Elders at Harvest Formally Disqualify James MacDonald From Ministry

By Julie Roys
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The Elders at Harvest Bible Chapel today formally disqualified former pastor, James MacDonald, from ministry, saying his behavior did not meet the qualifications for an elder, according to Scripture. Elder Karl Jackson read the following letter to the congregation:

Dear Harvest Bible Chapel Family,

We come today before you with very heavy hearts, saddened by the necessity of this statement regarding Dr. James MacDonald.  The content of this statement is going to be very difficult to hear.

We want to start by being clear that Harvest Bible Chapel is very thankful for the 30 years of ministry that James MacDonald served this church. There are countless stories of how God used James for His glory, and for His purpose in the lives of the people of this church and around the world. His example of teaching the Word of God as the final word of authority will remain in the fabric of this church moving forward.

On February 12, 2019 James MacDonald’s employment was terminated by our elder board as our Senior Pastor for not being “above reproach” and for having a “sinful pattern of inappropriate language, anger, and domineering behavior.” Since then, there was a full transition to the new Elder board. The Walk in the Word donor list was also informed about the termination of James’ employment and that Harvest was closing the Walk in the Word website and no longer accepting donations.

You may be wondering why we’re coming to you now, months after James’ dismissal. As we spent time with the congregation and visited all of our campuses, it became clear that there was confusion over the previous statements about our former Senior Pastor. We are here today to provide clarity to our church family and to those who listened to and supported Walk in the Word, a ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel. We understand the seriousness of these spiritual matters and desire to be wise and discerning as we seek the Lord to guide us through the Scriptures.

1 Timothy 5:19 and 20 says,

Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

In accordance with this passage, over the past several months, we have been investigating the charges against our former Senior Pastor. 1 Timothy 5 is the guiding passage for this circumstance because James was an Elder of Harvest Bible Chapel. We have interviewed and documented first-hand evidence of these accusations seeking to validate or refute them. In this investigation, you can be assured of three things. (1) We have only considered accusations that included two or three witnesses. In fact, everything that is covered in this letter includes many more witnesses than the biblical requisite of two or three. (2) We have only considered evidence from first-hand witnesses. (3) We have listened to these witnesses in groups of two interviewers in order to protect us from an individual opinion swaying the outcome.

These accusations address James’ qualification as an Elder or Pastor in the church. The results of the investigation have led us to conclude that James had a substantial pattern of sinful behavior in the following areas.

  1. Above Reproach (Titus 1:6)–“To be above reproach is to have a reputation for being blameless and honorable.” The accusations against James are of great quantity and continue to be brought forward. His character should have been such that this magnitude of accusations would not have been believable. But sadly, James’ reputation does not defend his character. Instead, his reputation affirms many of the accusations against him as plausible.
  2. Respectable (1 Timothy 3:2)–The antithesis of being respectable is to be disruptive. We found that James had a pattern of being disruptive in public and private settings at the expense of other people’s well-being.
  3. Upright (Titus 1:8)–We found that James failed to meet the standard of dealing with others fairly and honorably. At times, he misrepresented gifts paid for by the church as gifts from him personally.
  4. Not Arrogant or Violent (Titus 1:7)–James’ behavior and language indicated that he thought of himself more highly than he should as evidenced by his pattern of insulting, belittling and verbally bullying others.
  5. Not Quick-Tempered or Quarrelsome (Titus 1:7; 1 Timothy 3:3)–We found James had a pattern of quickly becoming angry, manifesting itself in unmerited force and frequency. James’ behavior was of that of a combative person who insisted on his own ways and failed to cultivate peace.
  6. Not Domineering (1 Peter 5:3)–We found that James had a pattern of improperly exercising his positional and spiritual authority over others to his own advantage.
  7. Not Greedy for Gain or A Lover of Money (Titus 1:7; 1 Timothy 3:3)–We found that James made repeated efforts to profit himself beyond what was honorable. There was a pattern of extravagant spending utilizing church resources resulting in personal benefit.
  8. Disciplined (Titus 1:8)–James failed to keep his emotions under control. The failure is not in the dynamic range of his personality, but in the lack of self-discipline, which an Elder should display in a bridled tongue and sound speech.
  9. Self-Controlled and Sober-Minded (Titus 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:2)–We found that James had a pattern of acting on sudden impulses with insufficient deference to wise but differing views. In some of the most crucial moments where James needed to be calm and cautiously wise, he was hasty and reckless.

