UPDATE: The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel have removed James MacDonald as a pastor and an elder “for engaging in conduct that the Elders believe is contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church.” Read full statement here.
I never thought I would hear an evangelical, mega-church pastor talk about planting child pornography on the computer of an executive at a Christian publication. But today, Chicago radio personality Mancow Muller played shocking clips of someone sounding exactly like Harvest Bible Chapel Pastor James MacDonald discussing putting child porn on the computer of Christianity Today CEO Harold Smith.
Mancow told me he didn’t definitively identify MacDonald to protect himself from potential litigation. Yet MacDonald’s trademark voice, though somewhat distorted, was unmistakable. I’ve also now heard the complete 50 minutes of audio that Mancow referenced, and heard the clips in context, and they are credible. I’ve also reached out to MacDonald for comment, and he did not respond with either a confirmation or denial.
Mancow said he plans to air the entire 50-minute conversation on an upcoming podcast. I will save some of my comments about the recording until then.
But the clips Mancow played today are breathtaking. On them, the man who’s presumably MacDonald jokes about me having an affair with Mark Galli, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today (CT). That’s not funny. It’s disgusting. Galli and I have never had anything but a professional relationship, and it’s repulsive that anyone—a pastor, no less—would make a joke about that.
“Mancow told me that MacDonald had told him similar things—that I was a crazy woman attacking kids and had to be stopped. This is why Mancow said he urged MacDonald to sue me–a decision Mancow now regrets.”
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However, especially disconcerting to me is an excerpt where MacDonald alleges that I and “another person who used to attend (Harvest)” approached the houses of people who were victims in a DCFS investigation and shouted at them about a cover-up at Harvest. He alleges that I’m “off the rails” and predicts that in 30 days, I’m going to be “riding a tricycle with a midget on (my) shoulders.”
Mancow told me that MacDonald had told him similar things—that I was a crazy woman attacking kids and had to be stopped. This is why Mancow said he urged MacDonald to sue me–a decision Mancow now regrets.
This allegation by MacDonald is complete fabrication.
The only thing I can fathom that MacDonald could be referencing is a time in October when a Chicago Tribune reporter and I talked to the father of an alleged victim of Paxton Singer, the former Harvest youth pastor charged with sexual exploitation of a child.
I was working jointly with Tribune Reporter Matt Walberg to report the Singer story for the newspaper. At one point, the two of us had a brief and respectful conversation with the father of an alleged victim where we invited him to comment if he’d like. He declined. We gave him my phone number in case he changed his mind. And that was it. (Walberg said he and his family attended Harvest for several months about a decade ago, so I guess that’s where the reference to attending Harvest originated.)
I never actually wrote that story for the Tribune because in the middle of our investigation, Harvest sued me, which caused the Tribune to drop me from the story. However, Walberg—a 20-year veteran reporter who recently took a buyout from the Tribune—gave me the following statement regarding our time reporting together:
“I worked with Julie Roys in October on the story about the allegations against former Harvest Bible Chapel youth pastor Paxton Singer. In fact, I was working the story with her when she learned that she had been sued by Harvest Bible Chapel.
“The subsequent story on Singer’s arrest did not contain any indication that we did or did not speak to the victims or their families. It has been my long-standing practice not to comment beyond what has been published, so I can’t confirm whether I spoke with the victims or their families.
“However, I can say that I spent days working with Roys, conducted multiple joint interviews with multiple subjects, both in person and on the phone, and found her ethics, demeanor, and professionalism to be beyond reproach.”
Mark Galli today responded to MacDonald’s comments by confronting MacDonald for succumbing “to the temptation to slander me (Galli), threaten our CEO, and denigrate others.” CT says this is “unfortunate,” but “part of the life of journalism.”
“While I agree with Galli that journalism invites a certain amount of abuse, MacDonald’s behavior seriously crosses a line. It’s reprehensible and should be roundly denounced by evangelical leaders.”
While I agree with Galli that journalism invites a certain amount of abuse, MacDonald’s behavior seriously crosses a line. It’s reprehensible and should be roundly denounced by evangelical leaders.
