Rod Van Solkema, former HBC pastor, issues a formal statement

Update (20 Sep 2013) At this point in the unfolding story of Harvest Bible Chapel, there can be no doubt that James MacDonald and the HBC Elders’ collective decision to publicly humiliate Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh has back-fired upon them.  Thirty-six hours ago, former Chairman of the Board David Corning broke his three-year silence to come out in defense of these two men.  Now, as of yesterday, former HBC Pastor of Young Adult Ministries Rod Van Solkema has elected to do the same by coming out in defense of David Corning.

What must also be noted is that this is not the first time that Rod Van Solkema has spoken.  On one other occasion, prior to the publication of The Elephant’s Debt, Mr. Van Solkema issued a statement to Blood Stained Ink, in which came in the form of a parable.

Now, however, it appears that Mr. Van Solkema is no longer content to let a parable speak for him.  In a show of support for David Corning, Mr. Van Solkema had the following to say:

Dave, Thank you for speaking the truth about James and HBC. This needed to be said, and there is no better to say it than you. Even more than that, I want to thank you for being my elder. You were always one of the few in the inner circle at HBC that I could trust. Because, anyone who has ever been on staff at HBC knows the dissonance caused by what’s seen on a Sunday and what goes on behind closed doors the rest of the week. Your humility, integrity, and godliness always brought comfort to my angst. You were always a light shining in the darkness, pointing me to the true essence of Christ and His Kingdom. Rod Van Solkema

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

Editor’s Note: Tomorrow morning, on the 21st of September, another former staff member will speak out for the first time on the Elephant’s Debt.

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75 Responses to Rod Van Solkema, former HBC pastor, issues a formal statement

  1. One of the Wounded says:

    First, thank you Rod for your courageous stand… because anyone who cares and tries to stand for the truth here is labeled as a detractor or critic. This is on topic for LJohnson regarding his comment: “Here’s why John Piper should be rejected by all Christians with any discernment (I’m joking of course):
    http://surphside.blogspot.com/2010/03/john-piper-takes-eight-month-leave-of.html

    Thank you for referencing this… I have great respect for John Piper. Especially after he decided to examine himself and see as in his own words there was “species of pride in his soul” and he needed to step away from ministry for a time. I am sure there were many people around him who loved him enough to speak truth in his life that weren’t immediately well-received. I’m sure it was one of the most difficult decisions in John Piper’s life but he spared not only his possible “disqualification” by the Lord but his congregation of the heartache and fall-out of his disobedience. At the time of this John Piper’s announcement, I wished in my heart that my pastor (I was still at HBC) would do the same. I knew he was in a hard season.

    It may be difficult for you and others who view this blog negatively to understand that this is not happening because people have nothing else to do but sit on a blog and be a critic. These are real people who love the Lord, love his church and cared immensely for James. I speak for myself when say I still love and care for James very much. I know most of the men listed on “the void” and have a deep respect for each one. They continue to serve the Lord and love his people.

    The easiest thing is to pumped up someone’s ego and tell them things they want to hear. That appears like the loving thing to do. But in James own words, God’s love is not a pampering love. People continue to press on this subject because they love the Lord. Trust me… the easiest path would be to “not care”, brush it off, and say its not my problem. Who am I to judge. You can read some of the accounts of the harsh treatment by the leaders at Harvest after someone questions or leaves. The recent video against the Elders speaks for itself. It is a consistent story. Some of the unspoken will tell you the same but to maintain a level of protection they do not feel like they can speak out. These were real sacrifices made by godly men who I’m sure would have much preferred not to have to be in this fire.

    • Convinced... says:

      …and John Piper returned to the Pulpit, fully supported until his retirement in Spring 2013. What a great testimony to rightly dividing the Word of God, being willing to be vulnerable and open to correction. I pray JMD will do likewise. It’s time to step away and reflect, repent and resolve w/God’s grace what next.

  2. Former HBF member says:

    Off topic, but about the video and HBC Discipline Letter; how do they arrive at the conclusion that they can use the terms that the elders are “unanimous” and “elder consensus” when they are excommunicating TWO elders!!! Seriously!! If you get rid of everybody who disagrees with you, of course you are going to be left with only people who take your side.

