Harvest Bible Chapel’s Dan Sumpter Makes an Exit Statement: He’s Afraid of James MacDonald Amongst Other Things

Saturn from Cassini 2004

“To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter hell, is to be banished from humanity.” – C. S. Lewis

Dan Sumpter’s position at HBC and Walk in the Word (WITW)

  • Pastor of Worship from 2010-2015
  • Pastor of Production, Communications and Special Events from 2016-2018
  • Global Creative Director from 2018-present (about one year)

Dan Sumpter did not want his statement to get out to anyone but MacDonald, the Elders and HR and that is just plain wrong.

I have a problem with this. The people who paid his salary were the members of the church. A church is a community of believers and hiding serious issues is deceptive and unbecoming behavior on the part of church leaders.  I also believe that everyone who has been encouraged to attend the church, who has bought HBC or WITW materials, listened to services online, attended functions, etc. should be brought in on the secret.

James MacDonald jumped up and down, wanting to be recognized by the world.
-“Come listen to me.”
-“Come to the church.”
– “Buy our stuff so you can learn about God,” etc.

Well, MacDonald sure caught the eye of the public and it’s not going so well.

Here’s the problem. Those leaders, who along with MacDonald, played these “look at me” games do not get to say what should and should not be seen by the public. All of these leaders played in the public eye and now they get to pay in the public eye.

Where’s the repentance?

I don’t know this dudebro but his words leave me cold. He apparently did not want his own marvelous reputation getting mixed up with James MacDonald’s increasingly bad notoriety. He mentioned that the downsizing of WITW has left him “emotionally devastated.” How they heck does he think the people of the church felt when confronted with far more than WITW? Good night!

This statement appears to be all about his feelings. I just wish I could have heard more about his love and concern for the feelings of the people he vowed to serve. Maybe that’s just asking a bit too much of so called pastors these days.

Dan Sumpter’s Statement

I don’t know why this song keeps coming to mind. Maybe it’s just because it is a rainy Monday…


Comments

Harvest Bible Chapel’s Dan Sumpter Makes an Exit Statement: He’s Afraid of James MacDonald Amongst Other Things — 143 Comments

  1. I’ve got to give Jmac credit…
    He really knows how to pick the spineless jellyfish types, then put them into leadership positions…. all it takes is a 6 figure income and an occasional temper tantrum…..what’s wrong with these guys??? Are they pastors/Elders or just Hirelings???? John 10:12-13… 12.He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd,who does not own the Sheep,sees the Wolf coming and leaves the Sheep and flees and the Wolf snatches them and scatters them 13.He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep….I find it almost unbelievable that there are that many GUTLESS COWARDS masquerading as Pastors/Elders at HBC…there were a few Men who made a stand and contended for the faith, and thanks to Gods word and those selfless MEN I had my eyes opened and my wallet closed….to bad most were “To afraid”….it could have prevented alot of Heartache, broken relationships and not allowed the Enemies of God an occasion to Blaspheme.. .not to mention saved me thousands of dollars.

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  2. Dee, I don’t know why this song keeps coming to mind either. Maybe it’s just because Country Singing Legends can never DIE, but missive errant 501c3’s often do.

    HBC is pushing up daisies while you name the proverbial pastoral dogs?

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  3. Boy,

    What a mess. I cannot judge the heart… but the letter sounds like…’I better cover my a** here before I get a new job’… and oh, by the way, I am an ELITE something or other and graduated from somewhere important. Peace

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  4. There was a little bit of concern for the employees who’d been jerked around.

    There was a little bit of concern for the donors who’d been jerked around.

    There was a whole lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth and grave concern over the way that Sumpter had been treated, at the state of his personal feelings and emotions, and the maintenance of his reputation.

    Finally, there was an annoying and repeated use of “it’s” when he meant “its”.

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  5. Stump

    Law Prof: who’d been jerked around

    I watched the 3rd video HCA Bible class posted by Julie Roy. At around 57min, JMac said out loud his intention was to keep the students on the edge all thime not knowing what was going to happen. And he demonstrated it by calling out student randomly by name in front of the class and by changing his mind in mid-conversation. JMac jerked the student around and he seemed to enjoy watching them scramble.

    Reading Sumpter’s letter, I felt he was being treated like one of the students in the video – always on edge – not knowing when JMac is going to call him out or when JMac changes his mind. I felt that Sumpter was being abused to the point of not knowing which side is up and which side is down.

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  6. Leaders who act in the public sphere most definitely need to be held accountable to the vast public that supported them. That said, if this particular document was submitted to HR as part of an exit interview isn’t that subject to state privacy laws?

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  7. Looks like Danny is trying to save his butt to find another church gig. When one “dances with the devil, one must expect to get burned.” You were part and parcel of the HBC delusion. It comes down to this: “what did you know and when did you know it and what legal authority did you report it to for outside investigation?”

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  8. I watched those videos over at Julie Roy’s blog and had to wonder. I have been in special education for adult students for about 31 years and had worked with people with disabilities for about 40 years. That is pretty much my entire adult life, I was also involved in electronics at the same time because I worked several jobs at the same time to do things like, eat, pay utilities etc. What it afforded me was the chance to develop communication systems, adaptive switches, and adapt wheelchairs to help people be more independent. Anyway I worked the spectrum from people who were near drowning victims as children, then adults who were blind, deaf, so contracted their shoulder touched their hip and I would just develop a way for this lady to turn her head a bit, activate a switch and a small fan would blow on her face. She eventually was able to do it by herself.

    The next group was with adults that could be extremely violent when they had a reaction to something, environmental issue or communication issue. One young man had a propensity of biting people around their eyes, he was not a good enough aim to actually take out a persons eye (some of the students I worked with were and did try) but getting a chunk of forehead bitten off was not fun. I once intervened because he was sparked by another student and I had about two seconds to redirect him to a quiet area and start deescalation even in that circumstance I had a book almost six inches thick that I better follow to a tee. Another time the same young man smashed a full colostomy bag across the side of my head. Never did I raise my voice or in any other way respond other than professional.

    I still don’t understand why my type of employment made so many of my old faith communities so angry at me, maybe I did bring up some struggles as to why God let this happen to these fine young people, IE some of the horrible events I learned happened to those I worked with. I understand a follower of God should not ask such questions because it is calling God a liar and actually is blasphemy, maybe even blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. That is a whole other post.

    I watched the way he treated those students and I thought, if I ever, even for a second, it would be my career. Him he just got to buy a big house and trust me he will be back, and he will get people to give him money.

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  9. Last time I checked, “perfect love casts out fear”, so why is Sumpter so afraid? Oops—sorry, I forgot that the Bible doesn’t apply to HBC because it’s all about King JMac, and the former leaders’ reputations.

    Well, at least Sumpter is trying to minister to the broken souls remaining there…oops, wrong again—no, he’s making every effort to distance himself from them so as to not tarnish his own ‘brand’ in order to pick up another 6-figured gig somewhere else! There is simply NOTHING godly going on over there, merely the kind of posturing and power-playing that Jesus plainly told his disciples NOT to do.

    Anyone remaining in those churches needs to flee and not look back! They should instead, “fix their eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith!”

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  10. Suzanne,

    I agree with your response. Personally, I will not be purchasing books that focus on “leadership” and will be challenging pastors within my sphere of acquaintance to return to the biblical mandate of serving. Shifting briefly to another theme…I agree with Lance that the letter is a cya document. Dan has followed the lead of other cya experts e.g. Steve Carter.

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  11. Lance:
    Boy,

    What a mess. I cannot judge the heart… but the letter sounds like…’I better cover my a** here before I get a new job’… and oh, by the way, I am an ELITE something or other and graduated from somewhere important. Peace

    That “elite” thing really popped out at me, too. So much for “servant leadership.” LOL!

