James MacDonald Continues Tirade; Defends Using Hashtag “#JRgossipsl**”

By Julie Roys
James MacDonald
Disgraced former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor, James MacDonald.

Disgraced celebrity pastor, James MacDonald, continued his tirade against me and The Roys Report on Tuesday, repeatedly calling me “#JRgossipslut” and asserting that I am “NOT a Christian” but “an apostate.”

The fired and disqualified former pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel also posted a 1,600-word diatribe justifying his use of “sexual imagery” against me.

“If you bristle at the strong language toward this #JRGOSSIPSLUT . . . it is because you are not familiar enough with the biblical prophets, and your sensibilities are tuned to 2021 Western-world PC culture,” MacDonald wrote. “Or possibly you are a ‘red letter Christian,’ who doesn’t even read all the red letters and has created a cultural Christ apart from the biblical one.”

While saying he was confronting only me, MacDonald also called out “detractors” who “never do the right thing and meet with me face-to-face”; “former friends” who “betrayed my wife and me”; elders who destroyed “lives and reputations”; and “other HBC leaders/Pastors” who failed to do “their biblical duty” to reconcile and restore.

“My focus is completely and entirely upon the single catalyst for this destruction . . .” MacDonald wrote. “You would have to agree, I have let her prattle on for a long, long time—past the damage, past the destruction, past the fallout, and well into the healing.”

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MacDonald also referred to The Roys Report as a “millstone ministry” in his tweets and warned that those who support me will “share in her judgment.”

Responses overwhelmingly negative

The responses to MacDonald’s diatribe have been overwhelmingly negative.

Someone named Scott tweeted that he owned a book of MacDonald’s, which he was now planning to burn. “A supposed ‘man of God’ would be wise enough to literally never use that sort of language when referring to a woman,” he wrote.

A wife and mother, Angie Hodges, tweeted: “Didn’t you write a book called ‘Lord change my attitude before it’s too late’? Maybe it’d be good to pray that right now because this hashtag (#JRgossipslut) is gross.”

An anonymous account, Robin Robin, referenced reports by Chicago radio personality Mancow Muller and MacDonald’s former bodyguard, Manny Bucur, that MacDonald once tried to hire a hitman. Robin also noted MacDonald’s bullying of employees and Harvest Christian Academy students, and the “hot mic” recording in which MacDonald jokes about putting child porn on the computer of the then-CEO of Christianity Today.

“Did Paul & the prophets also put out a hit on their son in laws, lash out angrily bc a student in class wasn’t paying attention to them, plot to plant child pornography on an enemy . . . bully employees, etc, etc, etc…? Julie Roys is NOT our only source,” Robin tweeted.

Justin Sytsma, director of worship and outreach at a Presbyterian Church in Ontario, Canada, tweeted: “Hey James are you still upset that she exposed your evil, sinful behavior? Have you publicly repented of your public sin yet?”

The account @sbcotton simply tweeted a cartoon of MacDonald with the comment, “Very pastor indeed #MinisterOfTheGossip.”

Analyzing alleged “lies”

MacDonald claims he has evidence exposing all my “lies.” 

His tweets Tuesday indicate that he believes the independent audit Harvest Bible Chapel conducted, and on which I reported, reached false conclusions.

The audit found that the church had maintained two private checking accounts that gave MacDonald $3.1 million from January 2016—February 2019.

One was an “executive account,” which provided MacDonald with deferred compensation and also paid for some of his personal expenses, according to the audit. The other was a reserve account for Walk in the Word (WITW), MacDonald’s former broadcast ministry.

The church reported that $1.9 million from the WITW reserve account went to MacDonald and his family members for things like car repairs, motorcycles, hunting expenses, and clothing and eyewear for James.

Harvest said at the time of the audit that it was seeking reimbursement from MacDonald for expenses that never should have been paid with church funds. For other expenses, the church said it issued MacDonald W-2s.

Seemingly referring to those W-2s, MacDonald claimed in a tweet Tuesday, “HBC met with me for w2 meeting, 2/24/20 resolving all $104K of questions in 2 hours not millions Julie.”

However, according to an October Harvest Bible Chapel elder report, the resolution came because the church ceded Walk in the Word to MacDonald in an arbitration settlement.

“In the early stages of the arbitration, we indicated we would review certain financial expenditures with MacDonald,” the elders wrote. “The review process has been recently completed and the largest expenditures were under Walk in the Word which is now James MacDonald Ministries (JMM). The remaining amount has already been accounted for in previous tax filings.”