UPDATE: Below is the entire hot mic recording, which has been posted on YouTube.
122 thoughts on “Mancow Airs Shocking Comments By James MacDonald: My Response”
I am so sorry this is happening to you. I used to listen to Walk in the Word all the time and I have several of this man’s books. It is certainly a hard and cold reminder that even those who teach the truth and seem to follow it can fall and fall far. It’s a good reminder that we should not follow men, but only Jesus.
Hopefully Jimmy wont start a GoFundMe campaign and plant a Chicago’s House for All Sinners and Saints similar to Denver.
I couldn’t agree more. Follow Christ not the man on stage!!
Does anyone know who recorded the hot mic tapes and how did muller get his hands on them.??
Parts of this sabatage doesn’t add up..
Who recorded hot mic tapes .who gave them to muller?.
No body is perfect and I believe every person on earth says things they dont really mean…
Anyone without sin..cast the first stone…
What I want to know is…who recorded the hot mic tapes and how did Muller get them?????
Where did these recordings come from? Are they from private phone conversations? How did Mancow Muller obtain them? Just trying to get some context for these shocking comments.
Agree! This is so hurtful to the Body of Christ! All of it!
According to what I read, these were from Walk In The Word recording sessions.
Who recorded them and gave them to muller?? Can anyone answer that??
I wonder the same! And as a side note, isn’t that illegal? To record a conversation without consent?
Yes. Why does he have a hundred hours of taped conversations with him???
So did he really plant child porn or was it a sick joke? If he did, where did he get it and if he didn’t why would he joke about something that is probably one of the sickest things in this fallen world?
Let he who is without sin throw the first stone…
Regardless, we should all be in deep prayer for both James and Julie.
I appreciate the Biblical foundation for your comment and agree that James especially needs our prayers. But where do you draw the line with sin or misbehavior with a pastor? Should he remain as a pastor if he he cheated on his taxes? Embezzled money from the church? Had a affair with a church member?
When Jesus made that statement, scribes and Pharisees were trying to essentially entrap him. Further, they wanted to stone the adulteress, as indicated under the Law, but they did not first follow the steps required under the Law, first find witnesses and, if there was guilt, put the man up for stoning too.
Julie has has brought forward many witnesses (and evidence) against MacDonald. As far as any of us know, she has presented truthful information. Has MacDonald ever credibly challenged the veracity of her reporting or that of The Elephant’s Debt? MacDonald had an opportunity to refute all of their evidence and challenge their claims on the public record but he dropped his lawsuit just before he had to respond to their discovery requests under penalty of perjury.
None of us can say we are any “better” than MacDonald as we are sinners as well. But that doesn’t mean this man should remain in his position as a spiritual leader, especially as he has continued denials and remained unrepentant.
I ‘was’ a supporter of Walk in the Word and living in California had no prior knowledge of the said years of abuse at HBC. But with the first sniff of misappropriation of funds I walked! Your investigative journalism Miss Roys is what journalism and the media used to be; write the facts and allow the reader to come to their own conclusion. It was both enlightning and frightening.
With that being said, in your original article you spotlighted just 3 examples (that could be corroborated by two or three witnesses) of Jame’s maniacal behavior. Saying that shooting guns at pictures of your friends is ‘all in good fun’ or stabbing pictures with a knife is anywhere near normal (to be kind in word choice), especially in this climate of ‘see something, say something’ and where entire school campuses are shut down when threats are discovered written on bathroom walls is just beyond the scale! Now the addition of these recordings… the disillusionment of their church family will last for years and years. God is re-directing the sight of the bewildered and demending them to ’look unto ME’.
No one has mentioned his lovely wife or his sons but they are all complicit unfortunately. It is ironic, listening to James’ sermons, He was quite a charlatan and Chamaeleon. It is the old bait and switch of do as I say not as I do. He used to highlight frequently this passage saying that It kept him watchful, so to speak and thankful that his mom showed it to him when he was young “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”
It is abhorrent that pastors of mega churches are becoming millionaires by fleecing their flocks. Jesus spoke to the multitudes and yet had nowhere to lay his head. God will not be mocked and this is the point where James will be pinned to the mat knowing the FULL weight of God’s hand.