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  12. So his program was title “Walk In The Word” and they followed a guy who was obviously NOT walking in the Word, and the whole thing went bad. Huh. Didn’t see that coming…

    The stupidity on display is this church absolutely astounding. Each one of these is a CYA letter, but it’s too late. It would be interesting to know if a pastor could be sued for malpractice. If they can be, and I were one of these pastors, I’d be worried. SMH

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  13. brian,

    You hit on a common theme hear at TWW…. It is truely amazing what “relgious leaders” highlighted on TWW can get away with; especially compared to those of us working in the “secular world”. I have seen, and continue to see “bad behavoir” in my “secular, humanistic, godless” working environment (these words I have heard similar “relgious leaders” describe my profession), but, many of the individuals in my “world” that behave poorly eventually crash and burn….. and I see, and been involved in several cases… the checks and balances usually do not allow these inviduals to “run amoke” as long as “relgious leaders” do… although I will grant you Jerry Sandusky went for quite awhile…. but then, devotion to top level college football is a “religion”!

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  14. It took TWENTY-NINE people to produce the radio show?

    Is that legit or is it another manner of disrespecting donor dollars?

    My husband’s company produces high tech equipment and product in a manufacturing plant and they run at a total of 30 people, including admin support staff.

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  15. “All of these leaders played in the public eye and now they get to pay in the public eye.” (Dee)

    “Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now.” (Matthew 10:27 MSG)

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  16. “This statement appears to be all about his feelings.” (Dee)

    My daughter taught first grade for several years. In one class, she had a little girl who was always demanding attention, shouting “What about me?! What about me?!” After trying to deal with this distraction gently, my daughter finally took the little girl aside one day and said “Look, honey, our class is not about ‘you’ … it’s about ‘us’.” Like a beam shining from heaven in that moment, the precious little gal got it … she “repented” of her selfish ways and the class went much better after that. I’m afraid that in many places across Christendom, we have a bunch of “What about me?!” self-centered leaders, manipulating and whining to get their way … but the strange thing is, the pew lets them do it!

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  17. brian,

    So true. These videos show how JMac held people hostage – through fear and intimidation. He was a huge, over-bearing, loud-mouthed bully and literally put in place a goon squad of bullies to keep people in line – just like the ol’ master Calvin did in Geneva. When your goal is deception and coercion, it requires the cleverness to present the public image of a sincere, humble man of God while privately inflicting torture and painful death on any who dissent. Sadly, most don’t know anything but the propaganda presented as church history.

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  18. Remnant: It took TWENTY-NINE people to produce the radio show?

    Is that legit or is it another manner of disrespecting donor dollars?

    Now you’re getting it. In my humble opinion, all of this inflated staff receiving hugely inflated salaries was simply to create CYA goons for JMac’s defense. To attack him would be to threaten the enormous gravy train. Get enough people on that train fighting for their own luxurious existence, and no matter how many cowards turn honest, you still have enough to outnumber them.

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  19. LeRoy,

    As someone who has been working the “secular” world my whole career, I have leaderned learned to look out for any “leader” that talks allot about “leadership”, and pushes “leadership training”….. True leaders “train” by example…. they do not have to “talk about, write books, give seminars”….. they just do it..

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  20. “I have become increasingly impacted by fear in my working relationship with James. Fear of disapproval, criticism, and anger – fear of seeing things differently and not agreeing. I have become exceedingly unhealthy in my anxiety …” (Dan Sumpters)

    “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP)

    It’s clear that in HBC leadership ranks, a spirit of fear prevailed. Love, sound judgment, personal discipline, well-balanced minds, and self-control were not characteristics of this bunch! If God didn’t give them a spirit of fear, who do you figure did?

    Root 66: Last time I checked, “perfect love casts out fear”, so why is Sumpter so afraid?

    At HBC, it’s apparent that fear cast our perfect love! Love is not the first word that pops up when describing JMac and his band of yes-men. Sumpter and others became paralyzed by a spirit of fear, which manipulated, intimidated, and dominated them. MacDonald led them by the spirit of this world “in accordance with the prince of the power of the air (Satan), the spirit who is now at work in the disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2 AMP). Heck, this deceiver wasn’t even clothed as an angel of light! His minions knew who he really was.

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  21. Max: It’s clear that in HBC leadership ranks, a spirit of fear prevailed. Love, sound judgment, personal discipline, well-balanced minds, and self-control were not characteristics of this bunch! If God didn’t give them a spirit of fear, who do you figure did?

    I would add that it is our love for God and his will that casts out fear. These men knew so much fear because their hearts were set on their own personal gain, on the things of this earth and all that can so easily be taken away. Those who set their hearts on God’s promises and gifts need not fear, for such things can never be taken from them!

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  22. TS00: JMac held people hostage – through fear and intimidation. He was a huge, over-bearing, loud-mouthed bully and literally put in place a goon squad of bullies to keep people in line

    And it worked for him for years! Go figure!! But God …

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  23. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    Hah, reminds me of my wife’s workplace. Things were (and remain) a bit of a mess b/c the head of the department isn’t taking charge and making decisions. So the head of the department goes off to Hawaii for a 1 week “leadership” seminar, which just exacerbates the problems of decision-making. And of course, when they got back, they weren’t any better at actually *leading*.

    Also, I’m admittedly an outsider to the faith thing at this point (grew up in the Assemblies of God with pastors who were good men, I think – but I’m an atheist now). But I’m so sick to death of reading all the disingenuous verbiage in these letters. I’ve been reading this blog for a few years now, and there have been any number of stories where we’ve gotten copies of the internal correspondence where someone is trying to bring habitual horrendous behavior to light. And it seems like so many of them are imbued with this notion of, “Let me preface this by saying that I love XXXXXX and hope that we can use this experience to grow and eventually fall into a big puppy pile of sweetness and light.” What happened to just calling people out? Omit all the nonsense about how you think that at heart, they’re a great person, etc. Just say, “You’ve been an abusive and greedy leader in this church for years, and as such, you disqualify yourself from being a leader. I quit as of today, and I’ll be making a public blog post about what I’ve seen from your behavior at the same time.”

    But you don’t see that. They get wrapped up in the money and being inside the ‘in-crowd’, and bringing the truth to light really doesn’t matter so much anymore. Whatever happened to not hiding your light under a bushel?

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  24. I have yet to see an HBC leader/elder come forth who demonstrates a lick of spiritual sense. I suppose that’s why JMac hand-picked them. Perhaps there were a few in the bunch who had some spiritual insight, maybe those elders who were excommunicated in the past.

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  25. Rich: And it seems like so many of them are imbued with this notion of, “Let me preface this by saying that I love XXXXXX and hope that we can use this experience to grow and eventually fall into a big puppy pile of sweetness and light.” What happened to just calling people out? Omit all the nonsense about how you think that at heart, they’re a great person, etc. Just say, “You’ve been an abusive and greedy leader in this church for years, and as such, you disqualify yourself from being a leader. I quit as of today, and I’ll be making a public blog post about what I’ve seen from your behavior at the same time.”

    In one word: Fear.

    Back to John Calvin; by the time his true nature was revealed, he had built up a nearly impenetrable power structure. At his word, kings and priests around the world trembled, and few wished to invoke his displeasure. It is difficult for us to wrap our minds around the tyranny that did and does yet exist, as such power structures are deviously hidden behind the facade of benevolent intentions and institutions. It is usually only when they come under the guns of enforcement that men become aware of how aligned and powerful are the forces they wish to confront. It is far easier to resign oneself to ‘working for change from within’; after all, how much good can a dead reformer do?

    A few brave men did seek to expose Calvin. They were helped by a few, equally brave, others, like printers and messengers. But all, in hopes of preserving their lives and the safety of their families, mostly worked under pseudonyms and secrecy. To speak out publicly was to invite immediate and certain banishment or death.

    We hope that actual death is no longer a tool of enforcement, but in its place we have threats of character assassination, destruction of ministries and careers and threats of being removed from much-loved communities of family and friends. I can tell you that it is very tempting to take the easy way out when faced with such life-shattering possibilities.

    I’m not making excuses for these men, whose choices I do not respect. Jesus clearly called his followers to be willing to accept serious persecution for his sake. But if our spiritual experience is one of rote, learned religion or emotional exuberance, rather than a living, sustaining relationship with our loving, guiding heavenly Father, it would be very difficult to take up such crosses.

    I sadly suspect that many who call themselves ‘Christians’ do not really have a genuine, living relationship with the living God; by their fruit you shall know them. I’m not talking about refraining from cussing, or giving to the church – those are the substitutions for knowing God that the institutional church has so often given us. I am talking about men and women who are willing to stand up for truth, justice and the helpless, whatever the personal cost. That is what we are all called to.

