To Every Season . . .

Update (9 Jan 2014)Almost two years ago, when we set out to publicly tell a story about the failing character of James MacDonald, we never could have imagined that events would unfold in the ways that they ultimately did.  At the time, our purpose was simple: we wanted to warn the Church about a man who had systematically ignored and rebuffed numerous confrontations over his private (and at times public) sin. We had no serious expectations regarding the outcome of this project; and quite honestly,  as we were the only two voices speaking at the time, we actually believed that most people would, understandably, ignore the warning.   Moreover, we did not plan to write about these issues for a lifetime, no matter the outcome.  So the time has come for us to set aside this blog as an active site for reporting upon the ongoing events at HBC.  The time has come for others, closer to the situation, to continue the work, speaking truth to power.

Having said that, it should be noted that we (along with many others) remain convinced that the recent changes at HBC are either too little, too late or merely cosmetic in nature. Unfortunately, many of us have little to no reason to believe that any authentic repentance has taken place in the man.  Thus, our decision to cease writing should not be read as a statement from these authors, or others, that there is no longer a concern over the issues that remain at HBC and with MacDonald.

Also, it must be noted that what compelled us to write was the concern for the spiritual health of the people, pastors and elders of HBC; and that remains our primary focus today in prayer.  After receiving volumes of friendly (and not so friendly) criticism over the past year, we would be arrogant fools to believe that we always wrote in a manner worthy of our Lord and His people.  Whether our failure came in a word, a tone, a genre or a private moment of emotion that failed to live up to how we are called to walk, we ask your forgiveness, and we hope that our failure will not distract from the testimony so many have offered here.

Lastly, we want to thank the vast numbers of you that helped us in this project.  To those who bravely came forward and made a public statement, at times with great personal sacrifice, we thank you for your service to Christ and His Church in this matter.  To those who provided insight, wisdom and information behind the scenes, your service is no less appreciated.  Know that this effort will not be in vain.

93 thoughts on “To Every Season . . .

  1. I thank John Smith for his post below. This is exactly what many of us are feeling. Group think and the HBC bubble aptly describes the herd mentality that appears to be happening. Many of us cannot understand how so many professing born again believers can go along with so many of the antics of James Macdonald and Mark Driscoll. These men are not ‘acting like men’.
    How in good conscience, could James Macdonald have gone to T. D. Jakes’ 25 year celebration of his false ministry after catapulting the sister HBC churches who dared to question his wisdom in doing the second Elephant room conference, not to mention the ecumenical move of calling false teacher T.D. Jakes, a brother in Christ. We never would have believed it, had it not been for the photos of James and Kathy in full celebration gear, posted on T. D. Jakes’ Facebook page well over a year ago now.
    The fiasco of James and Mark Driscoll crashing the ‘Strange Fire’ conference this past October, then lying about how it actually went down, is yet another episode of behaviour not fitting so called Christians, let alone prominent pastors of large churches. The gambling, the debt, the personal financial excesses, the preaching of God’s Holy Word out of context to manipulate attendees into giving more, or the staged ‘speaking for God’ video, (all well documented on this site and now many others), the lack of repentance, the lack of transparency, and the compromise that now extends to all HBC churches everywhere. They continue to promote his books, his conferences, his visions, and remain silent on these very public issues and now we hear of profanity and ranting at a so called Christian conference for men and boys. Was he actually looking for sympathy?

    For shame Harvest… May our precious Saviour wake us up and may The Holy Spirit break the bubble of manipulation that is floating through Harvest Bible Chapels.

  2. Dear Alex,
    How is a website with documents given to “subjectively misle(a)d” and “emotional manipulation”? I know that’s what our HBC leaders have told us in order to portray Pastor James as a victim and attacked.
    Can you provide an example of what you say is factual truth and not promises and pledges?

    Confusing the ‘truth’ as told by Pastor James and Harvest leadership lacks unbiased biblical accountability and to this point any documentation (for example: a complete budget)

    Isn’t the way “spontaneous baptisms” at HBC held at least twice a year on the same weekend, and the manner of altar call style of commitments to accept Jesus as Savior at camps and services a form of “subjective misleading and emotional manipulation”? The version of JM/HBC ‘truth’ about doctrine, budget, victimization, and why so many have left HBC are vague and misleading. Some remain at HBC because they are emotional manipulated with loyalties to a man and/or (man-centered) ministry.

    Harvest controls their own website. The odds are 1000(sheep):1 that Pastor James will repent.
The odds are 1 in a million that any opposing comments from anyone ever get posted to James MacDonald’s blog or Harvest website or twitter feed… or member meeting.

  3. Ryan and Scott – thank you for your conviction to see Truth be known among the HBC family. Now we can probably expect fewer and fewer elder updates on the HBC website. Currently the last elder update is from November 2013, even though it is mentioned the elders meet on a monthly basis.

    I am glad though the member meetings continue but I haven’t heard if any fruit has come from these meetings. Anyone out there heard if these were worth going to or are they all scripted?

    Still trying to also figure out what the difference is between ‘Stewardship Ministry’ and the ‘Harvest Bible Chapel Foundation’ section is on the HBC Website. It states the mission of the Stewardship ministry is: It is our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ by offering teaching, training and tools that motivate and help the church to glorify God and experience freedom and blessing through the biblical stewardship of all that He has entrusted to us.

    The purpose of the Harvest Bible Chapel Foundation states: The Harvest Bible Chapel Foundation exists to support the ministries of Harvest, and to provide financial tools in order for Harvest Bible Chapel to bring glory to God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

    Is the foundation a way to separate the HBC ministries so it would be independent of each other? If one ministry fails the others don’t get affected financially? Can anyone shed some light on how this is structured?

    These are just more questions stirring my thoughts. I do ask to keep this site up so the ‘newer’ people at HBC can learn from past mistakes and not repeat another destructive chapter in the history of HBC. My hope is not in the genuine repentance of James Macdonald (only God can do this) but in the hope that Jesus Christ would truly be the foundation at HBC. Time will tell. In the meantime Ryan, Scott -Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    1. “Is the foundation a way to separate the HBC ministries so it would be independent of each other? If one ministry fails the others don’t get affected financially?”

      I think all of the Harvest ministries fall under one umbrella. It is arranged so that minimal financial disclosure is required. However, James MacDonald draws a salary from each ministry – Walk in the Word, Churches Helping Churches, Harvest Foundation, Biblical Soul Care, Harvest Studios, Vertical Church Music etc. This was confirmed by former Elder Chairman Dave Corning. Rest assured that if it ever falls apart, James MacDonald and his Executive team will have golden parachutes to take care of them and their families.

  4. I have enjoyed reading the updates and commentary that followed and I am thankful for the ability of this website to provide a forum for discussion. While at times the threads got a little too opinionated or seemed to stray off the mark I still was thankful for the chance to listen, read, learn and understand from a viewpoint one does not get from the leadership of the church.

    1. Watchman on the Wall January 27, 2014 — 10:28 am


  5. Thank you and God bless you. Keep it up if you can, but it must be a terrible drain of your time and energy. You have done an excellent service for which The Lord will pay you back now and in eternity. We have all seen what this “jesus franchise” is all about, thanks to you. There are so many more franchises like this deceiving and bring deceived. Let’s heed the Lord’s warning, “come out of her my people.” Come out! The Lord had no portion in this government created company called HARVEST. Yes, there are precious, saved souls there for whom Jesus died, but they must wake up, search Him and Him only, look up to Him, get out and follow Him, not a sinful, proud, unrepentant, greedy CEO James M.
    Praise The Lord He builds His church. He still does! He doesn’t live in houses build by humans! The 1000 churches in the works by James (the most horrifying vision I have ever imagined) are just a preparation of infrastructure for the Antichrist. In the name of the Almighty, wake up! Get out and serve Him alone. Give no penny to Harvest corporation. It is a business that happens to be called church. Give to poor and widows. That we are commanded to do. To build churches? No! I have never seen such command in the New Testament. Sure, James wants to build churches because the Harvest Fellowship that he is the head of gets 5% from every church! See the scheme? I hope you do.

    1. Get out of her my people January 25, 2014 — 4:10 pm

      Yes as it says in James 1:27 true religion is taking care of the widows and orphans. It is not about enriching pastors so they live like celebrities. Matthew 6:24 says you cannot serve both God and money!! Trust the Lord, not man.

    2. Amen. A business that is tax exempt. What about the alleged multi-million dollar derivative contract? As far as giving is concerned, people should read 2nd Corinthians 8,9,10, and11.That should sum it up. I agree dont give hbc a dime. Instead, donate to The Salvation Army, or any other real charities of your choice that their C.E.O. is not making millions of dollars. No one should ever be intimidated by some pompous bully used car salesman that talks down to the congergation. It’s funny when its time to give the offering the so-called campus pastors/branch managers go into a staged feeding frenzy reading only a part of scripture followed by dramatic cheers, and applause. Wake up people dring the water of life, not the Kool-Aid.

