James MacDonald during a sermon shifts blame entirely to former elderboard for HBC indebtedness.

Update (19 June 2013)Over the past several months, numerous reports have circulated back to The Elephant’s Debt alleging that James MacDonald and the leadership of Harvest Bible Chapel were blaming the former leaders of Harvest for the financial crisis that has threatened to overwhelm the church.  But unfortunately, in most cases, these alleged remarks were not being offered in front of the church congregation as a whole; and thus there was little that we could report.

But now, as of last Sunday (16 June 2013), the situation seems to have changed.  In his sermon entitled Who Needs a Resurrection?, James MacDonald has offered the following remarks, which can be found at the 22:10 mark.

“In 1990, I saw this church lose 40% of its members and nearly collapse when it had hardly begun.  In 2000, I saw this church divided by evil divisive people and felt devastated personally by false accusation.  In 2007 I saw this church almost bankrupted by people I should have been watching and leaders that wouldn’t act.  And in every one of those situations, where it seemed its gone, its done, its finished, its over, the living Christ brought His resurrection power to bear upon that situation …”

What is interesting to note in these public comments is that MacDonald places the blame for the failure in leadership that lead to the financial crisis entirely upon the shoulders of “people [he] should have been watching” and “leaders that wouldn’t act.”  In other words, MacDonald completely absolves himself of any public responsibility for the failures in discernment, wisdom and leadership, which lead to the current and ongoing financial crisis.

Moreover, what needs to be noted is that only a few men within Harvest would have possessed the institutional authority to govern in such a manner as to significantly impact the financial stability of HBC.  So the question that demands to be asked is this: which of these men is MacDonald blaming for this failure of leadership?

Dave CorningJoe-Stowell IIIJoe Stowell IVAllchin (grey)Sam Jindoyanrice

Bear in mind that all of these men continue to play significant leadership roles both within their respective churches, ministries, places of business and communities.  In many instances, these are fellow elders and pastors in the Church.  If they failed as shepherds of the Church then nothing short of discipline is in order, and rather than invoking their failure to make your rhetorical point in a sermon, you should first privately confront them and ask their new churches to assist you in seeking appropriate discipline of these individuals for their failure. Only, after that process yields no results should you publicly warn the body of Christ about their rogue style of leadership, and then you must name them along with their sin so that the body may be properly warned.  If MacDonald has not followed through on this course of action, which he clearly has not, could it be that his story holds no water?  And if that is the case – if he is spinning a yarn from the pulpit – than the reputations of all of these men are needlessly being put at risk,  as MacDonald continues to make nebulous assertions about “leaders that wouldn’t act” and “people [he] should have been watching.”

In addition to this, it should also be noted that during the season in which these decisions were being made, the elder board consisted of approximately ten men, four or five of whom are still on the elder board.  If the failure of leadership was not MacDonald’s, but the elder board’s, then how is it that five of these elders remain on the board?  In order for the board to govern, they would have at least needed a majority vote, would they not?  And if that is the case, would prudence not dictate that these men step down in favor of more conservative, fiscally responsible leaders?

At this point, if you’re beginning to wonder about the veracity of MacDonald’s story, you are not alone.  Would he truly have us believe that he lacked the institutional authority or the bully pulpit from which he could have restrained these rogue agents of HBC?  This is story that is clearly meant to exonerate MacDonald in the public eye; and it’s a story that is ultimately untenable.

David Corning, Dr. Joseph Stowell, Joe Stowell Jr, Ron Allchin, Sam Jindoyan and Darryl Rice are all well-regarded men; and any comments that are made that might cause people to question their reputations should not be accepted lightly by the congregation of Harvest Bible Chapel or by the broader church community that is following these affairs.

So, James MacDonald, it’s time to show your hand.  Which of these men are you trying to implicate and why are you trying to implicate them?

52 thoughts on “James MacDonald during a sermon shifts blame entirely to former elderboard for HBC indebtedness.

  1. I’d like to respond to the claim that the HBC Church Government statement can be understood to say that, regarding elders, “their vote is equal”. (For link see Factchecker’s comment below.)

    Respectfully, the page that was referenced says something not so specific:

    “All elders are equal in authority but not necessarily equal in influence.”

    That statement is certainly interesting. Equal in authority, but not in influence.
    Of course the word “authority” could be interpreted to imply that the weight of each elder’s vote is equal in decision making. However… it does not explicitly state that!

    In fact, it could just be referring to the rank and position the elders hold within the church, i.e. the vested ability and right to make the decisions, but no implication that each elder’s vote has an equal share in the final decisions.

    I would be more confident that a power discrepancy does not exist IF another source can be found that says clearly and unambiguously that all elders, including the Sr. pastor have equally weighted votes.

