Here Is the Entire James MacDonald’s Hot Mic Transcript : “This Is a New Friendship With Christianity Today.”

 

Comet ISON Streaks Toward the Sun
Comet ISON streaks to the sun.

“God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong, but I can’t. If a thing is free to be good it’s also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata -of creatures that worked like machines- would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they’ve got to be free.

Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently, He thought it worth the risk. (…) If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will -that is, for making a real world in which creatures can do real good or harm and something of real importance can happen, instead of a toy world which only moves when He pulls the strings- then we may take it it is worth paying.”― C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity


 

I had heard tis audio was going the rounds and was thrilled that it is now available on You Tube.Thanks go out to @ex_harvest and @BraveheartHarv1 who put in a lot of work.

Here is the audio, followed by the transcript.

There are two unnamed men in the background, laughing along with MacDonald’s disgusting and abusive rants. Shame on them.


“Hot Mic” Recording | October 31, 2018 Transcript

[00:00:00] Johnnie Moore: …actually, you have to treat someone as an unbeliever, you know, and this is, you know, you call the cops sometimes, and that’s what we’re doing. So we were sort of surprised that you just did a news item that didn’t deal at all with this sort of–or didn’t deal sufficiently with our theological argument. You linked to our article. But you did, you didn’t provide–from our perspective there’s something there. But from our perspective, enough substantive argument as to why you think this theologically and legally.

[00:29] James MacDonald: Well, then the biggest thing to me, Johnnie, is that they’re 100% behind–like the thing that they said about how the judge threw out the thing. Number one, they got that from the other website. Number two that is 100% categorically false. That isn’t what happened in any way. But these people are liars, so…

[00:51] JMoore: Yeah, well, but actually that’s what—here’s what you say: You say, “Listen, Jeremy. If ten people read this article the way it’s written now, nine of them are going to think that you’re on the side of the defendants, you know, in our case. And I was just hoping that you would write an article that, you know, was, um, that you know was, where it was clear you weren’t taking, you know, a position at all, but you can feel these sort of editorial leanings—

JMac (cutting in): Bias!

JMoore (continuing): …you know with the direction of the [James talking over Johnnie].

[01:24] JMac: I’m telling you, man, the headline, the headline–the headline’s ridiculous. And, did I tell you, uh, and, I can tell ‘em, I’ve already got five phone calls from O.S. Hawkins, Jack Graham, they’re all calling. They do it all the time,they’re all calling– you know what they’re like. They’re all calling Franklin Graham today to tell him, “Why do you allow the Graham name to still be associated with Christianity Today?” These people are a joke. They’re hatchet people.

[01:52] JMoore:  I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t go there though. And like, I get that, and I agree with that argument, you know. In fact, I’ve been working on this,  you know, in another Graham-affiliated entity, you know, that you know about, but I don’t know who’s in the room, um, but I, I uh, I don’t, I would not make this, that that phone call. (Pause) Jeremy, I’ve worked with Jeremy a long time. He will change things. He will adjust things, he’ll respond, ummm…

[02:15] JMac:  Tell me about it then–okay, good. So I’ll do exactly what you said. That’s why I have you,  that’s why you make the big bucks. Why–why would I not call the Harold guy?

[02:26] JMoore: No, I think you do call the Harold guy, but, but not yet. Let’s see if Jeremy. changes it. If Jeremy does—either way you call Harold. But first, you know, you can see if Jeremy lingers –Jeremy, and again, you share with him some more details on background, you know–[gets talked over]…perspective–

[02:42] JMac: You know Mark Galli? Do you know Mark Galli? Do you know the Mark Galli guy?

[02:45] JMoore: Yeah yeah. Yeah yeah. So Mark is Jeremy’s boss. And then Harold is the big boss. Yeah.

JMac: So Mark Galli…

JMoore: Mark’s more difficult to reason with though.

[02:51] JMac: So Mark Galli is a certifiable prick. I was at North Shore Country Club–I was at North Shore Country Club sitting in my truck in July. He was 7 feet from my window, and I put my window up.

[00:03:09] JMoore: No, uh, yeah I agree with that.

JMac: I’m gonna, I’m going to put–I’m gonna  write an article…did I send you my headlines? Did you get–did I send you my headlines?

JMoore: I don’t think so, no.

[03:22] JMac: Oh yeah. So I’m suggesting a following: Um, “ [03:22] (correction) “Harold Smith Exposes Himself During T–CT Mishandling of Scandal.” .” (Other man in room laughs in background.)  “Mark Galli Acknowledges Ongoing Tension Re: Affair with Julie Roys” . And “Ed’s Stetzer Fails to Stop Unwanted Erection of Christianity Today Tabloid.”

Man in background and JMoore laugh

[03:45] This is, this is  what we’re coming to, like frickin Julie Roys is going to be riding around on a tricycle  with a midget on her shoulders.

[03:51] JMoore: You’re the, you’re the type of client that every publicist has nightmares about.

[03:57] JMac:  I know. And I’m just telling you, Johnnie. This frickin–Julie Roys is going to be riding around with a midget on her shoulders and Christianity Today is gonna be saying she’s awesome.

More laughter from Moore and man in background.

[04:09] JMooore (stifling laughter) Ok, but going back to the matter. Um, ok, what I suggest is [have?] the call to Jeremy, see what happens. If he changes things, when you call Harold Smith, you’re gonna– first thing you’re going to say to Harold Smith is, “Hey Harold, I just want to tell you how awesome Jeremy was. I picked up the phone, he addressed this,blah blah blah. But regardless, you know, you need to know from me, you know, my concerns.

JMac: All right.

[04:32] JMoore:  If Jeremy doesn’t change it, that’s a different conversation.

JMac: Good, well, I’ll wait for his–

JMoore: But I’m trying–I’m trying to get you some allies in there.

[04:38] JMac: No, no I hear ya. And I want–I don’t, I don’t, I definitely don’t want you to feel like your labor’s in vain. So I will do exactly what you said, and I will call off the plan to put child porn on Harold’s computer.

JMoore and two men in room in background laugh.

[04:53] JMac: I’m calling that off. Bye, Johnnie.

JMoore: I’ve got a few other people though, if you need to do that.

[05:01] JMac: Oh Johnnie, trust me. Trust me. People have no idea. If if meekness is power under control, I am the meekest man on the face of the earth. I’ve taken no retaliatory action toward all of these people for six years, and I have only with great reluctance filed a lawsuit with a very measured and reasoned explanation. I talked to 10 or 15 Christian leaders to get their advice, including you, on what to do, how to do it. I’ve done everything by the book, you know. It’s only my thought life that’s breaking bad, not my actions.

Man in room and Johnnie laugh.

[05:36] JMoore: I know, I know all that’s true.

JMac: All right, I appreciate you.

JMoore: Except for the thought life part, I don’t know how that’s true. It’s uh, yep, yep. You know, and the thing–we, we, we need…This is like a live fire type of situation, right? So there, you know, I’m gonna have to adjust along the way, but I think for now this is the right thing.  You know? And what we want, actually, we wanted–we do want an additional article from someone like Ed, you know, on kinda making the case for the–because you have opened up a new question, or you’ve drawn– put a light

.[06:13] JMac: Now, I only put my own article on my own Web site. I think it’s might be time for me to kind of rewrite it, given the current argument, put it on my blog and circulate it a little bit more. But um…

[JMoore: Yeah, I think..] I also told Ed that he had to let me do a guest a guest spot on his blog. [Two men in background chuckle.] So, um,  we’ll see what he says. He’s very, very loathe to do anything that–you know, um…I’m also working on an article, “Brian McLaren Rob Bell and Other Apostates Endorsed by CT.”

(Two other men in room laugh.)

[06:48]  JMoore: I am, uh, I am definitely for holding CT to a  level of accountability they hold other people for  [inaudible]

[06:57] JMac: Well, that would be that would be a great question for me to ask Jeremy. “Jeremy, would you be comfortable with me taking some of my thoughts about different things that CT has emphasized through the year and publishing a similar article that, um, you know, is that okay if I do that, cause  I’m not gonna do it, but would you think that would be okay if I did it? (Pause) Cause I don’t think he would think it was okay.

[07:22] JMoore:  I think that’s a Harold Smith conversation.

[07:26] Ok, good. That’s why I talk to you. All right, I’m going to go do my radio studio. You’ve helped me. I’ll do what you say with Jeremy,  and I’ll get back to you.

JMoore:  Cool, sounds good.

[07:33] JMac: You’re the best. Thanks, bye.

JMoore: Yep. [Call ends.}

JMac: So that guy. That’s Johnnie Moore. And he was, um, after Mark DeMoss, he was the right hand guy to Jerry Falwell, and he was the kind of student body chaplain at Liberty before…

Dan Sumpter: Nasser

JMac: David Nasser. And so now he went out to California and he was kind of a personal attaché to Mark Burnett for a couple of years.

Wayne Shepherd: Ok.

JMac: And now he started his own PR firm, and he works with a lot of major ministries and he does PR. He’s got a whole team of people that work with us and that work with Dan, and…

WShep: Mmm, hmmm.

JMac:. …but he’s just counseling me on getting through this thing, and (cough), it’s um…

[08:11] WShep:  He sounded really sharp.

DSumpter: Yep.

JMac:  He is. I like to kind of kid around with him, but– it’s a very reasoned opinion. (inaudible) opinion they have. Very, very carefully thought through over many years, and it is, basically, if a person refuses the steps of Matthew 18, when it says, “Let them be to you as a non-believer,” does that then mean that you have the protections afforded to you by,  in human government, ordained by God, in order–doesn’t say they are a non-believer, not saying they’re not a believer. I’m saying they won’t conduct themselves as believers, and they won’t come under any biblical authority, and is it within your purview then–. And it is fine if a person is, “Well, I don’t agree. I don’t think that that’s reasonable–”

[00:08:51] WShep: You’re right, this should lead to a larger conversation, a deeper conversation. But you’re taking the flak when it needs to go much deeper…

JMac: And  I was rather to take the flak. Ravi Zacharias, they all told me to do it, but they all told me that they wouldn’t attach their name to it.

WShep: Yeah.

[09:04] JMac: And I understand why, I really do. (Cell phone rings and says “Unknown caller”) This is gonna be it. This is the guy, sorry.

DSump: No, no. Not at all.

WShep: No, I’m good.

[09:10] JMac: Hi Jeremy.

Jeremy Weber:  Hello, James. How are you today?

[09:18] JMac: Thanks for calling me back. Am I talking to someone in Singapore?

[09:22] JWeb: Yeah, yeah. I’m, um, there’s a gathering called Lit World Media Associates International. I’m sorry, I was speaking all day, giving a presentation, so my voice has been hoarse, um, yeah it’s like a once every three years gathering of Christian publishers, primarily in the global south, so there’s about 250 people here from, uh,  50 nations. Um, yeah. And I’m, so I’m doing some training around, you know, related to magazine publishing and the Internet and then, you know, I’m doing some networking with church leaders in countries we hope to cover more effectively in the future, so…

JMace: Oh good.

JWeb: I am here, but, um, you know, even Singapore is not far enough to get away from Ed Stetzer. So, he, um, yeah, passed on your, uh, concern to me, and I thought yeah, you know, I’d definitely like to hear, you, uh, yeah, hear you out on that. Um, it’s not the final edit on the story. I did take a look at it as it came through, and then (inaudible) I reviewed what we, um, ended up publishing. Yeah,  you gave me a preview on your message. But yeah, yeah, happy to hear your, uh, to hear your concerns.

[10:33] JMac: Well yeah. Thanks for that. I think that probably my points would be, um, number one, I think that the–and I just would never ascribe motive to anyone, so let’s just assume for the sake of this conversation that everyone’s motives are good. I don’t, you know, I think we only God knows people’s hearts, and I just, I mean, I would even extend that to Julie Roys and all of these people. I, I don’t think we make any yards by claiming that people are bad-hearted or badly motivated. But, you know, Proverbs 20 says that even a child is known by his doing, and this is more of a conversation about what’s actually, you know, happening.

And, um, I think probably maybe the best first thing to do would be to have just, if you know what I mean, just a little background conversation. And there’s just–

JWeb: (Interrupting) Oh, oh, yeah,  I’m not presuming any of this is on the record, unless, um, you know, just…

JMac: Yeah.

JWeb: ...if you wanted to make some statements to clarify or pushback, or you know, whatever, I would put you in touch with, uh, Kate, who’s [up now?] in your time zone, ha ha, and you can take care of that. Yeah, I presume that this is all off the record (inaudible) and I just just take your questions [about the situation?] and I can explain to you, yes.

