Former Elders Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh are publicly ex-communicated by HBC and release a statement.

Update (16 Sep 2013)

On June 22, 2013, The Elephant’s Debt issued an update informing you that three HBC elders (Dan Marquardt, Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh) had resigned from the elder board.  Subsequent to that post, we then released a copy of Marquardt’s resignation letteras well as three other documents that all pertained to his resignation.

Now, as of late last week, we came into possession of a new document, which has been authored by Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh.  It was our intention to publish the original piece on Monday morning.  However, events have unfolded quickly; and we now have additional information to report.

After sending a brief letter in which Phelps and Slabaugh offered their public support of Marquardt to the Elephant’s Debt, Scott Phelps sent a text to Robert Jones, the Chairman of the Harvest Elder Board.  His text reads as follows:

“Robert, as a courtesy, I want you to know that Barry and I have made a public statement indicating our full support and agreement with Dan.  We have attempted to speak with grace and truth.  I expect that our statement will be posted shortly.  – Scott”

Subsequent to that, Robert Jones called Phelps and they had what Phelps describes as a “candid conversation.”  The next morning, the elders of Harvest met in an emergency meeting and made a decision to place Phelps and Slabaugh (but, interestingly, not Marquardt) under public church discipline.  A letter, which can be found here, was delivered to Phelps and Slabaugh on Saturday.  Then, beginning on Saturday night, a video, which can be found here,  was shown to the congregation in which James MacDonald and four other elders explained to the church why these two former elders were being placed under “discipline.”

Very significantly, the video begins with James MacDonald asserting that when local elders speak with a unified voice, they speak for God:

I just want to remind you that God has entrusted spiritual authority to the local church.  And every local church has an authority under God.  We believe that the Bible teaches that the authority is invested in the elders.  And when the elders speak collectively, in agreement, the elders speak for God to our church.

Following this theologically misguided introduction, elders Paul Inserra, Steve Huston, Randy Williams and Jamie Harrison then speak for five minutes on the subject of Phelps and Slabaugh.  According to these elders, Phelps and Slabaugh are “working to destroy” James MacDonald by “sowing discord” and “creating division.”  Furthermore:

“… if these men would express even a fraction of the constant and ongoing grace and humility that we see so frequently in our pastor, they could move beyond their bitterness to healing.”

Phelps and Slabaugh are then charged with “defiling many people,” before they are labeled as having a “spirit of superiority and self-righteousness.”  Finally, in a rhetorically shocking move, Steve Huston, argues that Phelps and Slabaugh’s decision to publish a letter on The Elephant’s Debt is “Satanic to the core.”  What must be noted here and recalled with absolute clarity is that per MacDonald’s admonition, when the elders speak, God Himself is speaking.  So God Himself has declared that these men are “Satanic to the core” for their decision to publish a letter on The Elephant’s Debt.

Near the end of the video, the congregation is informed that Phelps and Slabuagh are no longer allowed to worship at HBC until they publicly repent.  Furthermore, the congregation is strongly advised to avoid any and all contact with these two men until such time as they might turn from their “sin.”

Interestingly enough, Harvest’s reaction may have been predicated upon a simple misunderstanding.  The original letter, received by the Elephant’s Debt, did not contain a 13-point list of accusations against MacDonald and his character.  Rather, as Phelps said to Robert Jones in his text, the original letter he and Slabuagh sent to us was merely in support of Dan Marquardt and sought to keep things very general.  The original letter is very similar in nature to the revised letter on this site.  And, if anything, it is gentler and more gracious in tone.  Moreover, with the revised letter that he has submitted to this website, we see a fuller picture of what actually occurred.

At the same time that Phelps and Slabaugh sent their original letter to us, another letter was was sent to Harvest.  This letter, which Phelps claims is written by eight former elders, was a private letter addressed solely to the Harvest Bible Chapel Elder Board.  This letter did in fact contain thirteen specific concerns pertaining to MacDonald and his ministry.  This letter has never been sent to The Elephant’s Debt; and it is only because Harvest has now publicly acknowledged it that the congregation is aware that eight former elders are speaking with a unified voice.   If, at some point, these elders wish to make this letter known to the whole church, we will publish it for your consideration.  Until such time, we leave you with Phelps and Slabaugh’s revised letter that now details some of this unfolding story.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On June 18, 2013, along with Dan Marquardt, we brought several concerns to the Elder Board of Harvest Bible Chapel, in keeping with the biblical requirement of two or three witnesses.  This fundamental principle requiring the verification of testimony is taught by Moses, (Dt 19.15), Jesus (Mt 18.16), and Paul (2 Ct 13.1, 1 Tm 5.19).

With Dan’s resignation letter now made public, we recognize our obligation to corroborate his testimony in accordance with this biblical principle.  We now come forward to verify Dan’s statements.  Dan Marquardt is a godly man of integrity and character and he has provided a truthful account of the events he records in their proper context.  We share his concerns and the three of us are in complete agreement on these matters.  (Scott was not present for the January, 2013 meeting at which the budget was approved, however Barry and Dan were present and so provide the two witnesses necessary.)

It has only been our intention to fulfill our responsibilities as elders according to Scripture, ever mindful that we are ultimately accountable to Christ alone (2 Ct 5.10).  We have prayerfully and consistently sought the good of our pastor, the good of our church, and most importantly, the glory of God.  We continue to pray for Harvest to these ends.

We have not been eager to bring these matters forward and have remained silent until now.   However, since our resignations we have heard from many members as well as former members, elders and staff.  The consistency of these testimonies we have heard has only bolstered our concerns.

We three have been engaged in a struggle with Harvest leadership for nearly a year in seeking to fulfill our responsibilities as elders to address consequential matters, many of which are detailed on this site.   Until now, we have not said anything publicly.  We have not posted on any website, or Facebook, nor have we sent out a single tweet about these matters.  Our goal has been to challenge the elders and work for reform in a God-honoring way, keeping these matters private.

We have maintained close communication with the elder board chairman through all of this.  So, having written the above statement in support of Dan, Scott sent the following text to the elder chairman on Friday, September 13th:  “Robert, as a courtesy, I want you to know that Barry and I have made a public statement indicating our full support and agreement with Dan.  We have attempted to speak with grace and truth.  I expect that our statement will be posted shortly.  – Scott”

His text response was:  “Thanks for the heads up.  I’m traveling on business…will call in 3 min.”  He called.  We talked.  Cordial and candid as always.