    I’m also reminded of the story of the 12 spies who went to spy on Canaan. 10 said they couldn’t, and only 2 spies trusted in God. So, I don’t think that just because all those elders agree is a Biblical way to come to a conclusion. At least I sure don’t remember any scripture talking about that.

    • James 4:7 says:

      So true—the Old Testament is replete with examples of the various kings of Israel and Judah who listened to their favorite “advisors” (who told them what they wanted to hear) rather than various prophets sent by God. The results were usually disastrous. As just one example, look at the account of King Ahab and the Lord’s prophet, Micaiah in 1 Kings 22. Ahab ignored Micaiah’s warning and it led to Ahab’s death.

    • Cara W. says:

      To be fair, they are excommunicating two members, who happen to also be former elders. Not two elders.

      • Broken says:

        Well the elder letter regarding the discipline stated that they were allowed to resign before they were removed- so po-ta-to, po-tah-to

      • Former HBF member says:

        @ Cara W: technically you are correct, but in the HBC Discipline Letter in the second to last paragraph it says that they were given the option to either resign as elders, or be removed by the board. So, it seems like they were forced out for not agreeing with the other elders. Thats the impression I got anyway.

        • PSRocket says:

          They were not allowed to be Elders anymore, but their membership to Harvest wasn’t taken away from them. They were attending Harvest for three months after they were no longer Elders. So they weren’t forced out of attending Harvest, or from being members for disagreeing with the Elder Board.

    • Despeville says:

      Indeed. Historical fact check and an example from an early church. Athanasisus and “Athanasius contra mundum”. The whole visible church as in its elders and bishops fell into Arian heresy but not him and by God’s providence and grace. His lonely stance decried then by heretics en masse as “divisive” , “hateful” and yes “satanic” was actually an act of God using the agency of Athanasisus. So many “elders” and from all over visible Christendom threw all kinds of dirt on him railing emperor’s power against him too and for decades of time none of that prevailed. So it will be this time too although on much different scale the principium operandi is the same…

  3. PSRocket says:

    Again off-topic because the Dave Corning post isn’t taking comments. First, thanks to the authors for posting the Harvest Constitution in your documents. I’m reading it and it doesn’t look like amending it would need member approval like Dave said. The members are to be informed of the proposed changes, and given time to give feedback. But ultimately, the Board of Elders can amend the Harvest Constitution. So, I wonder at what point (this constitution is dated January 9, 2008) that the Board of Elders amended it, because yes, there are things spelled out in here that are no longer happening, in particular the section on church government and regarding finances. Is there a current document that covers what this constitution covered, or has any type of governing document gone by the way-side?

    • Intel says:

      The letter doesn’t say approval, it says agreement.

      • PSRocket says:

        You’re right, Dave Corning used the word “agreement.” And unless there is another Constitution than the one that this site has under its Document Section, the one dated January 9, 2008 (almost two years before Dave left Harvest), that is not accurate. Amendments to the Constitution, according to the document posted on this site, are made by the Elders, “however a mailing will be sent to the entire membership for input and feedback before any changes would be made.” There is no mention of agreement (or approval) from the congregation.

  4. Disgusted says:

    Please read this about Marc Driscoll. Sound familiar? Marc Driscoll and JMac are good friends.

    http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/jonna-mhc-story-29.pdf

    • Jeff says:

      It is actually not surprising that Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald are friends. It is true that sociopathic people seek out one another for affirmation & reinforcement. The afore mentioned letter written by an ex-Elder’s wife from Mars Hill is a carbon copy of what James MacDonald is up to. HBC is a case study in cult behavior.

    • Rich says:

      Amazing, I almost had to remind myself this was about Driscoll and not James. So similar to the stories concerning James and his cruel and vindictive treatment of former close friends and congregation. Most disturbing to me was Dave Cornings statement about James trying to destroy his reputation and hurt his livelihood. What type of man, much less Pastor does this? Not sure I could restrain my anger if was in that situation. He should be ashamed and removed as Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel. So very sad that these men are deceiving their members and living like CEO’s. Perhaps this is the sad condition of the Evangelical church in America.