JMac: Right, right. Yeah. So the background is really this. That, there were, um, we got into a significant construction, uh, overrun problem, um, with a significant debt. It was one of those things where we couldn’t back up, we couldn’t go forward. If we finished the building, it was too expensive. Well, if we  didn’t finish the building, we wouldn’t even get to access the benefit of what we’d already exposed ourselves to, and the end result of that was was that I, we made major major changes to the church ten or eleven years ago.

And I think probably if I could take three words out of the history of our church it would be “elder for life.” And there were two or three men who had been elders since the very first day, and who, honestly, very much like me, whose business acumen was not adequate for the amount of oversight that was entrusted to us. And so we made some bad decisions. And, uh, I worked through a large plurality of leaders in our church and studied 10 like-minded churches, and I wasn’t part of the team that did it but they brought back an extensive report and, uh, we moved our church from elders to life to the more typical local church with rotating terms and, you know, a nominating committee and some of those typical things.

And  the two or three people that gave up their power have been attacking me for 10 years. And you don’t know any of their ames. And I could, you know, very easily, we may ultimately name them in the lawsuit, But it isn’t about these two bloggers; it has nothing to do with them, It has to do with the people that are behind them. And every time we’ve tried every time we’ve tried to meet with the bloggers, they call these people on the phone, and the people say no.

And there’s so much injustice and deception, and honestly , just rancid evil in all of it that what we did was, um, Erwin Lutzer and Colin Smith were so aghast by the behavior of all of this that several years ago they put three of the people that had kind of got caught up in a room, and, um, you know, we had–they made those people work things out. But this one former elder even in that was on the phone saying, “Don’t meet with them, don’t meet with them.”

JWeb: Hm.

[13:59] JMac: It really is this one guy. And so the bloggers do whatever he says, And you know there was a time 10 years ago for example where Joe Stowell was in the leadership of our church, and he, his one son went through some things that I can’t speak about. And they ended up leaving, and he was disappointed for a time and, and…but I mean, I went and met with him and worked everything out. It isn’t that there isn’t at the core of the bloggers’ message,  it isn’t that there isn’t a couple of, I’d say three or four or five things, that are very, very fair criticisms, like completely legit–but long ago acknowledged to our whole church family, to our entire constituency.

Um, you know, both I would say errors of of order and errors of organization, both. Some things that I had to kind of personally own. And, um, so the decision to go and take the bloggers to court is a very very measured thought through– mean, from Ravi Zacharias to Jack Graham, if I listed you the number of people..Gene Getz. People that I’m very close and have poured a lot into my life. And, uh,  it is a very, very carefully thought out, rational position. And whether a person agrees or disagrees, one of the things I’ve appreciated about CT through the years is they have quite a breadth of–you guys have cut a very wide swath through Christianity.

And, um, you know ours is a very thought out position. It’s not something that should be subjected to sound bites. And if we’re in error, then God knows we’ve come to the decision very, very painfully. And the decision is effectively a decision to protect, you know, our church. And I’m, I’m paying a fairly heavy price, um, you know, in the larger Christian sphere, and living with, honestly, the caricatures that–I would say that the caricature of me is somewhat related to,um,  you know, these errors that I’ve referenced myself. But it’s also related to the way that those errors have been, you know, inflated and extrapolated.

And I, for six years, you know, I took the turn the other cheek approach and go the second mile. And and I just became convinced through talking to people–and this, is Wayne Grudem is a part of it, and you guys do reference that. But he would be one of many people. Gene Getz just changed his Bible his study bible. The ESV study bible–I’m very good friends with Justin Taylor, and the ESV study bible just changed their position on it. That First Corinthians 6 is about individual brothers (incoming call notification on James’ phone) and a matter relative to their–(That was probably Ed Stetzer calling me, sorry.) But in any event I don’t mean to go on and on about it, but it’s just a very thoughtful position and I would have been hopeful that CT, you know, the caliber that you guys are that there would have been a measured consideration of all of this.

And I know, I know what it’s like to be out of town and people are doing things is not always on your radar. But you know these 2000 people the left our church, Jeremy, that was five, over five years ago. But the way that the article was written is going to cause people in my church to feel like did that just happen? How come I don’t know 2000 people left our church? And, and, um, the way that it’s framed and then that they take the word of the these bloggers, are liars like to the maximum, I mean we’re not going into a lawsuit. We’re not like we’re not morons over here. We’re running a pretty large organization and if we’re going to court we must think that we have good arguments. And are our attorney asked us for the ten largest complaints and he sa…every one of them is actionable like demonstrably false.

[17:47] JMac: Nevertheless you guys in your article quoted them as saying that something was dismissed by the judge. Well, that’s just categorically false it’s not…not what happened at all. Not at all but they say that it happened. They say that it happens you guys print it. Like I just think we’ve really, these people are like you know, I just don’t want to speak pejoratively and I want to you know reflect in my tone, you know the things that the Lord’s done in my life so I’ll just, you know, ask the Lord to put the weight in my words and not added in my tone or in my word choice. But I’ll just say that that these people are not the kind of people that are, that a Spirit filled believer is wanting to give support to, their not. And I know a great deal more about it that I could say–the condition of their marriages are–just so much that I could say. But it isn’t to this, it’s just how is it possible that I’ve spent 30 years faithfully teaching God’s word and Christianity today is slicing and dicing my reputation? Without

JWeb: Hmm.

JMac: I just I don’t understand why that would be happening.

[19:00] JWeb: Um, okay, more you want to say, or should I respond?

[19:04] JMac: No, you can feel free to respond. Sure, I’d love to hear what you have to say.

[19:09] JWeb: Ok. And I really appreciate you contacting me and I appreciate the tone with which you, uh, yeah, described all that. Let me see, um, huh, Yeah. (Unable to discern) first things first, if there’s a, if there’s a part of the narrative that they put forward that is inaccurate, typically it’s a matter or adjusting something, yeah, internally, then sure, I would want to get that corrected. I know that Kate (Kate Shellnut, author of the CT article being discussed) would have cleared both sides and we’ve got, in fact what she was told in response right? so if you guys say, hey, we (unable to discern) to the church you know their lawyer asked to give comments to her. Yeah, but their lawyer told her it was enacted at the outset. You can point out that you guys  dispute. Again, you can have someone get in touch with Kate on that. So I mean as far as on my end I mean in giving permission to do the story. Yeah. There was no intent, you know, I don’t spend my time thinking about, you know, how we can do a a negative story on James MacDonald and Harvest. Uh, from my perspective when we created (unable to discern) probably spotted the Christian Post coverage and then thought we would just do it.

JMac: CP was so balanced didn’t you think?

[20:40] JWeb: Oh, yeah. I mean it’s a fine article which honestly, I I mean, I think our article is balanced as well. And that’s where I’m a little puzzled at how you’ve read it.

[20:56] JWeb: (unable to discern) …not every day that a large church like yours takes this route. And so it raises a lot of ideas to consider but also do others just to learn from the outcome right. Look I saw a lot of people know your church, respect it. I personally don’t think the article comes up like it’s a negative choice to sue. I think our readers would be split on that I think personally our staff would be split on that. So there wasn’t an intention to create the impression that choosing to sue critics is a very negative thing but definitely an unusual thing. So, the interest in telling about it and getting further comments from our side, all sides, well yeah, you know it doesn’t happen often.

[21:52] JWeb: And it raises important questions and definitely, you know, I know many churches, you know maybe to a smaller extent, who have frustrations with how to deal with members who have left and you know the way the internet allows dissidents to come together. I could see a lot of people probably being grateful that a church the scale of Harvest is entering into this and trying to bring some clarity to that landscape. I guess I’ll tell you, I get many tips you know about scandals um, at your church, and other churches, that I have never, you know (unable to discern) I regularly turn down many of these types of opportunities. So, it’s not like our side has a hunger to elevate these people.

[22:39] JWeb: Also, I really thought of this for say, for, attention or page views or something. I’m…(JMac: interjecting, unable to discern) JWeb: …three million more page views a month than I can even sell, you know. You know so I have zero, like, financial incentive to do stories that people up and bring in clicks. So, yeah, I mind when I saw the news and noticed you guys had explained that you know pretty thoroughly to, uh, on your side (unable to discern) obviously, uh, know how to reach the other side if needed. Yeah, basically it’s just that you know, uh, doesn’t happen often, raises the question a lot of people are going to be interested where this goes and does it change the landscape which clearly can be a broken one out there. As far as the um, you mentioning the member loss. I mean you know I mean you guys cited directly both in your lawsuit and your letter as the proof of damages and the reason that you know this type of thing, you know, this type of turning of the other cheek is insufficient–negativity.

JMac: So I guess I just, I just, it isn’t.

[23:55] JMac: It’s just that the headline isn’t true. It just isn’t true. James McDonald sues critics after 2000 leave Harvest Bible Chapel. That’s not true.

[24:04] JMac: Two thousand people left our church five years ago. JWeb: talks over, unable to discern. JMac: What’s that? JWeb: Explains…the value…the story.

[24:14] JWeb: I don’t read the after, like, it all happened the next day like last year. Like, the two, you know, yeah, interpreting into the article…(unable to discern)

[24:25] JMac:It says in the headline it says that two thousand people have left the congregation over the past few years.

[24:33] JMac: That’s also not true. They all left in 2013. The church has grown by more than 2000 people since then and recovered all of its attendance. It just isn’t.

[24:42] JMac: It’s not a true statement, so it isn’t true in the headline. It isn’t from the explanation of it.

[24:48] JMac: And that’s just not true. JWeb: interjects, unable to discern. JMac: It’s not true. It isn’t true. Two thousand people left the congregation over the past few years, untrue.

[24:59] JWeb: So I’m happy to correct that.

[25:03] JMac: I mean yes I’m just trying to I don’t I’ve never been in this position before I talked to. We worked with Johnny Moore and he thinks very highly of you. And he just encouraged me to talk to you.

[25:14] JMac: And and just you know to point out those two main points of complaint. I appreciate you hearing some of the background patiently. These people here, um,

[25:29] JMac: The article for sure I’m sure you know what the logical fallacy of false equivalency is and the the pairing of myself and my church with the bloggers the whole article is built around false equivalency at the best.

[25:50] JMac: And it is I don’t think it’s equivalent. I think it’s much more negative toward the church. I can’t really find. I looked.

[25:55] JMac: I can’t find anything here that is even mildly critical or questioning of the motives or the the longstanding acrimony and unceasing critique of the church like you know that’s just it isn’t there’s nothing in the article about any of that if there’s something that I missed that’s even mildly critiquing of their method or their manner or their lack of rigorousness their unwillingness to ever meet. I mean it goes on and on and on and on and so the article is for sure pro the bloggers negative about us and you know at the least again a false equivalency and probably my biggest concerns are the thing about their…

[26:47] JMac: Call failed. So what does that mean? He doesn’t want to talk anymore.

DSumpter: Call fail does not mean to hang up it usually means connection. (Sounds of passing note to James.) You wanted to mention that, that was in my notes from Johnnie.

JMac: What’d you think about that. He not really getting it? .

[27:16] WShep: He needs to hear it. But but I don’t think he’s hearing it. He’s going to defend his people. DSumpter: As a writer. WShep: Yeah going stick up for his. DSumpter: I don’t think he read the article before it posted.

[27:32] DSumpter: Or at least not close enough to say we done, we’ve done our work.

WShep: Yeah, he’s in Singapore working to teach (drifts off).

[27:41] JMac: There’s the article, James McDonald sues critics after 2000 leave Harvest Bible Chapel.

WShep: And it’s a under news, right? The headline–the section is news and gives the impression that the two thousand just left.

[28:12] JMac: So they they hit the main arguments of the blogs. Lack of accountability from the other party which is just a joke. Everything I do I have to run by the elder. No more accountable pastor then me

[28:27] JMac: So then I go into the discipline thing. They talked about how we said we were wrong on the discipline. Lawsuit was 57 points of disagreement. Think that would have an impact, doesn’t appear to.

[28:45] JMac: Left the church over the past few years. That’s not what we say. We don’t say that. Then they quote us. They talk about Ryan Mahoney where he came from. And they say the blog hadn’t been updated all year and they quote their surprise, which isn’t true they were updating it constantly posting updates and posting comments.

[29:11] JMac: And they did a complete reorganization of the main page and brought all the best arguments that they felt out and republished those with new content on the front page this fall. And so I mean it’s just lies. WShep: I was not aware of that. JMac: What? WShep: I was not aware of that. JMac: Well of course not, most people aren’t tracking it, but they lie. And people don’t know. And typically we’ve said nothing. That’s the game we’ve been playing for six years. And this is what our attorney said and he does this is what I do for a living. They will not stop doing this until you make them. That is the end of the discussion. They will not stop until you make them. And right now they’re high on their hog, but they got a Go Fund Me page that they got barely $4,000 given to them. Did you see that?