  6. DR,
    Respectfully, Scott and Ryan have done far more than ‘communicated (their)/your thoughts’. They have provided facts and documents. The members of the void and many who were very involved and giving of time, prayer, relationships and tithes have provided accounts of hurt (sometimes disguised as anger). For you to write with the impression that it is merely an opinion, is ignoring the links provided above.

    God does use broken people. But the point of this site, is to remind the reader/seeker that Pastor James is NOT broken (to godly repentance). I agree, the Lord can sovereignly use ‘loud and rude’ people. Admittedly, being loud and edgy is what drew my attention (a decade ago) to the teaching of Pastor James. But the issues raised here are showing and testifying that it is James MacDonald who is using the Lord… for his pleasure with status and finances.

    Bob Arosen,
    I’m sure I do not understand your perspective and you are not at all persuasive in helping one understand the HBC company perspective. What facts have you presented to counter any of the links provided above. You only lean on your personal relationship and adoration of a James MacDonald.

    If you are so quick to call out a commenter about an emphatic phrase (criminal activity), why are not more concerned and biblically minded to call out the actual subversive activity or abusing activity of Pastor James and campus pastors and elders?

    What will be YOUR legacy? That you remained blinded and loyal to a man who uses the pulpit and the Bible for his own self congratulations (as you claim the authors do with this site)? How do you measure Scott and Ryan’s gain for hosting a site like this? I can only see the cost of family time, emotional and spiritual drain, accusation and intimidation. Most of us appreciate what cost them so much.

  7. The time has come for you to move on. You communicated your thoughts and ideas now leave them in the hands of God. Not a fan of James, but now his future is in the hands of God. God uses broken people, He also sometimes uses loud and rude people. In my mind you are doing the right thing.

    1. DR,
      Respectfully, Scott and Ryan have done far more than ‘communicated (their)/your thoughts’. They have provided facts and documents. The members of the void and many who were very involved and giving of time, prayer, relationships and tithes have provided accounts of hurt (sometimes disguised as anger). For you to write with the impression that it is merely an opinion, is ignoring the links provided above.

      God does use broken people. But the point of this site, is to remind the reader/seeker that Pastor James is NOT broken (to godly repentance). I agree, the Lord can sovereignly use ‘loud and rude’ people. Admittedly, being loud and edgy is what drew my attention (a decade ago) to the teaching of Pastor James. But the issues raised here are showing and testifying that it is James MacDonald who is using the Lord… for his pleasure with status and finances.

      Bob Arosen,
      I’m sure I do not understand your perspective and you are not at all persuasive in helping one understand the HBC company perspective. What facts have you presented to counter any of the links provided above. You only lean on your personal relationship and adoration of a James MacDonald.

      If you are so quick to call out a commenter about an emphatic phrase (criminal activity), why are not more concerned and biblically minded to call out the actual subversive activity or abusing activity of Pastor James and campus pastors and elders?

      What will be YOUR legacy? That you remained blinded and loyal to a man who uses the pulpit and the Bible for his own self congratulations (as you claim the authors do with this site)? How do you measure Scott and Ryan’s gain for hosting a site like this? I can only see the cost of family time, emotional and spiritual drain, accusation and intimidation. Most of us appreciate what cost them so much.

      I welcome your reply.

  8. Jackie Alfirevic, former HBC member and attender for 20 years January 19, 2014 — 6:53 pm

    Dear Scott and Ryan,
    I don’t know what to say…I echo so many others with my thanks to you. This site has been such a blessing and source of information for those that sought to know more about what is going on at HBC. When we were told that we did not need to concern ourselves with such weighty matters, you were there to share information and bring what was hidden into the light. You gave a platform for so many former elders and leaders to share their strong concerns and give warning. You recorded the facts for all to see and evaluate. We all know that there is more to be revealed. I can only pray that those who remain at HBC will rise up and demand an accounting befitting to the church of our Wonderful God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank you for your willingness to bear these burdens for all of us. I can only imagine the time and effort that it takes to maintain such a work as this. I would also request that you leave the site up and not close the door to the possibility of reporting other developments in the future. There is really no other place that people can go to share information, especially as we see HBC crawling across the face of the earth, with far-flung plants that have no idea about the problems at Harvest. Yes, many devoted followers of Christ, I know. But at the core, a rotten foundation. What communion hath light with darkness? I too, will continue to pray for James MacDonald, the elders, and the people of HBC. May God bless them richly with eyes to see. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am certain you will not know how many people you have helped until you walk in glory.

    1. Please keep up the website. Last year while my wife and I were vacationing in Chandler AZ. We came across a hbc about a mile away from where we were staying. As I pulled in the parking lot and walked in the friendly greater asked if I was a first time visiter. I asked him if this hbc is associated to hbc in Chicago? He said yes. I said thats too bad as I turned around and walked out and went to a real church a couple of miles away. We need websights like this to warn people about the criminal activity of hbc and any other so-called church. Thank You for all you have done.

      1. This is your legacy. Whatever your intent, this comment sums up what your site has led to. Criminal activity? Really? Take it down.

        1. Hey Bob~
          Why do you peruse the TED for comments that offend you rather than addressing some of the biblical precepts and principles that you have been confronted with (ref. TED evidence + comments). Simply because a commenter makes a ‘technically’ inaccurate statement it does not nullify that which has been presented, nor has it ever been the authors mandate to censor submissions such as given by Bill J.

          Though you and I may not have used the word ‘criminal,’ Bill J. (and he can speak for himself) was likely simply describing how he was feeling about what has gone on at HBC / HBF. It is not an uncommon expression “his action was just criminal” as a subjective declaration of immorality rather than referring to the breaking of an actual law. Maybe I’m giving Bill J. too much grace…

          It is fallacious reasoning to attribute a legacy based on at third parties careless use of ‘a’ word. Ignoring the larger narrative, again simply exposes your own eisegetical propensities. Like many do with scripture, you have taken a sentence out of context in order to uphold a personal presupposition. Sigh.

        2. Bob, would eternally damning activity sound better to you than criminal activity? Let’s call it like that then. Man, oh man… Why don’t you pray and turn to God for wisdom? He WILL give you too. HE WILL! Why are you condemning yourself by your own words? Don’t you know that every one will be judged for every word spoken? Open your eyes and stop excusing evil man. Turn to God and his wonderful, living word!

        3. That’s right, Bob. Keep your eyes closed and ignore the problems in your church. To God be the glory…despite the ostriches who refuse to call their pastor out on his lack of integrity.

        4. Loving those semantic games, don’t you Bob? 🙂 Gee, I wonder who is influencing you with them…

        5. Bob, I pray that some day the Lord will jolt you and remove the scales from your eyes before it is too late.

          To the authors of this blog, thank you for your courage in exposing James MacDonald. I can now clearly see how easily the end times man of sin is going to deceive so many. It is unbelievable to me how many educated, intelligent people this man has under his sway and just how powerful the love of money is. If I could leave one word for the followers of this blog it would be this:

          “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
          And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
          If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”

        6. Bob is spot on. Those who mistakenly think the “facts” and “evidence” on this site are a source of hidden knowledge have been subjectively misled by authors who are skilled in emotional manipulation and control every comment. I – and how many others?? – have tried repeatedly to get them to update their content with factual truth presented openly by Harvest, only to have those comments deleted. Repeatedly.

          I could say more. But if they’re true to form, odds are at least 10:1 this won’t get posted either.

        7. “Factual truth presented openly by Harvest” is an oxymoron, Alex.
          Once the elder video came out Harvest lost the rest of their integrity (if they ever had any), credibility and stepped out into the vast wasteland of heresy. And it certainly wasn’t something someone “made up”. It was and is FACT. As are many things documented on this site. No amount of spinning will make it go away.

          I plead with the authors of the site to reconsider their decision to stop writing. Think of the thousands being misled and hurt by this. This website has helped many, many Harvestgoers to wake up and still serves a legitimate function as long as this man holds the position of senior pastor.

        8. Bob:

          In all due respect, I do not think the unfair comment above by Bill J (suggestions of “criminal activity”) is indeed representative of this blog.
          That is unfair of you to take 1 comment and then twist it to make it appear as if it “sums up what your site has led to.” Your comment is not true.
          Instead, I think the Legacy of this blog is to encourage the Church to seek greater Accountability, more Integrity, and Transparency (regarding Finances and Salary) in the lives of our Christian leaders. And that legacy does honor our King, Jesus Christ.
          My point is that I am very grateful for this blog and for the courage displayed by the authors of the blog.
          As a former “Big Harvest” attender from 2004-2008, I benefited from the incredible teachings of Pastor James MacDonald. Pastor James taught the Word of God, and I and my family were blessed tremendously!!!! Pastor James, from my recollection and fond memories of him, was big on application, application, application, and his practical teachings were very helpful to me.