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  26. Max:
    I have yet to see an HBC leader/elder come forth who demonstrates a lick of spiritual sense.I suppose that’s why JMac hand-picked them.Perhaps there were a few in the bunch who had some spiritual insight, maybe those elders who were excommunicated in the past.

    If they had spiritual sense, they would have had warning bells going off. It just pushes right back up to the top that JMac was not teaching and making disciples for Jesus. These people were exactly what he wanted.

    If they were new to Christianity, and they didn’t grow, JMac has some soul damage to answer for. They were fed a false Christianity, and how could they know better.

    As for those who should have known better…words fail me (but clearly not all of you).

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  27. Max: I have yet to see an HBC leader/elder come forth who demonstrates a lick of spiritual sense. I suppose that’s why JMac hand-picked them.

    Like the end of the 1984 movie version of 1984
    Only when you are completely broken to The System will you be permitted to advance within The System.

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  28. TS00: all of this inflated staff receiving hugely inflated salaries was simply to create CYA goons for JMac’s defense.

    I belong to a volunteer/social group that meets monthly. We have rules about who reads what reports (and how often), who leads the Pledge of Allegiance, who decorates the room, etc. It’s an “honor” to be asked to do any of this stuff.

    I don’t know if it’s really an honor, but the rules certainly guarantee high levels of participation. Bring nice table decorations, and you look like leadership material.

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  29. brian:I understand a follower of God should not ask such questions because it is calling God a liar and actually is blasphemy, maybe even blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. That is a whole other post.

    Bible’s full of people who were held up as examples of great faith who questioned God and how. Moses, Job, David, Abraham. These Christians so-called who tell you that stuff and want you to paste a smile on your face and not question God sound a lot more like the Pharisees—the ones who actually were blaspheming the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus. And I think He knew what He was talking about.

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  30. Rich,

    Straight forward approach on your part. No twists or turns or coverups. No sweet coating.

    Since you say you are outside the faith now, may I humbly recommend that you read something by Iswald Chambers? You can find some material on YouTube, some material is free online. His no-nonsense faith and blunt explanation of what Christianity is not will cleanse our soul and revolutionize our understanding. It gave me hope for reality when I was going through a very dry zone with the whole thing。 It continues to strengthen me as I refresh my reading regularly to calibrate my mindset and my heart temperature.

    You will be blessed anew !

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  31. Harvest, you need to wake up(!!) if you want to keep your people! I’m sure you know several of us are looking for new churches but are more than willing to come back if you get rid of all the wolves right away who stood by under JMac and did nothing! If they were there then, they need to GO! Wake up and take care of your sheep because they are scattering! Are you good shepherds?

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  32. Rich:
    Jeffrey Chalmers,

    Hah, reminds me of my wife’s workplace. Things were (and remain) a bit of a mess b/c the head of the department isn’t taking charge and making decisions. So the head of the department goes off to Hawaii for a 1 week “leadership” seminar, which just exacerbates the problems of decision-making. And of course, when they got back, they weren’t any better at actually *leading*.

    Also, I’m admittedly an outsider to the faith thing at this point (grew up in the Assemblies of God with pastors who were good men, I think – but I’m an atheist now). But I’m so sick to death of reading all the disingenuous verbiage in these letters. I’ve been reading this blog for a few years now, and there have been any number of stories where we’ve gotten copies of the internal correspondence where someone is trying to bring habitual horrendous behavior to light. And it seems like so many of them are imbued with this notion of, “Let me preface this by saying that I love XXXXXX and hope that we can use this experience to grow and eventually fall into a big puppy pile of sweetness and light.” What happened to just calling people out? Omit all the nonsense about how you think that at heart, they’re a great person, etc. Just say, “You’ve been an abusive and greedy leader in this church for years, and as such, you disqualify yourself from being a leader. I quit as of today, and I’ll be making a public blog post about what I’ve seen from your behavior at the same time.”

    But you don’t see that. They get wrapped up in the money and being inside the ‘in-crowd’, and bringing the truth to light really doesn’t matter so much anymore. Whatever happened to not hiding your light under a bushel?

    We’re on the same page there for sure. I hate that stuff with a spitting passion. Hate it! It’s from hell, it’s pure crap. No mealy-mouthed sweetness from Jesus, not ever. Not a sweet guy. Kind, decent, not nice.

    Thing about the way people talk in these cult groups is you never see that stuff in the Bible—there’s absolutely nothing like it, not even close. So how do they get these ideas that they should act that way? Because they care nothing about the Bible, nothing about the truth—and if they do, could you tell the difference based upon their actions? There are no Precious Moments passages in the Bible, no maudlin, weepy, corny garbage. Not there. This is also why I’d sooner attend a skeptics meeting with you, Rich, than set foot in a Christian bookstore again.

    If people can’t see how phony and bankrupt all that stuff is, that sweet fake lying garbage in these letter, then I don’t want to hear what they think about Jesus, because they either don’t know Him, don’t understand Him, or are just credulous buffoons.

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  33. Magistos: JMac was not teaching and making disciples for Jesus

    IMO, JMac made disciples unto himself to build his kingdom, not ‘the’ Kingdom. He most likely took advantage of the “pride” factor in selecting his band of elders … these appear to be (for the most part) men who desired to sit at the right hand of the throne. They were wealthy donors, prominent businessmen, popular in the community, etc. who leveraged those things to wiggle onto the leadership team. It doesn’t appear that many were spiritually qualified to serve in an elder capacity over the people of God. A sad state of affairs for the poor members of HBC – to have folks like that leading them. HBC is coming apart and it needs to … I’m praying that a better thing (the real thing) will rise from its ashes.

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  34. “I have become increasingly impacted by fear in my working relationship with James.” (Dan Sumpters)

    IMO, another element of the fear-factor which paralyzed Mr. Sumpters is that he knew MacDonald had the ability to “put the word out on him” within New Calvinist ranks … to make sure he would not find employment in the new reformation should he spill the beans. MacDonald was a darling of New Calvinism, although the who’s who in that tribe were already beginning to distance themselves from him before vertical went horizontal in Chicago.

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  35. “All of these leaders played in the public eye and now they get to pay in the public eye.”

    So true. I’m amazed by the number of these guys who loved the public eye and all its perks until things started to crash and burn. Then, suddenly, they’re insistent on keeping everything private.

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  36. Max:
    “I have become increasingly impacted by fear in my working relationship with James.” (Dan Sumpters)

    IMO, another element of the fear-factor which paralyzed Mr. Sumpters is that he knew MacDonald had the ability to “put the word out on him” within New Calvinist ranks … to make sure he would not find employment in the new reformation should he spill the beans.MacDonald was a darling of New Calvinism, although the who’s who in that tribe were already beginning to distance themselves from him before vertical went horizontal in Chicago.

    When something like that happens, you find out what a person really loves. If they love Jesus and the people who are being harmed by those who do not love Him, they’ll put their career or even their lives on the line. If they love the money and their reputations and the authority and camaraderie (as it were) of hanging with the important people in the mega churches, then they’ll protect that and tell whatever lies it takes to preserve it. Real easy to see what people really care about, just put a little pressure on them.

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  37. TS00:We hope that actual death is no longer a tool of enforcement, but in its place we have threats of character assassination, destruction of ministries and careers and threats of being removed from much-loved communities of family and friends. I can tell you that it is very tempting to take the easy way out when faced with such life-shattering possibilities…

    If someone is willing to destroy your reputation and career and separate you from family and friends, they’d almost certainly be willing to kill you in the public square if they had the power.

    TS00:I sadly suspect that many who call themselves ‘Christians’ do not really have a genuine, living relationship with the living God; by their fruit you shall know them. I’m not talking about refraining from cussing, or giving to the church – those are the substitutions for knowing God that the institutional church has so often given us. I am talking about men and women who are willing to stand up for truth, justice and the helpless, whatever the personal cost. That is what we are all called to.

    Personally, I think most who call themselves “Christians” don’t really mean it, and their faith is that false niceness that’s brittle and that they’d be willing to drop in a heartbeat if the leader told them to plunge a metaphorical knife in your back. Have experienced that personally multiple times.

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  38. “I love pastor James deeply and hope to be friends forever.”