      • PSRocket says:

        One thing about Dave Corning’s letter that I found interesting, after I thought and prayed about it, was that nowhere in it does Dave take any responsibility for the debt (which is what this website was originally about) that incurred. Not even a thimble full. He was the Elder Chair for the several years ramping up to the debt, and a couple of years after it was full-blown. I don’t know if Dave failed to mention any of this in his statement, or if the authors of this blog edited it out. Either way, because of this omission, I am led to believe that, like many things on this website, the full picture is not being revealed. Sad.

        • The authors of The Elephant’s Debt have not edited a single word in Mr. Corning’s letter.

        • Tom Perconti says:

          It was clear (at least to me) that Dave Corning’s purpose in writing that letter was to offer support for the 3 elders who had resigned and subsequently had their character impugned. It wasn’t intended to be a “bare-all” exposé. He offered enough specifics to provide a context for his support.

          If it were to serve a kingdom purpose, I’m confident that Dave will provide details regarding the history of budgetary issues. Doing that however will require a great amount of prayer and discernment so as to determine what information should be shared (information that would be helpful) and what should not (information that would be hurtful, betray confidences, gossip, etc.).

        • Kevin says:

          PSRocket,

          If you think this site is about the debt you have not been reading. This site is about the character of a man who is not fit to be an elder. The debt is but ONE example of his love for money and power because he is willing to take extraordinary risk to build it. Dave can no more take responsibility for the lack of James’ character than I can take for the banality of your comment.

          Also, Corning was clearly not writing a tell-all-piece, as he even indicates that he is omitting bits of his testimony to save us all the gory detail. And, your pastor continues to publicly blame everybody else for the debt but himself (see here http://theelephantsdebt.com/2013/06/19/recent-developments-19-june-2013/), so by your logic “I am led to believe that, like many things on HBC’s website, the full picture is not being revealed. Sad.”

        • Joe says:

          James MacDonald stated in June 16, 2013 sermon, “In 2007 I saw this church almost bankrupted by people I should have been watching and leaders that wouldn’t act.” There is little specificity there. What was he alluding to? What specific financial event? Who specifically were these renegade people. Was MacDonald saying that Dave Corning was one of those leaders not acting? It would be enlightening to hear some clarification since Dave Corning was Elder Chairman during the time that Harvest accumulated the high debt. MacDonald says that churches should not air the dirty laundry. Yet HBC posts a video with the Elders slandering former Elders. My head is spinning faster than Scooby Do.

  5. PSRocket says:

    This is off-topic, but the thread where it IS on topic, from just five days ago, is no longer accepting comments.
    A letter that the Elder board wrote in June, three months ago, to the three elders, Dan, Barry and Scott, in response to their resignations, was added to the Elder Updates on the Harvest site within this last couple of days, entitled:
    “Elder response to June resignations, setting boundaries for acceptable interaction with church members.”
    Here is the link to the letter:

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This comment originally contained a link, but the author’s deleted that link. Instead, the authors created a link within the original post of June 22, 2013, and a copy of the letter can be found in the documents section of this website.

  6. Deborah C. says:

    Rod,
    Thank you for coming forward and speaking up. Thank you for having the courage to make a public statement. I am sure it was not easy. I continue to pray that the other fine men on The Void will find the courage to do as you have done. May God bless you and your family for your integrity.

  7. Marc says:

    Let me get this straight. This week HBC puts up a grainy, shoddy video full of bile which causes an otherwise silent former elder chairman and a former staffer related to Stowell to speak publicly. Then they send out a link to the Daily Herald piece that links to this site to their whole congregation, after telling them that sites like this are “satanic to the core.” These guys can’t get out of their own way. Let me offer you some free PR advise, Harvest. Stop talking.

    • LJohnson says:

      What are they supposed to do, pretend the site doesn’t exist? It’s a fact of life that they’ve already tried to address and it has to be accepted. Every ministry the size and profile of Harvest has associated with it a band of online detractors and critics. I checked, and there they were… for Greg Laurie, Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren. Even the Graham family. At the end of the day they just have to go about their business.