Because of these findings, James was biblically disqualified from the position of Elder, meaning he did not meet the spiritual standards to which a Harvest Bible Chapel Elder is held. The Bible does not teach that disqualification from ministry is permanent; however, with the scope of the damage caused by his behavior, James will not be able to serve again as an Elder or Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel.

Because of these findings, James was biblically disqualified for the position of Elder, meaning he did not meet the spiritual standards to which a Harvest Bible Chapel Elder is held.

We believe that James could be restored to ministry someday, but in order for that day to come, the fruits of repentance must be evident. Based on Harvest Bible Chapel’s interpretation of the Scripture, we have not yet seen evidence of this. There is much potential for God to be glorified through him in the coming years, and our hope is to witness this someday.

Galatians 6:1 tells us, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.

We have communicated to James that he needs to find a small group of godly brothers to restore him biblically in the spirit of gentleness. He needs an extended period of time away from ministry in order to focus on repentance and to seek relational reconciliation and restitution where it is possible. We are all in need of God’s grace. And we have implored James to humble himself and fully surrender to the Lord.

We have no desire to shame James, but seek only to be in submission to God’s Word. 1 Timothy 5 does not require us to reveal all the details and the witnesses of these accusations; our biblical responsibility is to accept or reject these accusations and issue this public rebuke. We have done what is a biblical manner by rebuking him in the presence of all so that the rest of us will stand in fear.

The appropriate response to this content of this statement is grief and sadness. It should grieve the heart of every child of God to see the founding Pastor of this church in this place. Though this is painful, we desire this rebuke to be loving and remain open to meeting with James. Please don’t ever stop praying for James and Kathy.

We trust God with this church that belongs to Jesus Christ.

The Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel

David Cryder
Jasen Day
Karl Jackson
Kent Jaeger
Brian Laird
Al Miranda
Dave Smoot
Tim Stoner
Darrin Weidman

 

 

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45 thoughts on “Elders at Harvest Formally Disqualify James MacDonald From Ministry”

  1. It’s about time. Thankfully the finally did this, but, really, what took so long? These were not secrets. They were all painfully obvious, literally. The evil spiritual abuse did not have to happen. Who else is responsible? Merely dismissing the previous Elders is not nearly enough.

    1. Agreed. And the thought of James returning to ministry EVER is ridiculous. He has proven himself unworthy and untrustworthy.

  2. Very encouraging to read this- Elders taking their Scriptural responsibility seriously. Well done, so much better than Elders washing their hands once the resigned pastor has left the premises- which is too often the circumstance…

  3. Praying for reconciliation

    Will the Harvest elders be in contact with all current or former HBF church plants and the GCC to rectify the abuse sent down by James into all the other communities of faith in the US and around the world? Seeing that James trained and modeled this behavior to these pastors and elders during Harvest U? It would be helpful and healing if Harvest Chicago would reach out to the many leaders/pastors who may be struggling with the behavior they witnessed from James and their sinful responses in their own congregations as a result of a poor example taught or modeled by James. It is possible we may still have some other men who are disqualified and below reproach leading organizations and churches who need to be gently restored as well once they are able to confess and repent. Just some thoughts from an ex-Harvest church member.

  4. The better question is whether MacDonald has been granted the rights to all his Walk In The Word material. I don’t think he gives a whit about his being deemed an “elder”. MacDonald’s only worried about making $$ again and has got to regain control of that stuff.

    1. The Walk in the Word, with its estate planning feature and tool, is a Cash Cow. Whoever has access to Walk in the Word will be set up and loaded financially for years and years…..Will James give it up willingly as part of his repentance?

      Also, 1 question I had is this……..James left HBC with 42 million dollars in DEBT while James was earning well over 1 Million dollars per year due to multiple revenue streams. James has access to tons of money, while his former employer HBC is sitting on dwindling revenue while knowing they are 42 million in DEBT.

      I wonder if the “disqualification process” took so long is because the HBC Elders know that its release might spark another round of costly legal work……either by James filing another lawsuit….or battling the arbitration…..

      HBC Elders gotta know it is expense to pay $100/hr lawyers while sitting on mountain of debt…..James does not have that problem

  5. I am very surprised to see HBC Elders take this approach…..to be honest. This was so long overdue. The above points in the Elders letter are backed up by documented witnesses spanning years and years……This did not happen in secret or private !! All of us knew these points for years precisely because they were public knowledge. So I am sincerely surprised why it took so long. But I am very Grateful to see HBC Elders finally follow the Bible and actually apply Biblical teaching here.

