Harvest Bible Chapel Announces it’s Shutting Down Walk in the Word

By Julie Roys
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Harvest Bible Chapel today announced it is shutting down Walk in the Word—the Bible teaching broadcast ministry of recently-fired Harvest founder, James MacDonald. In an email sent to supporters Thursday evening, Harvest said it is taking down the Walk in the Word website “until further notice.” (At publish time of this article, the website was still active. UPDATE: The homepage for the Walk in the Word website is still available. But now, when you click on any of the tabs, a page saying, “Website Under Maintenance” appears.)

The church also said it had cancelled the planned launch of  Walk in the Word digital content, and had stopped taking donations on March 1. 

Walk in the Word launched more than 21 years ago on WYLL, a local AM station in Chicago. In 2000, the Bible teaching program was added to the Moody Radio Network. And by 2018, Walk in the Word was heard on more than 2,000 radio and TV outlets, including the Trinity Broadcasting Network

In January, after published reports alleging abusive behavior, deception, and financial misconduct by James MacDonald, MacDonald announced he was pulling Walk in the Word from radio and TV stations and focusing exclusively on digital delivery of the program. At the time, MacDonald admitted the controversy was “straining relationships” with Christian broadcast ministries.

On February 12, Harvest fired MacDonald after vulgar comments by MacDonald were aired on a Chicago-area radio station.

Below is the email Harvest sent to supporters:

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41 thoughts on “Harvest Bible Chapel Announces it’s Shutting Down Walk in the Word”

    1. Bonnie, you’ll have to remove the app yourself. Press and hold the icon until it vibrates, then click the X. BTW you can still get the app, but the content is not there.

  1. So sad that what should be a loss to the greater Christian community (the closing of WITW) has become a victory. So many have been touched, encouraged, strengthened by this ministry, and yet, James and his enablers have fallen so far this “loss” is much needed and long overdue. I pray James truly repents. His arrogance and greed has brought so much shame and reproach on the gospel.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree, Joe. Yet it’s shocking how so few people at Harvest would tend to agree with you.

      A “typical” MacDonald message consisted of not much more than the following:

      1. Story-Time. Few messages were without an outrageous story or two from MacDonald’s week.

      2. Name-Dropping. MacDonald regularly dropped the names of other well-known names of popular ‘Christians’. He went to great lengths wanting others to know just how important and influential he was.

      3. Rants. MacDonald rarely withheld the opportunity to share his musings (and evidence of one fractured relationship after the next) from the pulpit.

      4. Confusing and burdening his listeners with works-righteousness.

      5. MacDonald regularly preached to himself. Virtually each and every week it was obvious MacDonald himself was experiencing condemnation via the Scriptures he taught to others.

      6. Few MacDonald messages were without some form of a manipulative, spirit-void, formulaic altar-call.

      1. Dear Mike, Although I am disappointed in James MacDonalds behavior recently (or past few years), I would disagree with your analysis of his ministry. Pastors regularly use stories, illustrations and such to make a point and Christ often did in his earlthy ministry. I dont think “name dropping” is an issue for me, many pastors discuss publickly their agreements or disagreements with other Pastors. Sometimes its to warn the flock of wovles dressed in sheeps clothing. Our works are a reflection of our relationship with Christ – I don’t think I hear Macdonald preaching works is necessary for Salvation. I appreciate Pastors who do preach to themselves – its important to include themselves because the sermon is for everyone. Alter calls are neither wrong nor right just a custom. Sometimes they are effective and sometimes they are manipulative. I will truly miss his ministry and still pray that God will resurrect it in a capacity that is honoring to HIM. No doubt you disagree with me but I think we would agree that his behavior was wrong.

        1. If he stopped “being a shepherd” then why call him pastor ?
          He is a HIRELING , always was and is. And to quote you ” cared nothing of protecting his sheep”
          which is what the Great Shepherd said a HIRELING is. Oh yes AND the HIRELING FLEES as well, just like jimmy canuck did.John 10:12-13

          1. Absolutely NOT “spot on”

            If it does “resurrect” I can assure everyone that it will not be the Heavenly Father doing it but rather another entity that is very famiLIAR with DECEPTION……….

        2. James like all other lordship salvationists preach a works added gospel.They use words that make it sound spiritual but it is clearly not faith alone that these guys preach.Not every saved person bears fruit contrary to popular belief.The word repent does not mean turn from your sin it means to change your mind about your need for Christ.Belief in the death burial and resurrection of Christ as payment for your sin is all that is required to be saved.Not a changed life!

        1. Pastor James promoted TD Jakes as a “brother in Christ.” I have heard him speak in the past and I know he knew full well that TD Jakes is a word of faith heretic, far from rightly dividing the Word of God. James stopped being a shepherd and cared nothing of protecting his sheep. He will be accountable to the Lord for the people led astray.

