Over the past few weeks, James MacDonald and the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel have made several public statements regarding MacDonald’s plan to seek reconciliation with certain select (and unnamed) members of “The Void.” In keeping with this pattern of behavior, James MacDonald recently used his sermon on the seventh chapter of John to suggest that he was making progress towards reconciling with at least one unnamed individual, who had refused to meet with him last year. Yesterday afternoon, Josh Caterer submitted a statement to The Elephant’s Debt asking that it be published under his name. In this statement, Caterer makes it clear that he is not the unnamed individual to whom MacDonald was referring in his sermon.
My Response to 2 Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Why don’t I have my name removed from the Elephant’s Debt website?
People have been asking me about this ever since the website came out. Would I consider having my name removed from “The Void” list? My answer is that I WOULD be willing to have it removed if I knew that any of the information on the site was wrong. But I haven’t seen anything on the site which I know to be false. On the contrary, I can personally verify some of it. The rest of it is not only supported by ample documentation, but also seems to be, as Mike Bryant put it, “consistent with the declining character” of James MacDonald, which I observed during my later years on staff at Harvest.
Some have suggested that the site’s approach is unbiblical because, according to Matthew 18, they should have tried to work things out with James privately first. But the passage in Matthew 18 deals with personal offences, so I don’t think it applies to this situation. Verse 15 says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” But what if your brother sins against a congregation of thousands of people? Don’t those people deserve to know about it? I think they do, and in that sense, the Elephant’s Debt site has served a valuable purpose.
2) Am I one of the people who has supposedly “reconciled” with James MacDonald?
This question has been coming up a lot lately. James has been talking about his efforts to “reconcile” with some of the people who have left Harvest, and some people seem to have gotten the impression that he and I have patched things up and everything is cool between us. So I’d like to be clear about this: I have not reconciled with James MacDonald. I don’t think personal reconciliation has anything to do with it. I saw James face to face a couple of months ago. I gave him a hug. We sat down and talked for a few minutes. He asked me directly if there was anything having to do with our personal relationship that I was holding against him. I was hard-pressed to think of anything of that nature. The issues that I have with James, my doubts about his integrity and my concerns about his qualifications as an elder, are not the result of a rift in our relationship and cannot be reduced to the level of personal offences. The real issues are much larger than that. I think the Elephant’s Debt website has done a good job of bringing some of those issues to light. These are things that must be addressed by the leadership of Harvest honestly, thoroughly and with true repentance. It doesn’t seem like that has happened yet, but I believe that it’s possible and that, with God’s help, Harvest can get past these distractions and get back to being the strong, God-honoring church I remember it to be.