Also, as he did in an email over the weekend, MacDonald accused Harvest in tweets of stealing money and assets from Walk in Word (WITW). Yet analysis of transactions over the years shows that Harvest paid WITW tens of millions of dollars.

Until 2011, Walk in the Word (WITW) existed as a separate 501(c)3 radio ministry. However, WITW became a ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel on January 1, 2011. And according to Harvest’s 2010-2011 Financial Statement, WITW at that time granted $2.4 million in assets to Harvest and Harvest assumed more than $278,000 of WITW’s liabilities.

However, each year, Harvest gave 5% of its annual revenues to WITW—somewhere between $1.2 million and $1.65 million—according to former WITW Executive Producer Trey Morris.

Plus, in March 2014, WITW received $11.6 million in free airtime from Trinity Broadcasting Network due to the sale of Harvest’s property in Aurora.

According to Harvest’s 2015-2016 Financial Statement, Harvest sold the Aurora property to TBN for $15.6 million. TBN paid $4 million in cash to the church and the remaining $11.6 million was paid in television broadcast time for MacDonald’s WITW program. (The agreement with TBN went through 2022, but MacDonald removed WITW from TV and radio in 2019. The remaining $4.1 million in airtime was reportedly sold back to TBN from Harvest in 2019.)

The year after the Aurora sale to TBN, Harvest’s four-person executive committee signed an agreement giving all of WITW’s multi-million-dollar assets to James MacDonald, according to former Harvest elders Dan George and Mike Dunwoody. (According to George and Dunwoody, the full Harvest board never approved the executive committee’s agreement with WITW. Even so, Harvest gave all digital and physical assets of WITW to MacDonald in its 2020 arbitration settlement.)

More to come

MacDonald said in his statement Tuesday that he will “begin detailing the #JRgossipslut lies” on Wednesday and encouraged people to “stay tuned.”

In the first of his blogs, published this morning, MacDonald accuses me of not adequately reporting his “repentance” over the years. He specifically accuses me of leaving out of my exposé on Harvest, which was initially published in WORLD Magazine, the fact that in September 2014, MacDonald read a statement to his church, expressing repentance for excommunicating three former elders in a 2013 video.

MacDonald adds, “That (2014) statement was written by Dr. Erwin Lutzer (then with Moody Church), who with Dr. Colin Smith (The Orchard), led a private meeting of mutual forgiveness (at my request). It was a reconciliation I have never varied from, involving men with whom I would gladly meet again for grace and further healing.”

MacDonald’s claim about my failure to report his September 2014 statement is not true. In my initial exposé, I wrote: 

In September 2014, MacDonald said the church had reconciled “meaningfully and mutually” with the censured elders. He apologized for the harsh manner in which leadership had disciplined Phelps, Marquardt, and Slabaugh. The three former elders told WORLD they had accepted MacDonald’s apology—and WORLD happily relayed news of restoration.

“In exchange for an apology, we agreed to leave [Harvest] alone, and let the elder board bring about the necessary reforms,” the three former elders recently wrote in a joint statement.

But now the three elders believe they were misled: Marquardt told me he hasn’t seen evidence of reforms at Harvest, and instead has heard repeated stories of mistreatment. The five other signers of the 2013 letter likewise say they’ve seen no evidence that the character issues involving MacDonald have been resolved. I’ve also interviewed more than two dozen former staff, elders, and members of Harvest, including some who have left the church within the past two years. They similarly claim that MacDonald and other Harvest leaders have shown an ongoing pattern of relational and financial abuse, a lack of transparency, and outright deception.

MacDonald also claims that I have failed to report on his more recent repentance, which he claims has “been in the hands of HBC elders for more than two years.” At the same time, he writes, “You can’t repent of lies. Isn’t lying what people do so they don’t have to own their part in a conflict?”

In an article published last November, I did report on MacDonald’s “repentance.” I even published verbatim a statement MacDonald had posted, which explained his “repentance,” while also accusing Harvest Bible Chapel of stealing $6.6 million from WITW and running a campaign to destroy MacDonald’s reputation.

I noted in my article that I had spoken to dozens of key former Harvest staff and elders, and none of them reported that MacDonald had repented or apologized to them. To my knowledge, that has not changed.