          I have been BLESSED by Pastor James MacDonald in the past.

          Sadly, …….something tragic has happened to him over the years.

          Towards the end of my time there (I and some other fellow seminary students) were getting frustrated by the constant Pulpit requests for more tithes, more money, more tithes, etc….etc…. I remember one sermon where MacDonald talked about growing up poor in his native Canada and eating “ketchup sandwiches”.
          All of us decided to eventually leave “Big Harvest”, except for 1 buddy of mine who stayed because he worked in the “creative arts department” (or multi-media dept, or programming department…..or whatever the name is now called).
          Flash forward to the present.
          I attended the “Act Like Men Conference 2013 at Indianapolis” and sat one row next to the speaker’s section (Mark Driscoll was 4 feet from me). I enjoyed the conference, but was somewhat disappointed at the profanity coming from the pulpit speakers.
          I thought Pastor James MacDonald’s Friday night message was POWERFUL. And I was blessed by it. But MacDonald’s profanity-laced sermon on Saturday morning left me with a sense of deep disappointment at how different that man is today in comparison….. to how he used to be.
          For example, Pastor James MacDonald started his 11/09/2013 (Saturday message) sermon and made some excellent points. Then he changed the subject in his sermon and mentioned how…. “I have lost a lot of relationships over a conference I had at my church a few years ago. I had wanted to unite Christians together and it did not turn out that way” ( paraphrase – not an exact quote)…..Pastor MacDonald then talked about trials and said that he is tired of people “b______ (cuss word – rhymes with witch) about me…….people are b_tching, b_tching, b_tching” about me, and I am so tired of it.” (the 3 cuss words are a direct quote from his saturday sermon).
          I was shocked by MacDonald’s profanity, and I turned around and looked at the elder of my church and said, “did I just hear him cuss from the pulpit?” I noticed my friend’s jaw had dropped in unbelief, probably because he had his 3 teenage sons present with him there.
          My friend never expected to take his teenage boys to a Christian men’s conference and hear profanity coming directly from the Pulpit……but that is exactly what happened during MacDonald’s sermon.
          I asked some Harvest Bible Fellowship leaders with our group about the profanity, and every single leader defended MacDonald by saying, “don’t worry about him cussing from the pulpit,…. just look at how much good God has done through the life of James MacDonald!!”

          My only point is: I left the “Act Like Men INDY conference” more troubled by how almost everyone was very quick to defend MacDonald by pointing out numbers, statistics, and NOBODY said, “you know what, MacDonald was wrong to use Profanity from the pulpit. He was out of line to cuss from the pulpit.”
          NOBODY said that. Instead, every Harvest Bible Fellowship staff member defended him by telling me, “just look at how much good he has done.”

          I later googled and tried to figure out what exactly MacDonald was talking about, and why he used profanity from the pulpit……., and lo and behold, I arrived at the Elephant’s Debt website.

          I immediately called my former seminary friend, and asked him about this website. He said he was already aware of the site and never bothered to tell me about it. He confirmed everything was true here, but he did say the annual salary figures displayed on the website here were very “conservative.” My friend (used to work at Big Harvest) said MacDonald actually makes a lot more $$$$ per year than what this website says.

          Bob: I am NOT suggesting that I or anyone else call somebody a “theological heretic” simply because they happened to use Profanity from the pulpit. I am Not suggesting that.

          However, I am suggesting that a “HBF BUBBLE” (Group-Think) has evolved over time, and I do think that Bubble has clouded people’s judgment. Group-Think is now the norm, and scripture is ignored because Group-Think says, “do not question our Leader James MacDonald because he is the Leader of our Group.”

          The Legacy of The Elephant Debt website is to encourage everyone (me included!!!) to ask deeper questions about the troubling and disturbing lack of Accountability, the lack of Integrity, and the lack of Transparency regarding Finances and Salary in the Church today.

          That is the purpose of the Elephant’s Debt.

          I am not perfect. I need Accountability in my own life. I need greater Integrity in my life. And I need transparency too.

          But can you see the Evil and Sin that readily forms in the absence of accountability, in the void of integrity, and when finances and $$$$ issues are not being handled in an open, transparent way?

          Pastor MacDonald has been a BLESSING to me over the last few years. But, to be honest with you, I do NOT recognize him today because the man has changed. And if I was in that “HBF Bubble with unchecked power, tons of $$$$$”, then I too would change also…….Sadly, MacDonald has changed over time.

          I would like to request that The Elephant’s Debt website remain open and accessible to all. For all need to be reminded today of the core truths that Christians (including our Christian leaders) do require Accountability, and do need Integrity, and do need transparency in their lives.

        9. So Alex, you accuse the authors of not posting your comments because they are “skilled in emotional manipulation and control every comment”……….yet the same authors of this blog allow you to freely write your following comment back on January 27. And yet, your words below have never been deleted by the authors of this blog.

          Alex, your reasoning is flawed.

          We are to serve GOD and not man. It is folly to put any man on a Pedestal.

          Pastor MacDonald has been a Blessing to me in the past, but everyone (me included) needs Accountability, Integrity, and Transparency in our lives.

          And for Alex to criticize unfairly a blog that seeks to honor Christ by advocating a return to Biblical values of greater Accountability, greater Integrity, and Transparency is sheer foolishness.
          Alex writes the following:
          Alex says:
          January 27, 2014 at 9:32 am

          Bob is spot on. Those who mistakenly think the “facts” and “evidence” on this site are a source of hidden knowledge have been subjectively misled by authors who are skilled in emotional manipulation and control every comment. I – and how many others?? – have tried repeatedly to get them to update their content with factual truth presented openly by Harvest, only to have those comments deleted. Repeatedly.

          I could say more. But if they’re true to form, odds are at least 10:1 this won’t get posted either.

      2. Bill, perhaps you are being a bit harsh in your judgement of the HBC plant in Chandler, Az .You did not even stay to participate in the worship service and yet you felt comfortable to turn away and as you say: “went to a real church a couple of miles away”. Bill is it fair to color all HBC churches with the same brush stroke? I think not. There are, I’m sure many, many God -fearing people who are on fire for the lord Jesus who attend these church plants so Bill let’s be a little bit charitable in our criticism!

        I’m not a member of any HBC church . In fact I never heard about this church movement until I stumbled on to this , and similar web sites that dealt with the character and questionable activities of James MacDonald. One thing these sites have shown me is the ugly under belly of American evangelicalism.

  9. I too plead that this website stay up.

    Many years back I was so burned out and harmed by modern evangelicalism that I walked away. I was fried, wounded, and hurt. And as a result I left Christianity and embraced secular humanism. When you are outside the bubble you see how churches like HBC, SGM, Mars Hill, etc.. create and feed problems. I was once deeply into John Piper and I gave my Mom John’s Piper’s “Don’t waste Your Cancer” after my Mother fought for her life against pancreatic cancer. Giving my mother a pamphlet telling her that cancer was a gift from God was one of the deepest mistakes of my life. My Mother forgave me…but it took years until I could forgive myself. It was my time in agnosticism that help me realize how sick evangelicalism is.

    I found faith again in the Lord, and got baptized after being away from years. What happened is that I was impressed by the love and concern people had on websites like this. For years I had wondered….why don’t evangelicals police their own? Why do they give the James MacDonalds, John Pipers, and Mark Devers a pass? It bothered me deeply…and then when people like Scott and Ryan and others stood up websites like this it encouraged me. It helped with my faith in so many ways. Many evangelicals create atheists and they do it through spiritual manipulation and abuse. Overlooking corruption and decadence helps empower those who use their position to harm others. I implore you and plead….please keep this site going. Shutting it down is going to empower the James MacDonalds and others.

    Scott and Ryan it is people like you who helped give me hope at attend a church again. Had it not been for Christians such as yourself I don’t think I would have had the courage to step into a church again. Christians need to police their own and be Berans. Websites like this show that the Berans exist.

    Please, please, PLEASE keep The Elephant’s Debt going.

  10. Thanks for your bravery and humility. You, and others like you, have built in me a spirit of courage based on truth. May we all move on from here fearing God more and man much, much less.

  11. Thank you for your courage in getting this information out in the open. Praying for discernment among the members of Harvest Bible Chapel.

    I echo the request to keep the website up.

  12. Thank you for all of your efforts in exposing the truth – also for allowing me to use your materials on my blog dealing with spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is rampant and harms more people than we are probably aware of. You’ve done good work. Please consider keeping the site up so that those who are at HBC and may have a nudge that something is off will dig a little deeper and may find the helpful information here.

