Christian actor Kirk Cameron on Monday featured disgraced pastor James MacDonald as a guest on Cameron’s TBN Takeaways program on “biblical illiteracy.”
MacDonald was fired from Harvest Bible Chapel in February 2019, following numerous reports of bullying, deception, and financial misconduct. The church later formally disqualified MacDonald from public ministry, and a financial review showed MacDonald had misused millions in church funds.
Yet Cameron didn’t mention any of this when he introduced MacDonald at the beginning of his show.
“For 30 years, Dr. James McDonald served as founding and senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows, Illinois,” Cameron said. “And for more than 20 years, he was the Bible teacher of the broadcast ministry Walk in the Word. He’s a prolific author of more than 15 books. And he joins us today to talk about the crisis of biblical illiteracy.”
Cameron then highlighted his longtime friendship with MacDonald. “You and I have been friends for 100 years now,” he joked. “How long has it been?”
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“The older we get, it seems to like double every five years,” MacDonald responded. “But we’ll just say it’s a long time.”
Also featured on the Takeaways episode was Dan Kimball, an author and pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California.
The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to Kimball for comment about appearing on the show with MacDonald. Kimball responded that he recorded his portion of the episode in February and didn’t know what other guests would appear on the show.
Kimball added that he emailed Takeaways, after others inquired about MacDonald’s involvement. Kimball said that in the email, he included links to articles on MacDonald from TRR and ChurchLeaders.com.
“I heard of the basics about what happened with James, but didn’t follow it a lot as his world of church and approaches to ministry were never in my circles of interest or relationships,” Kimball wrote in an email to TRR. “So, I didn’t know the extent of it all until the articles I read today.”
TRR reached out to Cameron on Monday for comment about platforming MacDonald but did not hear back.
We also contacted TBN. Laura Massey, TBN Network Coordinator, responded via email. “I have forwarded to our Producer for you as I did with Dan’s email yesterday.”
Despite everything that’s been reported about MacDonald, Cameron has continued to associate with him.
In August 2019, just months after MacDonald was fired and new reports of his lavish spending surfaced, Kathy MacDonald, James MacDonald’s wife, posted a picture to Instagram from a day spent with Cameron’s family.
In November 2019, Cameron featured Landon MacDonald, one of James MacDonald’s sons and a former Harvest executive pastor, in a TBN special. Cameron also interviewed Landon for a 2021 One on One program on TBN concerning, “What will bring glory to God?”
Landon and his brother, Luke MacDonald, who also served as an executive pastor at Harvest, resigned in the wake of their father’s termination. Both Landon and Luke have been accused of participating in the same kind of bullying as their father.
Landon MacDonald is the executive pastor of youth ministries at Cornerstone Church in Arizona.
Luke MacDonald is pastoring a church in the Chicago area, which he launched with the help of the Association of Related Churches (ARC).
In the Takeaways episode, Cameron referred to both Luke and Landon as “phenomenal” Bible teachers.
MacDonald Training Pastors & Launching “Sobriety House”
On the Takeways episode, MacDonald also discussed his new ministry, training pastors in “better biblical preaching.” According to James MacDonald Ministries’ website, MacDonald’s first “Better Biblical Preaching (BBP) 101” took place at MacDonald’s home in Elgin, Illinois, on March 30.
Last Saturday, MacDonald also dedicated a new “sobriety house” for MacDonald’s new “Rock Bottom” ministry for men struggling with addictions.
The house, located at 620 Big Timber Road in Elgin, IL, is one of three buildings at the new James MacDonald Ministries headquarters. As MacDonald explains in a video, there’s also a barn on the property and a garage that will become the home for a motorcycle club, which will serve as an outreach.
Though MacDonald has posted a vague “repentance” for “careless and hurtful words” he said on a hot mic recording that precipitated his 2019 firing, he has not reconciled with Harvest. He has instead accused Harvest of running a smear campaign against him and is suing whistleblower Mancow Muller and the lawyer who conducted Harvest’s financial review.
38 thoughts on “Kirk Cameron Platforms Disgraced Pastor James MacDonald on TBN Show”
Julie, thank you so much.
Iam Not surprised,with Kirk, he and his sister are worldly.
His saving Christmas so called movie was Not about saving Christmas, it was about saving materialism, and Santa, and Christmas trees.
He also is praising the blasphemous chosen series.
Sorry, I know it’s a sidebar, but could you explain how the Chosen series is blasphemous? That’s a pretty serious allegation…
It’s blasphemous because of a 2nd Commandment violation (or “2CV”) – the show physically depicts Jesus.
Does this mean that all physical and artistic depictions of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit are blasphemous? Yes.
The only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, not Jesus, per Jesus:
Matthew 12:31-32 Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
Luke 12:10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.
You said despite all of what macdonald has done Cameron remains friends with him. That kind of reminds me of what all I have done but Christ still remains my friend . Julie you took James down so it’s time to move on . Let God be the judge and not you . What does the bible say about judging others?
