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James MacDonald Responds to Harvest Report: Claims He’s Innocent of Misusing Church Funds

By Julie Roys

Disgraced former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor, James MacDonald, today responded to damning evidence that he misused millions of dollars of church funds by asserting his innocence. He also expressed disappointment that Harvest would publicize the results of its financial review while MacDonald and Harvest are seeking resolution to these issues “through confidential Christian arbitration.”

Last night, Harvest released the results of its forensic audit and legal review, which revealed that MacDonald had spent millions of dollars of church funds on personal expenses. According to the report, some of these expenses were approved by elders, but some were not. 

In an Instagram post today, MacDonald claimed that his expenses were “Elder and auditor approved” and “predate the involvement of those now speaking.” The elders who are now speaking are all part of a new board, which replaced the former elders who resigned in the wake of the scandal involving MacDonald. MacDonald also claimed that “significant exculpatory information” was excluded from the report due to “an Elder imposed moratorium” on communicating with MacDonald.

MacDonald also made reference to “historic agreements” concerning Walk in the Word (WITW), MacDonald’s former broadcast ministry. MacDonald and Harvest are currently in arbitration over ownership of WITW.

According to Harvest’s report, the former executive committee at the church and MacDonald had a signed an agreement dated January 1, 2015, which gave MacDonald ownership of all “works of authorship created by MacDonald.” It also gave MacDonald “all net financial and legal assets related to Walk in the Word.”

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However, the report called into question the legitimacy of this agreement because there appeared to be no corporate board minutes “reflecting proper due diligence regarding intellectual property matters.” The report also said that the church did not have “documentation or other information reflecting whether MacDonald recused himself from deliberations and votes” on the WITW commitment. It added that the agreement also is “problematic” because it shows Harvest relinquished “charitable assets” for which MacDonald had already been compensated “as part of his pastoral duties.”

Below is MacDonald’s Instagram Post:






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53 Responses

  1. James, You know context is IMPORTANT…

    Do you realize you’re not Jesus?

    He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

    1. As I wrote elsewhere, the use of this scripture, by the man-child, would be comical if it wasn’t so sad and arrogant.

  2. ConcreteForeman, your post says it all. RIGHT ON TARGET with the WORD OF GOD. James is NOT our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He is the total opposite of what these scripture verses say.

  3. I can’t believe MacDonald uses scripture to spin this thing into he’s being persecuted like Christ. That’s insane!

  4. James MacDonald spread the narrative for years that he was a victim of bad publicity caused by Julie Roys and the authors of the Elephant Debt website. He spread the narrative publicly to others that he was being accused falsely by Roys and Elephants Debt website authors. And yet an independent Auditor confirmed that Roys and others were indeed telling the Truth all along.

    So despite having their reputations questioned and maligned by James MacDonald and his many friends, the authors of Elephant Debt and Julie Roys stayed the course. And we are thankful for them, because warning about ravenous wolves like James MacDonald is a Biblical command to be taken seriously.

    So when MacDonald puts out his Facebook statement criticizing the Report, should we believe him?

    Or is that just typical of a man who acts like this:


  5. I want to start by saying that I totally agree with the 1st four posts on this blog….Jmac is not only a complete narcissist, but I believe he’s psychotic…. He steals millions of dollars from people who are giving money for the building up of the body of Christ ,he deliberately corrupts the people in leadership around him and attempts to destroy anyone or anything that gets in the way of him building his own empire, bullies people who dont do as there told,and brings reproach on the body of Christ with his actions, then he has the unmitigated gull to compare his sufferings to the Crucified Savior Jesus Christ….that’s totally NUTS…Remember your own slogan Jmac “choose to SIN choose to suffer”.

  6. This is another example of Power corrupt. McDonald clearly from Forensic Audit and Legal Review is guilty as charged. His repentance Ring Hollow even now with his ” defense” I pray that Christians that are and were affected will see the light and move ….having a Hard Lesson learn and correct those mistakes. McDonald should Never be allowed to hold any position of authority as he clearly demonstrate he is Lost

  7. I am so disgusted that he compares himself to Jesus – our sinless LORD and savior who literally did no wrong. James, you did wrong. You did a lot of wrong. This audit is not unjust. It’s just facts. You misused money. You took peoples hard earned money and made them believe they were giving it to the Lord and used it for your ridiculous hunting trips, clothing, and family. God will not be mocked and you will be judged for this. You have no fear of God as you cannot repent for what the Lord has made light to all. I am so disgusted that the man who stood there and told us to give until it hurts. The man who put the church in millions of dollars in debt and then had the audacity to stand there and ask money from people who make less in a year than what he spends on HUNTING. I am ashamed to have ever called you my pastor. The 1,000 + people who liked his post are clueless, ignorant, foolish sheep.

    1. Now you know how the Anti-Christ is going to have his followers. Never understood this concept or scripture until now.

    2. 100 % agree totally disgusted by his behaviour! And perfect words for the people who liked his post, I too thought you people are clueless! Unbelievable!