In addition to making the brief public statement above in support for our friend, we also felt it necessary to send a private letter to the elders.   Eight of us former elders, including the former chairman of the board, drafted a strong private letter of concern to the elders.  We want to emphasize that this was a private letter sent only to the elders.  The existence of this letter has only become known because the elders announced it to the church during the weekend worship services.   This letter was never intended to be made known.

On the weekend of September 14th & 15th, we were publicly rebuked by name, in all services on all seven campuses.  This rebuke was then posted on the Harvest website.

Through all of this, we trust that God is in control.  We are not bitter or vindictive.  We pray that the leadership of the church will address the concerns that we have brought to their attention in our private letter, as well as many of the issues that have been raised on this website.

For the Glory of God,

Scott Phelps & Barry Slabaugh  – Psalm 27.4-5.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Editor’s Note:  Finally, we wish to inform you that Scott Bryant attended Harvest Bible Chapel – Crystal Lake on the morning of 15 September 2013.  He was a quiet participant through the service; and had attended solely for the purpose of confirming the Phelps/Slabaugh discipline statement first hand so that The Elephant’s Debt did not inaccurately portray what had been said via video.  After the service, Greg Bradshaw, Campus Pastor of Crystal Lake, confronted this author in the lobby of the church.  After chastising this author for failing to bring his Bible to church, Mr. Bradshaw informed this author that he was not welcome to attend services at Harvest until such time that he would publicly repent of his “gross, sinful behavior.”  This is the first time that this author has been informed that he is not allowed to attend the church; and thus, it should be noted publicly that he was not acting in violation of previous church mandates.  In point of fact, no leader of Harvest has ever contacted either author of TED following its publication in October 2012.

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80 Responses to Former Elders Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh are publicly ex-communicated by HBC and release a statement.

  1. Carol says:

    Just so there is no misunderstanding about James MacDonald’s claim that “when the elders speak collectively, in agreement, the elders speak for God to our church.”

    The Elder Board has also confirmed this claim in writing.

    From the Elder letter of church discipline for two former Elders, posted Sept 14, 2013:

    “When 30 of our 33 elders each disagreed out loud and personally to each of your false assertions you would not yield to THE HOLY SPIRIT’S DIRECTION. How could OUR MESSAGE have been clearer to you?” (CAPS added for emphasis)

    Ezekiel 13:7b-8
    “…You say, ‘The Lord says,’ but I have not spoken.” Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Because you have spoken nonsense and envisioned lies, therefore I am indeed against you,” says the Lord God.

  2. Desmond Cato says:

    Such hateful words said in the publicly broadcasted video. Since when is having disagreements with a church is ran “satanic to the core”. And also warning members from interacting with these two gentlemen, Ridiculous. I know that I don’t know the whole story, but these words were HARSH.

  3. J Crane says:

    6 Signs Your Church Is Dysfunctional

    1. The church or organizational culture does not value those serving, just those leading and the function of the organization.
    2. The leader is the only one who is allowed to think.
    3. The organization or church thinks everyone else is wrong and only they are right.
    4. People rationalize that the good they are experiencing is worth the abuse they are receiving.
    5. People often know of the glaring character problems of the leader, but no one can speak truth to power.
    6. Many times, the leader gets a pass for the fruit of his/her leadership because of some overwhelming characteristic: preaching ability, intelligence, ability to woo others, or more.
    http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/160606-ed_stetzer_6_signs_your_church_is_dysfunctional.html?p=1

    This was taken from Ed Stetzer… who is an approved Harvest Blogger.

    One of the first things that many of us thought of while we were watching the Harvest Elder video post was, “this is so cult-ish”. I’m not ready to say that Harvest has become that, but we can very definitely say Harvest IS dysfunctional and unhealthy to the body of Christ… Harvest members and those now outside the Harvest walls.

    We are still very concerned about many of our Christian friends who attend Harvest and are not willing to look at the sinful evidence and eisegesis because of the children’s programs, and just want to look the other way.
    (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/eisegesis)

  4. Hurt says:

    How did these four poor souls get chosen to be thrown under the bus? Where is the entire elder board? Why isn’t the Chairman of the Elder Board, Robert Jones, speaking to the people he is supposedly leading? For that matter, since James controls the Elder Board, why doesn’t he speak to the church instead of having to enlist other (yes)men to do the dirty work? This video, and the message they sent out, isn’t anything that I ever wanted to see or hear from a church, especially what I thought was my church.

    • Jim says:

      Good question. For something that MacDonald says “is as serious as serious gets” why wasn’t this message given by the Elder Board Chairman Robert Jones??? Was this video in fact the idea of James MacDonald as a means to lash out at his critics in a fit of rage and anger??? Was in fact James MacDonald seeking to silence not only Scott and Barry, but also instill fear into to the HBC congregation as to what happens when you ask questions?
      Notice there are only four elders present. Are these the only four hapless elders that would give in to James MacDonald wishes? Where are the other 27 elders? Where is the Chairman Robert Jones for such a serious church chat???

  5. Dear Scott/Ryan,

    I haven’t met either of you in person, buy I was meaning to talk to one of you personally. While I support your intentions for the site, I just want you to consider making it a requirement (at least for pro TED people to use their full name when posting comments. I’m bothered by the anonymous posts. Just think about it. I think it’s the right thing to do.

    Since I know you probably read this site, James, I’m the 6′ 4″ blond guy you told never to turn your mic off.

    • Hi Kevin,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to actually share a constructive criticism of the site. To be honest, we have really wrestled with the very point you are raising. Believe it or not, in the very hours before we first published the site in October 2012, we were still wrestling with whether or not to put our own names on it. In the end, we obviously made the choice that we did; and we’ve never looked back.

      But to require the same disclosure of others, many of whom are clearly hurting and still wrestling with news that is new to them, seemed a bit to much to ask of people. Others, such as yourself, might disagree with our choice, but we felt that we had to maximize people’s sense of security. Besides, from a purely pragmatic perspective, there is no way to truly police such a policy. When someone posts a comment, they can enter any name they like into the proper field. So if we had such a policy, we’d likely end up getting names such as “Bob Smith” instead of “anonymous.” Know what I mean?

      But again, thanks for the support and thanks for trying to make this a better forum.

      • I suppose that’s true pragmatically. If you do ever get the notion, don’t be afraid to change your minds :)

        A root problem in this whole situation is silence and anonymity on the part of a lot of men, who seemed to have equated zipped lips with godly character–a void, one might say. I can’t judge motives, but the actions were such.

        (To all of you who regularly post here, I encourage you to put your name to your thoughts. Be bold. Death threats didn’t stop our apostles, and Paul left us a 2000 year old rebuke to the apostle Peter–bet Peter loved that, reminding us to cherish the gospel of Jesus above any man’s reputation).