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43 thoughts on “James MacDonald Continues Tirade; Defends Using Hashtag “#JRgossipsl**””

  1. 2 Timothy 3:2–5 (ESV): ‘For people (like James McDonald) will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”

  2. Once again the true character of James McDonald comes out. Since the things you said about James were confirmed by an extensive investigation they were not gossip. It is shocking how James blames the elders of the church for his sinful behavior.

  3. Mark Zimmerman

    The more JMac talks, the more deranged and ungodly he appears (if that’s possible). Not only him, but anyone who would defend or support him, including his sons Luke and Landon.

    Too bad his grifting sources seem to have dried up and he can’t buy/bribe influential supporters with lavish gifts using church funds anymore.

  4. Hendrik Kanavel

    Does McDonald listen to himself? Would any non-believer be attracted to Christ by his remarks? The passage that comes to me is Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together…” I hear/see no reasoning in McDonalds remarks. God is speaking gently now but His judgement one day, will be of another tone.

  5. And his son Landon teaches a course about sexuality on TheosU.ca
    I wonder if he defends the use of the word slut in the course

    1. Tony Nazarowski

      That’s a good question Jeremy. I’m curious why other evangelical leaders haven’t stepped in to condemn the example James is setting here.

      The absence of any public disgust suggests to me they are OK with it.

  6. Brent Thompson

    James MacDonald’s attack-the-messenger tactics are exactly those employed by Senator Joseph McCarthy and mastered by his legal counsel Roy Cohn.

    Cohn passed them along to his acolyte and eager student Donald J. Trump, according to Donald J Trump himself.

    Yet, for reasons still beyond my understanding, millions of American evangelicals and WAY too many of their most-prominent leaders just adore–worship?–Donald J. Trump, applaud his lies, laugh at the demeaning nicknames he gives his enemies, and agree with his mean-spirited personal attacks on his enemies (which apparently now include the current POTUS, state GOP election officials, and the FBI).

    The parallels are not hidden..or made up…or obscure. American evangelicalism is corrupt. IMHO beyond repair.

  7. Tony Nazarowski

    It’s telling to me there is an underlying (and unhealthy) contempt for women with James and others.

    I find it intriguing that James disagrees with Julie and he in turn attacks her with sexually related terms ( ..slut). Why is that necessary? Men aren’t referred to as sluts, are they? Why not attack Julie by suggesting that does does a bad job at parallel parking or that maybe she double dips chips at social parties? Somehow, it’s a sexual reference.
    This reminds me of what Saddam Hussein said just before being hanged. When Sadam was confronted by one of his victims, he asked “ Are you a woman of virtue?”.

    The way people treat women is one of the best indicators of character in my book. How does James stand in the rankings? I’ll leave that one open for discussion.

  8. Jeff Rodrigues

    I just read one of James MacDonald’s recent blog posts in which he tries to justify the use of the term, “gossip slut.” He rationalizes the use of the term by referring to the Hebrew word zana or zanah (referenced in Strong’s number H2181). It refers to committing adultery or harlotry or fornication. James refers to this to justify calling Julie Roys a “gossip slut,” and he indicates that there’s nothing wrong in doing so.

    But to refer to the use of this Hebrew word in this manner is a stretch. A closer look at the Hebrew word will reveal that this is a verb and not a noun. The Hebrew word is actually referring to the action of a person… and not in the sense of name-calling. And while on occasions certain English translations may use this word in English as a noun (such as in Isaiah 57:3 with the terms “whore” in KJV, “harlot” in NKJV, and “prostitute” in NASB), its more accurate rendering is as a verb (such as in Isaiah 57:3 with the terms “she who commits fornication” in Lexham English Bible and “thou dost commit whoredom” in Young’s Literal Translation).

    One thing that I think has been very obvious in James’ blog posts and recent tweets are character issues. In light of these recent posts, it gives me more and more reason to believe what former HBC staff have negatively said about him.

  9. Why would MacDonald refer to Julie Roys as a slut in his hashtag? His problem with her has nothing to do with any sexual sin on her part (that I am aware of), but rather with his displeasure around an investigation she has undertaken that may ultimately reflect negatively upon him. (An investigation that includes credible Christian men, I might add.) What I think a lot of people are missing here is the disenfranchisement of women from the Christian faith. When Christian men publicly and very badly treat women, they push many women (and some men) away from faith in Christ. Since the high calling of every Christian is to bring souls into the kingdom, it is clear James MacDonald has lost his way.

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