[29:52] WShep: I saw that, yeah. JMac: You bet. You know I mean you can freaking get somebody, I could raise a hundred thousand dollars for a new thumb if I wanted to do it. (snickering) I mean it’s–

[30:01] DSumpter: When you look at their footprint, they don’t have a lot of support.

JMac: So why is CT supporting them?

DSumpter: Yep. Great question. But even CT’s online article hasn’t been getting a lot of attraction. Look at the comparative shares. 250 on an article about some other country. 40. About this one? 21.

WShep: 21?

JMac: Yeah.

[30:25] DSumpter: 21.

WShep: Wow.

[30:30] JMac: Then they go into the whole thing about me and Jerry Jenkins. (long pause) And they quote Julie Roys at length. Marvin Olasky, who’s getting her to write an article–there’s an ape if there ever was one. (Wayne laughs) But they, but they, bu we, we won’t get on the record. I said to this Jack Graham this morning: I reject entirely the notion that we owe the press an answer. I reject that. I don’t believe that they have any business interfering in the life of a private institution. There’s no criminal doing. There’s no, there’s nothing–they don’t, they don’t like what we’re doing or something? What? What? What? You know? They, they get into all these things about, well, you know, Julie Roys, “Well, well you re-organized the Board, and you

have now the Executive Committee reporting directly–the XLT, reporting to the Executive Committee, but you’re on the Executive Committee.” Yeah, well, I’m the pastor of the church.  

DSump: Why wouldn’t I be..? (laughs)

WShep: Yeah, yeah. I’m a member.

[31:43] JMac: They’re trying to make it out like somehow the Elders they wanted to say the Elders are minimizing my influence out of some diminished value for my leadership, which is completely not true.  I am, you know, completely turned off by all of the well-known preachers who are 10 years older than me who won’t let go of anything, just hang onto it, hang onto it. Keep doing it, like there’s–you see it? And I am not doing that. I’m already raising up lead pastors and we’re gonna have a whole group of people leading the church and taking us forward.

DSump & WShep: Hmmm. Mmm.

JMac: They would never write an article about that though.

DSump: Hmmm

[32:23] JMac: Then they have a whole thing where they talk about how churches don’t typically sue people. You don’t see churches suing disgruntled former members. Well, oh really, do you really see disgruntled former members doing what these people have done?

DSump: Right.

WShep: Hmm.

(long pause — due to reading?)

[32:50] JMac: They also hate the Southern Baptists. That’s the other thing, they always have [me?] putting–”they joined the Southern Convention in 2015” because to them, that’s a slam.  

DSump: Hm,

JMac: All right, well, do you want to hear my funny sentence I [sent?] this morning about CT?

DSump: Yes.

JMac: I didn’t say that to you, did I? You’re gonna laugh. In the 1999 CT pastors–oh really? Really? In 1999, you mean when half of my student ministry department wasn’t born, you mean then? (Long pause)

WShep: He didn’t try call back, did he?

DSump: Mmm-mm

JMac: “We don’t have a record.” Oh, he said, it did just say here call back. So I’ll try him again.

(Sound of dialing phone on speaker) I had a good signal, that’s gotta be good.

Jeremy Weber’s Voicemail: Hello, this is the cell phone of Jeremy Weber. I can’t take your call right now–” (Cut off)

WShep:  “I’m calling my editors to change the story.” (Murmur and laughter).

DSump: Like to think so, right?

Unidentified Man: Like to think so.

JMac: I’ll just text him, right?  (Long pause).

Call coming in: “Unknown caller”

JMac: (Answers phone) Hey, I was just sending you a text. Sorry that we got disconnected.

[34:43] JWeb: Yeah, no problem, could be. I’m here in Singapore, who knows what the, um,  the uh (inaudible) is. Um, I’m sorry. I can’t remember the, uh, the point you were making. Um, yeah, I’m happy to, uh, you mentioned the specific sections you feel we are, that we could, we could, yeah certainly clarify the, um, timespan of the, uh, you know, the membership loss, and the, um, uh, you know subsequent, regaining and growth, um, and then, yeah, if there’s an error, um, it probably only goes back to an [initial?] legitimacy error, we can certainly, uh (inaudible) yeah [inaudible], I can certainly connect whoever you want to Kate and uh [do remember?]

[35:23] JMac: Maybe, I’ll just send you a little text. Maybe I’ll just send you a little text and give you two or three bullets on that. And I appreciate–excuse me, I’m gonna cough (coughs)–I appreciate very much the accommodation, and just really candidly, um, I’ve been doing a lot, a lot a lot of thinking and writing about believers and how they relate to one another, which is–I don’t hate any of these people. Julie Roys, you should know, again a little background, Julie Roys was last week approaching the houses of people who are victims in a DCFS investigation, and shouting out front with another person who used to attend our church.

Umm, “There’s a cover-up at Harvest! There’s a cover-up!” And you know, it’s, it’s just insanity. It’s like they’re gonna be, I said to my buddy, I said, “There’s gonna be, she’s gonna be like riding a tricycle with a midget on her shoulders in another 30 days, and you people should hear us. I have no joy in saying this. Like, she’s off the rails, and um, it’s unfortunate. I think she’s been really wounded by the thing with Moody when we canceled her from speaking with us. We met with her, we had 3 ladies meet with her, our elder board chairman’s wife, and our director of women’s ministry. We gave her her honorarium anyway. We’ve never been anything but unkind to her. And um, so–anything but kind to her–and uh, but, but, um again, yeah, so I’m happy to– I’m, you guys, should be very cautious. I would actually love it–I think it’s more productive and more reflective of our heart–um, you know, if uh, why don’t we do an article on the argument itself, and the merits of itm and what would cause a church after all this time of enduring and putting up with it?

I think the article does rightly pause it that they haven’t been doing as much publishing, why would you do this now? Well, it’s because every time our church goes into a crisis, they sit outside and make it 5x’s worse. They, the havoc that they caused just in our trying to, um, get out of the business of running a denomination. The, the, misinformation, the divided friendships, the publishing of private correspondence, that people themselves are embarrassed about. It’s so, so destructive, and, and um, it’s…

[37:52] JWeb:  Yeah, so umm, yeah, no, definitely, that was just on my list, if I couldn’t get a hold of you, what I was gonna say was, um, it did sound like in your initial narrative to me that you were feeling a lot of misunderstood criticism of the choice to sue, as either a theological matter or a strategic matter.  But yeah, I was gonna say to you, yeah, if you wanted to write on that, and essentially like op-ed on that argument, yeah, I’d be happy to, uh, publish that, cause yeah, that’s like deeper idea that I think–essentially that’s what I think is the, uh, constructive thing for others to ponder. And then again because of Harvest size and (unintelligible) and people are like truly going to be interested in the, like outcome, how it might either re-shape the landscape or at least, you know, the people of goodwill, cause them to rethink their positions on this.

So, um, it sounded like you both have, you know, some examples of others, shifting on, like you cited the, um, ESV study Bible change, um, obviously you’ve done your own reflection. Um, so yeah, I was gonna say, I would happily publish an op-ed where you make that case, if you feel a part of the, um, reactions you’re getting, which you’re frustrated by, yeah, people not understanding the theological or strategic argument.

[39:02] JMac: Well good. I, I, that’s super gracious on your part. I’m very happy that we spoke, and I appreciate your persistence and reconnecting here with a bad–I just couldn’t ask for a better response honestly. And, um, I, um, how many words would that want to be, roughly? And, um, I’ll text you the 2 or 3 kind of summary points on my thought about that article so that you’ll have it, and if you want to respond to my text with a little detail about the op-ed, I’d be happy to, you know, crank that out in the next 24 hours, or whatever. And if you give me an email address, Jeremy, I’d be happy to send it along to you.

I, um…(Jeremy speaks: Mmm hmm, yeah). One of the things we feel…I’m actually gonna be coming out with a book called “Vertical Living” in the fall, with David C Cook and it it, gets extensively into the 2 great commandments of Loving God and Loving each other and why that is those 2 things are the essence of what we are supposed to be about. So one of the things I feel very deeply about is not self-advocating, which this has put me in a difficult position. So I won’t, in any article I would write, I am not gonna advocate for a better–I think that’s one of the things that we don’t see Christ doing, I, like in John 8:46, He said, “You say that I have a demon, and you dishonor my Father and you dishonor me.” He just said it plainly and he stopped them. But we, you don’t, you can correct an error, but you don’t go on and advocate for your reputation. That’s what we have to entrust to God.

And, and we’re not out suing these people in reputation protection. We’re out doing this to protect our church, and I think that’s the painful thing we came to is, I played this whole thing like it was a personal offense, because I was very, very, very hurt by the things they said and did. And I think I really failed to lead our church well because I allowed it to be personal. And when we came to the decision, well, you know it isn’t personal, it, it..When you see the way that Christ responded, he was very concerned about protecting the sheep , when he was going after religious blockheads, it wasn’t cause he was offended personally. It was because he was bothered by the impact they were making on innocent people. And so those would be some of the things I would talk about, and I’m sorry if I’m going on a little about it. My heart’s pretty full about it, so…

[41:19] JWeb:  Yeah, yeah, no, uh, I think the, it would be great, to um, yeah cause essentially you have a chance to, um, you know, expound upon, again, the aspect that you feel people should reflect on. You have a chance to address some of the, uh, again, like theological criticism, um, one thing that I feel like our readers would be fairly neutral, I’m sure, on, um, again, the story wasn’t, um, yeah, from our perspective, uh, critiquing that strategy. But, um, yeah, I would happily, yeah, give you an op-ed to run on that.

Um,  the [inaudible] length doesn’t really matter too much online. I’m obviously, it’s your structure, your craft. So, ha, feedback. So, I would say if you want to aim, like, roughly for like a thousand words. Like, it’s really, (JMac: Great!) you know, if you, if you sent in 800, it would be fine. If you sent in 2000, honestly, would be fine. But I think–around the 1000 mark is where, again, people aren’t too daunted to read. But it feels, um, meaty enough to engage with, and they particularly like, say, share and discuss. So I think if you aim for a thousand or a little higher, um, you’ll, you’ll probably end up, one, not only kind of explaining your stance and defending, um, you know, yourself and the church, but you will succeed in kind of a {inaudible} discussion on that topic, and so…right, if you do it within 24 hours, that’s obviously great, and I can publish that, but, um, you know, if not til Friday, that’s fine too…um..(JMac interrupts, JWeb inaudible).

[42:20] JMac: Yep. Can you sit–I’ll shoot you this summary, and then if you want to shoot me, um, back the email address that I should send that to, I, I’m very encouraged by your response. And I think it’s fine that, you know, we don’t have to agree on every point, you know. I feel like we tried to listen to each other, and I appreciate that.

[42:58] JWeb: Yes, I, I have to say I do get these, you know, decently often, and you, you were definitely the most charitable person upset with me that, um, I’ve ever had, so I do, uh– (Laughter)

JWeb: –again, I really appreciate that. I do think–

JMac: O-kay.

JWeb: –again, with journalists, you get more, uh results–ha ha–I was once told that not only was I was bad journalist, but I was a bad person.

JMac: That’s a shame.

JWeb: And this was by a very senior leader in the Southern Baptist Convention.

JMac: That’s a shame.

JWeb: And I remember, I remember thinking, that has probably gone a little too far.

[43:26] JMac: Well, I’m telling you, this is what I’m all about. I just think that the way we are toward one another is a lot, lot more important than we realize. So, thank you for taking my call, and, um, and uh, let’s consider this a new friendship. And I’ll respond as you’ve asked, and I really appreciate the opportunity.

JWeb: Okay, yep. I appreciate it, sure, we’ll, yeah, we’ll be in touch. I appreciate it, thank you.

JMac: All right, thanks. All right, bye

Phone call ends.

[43:50] JMac: (Sighs) Wow, that’s so much work.

Other Men: Yes, yes it is.

JMac: Going round and around. It’s ok, for me, what motivates me is I could not self-protect. I’d frickin tell him what I thought if I was only worried about myself. But I don’t want to hurt the church or hurt the people in the church. That, that’s very motivating to me. Like you, you’re very motivating to me. I don’t want to do things that the people that we lead will would be like eh. So I’ll read this to you for fun and then we’ll record our programs. Thanks for your patience. So, this is hilarious, but umm.