          1. If he stopped “being a shepherd” then why call him pastor ?
            He is a HIRELING , always was and is. And to quote you ” cared nothing of protecting his sheep”
            which is what the Great Shepherd said a HIRELING is. Oh yes AND the HIRELING FLEES as well, just like jimmy canuck did.John 10:12-13

  2. jamesdeweyburnett

    How can people who know the truth about all that goes on with Harvest, hire Jeff for any position. James still in control!!

  3. Now Harvest Church should shut themselves down completely. Had they not been exposed they clearly had every intention of allowing MacDonald to continue lying, cheating, and stealing. They helped hide and cover for this man and his schemes for quite some time. Also, many within that church (members and leaders) knew what as going on and directly benefited from his actions. The whole organization is tainted and should be shuttered for good.

    1. The “they” you are referring to have resigned, been fired, etc. “They” are gone. The church doesnt need to shut down, that is absurd. If you believe in God, you should believe He can turn this around for his glory, and should be praying for such.

      1. No “THEY” aren’t , you are lying to me and I really don’t appreciate that at all , is that JesusLuv towards me? I am really sure it is not His love but rather more 1/2 truths that are lies and I know that no liar will make it to eternity. Do you? or are you living for this life?

    2. In my experience the whole organization would include many of the earliest church plants in both Canada and the US. The similarities between the fiasco in Chicago and what has been happening in other HBC churches are blatantly obvious – arrogant pastors, controlling what congregants should read and believe, elder excommunications, abstract budgets with only high level detail, secret pastor salaries, nepotism, the list goes on. If you are still attending a Harvest Bible Chapel ask yourself if any of these cult-like symptoms are occurring at your church – if the answer is yes… run far,far away.

  4. One has to seriously consider how much of mentioned in the HBC letter “proclamation of truth” through “God’s guidance” there really was in the Walk in the Word given the DOUBLE LIFE of its teacher and expositor James MacDonald… Is God into deception, manipulation and duplicity orchestrated in order to abuse people and steal their money? Harvest Bible Chapel cannot help itself but continues to be presumptuous, pompous and prideful to the point that they have audacity to count MacDonald as in “double honor” as in 1 Timothy 5:17… UNREAL.

  5. Fat Mac is Coming Back

    Yet another totally cringeworthy fawning a**kissing spineless fanboy statement from Harvest.

    James MacDonald is a pervert, thief, liar, fraud, deceiver, unregenerate unrepentant sissy punk. And they issue a huggy kissy you’re so awesome statement like this?? Bizarrely, creepy unreal. Nothing will EVER change there. NEVER.

    Methinks Greg Bradshaw and Mike Collett wrote this…probably with some help from Kent Jaeger. Three MacDonald uber-fanboys if there ever was.

    Me also thinks something is in the works here… like preemptively not challenging via this public letter Fat Mac when he opens Walky in the Wordy or whatever slimy plans their all colluding on. Stay tuned…the slime never stops at Harvest…

  6. A changed partner

    I started listening to this ministry in the early 2000’s and the preaching and teaching was pretty sound – to my ears anyway. Over time, though, the bully-like behavior was becoming even more apparent as the sermons often had a tone of harshness to them. One can only imagine what it was like behind the scenes with such a strong personality running the program. As soon as he appeared on the DayStar tv broadcast something inside said that was it. Only those creepy tv preachers get put on that channel – Deceiving the masses with their gospel of prosperity and asking to give, give give. That said, God will not be mocked – and in the end ‘your sin will find you out’. Very sad ending to what was a really wonderful church. Perhaps this was a case of smiting the shepherd – in order to scatter the sheep. I’d really hate to think that he was working for the other side, all this time. Something tells me that he was/is saved, but now he’s been completely fouled out of the game, and he’s on the mechanics into the Lord’s Return. …we shall see if beauty will eventually rise out of these ashes.

  7. A changed partner

    Meant to say on the sidelines, until the Lord’s return. …anyway, many blessings to you Julie Roys. I’m truly sorry for the hardships that you have had to endure in standing up for righteousness. Goliaths present themselves in many shapes and forms. And it takes people of faith and courage to stand up to them.

  8. Harvest controls people and calls it love. This is embedded in James’ preaching and has been part of the Harvest culture for the longest time.

    How sick.

  9. Why have so many people been afraid to stand up to this fat clown behind the pulpit? For years and years, MacDollars has been stealing from the church, abusing people and acting like a total jerk, ( just like that other phony, Bill Hybels did), and every one from his congregation to Moody radio, all turned a deaf ear toward his despicable behavior. Also, I’m so glad I stopped giving any money to Moody a long time ago.