    So are these the words of a sycophant? I would like to know what would make someone say something like that, in print, knowing what they know and having seen what they have seen.

    In light of the situation, this kind of sentiment seems completely out of place. Is the author really that smitten? Even after what he revealed in the rest of his letter?

    The statements in the letter are allegedly written as “additional information you feel could make a difference…” A difference to what? How they treat JM going forward? How they help hurting souls? How much blow-back they get?

    Doesn’t the author color everything by his proclamation of undying love for his “pastor”?

    It reminds me of the mixed I love you / I hate you messages of dysfunctional relationships. I think this is one mixed up dude.

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  39. Rich: And it seems like so many of them are imbued with this notion of, “Let me preface this by saying that I love XXXXXX and hope that we can use this experience to grow and eventually fall into a big puppy pile of sweetness and light.” What happened to just calling people out?

    Very good point. When someone says this, the truth is they don’t love XXXXXX at all. They just crave XXXXXX’s approval and favour.

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  40. One more observation before I hit the hay (atrial fibrillation is flaring up at the moment).

    This quote from the statement:

    … elite music & production students in Christian higher education. Many of them have landed major jobs in the biggest churches in America.

    … grieves me more than many things that might seem worse.

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  41. Nick Bulbeck: This quote from the statement:

    … elite music & production students in Christian higher education. Many of them have landed major jobs in the biggest churches in America.

    … grieves me more than many things that might seem worse.

    I suppose the “elite” in Christian music, with their higher education, wouldn’t bother with the the smallest churches in America. Just another example of things that are desperately off track in the American church. Whatever happened to “pick up your cross and follow Me”? … even if it means serving the Lord in obscure places with minor jobs in the eyes of men, but a major hit with God.

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  42. Noevangelical: “I love pastor James deeply and hope to be friends forever.”

    So are these the words of a sycophant? I would like to know what would make someone say something like that, in print, knowing what they know and having seen what they have seen.

    Such is the cult of personality. One thing is for sure, Wartburgers have heard enough to not desire to be JMac’s friend forever!

    Sycophant? Probably. MacDonald has (had?) the power to make or break Mr. Sumpters in his quest for new employment, so “with flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.”

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  43. Law Prof: Real easy to see what people really care about, just put a little pressure on them.

    Yep, when someone gets squeezed what comes out is what is inside. One thing is for sure, there’s not much of Jesus being squeezed out in the leadership ranks at HBC these days. They are all whining about themselves.

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  44. Noevangelical:
    “I love pastor James deeply and hope to be friends forever.”

    So are these the words of a sycophant? I would like to know what would make someone say something like that, in print, knowing what they know and having seen what they have seen.

    In light of the situation, this kind of sentiment seems completely out of place. Is the author really that smitten? Even after what he revealed in the rest of his letter?

    The statements in the letter are allegedly written as “additional information you feel could make a difference…” A difference to what? How they treat JM going forward? How they help hurting souls? How much blow-back they get?

    Doesn’t the author color everything by his proclamation of undying love for his “pastor”?

    It reminds me of the mixed I love you / I hate you messages of dysfunctional relationships. I think this is one mixed up dude.

    In a bizarre and twisted way, it might possibly be true. Remember that awful moment at the end of Nineteen Eighty-Four when Winston Smith gives up the last bit of his humanity and finally learns to love Big Brother?

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  45. As more and more keeps coming out, including these “unusual” letters, I think watching a dumpster fire is a good description. I wonder about all the victims of HBC…. with all this weird stuff, I really wonder about the people that have been subjected to this “Stuff”..

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  46. Compare him to Frances Chan. In a YouTube program Chan tells how new beliver he baptized left the church. Chan found him and the man explained his unbelieving friends were more of a family to him than (chans’) huge church. So ….Chan leaves and has a humble home and lifestyle that is about Christ and not a megachurch. That is a humble attitude. What a contrast. I am angered that MacDonald was wanting to be in ministry again??? People are that stupid? Then they DESERVE to get fleeced !

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  47. Law Prof: Remember that awful moment at the end of Nineteen Eighty-Four when Winston Smith gives up the last bit of his humanity and finally learns to love Big Brother?

    And the 1984 movie adaptation added its own twist at the end. Instead of just passively waiting to be liquidated, 6079 Smith W is implied to be promoted to the Inner Party. ONLY WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY BROKEN TO THE SYSTEM WILL YOU BE ALLOWED TO ADVANCE WITHIN THE SYSTEM.

    And this Sumpter guy was an Elder, i.e. Inner Ring of the Inner Party.
    He Loves Big Brother.

    “It is not enough for you to obey Big Brother, 6079 Smith W.
    You must LOVE Big Brother.”
    — Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party

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  48. Max: Sycophant? Probably. MacDonald has (had?) the power to make or break Mr. Sumpters in his quest for new employment, so “with flattering lips and with a double heart they speak.”

    The word is Brown-Noser.

    “With a ruler, you can lay the flattery on with a trowel.”
    — Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of Victorian England

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  49. And it seems like so many of them are imbued with this notion of, “Let me preface this by saying that I love XXXXXX and hope that we can use this experience to grow and eventually fall into a big puppy pile of sweetness and light.”

    “It is not enough for you to obey Big Brother, 6079 Smith W.
    You must LOVE Big Brother.”
    — Comrade O’Brian, Inner Party

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  50. I just felt really sad reading, “I love Pastor James deeply and hope to be friends forever” followed by the fear and anxiety he expresses about trying to work with him. He is also experiencing confusion and disappointment. I think he has been struggling with cognitive dissonance and he is probably only at the earliest stages of separating what has been his belief system from what reality actually is. I didn’t take so much offense at him describing his embarrassment in regard to his friends who are accomplished but saw more how he is trying to reconcile the feelings and belief he has had in James with the stark difference he sees in how his friends -whose judgment he respects- have assessed James. It just makes me realize what a mess the system is when the leaders in it are struggling with their own concept of reality. Human beings are kind of amazing in how we can doggedly stick with something despite all evidence screaming in our faces due only to our belief system. It can take forever to dawn on us that maybe our beliefs are all wrong. Meanwhile the narcissist takes full advantage of our naivety and sadly will never return that “deep love” that we think we feel.

    It can take a long time -many years, really- to fully come to grips with these things.

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  51. Rich: I’ve been reading this blog for a few years now, and there have been any number of stories where we’ve gotten copies of the internal correspondence where someone is trying to bring habitual horrendous behavior to light. And it seems like so many of them are imbued with this notion of, “Let me preface this by saying that I love XXXXXX and hope that we can use this experience to grow and eventually fall into a big puppy pile of sweetness and light.” What happened to just calling people out? Omit all the nonsense about how you think that at heart, they’re a great person, etc. Just say, “You’ve been an abusive and greedy leader in this church for years, and as such, you disqualify yourself from being a leader. I quit as of today, and I’ll be making a public blog post about what I’ve seen from your behavior at the same time.”

    I remember how hard it was to get to that point of clarity, though I was much more direct than most at my church. I will never forget the letter a friend who was extremely involved at the church wrote to resign their membership- they had agonized over this letter and prayed about it for weeks and when they finally wrote it and allowed me to read it I was dumbfounded- they were trying so hard to be ‘godly’ that it ended up sounding like an apology for leaving and a vote of confidence in the pastor! I’m sure he would have had no clue how bitterly disappointed they were in him. But people do strange things depending on what they have always been trained they ought to feel and do. Some have had it drummed into them all their lives that you do not speak against the pastor, no matter what, you don’t ‘gossip’, you don’t ‘air dirty laundry’, you’re never negative, etc, etc, all these silly Christianese personality traits that are pushed at churches. What a relief it is to be out of that whole scene and free to think freely.

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  52. Pingback: Wednesday Connect | Thinking Out Loud

  53. SiteSeer,

    Oh my friend, that is so much the tendency of the average person that I am tempted to despair.

    It’s not that I am so wise and superior that I am never fooled; far from it. But there is something in me – and I tend to think it is the Spirit of God – that won’t let me go when repeated red flags start popping up. Thus, many, many times I have made decisions for myself and my family that only decades later were acknowledged as ‘maybe not so foolish’ by orthodox science, medicine, religion, education or whatever.