[44:35] WShep: We need a transition so (laughter) lay it on us.

[44:38] JMac: So, my gosh, 30-years of faithful Bible ministry and not once does CT say anything positive about me or Harvest while they celebrate Rob Bell, cheer Brian McLaren, and hero-worship Bill Hybels. Only time they have ever mentioned us in a negative light 2-3 times, fact: CT is Anglican, pseudo-dignity, high church, symphony adoring, pipe organ protecting, (snickers) 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. So of course they attacked me. (Lots of laughter, hand claps)

[45:22] Unidentified Man: There’s an invisible blog somewhere, that I–probably in here…

[45:27] WShep: Yeah, yeah. Bring back Uticus at CT. (More laughter)

DSump: That’s so good. “So of course they attacked me.”

[45:34] JMac: Mild smell of urine, that’s like, that’s every mainline church. They’re like what is that (unintelligible)

[45:43] DSumpter: Did somebody go inside this choir robe? (Laughter)

[45:47] JMac to room: Pipe-organ protecting. So what did you think of that?

[45:55] WShep: First of all, it’s a good thing he writes because he never completes a sentence when he speaks. (DSump: Oh goodness sakes.) It drove me nuts. It was hard to listen to his points, when they were incomplete 90% of the time. I had a hard time getting over that, so.

[46:13] JMac: So, I think that, um. That, I mean, cause you and I are such good friends, that’s what makes me want to not be a pastor anymore. I’m just like, I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s because, like you have to eat so much bullshit to just protect the church. I don’t want to write this frickin’ article. I sit down now for two hours and correct what he really didn’t even really apologize for.

[46:52] JMac: Does that make sense? Do you feel like you have to do very much of that?

Unidentified Speaker: Oh yeah.

[46:58] WShep: No, but I’m in a complete different situation.

[47:03] JMac: The the, the vitriol and honestly the jealousy and envy toward people of position, anywhere now, in politics, everywhere, it’s just– And it’s bad.

[47:20] JMac: But I will say that one thing I do feel that is changing is, um, like, the congregation isn’t really pretty impacted by it. People are way, way, more now. They’re more now: I know what I think. You know?

[47:32] DSumpter?: You’re not changing my mind.

[47:35] JMac: Words that are out there just don’t mean nearly as much.

(extended pause)

[48:00] JMac: I couldn’t resist the midget on the trike thing. It was just too funny.


[48:05] WShep: (Laughs) It does paint a picture.

[Inaudible whisper from DSump?]

background noises, breathing, shuffling.

JMac: Sorry guys.

2 Men: No problem.

More background noises, breathing, shuffling.

[50:00] JMac: So my big complaints to him were the headline, the inaccuracy about the 2000 people…

End Audio

###


Comments

Here Is the Entire James MacDonald’s Hot Mic Transcript : “This Is a New Friendship With Christianity Today.” — 153 Comments

  1. This is all disturbing. Julie Anne Smith and I just posted an open letter to the board of Christianity Today International this morning. We wrote it to offer a constructive challenge to CTI. They are a major evangelical institution that has, sadly, shown considerable contempt toward survivors of various types of abuse, while continuing to promote celebrity Christian leaders with a track record of harming God’s people–like James MacDonald and Ravi Zacharias. These things ought not be, and we felt a definite call to lay out a case for recognizing the harm that’s been done and to encourage change.

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2019/04/17/open-letter-to-cti-board-of-directors/

    Some quotes:

    “This open letter is to CT’s Board of Directors because we believe the public situation of reportedly questionable ethics and abusive behaviors by CT representatives Mark Galli and Ed Stetzer has escalated to where it can only be resolved at the board level.”

    “If we cannot trust the ethics and discernment of these high-profile Christianity Today International associates (and we do not, at this time), how are we to trust CTI’s reporting and other dealings with those involved in abuse survivor communities?”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  2. Sigh…..
    To those that criticize us bloggers/poster that “pile on/revel” in this stuff, you are the one that is “off base”…. The behavior of James McDonald disgusts me, grieves me, and the only reason I spend my time here is to encourage the exposure of this depravity, show the world that many of us think this is terrible, and hope that exposing this might put “the fear of G$d” into other church leaders..

    It sure is clear that “Christain Industrial Complex” can not police itself… PS, if we want to start playing the “name the verse game”, there are plenty of NT verses call us to be light, and expose this kind of darkness…. and this stuff by McDonald is pretty dark..

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  3. Honestly, I have a greater sympathy for the many who were sucked into JMac’s schemes. He is really, really good. If I knew nothing of him, I would find him very convincing. Add in the awe that comes from his ‘position’ and influence, and I can see how people would believe his side of the story, how he was so ill-used and bore it with christian charity.

    However, if you were around him for long, the inconsistencies and boorishness would have quickly made themselves apparent, and then people are left in the difficult situation of figuring out what to make of it and/or do about it.

    I suppose if you are being given an exorbitant salary and luxurious gifts – like Harleys, cars and Rolex watches – you might be more likely to rationalize that ‘That’s just James’. Until you can’t anymore. Some were driven by conscience to speak up and eventually leave; especially when they saw people hurt or abused. Others stayed silent, doing whatever James imperiously commanded and enjoying the benefits.

    It seems that there are three types of people caught up in James’ scheme. The ignorant masses, the troubled staff and onlookers who struggled with what to do, and those who allowed themselves to be compromised. It is difficult to imagine anyone who was close to the situation, and stayed on for lengthy periods of time, fully aware of anger, control and financial issues, as not being compromised. Along with those who took a generous severance package and kept their mouths shut.

    There are a lot of people who need to come clean, in large and small ways.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  4. So, how many more McDonalds, Drisolls, Hybels are out there?? We obviously can not trust that the evangelical establishment can deal with them since these three have been exposed by pew peons…. if we were in Europe 500-600 years ago, we might be worried that we might become human bonfires…

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  5. So, there is this at the end of the conversation:

    “[42:58] JWeb: Yes, I, I have to say I do get these, you know, decently often, and you, you were definitely the most charitable person upset with me that, um, I’ve ever had, so I do, uh– (Laughter)

    JWeb: –again, I really appreciate that. I do think–

    JMac: O-kay.

    JWeb: –again, with journalists, you get more, uh results–ha ha–I was once told that not only was I was bad journalist, but I was a bad person.”

    And when conversation ends, JMac (and others) says this:

    “[44:38] JMac: So, my gosh, 30-years of faithful Bible ministry and not once does CT say anything positive about me or Harvest while they celebrate Rob Bell, cheer Brian McLaren, and hero-worship Bill Hybels. Only time they have ever mentioned us in a negative light 2-3 times, fact: CT is Anglican, pseudo-dignity, high church, symphony adoring, pipe organ protecting, (snickers) 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. So of course they attacked me. (Lots of laughter, hand claps)

    [45:22] Unidentified Man: There’s an invisible blog somewhere, that I–probably in here…

    [45:27] WShep: Yeah, yeah. Bring back Uticus at CT. (More laughter)

    DSump: That’s so good. “So of course they attacked me.”

    [45:34] JMac: Mild smell of urine, that’s like, that’s every mainline church. They’re like what is that (unintelligible)

    [45:43] DSumpter: Did somebody go inside this choir robe? (Laughter)

    [45:47] JMac to room: Pipe-organ protecting. So what did you think of that?

    [45:55] WShep: First of all, it’s a good thing he writes because he never completes a sentence when he speaks. (DSump: Oh goodness sakes.) It drove me nuts. It was hard to listen to his points, when they were incomplete 90% of the time. I had a hard time getting over that, so.

    [46:13] JMac: So, I think that, um. That, I mean, cause you and I are such good friends, that’s what makes me want to not be a pastor anymore. I’m just like, I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s because, like you have to eat so much bullshit to just protect the church. I don’t want to write this frickin’ article. I sit down now for two hours and correct what he really didn’t even really apologize for.”

    JMac is definitely a con man. He outright can’t stand CT, as evidenced by his words after the phone call. He is just using Jeremy Weber to get back at Julie Roy’s for exposing JMac.

    BTW, friends of JMac – JMac doesn’t finish sentences either 😉

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  6. Ishy: I’ve come to the conclusion that MacDonald is nothing more than a con man.

    A very greedy conman, not only materially, but in feeding his ego. He can’t be wrong, he can’t have his opinions challenged, and he thinks he smarter than everyone else. All I can think of after hearing this is “stupid is as stupid does.” His character has been revealed, and most have lost faith in him.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  7. The thing that strikes me is the grammar. Can’t these guys speak in complete sentences? Just that thing leads me to conclude that they are up to no good. He talks like the proverbial teenage hood. I had a difficult time reading that.

    Plus his desire to do bad things to other people certainly must disqualify him from the ministry, right?

    I vote con man as well.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  8. Just from reading the transcript it is sad to see that Jame MacDonald is not listening/ following the Holy Spirit … even in his day-to-day conversations. I walked a similar path when I stopped reading the Bible and praying regularly. You end up trusting in your own wisdom and thought processes. Everything I’ve read to date proves to me that he needs to repent and come running back to the feet of the cross and rededicate his life to personally following the Lord.

    I see this hapn to many Christian “leaders”. They come to believe that the blessing of the Lord on their speaking / church is of THEIR doing. It becomes THEIR ministry. “I did this”. “I did that”. “It was because of my hard work and dedication ….”.

    The biggest trap of Satan is to allow us think that we are the “god” of our lives. We lose sight of the Lord’s work in our life and we begin to work on what WE think. What WE want to do. What WE think is best. This is how you end up giving away cars with the church’s money. This is how you call people a “prick”.

    There are very FEW pastors that I can even listen to any longer. My short list is Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries and Joe Focht of Calvary Chapel in Philadelphia. They both heavily rely upon the Holy Spirit. The stay true to God’s word. They practice what they preach.

    Pray for James McD. He isn’t the enemy. Satan is, and he is going about trying to destroy us like a roaring Lion.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  9. Ishy:
    I’ve come to the conclusion that MacDonald is nothing more than a con man.

    I came to that conclusion a couple-three years ago. He is a wordly money-lover, and has no business in the pulpit.

    I can remember years ago on Walk in the Word, JM faux-tearfully imploring the congregation to ‘give sacrifically’ for some reason or other (probably to pay off his gambling debts, in reality). ‘Charlatan’ is about the mellowest thing I have to say about this braying jackass.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  10. And he just walked away with $500,000, Walk in the Word rights and Donor lists…. Should be official shortly, whether it is publicly acknowledged by current Harvest leadership will be interesting to see.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  11. roebuck: I can remember years ago on Walk in the Word, JM faux-tearfully imploring the congregation to ‘give sacrifically’ for some reason or other (probably to pay off his gambling debts, in reality)

    Was he crying on cue?

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  12. “Son of man, do you see what they are doing … things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? … have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in the darkness? … They say, ‘The Lord does not see us” … I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.” (Ezekiel 8)

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  13. TS00: It seems that there are three types of people caught up in James’ scheme. The ignorant masses, the troubled staff and onlookers who struggled with what to do, and those who allowed themselves to be compromised.

    There might be a fourth category — people who started out bad and were attracted to the enterprise for the sake of the profit it afforded. People like this might put up with whatever abuse came from above and pass it on down without many pangs of conscience. One hopes that there were not many like this.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  14. One category of people that CT was not criticized for favoring or tolerating is “sociopaths”, though I am tempted to suspect that the omission was unintentional. It’s a category that is not yet recognized by biblicists.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  15. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    True. The part of all this that bothers me the most though is that Church leaders looked the other way for more than two decades. Anyone that worked for him or with him since the beginning, knew the man he was. He is the same man today as he was since the beginning. So I don’t buy anybody’s argument they were ignorant of who he was and what he was about. I never attended Harvest thankfully but have heard about his character for almost 20 years…. He will be held accountable for his behavior as will hundreds of men and women for their part in this ungodly debacle that was/is Harvest. Just praying for those remaining to find Godly churches and healing

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  16. SE Myers: Disturbing on so, so many levels…incoherent, rambling, demeaning, foul, innuendo-ridden, self-serving, manipulative-and nothing that sounds like a life given to Jesus.

    Definitely not fruit of the Spirit. It’s amazing that JMac deceived so many people for so long. “Oh, but he was such a great teacher!”, they say. So were so many other fallen leaders over the course of church history. The pew confuses the gift of gab with gift of the Spirit. The American church needs to pray for discernment to distinguish the difference … I suspect there’s another JMac (or several) waiting to happen.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  17. Just in case Harvest members or others need to know what to look for in a pastor, here it is(hint it’s not Jmac);

    “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)”
    ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭3:1-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬
    https://www.bible.com/111/1ti.3.1-5.niv

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  18. Samuel Conner,

    But remember, us pew peons are not to uncover it, or so many of the “Christian leaders” say…. we are to be quite little church mice, taking the abuse, and opening our wallets, for our “godly leaders”….
    for example, the you tube of Driscoll screaming at the pew peons is still there!

