An Open Letter to James MacDonald and the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel

Dear James MacDonald and Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel:

Last night, on the 7th of January, you announced to the congregation and to the broader, watching evangelical community that you intended to drop the lawsuit that you have collectively brought against Julie Roys, the authors of this blog and the authors’ wives.   In that statement, you said:

“We remain willing to meet with the defendants for a face-to-face resolution of grievances, and we covet [the congregations’] prayers.”

Please allow us to begin by stating that we are relieved that you may be returning to a path of wisdom as opposed to pursuing a path of folly by dropping this lawsuit that you filed against the five defendants in this case.  This is a good and necessary first step towards your stated goal of a “face-to-face resolution of grievances.”

However, as you, James, have so often taught in the past, resolution and reconciliation means far more than merely offering words.  It requires concrete acts of repentance that demonstrate the fruit of the spirit and the sincerity of the words beings offered.  To that end, we would like to suggest a small series of public – not private – acts that you could take that would genuinely help move your audience to honestly reassess your character and motivations.

  1. Contact your friends at Christianity Today and secure space in their upcoming publication for at least one more op-ed.  In this op-ed, you will publicly confess to the fact that you consistently lied to your congregation, regularly asserting that you were suing three defendants.  You need to further admit that at every opportunity you had to speak about this lawsuit publicly, you failed to acknowledge that you had sued Sarah Bryant and Melinda Mahoney, our two respective wives.  Setting aside, for a moment, whether you were on “biblical” grounds to sue us for what we had written, you know as well as we do that you had neither the “biblical” nor the legal grounds to sue these women.  Your collective decision as the elders and pastor of this church to include these two women in the lawsuit testifies to only one thing: you sought to bring fear and chaos into our families in the hopes of silencing your critics.  And neither the Bible nor the law allows you to use people in this manner.  So you will apologize for suing them, for lying to your congregation repeatedly and for lying to the broader evangelical community. 
  2. In the same op-ed that we have encouraged you to write above, you will admit that you have lied about three of the defendants in this lawsuit.  Julie Roys has outlined for you her particular concerns which you can read about on her blog.  As for the authors of this blog, you have lied about us in different ways. In the complaint you filed in Cook County court, you have publicly asserted that Scott Bryant became “divisive after being declined a teaching opportunity that he repeatedly pursued.”  As you well know, Scott never pursued an official position at Harvest as he was gainfully employed in a field he loved.  As to Ryan Mahoney, your public statements are even more egregious.  You have stated that Ryan was “disciplined on three separate occasions while he was a teacher at Harvest Christian Academy for negating James S. MacDonald’s sermons.”  Moreover, you stated that in 2010, these disciplinary actions “resulted in the decision not to renew his teaching contract, at which time he immediately ceased church attendance and began circulating false and discrediting information” about MacDonald.   First, Ryan Mahoney was never disciplined for any reason at any time during his four year tenure at Harvest Christian Academy (HCA).  Second, Ryan and his family left HBC in the spring of 2010 very quietly and continued to teach at HCA the following year while attending other local churches in the area.  It was your decision to require that all teachers become members of HBC in order to remain employed by the school that forced the Mahoney family to reject your two separate contract offers in 2011.  So here is what you need to do.  You need to admit that you lied about these matters and apologize to all three defendants; and you need to mail a unadulterated copy of Ryan Mahoney’s employment file from HCA to his attorney’s office by the end of January 2019. 
  3. You need to recognize the fact that you have cost five defendants time, money and consternation.  In addition to that, we have been forced to reach out to a larger audience asking them to help us as we sought to pay our legal bills during this unnecessarily damaging lawsuit.  Therefore, you will need to publicly announce that you are going to pay our legal fees for any and all bills pertaining to this suit (and to the Allstate coverage suit) that we submit to you; and that this payment will be rendered in full within 30 days of receiving each bill that is sent to you.  The funds that you reimburse us will be used to repay our generous donors who stood beside us throughout this affair.

As we said above, this is a reasonable first step in the process of beginning to prove your collective sincerity as you seek to once again reassure your congregation that you desire a “resolution of grievances.”  This should not, however, be read as an exhaustive list.  But barring these public acts of contrition, please understand that your words will not be received as anything other than another cynical ploy to manage your public image.

Sincerely,
   Scott Bryant
   Ryan Mahoney

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125 Responses to An Open Letter to James MacDonald and the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel

  1. Joe D says:

    I totally understand that for many people, a lot of this does not make sense. They don’t have (or want?) the full picture.

    But when you come to realize that Harvest is nothing more to the insiders than an interstate money-making “organization” gussied up in a gross and disgusting way pretending to be a normal church, all of this, everything, makes perfect sense.

    But here’s the thing, and I don’t think that anyone has touched on this yet… many think MacDonald was The Consigliere during the peak of its syndicate years, he was not. He can barely string a sentence together without the help of a Moody intern or two ghost-writing his schtick. He’s always been the fool in the barely-tied bathrobe and slippers sputtering incoherencies and chomping on his cigar while waddling down to get his newspaper down at the curb every day. He was the tool. The fool. The clown that people pay weekly to see dribble on himself and berate some poor schmuck who happened to cross his path that week. Play the charlatan and fool — at the same time. Not easy, but let’s be honest, he nails it. Crushes it. Yet, who knew it would pay $$$ so insanely well — for so many years?! Go figure. Why import and sell smack or crack when you have a tool that can print it faster than you can say “You are loved.”

    No, the *real* Consigliere, for nearly a decade and a half, the defacto boss of bosses, the fixer and cleaner all in one, is, and has *always* been…. Fred Adams.

    Want to know where all of the financial skeletons are buried?, How the money was expertly shuffled among the various monied enterprises?, How much debt Harvest *really* has? Who was paid to shut their mouth and how much?, How many MILLIONS the filthy nepotistic MacDonald family had enriched and gorged themselves on? Ask Fred Adams.

    But good luck with that. Freddie ain’t yapping. Freddie wasn’t showing the books to nobody who ain’t somebody. Family secrets stay, well, in the family…

    Meyer Lansky would have been proud to have a Fred Adams. But methinks Freddie would tell ‘ol Meyer that MacDonald is a much better earner.

    Or, at least he was…

  2. Jason says:

    I attended harvest in the past, then moved to Wisconsin and attended a harvest church plant, but have since moved again and Have not attended a harvest church for several years. I have first came across your sight some time ago and have checked in every so often.

    However, at what point is this website bring any benefit or carrying on on wisdom. The authors have said what they felt, have had their voices heard, and have brought to light issues that should have been. It does now seem that the authors only continue for the sake of being agitation to harvest or to bring some vendication and satisfication to themselves.

    I think the authors were very much needed and were right to make their concerns public. At this point, I think this concerns have been heard and it’s time to move on. I do not think their is wisdom in continuing. I know longer see how God is being glorified through this or his church being benefited.

    Thank you for what you have brought to light to this point, but I will keep harvest and pastor James in my prayers but i feel it is time to move on:

    • Jenny Preacher says:

      In case you haven’t noticed most of the comments are from people not attached to the blog. As for other posts, that was regarding the suit and the status of the suit. It’s a little early to be saying things like this, Jason.

