About two weeks ago, Mancow Muller aired vile, recorded comments by James MacDonald on his Chicago radio show on WLS/AM890. This shocked the Christian community and prompted Harvest Bible Chapel to fire MacDonald. Yet MacDonald’s comments apparently didn’t shock Johnnie Moore.
Moore, a leading evangelical who sits on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals and President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, features prominently on the 50-minute recording from which MacDonald’s vile sound bites were pulled. Many of MacDonald’s comments were made in a conversation with Moore. And portions of this conversation can be heard on a podcast Mancow released days later. (This has since been taken down, but is now posted to the Wartburg Watch.)
As MacDonald explains at one point on the 50-minute recording, which I’ve heard in full, he hired Moore to help him manage the fallout from both my investigation for WORLD Magazine and the lawsuit MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel had filed against me and four others. Moore is founder and CEO of The KAIROS Company, a public and media relations company.
Shockingly, when MacDonald makes his vile comments in his conversation with Moore, Moore doesn’t object; he laughs, and at some points, even agrees. Moore expresses no objection, for example, when MacDonald calls Mark Galli, editor in chief of Christianity Today, a “certifiable prick.” In fact, when MacDonald explains how he had snubbed Galli when he saw Galli at a suburban Chicago country club, Moore responds that he agrees with that.
Similarly, Moore laughs when MacDonald suggests vulgar, imaginary headlines, announcing, for example, that Harold Smith, former CEO of CT, “exposes himself”; that Ed Stetzer, contributing editor of CT and executive director of the Billy Graham Center, “fails to stop unwanted erection of Christianity Today tabloid”; and that Galli and I are having an illicit affair. (Nothing could be further from the truth.)
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When MacDonald says, “This frickin’ Julie Roys is going to be riding around on a tricycle with a midget on her shoulders,” Moore responds that MacDonald is the kind of client every publicist has nightmares about. But this doesn’t cause Moore to hang up and fire his vulgar client. Instead, when MacDonald repeats the insult, Moore laughs again.
But perhaps most troubling, when MacDonald jokes that he’s calling off the plan to put child porn on Harold Smith’s computer, Moore again laughs, giving tacit approval to MacDonald’s reprehensible speech. Moore even adds, “I’ve got a few other people, though, if you need to do that.”
The Evangelical Celebrity Machine
For the past year, I’ve been writing about the evangelical “celebrity machine” or “industrial complex”—a network of Christian media, publishers, and ministry “partners,” which rely on each other for promotion, book deals, conference invites, networking, and income. In the best of all possible worlds, this “machine” would be leveraged to inspire vision, support important initiatives, and hold Christian public figures accountable.
But as the MacDonald recording reveals in perhaps the most grotesque fashion I’ve ever witnessed, the machine is often used to protect the powerful and to crush truthtellers. And though the machine is comprised of professing Christians, there’s nothing Christian about the way it operates.
The machine is all about leveraging influence. Burying the truth. And promoting and protecting your public image. In MacDonald’s case, there’s also vulgarity, insults, and obscene jokes thrown in.
The context of Moore’s conversation with MacDonald is that Christianity Today has just published an article about Harvest’s lawsuit against me and the authors of The Elephant’s Debt and their wives–and MacDonald is not happy. So, he and Moore are having a conversation about it.
Moore is on a speaker phone. And MacDonald is in a room with people who sound like they could be employees or friends of MacDonald. They’re clearly familiar with Christian ministry, yet they don’t seem to be bothered any more than Moore is with MacDonald’s speech.
“The machine is often used to protect the powerful and to crush truthtellers. And though the machine is comprised of professing Christians, there’s nothing Christian about the way it operates.”
This is just gross. I know PR professionals are paid to help people project the best possible public image, but if that requires being disingenuous and manipulative, Christians should have no part of it.
Yet Moore’s strategy apparently works. On the second part of the recording, we hear MacDonald have a conversation with Weber. And at the end of that conversation, Weber agrees to publish an editorial by MacDonald defending lawsuits against believers entitled, “Why Suing is Sometimes the Biblical Choice.”