  10. A changed partner

    Thank you for the insight Joe. I must say though, he did preach and teach with sound doctrine. In looking back on old sermons and messages, JM had what appeared to have a true heart for God. The teaching was that good. As an outsider looking in, money sure does strange things to people. Maybe this attraction (or foothold) is exactly what the devil wanted to grow into tsunami of unrest at Harvest. Very sad.

    Folks must truly feel betrayed. At the end of the day, maybe this is the kryptonite of the mega church. Prayers to all those who were hurt by this. As the saying goes, there are no perfect people, and therefore, there are no perfect churches.

    1. It’s not the 99% of truth that is going to kill someone ( physically, emotionally , spiritually) it’s the 1% lie , because if someone is not Spiritually discerning they will not understand that the 100% total of both IS STILL A LIE …………….. THIS IS CALLED DECEPTION and deception can even get down to ………. .00000000000000000000001 % of a lie (or less)
      Our God and Savior is TRUTH and TRUTH ONLY, BE NOT DECEIVED ANY LONGER!!

    2. The preaching changed over time as also did his sermon writers and spiritual accountability partners. James chased off his sermon writers and his elder base that held him accountable. That is why people say his message has changed over the years. He once had good biblical teachers in his inner circle. His sermons over the past 9 years are written much different and there is a reason behind it.

  11. Also it is highly recommended to completely repent of being little sheep that wandered off and listened continually to ANOTHER VOICE and not THE GREAT SHEPHERD’S VOICE ONLY.
    WHY YOU ASK?
    Well that’s sad……… but here you go……….. For not knowing the Great Shepherd’s voice sufficiently for one’s own self , there are NO EXCUSES and excuses are lies and again that is sin.
    Brand new babes that are still on milk are somewhat exempt. Heb 5: 12-14
    Time to graduate to the meat and when you do then will begin your discernment and sin and sinning will
    be less of a stumbling block.

  12. David,

    I get being upset. I myself am upset as I was a member at Harvest for 15+ years. But to claim all of us were little sheep who wandered off and listened to another voice is insulting. Some of the greatest Christians with the greatest faith I know attended Harvest. And none of them were lovers of James but of Christ. James’ sermons were sound. At least, the ones I always listened to were. Did he say some weird things that I didn’t agree with? Yes. However, they were never anything that were a matter of doctrine. They were never anything unbiblical…until recently that is which is when my family and I decided to leave. It is possible to be able to preach the Gospel and sound doctrine and not live it. Most of the people at Harvest really did not know how James was when he wasnt preaching. And most did not worship him like so many are convinced they did. As a matter of fact, MANY people from the campus I attended would mention how they preferred the campus pastor preaching over James. Most members, myself included, did not read up about him on blogs until recently. Believe it or not, I actually knew some who attended who knew absolutely nothing about the elephant debt or the issues with James in the past until the lawsuit and more people in the church started talking about it. So to say that we all listened to another voice and not Christ’s without knowing us nor without knowing our hearts is very unfair.

  13. WHAT.!!! Are you serious.??!!!
    “Preached sound doctrine”.??
    HARDLY.!!!
    For pure profit, this satanic tool only used the words that the sheep wanted to hear.

    He DID NOT live the WORD.!!
    The further the investigators go back into his history the more this is evident.

    King Rat, his family and his minions have been exposed to the Light
    and yet even now they are howling “more, More, MORE”.!!!
    And why not.?? The steep have always anted up.!!!
    Year after year … to date over half a billion dollars.!!

    After King Rat and his Clan have finally stripped this carcass bare it will be
    off to another gullible herd which will be prime for shearing.!!!
    Laughing all the way, of course.!!!

    1. Gee Whiz Jim , I didn’t say “lost” sheep. No need to feel insulted. Faith doesn’t get insulted and repentance is a beautiful thing!

      1. Hi Mike this was posted by fisher on another article of this blog , see if this works for you………

        Fisher
        May 3, 2019 at 9:24 pm Reply
        Ed, you say you and countless others were blessed and fed spiritually. What were you fed?

        Did you and others grow in discernment to tell a sheep from a wolf? When you correctly identified the wolves what actions did you take to help others flee and find protection? Or did you do nothing.

        Harvest members were hounded for money while James and others lived high on the people’s gifts. When you realized that teaching about giving was based on guilt tactics rather than clear New Testament practices did you reject it? Did you help others reject it? Or did you do nothing.

        You say countless people were blessed. Yet dozens have testified in the past few months that James shamed them (even to tears) when they tried to hold him accountable. How was that a blessing?

        Over the years many of staff quit suddenly and elders left. Many were forced to sign NDAs. Were these people all blessed?