“What does the bible say about judging others?”. Well, it says that if you judge others, then be prepared to be judged in the same way.
As far as I know, Julie hasn’t bullied her staff or schemed to plant child porn material on anybody, unlike James McDonald.
It’s sad how many people don’t understand it the way you just explained it, Neil. It’s about hypocrisy and how someone had better not be guilty of the same sin they’re pointing out in somebody else.
Funny thing is, the misuse and abuse of the “judge not” command used to be mostly the domain of the political/theological left. For some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, we started seeing more conservatives embrace that misinterpretation around 2016.
I would guess MacDonald himself has at some point in his ministry explained what “judge not” means. And now we see the concept used to defend a Christian’s unfortunate decision to platform this unrepentant bully, with no disclosure of all he did to forfeit such a platform.
Hi, Jim, Yes, she said that, but the article talks about Kirk Cameron’s platforming MacDonald and not mentioning his full history. Yes, he pastored Harvest Bible Church for years. It ended with his removal in scandal. Julie Roys did not do this. The elders did after what MacDonald did was exposed. Who knows how long his abuse would have continued without that spotlight.
Speaking of spotlight, it’s an apt thing here. This is performance. It’s not worship.
I don’t fault Kirk Cameron for remaining friends with James MacDonald. The evangelicals have become performative rather than engaging in worship. It’s ironic that they decry Roman Catholicism for the authority of the Pope (as well as other things) being wrong, unbiblical, corrupt, etc. But people like MacDonald, Driscoll, Copeland and others (those are just the top 3 that came to mind) are like Little Popes moving around creating little fiefdoms and acting like the ultimate authority on God, Jesus, Scripture and biblical conduct of others while ignoring it themselves. SMH.
And so begins the PR rehabilitation of James McDonald. I wonder who paid who for that apperance.
I’ll bet McDonald paid Kirk to be on his show.
I know from first hand experience he was fundraising on his HcN for his “employees and production costs”, which doesn’t make sense since the only new material he has put out in the past year plus was 3 shows that were responses to him being mentioned in JR podcasts on cult leaders, false teachers, and bullies.
He was showing the employees pictures during a Dec service, but they are volunteers and not paid positions. He will also ask “how much of God’s money is in your house (while filming in his Manson and bragging about his $20,000 dollar motorcycle), say you get blessings/rewards for that Biblical 10%, and that you anger God when you deny a church a tithe.” He never quotes Jesus when doing this, relying on Paul and the OT.
I called the IRS to see where I could locate the public filings for 501c3 churches, to see what he is claiming as income, but once a church is approved by the IRS as a legitimate not for profit church, the church is not legally required to disclose how much money they receive or how it is spent (they changed the law a few years ago). I asked the agent how they track/audit the churches in order to confirm ongoing compliance or fraud, and was told it is basically an honor system once they have been approved.
I tried to bring this issue up on this site a few months ago and sent JR an email detailing this, but never heard back.
When celebrities of the Christian World here in U.S. replatform these leaders who have proven themselves to be without character and without Biblical Spiritual fruit, we discredit the bride of christ. I find it difficult to believe that true and grace filled second chances take place in the public sphere without any repentance expressed.
Much more is at stake than publicity. My own local church body suffered from the radiating effect of MacDonald’s twisted leadership. We were never affiliated with his churches, but after their collapse members from his inner circle came into pastoral roles here. Over several years their behavior revealed hearts that were broken, blind, and repeating patterns of abuse under guise of “leadership.”
No repentance. Not even for blatant and confronted sin patterns. When they left, they attempted to split our church.
The heart of Christ is grieved indeed.
Thank you for sharing that, Jenn. People need to know about these things.
We are to cancel fellow Christians? What verse says that?
1 Corinthians 5:11-13 ESV
But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you
Well that was to the point.
I don’t think these verses describe “canceling” the way it’s understood today, but they do instruct us to “avoid” people like MacDonald.
We are to welcome so-called Christians who bathe in greed, malice, slander, suing, etc.?
There are several verses that say we should “cancel” such people. Here are just a couple.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
1 Corinthians 5:11-12 (really this whole chapter)
“But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.'”
Lots of verses say that. 1 Corinthians 5:11: “Do not even eat with such a person.” Matthew 18:17: “Treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Titus 3:10: “Warn a divisive person once, then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.” 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Bad company corrupts good character.” It is an unholy defiance of the will of God for a believer to have anything to do with James MacDonald.
Hi Richard. I guess Tim just answered your question. The American evangelicals make a mockery of Christianity with there every virtue signal.
Scripture speak to this quite clearly: 2 Timothy 4:3–4 (ESV): “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
I seriously doubt either host Cameron or guest James McDonald are the most appropriate individuals to speak about “biblical illiteracy”. Discernment must enter into the picture along with a walk worthy of the calling.