I since have talked to Mark Galli of CT about this decision. He said Weber was not authorized to offer MacDonald space in the magazine during the call, but that the decision was made afterwards by himself. Galli added that he significantly edited MacDonald’s opinion piece to remove any direct attacks against me and the other defendants.
I can appreciate that, but I still find what happened extremely troubling. And I can’t help but wonder how things might have been different if I and the four other defendants were the big celebrities and MacDonald was the writer with a much smaller platform.
I also reached out to Moore several times to get his side of the story. On the day Mancow aired MacDonald’s sound bites on his program, I emailed Moore and included a link to the audio of Mancow’s show. I also told Moore that I had heard the entire 50-minute recording from which MacDonald’s bites were excerpted and knew that these comments were made during a conversation with Moore.
Moore replied, “If indeed your description is what it sounds like on the recording (assuming it is an authentic recording), it is probably that I simply didn’t hear or understand what he was saying.”
He added, “I can honestly say I do not remember any such comment on any call, and I certainly wouldn’t tacitly or otherwise support something so absurd as this.”
“I don’t think anybody set out to build an evangelical celebrity machine that’s an affront to the gospel. Instead, this machine slowly took form as Christians’ pursuit of prosperity, prestige, and platform caused them to make one compromise after another.”
I later sent Moore audio of Mancow’s podcast, which included excerpts with his voice on them. I twice emailed Moore, asking for comment, but he did not respond.
However, in a statement given to Slate Magazine, Moore said his job sometimes requires acting as a “shock absorber” who listens when clients become frustrated. But he added that this “did not make it right for me to respond offensively and thoughtlessly. I’m very sorry for that, and I’m dealing with it directly, seriously and personally.”
That’s a much more honest response, and I truly hope Moore will take some time to seriously reflect on his behavior. In the meantime, he should step down from the National Association of Evangelicals and Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board.
I also hope the others involved in this unsavory chapter will reflect seriously and thoughtfully about their participation, as well.
I don’t think anybody set out to build an evangelical celebrity machine that’s an affront to the gospel. Instead, this machine slowly took form as Christians’ pursuit of prosperity, prestige, and platform caused them to make one compromise after another. And now, the evangelical church is much like the church in Sardis, with a reputation of being alive, but we are dead—of being dressed in white, but our clothes are soiled.
We need to remember that Jesus never cared about the prominence of His Bride. He cared about her holiness. He didn’t care about Her image to the world; He cared about her willingness to take up her cross. We have lost sight of what ministry and the church should be. And we need to repent and strengthen what remains before it’s too late.
UPDATE: Below is the full audio of Johnnie Moore’s conversation with James MacDonald.
102 thoughts on “James MacDonald Recording Reveals Ungodly Evangelical “Celebrity Machine””
“And now, the evangelical church is much like the church in Sardis, with a reputation of being alive, but we are dead—of being dressed in white, but our clothes are soiled.
We need to remember that Jesus never cared about the prominence of His Bride. He cared about her holiness. He didn’t care about Her image to the world; He cared about her willingness to take up her cross. We have lost sight of what ministry and the church should be. And we need to repent and strengthen what remains before it’s too late.”
Challenging words for us all, Mark. Thank you for sharing truth we all would do well to heed.
Who recorded these conversations?
Precisely my question. We would infer that either Mr. Moore had his nose full of MacDonald, or else that MacDonald said those things with at least one other person in the room.
Given the cutthroat nature of these things, I don’t want that person exposed to the public, but those who have a bright shiny front and an icky reality might want to contemplate what went on here.
THE HOLY BIBLE
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather EXPOSE them.”
I don’t understand your comment. People continued to write about Tullian T as long as he pretended at repentance too. And they will continue to as long as he continues, so that people with ears to hear will understand what fake repentance looks like.
” I highly doubt that God approves of us speaking ill of people.”
So… maybe you could enlighten me as to why are you doing it?