        Thousands of Harvest members left. Do you know anyone who was wounded or broken because of how Harvest leaders treated them? Do you know anyone whose children walked away from Jesus because of what they saw at Harvest? If so have you worked tirelessly to pursue any of those people to console and help them find their way back to Jesus?

        Perhaps you can answer yes to these questions. But if not, the spiritual food you were fed was poison and the blessing was a curse because it only produced “good feelings” and not the actions of a disciple in you.

        A disciple does not “attend church”- a disciple walks with Jesus every day. A disciple recognizes false teaching and speaks up. A disciple helps other people be disciples.

    2. Firegeads, I never said he lived what he preached. I actually acknowledged that most did not know how he was when he wasn’t preaching. Can you give examples as far as him *hardly* preaching sound doctrine? I am genuinely curious.

      To Song of Joy,
      I never heard anything like that about hell being preached. Not by James or any other pastor at HBC. Maybe I missed that sermon or just don’t remember but I am pretty sure I would be just as alarmed if I heard that. Rather, I always heard the opposite. That hell is a real place where you are physically tormented. I have heard that many many times from James’ own mouth from all the years I had attended. James actually did a whole series on hell.

  14. My opinion, based on a number of years attending Rolling Meadows and hearing James MacDonald preach in person: JM is a PRETENDER. He himself knows nothing of how to “Walk in the Word”.

    It took me a while to figure it out… but he doesn’t really believe nor understand the sacred Bible due to the grossly defiant, scheming, predatory nature of his soul.

    I believe that any good in the sermons he preached (and there were many good sermons at the time) were because he was totally supported by sincere, spirit-filled staff, sermon assistants, true Christians, who provided to him the appropriate theology, historical facts and contextual meaning for “his” messages. James was merely the mega mouth-piece, interjecting his forceful personality without appreciating anything about the truths he was spouting off on with his seared conscience.

    I became alarmed to realize that whenever JM went “off script” during the sermon, he would say things that were very unbiblical and/or very ignorant. It happened enough where I started to mull it over, asking myself how JM, a pastor who supposedly had a Doctor of Divinity degree, could have so many deficiencies of knowledge?

    Some examples that come to mind… once JM said something to the effect no-one goes to hell in their body, their physical body, there is only spiritual separation from God if the person isn’t saved, i.e. Hell isn’t a real place, with real torment. I was stunned as real hell is something he should’ve learned in Theology 101. (Matthew 10:28)

    Another time, JM started mocking the twelve disciples, because he was tripped up in a sermon not remembering all of their names (he obviously couldn’t recall many of their names). He became sarcastic saying something to the effect that “who cares or has the time to know who they all are, they aren’t important…” I was flabbergasted.

    There were other statements too that were just as bad. I finally woke up to the fact that James MacDonald doesn’t personally comprehend nor possess ANY TRUTH about the Father, Son, Holy Spirit or Bible. He has skated through, using others to fake it.

    “Walk in the Word” will not be missed by me.

    1. Song of Joy – I didn’t realize James MacDonald had received Doctor of Divinity. Can you find information on that? A Doctor of Divinity (DD) is an honorary degree, meaning that it was “gifted” to a person by an organization that wants to recognize an individual for what they have done. Earned Doctorates in ministry are PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), ThD (Doctor of Theology), DMin (Doctor of Ministry). These are earned degrees where coursework is done and dissertations are written and defended). There are some “degree mills” that “grant” degrees for very little work done and financial contributions. However, if PhD, ThD and Dmin degrees come from well recognized Seminaries, then one can trust. I recall a pastor being Introduced as Doctor …. His was a DD degree and he responded by stating, “An honorary doctorate is like the corkscrew on a pigs tail. It is of no earthly good, but sure tickles the ham in front of it.”

      1. Don Jones,
        At the time I attended Harvest, I only knew that James MacDonald was identified as having a doctorate degree related to ministry. This is what Wikipedia says:

        MacDonald is a graduate of London Baptist Bible College (BA in Theology, 1984), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MA in Religion, 1988) and Phoenix Seminary (D. Min, 1996).

        The opinion I was trying to express is that as an educated pastor with advanced religious degrees (whatever they are), James MacDonald should know Bible basics. I don’t expect all Christians to know everything, I myself certainly don’t! But I would expect an experienced, educated pastor to know the things he was getting wrong. Let’s put it this way, on some occasions even I could tell he was off base, and I don’t have any Bible degree (wish I did).

        1. Song of Joy – certainly agree that there were some pretty bad interpretations / twisting of Scripture by MacDonald in an effort to support his agenda. One of the most recent was the attempt to twist Scripture to support the lawsuit. You are right.

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