      • Joe says:

        Yes, I image there were bands of online detractors against Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggert, Jimmy Swaggert ….

      • Wayne Wilson says:

        Detractors and critics from the highest levels within the organizations? That would certainly has been the case for authoritarian pastors like Driscoll. Where are the sites from former pastors and elders revealing the dark side of John MacArthur or John Piper? I can’t find them. Could it be because they are humble men?

        • LJohnson says:

          Here’s why John Piper should be rejected by all Christians with any discernment (I’m joking of course):

          http://surphside.blogspot.com/2010/03/john-piper-takes-eight-month-leave-of.html

          Any of that language sound familiar?

          My point is not to validate the above blog, but only to say that blogs of this type accompany every ministry large enough to attract attention or interest. I am also not saying that means all criticism should be rejected out of hand, although I am at a loss to come up with a scenario in which the best forum to address church matters is a public blog with anonymous commenters. I find that very unwise, and you can see the “frenzy” starting here now and then.

          James MacDonald has a makeup artist? The man is bald with a shiny head and teaches by video. With no makeup, his head would probably look like a ball of white fire moving around on the screen. Someone went to the Grammys? Seems a little silly to me anyway.

          If the issue is bad enough to call the police, then call the police. Otherwise? I don’t know — the ECFA? What is their take on Harvest? Does anyone know? Moody is affiliated. What do they say about it?

          As a former employer there have been employees who loved me and thought I was wonderful, and there have been employees who were convinced I was a monster (and I thought they were monsters sometimes). What you thought about me probably would depend on who you listened to, and even a bad story that is true might not be representative of the full picture. And that’s just my employees. If my friends wrote a blog about me I’d be hanged.

        • Despeville says:

          @LJohnson,

          “…to say that blogs of this type accompany every ministry large enough to attract attention or interest…”

          Conundrum of argumentum ad captandum, argumentum ad populum, argumentum ad captandum and few others… In short, non sequitur.

      • job3627 says:

        The problems that Mark Driscoll has had at his church closely resemble James MacDonald’s problems spoken of here. Rick Warren’s theological troubles and Scripture-distortion are legion. Greg Laurie has been roundly criticized for telling his hearers that they are “lonely for God” while he avoids mentioning that their real problem is sin. And Billy Graham has been accused of watering down the gospel for many years–a great many of his “converts” never seem to find their way into becoming part of the Body of Christ.

        The real Gospel offends unbelievers and calls them to repentance and the walk of faith–a true conversion. It is a mark of our fallen nature that we prefer mega-pastors who entertain us and let us off easy. Is it any wonder that so many in our churches pay lip service to Jesus on Sunday and then live pretty much as the unbelievers the rest of the week? Should we blame unbelievers for being unimpressed with Christians? I will quote Spurgeon from his famous 19th century sermon, “Are We Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats”:

        “…the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the Church met them half-way, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.”

        But that doesn’t sell well and build big ministries today.

  8. Joe Daniles says:

    TED mentioned in HBC 25 yrs. article in the Daily Herald http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130920/news/709209936/

    • PSRocket says:

      And a link to the Daily Herald article was sent to all Harvest attendees in the weekly email bulletin that just went out this afternoon.

  9. Spiro says:

    Is it biblical to state that a group of men (elders) can speak for God? I would think that no matter who, how many men you gather, we as filthy rags can never “speak for God” Elder board or not, please advise.

    • Gary says:

      Correct, Spiro. God spoke his word fully and finally in the person of Jesus Christ and through scripture that points us to Christ. As broken and contextual people, we only can point people to Jesus and scripture as being authoritative in a final “thus saith Lord” sense. No one speaks FOR God.

    • Despeville says:

      No it is not. These four guys are completely clueless which is why they are on the HBC board and why MacDonald played them out for his agenda.

  10. What to think says:

    So what are we supposed to think? Everyone knows the Stowells all left. Does Rod Van Solkema speak for the Stowell family?

