“Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me
And all you’re ever going to be is mean
Why you gotta be so mean?” – Taylor Swift
Chicago is witnessing the implosions of two famous mega churches due to the allegations against their leadership pastors. First was Willow Creek Community Church and lead pastor, Bill Hybels. This was followed quickly by Harvest Bible Chapel and lead pastor James MacDonald who was recently fired.
Today, CBS Chicago featured Former Harvest Bible Chapel Members Want $72,000 In Donations Refunded, After Pastor James MacDonald Fired
Their strong Christian beliefs led Scott and Marsha Thompson to volunteer at Harvest Bible Chapel, and donate more than $72,000 over the course of several years.
Now they want it back.
“We find out that the pastor is living in a $2 million house,” he said.
…Thompson started questioning MacDonald’s spending in 2006, when he saw the pastor’s home in Inverness featured in “Chicago” magazine.
“You drive over there, and sure enough there’s the house that’s in the picture from the magazine article. Yep, that’s the house on a private lake,” Thompson said.
MacDonald’s lavish lifestyle drove Thompson to leave the church. Thompson walked away from Harvest in 2013. Why is he going public six years later?
“All this is coming out that millions of dollars potentially has been mishandled,” he said.
I don’t blame the Thompsons. In fact, I raised my coffee cup in their honor this morning and said to the pugs, “May they get their money back.”
I am watching the SBC be accused of following in the footsteps of the pedophile priests of the Catholic Church. Bill Hybels, miracle seeker-driven leader, stands credibly accused of sexual harassment and molestation. Now James MacDonald joins the fracas, adding his own peculiar vulgarities to the mix.
There was a letter by Dean Butters that was leaked this past week. Within that letter was something that broke my heart and caused me to realize that James MacDonald is a mean, churlish, old man that should never be allowed anywhere near a pulpit. This disturbing senior pastor made fun of other HBC church leaders for their physical attributes that he deemed not up to snuff with his obvious sartorial sense and unsurpassed personal good looks…
I couldn’t post that letter due to my absolute disgust at the depths to which MacDonald has sunk. I’d call him a bottom feeder but I like lobster too much..So he’s lower than that.
I was then presented with opportunity to post another letter that gives insight without including insulting and painful observations about others. Dallas Jenkins was a former leader at Harvest Bible Chapel. Here are some of my running thoughts of the statement.
- MacDonald gave Mark Driscoll $50,000? I think this is how these pastors maintain tribal loyalties. CJ Mahaney spread $$$ which brought him years of support from the Calvinista leaders. I am willing to bet that MacDonald has been on the horn with Driscoll to see how he transitioned to Scottsdale after Mars Hill imploded. My understanding is that Driscoll also consulted with Gateway.
- There is no question that MacDonald was running the elders. They existed to serve him as *yes* men and in that respect, they are quite accomplished.
- In the last two years, 75% of the Executive Leadership team has left HBC. I guess the other 25% are hoping to get some plum positions. (Warning, men, the money supply may be drying up.)
- The elders would tell people to leave quietly in order to *protect their family.* Apparently, many of the leaders sent their kids to Harvest Academy and there is fear that their kids will be thrown out of school.
- The Harvest Academy high school incident gets discussed quite a bit. Apparently MacDonald had a major meltdown on the stage, yelling so loudly that his spit could be felt by those sitting in the front row of the auditorium. Then, he apologized and said the would teach the high school Bible class. He lied. He didn’t. That is one video that I wold love to post. Surely some student got it on their phone.
I am interested in seeing what TWW readers will pull out if Jenkins’ letter.
There is little question in my mind that James MacDonald will flip the bird at Harvest Bible Chapel and start a new church enterprise quicker than you can say “leather jacket.” What MacDonald has done must be documented, not only for the education of his next set of *followers* but for posterity. When people look back on the history of the American evangelical movement in the first years of the third millennium, I sure hope they will shake their heads and ask why we put up with this nonsense for so long.