Watching Cameron give such a cheery, upbeat intro to unrepentant MacDonald while ignoring his prolonged years of abuse and financial misuse is a sickening insult to the multitude of people MacDonald sinned against in betraying his pastoral office and the Lord. In light of the verses above and many others about rebuking a sinner, Cameron ironically reveals his own biblical illiteracy.
“Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man’s rebuke to a listening ear.” (Prov. 25:12)
“Those [elders] who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.” (1 Tim. 5:20)
While MacDonald has had his ears stopped up and gone into abusive attack mode when confronted with his sin, others may still take warning.
As Cameron and MacDonald apparently have been friends for quite some time perhaps this verse is appropriate:
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother born for adversity.
@Will – or maybe this one “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Prov 27:6
True followers of LORD JESUS the CHRIST should not focus on anything but HIM. Focusing on the sinfulness of our fellow man is the bait of Satan. “Keep your eyes upon JESUS, look full in HIS wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of glory and grace.” Focus on the gloriousness of our own salvation, in the light of our own sinfulness, and tell everyone what LORD JESUS the CHRIST has done for us.
Unfettered individualism and no accountability to anybody for anything. Ya gotta love evangelicalism. JMac’s 🇨🇦 mentor, T.T.Shields, would be proud.
But the main point? Biblical illiteracy. Maybe that’s the underlying problem.
It starts in Sunday School where the Bible is reduced to a collection of stories. Later it becomes a collection of ‘verses’ that can be rolled out context-free for any occasion.
The solution is not just better Bible teaching from the pulpit, but a better attitude in the church.
For example, when I got to the end of high school, I’d been exposed to and sometimes immersed in the work of the greatest minds that ever lived. I read the great literature of the world, I engaged with the fabulous advances in mathematics and the physical sciences. I understood the geography of much of the planet.
At youth group, I learnt to play mini-golf.
By the ‘end’ of youth group, I should have been led to have read the entire Bible, the NT at least twice and all the short books in one sitting each. I should have known the outline of the historical trajectory of the Bible, the theology behind the Apostles creed, for example and been able to deal with the 7 big questions that non-Christians have. I should have had an informed Christian spirituality (as per Schaeffer’s True Spirituality) But no. I was given ‘biblical illiteracy’ instead.
“The Church is not perfect, but woe to the man who finds pleasure in pointing out her imperfections. Christ loved the Church, let us do the same.” ~ C H Spurgeon
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” – Jesus goes off on people just like JMac for a whole chapter in Matt 23. Read it and meditate on it. Spurgeon is not Jesus and likely you even took his quote way, way, way out of context.
Funny. I’ve read Spurgeon, and I find nowhere does he let frauds and liars off the hook. He does not enjoy preaching against them but he takes it as a chore. Could that be what you mean? I hope so.
So we are to fear bringing up greed and malignant narcissist and hypocrisy? CH Spurgeon sounds like a typical American evangelical. And that’s not a compliment
I just read his bio on Wikipedia. Sounds like a classic modern days version of someone in the American evangelical industrial complex. And that’s not a compliment.
I absolutely agree…we wonder why people who aren’t saved are turned off by a lot of “church folks”…because there is more hate spewing & judging going on under the umbrella of the church…than most people want to be part of. What was done was done, let it go & move on. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that value of someone’s repentance is dependent on our approval. When a person repents it is to God…& when public stonings a took place (the equivalent to our cancel culture in the media) pretty sure Jesus was the one who told those with stones to cast them if they were without sin… apparently, that wasn’t an important verse to many…Loving God & loving people were the two most important things for us to do…perhaps if we focused more on doing that, then plucking the log out of someone else’s eye…we might be truly doing what Jesus commanded us to do…you know…bring people to Jesus…like the fishers of men we were commanded to be.
It would appear that if you make a good living off the business of ministry you become exempt from negative comments from your peers or from being excluded from their paid speaking circuit. It goes beyond not being judgemental to essentially giving tacit approval to the bad actions of their peers by refusing to address these issues when asked about them.
Thank you Julie for seeking truth and your personal suffering from those committing and protecting the lies and liars , How can others believe we will tell them the truth if we cover over lies and call it grace if there is no repentance
You know what? I don’t ever remember anyone trying to figure out what happened to the $65 million plus that was mishandled/appropriated by James McDonald. Does somebody know? Just for my own burning curiosity maybe somebody can answer this question.
What has been on my heart ever since this all came to light is: Who is loving on James? Who is down on their knees before God on his behalf? Who is willing to still befriend him in order to gently bring him to a place of seeing himself from God’s perspective?
The Word is full of situations God used many different walks of life people for His purposes!
If James MacDonald is not repentant that issue is most definitely between James and his Maker.
I for one followed walk in the word radio broadcast to the point I couldn’t get enough of his preaching. God has used James in my walk with my Lord. I would never be where I am now in my walk if not for James outstanding messages .
God will handle all those who misuse the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
He sure cleaned me up!
I pray for James and ask The Holy Spirit to put him under conviction in Jesus Mighty Name . ✝️🇺🇸🇮🇱🌻😊
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