the outcome may be misunderstood or emotionally painful. A more detailed communication regarding next steps for our church will take place in our weekend services.
3 points from this statement jump out at me.
- Mancow played some snippets of remarks by what sounds like James MacDonald. It was these disgusting comments that made the elders get busy… finally. I guess the plunging of knives into posted images of pastors or members is not a fireable offense in Chicago?
- The elders claim that they will fulfill their fiduciary responsibility. They are in a heap of trouble in terms of debt. The good folks at The Elephant Debt have been warning them about this for years. Could the entities that gave them the loans call them in? Hoo boy.
- Exactly what were the elders doing for the past year? They backed the lawsuit against The Elephant Debt and Julie Roys. I predicted that the lawsuit would fail since lawsuits against bloggers rarely prevail. The elders followed him in this ridiculous path. 3 1/2 months later the elders decided to can MacDonald? Good night! However they were praying back then as well. Are they trying to say that God approved of that dad-blasted, stupid lawsuit just a few short months ago and now He wants MacDonald out? C’mon, boys.Shame on you…
Elders: Get rid of MacDonald’s sons and reimburse TED and Julie Roys for their legal fees due to your negligence in allowing this stupid lawsuit to proceed.
What did MacDonald say on those recordings?
These recordings prove MacDonald’s lack of character. I believe the elders knew about this sort of nonsense for years but ignored it since the money was flowing.
Julie Roys reveals some of the content in Mancow Airs Shocking Comments By James MacDonald: My Response
I’ve also now heard the complete 50 minutes of audio that Mancow referenced, and heard the clips in context, and they are credible. I’ve also reached out to MacDonald for comment, and he did not respond with either a confirmation or denial.
Mancow said he plans to air the entire 50-minute conversation on an upcoming podcast.
In them, the man who’s presumably MacDonald jokes about me having an affair with Mark Galli, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today (CT). (ed. Roys denies this is true.)
MacDonald also makes vulgar references to Harold Smith and Ed Stetzer, CT contributing editor and the executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.
He also allegedly insults CT, calling it 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.
especially disconcerting to me is an excerpt where MacDonald alleges that I and “another person who used to attend (Harvest)” approached the houses of people who were victims in a DCFS investigation and shouted at them about a cover-up at Harvest. He alleges that I’m “off the rails” and predicts that in 30 days, I’m going to be “riding a tricycle with a midget on (my) shoulders.”
He claimed to put child pornography of Harold Smith’s computer
She links to Mancow’s show in which he aired some of these statements that were made allegedly by MacDonald. She also gives approximate times of various comments in this post so you can target your listening. I, too, will post the recording when it becomes available.
Christianity Today’s editor in chief Mark Galli responds to what he claims to be slander.
There is little question in my mind that MacDonald could be in a world of hurt with these comments. Years ago, I explained how to understand the law to some people who were afraid of a lawsuit for telling what they believed to be true. You must always tell the truth or what you believe to be true. So, you can recount what happened to you when you were molested by your youth pastor. You can’t make something up like “every night he dresses up like Marilyn Monroe and dances to music by The Monkees” unless he actually does that.
On Mancow, MacDonald, and the Harvest Mess: CT’s editor in chief, Mark Galli, commented on today’s aired remarks. Might I add, Galli is more than gracious.
First, we want to address MacDonald’s alleged derogatory remarks about various members of CT’s staff broadcast today on Mancow, a radio show based in Chicago. MacDonald is clearly angry with the way CT has covered his leadership at Harvest, and he’s succumbed to the temptation to slander me, threaten our CEO, and denigrate others. This is unfortunate. But this is part of the life of journalism, because we know that we’re not exactly popular with people about whom we have to report bad news. We also know that people (including me) privately say things in anger that they later regret. So we’re not going to blast back at MacDonald or to demand a public apology.
So, thinking about the legal definition of libel/defamation, take a look at the following statements. Do they seem like someone is stating something they believe to be true or do they seem like they are made up in a fit of fury?
…In them, the man who’s presumably MacDonald jokes about me having an affair with Mark Galli, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today (CT).
….especially disconcerting to me is an excerpt where MacDonald alleges that I and “another person who used to attend (Harvest)” approached the houses of people who were victims in a DCFS investigation and shouted at them about a cover-up at Harvest. He alleges that I’m “off the rails” and and predicts that in 30 days, I’m going to be “riding a tricycle with a midget on (my) shoulders.”
MacDonald has absolutely no reason to believe that these things are true.
I wrote a post on what constitutes slander in the Bible: Slander or an Inconvenient Truth? I wrote this because so many Christian leaders cry *slander* when it is simply someone truthfully confronting poor behavior or some other sort of sin. Last year, Frank Turk, formerly of Pyromaniacs fame, in a fit of pique due to my writing about Tom Chantry’s arrest and court case, claimed I was slandering Chantry. I tried to explain why it is not slander to discuss it in this situation. But, he decided to accuse me of *necrophilia* and kept repeating it. I then got to take him to school on legal definitions and he decided social media was not for him….
So, Galli is correct that what James MacDonald said about Roys and him is slander by anyone’s definition. It appears that Roys and Galli are nice people and do not intend to sue him but they would be well within their rights to do so.
So what’s going to happen?
There are all kinds of predictions going on in social media.
- MacDonald is already making the rounds of pastor friends and is trying to raise money to reboot his ministry.
- MacDonald could join forces with Mark Driscoll in Scottsdale who is reportedly holding a conference on Biblical Church Governance. You can’t make this stuff up.
- He could join the ARC. Watch this group, folks. They are church planting faster than the SBC.
- He will take troops to Naples and takeover the Naples HBC church.
- What is his *stuff* that he can take with him? Does he own the rights to things like Vertical Church? Radio/podcasts, etc?
- Does he get any money ala salary, retirement commitments, benefits, etc
- He will leave Chicago.
- The elders will be forced to resign.
- HBC will fold like Mars Hill.
- He’ll become a church planting expert for the SBC’s NAMB.
- Bill Hybels and MacDonald will team up to do Christian cruises for I Heart Radio.
- PETA will invade and free the white-tailed deer.
- MacDonald auctions his leather jacket on Ebay and offers to shave off his goatee for $100,000. He goes to Vegas and puts it all on one spin of the roulette wheel. He loses.
Please feel free to make predictions.
NAMB in Chicago
I received word today that the SBC’s North American Mission Board bought two houses to put up church planters. They claim it is associated with HBC. Could someone confirm this information? Is the NAMB buying real estate? Also, can anyone tell me how many of their church plants have failed?
Can anyone recommend good churches near HBC?
I have received a number of requests from people who are leaving HBC. If any of you have some suggestions, please add them in the comment. If you have a link to the church’s website, please add it. If you are a pastor or leaders of a local church, please leave a comment about your church.
I cannot vouch for any churches that folks might suggest in the comments. Always do due diligence. Read their websites and always read their resource list. Then, attend but do not join for a long time. When in doubt, give me a call.