  2. Similar to Rodrigo, I also asked current elder if JM had 50% of elder authority and was told that this is not true. I was told elders must have consensus and that each were equal. I was told that JM influence may be higher as senior pastor, but not in level of elder authority.

    I was told elders have monthly meetings, not quarterly as some have stated.

    I agree with Rodrigo, only one of these responses can be true.

    1. Factchecker's Accountability Partner June 26, 2013 — 9:00 pm

      In light of all this discussion, I reached out to the elder I am closest with and have known the longest. He confirmed, in fact, that James MacDonald does possess 50% of the vote on the board. I trust him at his word, and he insisted that he is 100% in agreement with the elder structure.

      See what I did there?

      1. I see and agree that there can only be one truth here… either he has 50% or authority is equally distributed. I would think that it should be pretty simple for Harvest to just state on their website what the authority structure and purpose of the elder board is and put this question to rest once and for all.

        1. Factchecker,

          The Elder statement posted by HBC clearly says that the three men resigned because among other things they disagreed with “how elder authority is shared.” If each Elder’s authority is equal, then why would they disagree about it? So either these men were advocating for an unequal share of authority, which I highly doubt, or they disagreed with the fact that the authority is other than equally divided. The testimony of many and the Elder statement clearly points to the fact that Elder authority is clearly not shared equally.

        2. Factchecker's Accountability Partner June 27, 2013 — 11:06 am

          Simple truth for simple guys like us seems easy enough for us doesn’t it? Well, maybe not. This might shed some light on what James MacDonald thinks about your inquiries and search for truth:

          1: When Answering Would Cause You To Sin
          Every question does not need an answer. For those outside the information flow, the interrogative can be more appealing than the prerogative of love, as the former expands the ego while the latter deconstructs it. Knowing the whole story is a burden that leaders must bear in plurality, so the company or the congregation or the country does not have to carry the weight of full disclosure. In a culture where journalists dictate the information flow, we start to think getting the full scoop is the ultimate good. But seeing firsthand the failings of others without becoming disillusioned is what leaders are called to carry for the sake of all. To keep serving and loving and giving while knowing every detail of every disappointment with yourself and others is a deterrent to sanctification, not an accelerant. Parents, pastors, and all in authority learn that those they lead are better at asking questions than they are at living with the answers they often demand. If the questions are misplaced, badly motivated or beyond the petitioner’s need to know, the wisest thing to do is remain silent. If the answers requested require betrayal or gossip or casting pearls or dignifying someone’s disdain, it’s better to bite your tongue.
          “[Herod] plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.” (Luke 23:9)

          I take exception with the subpoint title of this blog excerpt. I don’t agree that responding to every kind of inquiry would constitute sinning. Gossip, and personal/private matters yes, but technical information no. Sometimes truth and information is simply truth and information, and not an offense against God or brother. Lying, by the way, when giving an answer, is no doubt sin, so perhaps James is on to something when he advocates silence (if only he could heed his own warnings in re: Resurrection and My 5G).

      2. Eric R.,

        I asked the same question, I am honestly trying to find out what the truth is regarding elder authority at HBC.

        I asked, “If authority is equally shared, then why would these 3 elders resign over how elder authority is shared?”

        The response was, and this may not be true for all 3, but that they may not have been happy with the size of the elder board at 32 members and/or they were interested in having more authority than just oversight of the doctrine and direction of the church… that they may have desired more of a say in how programs were run…etc.

        Bottom line, the elder I spoke with informed me that elder authority is shared equally… The elders that others have spoken with on this website have said the opposite.

        I just want to know what the truth is. It would be nice to just see a governance statement by HBC… I have not been able to find one on the website.

        1. I spoke to soon… I found the statement on the HBC website, see link below. It basically states that the senior pastor is on the elder board and is 1st among equals. Similar to other boards, there would be a board president (leader), vp, treasurer, whatever, but in the end, their vote is equal.


        2. So, given what Factchecker has just found on the HBC website (link provided by Factchecker), what do the authors of this website say? Peace.

        3. I remember my former company’s Chairman stating at some point during one of his rah-rah speeches (probably 5 – 6 years ago) that the board members have to be unanimous in order to move forward with any major business proposal or decision. I’ve always understood that unanimous means 100% (in agreement). It was never presented as a democracy (51% majority wins). So whether the Chairman has 5% or 50% of the vote is secondary as 100% of the board have to agree to move forward. Obviously, the Chairman has to bring forth to the board to discuss major decisions or proposals.