    • rod van solkema says:

      No… I haven’t spoke to them about HBC in a long time.
      What people inside HBC need to know is that when people leave HBC, they (we) actually find a life (and joy, and freedom) outside of HBC. So even though we all worked there, we hardly ever as a family talk about HBC.

    • Chris Pence says:

      Rod Van Solkema speaks for Rod Van Solkema.

  11. John Cargill says:

    Formerly I believed James to be a godly man, and now that belief has dissolved. I am saddened and at times outraged by his behavior. I pray that there will actually not be disastrous fallout in the form of people turning away from the Lord due to his (James) actions. Rod, thank YOU for being a light during my time at HBC. May The Lord bring a swift end to all this conflict and godly leadership to HBC.

  12. Ric says:

    Pastor Van Solkema, thank you for speaking truth. I am grateful for your courage and honesty.

  13. Just wondering says:

    Isn’t Rod Van Solkema one of the Stowells?

    • Wonder no more says:

      Did you read Van Solkema’s first comment on the Blood Stained Ink article?

    • Wonder no more says:

      Rod Van Solkema is married to Dr. Stowell’s daughter. And as the Blood Stained Ink article says, he was one of the four Stowells that all left at the same time.

    • Set Free From HBC says:

      Rod is Joe Stowell’s son-in-law and the senior pastor of Crossroads Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He’s marrried to Joe’s daughter, Libby and the brother-in-law of former HBC staffers Joe and Matt Stowell. He was on staff at Harvest in Rolling Meadows in the late ’90s (but I can’t recall exactly when).

  14. Diana says:

    I praise God that the truth is coming out. The way James runs his church is a sin to all those who follow him and whom he is MENTORING to follow in his ways. I used to attend another HBC church and found that pastor imitating a LOT of what is not good about how the finances of that church are run. This is being a bad steward and those who are most accountable will have to answer for their misuse and breaking the trust of many. To whom much is given, much is required. Please keep bringing the truth out.

    It grieves my heart that the pastorship has turned into seeking financial gain and comfort above serving our Creator. I know many pastors who count it a blessing and are faithfully living a more humble existence because they count it a joy to be in ministry…. not something to line their pockets and live in the lap of luxury on the backs of their struggling flock. And when they try to defend themselves by trying to discredit others, it makes them look more guilty.

    Praise God for the brave men who are speaking out!! Our Father will bring the truth out, it is up to us to act on that truth!

  15. James 4:7 says:

    There are lots of wonderful Christians still at Harvest churches and I pray that they will be emboldened by the power of the Holy Spirit to link hands in restoring their churches to health. There is much “remodeling” that will need to be done, since those churches have been modeled after “Big Harvest” and HBC has been built around James MacDonald, as well as his very strong influence. In looking at various Harvest websites, it appears that the “remodeling” may already be occurring–there is diminishing uniformity in the style and content of those websites. When James resigns (and can anyone doubt that the time for that is approaching?) every church that has formerly been under his authority and influence must begin the task of determining what to keep and what to discard–as all remodeling projects require. Meditating on 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 is a great place to start in testing “everything that is said” (as an example, some of JM’s Vertical Church teachings stand in contradiction to the Bible and are thus invalid) and “holding on to what is good” (vs. 21) Even though my family no longer attends a Harvest church, we will be praying for all the Harvest churches and for the healing presence of the Holy Spirit to superintend the work that must be done. And we will also be praying for His healing presence to be in the life of James MacDonald. Twenty-five years is a long time to have overseen a project.

    • Former Attendee says:

      “When James resigns (and can anyone doubt that the time for that is approaching?)”
      I can completely doubt that time is approaching. I see no signs of his intention to do that and seemingly there is no way to force him out.

      Can you follow up as to why you think he might resign soon? Thanks.