  3. Still recovering says:

    After something that happened to me at my own church this past Sunday, just when I thought I found a place to serve and worship that was genuine, I have had to redefine my definition of christian or christ follower(i intentially used small letters). christians or christ followers are people who are so concerned about other people’s salavation that they have lost sight of their salvation. They are weak minded, judgemental cowards hell bent on hurting others to take everyones eyes off their own depravity and put the focus on destroying others so that they can feel a very false sense of holiness without regard for the long term consequesces of their actions!

    With recovery starting over…

  4. James Engleman says:

    I encourage everyone.

    Disregard anonimity. Stand publically for Christ. Call out schemes and deception in the Church. Speak the truth in love. Protect the vunerable from abuse enabling leadership.

    The author of deception will turn and run.. Christ has already won the battle. But boldness and obedience are required from the body.

    Fear is not of The Spirit.

    It is finished! It is finished! It is finished!

  5. xwing says:

    This is a great balanced article by john piper about mark driscol. I think much of it applies to this situation. And of course lessons we can learn.

    https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/do-you-regret-partnering-with-mark-driscoll

  6. DEBRA FRAKER says:

    Harvest Bible Chapel, Davenport, IA just announced their new name this past weekend. Coram Deo Bible Church. In Pastor Rob Willey’s sermon he said they no longer wish to be associated with the founder or the church in Chicago. He indicated that to be true especially because of recent events. He did not use Macdonald’s name or specify anything other than making it clear, we have nothing to do with him or his church. Rob’s sermon is online under http://www.harvestdavenport.org. I am excited to see what other changes God has for this church now that it is out from under MacDonald’s reach.

    • DW says:

      It’s about time. They had known for a long time how bad MacDonald was and still chose to be a part of and give to the fellowship until mid 2017.

      • Debra Fraker says:

        I have been keeping my distance, and watching what was happening there. I was discouraged that in their Alive and Free program they were using sermons by Mark Driscoll. So….it will remain to be seen about that change.

  7. Jenny Preacher says:

    I personally, am uncertain as to what I should do here. I just became an official member of Harvest a few months ago. I’ve been attending for over a year now. I want to leave but also I don’t. I definitely don’t want to tell anyone. I’d stay in my small group of course but I’ve been recently visiting different churches.

    • laurideland1751 says:

      Jump! You won’t regret it. I did. I couldn’t bring myself to attend service for a few weeks, then I went to another church for a couple weekends, and I knew I had to leave Harvest because I felt joy again that I havn’t felt in a long while. And you SHOULD talk about it. That is one of the main problems. No one wants to talk about it. No one will bring up “the elephant in the room” at small group. And that is wrong. I made the decision to leave this church, and I was honest as to why. If you do decide to go, let your small group leader know why. I am sure there are small group leaders, staff, worship leaders, etc. that are feeling the same way….they just don’t know “how” to leave. Well, just leave.
      I was attending HBC for six years. There was obviously alot going on when I first started attending, but I never looked into it. I should have.
      I do not regret my decision. I just know in my heart that I could not be apart of that. There is so much to say about why, but one of the main things for me is how they have treated so many people….
      I know some of the people that have been burned so bad, and it is awful. It is just downright mean how these people were treated.
      And reading about James and how he treats former elders, shooting pellet guns at elders wives pictures, stabbing a picture of a former elder with a knife. It looks like he tries to intimidate his men to not cross him.
      And for the woman earlier who posted about how upset she was that her atheist son who googled HBC after attending a Christmas service. Well, I can sympathize with you for wanting your son to come to Christ. My son is an atheist as well, but my feelings are different. I am grateful that this is getting exposed, I want the truth.
      I would have told my son that Jesus is not this, Jesus is Love, and unfortunately Jesus would be ashamed of what is going on in this church.

      • Jenny Preacher says:

        Do you think they would kick me out of my small group?

        • xwing says:

          They might. But if people are true friends they will maintain the friendship with you.

          What I often see with seeker friendly churches like harvest is that it is the only church that people know. Is a great thing that God uses churches like harvest to help people to come to know Christ. But there are healthy church situations. Make sure to choose a church which has small groups.

          Also is a great article which talks about Christian freedom. May not 100% agree with everything it says but is a very different perspective than what you will here in churches like harvest.

          http://www.barnabasministry.com/recovery-leaving.html

          Everything at churches liken like harvest is geared towards high pressure and high commitment. You are taught that your church is like a family and is almost implied that you dont leave. You work out issues.

          If you do leave people take it very personally and you are almost cut off. Not healthy or christ like.

        • laurideland1751 says:

          No. You will still be able to attend. I just made the choice to leave. My small group leaders are wonderful ladies who love the Lord, and I am thankful for them. They are not the reason why I decided to leave.

  8. Tom T says:

    I will NEVER forget going to church with my wife on an Easter Sunday and Jimmy MacDonald preaching about tithing!!!!!! I was stunned. No talk about the glorious resurrection just why we aren’t tithing enough. After that I told my wife I cannot take this man seriously. She continues attending Harvest despite all this scandal and justifies it by saying he is a gifted pastor. I’ve attended sporadically since then but he is the same. Loud, money demanding, never blaming himself for anything and thrusting his sons, who lack any preaching skills (Luke is frequently using sermons that invovle food, reflecting his weaknesses for gluttony) onto the congregation. You will not see the cross at Harvest but their Vertical Logo, which of course is more important to them than the cross — the very symbol of Christianity versus the Vertical Church which is about MacDonaldism. A new religion. Just my opinion….so that I too do not get sued by Harvest.

    • Jenny Preacher says:

      Tom,

      Was that sermon last year at the Easter service? I’m only asking because I wasn’t there. Just wondering because I remember my small group talking about some sort of dissatisfaction with the Easter service and can’t remember if it was because of the subject of tithing.

  9. Christiana Emmert says:

    “Christians must hold other Christians accountable”. Your quote, your way, your articles for 8 years.
    But may I try for one moment to tell you about another way Christians must hold other Christians accountable?
    I have attended Harvest Bible Chapel for 8 years.
    Of greatest importance to me is that all those who are in positions to influence the opinions and actions of others must do so responsibly and Biblically. Jesus said,”…but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)
    I am the first believing Christian in my family. It was my fervent prayer that my unsaved son would attend a Christmas service at Harvest and listen to Pastor James message about salvation. And so my son came to Church this year. But during a conversation a few days later, he told me he had googled “James McDonald” and discovered Ms. Roys’ articles. It was then for the first time that I read all that another Christian had written about Pastor James and Harvest. Needless to say, the remainder of my conversation with my son was not focused on God or on my son’s need for Jesus. Before hugging me good-bye and flying home, my son said, “If that’s how Christians treat each other, I don’t want that. I already have enough drama and stress in my life and don’t need any more!” He is a millennial and an atheist and extremely critical of “The Church”, or as we Christians would say, “the body of Christ”.

    And now I have just read most of your articles on “The Elephant’s Debt”.

    I read how concerned you are that Churches, Pastors and Elders use THE correct Biblical principles regarding money management; use THE correct Biblical principles regarding Church Elders retention and dismissal; use THE correct Biblical principles regarding Pastors’ earthly treasures and salaries; use THE correct Biblical principles regarding Church plants, use THE correct Biblical principles regarding the congregations tithes and offerings; use THE correct Biblical principles regarding the reputations of Church’s undercover informants and of you and your wives; use THE correct Biblical principles regarding the use of the “one-way-solution-which-fixes-all-Church-problems” which is firing the Pastor and every Elder until…? ; use THE correct Biblical principles regarding paying legal costs of those who can only be silenced by worldly measures; and use THE correct Biblical principles regarding the soiled reputations and wasted money of everyone with the slightest legal attachment to this mess.
    HOWEVER,
    Do not even think about ANY Biblical principles at all when there might be a woman of faith and hope in the salvation of her adult, millennial, atheist son who has begrudgingly come to Church with her this Christmas. And do not think about ANY Biblical principles at all when almost every sin in the New Testament can be found on all the numerous bloggings, websites, twitters and tweets written by “Christ followers” over 8 very long years.