          Now there are 30+ members on the board. Not sure if all major decisions required all 30+ members or just the subcommittes in the board (typically a smaller sub-group). However in a Board, there is always pressure from peers (and the “Chairman”) to conform to the majority decisions (proposals). I guess that the 3 board members were bold enough in not conforming with the majority and the chairman. They may also have spoken up during meetings asking for more details or even against the proposal, etc. As such, business decisions were being held up because of this and we all know in business, “time is money”. The “Chairman” has no patience for indecision and wants his proposals passed. Thus these board members were forced to (or chose to) resign, so that the remaining board members can unanimously agree again (having seen 3 of their peers face verbal beat-downs and forced out as an example)

          All speculation using a corporate business example.

        4. The point of my story is don’t get hung up on the value of the Chairman’s vote, but know that there are many ways to consolidate power on a board (ie. creating new subcommittees and rewarding or selecting allies on the board to sit on important subcommittees and punishing rivals with a constant barrage of verbal intimidation, peer pressure and insignificant committees.) Sadly, we see this everyday in big business and politics.

        5. While the HBC website does spellout the dynamic between elders and pastor, nowhere does it speak to there having total unanimity in decisions. In fact, in the “elder” track of Harvest U., I sat through discussions on elders and elder meetings where it was talked about only needing a consensus on votes. While this can be true, it’s tough to pin down exactly what a consensus is. Is it a majority? Is it not a majority but allows those who disagree to begrudgingly go along? And what does first among equals mean ? That sounds like an oxymoron to me. You cannot be first and equal.

        6. These lay out church governance, show that there is an equal authority, and what consensus means:

          Click to access 200589.pdf

          Click to access 326596.pdf

        7. It was never anyone’s argument that HBC was not officially and publicly stating that the elder’s shared authority and power equality, but it was our argument, and others, that the official structure does not match what truly happens in HBC governance. So, the existence of this document to which you point is fundamental to our argument and not incongruous with it. In fact, the existence of such an official statement regarding the authority structure makes MacDonald’s admission to the HBF pastors and leaders all the more troubling. If MacDonald chose to establish his church, vesting half of the elder board authority in himself, and he disclosed this state of affairs to his elders and congregation, then there would be little to discuss. Obviously, it is the duality that is most concerning, saying one thing and doing another. Your citation of this document only points to this troubling duality.

          Moreover, we are not alone in believing HBC’s power structure functions in an unhealthy and dualistic manner. HBC’s correspondence regarding the recent resignation of three elders stated that one of the concerns these departing elders had was “how elder authority is shared.” If you are an honest broker of truth then your concern and inquiry should lead you to contact these men and ask them for details regarding this issue.

  3. <<>>

    This quote from today’s post is a seemingly insignificant but typical example of the mind-numbing hubris of this website, as well as the continual assigning of motives and assumption of what’s in the minds of the Harvest leadership. The song “We’re United” was first sung at Harvest almost 2 years ago, not “composed during this season” as an “us vs. them” anthem.

    This pattern of motive assigning posed as journalism reaches the laughable stage when a comment from Mr. MacDonald about “people I should have been watching” gets turned into analysis of who those people were–actually, “analysis” is the wrong word, because that would imply thoughtful exploration. In fact, the names and pictures of these supposed people were posted as if they’d been discovered. Did you ever consider that maybe some of the people who messed up in the construction are still at Harvest and have shared some of the blame? Or that not all these people with posted pictures had much to do with the construction and left at different times for reasons unrelated?

    Nope. Hubris dictates, “We know what MacDonald means every time he says something, we know who he’s referring to even when he’s vague, and we know the motives behind each decision made. Even though we haven’t, you know, um, asked him.”

    1. Tony, After researching your claim with a number of friends from your church, including people that paid to attend the Harvest University, your assertions about when this song was written is completely wrong. It was written in 2012, and if you care to look it up on the internet you can find a copy of the lyrics with the copyright date on it, so it could not have been written and sung 2 years ago as you mind-numbingly assert.

      Also, this song was written and sung in the months following the ER2 craziness when a number of the Harvest church plant were leaving your Fellowship. The unity song was sung when all the Harvest church plant pastors came back to HU, and it was made a big deal of to keep the troops in line. It was latter pulled out after this website was released.

      Sorry, Tony. You have no idea what you are talking about.

      1. Actually, it was written in mid-2011 and in this post, Andi Rozier (who wrote the tune after James had written the words) references having already tried it out with the church by then. http://andirozier.blogspot.ca/2011/11/were-united.html This post talks about the motivation and process behind the song which is very different from what you suggest, Gary S.

        It was written long before ER2 and the other events you mention. Copyrights don’t have much to do with when a song was written…they just have to do with the musician decides to get a copyright.