  6. What about all of the elders and staff members who knew this was going on and did nothing? They are not fit to be leaders in the church, either. Furthermore, where is the public confession to the Many people who made HBC their church in the past? The new leadership wants this church and their ministry to be blessed by God? Then they need to have a public confession and apology for their failure to lead and for ignoring valid concerns when they knew there was a pattern of sinful behavior. They refused to listen and lead, allowing godly people to leave, suffering, rather than do the hard work of standing for righteousness. It seems they want to “look forward and leave the past behind” but that’s a privilege granted by God after doing the hard work of repentance and true biblical reconciliation. Please Harvest, for the good of the greater body of believers, do not neglect the important step of acknowledging that it wasn’t only James who sinned, but an entire group of “leaders” who refused to lead rightly, causing tremendous hurt and harm to many in the Church.

    1. I’m still so very disappointed that Fred Adams, and Trei Tatum are still attending members?. Fred Adams is just as responsible to sinking the church financially as James. He witnessed James at his worst, and and didn’t evidently d have a conscience or conviction to tell the truth in love to his brother James. Covered, excused, downplayed publicly(to the church body) numerous times. Remember the xlt sitting at those tables in front and spinning the issues? All of them. Trei Tatum headed up those “events” where is the big givers would be invited to get first-hand information about the new movie coming out or having a special guest speaker and then feeding them a lavish dinner on the church. James 2; James 9,come to minD.
      I guess at this point, they will have to live with their conscience. I’ve never heard one statement of repentance from Fred Adams, The silent partner in crime.

  7. I am thankful for the Harvest Elders finally following and applying the Bible. This was long overdue. All of the points above have been public knowledge for many years with multiple witnesses.

  8. I worked for a man (not with a man) for less than a year after discovering very early on that he was a thief and a charlatan. I expressed this to my immediate boss, and I made it clear that I would leave the ministry at the end of the school year. I needed time to find a new job. I was a very poor young man, and I had nothing in reserve. So, I did not “out” the man mainly because I knew that no one would believe me because they had not seen or discerned his true character. Ten years later it became obvious to everyone that the leader was a crook. So, I understand why more people didn’t come forward with their accusations against MacDonald. Still, I am happy that the church has done its due diligence, even though it seems as if it took a long time to come to their conclusions. I hope their statement will help other organizations to pause/cease their attempt to rehabilitate James. If he will sincerely repent to the Harvest congregation, then, and only then, will he be eligible to serve in any capacity in the Christian world. All of this is true for Bill Hybels as well who was guilty of different kinds of sins which made him ineligible for any further ministry.

  9. Your disrespectful tone is uncalled for. It lacks a spirit of gentleness. Please speak to a sister or brother not in such a manner, but with love. God bless.

  10. Keep in mind that the elder board is entirely new. It appears they took appropriate time to vet all accusations and confirm the areas of character that needed to be publicly addressed as lacking for elder qualification. It was much of the prior board and now resigned pastoral staff that failed in their capacity to address James directly early on.
    The financial hole that James left in his wake may be too much to overcome for the Harvest body that remains. As far back as 2013 I lamented that Harvest could employ 100 additional staff with just the interest they were paying on debt then (not to mention any principal reduction). Will be only by God’s amazing grace if they can positively impact the Kingdom again but the Biblically sound and compassionate statement they’ve made here is cause for real hope.

  11. it is good to see that a statement was finally issued and I would hope other pastors abusing their positions will be stopped

  12. The second paragraph is total and complete B.S. This man was never qualified to hold any position of authority anywhere. He leveraged the name of God from the beginning in order to build not God’s Kingdom but his own personal serfdom with lots of people to manipulate and take advantage of. All of the fruit from this stinks to the highest heaven. The most telling thing is his murderous temper and attempt to kill off, quite literally, those who did not bow down and worship him. This man has hit the height of evil. Yet there will still be those who come onto this blog and defend him. What else do you need to know in order to see that this man is a psychopath and every bit a son of the Devil that Jesus called out in the rich and power hungry religious hypocrites? It is not the heathen that have the big problem knowing what sin and evil is. It is us who claim to represent Jesus Christ…

    1. Evil has a certain stench to it and when it has had its run there is always destruction, pain, suffering, disillusionment, and confusion. Satan’s ultimate goal is to divide and destroy the body (people) of Christ. You will know evil men and women by their fruit and “according to their deeds.” When I first began to learn of James MacDonald’s antics I felt like I was reading a trashy drugstore novel. It just did not seem that this could be real. Yet, when I turn to the Word I’m reminded that there are many like MacDonald in our midst.