Just so you know you are no better. James is fired and yet you still blog about him. You are building a platform and getting paid to write. So please don’t act you are holy holy. You are a sinner just like him and myself too. We rely on Christ. Instead of tearing down we can build up and love. I highly doubt that God approves of us speaking ill of people. He died for all of us. No church is perfect. No church will have it right. What are you benefiting by continuing to write about James? It is sad that Christians are hurting other Christians. Yes what James did was not right, but instead of having hurt so many lives. We should have prayed.
That’s known as:. Shooting the messenger because you don’t like the content of the message being transferred, Lina.
No one is trying to “hurt” other believers by bringing the truth to light.
What makes you want to defend so strongly the deep sin by JM and others at Harvest?
Shouldn’t 100% of it be discovered and dealt with appropriately? Or, instead, leave some of it to fester, grow, and hurt even more people?
Good evening Kimberly,
I agree 100% with your comments. I would like to point out that this is an upsetting time for a lot of people and sometimes spiritual growth is painful. HBC was not 100% evil and it is a place the a lot of people called their spiritual home. I feel that a little compassion to those in pain is part of being a ‘Christian’.
On another blog, I encouraged another person to continue their journey and acknowgled that he had lost a lot (another church collapse). If I have done anything worthwhile commenting on blogs, it has been by compassion and sharing my experiences and not any great insight or brilliant commentary.
I agree with you, Kimberly. Yes, we should continue to pray for this whole situation, and especially those who have been hurt by JM and the leadership at Harvest (including myself for 5 years). Do you, or anyone else for that matter, know if James has said that he has done anything wrong? Wherever he is, why doesn’t he come back and confess his SIN? Rick Donald doesn’t even acknowledge what’s currently happening as SIN. I know we are all sinners, washed in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but SIN must be exposed and confessed. James, if you are reading Julie’s blogs and our comments, please “man up” as your “friend” Mancow says. Don’t hide under a rock or on an island, or wherever you are. REPENT! Do you care at all that people who have listened to you preach are hurting? I don’t think so. God knows where you are, Jesus died for your sins, and the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. LISTEN!!!!!
Because James is a false teacher and to protect the Church and others he needs to be called out on it. He isn’t some “random Christian” he was a well-known supposed Christian leader with followers.
Hi Lina. The full truth about James MacDonald is nowhere near fully exposed. He is unrepentant and disqualified from ministry. Every measure must be take to ensure that he cannot “take root” elsewhere and exploit more sheep.
God absolutely approves of the exposure of evil EVERYWHERE–from the government to education to Wall Street to the church. MANY people have prayed about this for decades. God is now honoring those prayers by using Julie Roys and others to shine a very bright light on the charlatan that is James MacDonald. I’m praying that He (and Julie) don’t stop until everything that has been hidden is in the open for all to see.
Keep writing, Julie.
Lina have you ever read about Jesus driving the money changers out of the Temple? He made a whip out of Cords, overturned their tables and drove them out…do you know why Jesus drove them out? Because They made His Fathers House into a BUSINESS, instead of a House of worship….it wasnt meant to have a coffee shop, a t shirt shop and a bookstore….and it wasn’t set up so the worshippers could be fleeced by the corrupt leadership…..and by the way Julie Roy’s never claimed to be better or more Holy than anybody …maybe instead of Ripping on Julie Roy’s you should take your own advice and pray for Her.
Thanks for chiming in Dan; you’re on the money.
Appreciate you, Jessica, and the others for how you’ve responded to Lina in truth with grace.
Good evening Lina,
It sounds you are part of the walking wounded – I am sorry that your spiritual home is in such turmoil. It is upsetting and painful. I don’t know of any short cuts you can take – you have some tough decisions to make. While blogs like this seem to be nothing but muck raking at times. I have only seen news/facts in Julie’s blog that are not readily available elsewhere.
The thing that is find upsetting is the fact that the Excutive team/Elders didn’t do the other 6 days of work needed to keep HBC out of blogs like this one. The people that James packed into the pews are leaving angry and upset, the church is heavily in debt, and the actions of the former pastor cast a cloud on Christians as a whole. It would have been a whole lot better if HBC had only been 10% is size and financially healthily with an Elder team that didn’t worship the Gold Calf of (Fame,fortune,success,ego…. Fill in the blank). By their fruits you shall know them. The fruit has been pretty bitter – actions/inactions have consequences.