        I see the balance you two had to strike, though. Thanks for the candor. Be careful!

        • Despeville (6' 1" Brunet with charming smile) says:

          Well there is always NSA for the super inquisitive… Like here: http://bit.ly/19TSkUb :)
          Seriously, keeping a nickname on the net has absolutely nothing to do with not being bold, or honest or not having courage. It has everything with preserving ones privacy and being shrewd. See our Lord’s instruction on that inMatthew 10:16. That is vital on the net. Paul lived in a world where while preaching in Ephesus he could not be harmed by men in Rome at the same time. We do so please be realistic here but even Paul who went through so much too precaution and was shrewd to escape harms way when he could. See Acts 9:25 on that please.

  6. SLIMJIM says:

    This is getting more and more dramatic…again, I’m praying for the Lord for those who are hurt by all of this

  7. J Crane says:

    It’s a matter of time before HBC removes the updates , especially the last elder video. Make a copy, because it will get spun and twisted soon.

  8. Joe says:

    Scott and Barry,

    It appears that the saying at the end of HBC services is conditional – to the whims of HBC Elders and Pastors.

    Rest assured that “You are Loved” and “You will always be Loved”.

    • Scott Thompson says:

      Resoundingly agreed & personally experienced.

    • James 4:7 says:

      “Rest assured that ‘You are Loved’ and ‘You will always be Loved’.

      Er–that is, until you ask one too many questions. Then you are catapulted–in love, of course.

  9. Hatshepsut says:

    First off, thank you gentlemen for maintaining this site. This site is a good example of a well focused “whistle blower” site that provides great supporting documentation for your argument. It is not simply a platform for complaining and airing grievances.

    This recent turn of events is a very clear representation of the “Pharisees” suppressing contrary viewpoints. After a cursory review of scripture regarding church elders I could not find a single scripture that refers to elders as being spokesmen for God. There was actually very little as far as specific duties assigned to elders other than “caretakers;” so if they are now spokesmen then that must be only found in the gospel of “King James.” Also, James stated that the elders speak for God when they speak “in consensus.” Well, when you remove those who don’t agree with you, then yes, there will be consensus.

    My understanding of the concerns from the now excommunicated elders were primarily operational; debt, administration of the church, salaries, etc. It does not sound like any of the problems were related to salvation, doctrine, or pillars of the church. It is very interesting that raising questions about running of a church is “satanic.” (A statement which almost made me start laughing at the complete absurdity of the assertion.)

    Scott and Barry, please rest easy in the knowledge that this latest event only cemented in my mind, and many like me, that the concerns you raised are more than founded. This statement make Harvest look petty and Pharisaical, and calling a opposing view point satanic was just ridiculous, and sadly, funny.

    • Jon says:

      Maybe I misheard … They weren’t called satanic as this website has stated nor were they called satanic for asking questions. I believe it was said that talking to the world via a website was a satanic action (gossip).

      I’m not saying that HBC isn’t a gong show but I just want to make sure the facts are straight.

      • James 4:7 says:

        The definition of “gossip” is “…idle talk about someone’s private or personal matters…” You apparently don’t understand the difference between “gossip” and a legitimate attempt to inform the church of wrongdoing on the part of the leadership of HBC. It is entirely inappropriate (not to mention hypocritical) for the leadership of HBC to attempt to keep this matter of pastoral/elder misfeasance “private” when they themselves have publicly slandered these former elders who were following the pattern set forth in Matthew 18. Had their concerns been responded to initially, there would have been no need to take the matter to the wider church. It is really unfortunate that it had to come to this but the blame can be placed squarely on the shoulders of one man–James MacDonald.

        • Jon says:

          Whoa. Ease up “James4:7″. I wasn’t making a judgement call on gossip – rather explaining what the elders actually said.

          We could argue about the meaning of gossip for sure – whether or not it matters WHO you speak to but that wasn’t the point of my post.

      • Despeville (6' 1" Brunet with charming smilie" says:

        Jon,

        Indeed you misheard. The web site was not mentioned at all but ANY publicizing of ANYTHING that HBC disagrees with ANYWHERE and for ANY reason is SATANIC according to the four and the remaining 26 elders of HBC:

        “… publicizing view points rejected by the elder majority for ANY REASON is SATANIC TO THE CORE and must be dealt with directly. Those who have no standing in local church but continue to assault it from outside with factious messages must be rejected according to the Word of God…”
        ~ Eleder Steve Huston @3:27 to @3:44 LINK: http://bit.ly/1gqjOlw

        These cultist like pronouncement by Huston is then followed between 3:47 and 4:00 with an instruction to not associate i.e. listen to anything excommunicated ex elders have to say under the threat of “detriment of a soul” of listening HBC member… Those two Christians then are included in and called “the enemy” elder Williams @ 5:46

        Now please tell me how is above from Huston, Williams, Inserra, Harrison and the rest of HBC elders and MacDonald any different in its substance from this:

        “Have No Dealings With Apostates, … For example, what will you do if you receive a letter or some literature, open it, and see right away that it is from an apostate? Will curiosity cause you to read it, just to see what he has to say? You may even reason: `It won’t affect me; I’m too strong in the truth. And besides, if we have the truth, we have nothing to fear. The truth will stand the test.’ In thinking this way, some have fed their minds upon apostate reasoning and have fallen prey to serious questioning and doubt.” ~ Watchtower, March 15, 1986, p12

    • Alex R says:

      If this site is such a good example, why does it not post factual comments from opposing viewpoints? Why is it telling a one-dimensional story and not the whole truth? If there is nothing to hide, why not allow the rest of the facts speak for themselves?

      • Big Talker Hiding Behind a Fake Name (that's biblical, right?) says:

        It seems that you are welcome to say anything you want here (with no supporting facts) about James MacDonald or the HBC elders (even calling them names like “bobbleheads”, calling HBC a cult, etc.), but if you throw a few sarcastic barbs at the ringleaders of this site or push back hard in any way, that response is not posted. I have screen captures showing what has not been posted. Maybe I’ll start a site and post what *doesn’t* get posted. You can see then how “transparent” and “balanced” this forum really is.

        • Gary says:

          Well, “Big Talker,” in fairness to the guy who made the “bobble head” comment, those four guys did in fact, literally, keep bobbing their heads up and down throughout the video.

        • Matthew 6:33 says:

          No supporting facts….seriously? Have you looked through the mountains of evidence included here? Were you present for the video, or watch it online?????