      • J Crane says:

        I agree that not much will change for the good or change with a resignation or removal of position. Harvest pastors and elders see themselves as victims and further use this site and any evidence or testimony to continue to play that card. So many of us are thankful and identify with the Cornings, Allchin, Caterer, and others on The Void as they step forward to confirm what has been happening with the HBC debt, errant doctrine, and poor relationships.
        Sadly, it only confirms things for those who already knew or strongly suspected. HBC will continue to defend the JM ministry. JM will be portrayed as the humble martyr. An elder will probably be promoted for loyalty to the inner circle as head of security, and anyone else who tries to promote accountability to the body will be removed. The transparency meetings will be closely guided as to who can and can not attend and topics will be glossed over like a $30 million dollar budget approved in 30 seconds. Even if JM is removed or resigns, the elders and campus pastors so fully support everything JM does, that it will be business as usual and JM will be restored.
        HBC is too big. Not bigger than the Lord, but bigger than the truth of what is confirmed here.
        We are praying (like so many), that our friends will wake up “and so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Eph. 4.14.

        Thank you to Dave and Betsy, Ron, Josh, Rod, Dan.

      • Despeville says:

        There was a lot of time given to MacDonald to correct so many wrongs. The there was less but still years of time given to resign. Now it will come to him and those who wait for that in most unexpected way.

    • Jennifer G says:

      Even if James MacDonald were to leave or was forced out, how can any concerned Harvest attender remain at that church? The leaders must know what is going on, yet the fact that they remain shows that integrity is not important to them. I would encourage concerned Harvest attenders to seek out the leaders who have left a these are men who could not betray their conscience.

      • Jane H. says:

        Jennifer…we stay (for now) to see what God is going to do–because if there’s truth to the now-public allegations from a range of Elders past and recently-past (and current, for all we know), this is not going to go on much longer.

        Also, remember that particularly for those of us who don’t attend a main campus, James MacDonald does not permeate every and all aspects of our experiences, either on Sunday or during the week. We keeps us at Harvest are our relationships with other people and (ultimately) our relationship with the LORD. Though I’ve noticed a change in James’ preaching since around early 2008 or so, the fact remains that when James’ sermons are firmly rooted in the Word, God does use him to speak truth into and change people’s lives. For many of not employed by HBC or in direct contact with staff on a regular basis, personal spiritual growth is not necessarily influenced by or dependent on the issues described on this website.

        That doesn’t excuse the behind-the-scenes stuff, but it does point to who is really in charge in the grand scheme of things (GOD)!

        As a side note, I must say that James’ messages the past two weeks have been powerful–notably because he’s been more focused on the text and less about himself. So I see that as evidence that God is moving in ways we can’t predict.

        Vigilate et orate…

        • Sincerely says:

          Do you think there is a coincidence to his preaching changing around the time the theologians like Gerald Hiestand and James’ research assistant (read sermon writer) David Jones left? Is it coincidence too to see the church that Jones now leads is flourishing unlike ever before and Corning is a leader there? Coincidence?

          And, to put some perspective around things, you may consider looking at the Storyline blog by Donald Miller from yesterday about manipulative church leaders. Interesting look into a coincidentally similar set of developments.

        • Despeville says:

          “James’ sermons are firmly rooted in the Word”

          I would dispute that in the sense what he does with the Word he bases his sermons on. Just look how he reads it. He will read 4-5 words from the Scripture stop and interject 25-30 words of his own then again the same and on and on. Rarely finishing entire sentence so much less the train of thought of the biblical author and that is a recipe for manipulation and disaster.

  16. Jonathan David says:

    There once lived a young man, charismatic, gifted and strong. He was a “man’s man”, tall in stature but humble in spirit. He was called to lead the people of God and lead he did, despite being unaware of what he was called to lead and how great it would become. He was loved by the people he served and he loved them. He had God’s anointing and over the years God allowed his power and influence to grow.

    However, as his power grew so did his wealth and name and though he did not seek fortune and fame – it found him. And through the years as his influence grew – so did his insecurity. He began to believe in the lie that what was given to him was in fact created by him. And so any perceived threat to diminish his power was dealt with immediately and harshly. He found he could trust no one – not even his own family at times. He became infatuated with dealing with these perceived threats that it consumed him day and night and he would go to no ends to eradicate them.