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  19. David H,

    The church is 40M+ in debt and they compromise with a bad deal. I can’t believe the banks don’t step in and take ownership of those assets and prohibit the release of any of this content? Who is running these deals? The elders are still incompetent. They are in over their head and need to step down yesterday. They’d get better advice reading these blogs and comments than any place else. This is absurd at the very least. If JMac wants that content, he should pay for it and in turn pay down the church debt. He was on church salary so any of his content belongs to the church. He shouldn’t get to take it with him.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  20. Gaga,

    I’ve wondered about the hot mic leak for awhile. People that have followed this know there are hours more that haven’t been made public. This leak backstory would be interesting. I’d like to think it was conscience, but even if it was insurance, it has been a service to the congregation at Harvest.

    I see Julie Roys came out with the story of MacDonald’s salary, the black budget etc. today – I’m genuinely sad for those who gave to that church and to Walk in the Word.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  21. TS00: Honestly, I have a greater sympathy for the many who were sucked into JMac’s schemes. He is really, really good. If I knew nothing of him, I would find him very convincing. Add in the awe that comes from his ‘position’ and influence, and I can see how people would believe his side of the story, how he was so ill-used and bore it with Christian charity.

    Malcolm Gladwell is coming out with a book that discusses this: “How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? . . .the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, …Jerry Sandusky, etc. . . something is wrong with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect…”

    “‘Talking to Strangers’ – what we should know about the people we don’t know.” – Should make for interesting discussion, in any case.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  22. I appreciate those who made this transcript possible. In listening to the recording I was having serious flashbacks of the pastor recorded slandering me. The manipulation,outright lies, bizarre failure to finish sentences, ingratiating to others and then speaking badly behind their backs, use of verses to support his evil, presenting himself as the victim…so much slime!

    The pastor even used the phrase “off the rails” to describe me as James did Julie. Creepy! Can you imagine what he is saying now that his mask has slipped?!

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  23. If HBC intends on issuing a W-2, it’s already delinquent.

    Here’s why I come down on the side of JMac and not the Elders regarding the Bear Trip.

    If a W-2 is required. The burden falls on Elders, not JMac. They are required to have W-2’s issued by January 31st, of the following year, that income occurred.

    If none is issued, JMac is required to file an extension, or use Form 4258, and pay estimated tax due.

    But I don’t think we can assume the hunting packages, taxidermy and bear shipping,
    are personal expenses unrelated to ministry, and therefore qualify as taxable income.

    -JMac could simply state he received no tangible value in the bear.
    -Possession of the bear has not been thoroughly established, and should belong to HBC.
    -HBC does not appear to have challenged the bear expenses for multiple tax years.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  24. Somewhereintime: Just from reading the transcript it is sad to see that Jame MacDonald is not listening/ following the Holy Spirit … even in his day-to-day conversations. I walked a similar path when I stopped reading the Bible and praying regularly. You end up trusting in your own wisdom and thought processes. Everything I’ve read to date proves to me that he needs to repent and come running back to the feet of the cross and rededicate his life to personally following the Lord.

    I see this hapn to many Christian “leaders”. They come to believe that the blessing of the Lord on their speaking / church is of THEIR doing. It becomes THEIR ministry. “I did this”. “I did that”. “It was because of my hard work and dedication ….”.

    The biggest trap of Satan is to allow us think that we are the “god” of our lives. We lose sight of the Lord’s work in our life and we begin to work on what WE think. What WE want to do. What WE think is best. This is how you end up giving away cars with the church’s money. This is how you call people a “prick”.

    There are very FEW pastors that I can even listen to any longer. My short list is Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries and Joe Focht of Calvary Chapel in Philadelphia. They both heavily rely upon the Holy Spirit. The stay true to God’s word. They practice what they preach.

    Pray for James McD. He isn’t the enemy. Satan is, and he is going about trying to destroy us like a roaring Lion.

    This is a nice devotional message but what evidence do you have that he was ever any different? What makes you think there was a sincere moment in time he could “come running back” to? How do you know he (and others like him) didn’t seek out this position simply because it offered everything his narcissistic heart craved? It’s easy to memorize verses and use the words.

    I suspect his problem is much deeper than not reading the Bible regularly or praying.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  25. Samuel: There might be a fourth category — people who started out bad and were attracted to the enterprise for the sake of the profit it afforded. People like this might put up with whatever abuse came from above and pass it on down without many pangs of conscience.

    Bingo.

    One hopes that there were not many like this.

    One can hope. But those that there are, are the ones motivated to be at the top.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  26. Max: They say, ‘The Lord does not see us” … I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them.

    It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  27. Somewhereintime: Pray for James McD. He isn’t the enemy.

    Yes, the ancient serpent the devil is the true enemy of humanity. However James MacDonald has actively partnered with that enemy, apparently to this very day, and for this reason he is in grave eternal danger. Have been praying he and those who helped him do what he did will repent before it’s too late.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  28. MacDonald: “I don’t believe that they have any business interfering in the life of a private institution. There’s no criminal doing.”

    I’d say the following items call for some outside “interfering” in terms of accountability and oversight:

    “So the background is really this. That, there were, um, we got into a significant construction, uh, overrun problem, um, with a significant debt. It was one of those things where we couldn’t back up, we couldn’t go forward. If we finished the building, it was too expensive. Well, if we didn’t finish the building, we wouldn’t even get to access the benefit of what we’d already exposed ourselves to, and the end result of that was was that I, we made major major changes to the church ten or eleven years ago.”

    “And there were two or three men who had been elders since the very first day, and who, honestly, very much like me, whose business acumen was not adequate for the amount of oversight that was entrusted to us. And so we made some bad decisions.”

    Sometimes, so-called overruns may be the result of scope evolutions after a project is sold a certain way at a certain price tag, and the autocrats want more but would rather seek forgiveness than ask permission. What better way for autocrats to get more goodies than to get those paying for a project deep enough that scaling back or postponing is a hard option to accept?

    Thus, in such situations, there is a risk that financial fraud and misrepresentation could be at issue on multiple levels. The guy kinda sorta admits to bad decisions, so an investigation appears warranted, no?

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  29. JDV: MacDonald: “I don’t believe that they have any business interfering in the life of a private institution. There’s no criminal doing.”

    I think the phrase “private institution” is extremely telling. And it is by no means an isolated phrase taken out of context, nor does it remotely misrepresent the way this and other megachurch businesses are (or have been) run.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  30. MacDonald: “I don’t believe that they have any business interfering in the life of a private institution. There’s no criminal doing.”

    Said every criminal….

    Guess what? That is why we have law enforcement and criminal investigations. Exposing the misdeeds of “private institutions” is exactly what the press is supposed to be doing. That is their job.

    No one is above the law.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  31. I am still trying to get my head around “preachers” saying it is wrong for us pew peons exposing this stuff?
    1. McDonalds well documented depraved behavior ( even joking to plant child pron on an enemies computer?)
    2. Massive debt under his autocratic rule
    3. McDonald’s “gifts” using church money… such gifts alone would probably get me fired…
    4. McDonald’ s massive black expense accounts
    5. McDonald’s long term “endorsements” by the Evangelical Industrial Complex
    6. And, all of the above is using pew peons money.
    I guess I am just dense…. or cynical, rebellious old white man..

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  32. Jeffrey Chalmers:
    I am still trying to get my head around “preachers” saying it is wrong for us pew peons exposing this stuff?
    1. McDonalds well documented depraved behavior ( even joking to plant child pron on an enemies computer?)
    2. Massive debt under his autocratic rule
    3. McDonald’s “gifts” using church money… such gifts alone would probably get me fired…
    4. McDonald’ s massive black expense accounts
    5. McDonald’s long term “endorsements” by the Evangelical Industrial Complex
    6. And, all of the above is using pew peons money.
    I guess I am just dense….or cynical, rebellious old white man..

    Dear Jeffrey Chalmers – you are not the cynical, rebellious old white man. MacDonald is. Yes…that’s a judgment and I stand by it.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  33. Somewhereintime:
    Just from reading the transcript it is sad to see that James MacDonald is not listening/ following the Holy Spirit … even in his day-to-day conversations. I walked a similar path when I stopped reading the Bible and praying regularly. You end up trusting in your own wisdom and thought processes.

    I have been reading TWW for years but never offered a comment. I so appreciate the work Dee does and the faithful believers who continue on by encouraging each other with their thoughtful comments. I work for a church -not pastoral- and have grown so weary. It is not a megachurch (around 400), but at every level the “business” of church can wear out those not “in authority”. I could write a book on so many things. There is no moral or financial failures, just pride and arrogance by some that should worry more about the flock than making sure the flock is following their “rules”. After all they will “give an account of the souls of their flock”. Working here has caused me to question so many things and I find myself neglecting the Word more and more because I struggle with those whom “God called to this church” to teach His precious Word.

    Please forgive me if this shows up incorrectly. I am a newbie. Also, I cannot tell you how much comfort and wisdom I have found in the comments of Max. I feel he would make a wonderful friend to those whom the church has hurt.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  34. SiteSeer,

    Site … my only “interaction” with MacDonald has been on the radio. I listened to him off and on for years. It was probably 5-6 years ago that I felt something just wasn’t right. I’m assuming your question is “was he ever even a Christian?”. I’ve seen and watched charlestons in my life. Personally, I believe I can tell what is “real” vs. “manufactured”. He started out “real”. Is he saved? I think so … however, I think that Satan has a hold on him and MacDonald’s sin of pride has been his downfall.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  35. Fisher,

    To be clear, I am not saying that this in’t MacDonald’s fault. Far from it. I think he has clearly disqualified himself from pastoring the Lord’s flock. What “usually” happens now with these leaders that get canned is that they just set up shop somewhere else. Rebrand themselves and “try” to stay our of trouble. MacDonald, in his current state of pride, will not walk away from the mega money that he has been getting. Pray that God humbles him.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  36. cracked pot,

    Cracked … No, you are one of MANY that have gotten caught in the web of Pastors that, either from personal ego or poor understanding of scripture, believe that they are your “god”. I went to a Sovereign Grace church for 2 1/2 decades. It started out well. Then it took a turn south and I spent the last 10 years trying to figure out what had happened, and then trying to change it “from the pews”. It stunk and it still stings my soul to this day, but I’ve come to realize that sin exists EVERYWHERE, which is why we ALL need a Savior. We are a mess. It’s sad though that those that KNOW BETTER become blind to their own sin and inflict it upon the masses.
    To this day I still follow what is happening with Sovereign Grace hoping that the Lord continues to expose the DEEP sin and DEEP pride that exists throughout the entire organization. When men stop following the Lord and start following man, RUN FOR THE HILLS!

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  37. jyjames: “‘Talking to Strangers’ – what we should know about the people we don’t know.”

    It is impossible to ‘know’ a mega-church pastor in America. They appear on stage before the masses, then disappear behind the curtain. They don’t know you and you don’t know them. They don’t stand at the church door to shake your hand, they don’t visit your home, they don’t call you, they don’t pray for you beside your hospital bed, they don’t preach your funeral. They are too mega-important to minister to you. They are not your pastor; they are a stranger.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  38. David H: The part of all this that bothers me the most though is that Church leaders looked the other way for more than two decades. Anyone that worked for him or with him since the beginning, knew the man he was.

    Two words: Golden Handcuffs.

    This aspect of the story is on the record, but not yet fully reported.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  39. Max:

    roebuck: Why is this man not in prison?

    Because the State gives the Church too much wiggle room to legally fleece the flock.

    I’m always wary of wading in on this, given that the US and the UK have (in a sense) polar opposite systems in this limited context; rigorous separation of church and state enshrined in the US constitution, and a state church enshrined in the UK constitution. (That’s cutting a long story short, but the gist of it is accurate.) Both poles have their flaws, and a state religion can easily be a tool of repression. But I often reflect, reading here, on the unintended consequences of the First Amendment.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  40. My physical response to reading this is the desire to take a long, hot shower with lots of soap to feel clean and then drink a quart of Pepto-Bismol to calm my stomach . . .

    This is sickening.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  41. __

    “Glaring Examples Of 501c3 ‘Exposure R Us’ ™ , Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    HowDee!