  8. Sadly he is delusional and is a master manipulator. Should we expect anything less from this false teacher? Did he take acting classes because his ability to play a role and believe his own lies is remarkable. What about anyone still in leadership today who stood with him many years he ruled? Like Greg Bradshaw or Brit Gillman, are they really Godly leaders when they knew all about what went on and did nothing?
    I don’t understand how people can still attend Harvest with such evidence. Why do they suppress the truth to keep going to this patethic place? If we look at history, every cult had a following no matter what it cost them so this is no different. This is the church today? Woe unto them who are responsible for doing this damage to the body of Christ.

    1. Well said, WOW, well said.

      I can’t mask my surprise how people ever considered James MacDonald to be a pastor or found him to be a good preacher or teacher of the Bible.

      In essence, the following thoughts are just as much an indictment on his faithful and fanciful fans as it is on MacDonald himself.

      After hearing 100s of his messages while a member at Harvest (1999-2011), I can honestly say a “typical” MacDonald message consisted of not much more than the following:

      * Story Time. A message of MacDonald’s wasn’t complete without him sharing some sort of boneheaded antic from his week. More often than not, these stories tended to take people’s gaze off Christ and onto one big buffoon.

      * The Big Time. MacDonald regularly dropped the names of other well-known popular Christians or dignitaries he rubbed shoulders with. He went to great lengths to ensure others knew just how important and influential MacDonald had become. Once again, MacDonald was very skilled at making much of himself.

      * Rant Time. More weeks than not, MacDonald would go on a rant over something that especially irked him during the week. And if he failed to take the opportunity to unload on a Sunday morning, fear not, there was a time when you could regularly read about his ramblings on his blog.

      * Confession Time. From time to time, MacDonald shared from the pulpit how he had blown out or fractured one relationship or another. After 30 years in the ministry, I’m pretty sure that number exceeded 70 x 7.

      * Gospel-Law Time. Instead of sharing Law BEFORE Gospel (as Jesus did), MacDonald regularly confused the congregation by presenting the Gospel and THEN Law, putting a burden or yoke upon believers they were never meant to carry.

      * Hypocrisy Time. MacDonald rarely withheld the opportunity to preach to himself. For all intents and purposes, each week it was dreadfully apparent MacDonald’s lifestyle didn’t square with the Scriptures he memorized. The words he preached to others were a fitting condemnation of himself. It’s strange to think that the Scriptures he taught to others were like arrows aimed inward toward a conscience seared long ago.

      * Offensive Time. The Cross is offensive to the pride of every unregenerate, self-righteous heart. Unfortunately, MacDonald rarely missed an opportunity to add to the offense of the cross due to his harshness and arrogance while in and out of the pulpit.

      * Waste of Time. Many of MacDonald’s messages ended with some form of a manipulative, spirit-void, formulaic, decisional regeneration altar-call demonstrating his lack of trust in the power of the Gospel and of the Holy Spirit to awaken a sinner from death unto life. Apparently, MacDonald felt the need to help what was lacking in God‘s Word, God’s Gospel, and God’s Spirit.

      * Time’s Up. Arguably the one verse MacDonald shared as much as any other, Numbers 32:23 was prophetically proper and pertinent for such a phony pretender as MacDonald was and is today. Plain and simple, James MacDonald used religion and the gospel as the vehicle to power up on people and live a lavish lifestyle. He is an unregenerate wolf in sheep’s clothing.

      * Time’s Up? How long will it take before people at HBC realize the church’s DNA really hasn’t changed much since MacDonald’s departure.

      1. Mike I just have to ask with all due respect WHY did you hang around this evil guy for 12 years then? It shouldn’t take a discerning person that long to figure out a man like MacDonald.
        Just wondering…

        1. Hi Kent,

          I didn’t hang around him. I only had one face to face interaction that I recall with James MacDonald over the course of 12 years I was at Harvest, and it was rather unpleasant.

          I began raising questions long before I left Harvest. If my wife would’ve felt as I had during that time, we would have left long before we did.

          What’s your affiliation with Harvest?


  9. This is narcissism at it’s finest. He will never see things from anyone else’s perspective and he will never be at fault. James needs Jesus. But, sadly, he already thinks he has Jesus in his holster… and he will draw his Jesus-gun whenever he feels threatened. Back in the early 00’s I had recently been through a divorce and needed another church as my church was full of folks I just wanted a break from, so I started attending Harvest in Rolling Meadows. I lasted there about 12 weeks. Each and every week it became more apparent to me the arrogance and prideful spirit that presented its ugly self through James. God will take care with His people and His church but James needs serious help and council. Problem is, as a narcissist, he wont think needs it.

  10. James came to my church 25 years ago, and helped us start our small groups. His messages were really good. My pastor was a short, round, older man. James was a tall skinny young man. We used to joke that they look like Bob and Larry from VeggieTales.