Looks like the falling out between Mancow and JMac is for real.
Mancow does not like being Used.
How was he used??
Now the reproach has come.
The axe has fallen.
Pride comes before a fall.
Can these dry bones live?
But it takes the Lord to fix the dry bones.
Praise for The Light.
Keep praying everyone.
Ezekiel 34, 35, 36, 37.
Ms. Roys, you’re lying down with a dog using Mancow Muller as a source. Don’t be surprised if you get up with fleas. I listened to him for the first time a couple of days ago. He was doing double entendre about oral sex on a woman. Why should I believe him?
Muller is certainly a conflicted figure, but Harvest’s own statement on his firing confirms that the tapes are authentic and the voice is James. And Julie also commented that she’s heard the whole tape and said the clips are not being taken out of context or used in a way that wasn’t his intent.
According to Muller he has over 100 hours of this, and these clips just came out of the *first* hour.
I have never written anything on line ever before…something moved me to do this
I have know james for over 30 years
Played bball at lunch time every day with James for about a decade, we have had long talks and counsel from James.
This is not this MAN’S HEART
Something is very fishy here!!
James…YOU ARE LOVED
Simply because James has never hurt you personally before or said evil things in front of you does not mean these things did not happen to others and in front of others. That is the difficulty of every abuse account – some people find it hard to believe because it didn’t happen to them personally. Just because a person didn’t abuse or hurt every person they encounter does not mean it has never happened. A person does not need to have hurt every child or every woman or every person to have hurt one or a handful. But hurting even one person in an abusive way is evil and wrong and needs to called out. Thank you Julie and Mancow and others for bravely reporting on these issues and standing up for the abused and the meek.
Also, people are complicated and are capable of both very great, good things and terrible, evil things. It’s also okay to feel confused because of your personal relationship with the man but please do not discount a mass of witnesses and testimony to James’ sin simply because it was not your personal experience. The most hurtful thing you can do to a person who has been abused and denigrated is defend the abuser and discount the account of the witnesses and survivors. The most helpful thing that can be done for James at this point is to help him see and repent so he can be saved – hopefully he will repent and make amends. Otherwise there is no evidence of him being a Christian or having the Holy Spirit if he does not repent, give up his wealth and love of money and live a simple life of humility. The Bible says the road is narrow and Jesus will say “I never knew you” even to those who did great things and performed miracles in His name. We should all take this reproach of James’ sin as a lesson and time to reflect on our own sin and ensure we don’t have unrepentant hearts.
Wow Jennifer your statement above is absolutely amazing ,Thank you so much for sharing and I am so glad you are my Sister!
There is nothing fishy here, at least I doubt it. My personal experience with James and Harvest is precisely what is being discussed here. And my experiences are from more than 14 years ago. Over the decades James has faced several accusations of a similar and worse behavior. Unfortunately Harvest elders and board looked the other. James was treated like a God. I experienced his smug, self-righteous attitude first hand. This should have happened years ago.
If you know his heart, then you know it is “deceitful above all else and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9),” as is my heart and as is yours. God Bless, ~Brenda
Thats why i have never written anything on line or DONT have any social media accounts.
People always seem to know what is on other peoples mind and know whats in there heart.
People like to see themself,hear themself and read themself.
The fishy part is a man just starting a radio show and trying to get ratings…i never listened to this guy before and did not even know he was attending my church…..seems like he is looking for ratings(fishy)…but i don’t know whats in his mind or heart.
I have had heated arguments with James in sporting competition and left feeling down, upset….but that is the way James challenged me. This made me a better Christian man.
I have been at Harvest for over 27yrs back when we were at Rolling Meadows high school. Ther are so many people that were dedicated and put blood, sweat, tears and sacrifices.There are still alot of great Goddly people here and great Pastors. We will not give up and work thru these problems . This will make us a stornger and better church.