    When Christians act like ‘the world’, the words of those who are in the world are difficult to argue against: “If that’s how Christians treat each other, I don’t want that. I already have enough drama and stress in my life and don’t need any more!”
    God help us all.
    I notice that neither this site nor Ms. Roys’ site has any of your testimonies posted, nor do you have any statements about “What We Believe”.
    So please tell me that the absence of your beliefs and the absence of your testimonies about who you were before you met Jesus, how you met Jesus, and how He has changed your lives for the better since you met Him- please tell me that none of you are Christians so I can tell my son that this is, indeed, NOT how Christians treat each other.

    • Jenny Preacher says:

      Of course Christians treat each other this way because we are sinners. Did you not know we are all sinners? Spoiler alert: we are all sinners. That’s not even a spoiler. And what treatment are you even talking about anyway? Be specific. Don’t be generic.

      • Christiana Emmert says:

        Hello, Jenny.
        I have read both sides of the facts, the opinions, the truths, the allegations, the attacks, the defenses, the excuses, the embedded Bible verses, the personal allegations, the suspicions, the innuendos, the legal terms, the financial impact upon all involved parties, the words which cannot be taken back, and everything else that has been written, said, and thought.
        You told me to be specific and not to be generic. But just in case by this you are inviting me to join you in rock-slinging, I will not do that, in part because of the influence one of Pastor James sermons had on me entitled “Drop the Rock”.
        I have read all the words which have now been said, have now been acted upon, and have now been written down for others to see and for others to be influenced by. What is missing from all those words are the names of the sins which sadly may be behind the motivations of many of those spoken, written, and acted-upon words:
        1 Anger.
        2 Backbiting; those who speak evil about those who are absent.
        3 Being a stumbling block to a weak brother through our freedom.
        4 Being angry with one’s brother: Expressing unkind thought, words or actions toward
        others.
        5 Bitterness.
        6 Boasting.
        7 Brother going to court against a brother: Bringing legal action against another.
        8 Calling one’s brother or sister in Christ names; Ridiculing another
        9 Complaining.
        10 Contentious; quarrelsome.
        11 Corrupt communication; Unprofitable language.
        12 Covenant breakers: Breaking a solemn or legal pact.
        13 Covetousness.
        14 Craftiness; cunning.
        15 Debate.
        16 Deceit.
        17 Defraud.
        18 Desiring the praise of men: Doing things to gain praise.
        10 Disdain, contempt, outrage.
        20 Dishonesty.
        21 Divisions: forming splits or schisms in groups.
        22 Double tongued: Making insincere statements.
        23 Emulations: ambition to excel.
        24 Envy.
        25 Extortion.
        26 Fearful: being discouraged, anxious, faithless.
        27 Receiving personal gain through our unrighteousness.
        28 Finding faults with others while having fault our self.
        29 Foolishness.
        30 Giving false witness.
        31 Giving offense: Causing another to fall spiritually because of our influence and
        example.
        32 Greediness.
        33 Guile: deceit.
        34 Hatred.
        35 Having pleasure in saying or doing things worthy of spiritual death; enjoying the
        company of other sinners.
        36 Hearing the teachings and sayings of Christ, but not following them.
        37 High mindedness: Arrogance.
        38 Hypocrisy.
        39 Idle Words: Words of no value.
        40 Idolatry: Loving someone or something more than God.
        41 Implacable: Refusing to be appeased; Repeating the same against others over and
        over; Scab-picking for your own satisfaction as to hurt others again and again.
        42 Judging.
        43 Knowing to do good, but doing it not.
        44 Laying up treasures on earth: Pursuing material success at the expense of spiritual
        things.
        45 Living in pleasure..
        46 Lovers of self.
        47 Lying.
        48 Maliciousness.
        49 Maligning: Being harmful to or creating bad character of others.
        50 Murmuring: Grumbling, secretly complaining.
        51 Pride.
        52 Puffed up: Overestimating of one’s ability or knowledge.
        53 Railing: Slander.
        54 Sedition: Stirring up opposition against authority.
        55 Self-will: Arrogance.
        56 Speaking evil of others dignities; Speaking ill of those to be honored.
        57 Strife: Quarreling, seeking superiority.
        58 Striker: Ready to Fight.
        59 Swearing: Taking an oath as in court without seriousness.
        60 Teaching as doctrine the commandments of men; Neglecting God’s commandments by
        following man made interpretations or man’s commandments.
        61 Unforgiving heart.
        62 Unmerciful.
        63 Unrighteousness; Moral wrongfulness.
        64 Unthankfullness.
        65 Strife.
        66 False humility.
        67 Lustful, morally unrestrained.
        68 Whisperers, secretly spreading false or slanderous information over and over and over
        to any who will listen..

        Father, forgive me for I have sinned.

    • Jenny Preacher says:

      Also you said at the beginning of your post that you’d tell us another way Christians should hold each other accountable. So what is it? What’s the other way? Pray tell.

      • Christiana Emmert says:

        Hello again, Jenny-
        Here is just one other way in which Christians should hold each other accountable.
        If you re-read what I wrote earlier, Jesus said,
        ”…but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)

        I know there are many ways in which we should hold each other accountable, but as you might have understood from what I wrote about the impact articles by Christians who relentlessly criticize other Christians can have on those who are not saved, such critical opinions gain momentum and followers who then repeat the one-sided story they have heard, sometimes embellishing and getting the facts wrong. Is this not the sin of gossip? Can anything good come out of gossip, especially when it is powered by social media? This was my experience in seeing the devastating effect such gossip has on those critical of the Gospel in the first place, like my son.

        What is the mission of the Church?
        Are we out to bring people to a saving knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
        Or are each of us out to be right at all cost and to gather followers who support us about whatever opinion we have stated to others in the Church, about someone or something in the Church that gripes us?

        It seems that anyone, whether a believing Christian or not, can jump on the bandwagon of people who call themselves “Christians”.
        But when the person driving that bandwagon is stating what he thinks are Biblically-based and Biblically-authorized criticisms indicating significant problems within a Church, and then demands that particular actions take place as the only solutions to those problems, I as a Christian would like to read the testimonies and know the beliefs of those Christians.
        Jenny, perhaps you could share your testimony about who you were before you met Jesus, how you met Jesus, and what positive differences He has made in your life?
        Thank you for your interest in my comments.
        And know that you are loved!

        • xwing says:

          The mission of the church is to Glorify God. There is a lot packed into that statement but it isnt as simple as just saying “people are being saved at this church so we should give them a free blank check to do whatever they want”

          In fact the scripture you keep quoting can easily be flipped the other way. There are many people who are no longer at harvest who have been hurt spiritually. Read their stories. The testimonies of what happened. You cant dismiss it as gossip. When jesus was talking about causing people to stumble in Matthew 24 he was speaking to false teachers of his day. Also they are to be judged more strictly. James 3

          Gossip is spreading rumor of things which are not true. This site by in large has provided a platform for people to share first hand eye witness testimony.