    2. Tony,

      A central issue STILL is: Is what James MacDonald said (last Sunday) the truth or is it a lie? Is it true that he and the church were taken advantage of by men “he should have been watching”? Are we to believe that these men were acting independently of James MacDonald—without his full knowledge and participation? Or is it an egregious lie? If it is a lie, then he has slandered not only those who have earlier quit the elder board but these men who have resigned today, along with the few others, from that time, who remain on the board. The Lord Jesus terms slander a “vile” sin and ranks it with murder, theft and adultery, among other sins. (See Mark 7:20-23)

  4. David Corning, Dr. Joseph Stowell, Joe Stowell Jr, Ron Allchin, Sam Jindoyan and Darryl Rice are all good men. They do not deserve to be maligned by MacDonald. Who is it MacDonald – be specific; who exactly almost brought HBC to financial ruin. Speak boldy – I know you can.

  5. James MacDonald has a reputation of being solid theologically, but his personal understanding of the Bible is much poorer than people think. But I’ll give him credit for masterfully managing his image and the impression he makes on many trusting people (myself included for a while). He knows what “plays well” with the home crowd.

    During the years I attended Harvest, I personally heard James deliver most messages live, and in person. Finally, I realized that sometimes he didn’t correctly understand the topics that he was delivering so vociferously, nor was he in full possession of basis biblical knowledge.

    Two examples (I’m not quoting his exact words, but paraphrasing what he communicated):

    In a sermon on “Hell”, he directly stated that a person doesn’t bodily go to hell (body & soul), but rather it’s a “spiritual” death. That is a grossly unbiblical idea, a major theological error that is easily contradicted with numerous scriptures. (John 5:28-29, Acts 24:15, Rev 19:20, Rev 20:13-15 etc.). Whether this error was edited from the final CD or not, I don’t know. I just know that I sat in my seat, stunned at his ignorance at best, or false teaching at worse.

    In another sermon, he admitted he didn’t know the names of all twelve of the disciples, and made a joke of it. I find that to be ludicrous. Here is a man who I believe has an earned doctorate degree in Theology/ Divinity, has acted as a head pastor for decades, has delivered thousands of sermons, and doesn’t know who the twelve disciples are? He can’t memorize twelve names? I assure you, he can name twelve Blackhawks players, and probably quote their statistics.

    The bottom line is that MacDonald isn’t a new believer, or layperson, for whom the Bible is new and it takes time to learn and become familiar with. James MacDonald is a pastor, author of numerous books and radio celebrity! And his grasp of the Bible is much poorer than people are led to believe.

    1. Carol,
      I am glad to see someone point this out as this is ultimately why we decided to leave Harvest Bible Chapel after 14 years. In the beginning we were young believers and it never occurred to us to question James’ teaching. But as we applied ourselves to diligent Bible study we started to come home after the services with more and more questions in our notes as some of his teaching just didn’t sound right. As we learned to be Bereans, we discovered that James was not Biblically sound or at the very least, trivializing important doctrines. We even consulted other Harvest pastors to help us with our understanding. We finally concluded that James MacDonald is an act… a very good act. It is easy to be fooled by his personal presentation and forceful personality. And he is certainly not wrong about everything. But as one grows in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and listens carefully to James’ sermons, one will find quite frankly, a lot of baloney that cannot be supported by Scripture taken in context.

  6. I can’t help but think about the question that Roy brought up in class regarding church camps (and possibly other outreach / revival events that have taken place in an outside of church).
    I have read in books regardign this (paraphrase): Camp or revivals are short term (methods of which typically follows a early morning thru late night sessions all working to wear out the body and mind and then engaging in activities which causes emotional or spiritual highs. That’s fine except when the participant returns home and back to his or her environment, he is once again facing reality of life and looking for that high. (Its a tactic that drug dealer’s use to get addicts hooked and not unsimilar to the Fed’s bond purchasings announcements and its impact in the stock market this week as people are hooked on low interest)

    Can church camp environments produce emotional experiences that are not authentic signs of spiritual transformation? I think it is a very critical question that needs to address in the ministry as many churches now attempt to engage the congregant and non-believers emotionally.

    I would like to have some discussion around this question.

    1. “Can church camp environments produce emotional experiences that are not authentic signs of spiritual transformation?”

      Of course they can. Our son attended Camp Harvest in grade school and in middle school. We have a DVD from the camp in which our son is seen sitting around with the other kids and the pastors and camp staff. It is night and the kids are giving their “testimonies”. Our son is seen giving an emotional testimony. Fast forward a few years. Our son is almost grown now and is adamant that he does not believe any of it. He has no love for God and refers to Jesus as “our invisible friend”.

  7. This website has been live for nearly 9 months now with a significant amount of updates along the way. All of them with the purpose of exposing James MacDonald for the man that he is in hopes that James would repent and that his behavior would change. Many I am sure have become discouraged that even though TED has sounded the alarm, that no real change has come of it. James continues to show his true character with his behavior and TED keeps exposing that character.