          As a recently removed HBC member (removed myself based on the FACTS), all I’ve seen from HBC since this site started is damage control. Many have asked for, and welcomed, opposing FACTS and EVIDENCE (ok, so you don’t like this website…but it’s clear that this has been asked for via church communication). But there have only been blanket statements here and there in retaliation from HBC leadership.

          If the evidence presented on this site is so wrong (putting aside personal comments…I’m hoping we’re all adult enough to do that), then where is the contradictory evidence? Where’s the public statement to squelch these claims?? Why can’t questions be answered??? It is not out of the question to have transparency and disclosure.

        • Despeville says:

          I think you can clearly see where I stand regarding this mess which is far wider and has far deeper implications than HBC leadership can think through or is willing to admit and guess what? Many of my posts have not been posted…Many. Therefore, so much for your clear thinking and biased assertions. As far as to the term “bobbleheads”… Watch the video WITHOUT audio and you will see it too. A sad pantomime of shocking lack of biblical discernment and compromised sycophancy. Four horsemen of HBC apocalypse really if you can take this analogy with a grain of salt…

  10. Tyranny says:

    Folks –
    Two big concerns – First is the debt resolution graph link attached at the bottom of the copy of the elders letter link posted in this statement. One must measure this against the financial statement for 2011 to 2012 posted in April by the Elder Board demonstrating a significant decrease in revenue while at the same time expenses increased!!! I suggest each person do some simple math and ask if this debt can be paid down in the time shown on the graph.
    Second concern would be the concentration of power by the Executive Board – Throughout history this path has been called tyranny. Ask yourself if the path toward tyranny is the path you are called by God to be on.

  11. Despeville says:

    “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
    Galatians 6:7-8, ESV

    I watched this video by four HBC elders and it is sad and disturbing on so many levels. The fact that they removed from HBC two former and yet supposedly still attending and disagreeing elders in their irrationally asserted “unity” (sic!) was only to be expected regardless of the validity of two members and former elders witness and intentions. That in itself would be concerning but this sad video and its deceived men who speak in it go far, far, far beyond that. I wrote here few times before which was disallowed then and which now is finally visible in so many responses here, and that is that Harvest Bible Chapel is operating de facto as a cult (personality cult under the vestige of elder rule) and is promoting many cultist ideas ( eg. prosperity “gospel” tactics, elements, teachings and openly heretical impostors as modalist TD Jakes, etc.) To that regard, a remark of Randy Williams @2:35 where he referred to HBC as “O U R church” has truly an ominous and chilling in meaning…

    This response by HBC elders goes far beyond their seemingly intrinsic right to execute church discipline on their two members… It goes to label and libel anyone and anything that criticizes their pastor and their actions, anyone outside their church whom they cannot place under their direct discipline as “SATANIC” as Huston states @3:32… This is what truly deceived, manipulated and yes GOD mocking Steve Huston pronounces in his utter confusion between 3:26 and 3:51. Folks, this is altogether a different thing, e different matter, a different scale as disciplining two members of their church. This is in fact as cultist, false, deceived and nefarious as it can possibly get. This is EXACTLY what Jehovah Witnesses are told for example by their “elders” where they are directly and strictly FORBIDDEN not only to listen to anyone criticizing JWs but also not even READ anyone writing anything against them and their religion. This is precisely what we have here at Harvest Bible Chapel as voiced by these four deeply confused, deceived and manipulated men standing in representation of the other 26 equally complacent and deceived and deceiving thousands of others by their conundrum of inability to act and discern. These men sadly do not even realize that they mock God and they do not realize that because they are sincere in their convictions. Well you may be sincere in your convictions and still be dead wrong in them. This is exactly what we have here. This is also why their cited Scriptures used by them to justify they pronouncements on their two members, six former members and any other believer in general who would dare to disagree with their sincere convictions are abused and used to libel anyone, including anyone here as “SATANIC”… Yes, dear believer you were redeemed by blood of Jesus Christ the Lord of Glory but if you dare to disagree with HBC elders and James MacDonald you are “SATANIC” and by the same token that is how Holy Spirit residing in you is described by these men… Yes, James, this is indeed as serious as serious gets…

    Furthermore and regarding their abuse of the Scriptures, look for example at the context of 2 Timothy 4 mentioned and asserted as justification of this discipline decision and libel of anyone else daring to criticize HBC as “satanic” by elder Jamie Harrison @ 3:14 in video. That context are false teachers spreading FAKSE gospel as clearly evidenced in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 and not anyone who dared to disagree with Paul (not to mention that James MacDonald is not on a level of Apostle Paul and never was nor will be for there were only 12 Apostles). It is in this context, the context of false teachers peddling false gospel that we must understand the condemnation of Alexander the copper-smith by Paul in 2 Timothy 4:14 so erroneously, cavalierly and deceivingly asserted by Jamie Harrison, the other three elders and by representation the other 26 elders and James MacDonald as argument here. If this type of abuse and bible twisting is not a red flag of a cultist eisegesis coined for the agenda of control and manipulation of HBC folks then I do not know what else possibly can be. Final words to members of HBC and elders reading this (I know that you do) are below. Please that addressees of these words did already believe as you do yet they were still in bondage of lies and falsehood:

    “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

    John 8:31-33, ESV

  12. C. Curtis says:

    Scott, Barry, and Dan:
    Very thankful that there are courageous men like you out there representing the true church of Christ Jesus. Continue to stand firm for the truth and don’t become discouraged or intimidated. There are many of us out here praying for you. God is working through you to bring the darkness of HBC into the light. Be encouraged, brothers.

  13. A Friend says:

    I want to say a quick word to elders Slabaugh and Phelps:

    Brothers, do not let this disciplinary action destroy your confidence. Serious men take discipline seriously; that is why false discipline is so destructive. And this was false discipline. How do we know? Simply by checking the biblical categories for church discipline.
    1. Sinning against another Christian and refusing to repent after many confrontations (Matthew 18:15-20)
    2. Committing a sin so scandalous that the entire church is shamed by it (I Corinthians 5:1-5)
    3. Teaching a gospel contrary to that of the Apostles (I Timothy 1:18-20)
    4. Disagreeing with your pastor (…?…oh, wait…)
    Yeah, apparently that last one isn’t in the Bible. So even if you guys WERE in the wrong, there is absolutely no biblical basis to discipline you for it. This action is false. It does not have the sanction of the Lord Jesus. It cannot in any way reflect on your character or your reputation. Do not let evil men discourage you when you tell the truth – and yes, anyone who would publicly discipline you for this reason is evil. Know that there are many brothers and sisters praying for you and for your families this day.