          Throwing around terms like “gossip” is just a way for to shut people up and I have seen it. I get it. It is an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth to have to face.

        • David says:

          So instead of addressing the questions and the mess at Harvest you are directing the blame at the folks that expose the mess??? Wow. I don’t think you will change the minds of the hardcore Harvest cult followers. They will follow James MacDonald off the cliff. I pray for those members that have questions about what is going on. I pray that they will see the light. There are some wonderful churches nearby.

        • Jenny Preacher says:

          K.

    • Thomas says:

      Sorry to hear about your son’s struggle with the faith; I have many friends and family members that face the same struggle.

      But, sincerely, isn’t it pastors who lie and fleece the flock on TV and radio more responsible for people’s cynicism toward Christianity. My atheist friends have never raised to me the argument you are raising here. They cite rich pastors on TV who lie to get more money, bad arguments for the faith, and the struggle with the “problem of evil” as reasons for their rejection of faith.

      And, given the number of falsehoods and abusive behaviors documented here, at Julie Roys’s blog, and the World Magazine article, wouldn’t be easier to argue to your son that James is the non-believer and his empire is not the church rather than asking the dozens of people that have spoken up to confess falsely that they are not Christians?

      • Jenny Preacher says:

        Well said, Thomas.

      • Christiana Emmert says:

        Hello, Thomas!
        It sounds like you must be quite busy being the reflected light of Christ to all your friends and family members who are unsaved and “face the same struggle” as you said. And a struggle it is indeed, as Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

        Having grown up with a father who was an atheist and who contributed articles to an atheist bulletin, my son is also an atheist. All this to make the point that in my experience, atheists practice open season on any and all sightings of ‘Christian’, whether the Christians are locals who get traffic tickets for parking illegally in front of Church, or an outspoken but not PC Pastor, or a Church garbage dumpster caught with its lid open….again!

        And finally, please understand that I am not “asking the dozens of people that have spoken up to confess falsely that they are not Christians”.
        The point I was making is that on this blog and on Ms. Roys’ site, there seems to be no testimonies by any of the Christians who write the articles and reports and neither are their beliefs noted.
        So please, Thomas, I would never want anyone to deny that they are Christians, or not to share their testimony because of me. If you would like to share, please do! I’m sure many here would also be led to do the same!
        Thanks for your comments to me.
        And have a wonderful week!

        • Jenny Preacher says:

          Of course their beliefs aren’t noted. That’s not the purpose of their sites. Do you not know Julie Roy’s is an investigative journalist? Journalists don’t write about themselves. But Julie Roy’s beliefs can be easily found with a simple google search. Also, I’m sure they have word count limits.

  10. David Jones says:

    I would highly recommend this article from the Association of Biblical Counselors: “Five Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart.” It has a great deal of biblical wisdom . https://christiancounseling.com/blog/counseling/five-indicators-of-an-evil-and-wicked-heart-1.

  11. Jenny Preacher says:

    You know Pastor James once said in a sermon he gave on repentance that repentance precedes confession, and godly grief preceded repentance. 2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces repentance that leads to salvation without regret whereas worldly grief produces death. He has said that before you can repent you must have godly sorrow/grief therefore you must see what God sees about your sin. So let’s all pray that God will open his heart, give him eyes to see and ears to hear so that he may see what God sees about his sin. The fruits of repentance are restitution so hopefully that will follow.

  12. Amy Gardner says:

    I am a radio listener of James MacDonald who was sadly disappointed when he was replaced recently on my station with a different pastor. Curious, I started researching on line and came to your website. After skimming articles and posts, I have two things to say:

    1. Man is fallible
    2. God will take care of it

    I have looked at his house—that is personal and between him and God. I have considered his salary—a lot of people employed this long at highly complex organizations make similar salaries vs expected piety of pastors??? Don’t really have a final opinion as once again believe this is between him and God. As far as the possibility of financial shenanigens—there is an accounting system and laws to follow that will give answers.

    I am not sure why a group of people want to see the collapse of this entire organization. God is speaking through James. Yes, in all of his faults, human frailties, and sins.

    No church is perfect.

    And I am not talking about a building. I am talking about each of us individually.

    Standing there stomping your feet and making demands … walk away and have FAITH that God is taking care of this.

    • xwing says:

      Amy a couple of things: James is an elder in a very public position and job. His ministry reaches millions of people.

      You say that God is the judge. That is true. In fact I would agree and also add that God is sovereign over all the events of men.

      That does not remove our responsibility as Christians told hold other Christian’s accountable.

      As Christians we are supposed to hold elders to a high standard. If they are sinning we are to “rebuke them publically” “in the presence of all”. “Not showing partiality”. Many, many examples or paul rebuking Christians in writing and warning Christians of false teachers calling them out by name in his epistles. Was he also stomped stomping his feet? One qualification of an elder is that they are not to be a “lover of money” “not greedy”, etc, etc. So his lifestyle is in bounds and not between him and God. He doesn’t live in a vaccum. Especially because of his position.

      I would argue that people running this site are actually the ones showing james the most love. By holding james accountable they are trying to restore him. Save his soul.

    • Thomas says:

      Amy – it’s not about a big house; it’s about promising to liver smaller and lying about a big house. It’s about character. Here is one pastor’s experience of the “off-stage” James.

      “Unfortunately, that brief public glimpse was pretty much how I found James to be behind the scenes a decade later. I saw a side of James MacDonald that shocked me. He sat in the Training Center room and described his own sermon idea as ‘kick-ass.’ He exuded arrogance and a ‘bigger and better than you’ vibe. He had an ‘in-group’ that got his attention (check his social media – it’s obvious who they are). We were told that sarcasm was the official love language of Harvest. Yet the words we heard from James were not sarcastic in a fun way. They were cruel and grating.

      Let me give you an example of James speaking harshly. Everyone involved with the Harvest situation remembers the unfortunate church discipline video. I sat in the congregation and watched it. Early that next week James came bursting into the Training Center room. ‘I’m going to let you guys watch and observe how you handle a church crisis,’ James bellowed. He gathered a couple leaders with him, and they sat in front of us, discussing how the church should respond to the blowback from the video. Kent Shaw, then the director of Harvest Bible Fellowship, wisely suggested that the church apologize and reverse course. I do not remember the exact words that James spoke in response to Kent. What I remember is the condescension and the arrogance. James dressed down this highly accomplished, well-respected man right in front of us. We talked later about how disgusting that display was. I was shocked Kent didn’t stand up and resign on the spot. I have wondered to this day if James ever apologized to Kent and told him he was right when James backtracked and publicly apologized a year later. I also wonder what pain could have been averted if James had humbled himself and listened to Kent’s good advice.” Pastor Harris. His full testimony can be read here. https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/guest-post-dr-dale-harris-a-former-harvest-bible-fellowship-pastor-shares-his-experience-with-harvest-chicago-and-his-thoughts-on-james-macdonald/

      If you really believe that people don’t need to speak out because “God will take care of it,” then why did you post here? I suspect you know that God always works through his creation – not because he is required to but because he chose to.

    • Amy Gardner says:

      I was waiting for replies to see if, not even knowing me, my character was attacked.

      I am not a Bible scholar, but I do believe that after the rebuking process, it is then followed by have nothing more to do with him.