    That is why it is getting to the point now, though, that the criticism should not just stop at the feet of James MacDonald. All of this nonsense could be put to rest if the men who really know the truth were to speak on the record, which to my knowledge they have yet to do. If TED is a bunch of lies, then David Corning, Joe Stowell, Ron Alchin, Joe Stowell, Jr. and Sam Jindoyan as former Elders and friends of James need to speak out for the sake of the church and for James. If TED is the truth, then they need to join with TED and sound the alarm about the true character of James MacDonald for the sake of those who attend Harvest, listen to Walk in the Word and the greater church. They have a responsibility as men who were in leadership at Harvest to fulfill their responsibilities as Elders to speak out.

    With those pleasantries aside, though, I know for a fact that TED is true and based on the testimony of many. Thus, the silence of the former Elders I listed above almost angers me as much as the behavior of James. These men who so many trusted to the lead the church, in my opinion failed the congregants of Harvest with their silence while they where Elders and continue to fail them now. For me the the actions of James, the current leadership of Harvest and the former leaders of Harvest has seriously impacted my ability to trust anyone in church leadership. It is no wonder that we have a crisis in leadership in Washington DC a crisis in leadership in Springfield a crisis in leadership in our homes because in my opinion we have a crisis in leadership in the church. Whether its at Harvest Bible, Sovereign Grace Ministry, or the Catholic Church, if the church cannot lead itself how can we be a light to the world.

    1. “These men who so many trusted to the lead the church, in my opinion failed the congregants of Harvest with their silence while they where Elders and continue to fail them now. ”
      Eric, I appreciate your opinion, but I respectfully disagree. During the time that those men were elders of HBC, (to the best of my knowledge) they were faithful in their duties. The elder team needs unity not necessarily unanimity. The wrestling that goes on within an elder meeting needs to stay there…and not get leaked out to the congregation. It is improper for a minority of elders to “go public” (unless there is disqualifying sin) in an attempt to sway the congregation toward their point of view. Elders are called to lead. They carry the responsibility and the burden. There are no contradictions in the Lord’s will. So when there are differences, prayer, lots of prayer, heart-wrenching prayer is needed… and I’m confident that was done.

      Only these men (and the Lord) know if they were called to stand and fight, or to go. It is my understanding that these men have shared their concerns with James before their decision to leave. We are all responsible for what we know (James 4:17). James, having heard the counsel of other men entrusted with caring for the flock, was at that point responsible for what he knows. These men have a track-record of love for Christ, love for the church, and love for one another. It seems reasonable that having delivered the message of correction to James, their job there was done.

      As for their continued silence, it is no small matter when well-respected men of integrity step down from an elder team. When faced with that decision, the desire for God-honoring elders is to leave peaceably… without fanfare… without drama. Out of love for the Lord, His people, and the pastors and elders who remain, they want nothing but God’s truth, and God’s best for them. Their reasons for leaving do get revealed without having to write a blog article explaining it. Those who need to know end up knowing. Truth and time go hand in hand.

      Having said that, the reasons for leaving aren’t always or necessarily due to sin. Sometimes it is simply a matter of a different direction, a new season. We all must take care in avoiding the tendency to want to connect dots.

      These men are no longer elders of HBC. Their responsibility for the flock at HBC has come to an end. Having had the privilege a few months ago of spending a day with some of those men, I have an even greater respect for them and their position of silence. So, not pretending to know what the Lord’s will is for all involved (former elders, current elders, James, the church), I pray for His wisdom for them, submission and humility, and a sensitivity to what the Spirit is doing.

      1. Well said, Tom. I know these godly men have made numerous attempts over the years to confront James but without success. There comes a time to “shake the dust off your sandals” and move on (Matt. 10:14). People are being duped by JMAC but until their eyes are open, no words of man will sway them. Proverbs 26:4 says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.” I think TED has already exposed enough truth about the true character of JMAC to satisfy those who are truly seeking it. To engage in a battle of words would serve no purpose. The fact that these former leaders have not contacted TED to have their names removed speaks volumes to me. While there is a time to speak out, sometimes the godliest response in a situation like this is silence. Exodus 14:14 promises, “The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.”