    • job3627 says:

      Well said, Friend. This is surely an ugly business to watch but we must uphold those who are being attacked by the use of the worst sort of spiritual abuse imaginable. I have been there myself in contention with a megalomaniac pastor who attempted to “discipline” me for daring to speak out about his promotion of the works of heretic, Rob Bell in the church. I protested to him and when he didn’t respond, I took my spouse with me and another person to try to persuade him of his error. When that failed, I took it to the elder board and it was, at that point, that this “pastor” attempted to “discipline” me for supposedly having “a critical spirit”. When we left the church over the matter, it began an exodus of many others out of the church. This “pastor” is now attempting to run some kind of “spiritual retreat center” and the church that he “pastored” is down to just a few people at this point. Sad that the enemy uses such people to destroy churches.

    • PSRocket says:

      Based on the letter the Elder Board sent Scott and Barry, the disciplinary action against them as members (not as elders, since they were no longer elders at the time of the discipline) was not about disagreeing with their pastor. The claim is that they were being divisive within the Body of Christ. And so, following Titus 3:10, after warning them twice, the Elder Board has directed those members of Harvest to have “nothing more to do with them.” (KJV says to “reject.”)
      It is not a “simple misunderstanding” as the authors of this blog have said. It doesn’t matter which letter was sent, which version was made public. While it might seem noble for these two men to publicly stick up for Dan, the end result is divisiveness. And that is why Scott and Barry were disciplined.
      The biggest champions of Scott and Barry’s actions are people who don’t even attend Harvest. People who have zero interest (or responsibility) for the flock at Harvest.
      I don’t personally know these two gentlemen, but given that they are men who were qualified to be elders, having the biblical knowledge that they do, they can’t possibly be surprised by how this has played out.

      • Scott Thompson says:

        Seriously, I attended HBC/Meadows for 8+ yrs. (2004 – 2013). I served in the production ministry for 6+ of those. Back stage access as a production ministry person gives you a unique perspective that not many are privy to. I have also been to worship services at every campus, opened: Aurora, The Cathedral, and the Winnetka campuses; and worked camera for both Elephant Room events, and I could go on. The point is I know a little bit about what I’m talking about. I have been close to many leaders, elders, staff, small group leaders, etc. I know Dan, Scott, & Barry. So, with all due respect, unless you know what you are talking about, please keep it to yourself. Everything I have read here on this site (which is quite a bit) is consistent with the “culture” @HBC and specifically Pastor James, Pastor Rick, and the remaining elders. If you try to bring biblical teaching to bear on the clear and present sin taking place in the church leadership, you are pushed back, told you are the problem, told that it is sinful for you to express the message of the bible in a way that brings scrutiny on the leadership, and ultimately it is evident that if you try to press on, you are ejected and the door is closed behind you after you are publicly and wrongly judged/labeled. That may be recognized as the actions of a cult. In any event, Dan, Scott, & Barry did not just bump their heads and suddenly lose all the qualifications that they apparently must have in order to have been chosen as elders; and then become the opposite and turn on the very folks who entrusted them to be part of the guidance system for sound theological direction and monitoring of the flocks’ leadership. C’mon, give us a break. They are indeed the same men and they stood up for biblical truth which the leadership @HBC apparently has not ears to hear. We are just getting started on the ride down the rabbit hole boys & girls, fasten your seat belts, its gonna be a rough ride.

        • Reed says:

          Indeed, but one small correction. Winnetka never was and never fell into HBC system despite many corporate like shenanigans pulled by James MacDonald and his people in HBC and in Winnetka Bible Church itself. Last group now serves a diluted elders in HBC in recognition of their never fully opened Trojan horse…

        • J Crane says:

          @Reed & @ Scott Thompson,
          The Harvest elders and campus pastors were all about divisiveness when they took the Winnetka Bible Church to vote A FEW TIMES, and when they didn’t get enough votes after some building renovations and landscaping, they were divisive and elders and leaders from Winnetka Bible Church were folded into the Niles and North Shore campuses.

      • Despeville says:

        @PSRocket

        Rather cliche and not interesting but totally skewed perspective voiced below:

        “The biggest champions of Scott and Barry’s actions are people who don’t even attend Harvest. People who have zero interest (or responsibility) for the flock at Harvest.”

        Let me ask you and those who gave you this line to repeat: Does Harvest Bible Chapel belong to Christ and His Gospel or does Christ and His Gospel belong to Harvest Bible Chapel???

        If your answer would be the second then you would be right but we know that is not an option or possibility (or do you? :) ) If the first then what is going on in HBC is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE to all of those who belong to Christ and His Gospel and for obvious reason. Some may still ask what is that reason? So here it is: FOR THE GOSPEL PURITY and WITNESS SAKE.

        Now here is an interesting and irrational and inconsistent dichotomy so prevalent between the leadership of HBC. They want to influence so much of American Evangelicalism and even overseas churches and society and world at large. I mean they organize those conferences, They put up these videos on the net, their preaching, their teaching to INFLUENCE whoever they can but when those who they want to influence look back at what is going on in the very source of that influence all of the sudden that is faux pass, bad, wrong and yikes… :) Really? Seems to me many would benefit so much if they would really use logic and on the 101 level for then they would see what is going on in much clearer light. Interestingly that would be consistent with Matthew 22:37 too.

        • PSRocket says:

          @Despeville, The Elders of the Harvest Bible Chapel at which James MacDonald is the senior pastor, are responsible for the flock at that particular church. They are not responsible for the people who hear James on the radio, who read his books, read his blog, listen to him at a conference. Those people are, hopefully, being cared for by their own elders in their own church. The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel at which James MacDonald is the senior pastor, are not responsible for the people at the church plants with the HBC name. Those people are being cared for by their own elders in their own church. So the elder updates, the letters, the videos, are addressing the people for whom they are personally responsible. No one else. Let’s not add unbiblical burden on these men.

      • job3627 says:

        PSRocket,
        Yours is yet another attempt to twist Scripture to say what it does not say. It is obvious from the context of Titus 3:10 that the teaching there was never intended to silence legitimate concern by labeling it “divisiveness”. The context is one of fruitless arguments over genealogies (likely Jewish ones) or quarrels over obedience to the Jewish law–it really DOES NOT apply to this situation. I wish JM and company would quit using this passage to justify their draconian actions. The fact that they are not being challenged (or at least, it has not been reported that they have been challenged) on their Biblical eisegesis from within HBC itself is witness to the vast ignorance of the Bible that is allowing this farce to continue. Shame.

