And the Number Shall Be Five

Yesterday morning, James Sherwood MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel posted two new documents addressing and/or defending their right to sue The Elephants Debt.  Now, to get us started on this morning’s exercise, we’d like for you to look at the number of people listed on the lawsuit that they have filed.

Pretty simple, right?  There are exactly five defendants listed: Ryan Michael Mahoney, Melinda Mahoney, Scott William Bryant, Sarah Bryant and Julie Stern Roys.

So here’s the question.  Why is it that every time James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel elect to talk about this lawsuit in public, they elect to talk about only three defendants?

Consider if you will the October 2018 Elder Update published by Harvest Bible Chapel.  In the opening paragraph, the Elders write:

In a specially called meeting on September 29, the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel carefully considered our biblical options related to three individuals, who have long been outside of our church. Our goal was to end their prolonged and divisive effort to undermine the Elder governance of our church and to discredit our primary leaders. We have chosen to accomplish that by filing a civil suit in Cook County.

Of course, the problem here is that MacDonald and Harvest are not only suing three individuals.  They are, in fact, suing five individuals, including our respective wives.

Now one might be tempted to think that this was a mere errant stroke of the keys, but curiously enough, this same issue occurs in the op-ed piece that was written by James Sherwood MacDonald and published by Christianity Today on the 2nd of November 2018.  In that piece, MacDonald begins by asking the following rhetorical question:

What could possibly possess a Bible church to file a lawsuit against
three outspoken critics of their ministry?

This, of course, brings us to the most recent two documents that  MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel have posted.  The first document, which is the December 2018 Elder Update, fails to mention any specifics with regards the number of defendants.  But the second document, entitled “Answers to Two Media Questions,” again addresses only three defendants:  the two authors of TED (now helpfully described as “attack bloggers”) and Julie Roys.

We are truly perplexed.  Why do James Sherwood MacDonald and the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel keep talking about three defendants when there are in fact five?

Could it be that James Sherwood MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel are embarrassed by the fact that they are suing the wives of the authors who wrote The Elephant’s Debt.  Alternatively, might they know that there is no biblical and/or theological justification for suing the spouses of those with whom you are in legal dispute?

Certainly, we are in no position to speak to the motivations as to why James Sherwood MacDonald and the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel keep talking about suing three people.  But we are in a position to ask questions.  So, as is our standard practice, here are two questions for you to consider:

  1. Why do James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel seem adverse to openly acknowledging the fact that they are suing our wives?

  2. In the “Harvest Elder Letters” document (alternatively titled “Final Appeal from Elders” posted on the HBC website, MacDonald and the Elders state: “Multiple appeals have been made to each defendant.”  Curiously, they only post two emails that were sent to three parties: Ryan Mahoney, Scott Bryant and Julie Roys.  Why were the alleged appeals to our wives and co-defendants not published? 


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