      2. While I can appreciate your loving and respectful position, Tom, I think the wiser course is an examination of the truth. Would you say that you loved your wife or children, if you lied to them? If you refrained from telling them truth that they have a right and need to know? Silence WOULD seem to be the better course, in many instances, but the people of the Harvest churches have a right and need to know whether or not the allegations are true. I know for a fact, that some Harvest congregants have been told that TED is full of lies and half-truths, when the truth of the vast majority of what has been reported here can be easily verified: James MacDonald has demanded and received an exorbitant level of compensation (the phrase, “making merchandise of you” comes to mind–see 2 Peter 2:1-3). And how does that fit with “not a lover of money” (1 Tim. 3:3) Does he not live in a two-million-dollar mansion in a gated community? And how does that square with the Lord’s admonition, of Matthew 16:19-20, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”? and Colossians 3:5c, “Do not be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry.” Did he not abuse people under his authority? If not, why have so many good men left in hurt and anger? 1 Cor. 5:11 says, “I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer, yet indulges in sexual sin, or is GREEDY, or worships idols, or is ABUSIVE, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.” (emphasis mine) If this is the standard set out for ordinary Christians, how much more stringent are the requirements for those who would lead the Church? Some have spoken out. It is time for a formal examination of whether or not James MacDonald is fit to lead the churches of Harvest. The testimony of these men, who were closest to the decisions and who would know whether or not James MacDonald is telling the truth or a lie, in his latest declaration, is very important. In his latest protestation of innocence JM depicts himself as an innocent and trusting servant of God who was taken advantage of by “evil and divisive men” and “leaders that wouldn’t act” (sic). If it is a lie, then James MacDonald has slandered these men and the Lord has labeled slander as a “vile” sin in Mark 7: 21-23. Is this the kind of man who should be in a position of authority over all the Harvest churches? Should anyone sit under his teaching at Harvest University? There are obviously men like that who head corporations but I pray that the Bride of Christ, bought with His Blood, would NEVER be dominated by such men.

    2. I would thoroughly agree, Eric. I understand their reluctance to get involved in a back and forth between themselves and JM’s supporters, but I think the time has come for them to specifically lay out the grievances that led to their departures. It really isn’t enough to just agree to have their names put in the Void. We have the pattern for examining these charges, given by the Lord Himself, in Matthew 18. Presumably, the initial steps have been followed and it is now their obligation to put the matter before the wider Church. The influence of James MacDonald is wide and deep throughout the Harvest churches and affects even the wider Church through his radio broadcasts. (I attend a Harvest church but I have Christian friends who attend non-Harvest churches and who also listen to Walk In the Word.)

      Since many have already born witness to JM’s perfidy, it is now for those who were closest to him in ministry to confirm or deny the allegations that have been made. James MacDonald compounds his error in attempting to blame others, but God is not mocked, and the Church is now called to judge. The judgment will likely be to remove him from leadership–either directly or indirectly by leaving Harvest churches. We have already seen three couples leave our particular church over the JM controversy and we know of at least one young couple who have left because of the Elephant Room controversy.) Ours is one of the smaller Harvest churches. Since JM has “stacked the deck” in his favor, by arrogating 50% of the voting power to himself, it should prove to be a difficult task, but one that must be pursued. I for one, can no longer belong to a church that has a man like him as the ultimate head. I do not believe he any longer qualifies for leadership (if, indeed, he ever was qualified) as one “who is above reproach”. (See Titus 1:6-9 and 1 Tim. 3:1-7) It is obvious that he is “able to teach” but grievous character flaws are now obvious and no good can come from having that corrupting influence over the Harvest churches (see 1 Cor. 15:33). He ended the last Harvest University with a disgraceful rant about putting anyone who stands in opposition to one-man rule as needing to be “catapulted” from the congregation. This advice would be more suitable to the Roman Catholic church than the true Church which has been TOLD to divide over serious breaches (see 1 Cor. 11:19). We are not to have misplaced loyalties to a church official over obedience to the demands of Scripture itself. (see 1 Cor. 4: 6.)

      What Harvest pastors have apparently been told to say is that TED is “full of lies and half-truths” but no specifics, countering any of the serious charges, are given. This is simply inadequate. It is time to expose the matter fully. The Church WILL judge–that is what we have been told to do in the matter of “false teachers”. Even though JM is more or less doctrinally correct, he has shown a disturbing trend toward a self-serving “prosperity gospel” in some of his teaching (the Elephant Room controversy). Whether it is through replacing JM or leaving the churches under his “authority” it must be done or we bear the blame for complicity with him. For the sake of all churches in the Harvest Fellowship, James MacDonald must resign. I have to wonder if some of the calls for his resignation prompted JM’s “in-your-face” mock resignation of a few weeks back. This matter must be resolved sooner rather than later for the sake of all concerned. If James MacDonald has truly repented, that is a good thing for his sake, but that fails to answer the question of whether he is fit for church leadership. I believe he has forfeited that opportunity through his irresponsible and even ungodly acts.

    3. Eric
      Eccl. 3:7b there is ” a time to keep silence and a time to speak. . .”
      The truth is still the truth even if these men never say anything.

      1. Out of love for fellow believers, these people need to share what they know. The church and the school both trust that more people will be duped into attending as others are leaving out the back door without saying anything. They trust that they have convinced people that sharing their experience is sinful, or idle gossip. Out of love for one another we should be telling what we know.