        • Despeville says:

          Ditto and you have nailed it Job. I am not even amazed by the rampant abuse and agenda driven eisegesis of the Word of God by James MacDonald and HBC leadership in general. I am tired of it for it is constant. I mean how many times you can tell that the verse does not mean what you think it means unless it is lined up with the authorial intent and authorial intent is FRAMED by the immediate, semi immediate and broad context. When will they understand that Titus 3:10 does not stand alone? That you need to read it at the very least in FRAMED in Titus 3:8-11? Taking verses out of context is also another trademark of cults in addition to forbidding its members to listen or read anything that can expose and criticize cult leadership.

          3:8 This saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on such truths, so that those who have placed their faith in God may be intent on engaging in good works. These things are good and beneficial for all people. 3:9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, quarrels, and fights about the law, because they are useless and empty. 3:10 Reject a divisive person after one or two warnings. 3:11 You know that such a person is twisted by sin and is conscious of it himself.

          ~ Titus 3:8-11 NET

        • Scott Thompson says:

          @Reed – Perhaps the North Shore folks are a bit more shrewd & wise then to fall into the trap. Thanks for the heads up. I have been gone from HBC for months now, worshiping & tithing elsewhere.

  14. 1: Thess 5: 12 – 14

    “We ask you, brothers to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.”

    Those of you who attend HBC or listen to the sermons online or on the radio, let’s step up and live out this verse. God commands you to “esteem very highly” and that’s not recommendation.

    • A Friend says:

      Daniel, at what point may a pastor be opposed? Is there any point?

    • job3627 says:

      Daniel,

      God Himself is “no respecter of persons.” As His mimics, it is imperative that we separate the respect for the office of pastor and elder and any individual person who has been granted that role and yet is not fit for that role. Sometimes, errors are made in the selection of men for leadership (or pastors and elders can “go sideways” in the colorful words of JM) and it is necessary that they be dismissed from their office. It is never to be done lightly and it needs to follow careful weighing of the testimony of others against that person–but it is necessary when the purity of the church is at stake. It is a privilege to lead God’s people–not a right. If James MacDonald had the respect HE should have for his office, he would have long since stepped down.

    • Donn says:

      “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.”

      1 Timothy 5:19

      Daniel, out of respect for and esteem of James MacDonald, the three elders who were removed went to James. With witnesses. Numerous times. Both verses we used are true, but let’s not take either one out of the context of the whole counsel of God to say either

      1. it’s ok to cover over the sin of those who are over us in the Lord

      2. it’s ok to expose sin in those who are over us in the Lord in a disrespectful and unloving way.

    • Despeville says:

      “…because of their work.”

      That is a qualifier in the very sentence you quoted as a carte blanche. That work is not introducing heretics as orthodox. That work is not abusing God’s Word, money and position and church for for every whim of run amok ego. God’s Word is not a lump of wax but a sword. If mishandled it will cut and deeply…

      • -Despeville

        Yes, but the qualifier in “respect” is simply being a part of the church or in church leadership. How is calling someone a name showing respect?

        -Donn,

        I like your points, it’s dangerous to go to either extreme.

        -Job3627

        Agreed, it is a great privileged to lead God’s people, and I have not seen evidence myself that shows JM has having disrespect for the office. I don’t know the man at all, so I’m not in a position to criticize. 1 Thessalonians 5 has a lot to say about respecting and esteem highly all church workers and it also goes on to talk about being at peace and be patient with them all, never repay evil for evil…ect There’s just a lot of good stuff in that chapter and we can’t ignore that.

        -A Friend,

        Pastors can be challenged and there is no magic formula of when and where. We are to be like the Bereans, examine God’s word closely and correct according to God’s word. For me, I have to be really careful to stay clear of gossip and trust the Lord.

        “Gossip is passing on information when you are neither part of the problem nor part of the solution. You know spreading gossip is wrong, but you should not listen to it, either… When someone begins to gossip to you, have the courage to say, ‘Please stop. I don’t need to know this. Have you talked directly to that person?” – Rick Warren

        • Despeville says:

          “How is calling someone a name showing respect?”

          A. You go it. If there is no biblicaly defined work then there is no respect either.
          B. I never called names here so if you refer to someone else bring that point to them.
          C. If Rick Warren is an authority for you in this matter or in fact any other matter in terms of Christian Faith then I am rather certain there is no point we can agree on here.

  15. Epaenetus says:

    This reminds me of when JMac’s friend (partner in Churches helping Churches), Mark Driscoll fired two of his elders (Paul Petry and Bent Meyer).

    http://joyfulexiles.com/timeline/

    As I read the events (which began in 2007) at Mars Hill Church, I couldn’t help but find so many similarities to what was now unfolding here at HBC: same methods, same approaches, and the same arrogance. To my point, if Mark Driscoll has used these tactics to silence his critics and continue to increasingly thrive as a church, what’s to say that after all the efforts to defend the Gospel, HBC leaders will continue to lead their flock astray.

    Another method JMac has resorted to (again) is to hide behind men, use them for his purpose, and drag them down to his level (knowingly or unknowingly). This first happened (after elephant room 2) when he gathered three pastors and had the audacity to make the issue about race. This too, was scripted and tried justified JMac ‘s actions.

    http://www.jamesmacdonald.com/blog-new/post-elephant-room-interview-part-1/

    Look also at the similarities of the four elders in the video: the hesitancy, the scripted answers, and the head nodding.

    Please people; stop supporting the kingdom of JMac and start looking at the kingdom of God.

    One thing for certain and in agreement, these are serious times for HBC.

    • job3627 says:

      Well said, Epaenetus. These are not only serious times for HBC but for all of evangelicalism which seems to be plunging into error at a breathtaking pace.

  16. Mary says:

    Isn’t James’ word for excommunication “cultpult”?

  17. Royce says:

    They’re also using a teleprompter.
    Who wrote the script?

  18. Royce says:

    They don’t look like elders, they look like youngsters!

  19. Sloane says:

    I have never seen such a video!!! Like four programmed robots. Cult indeed. Elder Steve Huston is quite the rabid follower of JMac. I guess if you keep on saying the everything is alright on the Titanic hundreds of times… well then it must be alright. HBC is really circling the wagons. It is not about submission to Jesus but submission to JMac. Now more than ever I pray for the remaining HBC congregants. A word to the wise; stay away from the grape Flavor Aid served at the 25th celebration.