    It is not as if Truth is not out there – it just isn’t served up by the popular media or the institutions that claim to be the authorities on truth and benevolent keepers of society. What keeps others from doing what I am so ofen compelled to do – ask hard questions, dig for understanding, read academic and medical literature, and compare the claims of experts from decades and centuries ago to what is stated today?

    Sure it takes time and effort, but IMO, the real barrier is that many people are unwilling to topple their idols, coupled with an unwillingness to take personal responsibility for seeking knowledge, acquiring wisdom and trusting God to personally lead in their life. And don’t think I don’t battle the same thing! Oh the fights God and I have had over the years. ‘Why me?’ I whine; ‘Why can’t you just leave me alone in ignorant bliss? No one else seems to care!’

    In the same way we prefer to leave the work of figuring out who God is and what he wants to the Religious experts, we prefer to leave our personal health, education and well-being up to the various ‘experts’ who should, by now, have led us to the end of disease, poverty, war and all suffering, were their claims even half true. But they are not, much as I hate to burst anyone’s bubble.

    We treat these ‘experts’ and man-made institutions as if they were God, all-knowing and benign, when they are so often the exact opposite. Like James MacDonald and his kingdom, so many of the institutions of men seek to serve the interests of a few, while pretending to benefit all. Anyone who thinks this is strictly a spiritual problem has not had their eyes opened yet. But alas, most don’t even want to hear such things, let alone do the hard work to see if there is any truth to them. And then we wonder why abuse, injustice and suffering prevail in our hurting world.

    Sorry, current events in many spheres have me pretty riled, and I had to get it off my chest.

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  54. Anon,

    And your point, I presume, is that if you don’t know him then you are not qualified to comment on his actions, his letter, his professed love for JM, or any other thing about him, his life, or his ministry.

    Except that these men formed a cabal that propped up a man who engaged in very public behavior and helped to craft a very public image of him that now has been exposed as a complete fraud. So they are accessories to the dumpster fire their god created on the backs and the souls of thousands of unsuspecting victims.

    You don’t have to “know” someone to know that what they did was wrong, to know that they shouldn’t be in the ministry, to discuss the evidence, to talk about their modus operandi, or anything else related to this case.

    They are more than fair game.

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  55. Mickey F,

    I visited a megachurch here in the Raleigh area. It appeared he had two body guards. One who blocked anyone coming near the steps to the stage. The other one made sure no one would approach the stage from the front. One poor teen girl looked for her mom and saw here sitting about two rows back from the middle of the stage. As she hurried down, the body guard leapt into action-blocking her from coming any further than about 6 rows down. He kept putting his hand on his hip and I thought he was going to draw a gun. A discussion ensued in which heh basically told her off and reduced her to tears. her mother got up and started in on him. And the band kept playing some song about God’s love. I checked that one off my list.

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  56. Noevangelical: You don’t have to “know” someone to know that what they did was wrong, to know that they shouldn’t be in the ministry, to discuss the evidence, to talk about their modus operandi, or anything else related to this case.
    They are more than fair game.

    The moment anyone says “look at me and my church* we are allowed to look.And Jesus said that we are supposed to be the light on a hill so the world may know about Him.We are commanded to look and to understand.

    This new *we are the authority* so shut up, give money and keep your eyes closed is not found anywhere in Scripture.

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  57. Mickey F,

    Not too unusual. All of the big ones have private security. T.D.Jakes holds (or used to hold) an annual seminar for church security, etc. So yeah, they got muscle packing hardware protecting them. So Christlike…

    Now that I think about it, even the last itty bitty bible church I was a part of had an usher who sat out in the lobby packing. And the pastor used to fantasize about having some hardware up at the pulpit (think Dirty Harry) to blow away various foreign invaders or criminals who would dare to interrupt his message.

    And no, I am not joking…

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  58. Disturbed: Harvest, you need to wake up(!!) if you want to keep your people! I’m sure you know several of us are looking for new churches but are more than willing to come back if you get rid of all the wolves right away who stood by under JMac and did nothing! If they were there then, they need to GO! Wake up and take care of your sheep because they are scattering! Are you good shepherds?

    I think the answer is no. I’ve said goodbye to church and after the mismanagement of this place, if I decided to go back, hbc is the last place i’d consider.

    The truth is that hbc is a sinking ship. There may be a stripped down version surviving, the ‘glory’ days are gone.

    The pastors are falling over themselves to get out and get the stink off their careers.

    No one likes a loser.

    Wouldn’t feel too bad though, if Driscoll can find followers then anything is possible.

    The con job may yet continue.

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  59. Jack,
    I cannot comprehend how either Driscoll or MacDonald drew such a crowd. Driscoll was rude, crude and full of himself and JMac always sounded like he was on an angry rant. No one would accuse either of them of being humble, gracious or other sacrificial in spirit. I truly do not see their appeal.

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  60. Noevangelical: Not too unusual. All of the big ones have private security. T.D.Jakes holds (or used to hold) an annual seminar for church security, etc. So yeah, they got muscle packing hardware protecting them. So Christlike…

    They’re called “Armorbearers(TM)”.
    And ther main qualification is Total Utter Loyalty to Gawd’s Anointed.
    “SEE HOW IMPORTANT *I* AM! SEE? SEE? SEE?”

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  61. TS00: I cannot comprehend how either Driscoll or MacDonald drew such a crowd. Driscoll was rude, crude and full of himself and JMac always sounded like he was on an angry rant.

    “Rude, crude, and full of himself” can come across as Plain-speaking and Blunt; especially when contrasted with offend-nobody mealy-mouthing from others. Remember the 2016 elections?

    And “angry rant” resonates among listeners who are on the edge of one themselves.
    Especially in a context of Persecuted Grievance Culture (which Evangelicals have been cultivating for some time).
    Remember this?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwMVMbmQBug

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  62. TS00,

    No one ever dropped 100 bucks on watching a pharmacist at work. They pay for celebrity, entertainment and fixating behaviour.

    That also provides an advantage to potentialy unstable people when obtaining a following. Conversely, those same people are then unable to manage the organizations that congeal around their personality. They where originally unstable.

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  63. TS00: I cannot comprehend how either Driscoll or MacDonald drew such a crowd.

    Certain christians perceive their way of life to be ‘under fire’. Christianity has lost it’s dominance in the secular realm. Where it controlled the conversation, it is now a voice at an ever more crowded table.
    Guys like mac n cheese and Driscoll are perceived as great defenders not afraid to take on the heathen at the gates. Sure answers, no shades of grey.
    The great irony being that the secular move to greater inclusion mirrors the Christian golden rule. I daresay that our modern liberal democracy owes a great deal to Christian ideals.

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  64. __

    “An Exposed, Devious, Publically DeValued —Mistake, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    If years of publicly revealed past fraudulent pastoral and financial actions are ANY indication, —attending, giving, and supporting this proverbial HBC 501c3 publicly soured mega-church aka religious institution has turned out, in hindsight, to be a terribly foolish and sad mistake for thousands of Chicago Protestants parishioners.

    ;~)

    – –

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  65. Slight tangent here, but I’ve been searching for UK freight train videos on TubeFace just now, and you wouldn’t believe the proportion of them that are hauled by class 66’s. Don’t we even have any other locos?

    Sigh.

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  66. Jeffrey Chalmers: dee, Given what we have been reading, not much would surprise me….. threatening to “kiddie porn” on a “enemy”, as JM did is pretty low…

    That is what made this a hill to die on for me. Yeah-I get mad at the million dollar homes, etc. But abuse kids, and that is what kiddie porn does, and I’m getting peeled off the ceiling.

    And let me add this. When I hear people joking about kiddie porn, I begin to wonder what they would even think of such a thing. It starts red flags waving all over the place. Anyone who was present when he joked about it and laughed along may also deserve some red flags on their CV. Something is really wrong here.

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  67. Jack: Certain christians perceive their way of life to be ‘under fire’. Christianity has lost it’s dominance in the secular realm. Where it controlled the conversation, it is now a voice at an ever more crowded table.

    Guys like mac n cheese and Driscoll are perceived as great defenders not afraid to take on the heathen at the gates. Sure answers, no shades of grey.

    Which dynamic was also in action politically during the 2016 elections; it’s the most plausible explanation of the fanatical Christian base.

    P.S. After his infamous Song of Solomon sermon, the name is “Deep Throat” Driscoll.