I would recommend finding another Church, but you have to find your path out of the wilderness.
Linda…very true we are all sinners and I am sure Ms Roys would agree wholeheartedly with that statement….Where you are wrong, very wrong is in stating that asserting that she is doing this for gain.
May I ask if you know that James MacDonald has publically repented?? I have not heard that he has gone before his former church and repented PUBLICALLY to his congregation and to those he has hurt and sinned against. If he has please let us know so i can stand corrected.
Also if you re-read the article it is not so much about James MacDonald but rather the culture that has let people like him, “celebrity pastor” thrive as evidenced by the following comment from the blog
“For the past year, I’ve been writing about the evangelical “celebrity machine” or “industrial complex”—a network of Christian media, publishers, and ministry “partners,” which rely on each other for promotion, book deals, conference invites, networking, and income. In the best of all possible worlds, this “machine” would be leveraged to inspire vision, support important initiatives, and hold Christian public figures accountable”…..That is the main focus of the blog article. Do you not agree such a culture is antithetical to the gospel and christian witness?
Yes you are correct that they should be prayed for…But they should also be called out and asked to repent and change their ways too. Jesus does not just forgive sins. We have to repent as well!!!
Jim, thanks for your response, accurate and timely. Events as those that were discussed by Julie in the above article didn’t just happen over night. They were the result of many other decisions that were made with respect to the flesh and the promotion of self. Paul named names of those who were public failures masquerading as religious zealots, Jude warned of and spoke of those who had changed the grace of God into lasciviousness. Thank God for people like Julie who are willing to function as a prophet of old and tell of the pitfalls of decadence not of the world but among those who claim to walk in the light. The whole evangelical mess of N.A. Christianity is a witness against us that the Spirit of God has departed just as it did in the O.T. and so many don’t even see it. The tares are being bundled together in our day just as Jesus said they would.
For the record, I did not get paid to write this article or any article on my blog. The only payment I’ve received for going on 10 months now of reporting on Harvest and James MacDonald was for the article I wrote for WORLD Magazine. If I had to rely on my reporting and writing for my livelihood, I’d be on the street right now.
We are SOOOOOOOO thankful that Julie Roys is exposing ever- increasing EVIL!!!!
What a bountiful blessing to know that
she did NOT
pseudo, penurious, perfidious pulpiteers
sheep are being systematically suffocated.!
Hurting other Christians? Are you serious? The only way I have any faith left at all is because of people like Julie Roys who are speaking the truth. Jesus said “no lie is of the truth.” NO lie, none, zero. We need to tell the truth and keep telling it. Covering up evil helps no one. If the truth is hurting someone, they need to figure out why and deal with that. If your faith depends on pretending some things don’t exist than it is not faith at all.
Julie is a journalist…it’s her job. I hope even more is exposed to clean this whole system out. We should not lay down like doormats. Look at all the Harvest folks who never had the backbone to stand up and stop all this years ago. Yeah keeping silent really did help there didn’t it? Leaders are to be publicly exposed and I for one say keep finding the dirt Julie so this mess can be cleansed. Shame on you for attacking Julie…she is a godly woman whom I have met at moody and is nothing like you have described.
I don’t understand your comment. People continued to write about Tullian T as long as he pretended at repentance too. And they will continue to as long as he continues, so that people with ears to hear will understand what fake repentance looks like.
” I highly doubt that God approves of us speaking ill of people.”
So… why are you doing it here?
Since this name is not so common, please note that this lina is not Lina Abujamra. Someone just asked sled me if I wrote this comment, and I did not.
To the real Lina: We all knew that. ?.
Just assumed someone was misappropriating your name in an attempt to give credence to their crazed, unsupportable accusations.
Lina, what makes you think Julie Roys did not pray about this? How is Julie Roys acting Holier than thou? I truly believe Julie is not doing this to enhance her career. In fact she lost her Job because she exposed what was going on in Moody. Speaking truth is one of the hardest things anyone can do. Exposing JMAC’s sin is probably one of the most loving things someone can do. Would you want JMAC to continue in his sin? Do you want Christ name to be dragged down the mud by the vile things JMAC and the pastors have done? Whatever is happening @ HBC has been done by JMAC”s own hands.