  20. ANN F. says:

    I have no reason to believe this will be posted, but all the same…

    Gentlemen, you’ve made your case, putting forth what you believe to be sound evidence and reasoning, and now it is time to lay it to rest. Most people who continue to attend, lead in, and be members of HBC are not unaware of this site or your allegations. Many, self and spouse included, have weighed the issues carefully and thoughtfully and have chosen to see this conflict for what it is: grown men who disagree over a host of matters about how best to run a church—and have at times let variety of personal and professional issues get in the way. For most of us, that sounds exactly like what God anticipated and is the reason He gave us a lot of advice about how to live with one another and how to do church, with a lot of room for interpretation and possible disagreement. Thankfully, America (the Chicago area included) is replete with godly churches that believers can attend.

    Please: agree to disagree and move on.

    • Donn says:

      seeing this conflict for what it is? “grown men who disagree over a host of matters about how best to run a church—and have at times let variety of personal and professional issues get in the way.”

      Ann, if this is what you’re seeing the conflict as, then you’re not seeing it right. It’s biblical for there to be disagreement on how to run a church, as long as that disagreement doesn’t lead to the majority booting out the minority. It’s even biblical for there to be confrontation over things (see Paul confronting Peter to his face in the book of Acts) but not if those confrontations lead to excommunication over the issues.

      If this type of blind destructive behavior was going on in the leadership of a company, we’d be bothered by it. It was (GM, Ford, Fannie Mae, etc.), and they were called on it. How much more a church that is responsible for thousands of people, rather than thousands of cars or thousands of dollars? How much more a CEO who is called by God Himself to accountability for thousands of souls (Hebrews 13). He is a man in charge, out of control in some ways. If he were leading any of the above named companies, there would be a move to remove him, not a circling of the wagons to protect him. How pompous to introduce a video (you couldn’t have had an elder or two at every service? )to the church that presents four men who are backing you. There was no one else to introduce it? to speak up? You had to make sure the church new that this was really, really important, and really, really of God? The whole thing smacks of arrogance. He should have just said it himself. He’s the pastor. But no, he trots out four guys just so we can all think that he’s actually sharing the leadership. None of this will change until the Executive Leadership Team stops dictating what other groups in the church should be handling. It’s a completely unbiblcial setup, nor is it one that would be suggested as a proper way to operate for any large company or church. James shouldn’t need to resign to right this ship, but minor adjustments on major issues never solve much for long.

    • James 4:7 says:

      Ann,

      This is not just a matter of “disagreement” over the color of the sanctuary carpet–this is a matter of whether or not James MacDonald (and apparently the men he has currently supporting him) are fit leaders for any portion of Christ’s Church. To borrow a statement of “Pastor” James, “…This is as serious as serious gets…” The former elders consider it their duty to warn the sheep of the egregious character flaws of James MacDonald and they should be commended for standing up. To attempt to use “church discipline” to silence the charges that these men bring, is unconscionable. And then, for James MacDonald and his supporters to pile public slander on top of injustice, is frankly outrageous. Few would doubt that James MacDonald had heavy influence on the content of the video–or that it is slanderous.

      Slander is termed, by the Lord Himself, as a “vile” sin. (See Mark 7:21-22 for the complete list of sins–James MacDonald quite apparently has problems with more than one). This is not the first time JM has slandered former elders who have accused him of wrongdoing (that, by the way, he does not deny, since the remaining leadership at HBC have confirmed that he is receiving counsel for it and is continuing to “address” it).

      The question that I and many others have, is why anyone who knows the truthfulness of these charges, continues to support James MacDonald’s leadership? Is it because James MacDonald is able to devise techniques that effectively build big institutions? Those who built the Roman “church” into the monstrosity that it became, could claim similar talent (or, for that matter, so could Sun Yung Moon). This will not end well for those who understand and yet continue to follow James MacDonald and encourage others to do so. The risen Lord Himself strongly rebukes those who are permitting ongoing sin in the churches or supporting the leadership of those who are unfit. Anyone who chooses pragmatism over righteousness in their leaders, is in grave spiritual danger.

      You have said yourself that most of those who attend HBC are unaware of these charges. My prayer is that more and more of them would be made aware of James MacDonald’s disqualification for leadership and then respond accordingly.

      • James 4:7 says:

        I apparently misunderstood Ann to say that most at HBC were unaware of the charges (which I actually believe to be the case, based on my conversations with those who still attend Harvest). I do not believe that any Bible-believing Christian could continue to support James MacDonald’s leadership while fully understanding the serious nature of the charges. It is understandable that some who lack a Biblical foundation would be confused, but for an “Elder” to be similarly confused is inexcusable and bears testimony to his willingness to ignore Scripture in favor of support of a church leader who is in serious error. I repeat, this will not end well for those who choose that path.

    • Despeville says:

      “agree to disagree”
      ~ ANN F.

      This above euphemism so popular in the world and culture is nowhere to be found in the inspired Scriptures. NOWHERE, not explicitly and no implicitly, NOWHERE. What is found in the inspired Scriptures is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you claim and which permeates HBC and its misguided claims. Pay attention to this and not your “Yes men” who attacked eight who finally woke up:

      “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
      ~ Jude 1:3

      Yes, this is about the faith and not about “grown men who disagree over a host of matters about how best to run a church”… Wake up!

  21. waiting says:

    the truth always comes out.

  22. Jim says:

    One quote from Barry & Scott’s letter “We also confirm that when we requested a line-item budget, we were denied and rebuked. We were told that our request could get us removed from the elder board and that if we made such a request again, we would certainly be removed.” really stands out. Isn’t it common sense for an elder or anyone in senior management of a multi-million dollar entity to ask a simple question as to where the money in the budget is going??? The folks in Rolling Meadows, Chicago, Crystal Lake, and Aurora cannot be that passive to blindly accept a budget with no information detailing where and how the money is allocated for say their own personal budget or their companies budget. And to think that if you are an elder at Harvest Bible Chapel and ask such a simple question – where is the money in the budget going – you are rebuked and called a sinner. Wow!!!

    • James 4:7 says:

      Wow!! Indeed! What incredible arrogance that James MacDonald and associates (read lackeys) would dare to threaten elders with removal for asking simple questions about the allocation of the church’s resources. The people of Harvest have every right and responsibility to know how their contributions are being spent! The pattern of the very early church was one of complete openness and transparency where finances were concerned.

  23. Mary says:

    Very sad. Dan Scott and Barry are doing the right thing. James MCD and his elders will have to answer to God for this and God help them! I continue to pray for them that they will repent but I hear no repentance, just continue to be stiff necked. Very sad for the people who are still worshiping there and also for the ones that are looking for a new church because of this! Let us pray!