      But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:12-15

      Satan is real and God’s word tells us that he disguises himself as a servant of RIGHTEOUSNESS. That means he walks the walk and talks the talk of a true servant of righteousness. Only he’s not. He’s just playing a role to deceive, kill, steal, and destroy. The saddest part to me is that so many Christians refuse to read and BELIEVE their Bibles and allow people like this to deceive them because he’s charismatic, rich, and famous. How sad.

  13. There’s more discerning thoughts in Mister Jesperson’s comments here than the collective wisdom (or lack thereof) of Harvest’s leadership.

    1. Thanks Michael for noticing, not me, but the truth. And Carla, thanks for pointing out the verse from II Cor.

      What Jesus plainly stated about murder (Matt. 5:21-22) shows that JMac is a murderer. Christians do not tend to know hitmen, so JMac was fishing in the wrong pond. Had he asked the right people he could have found one. And we do not know. Maybe he tried a third time and someone else got killed and payed. The fact that the Devil is, according to Jesus, a liar, a thief and a murderer means that those wolves who disguise themselves in sheep’s clothing will practice all three of those things. We have evidence from multiple witnesses that JMac did all three of those things, so the label fits. He is a son of the Devil doing the Devil’s work in the church which is Satan’s number one priority to infiltrate, lie to, steal from and destroy. He is also an idol that needs to be torn down. The only reason that I can think of that anyone would defend this man at this point is because he has been elevated in the minds of some to where he is untouchable. Such would see rebuking him as evil because he is their God. Heaven help those who have replaced the worship of Jesus, who died for us, with the worship of a murderer, liar and thief. If this act does not require repentance, then no act does…

  14. Ha! Yes, I read it, for what it is worth, and thank you for the snarkiness. It is also called incompetence, fear of man, and other things as well. My comments we directed at the current Elders, and more so to the past Elders.

  15. I would like to ask a question. James is not the only one who is guilty of all this evil. There are a ton of others who enabled him to act like a tyrant, manipulate money, steal, and only God knows what else. Why is not the hammer of justice falling on them as well? I believe they are probably even more guilty because they allowed it to go on unchecked.

    1. Without question. None of the campus pastors should still be leading their flocks. And many many others who unconditionally supported MacDonald and-or who were more concerned about Harvest’s name above all else have demonstrated themselves unfit for church leadership.

      1. Mike M, I totally agree with you, all harvest Bible chapel is doing is Damage control…..outing McDonald was just harvest’s way of trying to put this giant pile of dung to bed…… they pretend like this is all shocking and new ….but most of the leadership at Harvest Bible chapel took the money turned a blind eye and tried to convinced themselves that the end justified the means…..that why they use terms like “we’re working on transparency”……all that really means is , we’re not going to B.S you as much as we use to….your either transparent or your not. That’s why they won’t deal with the rest of the Hirlings at Harvest….because they’re NOT transparent.

  16. A few minutes ago on Twitter, I (my handle is @NealRoys) asked Pastor Choco (his handle is @PastorChoco) for comment on this disqualification letter and whether he knew this was coming when his church recently featured James at the men’s retreat for New Life Covenant Church (Their handle is @MyNewLifeOrg).

    1. Grateful for you and your wife’s ministry to the church and world. Biblical Discernment is lacking ……….sorely lacking in most of the Evangelical world…….

      Sad, but true.

  17. I almost forgot…what does the leadership at Harvest Bible chapel have to say about Rick (the silent assassin) Donald or Fred (Greasy thumb) Adams or Scott (Golfin with Jmc in Scotland) stonebreaker) or Jeff (African safari) Donaldson or Steve( The fixer) Huston…..or anyone in leadership at Harvest Bible chapel who signed the imfamous (“we stand with James McDonald UNCONDITIONALLY”)Document…..Your Silence is Defening……pretending like they’ve made everything right by RELUCTANTLY sacrificing James McDonald and NOT holding all of his Henchmen accountable is an insult to most people’s intelligence and IMO shows thier utter contempt for the people who they claim to care about.

    1. Dan Keller: good point !!

      James could not perform un-biblical actions without his supporting cast. It was the HBC circle of highly paid insiders who knew the truth, but suppressed it because they were making off like bandits from the tithes and offerings of unsuspecting sheep. You were right: there is not a single ravenous wolf…….in fact there were Ravenous Wolves who enabled James, and in return, were highly compensated for their loyalty.