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  68. Anon:
    Did anyone commenting even know Dan Sumpter?

    No, but do you know any of us? So if you intend to judge us and suggest that we can’t comment on what appears to be some pretty obvious unhealthy stuff going on in his letter because we don’t know him, what exactly gives you the right to judge us if you don’t know us?

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  69. Noevangelical:
    Mickey F,

    Not too unusual. All of the big ones have private security. T.D.Jakes holds (or used to hold) an annual seminar for church security, etc. So yeah, they got muscle packing hardware protecting them. So Christlike…

    Now that I think about it, even the last itty bitty bible church I was a part of had an usher who sat out in the lobby packing. And the pastor used to fantasize about having some hardware up at the pulpit (think Dirty Harry) to blow away various foreign invaders or criminals who would dare to interrupt his message.

    And no, I am not joking…

    Only time Jesus had a “private security” incident, he rebuked the daylights out of the one providing the security and immediately tended to the one the security provider had harmed. And that was at a time when people were actually coming at Him to drag him away and kill Him.

    Wondering just how much UNlike Jesus these people can make themselves—like they’re running as far as fast away from the image of Jesus as they can.

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  70. TS00:
    Jack,
    I cannot comprehend how either Driscoll or MacDonald drew such a crowd. Driscoll was rude, crude and full of himself and JMac always sounded like he was on an angry rant. No one would accuse either of them of being humble, gracious or other sacrificial in spirit. I truly do not see their appeal.

    Some people have a taste for public executions. Some like watching cockfights.

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  71. TS00,

    “I cannot comprehend how either Driscoll or MacDonald drew such a crowd. Driscoll was rude, crude and full of himself and JMac always sounded like he was on an angry rant. No one would accuse either of them of being humble, gracious or other sacrificial in spirit. I truly do not see their appeal.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    i suspect they know how to put on different faces, different voices when it is to their advantage.

    (2-faced dip$h|ts, really) (just using technical words, here)

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  72. Jack,

    “The great irony being that the secular move to greater inclusion mirrors the Christian golden rule. I daresay that our modern liberal democracy owes a great deal to Christian ideals.”
    +++++++++++++++

    the way i see it, these so-called christian ideals are human common sense.

    the fact that it makes utter sense to “love your neighbor as yourself” is indicative of humans being made in God’s image.

    christianity gets no credit. especially since christian culture has turned off common sense to begin with.

    (and, of course, adopted rules that create and protect hierarchy, power, and $ instead. but this old news)

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  73. dee,

    IMO, this is why the particulars of these cases NEED to be talked about over and over again. There is so much information here that it is easy to forget what has actually happened. Soon you need a program and an outline just to keep up. That kind of incident should not be forgotten. Nor should the knifing of pictures. Nor should the other things JM has done that make his “christian” testimony suspect.

    When the doors of the various HBC campuses open for business on Sunday morning, knowing what these people now know, I wonder why ANYONE would even set foot in the place. They should be ghost towns…

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  74. dee: And let me add this. When I hear people joking about kiddie porn, I begin to wonder what they would even think of such a thing.

    I would agree, but add one thought to ponder. Is it possible that others, like me, are naive to what ‘kiddie porn’ actually is?

    I realize the name seems self-explanatory, but when you are genuinely clueless about such things, you might not immediately grasp what it is all about. I suspect that for some, they simply hear the word ‘porn’ – which is ugly and destructive enough – but do not get the picture in their mind of children being sexually used and abused. Honest to God, stupid as it sounds, I never even knew there was such a thing as kiddie porn until a very few years ago, and I’m nearly 60.

    When I found realized what it was, I was so sickened I nearly shut down. Even yet it challenges my faith as I can’t help but ask, ‘Why, God, why?’. I don’t have much ‘grace’ for any of these self-serving leaders, but I did want to put this up for consideration. Even a cynic like me wants to believe that surely most of these guys are not that evil?

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  75. Noevangelical,

    Agreed. Yet I still wonder if these guys were subtly drawn into this trap. I suspect very clever grooming and psychological manipulation on the part of MacDonald. Makes me think of the reports from decades ago of the CIA and other political entities setting up senators and other influential persons so that they could be blackmailed.

    Most would have to accept a good deal of blame, but it was reported that it was sort of a slippery slope, greased with alcohol and perhaps surreptitious drugging. A guy is offered an hour with a pretty girl, then gradually is offered younger and younger . . . anyway, I don’t like to think about it, but suspect that MacDonald used moral entrapment to draw people into his web. They then had to make the choice of whether or not to come clean, or allow themselves to be drawn further and further into his immoral schemes. It would be so helpful if someone came totally clean, and spilled all of the beans.

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  76. TS00:
    Noevangelical,

    Agreed. Yet I still wonder if these guys were subtly drawn into this trap. I suspect very clever grooming and psychological manipulation on the part of MacDonald. Makes me think of the reports from decades ago of the CIA and other political entities setting up senators and other influential persons so that they could be blackmailed.

    Most would have to accept a good deal of blame, but it was reported that it was sort of a slippery slope, greased with alcohol and perhaps surreptitious drugging. A guy is offered an hour with a pretty girl, then gradually is offered younger and younger . . . anyway, I don’t like to think about it, but suspect that MacDonald used moral entrapment to draw people into his web. They then had to make the choice of whether or not to come clean, or allow themselves to be drawn further and further into his immoral schemes. It would be so helpful if someone came totally clean, and spilled all of the beans.

    Sounds exactly like that Grisham book “The Firm.”

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  77. Law Prof,

    Hopefully there was not actual physical or sexual abuse, but I am thinking of ‘The Name Game’, and crude jokes and videos, and encouraging people to stab pictures with butter knifes, etc. Then throw in lavish trips, generous salaries and expense accounts . . . pretty clever trap, it would seem to me. And a few, along the way, saw the evil and spoke out.

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  78. Law Prof:

    TS00:
    Noevangelical,
    Agreed. Yet I still wonder if these guys were subtly drawn into this trap. I suspect very clever grooming and psychological manipulation on the part of MacDonald. Makes me think of the reports from decades ago of the CIA and other political entities setting up senators and other influential persons so that they could be blackmailed.
    Most would have to accept a good deal of blame, but it was reported that it was sort of a slippery slope, greased with alcohol and perhaps surreptitious drugging. A guy is offered an hour with a pretty girl, then gradually is offered younger and younger . . . anyway, I don’t like to think about it, but suspect that MacDonald used moral entrapment to draw people into his web. They then had to make the choice of whether or not to come clean, or allow themselves to be drawn further and further into his immoral schemes. It would be so helpful if someone came totally clean, and spilled all of the beans.

    Sounds exactly like that Grisham book “The Firm.”

    If not “The Devil’s Advocate”:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Devil%27s_Advocate_(1997_film)

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  79. TS00: Makes me think of the reports from decades ago of the CIA and other political entities setting up senators and other influential persons so that they could be blackmailed.

    In Russian, “Swallows Nests” and “Honey Pots”.

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  80. TS00: It would be so helpful if someone came totally clean, and spilled all of the beans.

    Not if Mack the ButterKnife drew them in past a (deliberate) Point of No Return.

    Like a Mafia Don requiring a murder (no statute of limitations) before accepting a candidate into the Family as a Made Man.

    Or Muammar Gadhafi requiring his inner ring to guarantee their loyalty by betraying and killing one of their own family/clan/tribe (an Unpardonable Sin in Libya’s family/clan/tribal-oriented culture).

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  81. Any ideas on why there seems to be no uproar about the mocking video about the Christian leader in her 50’s who was the subject of the perverted video? How are other pastors, not to mention her husband or brother, letting this go? What is the point of all this “headship” if the heads don’t use their tongues to protect “their wisdom?” (Or the legal system…)

    Also, the silence reinforces what I was taught in church world:Never speak ill of a Christian male leader or speak up for yourself if degraded or abused by him. She is modeling that silence is the “godly” virtue no matter what. This irks me to no end as it seems such an example of #churchtoo mentality by both men and women in church world. This type of response helped keep me in an abusive marriage for 30 yrs. because I though I had no options.