    Blogging is a certainty a narrow medium.  Its weakness is in it’s scope: making the broad evaluation of ideas, or for that matter bible studies, tedious and cumbersome.  But for identification, and indemnification of ‘errant’ 501c3 organizations, —appears it works just fine.

    [snicker]

    huh?

    Proverbial Sheepskins hang out shingles, and consequently, the established 501c3 tax free organization invariably becomes their intracranial intercept prized possession. Apparently, The Bible is frequently used to establish their supremacy. Those who are ‘perceived’ as trying to take it away from them, for what ever cause, course, or reasoning, invariably get burned. We saw that with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. We also saw that with Detweiler‘s attempted SGM reform and the subsequent successful publication of the SGM Wikileaks on the internet by a third party blog owner. We also saw that when Willow Creek’s Hybills was exposed. Now we are seeing it with Harvest’s JMac.

    As long as character and integrity still matter with the Christian vote with their feet public, social media blogs will exist (and rise to the much needed occasion…).

    bump.

    If you just wait a wee moment, ‘possibly’ another 501c3 ‘roast’ will transpire shortly…

    Stay tuned.

    In a bit,

    Sòpy

    Intermission:
    Jack Broadbent – “On The Road Again?”
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pJxkdmBm010

    ;~)

    -=-

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  42. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Win, it may seem that way, but James is what 60? How many years left on this earth? 80 is a good long life, do you know how fast 20yrs goes at this age? And that’s if he lives that long. Soon he will stand before the Ancient of Days and answer for the devastation he has wrought on Harvest and so many believers. I hope he enjoys his victory now because 10,000 yrs from now he will still be paying for this destruction.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  43. Luckyforward: hot shower with lots of soap to feel clean

    The American church has a slimy segment of leaders – you just feel dirty after hearing about them. Praise God – most pastors are God-fearing humble servants of the Lord, ministering in Jesus’ name without celebrity status, accolades, and mega-salaries. But when those bad-boys come along, we all feel dirty because the precious Name of Christ has been dragged through the mud by them.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  44. Nick Bulbeck: unintended consequences of the First Amendment

    We’ve stretched the heck out of the First … way beyond what the Founding Fathers intended. Regarding our “rights” as Americans, I’m reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s words pertaining to slavery rights: “You do not have the right to do wrong.”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  45. Daniel: Soon he will stand before the Ancient of Days and answer for the devastation he has wrought on Harvest and so many believers. I hope he enjoys his victory now because 10,000 yrs from now he will still be paying for this destruction.

    Daniel:
    You have no idea how this looks outside the event horizon of the Christianese Bubble.
    I didn’t Grow Up Born-Again. I look at it from the outside.

    Guys like JMac (and the other crooked MoGs exposed on this and other watchblogs) must be held accountable in the here and now. There must be VISIBLE justice done. He must be seen to NOT get away with it.

    Otherwise, HE GOT AWAY WITH IT. While by your words, you’re just sitting quietly with folded hands, mealy-mouthing pious platitudes about “God Will Hold Him Accountable in the Sweet By-and-By”.

    As one of my favorite quotes from Babylon-5 put it:

    “You have a saying: ‘Knowledge is a three-edged sword’.
    We too have a saying: ‘PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!'”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  46. Max: It is impossible to ‘know’ a mega-church pastor in America. They appear on stage before the masses, then disappear behind the curtain. They don’t know you and you don’t know them.

    Like any CELEBRITY, all you know of them is the spin they want to present.

    Look at “Pill Cosby” for a non-church example of onstage public persona vs what’s underneath the mask.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  47. Fisher: However James MacDonald has actively partnered with that enemy, apparently to this very day, and for this reason he is in grave eternal danger.

    What about all the pewpeons he’s screwed over and cleaned out to finance his ego projects?
    What about “making the name of God a laughingstock” among those outside the Christianese Bubble?
    What about the “grave eternal danger” of those burned by him with “Take Your God And Shove It!” burnout reactions?

    What you’re saying is making it All About Poor Poor JMac.
    They say the most common characteristic of a sociopath is “Mutant Superpower: Induce Guilt” when caught, turning the tables and making himself the REAL = Victim Pity Me Pity Me Pity Me. I can attest from experience that is just one more weapon in the manipulator’s arsenal.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  48. Ishy:
    I’ve come to the conclusion that MacDonald is nothing more than a con man.

    My writing partner (the burned-out country preacher)said the same about Tatted Todd of Lakeland and his Pet Angel Emma (remember them?)

    Back when all the hysteria was going around about Tatted Todd being filled with the Holy Spirit or Possessed by some Kundalini Serpent Spirit, he watched some of the Lakeland videos and said this:

    “I didn’t see the Holy Spirit; I didn’t see any demonic spirit. What I saw was a con man working an audience.”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  49. Samuel Conner:
    One category of people that CT was not criticized for favoring or tolerating is “sociopaths”, though I am tempted to suspect that the omission was unintentional. It’s a category that is not yet recognized by biblicists.

    WTF do those “biblicists” think that Rabbi from Tarsus was saying when he wrote about “Those whose conscience is seared as with a white-hot iron”? Some Deep Theological Ramification?

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  50. roebuck: http://julieroys.com/james-macdonald-took-millions-harvest-now-demands-broadcast-ministry

    “Apparently, MacDonald’s compensation package worth nearly $1 million, and his $800,000 – $1.2 million in discretionary funds, satisfied the ECFA’s requirement because the ECFA stated after the review: “Harvest Bible Chapel is in full compliance with each of ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship and remains a member in good standing with ECFA.” (Julie Roys)

    Well, that confirms that the “FA” (financial accountability) in ECFA does not truly exist. ECFA examiners may have been satisfied, but Harvest members and the church at large should not be! MacDonald was/is not a member in good standing within the Body of Christ.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  51. Neal Roys,

    You hit the nail on the head…. I see this going on around me in my Professional world…. a very slimy, corrupt leader will create a layer to insult them from the masses… this mid layer, if they are not careful, will become compromised, and indebted to the leader/system….. just like the mafia…
    Or, you more nicely put it, golden handcuffs…

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  52. Daniel: Soon he will stand before the Ancient of Days and answer for the devastation he has wrought on Harvest and so many believers. I hope he enjoys his victory now because 10,000 yrs from now he will still be paying for this destruction.

    MacDonald obviously doesn’t believe that … yet.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  53. Headless Unicorn Guy: Look at “Pill Cosby” for a non-church example of onstage public persona vs what’s underneath the mask.

    Yep. Cosby wasn’t “America’s Dad” after all … he turned out to be the weird uncle that Mama warned us about. To think of JMac as “Pastor” of anything is the same stretch – the warnings were there for years, but folks still called him Pastor anyway.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  54. Max: Because the State gives the Church too much wiggle room to legally fleece the flock.

    Which is why I have argued incessantly here and elsewhere that the financial disclosure laws for religious non-profits be drastically overhauled so that they must abide by the same disclosure rules as non-religious outfits.

    Then, if people still want to fork over their hard earned greenbacks to crooks, mountebanks, and shysters, have at it, it’s a free country.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  55. Sick to My Stomach: The church is 40M+ in debt and they compromise with a bad deal. I can’t believe the banks don’t step in and take ownership of those assets and prohibit the release of any of this content?

    As long as the debtor (here the church) remains current on paying its debts, continues to own the mortgaged properties, and satisfies any covenants/conditions in the lending documents, the lender (you call banks) has no right to involve themselves in the internal affairs of the lender. Having looked before, all that is mortgaged is the real property (land and buildings) of the church. It would be unusual for a mortgage on real property to have any covenants about anything else. So the banks can’t step in.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  56. I continue to state that any crime must have an identifiable victim.

    In this case, Harvest attenders/members are not victims. They transferred possession of donations to Harvest. (the Corporation and it’s related entities)

    The reasonable potential victim is the Corporation of Harvest itself.

    In order for a crime to have been committed by JMac, there needs to be an alleged criminal act. So far, there is no definable crime publicly stated.

    Next, a criminal complaint then would need to be made. The most logical persons who could be recognized as having this ability, are the Executive Elders. I don’t believe onlookers or Harvest donors have a substantial recognition in drawing any potential complaint.

    If the Executive Elders choose to allow, or not report after the fact, any unusual financial activities, there is therefore no crime.(there may be unforeseen accounting issues)

    Should the Elders have an inability to draw a complaint because it would expose underling issues, it would remain below the threshold of a crime.

    Bottom line for me, is that there is no basis, so far, to state James Macdonald stole anything at all from Harvest.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  57. Excellent statement from Wade Mullen’s dissertation, ‘Impression Management Strategies used by Evangelical Organizations in the Wake of an Image-threatening Event’:

    “Impression management (IM) was first introduced by Goffman (1959) as the process of creating, influencing, or manipulating an image held by an audience. He used the metaphor of a theater play to illustrate how individuals or organizations are actors who at any point of time are either behind the curtain or in front of the curtain. The impressions presented to the audience represent the “front stage” version of the actor. The actor strives to present an impression to the audience they will find agreeable. The actor knows his relationship with the audience consists of an agreement stipulating that as long as the actor presents what the audience wants and expects to see, the show will continue.

    As the audience changes over time and as the actor reads these changes, the actor adjusts strategies so as to maintain audience engagement. The actor, however, is a different person “behind stage” because he is free of audience expectation and perception. Behind the curtain, the actor develops his “front stage” performance, free in the knowledge that the audience does not have access to what is happening behind the curtain.”

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rXrd8MYay5Vg5s7JXFx7S91hDTlm1CVX/view

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  58. Seems to me that HBC hasn’t learned any lessons about financial probity. This is from their website, 14th April.

    “Have you considered ways to give to the Closer Campaign other than cash?

    Appreciated Investments: Stocks, Bonds, etc.
    Gifting Insurance Policies
    A portion of your business
    Real Estate: Homes, Second Homes, Rental Property, Vacant Lots, etc.
    Collectables: Cars, Boats, Heavy Equipment, Jewelry, etc.
    Tax-Advantaged Giving through your: IRA / 401K / Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)
    Giving through frugal saving ideas

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  59. Nathan Priddis: Bottom line for me, is that there is no basis, so far, to state James Macdonald stole anything at all from Harvest.

    I tend to agree with you that there is probably nothing that would hold up in a court of law. Nevertheless, there is no question that it was unethical. And certainly not Christlike in any way.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  60. TS00: Excellent statement from Wade Mullen’s dissertation, ‘Impression Management Strategies used by Evangelical Organizations in the Wake of an Image-threatening Event’:

    “Impression management (IM) was first introduced by Goffman (1959) as the process of creating, influencing, or manipulating an image held by an audience. He used the metaphor of a theater play to illustrate how individuals or organizations are actors who at any point of time are either behind the curtain or in front of the curtain. The impressions presented to the audience represent the “front stage” version of the actor. The actor strives to present an impression to the audience they will find agreeable. The actor knows his relationship with the audience consists of an agreement stipulating that as long as the actor presents what the audience wants and expects to see, the show will continue.

    As the audience changes over time and as the actor reads these changes, the actor adjusts strategies so as to maintain audience engagement. The actor, however, is a different person “behind stage” because he is free of audience expectation and perception. Behind the curtain, the actor develops his “front stage” performance, free in the knowledge that the audience does not have access to what is happening behind the curtain.”

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rXrd8MYay5Vg5s7JXFx7S91hDTlm1CVX/view

    Well! There you have what passes for church to a very large extent clearly spelled out!

    In my past church, we had a pastor that seemed great in the beginning but things changed at one point. He had come into a church of one persuasion and became bent on steering it to another, was using all sorts of underhanded and manipulative methods to do so. Everyone who saw this and was concerned about it started with the assumption that he had “gone astray” and we needed to pray for him. I was trying to make sense out of all I had seen and heard and decided to check out the tapes of services over the time he had been there and listen to them. I realized as I listened that it had all been there from day one, we just had no frame of reference and were missing it. He was way ahead of us, knowing what he was doing from before he came to the church, and we were way behind in our sincere naivety.

    We Christians are a naive bunch, credulous, gullible, superstitious and well-meaning. We’re trying so hard to please God that we don’t notice when it’s being used to control us. We really are ripe for the picking. Those of us who have had the misfortune of really knowing a sociopath or two get how inevitable it is that they gravitate to us to practice their con routines. It’s like taking candy from a baby.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  61. Lowlandseer:
    Seems to me that HBC hasn’t learned any lessons about financial probity. This is from their website, 14th April.

    “Have you considered ways to give to the Closer Campaign other than cash?