Thank you for continuing to seek truth and shine light in the darkest corners, Julie, and thank you also to others who are doing the same. We continue to pray that those who have been harmed will be able to see that those who have done the harming while wearing sheep’s (or shepherd’s) clothing were *not* truly representing our Savior, but were in actuality wicked shepherds like those described in Ezekiel 34.
Release ALL the recordings and clean house!!!
Any thoughts on the Butters statement (re video)?
Good evening everyone,
I don’t trust Mr. Moore – He can have an interview with another magazine and yet not ‘own up’ to his behavior with the person he wronged. His lively hood is as a spin dr and the love of the Golden Calf of Fame, fortune, success, ego.. (Fill in the blank) is what runs Je$u$ inc.
Someone desperate to feed their family steals a purse and he is branded a thug and the chant is ‘Put them in Jail’. Put them in a fancy suit in suburbia and they takes 1000x more money and they are Good Christians.
Julie, thank you so much for writing about this. I believe it’s necessary, ( Ephesians 5:11) although painful for a lot of us to hear. Praying for you and your family.
On a different note, When will you launch new radio show?
Stay tuned. Plan to release an announcement next week.
I don’t know why he would. He appears to be the perfect fit for the job…
What on earth do you mean by that comment? Do you think POTUS would approve of his yucking it up with an ordained minister demonizing those he doesn’t agree with? What side of good and evil are you on? Are you awake yet? DJT is draining the swamp or are you still listening and believing the MSM? The government, the fake church, misguided education, corrupt corporations and government are having their comeuppance and McDonald as well as Hybels are just the tip of the evangelical iceberg.
Absolutely he would be yukking it up. You’ve hear the “Grab ’em…” tape, have you not? His conversations about women on Howard Stern. His dalliances with porn stars. His affairs. I mean, it’s not a secret, is it? And as for demonizing, there’s been nobody better at doing that in the past four years than Donald J. Trump. Democrats, Republicans, the free press, immigrants, veterans, war heroes, woman, the disabled, leaders of allied nations, his own staffers. You name, he’s demonized (well, except for white nationalists, his dictator pals, and of course, his sycophants).
Indeed, I am flabbergasted you would consider for one moment that Trump has done anything positive for the nation. The swamp is currently filled to overflowing with lobbyists, crony capitalists, corporate elites, trust fund babies, grifters, racists, and yes, criminals. If Trump was a Democratic president, you would be howling from the rooftops in rage at what’s happening in Washington. You just choose to close your eyes and cover your ears because you believe he’s addressing your pent up grievances.
The fake evangelicals and the court evangelicals are useful pawns to Trump (that is why they are in his inner circle). It gives him cover to the religious Right. This hypocrisy was perfectly illustrated by Michael Reagan (Ronald’s Reagan conservative son) in his tweet when another Trump evangelical bootlicker named Pastor Jeffress trashed Reagan to defend Trump’s unrepentant adultery and womanizing.
Quit using the name Trump and Evangelical anything in the same sentence. It makes me throw up !
Mike-Do you know anything about what’s going on in the White House and in President Trump’s heart? Judgement call on your part! Not good. I recommend you access The Trump Prophecy and listen to the late Kim Clement. Just sayin’
You don’t? We see exactly what’s in his heart every day in his Twitter feed, and in every speech and pronouncement he makes on TV. Whatever his flaws (and they are legion), he’s extremely open about what’s on his mind, I’ll give him that.
True, he is unrepentant and brags about not need forgiveness….
I wish I could, but not while over 70% of white evangelicals continue to form the most loyal part of his base.
Actually, President Trump has given us judicial nominees who support religious freedom. That is not an insignificant matter for Christians.
We already have religious freedom, but the new meaning of ‘religious freedom’ is the ‘freedom’ to tell other people how they must live, which Jesus never said we were to do, and the freedom to get away with breaking the law in the name of religion. Mike Pence’s religious freedom bill in Indiana has only been used by evildoers like child abusers to say they have a right to beat their children.