      • Thomas says:

        Okay, I hope no one attacks you for reasonably expressing your thoughts, but do you have a response to Pastor Harris’ testimony? He does go on to discuss the house issue that you discussed. Curious to know if his words persuaded you?

        Also, 1 Timothy 5:20 states, “But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning.”

    • Still recovering says:

      Amy,

      You make some valid points. Yes, the salary and house are between him and God, but when you make a financial donation to an organization you give to help the cause as well as to pay for that organizations expenses the organization should use the money wisely and with integrity.

      I know many pastors who have increased their tithe rather increased their wealth when they have received financial gain. What the rub is with James is that he isn’t honest about his income or his house. It is the American way to always go for bigger and better but it isn’t always Gods way. God is not American or a citizen of any other country. He also isn’t a democrat or republican. ALL people matter to God so, as believers in Gods free gift of salvation through his son Jesus, they should matter to us.

      With the right amount of study and input a person can fashion a message that meets the expectations of most listeners. A good speaker doesn’t have to believe what they are saying they just have to make you believe it.

      The rub for many of us is the behind the scenes actions of staff and “elders”. I spoke to some of the issues I saw at Harvest and was told to stop slandering. I said the Children’s Ministry wasn’t a safe place for children. Come to find out it isn’t. I asked why staff never called you back and then went and volunteered at the Elgin campus. James will tell you that his people work hard but they don’t. The massive amount of time wasted would make you ill. If staff actually put in 40 hours Harvest could cut staff 50% and not skip a beat. A member of the congregation told a lie about me. I got angry. I was asked to leave. No chance for repentance just “get the hell out”. Before I started reading TED I made over 100 attempts to begin a reconciliation process, about a third of those directly to James, and have gotten one response. A security person wrote me an email saying that they were done with me and to leave Harvest alone. If I didn’t I was going to be hurt. At that point I deleted all emails, email addresses and anything on my computer having to do with Harvest.

      So Amy I respect your opinion but I also want to say that you are looking at this through rose colored glasses. James is not God nor does he speak for God. He is not humble, compassionate or kind. People are looking at him, Harvest and the elders and saying goodbye to the church and to faith. One final thought. A friend of mine went to Harvest for one service. She does not believe in God. Even she walked away after one service saying something isn’t quite right here.

      • Mark II says:

        Wow, that’s a sad picture you paint of what you experienced at Harvest. That security person’s threat wouldn’t be heard at most secular institutions; how would they think it’s appropriate at a church??? As your brother in Christ, I’m sorry you went through those things. Your last paragraph hit the nail on the head. He is neither humble, compassionate, nor kind. People talk about things like that being recent developments, but my wife and I saw it in the early 90s. It’s only become a bigger, brasher reality recently.

    • Julie says:

      Amen! I agree 100%!

    • Mark says:

      What you hear from James on the radio is exactly why there are scores of people who have commented on these various blogs and articles about how they struggled with internal conflict for long periods of time after deciding to leave Harvest. From a distance, you won’t see what these people see, and you will think of it all in the sorts of terms you have used to critique what some have tried to do. But when you experience James’ behavior up close, and then you hear gifted preaching and teaching that is effective in people’s lives, it starts to feel impossible to reconcile these two things. You know what you have seen and heard and experienced, but then you sit in the congregation or turn on the radio and hear powerful teaching. You begin to wonder if you are the problem. You ask yourself, “How could this man be what I think he is?” But the things in this blog and Julie Roys’ blog and article and the comments of many people who were once close to James but had to get out of there are a true picture. It’s not about a list of things like a large house, a high salary, etc. It’s about a pattern of behavior where the truth is shaded and people are left feeling like garbage. I saw these things in the early 90s and talked with James about them, only to have him turn the tables on me and make me feel like the bad guy for bringing them up. I spent years trying to get past the internal struggle I described above (and I finally did!). I took the approach you’re talking about. I prayed for James’ eyes to be opened. And I left him to God. I think God may be stirring up people to confront and expose these things, just like He used prophets in Israel and Judah to confront the wicked spiritual leaders. Leaving it to God doesn’t always mean no one does anything.

      • Mark says:

        I am a different Mark from the one who has made several other posts here, for what that’s worth. I’ll change my name here to Mark2, but I don’t know if I can change it on my original post.

    • KIKI says:

      More recently, a youth pastor employed by Harvest was arrested for child sexual exploitation; his name is Paxton Singer. He served as a youth pastor, the boys basketball assistant coach, and camp counselor during the summer.

      Very limited information has been provided to parents about this arrest from Harvest; in fact, many parents have come forward saying they were never informed at all. When some of the parents were informed, the letters that were written provided vague information & actually supported the P. Singer (example: “he is a great young man who made some bad choices”).

      Those choices include sending sexually explicit photos to minors, requesting the minors send him sexually explicit photos, & requesting a minor spend the weekend alone with him.

      The culture of Harvest is very dysfunctional and broken. Many people who have left report the same observations. As the old adage says, where this is smoke, there is fire.

  13. Joe says:

    HBC should set up a fund to pay for spiritual abuse counseling for people who have been victimized by the spiritual abuse at Harvest Bible Chapel.

  14. Epaenetus says:

    Financial Integrity
    STEWARDSHIP UPDATE
    “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!” —Psalm 96:8
    GENERAL FUND
    Need for January $1,920,000
    Received in January $366,613
    CLOSER CAMPAIGN
    Received in January $93,918
    Final 2018 giving numbers announced in weekend service.
    Updated 1/11/2019
    Source: https://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/financial-integrity/

    Speak Church! Speak James, Luke, Landon, and the Elder’s language! So they can understand what you are saying!

    • JJ says:

      According to their 2017 financial reports, they pay $1.4M / month for compensation and $300K / month for mortgages/interest. This doesn’t include admin, facilities, ministry expenses…. They could be in big trouble.

  15. Jen says:

    Does anyone think the Lord will remove or perhaps already has removed the Lampstand from Harvest?

  16. xwing says:

    Diane, you have gotta be kidding me. There is something called victim shaming and many of these people have been victimized by this church’s leadership. Place blame at the perpetrators not the victims.

    Also. Also consider that the church’s government is so unhealthy and so dysfunctional that the only outlet they have to air their grievances is a blog! Really!

  17. Anneliese says:

    “We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”

    —William Gladstone, Sri Chinmoy, Jimi Hendrix

  18. Diane says:

    I think all of you have done enough damage allowing Satan to work through your egos to destroy many people’s ability to attend church by causing the loss of the Saturday evening service. Not everyone can attend on Sunday.

    • Mark says:

      Diane, if Harvest is in decline, it’s the fault of MacDonald and the pastors who are only reaping the harvest they have sown.

    • KF says:

      Has the Saturday evening service been cancelled? It is still listed at Rolling Meadows on the website?

    • Jim Ciesielski says:

      Diane,
      With all due respect how has anyone here done any “damage”. This blog was active for a few years..then went DORMANT for several 2014ish to late 2017 when Macdonald broke up Harvest Bible Fellowship…Then they went dormant again UNTIL they were sued. So in reality who REALLY is to blame? A blog that was dormant for several months OR HBC and Macdonald?? What the blog posted at the end of 2017 to very early 2018 was factual. So if it was factual how are they to blame??