    Appreciated Investments: Stocks, Bonds, etc.
    Gifting Insurance Policies
    A portion of your business
    Real Estate: Homes, Second Homes, Rental Property, Vacant Lots, etc.
    Collectables: Cars, Boats, Heavy Equipment, Jewelry, etc.
    Tax-Advantaged Giving through your: IRA / 401K / Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)
    Giving through frugal saving ideas

    This is a stench in the nostrils.

    “…ways to give…other than cash…” ? How about giving prayers for everyone involved in this disgusting episode of American church history to come clean, repent, and turn from wicked ways. Or is that too Biblical?

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  62. TS00: “As the audience changes over time and as the actor reads these changes, the actor adjusts strategies so as to maintain audience engagement.” (Wade Mullen)

    It’s impossible for a pastor-actor to maintain mega status without continually reinventing himself to play to the audience at hand. Celebrity preachers in cults of personality would have no stage if they didn’t have an audience cheering them on and supporting them. Such is the Christian Industrial Complex – it depends upon a symbiosis between pulpit and pew: “Tell me which way you want to go, and I’ll get out in front to lead.” Holy Spirit leading not necessary.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  63. SiteSeer,

    Ditto for my experience. Many sadly opined that ‘something changed’ somewhere along the line. Became more blatant, perhaps, but the underlying authoritarian, ‘I speak for God’ mindset was always present. We were just too trusting, naive and willing to ‘give grace’ to question things.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  64. Speaking of Ed Stetzer, it’s been over 2 weeks since his VW was heard around the world and still not a peep out of him about it. He’s apparently above all this gossip in the pew while he does the work God.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  65. Lowlandseer: “Have you considered ways to give to the Closer Campaign other than cash?

    Appreciated Investments: Stocks, Bonds, etc.
    Gifting Insurance Policies
    A portion of your business
    Real Estate: Homes, Second Homes, Rental Property, Vacant Lots, etc.
    Collectables: Cars, Boats, Heavy Equipment, Jewelry, etc.
    Tax-Advantaged Giving through your: IRA / 401K / Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)
    Giving through frugal saving ideas

    Interesting to contrast these with an article I was just reading:

    Should pastors wear $5,000 sneakers? There’s been soul-searching recently over materialism in houses of worship.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/nyregion/preachers-sneakers-instagram-account.html

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  66. The men on this audio are de factor non-believers in scripture — they don’t *really* believe God is not mocked. They believe, instead, that they are clever enough, powerful enough, to pull off laundering money given to God.

    They wouldn’t mess with mob money but they feel safe messing with God’s money. The consequences to Ananias and Sapphira are a fairy tale for them — they are more clever than those two. Tell their sheep one thing, auditors another, and sleep soundly because they believe they actually CAN mock God. This audio is what Jeremiah called the cackling of fools.

    The fact that they are worried about their reputation in CT and not the final Judge is a great example of what blindness does to perception — it isn’t that they are stupid; that’s why the ‘blind’ metaphor is so appropriate. They don’t see, a few years ahead, the judgment.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  67. Nathan Priddis: Bottom line for me, is that there is no basis, so far, to state James Macdonald stole anything at all from Harvest.

    They never do. From Benny Hinn, to Kenneth Copeland, to Joel Osteen, to to blah to blah ad nauseum.

    People freely give their money and their time. James Macdonald may see himself in civil court but unlikely to face criminal charges. There won’t be any justice out of this, this clown will simply transfer his funds to new church just like Driscoll did, he’ll find followers and it will be business as usual.

    Until the grass roots want change, there will be no change.

    Soul saving is one of the best rackets in the world.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  68. Max:
    Speaking of Ed Stetzer, it’s been over 2 weeks since his VW was heard around the world and still not a peep out of him about it.He’s apparently above all this gossip in the pew while he does the work God.

    Touch Not GAWD’s Anointed(TM).

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  69. TS00: As the audience changes over time and as the actor reads these changes, the actor adjusts strategies so as to maintain audience engagement. The actor, however, is a different person “behind stage” because he is free of audience expectation and perception. Behind the curtain, the actor develops his “front stage” performance, free in the knowledge that the audience does not have access to what is happening behind the curtain.”

    And we all know the Koine Greek word for “actor”.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  70. Max: Yep.Cosby wasn’t “America’s Dad” after all … he turned out to be the weird uncle that Mama warned us about.To think of JMac as “Pastor” of anything is the same stretch – the warnings were there for years, but folks still called him Pastor anyway.

    In a way, Cosby is more tragic because the man DID have genuine achievements. Grew up poor in a bad part of Philadelphia, rose to the top in his profession (stand-up monologue comedy appealing to a wide audience), broke the color barrier in prime-time TV (with I Spy), supported institutions of learning (including his alma mater Temple U in Philly), started and sponsored scholarships, produced many shows in the industry (winning awards for children’s programmingre Fat ALbert, which in turn served as his PhD thesis). The man wasn’t just a hack with Honorary degrees mouthing off behind a pulpit, he actually accomplished something. And then his Dark Side crashed his life and he lost everything.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  71. Jeffrey Chalmers:
    Neal Roys,

    You hit the nail on the head…. I see this going on around me in my Professional world…. a very slimy, corrupt leader will create a layer to insult them from the masses… this mid layer, if they are not careful, will become compromised, and indebted to the leader/system….. just like the mafia…

    Or, you more nicely put it, golden handcuffs…

    Check out a C.S.Lewis essay called “The Lure of the Inner Ring” sometime:
    https://www.lewissociety.org/innerring/

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  72. SiteSeer: Should pastors wear $5,000 sneakers? There’s been soul-searching recently over materialism in houses of worship.

    If I had five grand to spare, I sure wouldn’t be spending it on a pair of designer sneakers. More like getting those home repairs and improvements done.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  73. TS00: Honestly, I have a greater sympathy for the many who were sucked into JMac’s schemes. He is really, really good. If I knew nothing of him, I would find him very convincing.

    I got the same impression when I watched clips of L Ron Hubbard’s in-house Scientology presentations on that documentary expose a couple years back.

    As in “The man presents himself very well and sounds very persuasive.”

    The guy watching it with me picked up on Elron’s involuntary “duping delight” smirk at several points in the presentation (most likely after making a point).

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  74. Eric Bonetti:
    PS Parts sound very much like Bob Malm’s email to Dee in which he claims the right to use the courts to “discipline” former members.

    Proof that whack-a-doodles come from every part of Christianity.

    Often I phone my writing partner to ask “Did we go crazy, or did everyone else?”

    And he always answers with a quote from one of the Desert Fathers:
    “There will come a time when men will go Mad. And they will lay hands on the sane among them, saying ‘You are not like Us! You must be Mad!'”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  75. Max: Well, that confirms that the “FA” (financial accountability) in ECFA does not truly exist.

    Rubber stamp spinmeisters, like a bastard offspring of a PR firm and a diploma mill.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  76. SiteSeer: Should pastors wear $5,000 sneakers? There’s been soul-searching recently over materialism in houses of worship.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/nyregion/preachers-sneakers-instagram-account.html

    The only souls searching for such abuses by the pulpit are folks like us. The “pastors” who waste filthy lucre wait for the gossip to blow over and go back to their bad spending habits. They wouldn’t be in the ministry if it weren’t for the money; take away the dollars and most of them wouldn’t think about preaching!

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  77. I think it’s extremely unlikely that MacDonald is in principle untouchable by the law.

    The main reason one might say that a megachurch CEO isn’t stealing from the organisation is that the whole organisation is his from the beginning. It has layers of management and staff who are there to do his bidding; the customers in the theatre are there to keep his business expensively branded and heavily funded. Just like a straightforward entrepreneur talks about the importance of the brand, the product and the customer, or some variation on that theme, so the megachurch CEO talks about the importance of “Jesus”. It’s the amount of “Jesus” that he can sell, and the marketability of his “Jesus”, that determine his wealth and influence. (I say “his”; it can be “her” as well, but that’s less common.)

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  78. Carson: The men on this audio are de factor non-believers in scripture — they don’t *really* believe God is not mocked. They believe, instead, that they are clever enough, powerful enough, to pull off laundering money given to God.

    The background laughter is disturbing … the sound of evil minions.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  79. Max: The background laughter is disturbing … the sound of evil minions.

    No kidding – quite disturbing indeed. How do people get like this? It’s like some nasty middle school clique or something, formed up around the class buly, but these are (allegedly) grown men. I have only one word for these lost souls… repent. Repent, and make amends as best you can.

    But one suspects they don’t believe in repentance before the Lord, or much else besides Mammon. I think we know what MacDonald and his coterie worship, and it isn’t Jesus Christ.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  80. grberry,

    The loan covenants might include maintaining a minimum cash flow, which may be a problem with drops in attendance and giving. Another possible covenant is restrictions on the amounts paid to insiders. Another restriction may be required submission of accurate financial reports, which seems doubtful to me. Violations of covenants may trigger increased interest rates, which would increase required payments; a violation might even allow the lender to demand full payment immediately.

    If anyone lied on loan applications or lied in requested documents, federal bank fraud charges could be in view.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  81. Somewhereintime: To be clear, I am not saying that this in’t MacDonald’s fault. Far from it. I think he has clearly disqualified himself from pastoring the Lord’s flock.

    No worries Somewhereintime. I heard you offering a perspective of someone in ministry who has struggled and felt badly for ways you fell into the trap. A reminder to pray is always a good – I remind myself every day.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  82. Headless Unicorn Guy: What you’re saying is making it All About Poor Poor JMac.

    Actually no, I give James MacDonald no pass. However, just like I prayed for Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden to repent (and I did many times pray) I do the same for macDonald.

    Because I have a close family member ho has turned their back on Jesus so I’ve felt in some miniscule way the broken heart of the Heavenly Father who grieves daily for people who reject him and his ways. He hates all they do but that’s why Jesus died for them, so they might repent and sit at his dinner table.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  83. roebuck: I think we know what MacDonald and his coterie worship, and it isn’t Jesus Christ.

    “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord].” (Matthew 6:24 AMP)

    A million dollar salary + another million per year in “discretionary” funds is a whole lot of mammon to be devoted to!

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  84. SiteSeer,

    “Should pastors wear $5,000 sneakers? There’s been soul-searching recently over materialism in houses of worship.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    that’s like saying (to quote “The Vicar of Dibley”, when the villagers were brainstorming on topics for a village radio talk show),

    “Is sex with poodles always wrong?”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  85. Headless Unicorn Guy: If I had five grand to spare, I sure wouldn’t be spending it on a pair of designer sneakers. More like getting those home repairs and improvements done.

    Same here, HUG. I can’t picture spending $5,000 on sneakers unless you have everything you need and have money to throw around. I doubt if most of the people giving are in that situation.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  86. Headless Unicorn Guy: The guy watching it with me picked up on Elron’s involuntary “duping delight” smirk at several points in the presentation (most likely after making a point).

    He goes from a look of utter contempt to duping delight in split seconds. Very creepy.

    When I watched that documentary, I couldn’t help noticing how similar the dynamics are, they just took them way further than most do. But you can see the natural trajectory and what it leads when there’s no accountability.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  87. SiteSeer: really are ripe for the picking. Those of us who have had the misfortune of really knowing a sociopath or two get how inevitable it is that they gravitate to us to practice their con routines. I</blockquote

    That's the value of TWW and other watchblogs. As we get smarter we get bolder to stand against spiritual abuse.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  88. elastigirl: “Should pastors wear $5,000 sneakers? There’s been soul-searching recently over materialism in houses of worship.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    that’s like saying (to quote “The Vicar of Dibley”, when the villagers were brainstorming on topics for a village radio talk show),

    “Is sex with poodles always wrong?”

    😀

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  89. Headless Unicorn Guy: Check out a C.S.Lewis essay called “The Lure of the Inner Ring” sometime:
    https://www.lewissociety.org/innerring/

    Thank you Headless. That Lewis essay goes deep. “The Lure of the Inner Ring” reminds me that the central idol of postmodernism is relationships/community. We worship the love and acceptance of the inner ring, even when the ring is dripping with lies, instead of worshiping Jesus who is the truthful loving person at the center of the ultimate “inner ring.”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  90. Somewhereintime: I see this happen to many Christian “leaders”. They come to believe that the blessing of the Lord on their speaking / church is of THEIR doing.

    Blessing of the Lord?! We need to be careful to assign God’s hand on a particular minister or ministry because it ‘appears’ blessed. It’s increasingly clear in the American church that a man with a some charisma, a gift of gab, and a few gimmicks can build a mega-church … coming across as an angel of light while living in darkness. God never blesses sin and rebellion.