  8. It is interesting that over on Pastor Mike Bryants Facebook page there is a fascinating conversation regarding this latest post after Mike posted a link to this page. Even more interesting is that Lindsey McCaul has liked Mike’s link to this page and Ron Alchin’s son has commented in support of why this story needs to be told to the church. So for those of you who wonder whether the men listed on TED or people who were once close to James and his family agree with the message of TED, you have your evidence there. PS. One of Jindoyan’s relatives has liked it as well

    1. Void Kids are Talking June 21, 2013 — 9:48 am

      Hey. Anyone else notice that it’s not just Lindsey McCaul and Allchin’s kid talking (or “liking”) on Pastor Bryant’s Facebook page. Jindoyan’s kid liked the post and so did Jodrey’s kid.

  9. Based on first hand knowledge, John, I can tell that Daryl Rice was not “fired for cause.” If you sat down and talked with him for 10 minutes you would be shocked at the abuse he was subjected to.

  10. My uncle loved to fish, but he was not a very patient man. If after a few casts without a strike he would change lures always using the phrase “maybe this’ll work” as he cast the new one out. It got to to a running joke. When reading your most recent piece here I was reminded of my Uncle Bud.

    After your initial salvo didn’t take James out you periodically throw (depending on your level of crudity, insert substance here) against the wall to see if it sticks. It won’t. I do appreciate that you made me remember my uncle, I used to love to go fishing with him.

    1. Well that’s lovely, Bob. First you help the elephants debt confirm that James gambles with you and now they help you relive some fond memories of your uncle. I guess you’re all squared up.

    2. So what you’re saying is that these guys are patient, which is one of the fruits of the spirit. Nice to know that you recognize their Christian virtue.

    3. Since you are strolling down memory lane today, Bob, can you recall how much money your pastor spent on gambling equipment for his $200K basement renovation? More importantly, as his good gambling buddy, can you confirm whether your pastor has taken his gambling equipment out of his basement since making a pledge to his elders and congregation that he would not gamble anymore?

      1. $200K basement renovation??? That is worth more than my townhome!!! Good to know that MacDonald won’t be bored during his leisure time.

        You are right Bob in that MacDonald will not be “taken out” in your words. Only a sexual sin or extreme misuse of funds will result in a pastor being removed. It is just kinda funny to see his hypocrisy living out before our eyes. When confronted with the truth,
        MacDonald always reverts to this woe is me, oh everyone is attacking poor pitiful me.

        1. Its things like this and all the other half answered questions that have provoked me to stop giving to Harvest. A Church that cant answer simple financial questions instantly about the Staffs salaries, debt etc. doesn’t deserve my hard earned money, and sorry but I don’t buy the ” I give it and let God sort it out ” philosophy, obviously James thinks he should live like a King while asking the church to give sacrificially. Wonder how much his membership at the Inverness Country Club runs him?

  11. John,

    With all due respect, the authors of TED disagree with your assessment as it is predicated primarily upon accepting MacDonald’s version of events concerning the dismissal of Darryl Rice and the role that the elders played in this fiasco. Darryl Rice was a business pastor who reported to MacDonald and the elder board. He would not have possessed the institutional authority to act in an individualistic fashion without approval coming from above. Moreover, which man strikes you as being more invested in building an empire? James MacDonald or Darryl Rice? Remember, MacDonald has openly stated that he possesses 50% of the authority on the elder board. So any suggestion that this aggressive expansion was happening without his complete knowledge and approval is a story ill-fitted for the facts on the ground. See, for instance, this video for Leopardo (a construction firm involved with the Harvest build out). In it, MacDonald states: “Eighteen months later, I had to pick up the phone and say, “I have made a mess of the whole thing. We’re in trouble.'”

    As for your assertion that MacDonald has accepted blame, this is both accurate and inaccurate at the same time. As you can see above, you are correct in asserting that MacDonald has accepted a measure of blame from time to time. However, what we are commenting upon here is MacDonald’s attempt to re-write the history of Harvest as if he was an innocent by-stander, who was victimized by his underlings and an overly aggressive elder board that was somehow acting without his approval or direction.

    1. So, already you have changed your statement from ‘completely absolves himself of any responsibility’ to ‘has accepted a measure of blame’ ?

      If Daryl Rice wants to come forward with a different version of events he certainly can right?

      Furthermore, doesn’t the silence of any one else giving a version of events give credence to macdonald’s version?
      Likely, anyone who feels a maligned reputation would step forward if there was a different story?

      1. No, John, we merely have clarified for you that we were talking about different matters. And as for Darryl Rice, he has spoken partially on these matters. He contacted us, and among other things, he requested that his name be added to the Void.