      Jim Ciesielski

      • David says:

        The whole lawsuit was crackers from the get go. You are right TED had inactive for several years, and then had a couple of postings about the HBF blowup. Perhaps the main focus was Julie Roys and her expose on Harvest that in the works. She hadn’t published yet but MacDonald wanted to silence her. And so why not include TED just for fun, since they were a thorn in Harvest’s side in years gone by. Anyway I hope Ryan & Scott can relax and get on with your lives.

  19. lostsheep72 says:

    Maybe the timing is right to drop this lawsuit since members of the Green family will be there this week. These are the people who gave them the Elgin property, which was a $53 million donation entrusted to Harvest to further God’s kingdom. You know, the people who built the museum for the bible in D.C.
    What must they think of this circus?

  20. another Berean says:

    Do not be deceived by Harvest leadership, God will not be mocked, they will reap what they sow… those who live for the sinful nature will harvest death and decay… those who live to please the Spirit, will have life abundant, everlasting life from the Spirit…

    that is the principle of the Harvest! What is the fruit of HBC leadership?

  21. g2-1594e88e1ea9dd34c24de622e07ba0c9 says:

    Expect Robert Morris of Gateway Church, offer “counseling” and to help James MacDonald start a whole new church, probably in a nice warm place…like Florida.

    • MarcAnon says:

      I too expect that MacDonald will Driscoll himself soon.

      • David says:

        Driscoll was removed by the Elders. In the Harvest case the Elders fully support MacDonald. Plus the Harvest Bylaws show that MacDonald cannot be removed since he is on the Executive Committee. “(b) Removal of Senior Pastor. Subject to the rights, if any, under any contract or covenants of employment with the Church, the Senior Pastor shall only be removed, by unanimous recommendation of the Executive Committee”. In short MacDonald isn’t going anywhere.

        • Mark says:

          I think the meaning there was, move to a different part of the country and start rebuilding the empire

        • xwing says:

          This is scary. Why anyone would have this type of power and how people could allow and still allow him to have this type of power is dumbfounding. I guess the only recourse people have is to pull tithing/offerings and/or to leave the church.

          Elder board and congregation has no power in the church

  22. FREEATLAST says:

    Does this exemplify the character of James Macdonald?
    TITUS 1:7
    FOR AN OVERSEER,
    AS GOD’S STEWARD,
    MUST BE ABOVE REPROACH.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HE MUST NOT BE ARROGANT OR QUICK-TEMPERED
    OR A DRUNKARD
    OR VIOLENT
    OR GREEDY FOR GAIN…..

  23. Shaun says:

    Praise God for this recent development and God’s answer to prayers this would be dropped! I emailed some of the leaders at HBC about Peacemaker Ministries recently and encouraged that route instead of suing (and I still recommend it in this case, https://peacemaker.training/). I do pray James will take the steps outlined in the letter that was just given to him.

    Being part of Harvest from ’04 to ’14, I was baptized there and have a large group of friends, all that unfortunately, have left like myself. My friends and I prayed the truth would come out around ’12 in the parking lot, and I believe it has. I knew a lot of people on the inside as I was part of the basketball ministry and went to Israel with James, Harvest, and Walk in the Word.

    I’m thrilled about HBC dropping the suit and I pray this will bring James to true metanoia, a word I first learned at Harvest, the Koine Greek word meaning to “change your mind,” the root meaning of the English word repent. Of course, this change of mind will thus result in a change of behavior. 🙂 I do not, however, pretend to understand all that has transpired the last few years. In talking with James after a church meeting, with some other leaders, I brought up a wrong that had been done, I prayed over them there, and this was later retracted and confessed. Prayer does work people! The righteous prayer…(not my righteousness, but that of Christ’s!).

    Elephants Debt Readers I recommend prayer and fasting over this, with me. Scott and Ryan, it may not be a bad idea to promote prayer and fasting this month on this site. All- please remember, the power is not in prayer nor fasting in it of itself. Rather, the power is on our faith IN Jesus Christ and Him crucified, His finished work (not our finished work) as we pray and fast over this matter.

    Blessings and love,

    Shaun
    (myhope123.com the soon to come website with gospel tracts for Christians and non-Christians).

    • another Berean says:

      Shaun, bless your heart Brother… in agreement with prayer and fasting with you over the state of the Church in general, and HBC specifically… a growing number of congregations in the US and around the world are starting each year w a 21 day season of prayer and fasting… our community is in that season…

      God is good… and they humbled themselves with fasting… to seek the right way for themselves, their little ones and their belongings.. Ezra 8:21

  24. David says:

    So happy you guys are victorious! MacDonald and Harvest showed true malice and hatred by including your wives in the frivolous lawsuit. Shame on them. Bet this is a relief! Once MacDonald found out he would have to provide his financial statements, he dropped the lawsuit like a hot potato. No way no how anyone was going to see how much the MacDonald family is making off Harvest. Wonder how the Harvest congregation feels about their tithes used in such nefarious ways.

    • rp201277 says:

      Without question tithes / monies are used in many ways that many / most do not fully understand. I would wager most would not believe it even if they were shown proof.

  25. In Awe says:

    Anytime a church pastor is exposed for his ungodly behavior is a win for our Lord and his true church. The loss is that to God’s kingdom and all the people he has damaged. But it is a win to those who have been abused and decived . Sadly these imposters using God’s name to advance their agenda and lifestyle are more common than ever. Why was the lawsuit dropped only when things didn’t go their way? Because Harvest has many graveyards to unearth. Now he is the good guy? Get real. He is a celebrity pastor who forgot about the God he teaches on. This battle is the Lord’s! Maybe Nebuchadnezzar needs to reverence The Living God!

  26. The Wundsams says:

    So sad to hear your victorious tone ,( which is very revealing ) and self justification as you rejoice in the attack on HBC/ James MacDonald .
    Anytime a church or a pastor is negatively impacted ,we all lose and Satan wins. Please don’t take time to reply and justify that you were in the right. This is our opinion and we have a right to it.
    Finally I don’t think it is up for you and Julies to decide what the elders tell James MacDonald to do that… I for one certainly hope that you would trust God to do his job and decide what the outcome should be… Not you.
    Finally in the spirit of transparency I must say your elephant dancing and Julie voiced to me and to me seem past the point of being biblical accountability, but rather
    worldly in your response .
    Sincerely Sheila and George Wundsam

    • Justin Parks says:

      You excuse a compulsive liar, lover of money, nepotist, spiritual abuser and bully but you zero in on a meme of an elephant dancing as evidence of being “worldly”. Are these the type of people still attending Harvest?

    • justinjparks says:

      You excuse a compulsive liar, lover of money, nepotist and bully but you zero in on a meme of an elephant dancing as evidence of being “worldly”????

    • Jessica H. says:

      Hi Sheila & George. You said, “Anytime a church or a pastor is negatively impacted ,we all lose and Satan wins.” Anytime? What if the church or pastor is sinning? They will surely be negatively impacted as a consequence of sin. That’s God being God and true to His Word. On the contrary, Satan wins when a church or pastor is sinning and it goes unexposed or people turn a blind eye.

    • FREEATLAST says:

      EPHESIANS 5:11
      TAKE NO PART IN THE UNFRUITFUL WORKS OF DARKNESS, BUT INSTEAD EXPOSE THEM.