  13. You have worked very hard to expose the problems at HBC. Thank you. Your voice will be missed.

  14. Dear Scott & Ryan: Thanks for your efforts in establishing and maintaining this website.
    The division among Christians, openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages that most holy cause, the preaching of the Gospel to every creature. Unity is therefore not only the fruit of faith but also a means and as it were a presupposition for proclaiming the faith ever more credibly to those who do not yet know the Savior. Jesus prayed: “that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (Jn 17:21).
    As we know, in vast areas of the earth faith risks being extinguished, like a flame that is no longer fed. We are facing a profound crisis of faith, a loss of the religious sense that constitutes the greatest challenge to the Church today. The renewal of faith must therefore take priority in the commitment of the entire Church in our time. With the cordial cooperation of all the members of the People of God, to make God present in this world once again and to give men and women access to the faith that entrust themselves to the God who will loved us to the very end (cf. Jn 13:1), in Jesus Christ, Crucified and Risen. The theme of Christian unity is closely linked to this task.
    With Scott and Ryan’s insight and listening to a number of pastors from Harvest Oakville for the past seven years has given me a great insight into the Americanization of Christianity. Americanization of Christianity is a well known as a new Christian movement of independent local authority churches. Driving one mile on Utica Ave in Brooklyn you will find 23 store front churches, according to World Christian Encyclopedia : a comparative survey of churches and religions in the modern world bys: David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, Todd M. Johnson there are more then 22,000 local authority churches. It is within this movement that one can witness an indifferentism [i.e., thinking it doesn’t matter what religion or domination (a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices) you are] — totally foreign to the thinking Jesus Christ and the early Christian Church. Irenaeus of Lyons (ad. 125-202) wrote in his Against Heresies “The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world… has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit…For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world” (1,10, 1-2)
    “Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” (cf. Jn 18:38), this indifferentism is caused by the increasingly widespread opinion that ultimate truth is based on a personal experience with Jesus Christ. Without the unity of His Holy Church within a ‘Jesus and Us’ relationship believers are only left with their own desires. And under the semblance of freedom becoming a prison of oneself, separating believers from one another, locking each person into his own ‘ego’. This relativistic secular thinking has reduced “The Eternal Truth of Jesus Christ” to a secular view that truth is not accessible to man hence it is necessary to limit oneself to finding rules for a praxis [i.e., a set of practices] that can better the world.
    And like this, faith becomes substituted by a moralism without deep foundation, making it subject to contemporary culture. Without Christian unity, personal faith in Jesus Christ can be reduced to a form of “social contract” to which to adhere out of common interest, a “praxeology” [i.e., a theory of proper practices], in order to create a better world. For example in Canada the province of Quebec has created government legislation called “secular charter”. Faith, like the sand on a beach, is surely becoming washed away by a heightened sense of moralism.
    Our Lord Jesus, came to reconcile us to one another and to the Father; therefore from the beginning full unity of all Christians has been dynamically inspired by the Divine Truth which speaks to us through The Word of God. The crucial problem or fruits of the new America Christian local authority church movement (as we see in many small “c” churches) is a question of the structure of revelation — the relationship between Sacred Scripture, the living Life in His Holy Body “The Church” and true humble ministries as an untied witness of one Truth “Jesus Christ”. And in this case the problem of ecclesiology [the nature of the Church] that is part of this problem is implicit: how God’s truth reaches us. It is concerning when you hear or read “We believe that the Bible that the authority of the church is vested in the elders. And that when the elders speak collectively in agreement, they speak for God to our church”. Does God limit the truth and only speaks to their church? Our church? Or is it His Holy Church?
    Recalling Origen of Alexandria (ad ~185 – ~254) “Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers”. My question is “Has and can, this new America Christian local authority church movement produce salt of earth humble pastors, ministries and Christian Unity? “
    It may help to reflect on “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” (cf LK 22:42) or “Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”(cf LK 1:38).
    We can allow the God “Holy Spirit” and God “the Father” to answer our Savoir ‘s (God “the Son”) pray of John 17:21 by being a humble servant united in His Body , His Holy Church or can continue to protest in our church.

    1. John,

      Are you a Roman Catholic who is trying to take the advantage of this situation and herd gullible into the Roman “church”? I think you are…I have seen this type of manipulation from Romanists countless of times. If you are not you still come with the same scenario… John 17:21 speaks of the unity in TRUTH revealed from above through Jesus as the very same context emphasizes:

      “For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.” ~John 17:8, ESV

      This unity is displayed btw even here and is not found under some pope or cast of illegal priests or pope want to be. As to your classic shenanigan with “World Christian Encyclopedia : a comparative survey of churches and religions in the modern world” by: David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, Todd M. Johnson where there are “more then 22,000 local authority churches.” You “forgot” to mention that in that number there are Jehovah Witnesses congregations, Independent Spiritualist, spiritists, occultists groups etc. and many other heretics that are not by any stretch of imagination “Christian” nor never will. Why do you propagate this misinformation? Simple to advance your herding to Rome agenda or other agenda?
      Read here:

      By the way, since you are using this source so selectively…Why not also state after the same source that there are 245 Roman Catholic denominations? Here is a page shot from “World Christian Encyclopedia : a comparative survey of churches and religions in the modern world” by: David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, Todd M. Johnson where that is stated: Or why not tell people that the same source states that Roman Catholicism is responsible for martyrdom and violent death of more 5,000,000 people? Selective memory?

      Regarding your quoting of heretic Origen about divisions… They are nothing new of course and if you would actually have those Scriptures in higher standard than just for prooftexting you would know that. One of many examples. Try this one from The Church in Corinth:

      ‘I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:10

      Well seems like that was there too. Nihil novi. And perhaps one more quote from a real church father:

      “The knowledge of our religion and of the truth of things is independently manifest rather than in need of human teachers, for almost day by day it asserts itself by facts, and manifests itself brighter than the sun by the doctrine of Christ.”

      ~ Athanasius (297-373), NPNF2: Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Part I, §1-3.

      The only unity is in truth of the true Gospel and true God. If in such unity it is only natural to protest, oppose and fight any form of falsehood and damnable lies whether from Pontifex Maximus from rolling hills of Rome or his mini alter ego from Rolling Meadows, IL.

      Sapere aude

      1. Not a “Romanist”, but a thoughtful Christian who’s familiar with the Catholic Church (in-laws). I thought your comment deserved a little balance. I too used to be an exuberant anti-Catholic until I many of my misunderstandings were addressed. So the hair raises on my back when stones are thrown at our brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church. It’s not as clean on this side of the Tiber as you’d like to put it. And throwing stones over the river saying, “you have divisions too” isn’t helpful if the goal is the unity Christ prays for in John 17 and Paul admonishes throughout. But even the source you quote shares that Barrett is defining denomination as “within a specific country” over “238 countries”. That looks awfully compelling for Catholic unity in comparison, since the Catholic Church is Canada is not distinct from the Catholic Church in Nigeria.

        To quote a dialog between Bryan Cross (Catholic) and Keith Mathison (Reformed Protestant), Cross shares:

        But how does he determine what is the Church? Being Reformed, he defines ‘Church’ as wherever the gospel is found, because the early Protestants defined the marks of the Church as including “the gospel,” where the gospel was determined by their own private interpretation of Scripture. So he claims that it is in the Church that the gospel is found, but he defines the Church in terms of the gospel. This is what we call a tautology. It is a form of circular reasoning that allows anyone to claim to be the Church and have the gospel. One can read the Bible and formulate one’s own understanding of the gospel, then make this “gospel” a necessary mark of the Church, and then say that it is in the Church that the gospel is found. Because one has defined the Church in terms of the gospel [as arrived at by one’s own interpretation of Scripture], telling us that the gospel is found “in the Church” tells us nothing other than “people who share my own interpretation of Scripture about what is the gospel are referred to by me as ‘the Church.’” This kind of circular reasoning allows falsehood to remain hidden.

        Personally, I find the Catholic case for unity and authority much more biblically compelling than the mess of personal opinion I find myself in. And the little bit of study into the first Christians hasn’t made it any easier. The theology of the early Church is uncomfortably foreign to my ears.

        A few articles that my brother-in-law floated my way recently have been especially challenging on this topic:

        How Quickly Catholic Heresy Took Over the Church (Immediately)

        Ligon Duncan’s “Did the Fathers Know the Gospel?”