    But God loved this man and loved the people under him. God loved them so much he would not allow this man to continue to walk in the error of his ways. And so he brought other men to speak truth into his life — men who loved him and who loved the Lord. These were men of God who spoke for God.

    But he rejected these men and rejected their counsel. Instead he sought his own counsel to justify himself and affirm his agenda. He surrounded himself with other men of his choosing whose greatest qualification was their undying loyalty to him.

    However, what began as a quest to bring solace to his soul has only brought about more torment. His sin has caused him to suffer greatly and most sadly the people under him to suffer as well. His private sins became public but the shame of this still did not lead to repentance – only a stubborn refusal to recognize his own sin and a continued attack upon all of his “enemies”.

    Finally, after many years among the cacophony of voices the voice of another man rose up. A man who worked closely with this leader since the very beginning, respected by the people and chosen by God to bring to light what was hidden for so long in darkness. He has spoken in front of all the people and has called out this leader’s sin in the most public of forums.

    And now our leader is faced with a final choice. He could either repent and receive the forgiveness and redemption that God sought for him or continue in his obstinate ways and complete his own destruction.

    We all know this man and this story. The story is found in 1 Samuel and that man is Saul.
    Pastor James you know the story too and you know it does not end well. God has blessed you with a silver tongue but you have ruled with an iron fist. But it’s not too late for a heart of stone to be made a heart of flesh. You are standing at a fork on what has been a long and windy road and you face two paths: REPENT or RETRENCH.

    Choose the former and God may do greater things through you and Harvest – far more than you could have ever imagined. Choose the latter and God’s anointing will likely leave you as quickly as it left Saul. Now let us see in your life what you have preached for so many years. Let us see the redemptive power of the gospel.

    The way I see it there are two possible endings to this tale: “Choose to sin, choose to suffer” or “God gives grace to the humble”. We are all hoping and praying for the latter.

    • Torn says:

      Phenomenal post! Extremely insightful and edifying.

    • job3627 says:

      What the Lord finally required of King Saul was that he bow out gracefully. I think He is calling James MacDonald to do the same, through His voice in the Church.

      • JD says:

        By Far the best description of the situation. Yet I believe per 1 Timothy, he has lost the moral qualification of being an elder at-least for now. Trust is lost and can be re-gained only as one shows no interest in retaining a position but humbling himself in repentance and showing that he can live with other sheeps as one like them and willing to reconcile with those who have been vilified and hurt by him. Willing to repay the Church the money used for personal gain what was given sacrificially by others. Willing to simplify his lifestyle. The focus should never be what could be done at minimum just to keep/retain his position as Saul himself fell into that trap and never was truly repentant.

        • A Friend says:

          @JD

          Very true. When I first read Jonathan’s description of the story told in Samuel, I missed that he said “I Samuel” and thought he was talking about David. David’s story is actually quite similar to Saul’s, but with the better ending. Only David’s repentance was costly, wasn’t it? He lost a tremendous amount: three sons dead and a kingdom in shambles for many years. But he repented, and what he did not lose was the Lord’s love.

          It is never too late.

        • J Crane says:

          Reconciling and restoring relationships and making restitution is what Dan, Barry and Scott were trying to do. And so were the former elders and members and staff. If financial restitution is attempted or required in this case to determine repentance, will that include money to family members?

    • Despeville says:

      The analogy might have to be completed as a warning to so many others who want to be like MacDonald.

    • Jane H. says:

      This analogy is apt and grace-filled.

      If the testimonies on this site–particularly those offered in the past two weeks–are true, then I can’t help but think that tomorrow’s celebration at Boomer Stadium is a God-ordained opportunity for all of this to come to an end. How awesome would it be if this commemoration of 25 years of HBC–a church that has grown and blessed thousands of people both because and in spite of its senior pastor–saw unprecedented repentance and forgiveness? “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Prov. 19:21).

      I’m praying that the LORD shows up tomorrow in ways that none of us can predict.

      God IS at Work.