When an artist like a cake decorator or a flower arranger can be forced out of business by huge fines for objecting to using his artistic gifts for a purpose that he finds religiously objectionable (even though he is glad to serve the same customers at other times) one does have concerns about religious freedom. These concerns are not theoretical. They have been happening for some time.
Amen Susan…that was huge. If those appointments went a different direction by a different candidate then our country would have been in even deeper trouble. I for one would like my rights protected and not have liberals thinking they no what’s best for me. Nor do I want them reinterpreting the Constitution like they are already trying to do.
So what? Does political expediency require the forgiveness of his grievous and ongoing sins?
I attended Harvest for years before moving to the ‘Bible Belt’. And for a long time I’ve prayed for God to expose anything that was displeasing to Him. The Holy Spirit reminded me to pray that for myself daily! Thank you Julie, for seeking truth, even when it has cost you to do so. I remember you from WMBI, and pray for purity at Moody as well
Just went over to wartburgwatch and read some of the audio. I pray James realizes he has gone far from the call of the cross.
May God help us to embrace the truth. I grieve with you all and ask the Father to make me more holy in every aspect of my life! Oh, that the light of the Gospel would shine forth! Thank you, Julie, for doing this hard work, and for your passion for the glory of the LORD!
Oh the irony. The whole point of James comments regarding the “headlines” he would be sending in was that CT would publish attention grabbing headlines that had little or no truth. His comments were distasteful and inappropriate, but your “reporting” is nothing more than click-bait. He was obviously not suggesting he was actually going to put inappropriate content on someones computer or that you were having an affair, he was saying that an obvious falsehood should not be published.
HBC was right to remove James as senior pastor. James clearly has issues that he needs to work through and repent of and he was clearly no longer “above reproach”. And it was appropriate to draw attention to those issues.
But you are absolutely wrong to continually sensationalize these events, celebrate the suffering, and spin the narrative to fit your own. Pray for the people. Pray for the church. Otherwise, you are just the Christian culture’s version of Michael Moore.
wow way to minimize the vulgar behavior of a Christian leader and so continue to enable the culture of bullying, deceit, manipulation and coercion.
Wow Adam not sure what you’ve been reading. I just love how some of you want to kill the messenger and think Julie is doing this for some kind of gain. Rock on Julie and expose every morsel of corruption you can find. Christians are not above reproach and I’m tired of all the “holier than thou people” saying oh let’s not talk about it, stop reporting it….Really??? That is exactly what happened to Harvest!! When I heard they filed suit I thought to myself big mistake you just opened the door to getting full disclosure. Now all involved are paying the price. As a Harvest member was I shocked? Yes…was I saddened? Very deeply. But in the end my life is all about Jesus Christ and the hope of glory. For now I still attend one of the campuses and trust me the saints are fired up and stronger than ever. There is repentance and self examination happening and God is in control and will finish what He started. My wife always told me James was a good teacher but shouldn’t be a Pastor. So as far as I am concerned I desire full disclosure and no more of this hiding the truth from leadership.
HEY ADAM CAN YOU HEAR!!! CAN YOU SEE!!! JMAC AND THE LEADERSHIP AT HARVEST BIBLE CHAPEL HAVE YET TO REPENT!!!! THEY’RE STILL TRYING TO KEEP THAT SLEAZY BOAT OF THIERS AFLOAT!!!!! THEY GIVE OUT AS LITTLE INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE SO AS TO KEEP THE TITHING UNITS IN THE DARK!!!! CROCODILE TEARS WONT CUT IT!!!!! Thanks again Julie you could teach the leadership at Harvest Bible chapel a thing or two about how to “ACT LIKE MEN”.
I never said James Macdonald doesn’t need to repent. I said what Julie Roys is doing is wrong. She’s creating the same kind of “click-bait” headlines that James was suggesting and blindly supporting anyone’s opinion that supports her own. That’s not how Christian’s are called to act.