        A Reply from a Romery Person

        And lastly a dialogue between Michael Horton (Reformed) and Bryan Cross (Catholic): Sola Scriptura Schism and Heresy, Authority

        I know this isn’t the forum for such continued dialogue, but I figured a bit of balance was due. Perhaps you can join me on the links above trying to wrestle through this mess, in Christ, in Truth, and Love. Especially in contrast to the theological abyss I’m currently faced with, Catholicism is especially tempting. Their theology is older than my great-grandparents for one thing. 😉

        1. The cry of “unity” and decrying “division” that is being sounded throughout “Christendom” (and I used that term advisedly) is a smokescreen to attempt to excuse blatant wrong-doing throughout and the consequent divisions over it.

          We are TOLD explicitly to have nothing to do with Christians who blatantly sin (see 1 Cor. 5:11). The Pope recently informed us that “division is shameful among those who name the name of Christ”. I wonder what he would make of Jesus’ words in Luke 12:51-53–“…Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, ffather against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law…” I thought Jesuits were supposed to be scholars–apparently not Bible scholars.

  15. James Macdonald is not the only one who has become wealthy by means of the Gospel. Personally I would not give him or the many others a plug nickel nor would I support anything to which they are affiliated. They are an offense to everything I understand and believe about following Jesus Christ. Godliness is used as a means for financial gain.

    These well known so called stars of Christianity are to most of us just a name on a book or a voice and face on a video. For the most part we know nothing about them! They sound good! They say some great things that are at times inspiring and biblically supported. They play on our sincere emotions and desires to advance the Kingdom of God. But what is most appealing is that they come across as ALIVE and ALL OUT FOR CHRIST. What devoted follower of Christ wouldn’t want to give thanks and support for such spirtual inspired servants of the Lord?

    Then we learn they live in big houses. Not 5000 sq feet but 15,000 and even 20,000 plus sq feet. They live in luxury with all that goes with that kind of lifestyle. They keep their income a secret as much as possible. CAN YOU IMAGINE preaching to a family man with a wife and two kids struggling week by week to survive on $40,000 a year. This animated spirit inspired servant of the Lord is telling you to give even more to further the Gospel and you ask yourself can we sacrifice even more BUT what you don’t know is that so called servant of the Lord has just purchased a brand new 2014 BMW and unbeknown to you sleeps at night in a $2 Million mansion. Yes thats right! 2 filthy million dollars that he got from guys like you and from widows and single parents and retirees living on fixed incomes!!! And there is more we don’t know about them and it gets worse.

    The most spiritual zealous religious devoted believers in Jesus day were Pharisees. They were surprised. They were shocked at what Jesus said to them and about them. What would Jesus say to our generation? Are we even remotely close to living and walking in the Spirit? Is Christ really the head of our local church. Have we replaced Christ for a James MacDonald or some other star pulpit performer? Have we replaced Christ with the church? Jesus will be our everything if we will by faith through the Holy Spirit give ourselves to Him – day by day and moment by moment. Search the scriptures, meditate on God’s word and ask for wisdom and discernment. Please do not settle for anything less than the Lord of Glory, the King of Kings, the Eternal Son of the Living God – our Saviour and our ONLY LORD!

    1. The above is a very good explanation of the problem. Thank you for this.

      I actually heard James say from the pulpit a few months ago, “we don’t need your prayers, we need your money.”

      I pray for discernment for people contradicting responses such as the above. God Bless!

    2. This past weekend, I was traveling through Kansas on my way to Colorado. I was in for a long drive and as I always do, I scanned the radio for Christian radio to listen. I came across a station somewhere between Salina, KS and Russell, KS and James McDonald was speaking on topics relating to end times. It was interesting and I was really into the message. I had never heard of him before, so when I got back home in Arkansas, I googled his name and came across this site and several others about the turmoil and controversies he is involved in. So for the past couple of hours I have been reading and began to realize exactly what Ken wrote above. You hit the nail on the head!!! What he was teaching was biblically sound, presented well, and very interesting, but I don’t know the man, nor have I ever heard of his church. It has become disturbingly too common we hear about evangelists that have lost their way because of money.
      I grew up in a christen household and my father was an Assemblies of God pastor for over 30 years until he felt the Holy Spirit move him in the direction of ministering and counseling pastors and missionaries in Nigeria and China. His time with the Assemblies of God ended and he followed what God had planted in his heart and that was to Nigeria and China. Mentoring and ministering to pastors/missionaries in underground churches and starting bible schools.
      He has told me several times over the years, and all of us have heard it too, but it is better to give with a cheerful heart. It has nothing to do with how much money we have or make. It’s about giving, blessing others, spreading God’s word, seeking him out in prayer and reading his word. I vividly remember days when my parents had no idea where the money was going to come to pay the electric bill, buy groceries, put gas in the one car we had, but God provided and I thank God every day for blessing me with faithful Christian parents, that never gave up on God and relied on him in the toughest of times to provide. I can tell you this, I have never lived in a home bigger than 1,800 sq ft. and there were five of us. To this day, as a 38 year old man, I still see my father giving to those around him. NO matter what it may be, he is a giver and truly enjoys ministering to people about Jesus Christ and I will forever love him and respect him for that and what his giving heart has taught me, my brother, and sister.
      God has a plan for all of us, and he wants us to be close to him. Trust in him, talk to him daily, ask for his guidance and to give us all clear understanding of what we are listening to and reading when it comes issues like these and Mr. McDonald.

  16. Watchman on The Wall January 17, 2014 — 11:55 am

    Thank You to The Elephants Debt for doing what the 25+ years of quiet resignations and not so quiet excommunications did not do. You have shed a halogen light on hidden facts and secrecy to the Flock along with exposing a lack of transparency.

    The spiritual deception that most would have never have had the chance to now established. Truth suppressed is the devils way.. Everything done in the light and done decently and in order is Gods Way..

    That Bob Arosen does not see a disqualifying problem with James is not the issue, it never was, and it never will be.

    That many have seen and continue to wake good and sufficient reason that elephants debt was formed and it is worthy to be thanked.

  17. Please leave this site up! God will bless you for the work you have done in exposing this great sin.

  18. Scott and Ryan,
    All I can say is WOW! Until yesterday I had no idea what had transpired at HBC and with James McDonald. My only knowledge of James until yesterday was a guest appearance at Elevation Church in 2012.

    In case you are not aware similar circumstances have transpired at Elevation. The parallelisms of of what has transpired at HBC and what is taking place at Elevation are incredible. Just a few examples:
    Steven Furtick was recently called out by the Media for his new $1.8 million 16,000 sq ft home. Elevation and Furtick claim that money from his books and speaking engagements paid for the house. But know one beside a Board of Overseers made up of other mega pastors. Furtick had the insight to not have Elders and answers to no one beside a lay board.
    Elevation recently secured a $50 million loan unbeknowst to attendees.
    Elevation Church leaders and Furtick claim that audited financials are available upon request but no one has ever been given them.

    Due to the number of unanswered questions I have about Elevation and Steven Furtick I had to insist that my family stop attending worship services,any other e-group meeting, or from volunteering. This has been difficult to say to least as my wife was 100% obedient even going so far as to sign a required confidentiality agreement for volunteering.

    SoI began a social media campaign to calling for Elevation Church to answer question about its finances and compensation to Steven Furtick and to make other aware of what is going on at Elevation. My campaign is gaining momentum as my story is now being picked up by local newspaper and tv.

    Your hard work and sacrifice will add credibility to my fight and allow me to have an incredible resource to reference and reflect upon.

    I hope that you will keep your site up regardless if you will no longer fight the fight.


    @Elevation Watch

    1. You need to listen to Fighting for the Faith podcast and specifically its frequent warnings about Furtick and his wolf game: —->

  19. THank you brothers for your site. It gave many the courage to leave HBC and the worship of James MacDonald.

  20. Scott & Ryan: Our sincere thanks for your efforts in establishing and maintaining this website and for enduring the criticism hurled your direction for bringing all to light. While you will not be adding anything new, I would strongly encourage you to keep the existing key content available as the information, validating documentation, and testimonials from former leadership remain relevant and invaluable to many. While some may believe all are now aware, as Bob Arosen asserts likely for the Chicago area, that is not the case for the plants where similar concerns and issues are still being uncovered and the connections revealed. The information contained here deserves to remain as long as the issues exist.

  21. A final thank you also to the former elders, staff members,
    lay leaders, and pastors listed on the Witness tab. Folks
    like Dave Corning, Rod Van Solkelma, Mike Mahoney,
    Jeff and Debbie Richardson etc. Respected people through
    and through – no doubt about it. These people really
    risked much by providing testimony about James MacDonald.
    They had the courage to give warning about the activities at HBC.

  22. Are there any other websites focusing on these problems with MacDonald and HBC? A “survivors” type blog perhaps?

  23. I agree this has been a last self-congratulating lap around the comment track here Alex, but that is to be expected. I’m sure they have not agreed with anything I’ve written, but to their credit Ryan and Scott have always posted every comment of mine.