    2. I have not left a comment before on this website, but I have to say one thing…A current elder on the elder board flat out denied the allegation that James MacDonald has a 50% vote on the elder board. He told me that was not correct. So, who is telling the truth here?

      1. Why don’t you ask the three elders who just resigned? Why don’t you ask the former elders? Why don’t you ask the HBF leaders (former and current) who were present at the meeting where James admitted to this structure and advocated its adoption?

      2. Advocation is one thing. Implementation is another. I really hope (pray) that leaders in the church are not now knowingly lying to members’ faces who as them direct questions. If an elder tells me it is not true, I have to take that at face value or that elder has no business leading one of Christ’s local churches. This elder (and a couple others) also denied that James MacDonald requested a $100K pay raise. Either someone is lying here or someone does not have all of the facts straight. Both cannot be true at the same time. Peace.

      3. J. and E. Bell June 26, 2013 — 6:18 pm

        There is a Latin adage, cui bono that literally means, “who benefits”. The phrase is often used to suggest that the person or people guilty of committing a crime, (or, as is possible, in this case, behaved in ways that are not fitting for the leader of a church), may be found among those who have something to gain–especially one leading to financial gain or avoidance of loss. Those who benefit, may have secured the agreement of others to cover the crime (or poor behavior), or they may attempt to blame a scapegoat (which has already been tried by JM this week, and most people aren’t buying). There are many people who have testified to what has been reported by the authors of this website. If they were lying, do you not think that there would have been prompt counter-testimony from HBC people? But it could well be, that now, in order to try to “plug the dike”, some at HBC or even HBF assume that lies must be told to protect the empire (governments operate this way all the time, it seems). If this is indeed the case, I would encourage those who have been hurt and slandered by JM, with another old saying–I believe it is from Ghandi, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you—then you win.”

  12. I am surprised that with all the commenting over these past months , that the Stowells have not sought to come forward and stand up for their reputations or to at least set the record straight. I have a lot of respect for Joe Sr. and after the most recent comments by James , which seem to place blame for the financial woes square on the shoulders of the men listed above, whether mentioned by name or not, I certainly would want to let it be known as to why I left Harvest and why the Church is in debt.

  13. Have you seen MacDonald’s post (somehow I cannot preface his name with Pastor)?

    One interesting quote is:
    “I know I wasn’t invited, and I have often been deeply unappreciated.”

    Read Micah 6:8

    1. Debra Szemplinski June 20, 2013 — 7:20 pm

      David, thank you for citing this most incriminating reflection of the state of this man’s heart and mind: Luke 6:45
      A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
      Luke 6:44-46 (in Context) Luke 6

      1)Note the prolific use of “I” messages, thus denoting the self-centered/absorbed mindset seen of late.
      2)”I’m not sure how I got into this job…” Even a Catholic priest usually proclaims a “Calling”
      3) “I wasn’t invited”, How is this to be interpreted? Usurpation?
      4)”I’ve often been unappreciated.” So was Jesus, but none can recall him seeking sympathy
      5)”Frankly, I gave up the job a while back, but felt constrained to make my decision known to all who read this blog.” Are we to believe that you have been spiritually duplicitous, acting the part while not believing it?
      6) A man of the cloth, so to speak, a man charged with carrying the banner of Christ completed this blog with the following words:

      “Take this job and . . . I quit!”

      I could go on, but the examples are too numerous. I implore everyone reading TED to read his protracted, caustic and – I dare say- delusional rantings. Many who have read this believe clinical signs of psychosis may be surfacing. If that is the case we pray that he seek the necessary professional and spiritual help to see him through to a healthy psyche.

      That a man of James MacDonald’s renown has written such a vile commentary is bad enough; that it has failed to receive its due attention is bewildering. If acerbic comedy is now his calling – then simply step aside.

      I pray that HBC is purged, that it is purified and restored; that James recalls his first charge is the glorification of Christ and the furthering of His church.

      1. Excellent analysis Debra. Throw in narcissistic personality disorder and you are getting closer. I don’t believe anyone here is seeking revenge, they are seeking truth that will help them make wise decisions with the time and resources the Lord has given them. If leaders in the church have been seduced by the enemy to be bullies, lovers of money, manipulators of scripture or anything else, they need our prayers and our intervention. They have clearly been blinded.

        1. Quite right there about not seeking revenge. I do feel duped that I gave to the “Seize the Opportunity” campaign. To know that my giving was supporting James MacDonald’s rich lifestyle (2 mil mansion, luxury cars and bikes, etc) leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I do not know if it is a narcissistic personality disorder or a sign of a sociopath. “Seize the Opportunity” ===> “Seize the Cash”. I am angry more than anything when I think about it. Thankfully I am now in a great church with biblical teaching and full disclosure!!!

        2. Steve, where are you going to church now? Peace.

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