    • another Berean says:

      the enemy wins when this kind of ungodly conduct stays in the dark… God’s way is in the light… John 3:19-21 silencing and cover up of this ungodly leadership/abuse of power is the enemy’s ways… why in the Name of all that’s holy is anyone ok with keeping the bad behavior of the leaders hidden? It’s the bad behavior/lording it over by leadership, not the exposing of it, that the enemy wants…

    • joemisek says:

      The bloggers and Julie Roys just had an expensive court-cost lawsuit, based entirely on fabricated lies from James MacDonald, dropped. Now that the costs and the stress have been relieved, and with HBC’s statement bloviating about “resolution of grievances”, I might permit them to exhale a bit and have an opinion about how that resolution might have to go.

  27. Amy Moore says:

    Hi Ryan. Sorry to use this venue but Harvest is not done with their efforts to silence voices expressing concern. They have blocked my Twitter account @UT_Grad_Amy. It’s not the first time Swicegood has done this to me. HBC members should know that while Sperling & Duitsman may have underwritten the lawsuit, it’s their hard earned tithes that are paying for one of the sketchiest crisis managers in the country to aid Harvest in their manipulation and spin, Gateway Church’s coverup expert, Lawrence Swicegood. James MacDonald somehow failed to mention that to his members/donors.

    This is why TED fighting tyranny and oppression is so important. HBC will use their $48M a year to bully, threaten and intimidate anyone seeking truth and light. Members need to think very hard about what they are financially supporting. There is only one principality that operates in deception, tyranny and darkness.

    Could you please let the gang know I’m knocked out for now. It’s not my first Swicegood Rodeo of Oppression, so hopefully I can fight this quickly and get back to work. But folks, this proves there is not an iota of reconciliation or remorse coming from Harvest Bible Chapel. Just more high paid jack booted thugs trying to knock out any truth seekers. @UT_Grad_Amy

  28. bike Bubba says:

    I’m very happy for y’all; from the start, I suspected that this was about MacDonald saying in effect “you cross me, I will try and take everything from you that I can”, and I am saddened to see that this is pretty true. Hopefully he, and his board of (rubber stamp) elders, can come to repentance for this, as it’s a huge violation of James 2:6 and 1 Corinthians 6.

    Also praying that the rest of the fallout will not be too brutal. As I see things, this mess has severed HBC from HBF, has effectively ended MacDonald’s radio career, and has some severe implications for not only HBC’s Chicago campii, but also for Moody Bible Institute and publishers as well. And then you’ve got the question of why the financial guy ran away after seeing the partial audit–they don’t do that just because it’s bad news, but because they don’t want to have to lawyer up.

    What.A.Mess

  29. Steve says:

    Very happy for Julie Roys and TED. May I suggest a counter-cultural – but thoroughly Christian – response to James MacDonald? Please forgive him without demands. I think Berean makes a good point. To make said demands is, well, kind of James MacDonaldish.

    • Joe D. says:

      Steve, I respectfully and kindly disagree. In light of the depth, magnitude, carnage, and longevity of the MacDonald situation, and the fact that *he* lit this nuclear fuse, and that he attacked their wives (think about that, their wives, seriously?!, unreal), and the decades-old gross un-biblical character of James MacDonald, I believe they are taking an appropriate and much necessary path here. He needs to finally step down, go away, and Lord willing, repent and get saved. This is only a first step, in my opinion. (No one will ever convince me that James MacDonald is a born again Christian. Never. No way.)

    • David Jones says:

      There is a biblical basis for insisting on an apology for wrong treatment. See Acts 16:35-39 (compare 1 Thes 2:2).

    • Amy Moore says:

      Although this issue may seem to be about HBC, it’s really about ALL corrupt and abusive mega churches. Several in DFW are watching this case closely with the express intent of implementing this technique had it succeeded. They want to use their mega-millions to simply outspending anyone expressing legitimate concerns or asking questions.

      Harvest Bible Chapel has a worldwide ministry & until recently had over 170 churches under their leadership. HBC deliberately chose to take on JR & TED using a public court system. The final outcome of this situation will have ripple effects across the globe. HBC opened this door when they felt they could exploit this resource to silence those concerned. This now requires an equally public resolution.

      Please consider the fates of the hundreds of thousands who have been hurt by greedy, manipulative, oppressive, spiritually abusive megas. This resolution will have a lasting impact on all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. The biblical response is to call Elders to account. This gives James MacDonald and the HBC Elders the perfect opportunity to display the fruits of the spirit that Landon MacDonald just preached about. Let them model how to respond with humility, atonement and most of all, complete transparency and honesty. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

  30. Joe D. says:

    Congratulations Scott, Ryan, and Julie!

    MacDonald and HBC should now be counter-sued by the defendants for defamation, and for filing a frivolous and vindictive lawsuit.

    On the class-action front that needs to happen: Innumerable donors were either lied to, and/or deceived, and/or saw their donations grossly mismanaged, and/or mis-reported, and/or grossly misallocated by MacDonald and/or HBC.

    May God please open the eyes of those still under the sway of this wolf in wolf’s clothing. (Double-wolf intentional; he quit overly bothering with the sheep act decades ago.)

  31. TuffEnuff says:

    So… this is about money?

    • ciesielski0 says:

      No its not from what I see….they had to expend a lot of money to prtect themselves from a bogus lawsuit. It really is no difference to the scriptural principle of one who bears false witness getting the penalty that the accused would have gotten. They brought a bogus lawsuit, false witness. The defendants had to pay to protect themselves so that is the penalty that HBC and MacDonald are responsible for

      • Still recovering says:

        It is not even close to being about money on the TED side. Its all about money for Satan MacDonald! That is his god. If it was about money on the TED side then they would not have made that request public or started that they were going to repay those who offered support! Let us not trivialize the dept of sin and abuse by Satan MacDonald and his coven blind, abusive followers!

        • Grace says:

          Can you please stop calling him that. Pastor James brings God’s Word to our church each week. He speaks boldly and unapologetically. I’ve learned more and grown more at Harvest in recent years than I have my entire life at other churches. He’s not perfect, just like none of us are but he’s been made in God’s image and deserves love and respect.

        • Not at all a fan of that nomenclature ourselves. We have opted not to post a number of things from this individual because they were more intense than the ones you have read. We are not always a fan of the comments we allow; we have tried to adopt a libertine approach to comments, allowing pro-James and pro-TED comments, as well as restraining both sides.

  32. xwing says:

    As a side note since the elder board continues accused the (now former) defendants of false(hoods) and distortions I think it would be proper for them to respond and detail those publically. What are they?

    They either must repent or they should give a public defense of their ministry like Paul did in Galatians, 2 corinthians, etc

  33. Berean says:

    Can someone tell me where in the bible it says that we are supposed to make a list of demands that someone has to do before we will consider reconciling with them?

    • TuffEnuff says:

      Agreed.

    • Drew says:

      Eh, I see it as simply a list of demands to do before we can even think that they might be repentant enough to have a conversation with. These are people who had the gall to actually sue these authors AND THEIR WIVES and in effect blame God for their problems when the lawsuit was dropped, a fact which I am still trying to digest. There is no reconciliation with pathological unrepentant liars and spiritual abusers until true repentance has happened because the “reconciliation” would be false. Example: see many instances of former elders who have resigned or been forced out who have published public apologies and the reconciliation and healing that has happened.