Im a simple guy, but direct. Some times that rubs people the wrong way.
My wife and i have served faithfully
Where ever the church needed us parking service ,nursery …not looking to move up in the ranks of the church.. The people following JESUS CHRIST at the church made it
when i hear from James i would definitely respond back…..
Judging from your treatment at Moody and now in relation to Harvest, Matthew 5:10-12 is appropriate.
Replying to Matthew Anthony who said: “…Mancow Muller as a source… Why should I believe him?”
You don’t have to believe Mancow. Believe the HBC elder board instead.
They officially stated in their February 2019 Elder Update: “on Tuesday morning highly inappropriate recorded comments made by Pastor MacDonald were given to media and reported.” So, by their statement and subsequent actions (terminating him effective immediately), they are absolutely confirming that it was James MacDonald who made those recorded statements.
Regarding Muller, look, frankly, the guy is a bit of a scumbag. It’s evident through his radio show. Can it be denied though that God providentially used him and his friendship to bring James MacDonald down.
The whole thing sounds disgusting. Mainly I would like to know where and how you got these recordings. Did you or someone else record him without his permission?
Mike you need to WAKE UP , what is disgusting is years of abuse etc etc etc What are you an ancient lawyer , who are you trying to get off the hook , that is very disturbing , you made a really dumb comment without permission.
This is nothing but pure religious nihilism. Add it to the political nihilism swirling around this country & you’ve got the s*@t storm we’re muddling through. Lord Spanky Cheetolini’s anointed prayer possee ain’t nothing but a devel group. Lord help us all.
Pray for all Involved !!
I went to Harvest Bible Chapel and said under leadership of Pastor James MacDonald and am very thankful for the biblical foundation that was laid for me in my early walk with the Lord. With that being said let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Only God, who is Sovereign, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresence and He knows the truth. Lets us all pray for all parties involved and let justice prevail.
Oh my word, I cannot believe how many people are using this verse in these circumstances. No one is on their way to stone him for his behavior, THEY ARE HOLDING HIM ACCOUNTABLE. There is a difference. Plus, James is not showing any repentance for his behavior and if my experience with him serves as evidence, he will not take any responsibility or show any repentance for his behavior. He will point the finger elsewhere and blame others while attempting to position himself in the right and being righteous beyond any of those holding him accountable. IT is a Loooooong time coming.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL HIM PASTOR , HE WAS AND IS A HIRELING
Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.
Just doesn’t seem like an appropriate context for this verse. Seems like lazy use of scripture to me.
I WILL USE EVERY STONE , EVERY STICK , EVERY DUNG PILE (only dried) THE WOLF WILL NOT GET ANY MORE SHEEP , I AM MY BROTHERS KEEPER and my BROTHERS ARE ONLY THE ONES WHICH DO MY FATHERS WILL……… MAT 12:48-50
TIME TO WAKE UP!!!!!
Let me first say, Pastor James has helped me so very much in my spiritual walk with Christ throughout the years and my on-going relationship with the “body of Christ” has been less than desirable since childhood! With that being said, I have awakened this morning distraught and depressed over this entire situation! This has EVIL written all over it.. PURE EVIL….and yes!…. that includes both the many accusers and the accused!
Satan is rejoicing!
I weep with Jesus this morning! Oh…how I wish I could wrap my arms around my Savior right now and wipe away His Tears! Not only does this “scandal” hurt the very image of Christ, it also hurts all those lost souls who will never be open or willing to know Him after reading this….
Very…very sad day indeed!
THANK YOU FOR SHARING , PLEASE DO NOT CALL HIM PASTOR , HE WAS A HIRELING ,ALWAYS WAS and IS. JESUS DID NOT GIVE HIS LIFE FOR A WORLDLY SYSTEM ,PART OF WHICH IS CALLED CALVARY WHATEVER, HE GAVE HIS LIFE SO YOU AND I COULD HAVE A CHANCE TO COME OUT OF THE SYSTEM AND BE SEPARATE AND CLING TO HIM, HEAR HIM and be LED OF HIS SPIRIT, to be OBEDIENT and FOLLOW HARD AFTER HIM , not some other voice or voices.