  17. Jonathon David says:

    There once lived a young man, charismatic, gifted and strong. He was a “man’s man”, tall in stature but humble in spirit. He was called to lead the people of God and lead he did, despite being unaware of what he was called to lead and how great it would become. He was loved by the people he served and he loved them. He had God’s anointing and over the years God allowed his power and influence to grow.
    However, as his power grew so did his wealth and name and though he did not seek fortune and fame – it found him. And through the years as his influence grew – so did his insecurity. He began to believe in the lie that what was given to him was in fact created by him. And so any perceived threat to diminish his power was dealt with immediately and harshly. He found he could trust no one – not even his own family at times. He became infatuated with dealing with these perceived threats that it consumed him day and night and he would go to no ends to eradicate them.
    But God loved this man and loved the people under him. God loved them so much he would not allow this man to continue to walk in the error of his ways. And so he brought other men to speak truth into his life — men who loved him and who loved the Lord. These were men of God who spoke for God.
    But he rejected these men and rejected their counsel. Instead he sought his own counsel to justify himself and affirm his agenda. He surrounded himself with other men of his choosing whose greatest qualification was their undying loyalty to him.
    However, what began as a quest to bring solace to his soul has only brought about more torment. His sin has caused him to suffer greatly and most sadly the people under him to suffer as well. His private sins became public but the shame of this still did not lead to repentance – only a stubborn refusal to recognize his own sin and a continued attack upon all of his “enemies”.
    Finally, after many years among the cacophony of voices the voice of another man rose up. A man who worked closely with this leader since the very beginning, respected by the people and chosen by God to bring to light what was hidden for so long in darkness. He has spoken in front of all the people and has called out this leader’s sin in the most public of forums.
    And now our leader is faced with a final choice. He could either repent and receive the forgiveness and redemption that God sought for him or continue in his obstinate ways and complete his own destruction.
    We all know this man and this story. The story is found in 1 Samuel and that man is Saul.
    Pastor James you know the story too and you know it does not end well. God has blessed you with a silver tongue but you have ruled with an iron fist. But it’s not too late for a heart of stone to be made a heart of flesh. You are standing at a fork on what has been a long and windy road and you face two paths: REPENT or RETRENCH.
    Choose the former and God may do greater things through you and Harvest – far more than you could have ever imagined. Choose the latter and God’s anointing will likely leave you as quickly as it left Saul. Now let us see in your life what you have preached for so many years. Let us see the redemptive power of the gospel.
    The way I see it there are two possible endings to this tale: “Choose to sin, choose to suffer” or “God gives grace to the humble”. We are all hoping and praying for the latter.

  18. Jim says:

    Rod – thank you for your courage for coming forward! Your witness and support for Dave is a great example. Perhaps you like Dave wanted to remain silent; letting the matters at HBC sort themselves out. But things changed. I have never seen such a vile satanic video as the one the HBC Elders put out last Tuesday – distorting the Word to justify their actions.

  19. Jackie Alfirevic, entangled at HBC since 1992 says:

    I wrote to each man on the VOID back in October of 2012, respectfully requesting that they consider sharing the their story-whatever it may be. PRAISE THE LORD ! They are now coming forward! Thank you so much for bringing the truth to those of us that desperately need to know it. Anyone that has asked truly probing questions at HBC knows something of the sacrifice it is to come forward. I for one am grateful for each of you. Now Harvest, can you continue to whistle in the dark and tweet and post and make preparations? Many friends are upset, some shaken to the core because they were blissfully unaware… and they ask me how I am doing…I am actually fine because the Truth matters. I grieved for the loss of my church years ago. That is not a fresh wound. To me, this is the Lord’s work and I am eager to see what he has for the church moving forward. God will not be mocked.

  20. Abby Jensen says:

    I’ve prayed again and again about this site and how I should respond. As I was reading this, the Lord confirmed that has already called people to take care of these issues, and these are the true elders of the church: those who are truly caring for it’s flock. My responsibility is simple: Don’t sin, and pray. The Lord will build His church.

    To any readers: please do not let the commenters on these posts distract you from the integrity of its founders and its contributers. I’ve read comments that seem bitter and vengeful, but I have never once read a post on here that was sinful or unbiblical. This is bigger than you even realize. Pray.

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