  24. Jackie Alfirevic says:

    Publicly adding my voice and my name in solidarity and support of those in leadership that would dare to ask the questions that many in the congregation would like answered. Indeed, I myself have approached some of you (elders) beseeching you to pursue my concerns. I support and pray for you and your families. I thank you for having the courage that comes from being a God pleaser. I am grateful for you all.
    As I considered what I might like to contribute to this discussion publically, I looked back over the many emails and letters I have sent to the leadership and elders of HBC over the years. Would my early (2005) questions and attempts to sound the alarm matter in this discussion? Would they lend weight and credence to a long standing policy of withholding information and rebuffing or intimidating church members? I don’t know…Maybe I should publish my own letters…Maybe there are others out there that would like to publish theirs???
    Thanking you for the voiceless and nameless VOID-the regular sheep that have moved on or are stubbornly remaining, waiting on God to move for the Glory of HIS NAME ALONE.
    Jackie Alfirevic

  25. Frank says:

    Watching that video of the four elders was a joke. I attended HBC for about five years never was told church was 60 million in debt. There was a bunch of us who left. The only one who needs to repent is James. God help him he is blinded by greed.

  26. Veronica says:

    Time does not allow me to post as eloquent and poignant a reply as those found above, other than to say that the video was in extremely poor taste in showing it to all campuses, Biblically erroneous, painful to watch and indeed cult-like. The four bobbleheads have truly drank the Kool-Aid.

  27. anonymous says:

    We can all be glad that James is becoming increasingly loving and full of grace in response to those who would disagree with him. We also see that he is working to reconcile with people he hurts. The elders James has appointed confirm this, and collectively they speak for God.

    Is anyone still buying these ridiculous lies called elder updates, when the truth is so plain to see?

  28. Epaenetus says:

    First, I want to thank Scott Phelps, Barry Slabaugh, and Dan Marquardt to continue to be held blameless in their walk. They are to be commended for their stand with Christ.

    Second, in the midst of these recent actions of the HBC Elder Board and JMac, Harvest Bible Chapel is now officially a cult. Please pray for the innocent sheep who continue to worship at HBC who are being lead astray for the self gain of the HBC leaders.

  29. James 4:7 says:

    I would just like to raise a theological point: Where does it say, in the Bible, that any collection of Elders is “speaking for God”? That statement, does, in fact, suggest something akin to “papal infallibility”. In point of fact, those in church leadership can lead churches terribly astray (see the risen Lord’s strong rebuke of the leadership of the churches listed in the letters to the seven churches of Revelation 1-3. It appears that much of evangelicalism is now in a rapid drift toward Rome and “her” ways as part of the end-times Babylon. “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

  30. Donn says:

    I love how he says that every local church has an authority under God in the elders. Would that be the local church that James controls that is 41 miles away in Aurora, 22 miles away in Elgin, 15 miles away in Niles, or 29 miles away in Crystal Lake? His whole definition of the local church is out of wack! Clearly, even the setup of those “campuses” has been for the wrong reasons. Furthering the kingdom, yes, but who’s kingdom.

    Are any of us surprised that James is now surrounded by elders who only agree with him?

    • Despeville says:

      Amen Donn. This whole satellite campus model is completely UNBIBLICAL. Just because technology is there to do it does not mean there is a shred of biblical theology to substantiate it. It breeds a cult of personality, arrogance and abuse as evidenced in the sad fall of HBC and MacDonald. There should be and could be a local pastor in each campus who should and could teach and lead each congregation to say the least.

  31. Curious says:

    If Pastor James’ salary isn’t exorbitant, if it’s within the bounds of reasonable and customary for his position, why is it such a big secret?

  32. James 4:7 says:

    This is very sad that James MacDonald is choosing to put Harvest Rolling Meadows and all the rest of the Harvest churches through this agony, when all he would have to do to end it, is to resign. He DOES NOT qualify to be a leader of Christ’s Church and every new problem that comes to light is more evidence that stands against him. Throwing wild accusations against former elders is the tactic of a megalomaniac cult leader–not a pastor. James MacDonald needs to publicly repent and then step down. The men on the Elder Board who are following him and supporting him, need to also publicly repent of their slanderous accusations against Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh and resign from the Elder Board. For any Harvest RM attenders who are reading this, I have one piece of advice, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;” (Revelation 18:4) All appearances seem to indicate that the Lord may be coming very soon to gather His Bride to Himself. Please don’t be caught following a false shepherd (see our Lord’s words in John 10:1) when the Lord comes for us.

    • Francine D says:

      I agree, as a member of an HBC church plant, this is so embarrassing and makes us all look like we belong to a cult and our fearless leader is James. Our HBC has remained silent publicly on all things HBC-Rolling Meadows but no doubt some of the similar financial disclosure questions are being asked of our church, the HBC model is all the same. Its definitely raising eyebrows everywhere. This James fiasco has far reaching implications. We saw that with what happened to Christian Barbosu in Romania.

  33. intheknow says:

    That’s the funniest thing I have seen in a long time… absolutely hilarious.

    • Alan says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking as well. It’s pure gold. It looks like something you’d see on Saturday Night Live.

  34. Broken says:

    I want to thank Scott and Barry (and Dan). At considerable cost to themselves they have done what I have been waiting for and that is to publicly state what occurred from their point of view. I was saddened by what I saw on the video at church this morning and noted that while the elders made grand accusations against Scott and Barry they did not bring to light what the accusations were against Pastor James. Unless someone has followed this site it is unlikely that they are aware of the concerns brought by these elders. I also noted that Dan Marquardt was not mentioned specifically and found that curious. Pastor James entered a time of prayer and fasting in preparation of our celebration at a stadium next weekend- I will be entering a time of prayer and fasting to see if God is calling me to find a new church home. I am celebrating what God does in the lives of people every day, but I recognize that it is in spite of us, not because of us.

    • PSRocket says:

      Dan no longer attends Harvest, and thus is not under the authority of the local church. Scott and Barry were still attending Harvest, and are members. So as members, Scott and Barry are under the authority of the local church. That’s why Dan wasn’t included in church discipline. You can’t discipline someone not under your authority.

      • Alan says:

        Just curious, whose authority is James under?

        • J Crane says:

          On paper…JM is under the authority of the other elders. The other elders even think JM submits to them. When you ask a few of them, they will tell you a story or two about how JM has told them he submits to them.
          BUT in reality…JM is under the authority of only a figment of his self.

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