    It is a wise decision to shut it down. I do not believe that there are many HBC members who are unaware of this site and the charges that were made. They have decided to stay, and rehashing old charges and events isn’t going to change anyone’s opinion.

    I know that most who actively read and comment on this site are of the opinion that there is no way that anyone with spiritual maturity and wisdom could possibly still attend Harvest, but there are thousands of us who have examined everything you’ve placed before us, and decided Harvest is where the Lord wants us to serve.

    While there is much on this site that has frustrated me, what has been most frustrating has been the assumption, mostly from commenters, that anyone who gave an alternative view was either an unbiblically educated spiritually immature moron, or on staff at Harvest. True to form, that happened again in this final string.

    I do not believe in the infallibility of James or HBC. I believe that if he isn’t God’s man, that will be apparent to all. However, I believe that James is God’s man, and If he is God’s man, no website was ever going to take him out.

    1. Hi Bob,

      I guess by that logic, you would believe that Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes are “God’s men” since they both seem quite secure in their positions. You see–that gets to the very heart of what is at issue here. James’ supporters say that the end justifies the means–“…so what if he’s a little greedy and materialistic–he gets results for the kingdom!” The only thing is, Christ has set a very high standard for personal integrity in the leaders of His Church–His Bride–and He frowns on those who bring reproach on Her. Selecting “what works” over “what is right” is often the way of the world, but aren’t we supposed to be different? Blind loyalty to anyone other than Jesus Christ is criticized on more than one occasion in the New Testament. For your own sake, Bob, I hope you can see this one day.

    2. Mr. Arosen~

      I am not sure how you formed your opinion about ‘most’ commenter’s on this site. One or two, maybe, however ‘most’ have not indicted you for staying, nor have they concluded that you are unbiblical, spiritually immature or a moron. In fact, many have shown empathy and commended you for your loyalty (which is an element of faithfulness). That some would question your loyalty, based on the evidence presented on TED, should not be viewed as an attack but rather as concern. As for asking whether a fellow commenter is on staff… what’s wrong with that? Understanding one another’s presuppositions is often times the beginning of a journey of reconciliation.

      I think what many would have wanted from you is to go beyond your feelings and scripturally define for us how our shared experience(s) and the conclusions we drew from them (and what we discerned from how scripture was being ‘used,’) were wrong. No ‘feeling’ is trustworthy, not even yours in the context of your loyalty.

      We believe that we have evaluated and acted according to scripture and have subsequently ‘run’ from those who would use Jesus Christ to uphold their own agenda, and the fallout that results (Romans 16:17-18, Matthew 7:15, 1 John 4:1, 2 John 1:10-11, John 7:24, Colossians 2:8). As Paul warns in Galatians 1:7, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” No one, not even a great preacher, such as Pastor James, has the right to change the message that God gave us. “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:9).

      For example, a believer who has read the activities of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:16-17 will immediately question any doctrine that denies the Trinity. We, you, are to judge all teaching (and by definition the teacher as well) by what the Scripture says.

      Finally, could you explain to us where you get the idea that if James isn’t God’s man that it would be evident to all? Could you show us Biblical precedence for that conclusion? Is it found in how Israel treated Jeremiah throughout his ministry, or how Israel crucified Christ? Is it found in King Saul where they knew him not to be God’s choice for them but wanted him anyways? Is it found in the Benny Hinn’s and the plethora of those like him that infest Christianity today? Is it found in the office of the Pope?

    3. @Bob Arosen,

      “…there are thousands of us who have examined everything you’ve placed before us, and decided Harvest is where the Lord wants us to serve.”
      ~ Bob Arosen


      “I believe that if he isn’t God’s man, that will be apparent to all.”
      ~Bob Arosen

      Interesting inconsistency Bob. In the first assertion you conclude that because some number believes otherwise than many others the truth of the matter is to be either unclear if rather not in line with what those “thousands” at HBC actually believe about James MacDonald and ecclesiology of HBC.

      In your second quoted assertion you take completely opposite approach. Here you are not OK with two or more different views about MacDonald and HBC and one of them being true as in the “thousands at HBC” assertion. Here you demand and assert a complete and universal “ALL” for the matter to be true, i.e. for James MacDonald to be the false and abusive pseudo teacher.

      This is clearly inconsistent and is a form of logical fallacy and as such it points to false and failed argumentation and dichotomous thinking. Make up your mind please for you are shifting your argumentation as it suits you in a vain attempt to eat your cake and have it on the coffee table to display all at the same time…

      Sapere aude

    4. “However, I believe that James is God’s man, and If he is God’s man, no website was ever going to take him out.”
      I heartily agree with you that James is God’s man! Man for the hour, indeed! To lead unaware and, yes, lacking discernment multitudes to apostasy and destruction. Harvest is on the broadest way possible already, isn’t it?
      If you can’t see all that….maybe start reading the Bible and pray for discernment.

    5. ” I believe that if he isn’t God’s man, that will be apparent to all.”
      Well… It is apparent to all who know their God and His ways! Just think… Is the pope God’s man? No! Does God allow him to stay for centuries? Your argument has nothing to do with biblical reality and the Lord’s ways of operation! Open your eyes!

    6. A self-congratulating lap. I dunno. I guess but I think that is a little sick. The Elephants Debt did have a direct impact on HBC’s finances. No doubt about it. Will James MacDonald feel the financial pain? No he just paid off the mortgage on his 2 million dollar Inverness mansion. Other senior and junior staff as well as the children’s / student ministries will see resource cuts. The giving is down significantly. The cash flow is definitely in the red since the monthly budgets are not being met. The 5G Campaign is a bust. Of 30 million pledged, only 12.5 million has been received after 2.5 years of a 3 year program. Hopefully Harvest did not already spend the 30 million dollars that was pledged but not received.

      Bob I think you misunderstand. The Elephants Debt site is not being removed. It is the fact that Scott & Ryan will not be actively contributing to it anymore. The site itself will remain in existence on the WWW for all to see. Think of it as a warning beacon to the uninformed.

    7. Christ Follower to the End January 27, 2014 — 11:26 pm

      Bob, just wondering how many hours a day (of paid Harvest time) you spend reading and commenting on this website. And do you really think that you are best qualified to tell TED that “it is a wise decision to shut it down?” We all know the leadership of Harvest is very anxious for this website to “go away” in hopes that the “problem” will just go away too. But regardless of whether or not TED shuts it down, I’m afraid it is just not that simple. God is not mocked and many of us take great comfort in knowing that one day James MacDonald (as well as the rest of us) will stand before Him and give an account. That is the day that the truth will be revealed and all wrongs will be made right.

      Bob, you said, “I do not believe that there are many HBC members who are unaware of this site and the charges that were made….yet they have decided to stay.” Sadly, many still within Harvest are NOT aware of this website because how would they know? Thankfully, I still hear from people regularly who have discovered TED and they decide NOT to stay once they know the truth.

      Bob, while I know that emotions can sometimes get the best of us, I wish you really understood the heartache that so many of us feel. Harvest was our home. We gave much of our time, our talents, and our treasure to further the Kingdom. To uncover the fact that our sacrificial giving was used so that James could live a life of luxury and to watch James use people for his personal gain is simply beyond belief. It is devastating to us. We feel duped. Our worlds have been shaken and it will take many months/years to fully move past it. But more than that, I just wish that you (and others like you) would stop for just a moment to simply examine the evidence presented here and to honestly give it fair consideration rather than to blindly defend it. If James is so “squeaky-clean” as you seem to think that he is, then why is it that he refuses to disclose to anyone (even his own elders) how much money he makes? Why in the world should that be a secret unless he has something to hide? And if he refuses to disclose information such as this to his elders, how can anyone think that he is somehow accountable to anyone for anything?

      Scott and Ryan, thanks for all your hard work in giving many of us a platform to warn those who are still blind to what is happening within Harvest. In His time and in His way, I know that all things will come to light. God bless you guys!

  24. Wow, what a small, rabid group of self-congratulatory James haters to the very end. You’re blocking contrary thoughts about a church you falsely malign for suppressing contrary opinion – and blinded by self-righteousness to the damage your distortions and deceptions are doing to children in the faith as far as Harvest ministries stretch. Your judgement will be great!

    Quick – hit delete and see if any one else has believed the lies and wants to congratulate you.

    1. Speaking of James and great judgment… You may want to read James 3:1 to see who actually will be judged under that. Who is under MEGA KRIMA. For this is not just about believers but about those who are teachers. Also, while you are at that it would help to understand that this also describes teachers who proclaimed scam artist, ruthless shaman of greed who robbed hundreds of thousands of poor people in the name of “God” and who denies Triune God – TD Jakes as orthodox “Christian”…. Something your James will be mainly remembered for.