      Silence screams, but silence can also be deafening, when the ravenous wolves are highly compensated.

      @UT_Grad_Amy on Twitter is right on to note how $$$ important Walk in the Word ( i.e. estate planning feature ) is central to these ravenous wolves.

  18. Hopefully Julie Roys can find God again one day and find the true Spirit of Joy she once had before she was canned from her radio show. Now she is a ravenous wolf out for blood in the morning devouring the prey and at evening on her laptop dividing the spoil! Get a life Julie and find that meaning you once THOUGHT you had! No comments needed from Julie’s holier than thou peanut gallery who should cast your own first stones! Sinners! No BOB (a/k/a Julie Roys, this is not James!

    1. Kameron…..everything you just said about Julie is not only untrue but is exactly who you appear to be judging by the mean spirited post you just posted……very hypocritical, sound alot like someone in Jmacs peanut gallery.

    2. Kameron:

      Your post above is both wrong on factual and scriptural grounds.

      I have no hope you will even read this, since your ulterior motives are very apparent to all in your reality-challenged, emotional Rant.

      By the way…..I noticed Julie “took the high road” and made visible your emotional, angst-filled post for all to see here. You must have been having a bad day at the office, eh? That “high road” approach by Julie towards your emotional outburst would never have been tolerated by your Celebrity Pastor Hero “James MacDonald” who has fired staff in past for merely questioning His Royal Highness. Props to Julie here.

      Hope you have a better day tomorrow! And stop worshipping Celebrity pastors!!

      1. Mark/Julie/Bob,

        Aren’t you mister high road follower of Julie. I follow God! You follow this dumb forum written by a disgraced prior radio hosts who, guess what, has no radio voice other than through potty-mouth Mancow! Way to go Julie! You had your loyal minion respond. Mark are you Julie Roys? You sound like Julie Roys…out to “get someone”! Julie takes no high road and her own website is a testimony to that! She loves to cause dissension and give her one-sided stories. Far from her radio days! Have fun following this feminist who lost her way and radio show! Sorry Julie, you gave it a good go but no one wanted to hear you! Your website sucks, you suck and your agenda sucks! Go get right with God! You and (a/k/a) Mark/Bob.

        1. Kameron: your post above speaks to your lack of character. I am not Julie, but I thank you anyway for the high compliment of comparing me with her ( she is a follower of Jesus Christ who is willing to call out the Evangelical Celebrity Pastor Industrial Complex for the sick, ugly machine that it really is !! ).

          So I am not Julie……

          Personally, I would rather hide my identity than expose it to James and other potty-mouth minions of the un-biblical Celebrity Pastor complex….. since they have demonstrated no Biblical conviction by suing Christian Truth-tellers in a secular court of law. But “having no Biblical conviction” is really part and parcel of the Celebrity Pastor complex….so I just repeated myself…

          Kameron:

          why don’t you keep returning to this website that you already professed much love and much affection for? I have a Deal for you right now. How about you ( a Celebrity Pastor devoted fan and earnest follower of James MacDonald ) and me ( a poor middle class, former HBC member who hates getting his wallet fleeced by Wolves ) continue to come here and direct Internet Traffic here so that Julie Roy’s Alexa rankings can continue to climb ?

          How about it ?

          Kameron:

          You see, the MORE julieroys.com Alexa rankings continue to Soar, that only means the MORE an unbelieving, dying world realizes that there are Christians left who refuse to be silent in the midst of abuse, lies, greed, corruption, and flat-out un-biblical Idolatry .

  19. Kameron , Your totally right , are we gonna bicker and argue over who swindled who? what are millions of dollars among brothers and sisters.and whats wrong with a pastor exercising his authority? Sure he has to crack some heads from time to time and maybe belittle some of the spiritual peons in his congregation….its all for a good cause, Right? And you can’t fault a guy for getting his boys cushy high paying pastor jobs, even though they might not be qualified for the job.and so what,he gives a few of his church buddies real expensive gifts on the churches dime….almost anyone who knows whats what would do that, thats how you get things done……so keep up the good work kameron, you know I really really appreciate it…oh by the way, I love it when you tell people that they Suck, your aces in my book.

  20. Charles Despeville

    Ditto and how good to know that there are those who see. The reason this took so long, and this avaricious psychopath is being defended and about to weasel out of jail time is that the crowd is untruth.

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