NOW GO OUT AND REACH ALL THOSE THAT WILL NOT ONLY HEAR THE TRUTH BUT DO THE TRUTH .DO NOT BE DECEIVED , TIME IS SHORT, WE ALL NEED TO REPENT OF THE DECEPTION WE HAVE BEEN IN and WAKE UP!!! and come out from the wickedness AND BE SEPARATE UNTO HIM!
IM SORRY I MUST CLARIFY, HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR US NOT TO GO INTO THE SYSTEM , BUT TO BE SEPARATE and HE SAID HE WOULD RECEIVE US.BUT WHAT DID WE DO AS DISOBEDIENT SHEEP……. WELL MOST OF US GOT DECEIVED and GOT SUCKED RIGHT IN TO THE LIE
WE NEED TO REPENT and come out ,NO MORE EXCUSES THEY ARE LIES TOO.
“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” – Hitler, Poland, 1939.
This is a huge cop-out. This is about accountability not judgement.
Good job! You won! Feel good about your efforts, true and false, and your reporting good and poor. You’ve really served God’s kingdom.
I am glad that this is coming to the forefront of the news as much as I am sad that this is, indeed, the current state of the church. We attended Harvest Rolling Meadows for 5 years and left about 14 years ago. At the time Harvest was about 1200+ people. Regardless, it was obvious that James was an egomaniac back then and that the staff and elders coward, if not worshiped him. People at Harvest were more about “James said…” than they were “the scriptures say…” I have a difficult time there for years. I could not get behind the the phony vision and arrogant nature of the way James spoke, spoke down to others who did not view life his way AND how he was known to behave outside of the church community. He acted and spoke more as if it was true because HE said it and not because God said it. His behavior on the softball field was DEPLORABLE for anyone much less a pastor. I tried to tell staff and friends back then but they refused to listen. A couple actually told me they are going to need to address this with other pastoral staff members or bring me before the elder board. As I write this, I remember the second year we were there charges were brought against James for inappropriate conduct while counseling women and bullying male staff and volunteers. All they really did was manage damage control and James didn’t have to answer to anything while those who came forward in a precise biblical manner were slandered and squelched. SHAME ON THOSE LEADERS WHO SHOULD HAVE STOOD UP! Shame on them!
It is utterly disgusting that it took this long.
I am saddened and appalled by those who continually defend the indefensible. I was able to pull my whole family (actually 7 families total) out of this ‘church’ quite a few years ago after a protracted battle with their cognitive dissonance. I was amazed that it took this long for their sin to be found out, Numbers 32:23.
Where are the calls for mercy and weeping for the so very many innocents who were driven out of this ‘church’ for merely speaking the truth, or dare I say, had the audacity to question King James?
So for all of the manipulations of scripture that I see telling us not to judge, I implore you to read your whole Bible. For it is there that we find verses like this:
1 Corinthians 6:2-4 King James Version (KJV)
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
Jude 4 King James Version (KJV)
4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 King James Version (KJV)
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
James 3:1 King James Version (KJV)
3 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
The word master can be translated into teacher in modern day language. The Lord was indeed merciful and so very, very patient while His people were ravaged for filthy lucre.
The problem is that King James never listened. Neither did his subjects.
I just hope that they will not receive DOUBLE for the sin that they willingly engaged in and that the Lord will have mercy once again.
THANK YOU TED FOR THE WORD OF TRUTH THAT YOU SHARED , BUT IM REALLY THINKING THAT THE MERCY IS QUITE POSSIBLY ALL USED UP …. HEB 6:4-6 KJV (something about putting Jesus to an open shame)
David, thank you for your very apt scriptural rebuttal. Yes, it is a big Book and the problem is that the sins of this corporation are so egregious that one can go on and on. Having said that, I do think that you are correct in your assertion. They have had so very many many chances and to this day remain stiff-necked.
The kiddie porn that JSM wanted to plant, was it from his personal library? He would have fit perfectly as a priest!
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