      Sapere aude

    2. Alex: sorry but we are not a small group. We are in the tens of thousands (likely many more) all across North America and beyond. It is obvious that you have never had a confrontation with James MacDonald or you would not be so quick to judge and draw conclusions. When you have had such an experience, then you will have the right to comment. I encourage you to be open-minded and let the Holy Spirit teach you. Bob Peckham

    3. Alex,

      First of all, it is ridiculous for you to attempt to blame the messenger for the bad news of James MacDonald’s shameful conduct. He alone is responsible for disillusioning “children in the faith”. Calling badly-behaved leadership out, is a Bible-mandated responsibility for Christians–if you knew your Bible better, you would know that. “James-haters”? No one here hates James MacDonald–I think I speak for most here in saying that we are saddened that such an obviously gifted person, has bowed before the god, Mammon. It is laughable that you attempt to divert blame for the situation onto those who express their concern. YOUR bitter tirade is an exercise in self-righteousness. Wake up! You apparently have much in common with those in the church of Laodicea.

      1. I agree that James MacDonald is not a man to be hated. He is a man to be pitied.

    4. Hey Alex~
      Your hypocritical vitriol aside, there is STRONG biblical precedent for recommending faithful and useful leaders as well as warning against leaders whose teaching is poor, aberrant or even heretical. The Apostle Paul recommended Phoebe (Romans 16:1), Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus (1 Corinthians 16:17-18) and Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21) just to name a few. On the flip side, in 2 Timothy 2:16-17, Hymenaeus and Philetus are specifically named as false teachers. The point is that Paul was very concerned to ensure that the local churches received a steady diet of orthodox preaching and so he took pains to recommend good teachers and also to warn against poor / false teachers.

      I’m sure that most would have listened to a reasoned argument against the evidence presented on this WEB site. Your argument by ad hominem, actually serves to uphold the veracity of the claims given forth on TED. Not sure whether a thank you is in order?

  25. Please leave your site up! At least for people to read these former comments and articles you have written. I don’t think there is anything for you to repent of. You did the right thing. It was reassuring for me to read that others thought the same way I did, since people are not allowed to talk about these kinds of things with others at the church. Thank you.

  26. Scott and Ryan,

    HBC leadership is giddy about the end of TED. Sadly, they are more moved about the ending of a website than they are about the many members and relationships that have ended. The situation is a bit ironic, in that many who remain at HBC fear the loss of relationship, those of us who have left mourn our relationships with those we served and worshiped and grew in our faith… and the leadership of Harvest consider those lives and relationships as merely a pawn in a power play and the relationships are disposable from unknown attenders/tithers to elders to pastors.

    Hopefully, those who will read the history and documentation will also see the lack of accountability and the errant doctrines and lack of exegesis of the Bible and the resultant hurt and broken relationships and spiritual abuse.

    Thank you for your time and work and sacrifice. BSI and TED have served to inform and dialogue and process decisions and heal (some in part).

    1. It would be a grave mistake on the part of MacDonald and Harvest to think that just because the website is going inactive that they are out of the woods and have nothing to fear. The primary purpose of this website as I see it was to expose the sin going on at HBC and to call James to repentance. I don’t think this has genuinely happened on his part which, in my opinion, makes it much more dangerous as it relates to James/HBC. When sin is exposed and nothing is done about it, no real repentance is expressed, then they are simply forcing God to deal with them more strongly. Perhaps when they least expect it, God will move and bring it to an end.

      Scott/Ryan, thank you for your courage and obedience. You did what God directed you to do and I deeply appreciate that. God’s richest blessing on you both.

  27. yes, please do not delete your website.

  28. To Scott and Ryan,

    I can only express my gratitude for the both of you for having the courage and the the conviction to do what was right and exposing a very dark corner in American Evangelicalism. Since its inception in September of 2012, the whirlwind of information to the unwary masses was a bit overwhelming. For some of us who saw the machinery from the inside, almost none of the new revelations to the public was surprising. God is truly honored when sin is exposed and the call to repentance is a daily occurrence.

    When I left in January of 2012, I only told a trusted few why I left. Realistically, I checked out two-and-half years before I physically left. I saw the compromises in doctrine, teaching, ministry, refusal to call out sin, refusal to call men and women to die daily and suffer like our good Lord and Savior. Much of what I saw was the church wedding itself with the world and not separating itself as God calls us to. The Elephant Room 2 for me was the final straw. It broke my heart to see a pastor that I once trusted giving the right hand of fellowship to an infamous heretic with no guilt or shame.

    Before your website went live, I was already aware of the massive discrepancies with HBC’s financial records. To have shared that publicly would have put certain parties that I knew in harm’s way. You could understand my huge relief when those records were made public. But again, the financial problems of the church is only a symptom of a greater issue.

    The issue is that the well that many of the HBC congregants are drinking from is poisoned. The elders are not called to account from many of their unbiblical decisions and their senior pastor is no longer biblically qualified to lead the church due to his ungodly and unrepentant public behavior. Both have effectively brainwashed the congregants into believing that they are not guilty of such behavior. Every time the senior pastor and the elders tried to conceal their discretions, God found a way to expose them through your website and other websites like it that have sprung up since. To this day, many of those who try to defend HBC’s actions can easily be refused biblically and with solid evidence to back the much of the claims found here and on other websites.

    I can say personally that I have had many sleepless nights due to this. HBC was once my home and my family. I have the fortune that the majority of my closest friends have left HBC and are currently attending God-honoring, Bible-teaching churches. However, I have also had to endure soft persecution from those who still attend HBC because of my vocal disapproval of HBC, their methodologies and some of their ministry tactics. Most of my harsh critiques have been pointed directly at the elders and the senior pastor and never at the congregants. I pray that one day that the right thing will be done at HBC and they can reclaim their status as a truly biblically functioning church.

    Finally, my appeal to those who still attend HBC:
    Men like Scott, Ryan and myself only have your best interest in mind. We only want to protect you from ravenous wolves whose only desire is to prey upon and use you to their ends. Judgment begins in the house of God. We are duty-bound to call out sin and to expose error, because God demands it. How will you endure if you are not willing to demand that your leaders step down and do the right thing? How will you endure the upcoming intolerance and persecution of Christianity found in human secularism and Islam that threaten to knock upon our church doors and your homes?

    The ball is in your court, HBC ladies and gentlemen. Choose who you serve: God or men?

    Thank you for reading.

    Jeff Collazo <
    (ex-HBC member, attended September 2001-January 2012)

  29. Good guys need to move on and let go the this fixation…..people need to heal on both sides.

    1. And do you work for HBC too, JK?

  30. It’s been a great service to bring into the light, that which was hidden in the dark!!! It breaks my heart to see the downfall of a Pastor I once cherished! I delighted in his sermons on Walk In The Word long before I joined the church. His excitement for and in the Lord seemed truly genuine. I loved joining a church who truly seemed to delight in the Lord as I did. Many friendships were made. I am broken hearted not only for Pastor James but for all the lambs in the flock. So many are being hurt by what is going on. It doesn’t take much for any of us to get puffed up and start taking credit for what God started and the miracles He preformed. But He is a jealous God and doesn’t like us stealing His Glory. Once Satan has us take our eyes off the Lord and changes our focus the downward spiral begins. We have to humble ourselves and repent. I am so glad when the Lord show me a time when I was being greatly used by Him when I first came to Christ. So many doors were open, so many were coming to Christ.. But then I started receiving the praise from to many others regarding the ministry instead of remembering it was ALL GOD AND NOT ME. It didn’t take long before that ministry dried up and was no more. So glad I was able to run to my Daddy, my Father, my Lord and my God and repent!! And I was back in His Loving arms!! That is my prayer for Pastor James. And that there would be a great time of repentance and healing at HBC!! That the focus would be back to their First Love!! The Lord Jesus Christ!! And under His Leadership!! Thank-you for your faithfulness in trying to bring The Light to expose the darkness!!
    God Bless You All!!!!

  31. HBC is hiring if anyone is interested…and highly qualified:

  32. I wish you guys the best! You did something very courageous. Whether this effort
    is something more that a speed bump to HBC we will see. Exposing spiritual abuse and
    misuse of church funds is something to be commended. At least it is warning to others…

    God bless you.

  33. God bless you and keep you; you did an outstanding job.

  34. Thank you for the personal sacrifices you, and the others who told their stories, have made. It has been a long road for our family, so I can imagine the toll it has taken on yours. As an encouragement, your quest for the Truth enabled us to do likewise. This lead to us leaving HBC. Though we miss our friends, we are very blessed by the church we now call home. God is truly good and faithful. We are being fed, we look to be a blessing to a new body, and we give Jesus the glory. Thank you for your part.