    • Jim Ciesielski says:

      God…we have to repent of our sins and come to Jesus..no repentance, no forgiveness

      • Drew says:

        I would argue that there can be forgiveness without reconciliation in the sense of the benefit and the healing that forgiveness can bring to the wronged. But don’t expect me or anyone to reconcile with an unrepentant spiritual abuser. It would not be healthy.

    • another Berean says:

      over and over again, scripture tells us “do not be deceived”… do not be deceived with empty words, do not be deceived with persuasive words, do not be deceived by any means, etc… Scripture also says to test everything… this is the test… to see if leadership is truly willing to meet face to face to work through the grievances for resolution as the leadership stated… these actions will help them pass that test… or it will reveal the “willingness” is just empty words dependent on how leadership responds or if they choose not to respond…

      These actions would be some of the fruits of repentance (which honestly, would have been done immediately after the situation arose in the first place, by true servant leaders)… at this point in the process – the leadership is getting another opportunity to do what is right! it is part of the Matthew 18 confronting and discerning process, to determine if leadership is truly repentant or to be treated as pagans and wolves in sheeps clothing… at this point it does not seem like HBC leadership is owning up to how they have harmed these families (and others that have been silenced via NDAs)… again, if the leadership was truly repentant, they would have already been on the doorsteps of these families confessing and repenting and making things right… by the grace of God, the leadership is being given one more window to make things right… if they choose to continue to be disobedient in their response, God will discipline and expose what is hidden in darkness… it’s possible what has been revealed so far re HBC is just the beginning… the tip of the proverbial iceberg as some say… if it is, there will be a purging… it will be ugly, but healing for the Ekklesia in the long run…

      the following is a common MO of leadership in abuse of power situations in the Church (and beyond)… how much this applies to HBC, only God knows… but sadly, far too many congregations/institutions are walking in these abuse of power/lording it over patterns… the exact opposite of how scripture calls leaders to serve… as humble servants…

      often, when leadership is challenged regarding ungodly conduct and abuse of power, the sacred trust is betrayed and destroyed by the leaders for those who question, challenge the ungodly conduct of leadership… the response by leadership far too often includes silencing, deception, coverup, misleading statements, intimidation, manipulation, shaming, blaming, etc… and that’s just the beginning of a long list of ugly patterns that will be used to keep people in the dark and protect the leadership/institution…

      those whom this attack/ungodly conduct is aimed at, are betrayed by the leaders that are suppose to protect them, and instead the leaders protected and benefited themselves at the cost of the flock…

      these actions listed are specifics of what leadership can do to begin to re-build trust that has been destroyed by leaders abusing their power through ungodly conduct… because the trust is gone! and only those who break the trust can restore it again… the leaderships response (or lack thereof) will be telling… are they truly willing to have a face to face meeting? or is it just empty words…

      forgiveness opens the door for that trust to be restored, and Godly action by the leadership who betrayed the sacred trust is what will restore that trust.. but if the actions of those who broke the trust in the first place do not change and do not show genuine fruits of repentance… then… by their fruits you will know them, and discernment will reveal that these are wolves in sheeps clothing instead of truly repentant leaders… it’s on them to take action to restore the trust!

      We hope and pray that the leaders who want to do what’s right will stand up and speak up, even though it will be at great cost, instead of protecting themselves/leaders at the expense of others… that’s true leadership… protecting others at your own expense… laying down your life for others…

      • Berean says:

        Amen, test the spirits, test teachers and test all things to see whether or not they are biblical.

        However, we’re called to be reconciled one to another and to forgive one another just as God in Christ forgave us correct?

        Not saying this means to naively just say “oh it’s ok, we forgive you for x,y and z” but I’m pretty sure that God in Christ didn’t call us to meet his list of demands, isn’t grace free?

        Not cheap, but I do believe it is free and not given with strings attached.

        Also, call for repentance yes, but make a list of extra-biblical requirements that you arbitrarily decide are what needs to be done to determine whether or not someone is able to reconcile with you?

        How does any of this make you more humble, gracious or rooted in God’s Word than the other side?

        • IsmellaRat says:

          If only you could see what James wanted the guys from GCC to do before he would consider meeting with them for reconciliation.
          If you only knew the depths of his sin, the lies the manipulation the misuse of Gods money, then you would understand how reasonable and wise their request is.

        • How did Christ forgive? He forgave based on our repentance.

          In Acts 20 Paul said, “how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Repentance and faith working as two sides of the same coin.

          We can go to the old testament for more truth.
          Seek the LORD while he may be found,
          call upon him while he is near;
          let the wicked forsake his way
          and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
          let him return to the LORD that he may have mercy on him,
          and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7)

          This beautiful Scripture has multiple expressions of both faith and repentance. You forsake both your wicked ways and your unrighteous thoughts, then you seek the Lord, call upon him and return to him. Genuine repentance and faith brings the miraculous gifts of mercy and pardon. This is the two-sided coin of faith and repentance working together.

          All of this is just the first steps of repentance. Then we could bring in (as others have) the issue of restoration and recovery. Zaccheus offered to return fourfold (Luke 19:8) to anyone he had cheated/stolen from. This is based on Ex 22 and others. MacDonald stole legal fees and the reputations of these men and women. Their open letter details a very reasonable first steps of the fruits of repentance.

    • Tom Parker says:

      I do not see these as a list of demands. There is more to forgiveness than just saying we forgive you.

    • Jennifer says:

      I don’t see this as an issue of forgiveness, but of making restitution, something James MacDonald has taught many times (or at least, he used to). When you truly are repentant, then your heart should want to make things right.

    • Still recovering says:

      Trust has been so badly broken and this open letter is wanting to see James repent. Remember the rich man? One of the most tradgic moments in my life was seeing a man understand the gospel but decided to not follow Christ because of the cost. He chose an eternity in hell over a life of repetance, just as Satan MacDonald is choosing.

    • joemisek says:

      I might almost agree about forgiveness if it won’t include some kind of reconciliation, such as with the case of having to forgive a dead or long-lost relative that was abusive but is no longer accessible. But we can view this open letter as a response to HBC’s bloviating about “face-to-face resolution of grievances” while they are still calling the bloggers and Julie criminals. That’s an important point for me. I don’t think everyone can move forward hunky-dory while Harvest holding the same public stance on the bloggers/Roys, not acknowledging their lies, and still wanting them to acquiesce to their demands for silence. Everyone who has been wronged has to forgive and release their anger, and that doesn’t require HBC’s involvement at all, but that’s a separate issue.

  34. Truth2Freedom says:

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  35. Debra Fraker says:

    Excellent letter! The ball is in James’ court!

  36. Carrie Gill says:

    These are all reasonable requests. Praying James wisely pursues the path you have outlined to begin the process of reconciliation.

    • FREEATLAST says:

      AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

    • Still recovering says:

      Remember that is reconcilliation with 5 people…there are thousands more out there! That he included the spouses of Scott and Ryan but not Julie’s spouse shows his lack of manliness, character and humility. He is a coward!

  37. Julie Barnhill says:

    And this is how men Act (and live) Like Men.

    • FREEATLAST says:

      GODLY men will take ownership…
      We will see………………
      In the meantime, we will continue to pray for the protection and strength of ALL who are standing for RIGHTEOUSNESS against such evilllllllllllllllllllllll…………………..

  38. Sue says:

    Wow!! That is an awesome letter! I’m so sorry James MacDonald has lied about you guys!!! It’s seriously horrible!!

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