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  82. Jack: Certain christians perceive their way of life to be ‘under fire’. Christianity has lost it’s dominance in the secular realm. Where it controlled the conversation, it is now a voice at an ever more crowded table.
    Guys like mac n cheese and Driscoll are perceived as great defenders not afraid to take on the heathen at the gates. Sure answers, no shades of grey.
    The great irony being that the secular move to greater inclusion mirrors the Christian golden rule. I daresay that our modern liberal democracy owes a great deal to Christian ideals.

    One of the things that has puzzled me in that the siege mentality I have encountered is that the people seem to think that decline in morality outside the churches will inevitably damage the ability of people inside the churches to lead moral lives.

    What this tells me is that they don’t believe that “the Gospel” has any power in the churches. Any maybe they are right about that — draw your own conclusions.

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  83. Janet,

    LOL. I remember that movie. Recently, I had a talk with youth minister who has similar behavior patterns on a smaller scale. My kids were walking on eggshells around him. We left the church after my meeting with him knowing nothing can be done. I read that JMac’s bullying behavior, draw you in and smack on your face, is intentional and dangerous (giving out chocolate bar and call the student out at the same time). JMac is always in control of you. Is there a pyschological term to describe this type of behavior?

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  84. Dan Sumpter’s job title: Pastor of Production, Communication, and Special Events.

    this is a “pastor”? (with all the tax breaks, no doubt, subsidized by others of course)

    crimany…. yet another word christian culture strips of all meaning.

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  85. TS00,

    Samuel Conner,

    Unless we are born again and have the Life of the son of God formed in us, we can’t express His meek yet strong nature when facing insult or persecution from inside or outside the church, as TS00 posted in this blog.
    Our spiritual experience has to go beyond “ rote, learned religion or emotional exuberance “ to that of a true friendship with Jesus our Redeemer, who calls us his friends. John 15: 15 .

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  86. elastigirl: Dan Sumpter’s job title: Pastor of Production, Communication, and Special Events.

    To quote myself earlier (though actually I was quoting Tolkien in turn): that grieves me more than many things that might seem worse.

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  87. Ray: I read that JMac’s bullying behavior, draw you in and smack on your face, is intentional and dangerous (giving out chocolate bar and call the student out at the same time). JMac is always in control of you. Is there a pyschological term to describe this type of behavior?

    There are many terms, clinical and otherwise, to describe this type of behaviour! That said, I’m taking a different tack here, and this quote from your comment is a good place to start.

    There’s a great deal of reluctance among christians surrounding “questioning a person’s salvation”. Concerning Mr MacDonald, I don’t “question his salvation”; I dismiss the very idea of it as nonsensical. Anyone can quote the bible (the bible itself usefully presents an example of satan doing exactly that); preaching sermons is no evidence of anything. MacDonald presents no evidence of being a temple of any Spirit that’s holy, and ample evidence to the contrary. It bothers me that such a person should be accepted as christian anywhere in any church.

    I’m not even judging him, either, because I’m not passing any sentence. I’m not attempting to persuade any god to throw him into any kind of hell. But none of us is obliged to believe everyone who claims to be a representative of Jesus.

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  88. Nick Bulbeck:
    There’s a great deal of reluctance among christians surrounding “questioning a person’s salvation”. Concerning Mr MacDonald, I don’t “question his salvation”; I dismiss the very idea of it as nonsensical. Anyone can quote the bible (the bible itself usefully presents an example of satan doing exactly that); preaching sermons is no evidence of anything. MacDonald presents no evidence of being a temple of any Spirit that’s holy, and ample evidence to the contrary. It bothers me that such a person should be accepted as christian anywhere in any church.

    I’m not even judging him, either, because I’m not passing any sentence. I’m not attempting to persuade any god to throw him into any kind of hell. But none of us is obliged to believe everyone who claims to be a representative of Jesus.

    .

    Thank you for eloquently and plainly stating what had been jumbled up in my thoughts about this awful mess. It is appreciated more than you could know

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  89. __

    Samuel Conner said:

    “One of the things that has puzzled me in that the siege mentality I have encountered is that the people seem to think that decline in morality outside the churches will inevitably damage the ability of people inside the churches to lead moral lives.”

    ***

    News reporting of gross immorality happening within the church walls, is preventing kind folks from attending 501c3 services, today.
    Proliferation of incidences of murder, rape, child abuse, graft [1], and embezzlement; just to name a few, are making folks reluctant to even try.

    This blog post is just one sad example of what the church is facing. It’s statistics like this that is causing kind folks and their children from even considering entering a 501c3 establishment in today’s prolific toxic statistical public environment.

    [1] “the unscrupulous use of a pastoral authority for personal gain.”

    – –

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  90. __

    Ruff, Ruff: “Throwing Proverbial Stones, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    Illustrious Pastor James MacDonald once said in a sermon: “Beware of DOGS.“
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_FzyCszsSP4

    We say: “Beware Of Glass Houses.”

    huh?

    “Former elders, pastors, and staffers from Chicago’s Harvest Bible Chapel accuse the church of financial mismanagement and a culture of deception and intimidation.” -Julie Roys
    https://world.wng.org/2018/12/hard_times_at_harvest

    What?

    Hoeing a broad road?

    ***HBC founder James MacDonald’s employment was subsequently terminated from Harvest Bible Chapel for ‘alleged’ gross negligence, highly questionable verbiage, and explicit sordid documented impropriety on February. 12, 2019.

    —> For the sordid gain of a pastoral man does not produce the righteousness of God…

    Yep.

    (Many elders are expected to resign as well.)

    Whew! What a sordid party…

    SKreeeeeeeeeetch!

    Stay tuned.

    ;~)

    – –
    Intermission:
    Janelle Arthur – “You May Be Right“ (Billy Joel cover)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=I8G73tQ7Qhk
    Bonus:
    Billy Joel – “You May Be Right” (Live from New York)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-ov660RWBBo

    ;~)

    – –

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  91. Sòpwith: News reporting of gross immorality happening within the church walls, is preventing kind folks from attending 501c3 services, today.
    Proliferation of incidences of murder, rape, child abuse, graft [1], and embezzlement; just to name a few, are making folks reluctant to even try.

    The sad thing is that too often the church’s answer is to cover it up better, not to clean it up.

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  92. elastigirl: Dan Sumpter’s job title: Pastor of Production, Communication, and Special Events

    You didn’t find those in the first 20 centuries of the church. It’s a necessity now in doing church as a spectator event, to worship the God of Entertainment. Mega church couldn’t function without the guys who create superb audio-visuals, bells and whistles, smoke and mirrors. The audience ‘must’ leave having experienced something electrifying, or they won’t come back.

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  93. Noevangelical: When the doors of the various HBC campuses open for business on Sunday morning, knowing what these people now know, I wonder why ANYONE would even set foot in the place.

    If the cool bands show up … if the praise and worship teams are still strutting their stuff on stage … if the espresso coffee stand is still open in the foyer … if the groovy kids programs with Christian clowns are still in place … if the macho men events are still scheduled … if somebody-anybody has a relevant sermon … etc. etc. … the masses will come; there’s nothing like mega-mania!

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  94. TS00: I cannot comprehend how either Driscoll or MacDonald drew such a crowd. Driscoll was rude, crude and full of himself and JMac always sounded like he was on an angry rant. No one would accuse either of them of being humble, gracious or other sacrificial in spirit. I truly do not see their appeal.

    Amazing isn’t it?! You and I remember a day when 20s-40s were satisfied with humble servants of the Lord preaching directly from the Word of God, living simple and sacrificial lives. The culture today evidently prefers rude, crude, and arrogance in their choice of “pastors” … perhaps, it makes them feel better about themselves, apparently not caring that church leaders possess no more Christian character than they do. These charlatans would have no stage if they didn’t have an audience willing to buy their tickets. Can good folks, real-deal believers, become ensnared by these ministries?
    Certainly, they can be deceived, but they shouldn’t remain a part of the red flags and realize you made a big mistake.

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  95. Max: You didn’t find those in the first 20 centuries of the church.It’s a necessity now in doing church as a spectator event, to worship the God of Entertainment.Mega church couldn’t function without the guys who create superb audio-visuals, bells and whistles, smoke and mirrors.The audience ‘must’ leave having experienced something electrifying, or they won’t come back.