  35. Dear friends, I understand your fatigue. You have indeed fought a good and just battle against a formidable foe. However, rest assured MacDonald is far from giving up his kingdom.
    Recently, I watched him on TV lay out some of his plans for Harvest Bible Fellowship in Canada and it is terrifying. I have refused to make any comments about him to people up here because they treat me as though I have spoken out against God. The Christians here can’t wait for him to come “home”. Please pray that God will raise up men like yourselves who will stand up against MacDonald and keep him from returning to Canada. Thank You!
    I personally will always be grateful for your efforts and will continue to pray for you.
    God Bless!

    1. God bless you all! We continue to pray, remember Romans 15:13, ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope’.
      Bob, there are many here in Canada who have been observing the status of the Canadian churches. What you have said about James coming back is not known to the masses. Can you direct us to this television program or link, so that we can have a ‘heads up’?
      You are not alone in your concerns. We are also aware of his following, the ‘Act like Men’ conference confirmed it.

      1. Hi Marie….
        I was came across a program on 100 Huntley St./Crossroads and James was being “interviewed” by the young pastor of the Oakville Harvest Bible Chapel and they were gushing over all the plans James has for Canada – Western Canada in particular. James did a brief emotional (for James) monologue about his “burden” for his homeland. He mentioned how he expected to partner with Crossroads to bring the message of HBF to Canadians by way of this great Christian television network.
        I have known the Macdonald family since James was a teenager and his younger brother, Todd, is still a good buddy of my son.
        In the very early days of HBC, James spared no expense in legal and moving fees to bring my wife and I to Rolling Meadows to work on the Harvest staff. However, he fired me on the spot when I challenged his non-Biblical fund raising methods….”I know what God wants you to give and I’m going to tell you what it is!”
        I hope some of my ramblings have been helpful. Let me know if I can be of further help.

        God bless,

        1. Thank you Bob, I believe this might be the episode, here is the link below…

        2. That’s the one Marie! Thanks so much for taking the time to look it up!
          One of the things I have noticed lately is James’ practice of wearing military-style fatigue clothing. When that carries over to his subordinates, watch out!
          Thanks again for your research!
          London, Ontario

      2. This is a link to the video –

        The segments for Mr. MacDonald run from 2:00 to 11:46.

        1. Horrifying vision for Canada and the world, indeed! I would like anyone, please, to show me where we are mandated in the New Testament to build even 1 church???? And to build 1000 churches??? What a monument to a MAN! Am I the only one who sees something very wrong here? That is all equivalent to preparing the infrastructure for the Antichrist! Read your Bibles, save your money to help the poor and orphans as that is what we are commanded by the Lord to do. Do what the Lord ask you to do, and HE will build HIS CHURCH. That is HIS job. Wake up Harvest! High time to wake up; the day of the Lord is near. We will be ALL judged by HIS word and HIS WORD only. Leave James alone. Let him sleep unto death. Move on, get saved, get closer to HIM, get to know Him, and the Lord will give you wisdom and discernment if you ask Him for it.

    2. We live in Brantford Ontario where the Harvest kingdom has decided to build a castle. I can tell you now that it is deeply dividing this community. Several families left our local church to start this local extravaganza. I have since learned of other churches having long time members leave to join the new corporation. What a terrible state our evangelical churches are in , and Harvest is going to rescue us?. Please pray for the small churches that are true to Gods word ,that they will see genuine growth and His spirit poured out on them.Please pray for me as I struggle to shed the bitterness this experience has brought in my own walk in Christ.

      1. Karl…it is interesting that Brantford and Central Baptist Church are both home to Rick Donald – MacDonald’s right-hand man, and Rick’s parents. Hmmm.
        n.b.- I came from both as well.

  36. Again, I echo the sentiments of the others who have commented here and commend you for all your hard work, time and expense in bringing the truth to light. While James MacDonald appears to have won for now, God is NOT mocked and He has his own way of dealing with unworthy leaders and those who would lead the Church astray. We are in a time of great apostasy but I doubt that God, the Father is saying to Himself, “They certainly surprise me in their arrogance, ingratitude and faithlessness–just WHAT am I going to do now!” The sovereignty of God is just that. He will exact justice from one end of the earth to the other. The King is coming and His reward is with Him!

    1. Amen!! I agree with all job36:27 said. I also commend and thank you for your willingness and courage to be the voice of truth. “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart.: 1 Cor 4:5

    2. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”
      ~ Ephesians 5:6-11 ESV


      Indeed, we do live in times of great apostasy and deep, deep deception that can run camouflaged as light for decades even to the eyes of discerning but eventually they will see it for what it is. We have seen this here on so many levels and primarily by embracing a modalist heretic denying Triune God and shameless shaman of greed TD Jakes as an “Christian” and stamping him as orthodox… Same pattern is repeated now by known scholar and radio personality Dr.Michael Brown supposedly in “discernment ministry” who has embraced Benny Hinn as “Christian” and is doing a series of “wonderful TV shows” with Benny Hinn on Hinn”s TV program… More:

  37. Thank you for all of your hard work. I came to faith later in life and joined Harvest. After experiencing spiritual abuse from this institution I found it very difficult to trust any other church. I felt that I was all alone or maybe it was just me so I stopped going to church. Thanks to this website I have realized that I was not alone. God bless.

  38. Thank you for your work and and all that trumpeting, rumbling, roaring, chirping, squeaking, and ear flapping that you took from the wild elephant and his confused calves.
    I personally think this is premature move because while elephant is staying out in the heart of the jungle he surely will emerge again in the open running wild and trashing.
    Patience please patience for your voice is needed in this jungle,

  39. Thank you for you blog. I was saved through HBC Naperville and for several years grew in faith. I would occasionally drive up to Big Harvest to check out the famed Pastor James. Having come to faith as a middle age single women in the science field I have a skeptic’s nature. While this blog did not cause my concern for Harvest it did open my eyes to some thing. I had been growing concerned about the constant turnover at my Harvest and the lack of transparency. Asking questions and being told it was not my concern. Everything seem to be a secret. The constant begging for money was a downer in the most imaginable form. I struggling with trying to pay bills and get out of debt and not seeing family to hear that James gambles. After several years of constantly increasing my giving to finally tithing then this all breaks out. I had no family in the area and spend most holidays alone. I decided instead to honor my aging parents instead of tithing to my rich church. I now use Gods money to visit them . Give to Next.. Come build basketball courts for spoil kids from Naperville. I was growing concerned about the arrogance I picked up from James in RM and my Harvest. We are in authority come ask us for advise.. Between that and the increasing discontent about the show like quality of the place I finally no longer attend. At what cost though? I for one no longer trust Pastors and leadership in general. They are after there own agenda. Discouraged…. thats what I am..I do know that one should go to church it should be with a critical mind that you have to discern if the teaching is according to Gods word or not. Unfortunately, the last time I went to RM I would say it was not.

    May God have mercy on the American church..

    1. Dear Sue … Over the past year and half, I have encountered many, many people who have been discouraged by this mess. Truth be told, I, too, have wrestled with discouragement. When I look at the state of the North American church today, I cringe at much of what I see. But if there is anything that I could say to you in the midst of this season, it would be this: never forget that God is close to the broken-hearted. If the Sermon on the Mount is to mean anything, it must mean that! God has a special place for those who are bleeding out. So lean into Him in this season and know that He will guide you if you are willing to follow. May the Lord bless you and your parents.

      P.S. For whatever its worth, when you enter your next church, please know that the subject of tithing isn’t really taught in the New Testament. It’s a carry over from the Old Testament that many churches still lean into when they’re running short on funds.

      1. Do not be discouraged, God is still on His throne; He’s just not present in most American churches!

  40. Thank you, gentlemen. We went through several years of deep confusion concerning what we experienced at Harvest (way back in the Rolling Meadows High School auditorium days) before we saw that we weren’t the only ones also “train-wrecked” by some of the things we witnessed, up close. I honestly had given up hope that anything or anyone would bring the truth into the light. These are painful days for the true church of our Lord and it takes men and women who care more what God thinks than what man thinks to stand firm for His Word and for His high standards for His church leaders in particular. You’ve brought the issues to light with gentleness, humility and genuine concern for Christ and His followers. God’s blessings to you all and to your families.

  41. Thank you for bringing to our attention what is happening at Harvest. Many eyes have been opened. It saddens me that James has not repented but God is aware and in control and will not let bad behavior continue. God bless!

  42. As hard as it has been for you, I want to commend you being willing to take on the systemic evil of these supposed “Christian leadership structures” that, unfortunately, appears endemic in the Western and Western-influenced church. With my own interactions with James on my blog some years ago, one might reasonably suggest a diagnosis of NPD — if one was qualified to do so, of course. 🙂

  43. paulspassingthoughts January 9, 2014 — 12:37 pm

    Are you going to leave the site up?

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