    When I’ve seen recent pictures of James, I could barely believe it. He looks like an overweight slob, with unkempt beard, tattoos, and ripped jeans. I don’t mean to criticize a persons looks, but his “transformation“ is so striking.

    He looks nothing like the man I met 25 years ago, and certainly, from all these posts, does not behave like that same man.

    This is a serious question: did something happen to him along the way? Did he get sick? Did he lose a loved one that rocked his world?

    I only bring this up because I see two, very different people: the old James, and the new James. And I somehow think his physical transformation has something to do with it.

  11. It’s one thing for corporations and wealthy individuals to utilize the tax system loopholes in order to allow themselves to support Kingdom work and minimize tax impact at the same time..

    It’s another thing all together for a man whose ministry and reach was built with those wealthy donors dollars .. To knowingly fleece a flock above and beyond compensation that is more than fair.

    This wolfpack has brought scrutiny upon some of the biggest contributors to the church in America..

    In the end their wrath will be nothing compared to that of the Lord our God.

    The Lord allows trials and evil like this to exist in the world to point us continually to our true treasure and the purpose of our existence…

    His glory which will be revealed to us in its fullness when we stand face-to-face with our Maker in heaven..

    May we be watchful.. May we stand firm.. May we refrain from sinning in our response to evil as we press forward in obedience to He who can do much more than kill in this life.

      1. Yes, It’s heartbreaking.

        And cowardly, of James. He has disabled the comments feature on that post.

        What lie of the Enemy has gotten so deep in him that he cannot understand when the Father says, “You are Loved.”

        He cannot understand The Father’s Heart because of this lie.

        Pray that it will not filter down the generations to his sons and daughter, and their children.


        He’s purifying the Bride.

  12. Even if what James MacDonald did was legal that doesn’t make it right in God’s eyes. I guess it wasn’t enough having over a million dollar salary. MacDonald had to take more.

  13. Name the Names. MacDonald didn’t do this alone. He had help and lots of it. Name the other folks that enriched themselves with exorbitant salaries and perks that you should never see in a church. Why do they get off scott free? Fred Adams, Rick Donald, Janine Nelson, Scott Milholland, Trei Tatum, Jeff Sharda, Robert Jones, Greg Bradshaw, Garrett Highbee, Steve Huston, Luke MacDonald, Kathy MacDonald, Abby MacDonald, Andi Rozier…others???

  14. A renowned pastor once remarked, “As you know, James lives in his own reality”. With his victim mentality firmly in place, James’ alternate reality has never been more apparent. And any pastor who “lives in his own reality” is not fit to teach or lead.

    Let’s agree that a forensic accounting was long overdue. “The word forensic comes from the Latin term forēnsis, meaning “of or before the forum”. The history of the term originates from Roman times, during which a criminal charge meant presenting the case before a group of public individuals in the forum.” (The Oxford English Dictionary and Wikipedia)

    Things long hidden have finally come to light — indefensible acts. James failed to realize that: “Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!” (Luke 12:3 NLT)

    What we have here is a day of reckoning. Reality revealed. James, embrace reality and repent while you can.

    Church, don’t defend him, don’t enable him. And don’t put this unrepentant preacher in your pulpit. You will reap a bitter harvest. As James would often say in better days, “Don’t get between the hammer and the work”.

  15. I call total bull on jimmymcD. He’s taken and implemented the Mark Driscoll narcissist/sociopath playbook: when accused, deny everything, spin the story, and above all, do not follow or engage with the pastoral qualifications in 1 Tim. 3:1-7.

  16. James should do the church a big favor and stop defending the indefensible. Spurgeon said that when a leader in church sins, he should sit on the back pew of the church and stay there, until his repentance is as widespread as his offense! Unbelievable!

  17. 1. Thanks for printing this. No matter what is thought of macdonald, fairness dictates that his response be published.

    2. This is just another macdonald pity party.

    3. The scripture this man-child uses is almost comical in its arrogance.

  18. The real downfall of this man-child might be the IRS.

    Under reporting income on your taxes could involve large penalties.

  19. I read the report. Looks like tax evasion, fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Why can’t a DA or federal prosecutor get involved?

  20. JMac’s response could not be more narcissistic. Comparing himself to the risen Lord, need I say more. The man is as humble as the Devil himself. The fact that he still has a following after looking to have his enemies killed with money he took from his congregation is all anyone needs to know. The rest is consistent with a man of murderous disposition. Jesus told us to be wise and not surprised when wolves get caught inside what claims to be His Church. This pop celebrity culture is the opposite of the life Jesus lived, who did not even have his own place to lay his head at night. You cannot be rich and popular and follow Christ. There is no cross on that road for these evil wretches to carry. Beware anyone who does not pick up his own cross and carry it. It always costs you something…

  21. If he did not revile in return, explain why he sued innocent people in order to try get revenge which God looks at as murder. MacDonald is a liar, a thief, murderer, an abuser, a gambler but most of all a false prophet and blasphemer. If he refuses to repent, he will face an eternity regretting what he did.

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