    There is a counterfeit church competing with the genuine Church across the American landscape. While individuals ensnared by such ministries can certainly experience an encounter with Christ and be blessed, it’s in spite of the institution rather than because of it. If you personally seek God, you will find Him … no JMac needed. If a man and his ministry are blessed by God, they will stand. JMac has fallen; HBC is in chaos.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  91. Max: If a man and his ministry are blessed by God, they will stand.

    IMHO, and blessed by God would not mean living large. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the luxuriant lifestyle does not seem present with Jesus and among the apostles. Everything was quite adequate, as opposed to palatial.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  92. Samuel Conner: One category of people that CT was not criticized for favoring or tolerating is “sociopaths”, though I am tempted to suspect that the omission was unintentional. It’s a category that is not yet recognized by biblicists.

    I’ve been pondering this comment.

    You’ve probably come across the following quote from Molly Worthen in the NYT:

    At one suburban campus that I visited, a huge yellow cross dominated center stage – until the projection screen unfurled and Driscoll’s face blocked the cross from view. Driscoll’s New Calvinism underscores a curious fact: the doctrine of total human depravity has always had a funny way of emboldening, rather than humbling, its adherents.

    The fact you cited in your comment is another curious one. You’d think that the one group of people who recognised – nay, anticipated – the existence of sociopaths would be fundagelical christians. They preach, after all, that every human being is a creature of evil, incapable of doing anything truly good.

    It has been my observation, in the last couple of years (but reflecting on three decades’ experience), that very few christians believe in God. At best, he exists for ceremonial purposes or as a figurehead for certain ethical traditions. In the same way, I don’t think these preachers actually believe in sin, or that they are “sinners saved by grace”.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  93. Nick Bulbeck,

    Yes, it seems that they don’t take their own doctrine of depravity to its logical conclusions. I also think that the theology of redemption is shallow and somewhat “magical”. Many people do not radically change from their prior way of “being human” when they make a “profession of faith”. Paul wrote “if any man be ‘in Christ’ New Creation!”, but that’s not the same as “in any man say he be in Christ, he is necessarily deeply and profoundly different from the kind of person he was before”.

    You would think that “sociopathy” would be recognized as a “clinical entity” among people who regard themselves to take the Scriptures, and especially Jesus, seriously. There is clear biblical “precedent” in “the unjust judge”, who lacked functional conscience (did not fear God) and who lacked empathy (did not care about people).

    It’s a bit stunning that people in churches that are led by precisely this kind of person are not more sensitive to the reality that this is what they are dealing with. As for the unjust judges themselves, of course they don’t clearly see themselves, but even if they did, it would not trouble them.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  94. Nick Bulbeck: It has been my observation, in the last couple of years (but reflecting on three decades’ experience), that very few christians believe in God. At best, he exists for ceremonial purposes or as a figurehead for certain ethical traditions. I

    I’ll never forget an experience in college. A buddy asked me to join him for an ash Wednesday service at his Lutheran Church. I was attending a Presbyterian Church but why not? So I went. At the service something happened. I can’t tell you what other than to say my spiritual eyes were opened and suddenly the reality hit me clearly- HE IS RISEN. HE IS ALIVE NOW. No audible voice. No vision. Just some college pastor reading Bible passages and annointing ashes on everyone’s forehead… And the unmistakable conviction of God’s living reality.

    God is described everywhere in the bible as the living God right? But honestly up till that day I had just said yes mentally. Everything changed that night for me. Until today and that was 30 some years ago.

    I often wonder how many other professing Christians have never grasped the truth that Jesus is here right now.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  95. Max: God never blesses sin and rebellion.

    But, per Romans 1, he does give idolators over to their idolatry, allowing their understanding to be darkened, with real-life consequences. The tragedy is that for a while this can appear to be “blessing”; but perhaps that appearance is part of the “giving over”/”darkened understanding” process.

    Do you think that God is “blessing” you? Tremble at the possibility that maybe He is hardening your heart. Beware what Luther called “theologies of glory.”

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  96. Samuel Conner,

    Fisher: my spiritual eyes were opened and suddenly the reality hit me clearly- HE IS RISEN. HE IS ALIVE NOW.

    Last night I was at a Good Friday service with about 100-150 people. A team of young people took turns reading the passages about that night when Jesus was taken, and songs were sung that presented how in His hour of agony and pain, He forgave. Through his wounds He demonstrated his love. There was corporate prayer of repentance before the feet of Jesus at the cross (spiritually speaking with that image in mind). A genuine flow of praise and communion.

    A true story was told about a boy with some disability. He walked with big arm and body movement, slowly. He labored in his speech, with twisted mouth. And his junior high classmates imitated him, mocked him, even picked him to be their group leader/spokesperson at a retreat with the intent of humiliating him. It took a while for the boy to walk up to the stage, and a few minutes for him to manage to get a few words out. All he said was: Jesus -loves – me. I- love- Jesus.

    The place was quiet. A couple boys cried. They were touched by the real Spirit of God. A few of those boys later became missionaries. That boy carried the real presence of Jesus in his life.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  97. Fisher,

    “I often wonder how many other professing Christians have never grasped the truth that Jesus is here right now.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    here’s what many believe in, what they grasp: the bible

    as to what that actually means, well, the powerbrokers make those decisions.

    the thinking-branch of the christian powerbrokers comes up with the formulas to solve for biblical:

    x(a -3) + yb – 2(a -b -3) + z = biblical, for example.

    the variables are people, the earth and the cosmos, and how each are allowed to function.

    God is a variable, and how God is allowed to function.

    sometimes the powerbrokers change the variables on who and what is allowed. sometimes this is for political reasons, litigious reasons, for financial reasons. occasionally it is simply because it makes things more convenient. but it seems to me it’s usually to consolidate power.

    whatever the powerbrokers say is biblical = the bible = what people have faith in = what is reality

    a very small reality, where all are constrained. even God.

    because there is simply no algebraic equation for anything bigger that would still solve for biblical.

    God is inside the bible, God is outside the bible. God is bigger than the bible. Jesus is here right now.

    it doesn’t factor in because there is no system that breaks that down into parts to solve. people don’t know what to do with it. so therefore, not part of reality.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  98. birdoftheair: That boy carried the real presence of Jesus in his life.

    Yes, it pleases God to work through weak and fragile things that don’t attract conventional notice and praise. I think that we are in danger when we value visible success as a metric of “God’s favor”; that’s the “theology of glory” that Luther warned of. By that metric, Jesus was an abject failure.

    But then, of course, … Easter.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  99. Fisher: I often wonder how many other professing Christians have never grasped the truth that Jesus is here right now.

    I think the old “WWJD” meme is very telling. The phrase

    What would Jesus do…?

    is actually only one half of a sentence; the second half is open to debate regarding detail, but the gist of it must be:

    … if he were here?

    To someone who really believes Jesus is both risen and present with us, the question would be fundamentally different; some variation on this theme:

    What is Jesus doing here and now? What is he saying to me? What example is he setting me, that I should follow?

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  100. Nick Bulbeck: You’ve probably come across the following quote from Molly Worthen in the NYT:

    At one suburban campus that I visited, a huge yellow cross dominated center stage – until the projection screen unfurled and Driscoll’s face blocked the cross from view.

    Big Brother’s face, ten meters tall on all the Telescreens.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  101. Samuel Conner: Yes, it seems that they don’t take their own doctrine of depravity to its logical conclusions. I also think that the theology of redemption is shallow and somewhat “magical”. Many people do not radically change from their prior way of “being human” when they make a “profession of faith”. Paul wrote “if any man be ‘in Christ’ New Creation!”, but that’s not the same as “in any man say he be in Christ, he is necessarily deeply and profoundly different from the kind of person he was before”.

    This is the empty, unproductive thinking that I eventually came to see Reformed Theology (Calvinism) to be. Just say the magic words, believe the right doctrines (the ones we teach) and you’re good to go. No need to change, become holy, serve others (just serve the church), fight for justice and equity in the larger community. Just come to church, pay your tithes and let us continue to brainwash you with our concepts of what scripture means. Play church.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  102. Nick Bulbeck: To someone who really believes Jesus is both risen and present with us, the question would be fundamentally different; some variation on this theme:

    What is Jesus doing here and now? What is he saying to me? What example is he setting me, that I should follow?

    I’d never made that connection but you’re right, it’s not WWJD but WIJDN- what IS Jesus doing now? Of course to answer that one would have to believe Jesus still speaks to people today via not just the bible but also through the spirit of truth. Also known as the Holy Spirit. Which neo Calvinists hotly deny happens of course.

    But it’s Easter Sunday today. Resurrection Sunday!

    Jesus did rise! He is still alive! He does still speak to any who listen, whose hearts are humble (ie not proud and full of themselves) And men like MacDonald, MacArthur, Piper, Mohler etc can’t stop him!

    Oh glorious day!! Jesus really is risen.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  103. TS00: Just come to church, pay your tithes and let us continue to brainwash you with our concepts of what scripture means. Play church.

    I experienced what might justly be described as an “epiphany” a year or two before I withdrew from the last congregation I attended, a traditional (not neo-cal) Reformed congregation. There was a not subtle competition among some of the elders for “who’s in charge here”; no spirit of unity in Christ. The ‘epiphany’ was “this Session of elders looks a lot like Jesus’ apostles before the crucifixion (and before Pentecost).” I think the same could be said (and intensified) for what has come to light and continues to come to light of the “behind the scenes” character of the leadership of HBC (and one wonders about the true character of many other ‘megas’).

    The Cross, the Resurrection and the Coming of the Spirit may as well never have happened as far as the way these enterprises operate at their higher levels.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  104. Julie: They just look like con artists now. How did I/we ever fall for their scam?

    Because they put a coat of ‘Biblical’ paint on it.

    And who wants to go against the ‘Authority of Scripture’?
    (as they see and define it)

    It covered up the termite damage so to speak, and had all you (generic you) pew serfs cowed and pacified.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  105. Max: The problem with deception is that you don’t know you are deceived because you are deceived.It happens to the best of us when we let our spiritual guard down.

    Make that “let our guard down” in general, Max.

    One problem a lot of Christians have is spiritualizing everything, like the original Gnostics.
    Like something has no existence or value unless you can put a Spiritual(TM) spin on it.
    And outside the Christianese Bubble, “Spiritual” means Unreal Woo-Woo.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  106. TS00: This is the empty, unproductive thinking that I eventually came to see Reformed Theology (Calvinism) to be. Just say the magic words, believe the right doctrines (the ones we teach) and you’re good to go.

    You also find this in the non-Calvinist Born-Agains like Calvary Chapel and its clones.
    Except there “the magic words” are “The Sinner’s Prayer” at the Altar Call, and “the right doctrines” are Moses-Model Pastor worship and Pre-Trib Rapture Any Minute Now.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  107. Brian:
    Headless Unicorn Guy,

    What is wrong with being born again? Just asking.

    Because since Jimmy Carter took the term mainstream, it’s been so badly overused it can mean anything.
    And the term’s accumulated a lot of baggage.

    All too often, it’s “OK, you’re Born Again(TM); now what?” and going back to Altar Call Rededication after Rededication after Rededication and never getting anywhere. Never growing. Like all those journals from Massachusetts Puritans that are nothing but navel-gazing sin-sniffing. Never mind the smug superiority of “I’m Saved AND YOU’RE NOT” one-upmanship, even with other born-agains.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  108. Headless Unicorn Guy,
    It’s become “say the magic words” (Sinner’s Prayer, itself a knockoff of the RCC Act of Contrition), “believe the right doctrines” (Six-day Zap YEC, Pre-Trib Rapture, and Culture War Without End), and you’re good to go. You’ve got your Fire Insurance policy and your Rapture ticket punched, DON’T DO ANYTHING TO VOID THEM.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  109. Very disappointed in Wayne Shepherd and his comments that Jeremy doesn’t finish 90% of his sentences and thoughts. 1st the travel and time change in Singapore could have been part of it. Also not everyone is as articulate as Wayne Shepherd being a professional announcer. Not gracious and Christ-like falling under the spell of JMac in ridiculing others. On a humorous note; (as JMac and Jerry Jenkins enjoys to gamble) Las Vegas taking bets if prolific fiction writer JMac’s book “Vertical Living” will be printed in the fall.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

  110. Somewhereintime,

    I’d like to agree on this point. When evil smites the shepherd, the sheep will scatter. JMac was doing the Lord’s work in a powerful way when he first started. Pride, arrogance, and greed was what brought him down.

    Do I believe that he was ever saved? Yes. Can one lose their salvation. No. But they can foul out of the game. And that’s exactly what happened here. He’s been benched permanently, and the flock has been in the ditch ever since.

      (Quote selected text)  (Reply)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *