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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. I don’t go to church at HBC. However, I am a follower of Jesus Christ. The things that have transpired at HBC are sad to hear about. Furthermore, it upsets me more that all of this is being openly discussed in a public social forum for anyone to see. Matters such as these should be dealt with in the church. Every one that I have read who has commented on this situation has said that he is guilty. Regardless of his innocence or guilt, these comments should not be aired so that even unbelievers can see. How does this honor Christ in any way? I direct you to 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 1-11. Please read this.

    1. Why should I not be able to comment? This is a Public forum. That was my point to begin with. Keep these things private between the church members. This makes the church look like a bunch of idiots. Are we supposed to look like the world?

  2. Well Jon lots of people have tried to do this privately to no avail …me included….this has been going on for years…and it wasn’t a secret…still nothing was done .

  3. The leadership at Harvest is still corrupt. They still preach the business of the church is the business of the church. Still no transparency. Anyone that tithes at Harvest is a fool.

  4. While I have not lived in Illinois for decades so I am not a Harvest person, I am someone who got burned in something similar. In the 90’s I gave generously to two “ministries” that are scandalous now. Gospel for Asia has likely taken Christians for close to a Billion dollars in fraud to make the central celebrity a Billionaire in India with his own personal cult of personality worshiping him and I gave to make that awful deed a reality. I also gave to Voice of the Martyrs which is neck deep in scandal from donation money being used to sexually abuse children in third world countries. So the notion that only Harvest people should comment here comes across as both naive and a bit arrogant as some have suggested. There are many Christians waking up to the reality that what they thought was Church or charity simply was not.

    I would hope that anyone involved in Harvest in the past, or any other similar scandal in something calling itself “Christian” would take the famous quote to heart “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!” There is a much deeper foundational problem here than just JMac and his murderous temper. Not everything that calls itself a church is one by Jesus Christ’s definition. I would hope that everyone involved in any scandal would take a long hard look at the mirror and start asking deeper questions like “God, is there any wicked way within me?” How did I get conned into being a part of something that was, in reality, so extraordinarily evil? There is a middle ground between becoming cynical and calling everything scum and assuming the best about everything and just setting yourself up to get burned again because you did not learn the first time. Jesus spoke very negatively of the religious elite in His day and we are called to be like Him, are we not? Just being positive about everything will make you Pollyanna instead of being wise as a serpent.

    I also see a big disconnect between the actions of followers in these situations and what they later say about there fellow sheep later. I will use the GFA Diaspora as an example. They were ordered by the narcissistic liar leader KP to treat horribly anyone who left their “ministry.” Most did so even while those who left did so for very good reasons. Later on, they talked about their fellow ex-workers in great terms as honorable, noble people. This dichotomy just speaks for itself. And I see the same dynamic going on here where some followers have actively participated in believing and repeating the lies JMac told before and now they are pretending that never happened. And others want to shove this whole mess under the carpet because it makes their church looks bad. Well welcome to reality, its does. And those who participated look foolish because they got caught up in this. But Jesus real church does not do these things. Jesus real Church is a light set on a hill. It is real, not fake. It is good from the inside out. It is not a mirage. It operates in the light. Everyone who participated in this needs to take a good hard look at everything Jesus said to the Pharisees and they need to read the prophets and realize that they are speaking as much to our leaders today in what calls itself a church as they were to the ancient Israelites. We are doing the same things they did. We are the ones who are participating in evil. Some knowingly, many not so much. But we are responsible for stopping the cycle. We will not do that by shoving more hypocritical evil under the rug and pretending it is not real.

    It is a move of God to expose this garbage! God did not cover up the sins of the patriarchs or the kings or even His prophets. They are all written down in gory detail and have been brought up millions of times in instruction. So it should be for Harvest and all the equally gory modern day evil. Too many comments here are simply contradictory to what the scriptures say. Each of us needs to know them so that we can live them. The world is watching as we refuse to clean our own house. We are the ones making God look bad, and we need to repent and wise up. We need to figure out what we have done wrong and fix it. As long as we do not do that then we look very evil to the world, because that is exactly what we are! Wise up people. We are God’s ambassadors and it is time for a good look in the mirror…

    1. Dan

      I believe that the truth of God’s word is of utmost importance. What I was trying to say is that the name calling from many posts I read was alarming. How are we , as the church , any different from the world when we respond to being wrongly treated just as the world does. God has called us to be holy. I love God’s word, Dan, and complaining and bickering over injustice is not what God called us to do. Please know that I don’t in any way want to minimize what has happened. However, for people to respond with total lack of caring doesn’t help. The man needs love and forgiveness, not harshness and uncaring.

  5. So MacDonald is going to start a new Ministry season in 2020. The site will be Naples Fl – the church that Harvest got kicked out of. Interesting to see if Jeff Donaldson joins him. The crazy thing is that folks couldn’t care what MacDonald did. They will continue to fund this charlatan. Well at least MacDonald will take his posse out of Chicago.

  6. Jon, John the Baptist called out the sadducees and pharisees publicly in Mt 3:7 in Mt 23:1-39 Jesus called out the scribes and pharisees publicly….because they were false teachers, He warned the people to do what they say not what they do, he also had a ton of unflattering things to say about false teachers in the only true faith at that time ,Judeism….James McDonald is a wolf, and he has been warned privately and he doubled down on his bad behavior, He refuses to repent. Now in order to Contend for the Faith and protect unsuspecting Sheep from this Wolf He Must be exposed publicly …He already has announced his intentions to get back in the saddle in 2020. To keep this in house would be cowardly at best and sinful at worst…..we as believers must protect the unsuspecting body of Christ from the multitude of Wolves who are out to devour them…..we forgive others when they Repent……to do otherwise would Cheapen Forgiveness….GOD offers forgiveness to people…all people…who repent and believe…those who don’t wont be forgiven.

  7. Dan

    Thank you for sharing with me more about this. I will be praying that God works this out for His glory and that His will be done. We definitely need to contend for the faith. Even though I don’t know you I love you brother! May God give you more grace and peace in your journey.

  8. If old MacDonald has a farm, he should go there and repent for a good long while. Please consider a trade other than ministry.

    1. John Przybyl:

      agree with you ….problem is that false prophets like James MacDonald who arise from within the church have no other skill-set , except maybe selling snake oil.

      sad that so many continue to encourage his pattern of lies and wickedness by permitting him to return to preaching / teaching

  9. Hey folks! Thanks for everyone’s comments regarding this difficult subject.

    Unfortunately, I went through a situation like this with a different church a number of years ago. It wasn’t to do with financial improprieties but a drastic difference of opinion and how the church was going to move forward. The result was a fracturing of the church leadership and sins were committed on both ends. The difference was in the way the church leaders admitted and apologized for their sins. One side admitted specific injustices, apologized for them and begged for forgiveness to the congregation, as well as one on one if the need was there. How can you not forgive them?

    In this instance however, Pastor James has been far from contrite but instead, has been mostly deflective and casts blame towards others. He just can’t seem to strap on a pair and come clean. Instead of offering specific apologies or admissions to any charges that have been leveled against him, he simply tosses out vagaries like we are going through a period of refinement or other such nebulous drivel. If you were to just man up and admit fault, I really think a lot of people could move past this. Unfortunately, he just continues to plow forward and blame others in the process. It’s a very very sad end to an incredibly gifted preacher.

    We should all pray that God removes the scales from his eyes so that he can see his true self versus the image that he has created. We should pray that he and his family heal from this sinful path they have been on. We should pray for all of his followers and especially for those people who are just beginning to trust in Jesus and pray that this is not going to derail their faith.

    Trust in God, not man

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