Good comments. It is time for Julie to move onto other things. Also, some of this is none of her affair. I have seen some ministries where all they do is seek to destroy others. Be careful you do not get pulled into that, The Apostle Paul carefully pointed out the sin of the Corinthian church, and then let God deal with them.
It is NOT time to move on to other things, while rip-off artists are using God’s name to pad pockets/retirement etc. It’s not over yet.
An attitude toward a reporter of “Shut up, nothing more to see here, go away” is not the best response when serious matters are involved.
The only thing I can figure re midgets is he meant to say you were standing on the shoulders of midgets (a riff off of ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’) and got it backward. I don’t know for sure though. Otherwise it didn’t make any sense at all.
But yeah, none of this surprises me. I see it all the time in the discussion groups, the more popular these guys get the worse bullies they become. The rules of decorum and charitable speech are “for thee but not for me” they seem to think.
I believe he was referring to a clown on a tricycle in a circus thinking this was all a big joke. But the joke is on Pastor James and shame on him for treating Julie in the way no man should ever treat a woman…especially a man proclaiming to be a Christian. Julie, so sorry for what the church did to you.
Keep up the good work.
This is Julie’s most important blog ever. Moore’s type of work is a stench to Jesus–and he covers it up with compassion ministry.
My heart breaks for you! I will be praying for you and the other members of HBC. But Julie is not profiting from this, so please don’t question her motives. Julie is just shining a light on the darkness that was HBC!
This is important work that is necessary! Otherwise others will do the same and or churches such as HBC will continue in their ways. Jesus and his original followers were true nomads in the truest since of the word. There were not monies paid for souls saved! They lived day to day! James MacDonald has been shown to be a chalatan as for him and his foot was about money, ego and power not Jesus. You can decide if MacDonald was a spiritual man or not. As for me I’ll just look at the fruit produced.
Not the mismanagement of money (without assigning intent), not his outbursts of anger at students and other church members … but some less-than-appropriate comments made about Ed Stetzer.
That’s what did MacDonald in; not his years of actual crappy leadership, but comments about some important Christian people. Hmmm …
Regarding the Celebrity Machine: I was a student at Moody Bible Institute 1970-1973. My first year Dr. Culbertson was our President. Following his retirement, Dr. George Sweeting became President. It was during this time that the “Evangelical Celebrity Machine” began to take root. A major shift in focus under Sweeting was to seek out the “Big Show Events.” Some of us saw the evolution away from the schools founding purpose and into the drive to reach the top level in celebrity recognition. You are correct that it was not intended to be a celebrity machine but the fame and financial rewards certainly paid off for that to happen.
McDonald and so many other are products of this machine. I I graduated with my degree from Moody in Dec. 1973. I have grieved since before that day for the spirit that was there when I entered in 1970 because it was fading as I matriculated. I worked in communication with evangelical companies (film and video productions) for the next 10 years. I had frequent encounters with Dr. Sweeting and Moody Bible Institute, as well as some of the leaders who would end up as mega-church developers.
CHM – Feel sorry for you if you think Trump is draining the swamp. He and his gang of cronies and thieves ARE THE SWAMP. Just cannot fathom how any person who claims Christian values can embrace the culture of lies , deceit , and disdain for the rule of laws if they do not suit his agenda.
Julie – I apologize for even introducing the name of Trump to this space. I am a Harvest congregant and appreciate all you have done to bring the issues of our Church to the forefront so that we may begin healing as a Church and get back to the purpose of our Church , to glorify Jesus Christ.