    In the words of the prophets Emerson, Lake, and Palmer:

    “WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS
    TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS!
    WE’RE SO GLAD YOU COULD ATTEND!
    COME INSIDE! COME INSIDE!”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwSTe9uit48

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  96. Max,

    “It’s a necessity now in doing church as a spectator event, to worship the God of Entertainment. Mega church couldn’t function without the guys who create superb audio-visuals, bells and whistles, smoke and mirrors. The audience ‘must’ leave having experienced something electrifying, or they won’t come back.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    well, they have to attract market share.

    but calling it “pastor”?? what’s the best word, here…. laughable?

    i suspect the main reason is for the part of the salary package that the greater community subsidizes — the tax breaks afforded to those with the position of “pastor”, which everyone else has to pay for.

    i’d love to see a breakdown of:

    –the taxes which pastors don’t pay

    –what the public services are which are funded by those tax categories

    –and who in their surrounding community is actually subsidizing the pastors’ share of the public services they benefit from / expect to be available to them

    i think pastors feel entitled to these things because they are “perfectly legal”, yet don’t bother to consider the bigger picture.

    i think showing them such a breakdown of information would by eye-opening to them.

    (well, to some of them, perhaps)

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  97. elastigirl,

    “i think showing them such a breakdown of information would by eye-opening to them.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    like, let’s say the police department or fire department is funded by taxes which come from the funding bucket which pastors don’t contribute to.

    how much does each tax payer (in the city where pastor lives) pay to cover the pastor’s unpaid share towards those services which the pastor depends on?

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  98. elastigirl: well, they have to attract market share.

    but calling it “pastor”?? what’s the best word, here…

    “Entertainment Administrator” … “Director, Member Experience” … “Audio/Visual Dudebro” … “Smoke & Mirror Guy” …

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  99. Nick Bulbeck: There are many terms, clinical and otherwise, to describe this type of behaviour! That said, I’m taking a different tack here, and this quote from your comment is a good place to start.

    There’s a great deal of reluctance among christians surrounding “questioning a person’s salvation”. Concerning Mr MacDonald, I don’t “question his salvation”; I dismiss the very idea of it as nonsensical. Anyone can quote the bible (the bible itself usefully presents an example of satan doing exactly that); preaching sermons is no evidence of anything. MacDonald presents no evidence of being a temple of any Spirit that’s holy, and ample evidence to the contrary. It bothers me that such a person should be accepted as christian anywhere in any church.

    I’m not even judging him, either, because I’m not passing any sentence. I’m not attempting to persuade any god to throw him into any kind of hell. But none of us is obliged to believe everyone who claims to be a representative of Jesus.

    And, in fact, Jesus himself said, “not all who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord'”

    And we are told, “you will know them by their fruits.”

    How much more obvious can it get?

    You make perfect sense, Nick.

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  100. Nick Bulbeck: MacDonald presents no evidence of being a temple of any Spirit that’s holy, and ample evidence to the contrary.

    But yet he maneuvered his way to mega-church status and once sat at the table of honor in the New Calvinist movement. He had (has?) a huge following of loyal MacDonaldites who bought his books, attended his conferences, listened to his sermon podcasts, and drank his kool-aid. He is a symptom of an American church which has lost its way. Perhaps 21st century church-goers do not require temples of the Holy Spirit to lead them, being satisfied to do church without righteous leaders – a Laodicean church no longer seeking God nor looking for Jesus’ return.

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  101. Elizabeth Zirkle,

    One of my first recommendations would be Leonard Verduin’s ‘The Reformers and Their Stepchildren’. He was a Reformed minister who went to Geneva to study original documents from Calvin’s day when the doors to such research were opened after World War II. He did not have an axe to grind, and went over on a Calvin scholarship. I find his research among the highest quality and most unbiased. There is also a good deal of info about Calvin in Lawrence Vances, ‘The Other Side of Calvinism’. After that, I spend a lot of time reading various scholarly writings on the time period, many at Academia.edu. Here is a somewhat shorter depiction of Calvin’s affair with Servetus, with a good biblography: http://learntheology.com/the-trial-and-burning-of-michael-servetus-by-john-calvin.html

    Here is a link to an online copy of Stefan Zweig’s ‘Erasmus and The Right to Heresy’:
    https://archive.org/stream/ZweigStefanErasmusAndTheRightToHeresy/Zweig,%20Stefan%20-%20Erasmus%20and%20the%20Right%20to%20Heresy_djvu.txt

    That should give you a start. Good luck.

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  102. TS00,

    Here’s a list of good books to peruse. No, I have not yet read them all. 😉 I do find the older books less ‘revisioned’ to favor Calvinism.

    Alzog, Johannes. Manual of Universal Church History. 1878.

    Bainton, Roland. Here I Stand. 1950.

    Bainton, Roland. The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century. 1940.

    Bebington, John Albert. The Reformation. 1901.

    D’Aubigné, Jean-Henri Merle. History of the Great Reformation. 1843-1853.

    Deharbe, Joseph. A History of Religion. 1881.

    Fisher, George. History of the Christian Church. 1887.

    Fisher, George. The Reformation. 1873.

    Gibbon, William. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776-1789.

    Hastie, William. The Theology of the Reformed Church. 1904.

    Hausser, Ludwig. The Period of the Reformation. 1873.

    Hislop, Alexander. The Two Babylons. 1853, 1858.

    Hurlburt, Jesse Lyman. The Story of the Christian Church. 1918.

    Jones, Rufus. The Church’s Debt to Heretics. 1924.

    Kurtz, Johann Heinreich. Church History. 1889.

    Lindsay, T. M. A History of the Reformation. 1906-7.

    Michelet, Jules. The Life of Luther. 1846.

    MacKinnon, James. Calvin and the Reformation. 1936.

    Moncrief, John Wildman. A Short History of the Christian Church. 1908.

    Moore, Audrey Lackington. The History of the Reformation. 1890.

    Mosheim. Johann Lorenz von. Institutes of Ecclesiastical History.

    Neander, August (1789-1850). General History of the Christian Religion.

    Perrin, Jean Paul. History of the Old Waldenses. 1884.

    Plummer, Alfred. The Continental Reformation. 1912.

    Qualben, Lars P. A History of the Christian Church. 1936.

    Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church. 1858.

    Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, third edition, 1908-1914. Named after Johann Jakob Herzog (1805-1882) and Philip Schaff (1819-1883).

    Vedder, Henry C. A Short History of the Baptists. 1907.

    Walker, Reginald F. An Outline History of the Catholic Church. 1944.

    Walker, Williston. A History of the Christian Church. 1918.

    Wharey, James. Sketches of Church History. 1840.

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  103. Max: He had (has?) a huge following of loyal MacDonaldites who bought his books, attended his conferences, listened to his sermon podcasts, and drank his kool-aid.

    So did Michael Jackson.

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  104. I’ll bet Bill Hybels, the other phony ungodly pastor, who preyed on women for years and was also a power hungry charlatan like MacDonald, thinks he got away with all the damage and hurt he inflicted on people now that he’s retired and enjoying the good life on his yacht. Hybels, just like MacDonald, has shown exactly ZERO repentance in all this, hoping to preserve his reputation and legacy, rather than doing the right thing by owning up and confessing publicly for his actions. Like MacDonald, he is a true coward and deceiver. Thankfully, these two hucksters are no longer preaching the gospel in Illinois. Let’s just pray that the people at MacDonalds’ Naples church don’t fall for his deception.

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  105. Pingback: Christian Publishing Stories of Interest | Christian Book Shop Talk

  106. Ron H: Let’s just pray that the people at MacDonalds’ Naples church don’t fall for his deception.

    The problem with deception is that you don’t know you are deceived because you are deceived. The good people of HBC-Naples wouldn’t be any more immune from that as those at HBC-Chicago, unless they’ve been keeping up with the bad reports on the bad boy.

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  107. TS00: A few brave men did seek to expose Calvin. They were helped by a few, equally brave, others, like printers and messengers. But all, in hopes of preserving their lives and the safety of their families, mostly worked under pseudonyms and secrecy. To speak out publicly was to invite immediate and certain banishment or death.

    We hope that actual death is no longer a tool of enforcement…

    That has to wait until Christians(TM) take Dominion and Return us to a Christian Nation(TM). “GOD WILLS IT!”

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