Regarding the Celebrity Machine, and specific to James, as someone who knew James as a child, I would have to say that his celebrity was encouraged by his home church. As a teenager he was a bully, not just to the unpopular kids but also to the Pastor and particularly the Youth Pastor, who at the time was a very young, Marvin Brubracher. It became clear early on in Marvin’s career, that the only way he would survive was to feed the ego of James and give him an elevated status and free-pass compared to the other kids in the youth group. Lots of kids left the church as a result of this. James was the boy that your Dad wouldn’t let you go out with if you were a girl, or hang out with if you were a boy, so James brought in his own posse of friends. The church we went to was already accustomed to multiple cover-ups of immoral, ungodly and frankly, illegal activity, so adding the adoration of James to the mix, in order to keep the peace, must have seemed like small potatoes at the time. To be clear, he was not celebrated because of his pure heart but rather because he was a bully. James was as likely to be seen laughing and joking if he had pulled off a prank at someone else’s expense, as he was to be sulking tearfully in a corner because he didn’t get his own way. He had a temper and a sarcastic nature then, and didn’t mind tearing people down for sport. He had no concept of what a friend should be. Those of us who have known him for all these years, are really not surprised by his behaviour now. He was never sincere as a teenager and young adult, but he had to win at all cost. Sadly, these recordings are consistent with the James we knew. The church he came from of course, is no excuse for his bad behaviour because one thing he isn’t, is stupid. I don’t know if James is a Christian, but I do know that he knows better, and Harvest I’m sure has always just been a business venture to him, rather than a ministry. Even as teens, we used to joke that Jamie would end up as a TV Evangelist or a Used Car Salesman. I think knowing a little about where he came from, does show how the celebrity machine can begin creating a monster at a very young age.
Wow…just wow, Central! People “are” consistent, aren’t they?—-unless they’re willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and obey.
Now that his televangelism career has been cut short, be wary on your next trip to the used car dealership!
Julie, I think there is a book waiting to be written here … “The life and career of JM”
In a previous era, JMac would have gotten the **** beaten out of him for being such a bully as well as his posse…
Someone needed to take him out to the woodshed a long time ago…
That is so true! Now God will take him out to his wood shed. Thank you Central for sharing your story about James and his behavior from early on. What is sad is how these false shepherds use Jesus as a business and create such damage to God’s church. Central’s comments exactly confirm what I suspected about James all along. His fame and fortune only fed the beast we had as a pastor. I have yet to see any real Godly character out of this man and sincerely doubt he is even saved. May he repent and open his eyes before it’s too late! Thank you Lord for bringing these truths to light! You are our only hope!
Wow–thank you for sharing this—it’s making more sense now–especially those questionable stories of old he has told—like bullying Kathy’s stalker in high school. It never sat right with me how he handled that situation–and seemed proud of it- even spoke of it from the pulpit! “the gospel will be preached through good motives or bad” Phil. 1:18. That’s the power of the gospel!!! not the messenger!
He needed a smack from his dad when he was growing up, I think? Remember, “spare the rod”?
Regarding the anti-Trump comments, I doubt that any Evangelical voted for Trump because they considered him a choir boy. They voted for him because they considered the alternative worse. The notion that he has not done anything positive is, at best, uninformed.
Susan (and all the other Trump supporters):
The problem is the hypocrisy. 20 years ago these same evangelical leaders and these evangelical Christians were saying “Personal behavior matters” and “Character counts” with regards to Bill Clinton.
But now that it’s their guy and he is wearing a team Red Jersey, that’s OK. Such rhetoric goes by the wayside. In fact they go out of their way to defend or dismiss it.
The irony is if one looks at both Bill Clinton and Trump, you will discover both are opportunistic hacks in many ways. Their political positions evolved and changed depending on how much it makes you look good (or least bad) (Bill Clinton with Welfare Reform, Trump with his DACA for wall, then not DACA for wall, etc.).
But,but what about the courts, they say. Losing your saltiness in the name of political power is the same bad deal that Esau made. And we know how well that turned out.
I am not saying that Trump hasn’t done anything positive, but the eagerness the evangelicals jumped on the bandwagon (and still are) can only sully and bring a reproach upon the church. They sold their birthright for a bowl of porridge.
CM–Please re-read Susan’s comments. They have very little to do with Trump’s character, per se. By comparison to the alternatives, he was the “best” choice.
I would have preferred just about anyone else who was willing to stand up for children yet to see the light of day and our national security. However, he was the only one on the ballot that was willing to do so.
Unfortunately, he has had to deal with an entrenched congress that needs a lot of new faces–on both sides of the isle–especially leadership.
Shouldn’t you rephrase “best” as “least worst”?
But you do understand that choosing the lesser of 2 evils is still choosing evil right?
Cm just curious, who did you support?
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