Robert Jones, Former Chairman of the HBC Elder Board, “Declines the Offer”

update button 23 jan 2019Last fall, approximately one month after James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel filed the defamation lawsuit, HBC announced that they were adding three new Elders and three returning Elders to the 2019 Elder Board (see below).  Among these names is one Mr. Robert Jones, a longtime associate of James MacDonald, who previously served as an Elder at HBC for eleven years, and who even served as the Chairman of the Board.  In addition to his formal service, when it came time for MacDonald to sit down for an interview with World magazine, Jones went on record with the magazine and said that MacDonald’s “character is not in question.”  Shortly thereafter, Jones signed a document that promised “unconditional support” of James MacDonald, and even released a more detailed statement that reads as follows:

“This letter expresses my support and appreciation for Pastor James, the elder board and the pastoral staff at Harvest Bible Chapel.  As with any organization, there are improvements that can be made, but by God’s grace Harvest has taken actions that will serve well to correct the course when needed and make improvements when necessary, with God’s direction.”

Clearly, Robert Jones has deep connections to MacDonald and Harvest; and this brings us to the point of this post.

On Monday, 20 January 2019, Harvest Bible Chapel updated its website.  In addition to removing MacDonald’s picture and name from the Executive Leadership Team (XLT), HBC also updated its roster of Elders.  Of the six elders that Harvest promised to add to the board in November of 2018, five of the names are now present on the website.  The only name that is missing is Mr. Robert Jones.

So, yesterday afternoon, The Elephant’s Debt reached out to Mr. Jones through a mutual contact.  This acquaintance agreed to call Mr. Jones and inform him that we were preparing a piece noting his absence from the Elder Board.  We then sent an email to both Mr. Jones and our mutual contact asking Mr. Jones to confirm the statements he had made in conversation with our contact.  Had Mr. Jones failed to reply to TED, we would not have been able to publish this post.

But today, Mr. Jones emailed us back and confirmed that he “declined the HBC offer to join the Elder Board.”  More significantly, he said that he “intend[s] to remain at Harvest Bible Chapel to see it get to a healthy place.”  The implication of this statement is clear.  By saying that he intends to see it get to a healthy place, he is implicitly acknowledging that it is not currently in a healthy place.

Ultimately, this development leaves us with three questions:

1.  If Mr. Jones wants HBC to “get to a healthy place,” why would he elect to do this from outside of the Elder Board as opposed to being an experienced voice from within its own ranks?

2.  Does this decision by Mr. Jones suggest in any way that he does not have the confidence that the Elder Board is the best place through which he can effect change, helping Harvest “get to a healthy place?”

3.  After the HBC Elder Board failed to fully disclose their statement to the Naples campus and got caught hiding relevant information from that campus, why is it that the Harvest congregants are learning from The Elephant’s Debt and not their own Elder Board the change in Robert Jones’ status in leadership?  This lack of transparency is one of many critical problems that have plagued HBC over the years; and it is troubling that they do not appear to be making much progress in terms of correcting this behavior.

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18 Responses to Robert Jones, Former Chairman of the HBC Elder Board, “Declines the Offer”

  1. Ed says:

    First let me state I know nothing of Mr. Jones so there is a few questions from reading what I know of his past, which was read in this post of “declines the offer.” If Mr. Jones has a long standing relationship with JMac; has been a part of the inner circle and has given his support to JMac when he signed the letter does this indicate you are too closely aligned with JMac?

    Is Mr. Jones going to be part of a new elder board if the present board does the right thing in stepping down? Is JMac working on assembling a new team of elders?

    This is like watching a boxing match. JMac has attacked but he keeps getting counter punched and badly. His opponent (TED, Julie and thousands that he been hurt) know his moves they just wait for him to throw the next punch. He is taking a beating but he won’t throw in the towel. At the end of each round he goes back to his corner (in this case Naples) to try and figure out what to do. JMac won’t listen to his water boy (elders). JMac has complete control of the decision of what he will do next to win the fight (trying to survive at HBC). His trainers (XLT team) are in total chaos. If he loses the fight, they won’t be on the gravy train any longer.

    Get ready for the next round. This could be a 12 round fight. JMac has lost the first 4 rounds. Has taken a beating; got knocked down twice in a couple of rounds but he gets up to continue the fight.

    Do not think JMac will do anything to survive this battle.

    • John says:

      I personally believe we are in the 12th round.

      The reason he has made what have looked like unforced errors is because he can’t refinance the loan he has—or at least that’s my guess.

      Think about this: Banks are relatively easy to get money from right now…

      Why did the bank (and seemingly a lot of banks) turn Harvest down for its loans…the answer is simple: Harvest’s financial situation isn’t good.

      The “clock” on this isn’t James (IMO), it’s the debt…

  2. pasquale presto says:

    Here is a Solution that I’m sure the MacDonald’s can get behind:

    There is only one chance for Harvest to survive as anything.
    The entire group of ‘so-called leaders’ must do as The defendants, in the HBC lawsuit, have requested.
    Confess completely,
    Repentant completely
    each one publicly, in their own words, in front of the cameras
    and THEN………..just before resigning….

    Disband the illegal XLT family Pollitt- bureau AND IMMEDIATLEY, AS IN RIGHT NOW

    Name all the Defendants, in the HBC lawsuit, to the ELDER BOARD with a 10 year un-cancellable term.

    Then and only then will we have any chance at transparency and the beginnings of TRUST in governance.

  3. The Least Of These says:

    Wow… when you read the above, Marquardt’s testimony. Does that not sound cult like? Raise you hand in salute and swear allegiance to James? Is that not blasphemy if a pastor?!?

    And what happened when HBC Spring Lake gave Camp Harvest to HBC? And why did it happen?

    And the thing that bothers me most is the consistency in each letsin’s story on stifling the congregation from asking questions. That was the reason my father left the catholic seminary when he was a younger man.

    Only God will not fail us. But James, more and more, sounds like he made a deal with “the other guy”.

    • Ed says:

      Camp Harvest was given to HBC from the Van Kampen family. Pretty sure there was no HBC Spring Lake when that happened.

  4. Dennis Sanders says:

    I’ve been following this since 2013 and you’ve handled this very well up now. Today, however, I believe your 1st 2 questions are unfair to Mr. Jones. You should have asked him privately before asking them publically. I am disappointed by this post.

    • Could you explain what makes the first two questions unfair, and why TED should have asked Mr. Jones those questions “privately”? (I don’t think Mr. Jones is receiving questions from Ryan & Scott privately…)

      Mr. Jones is free to read this post and respond in the comments section, like the rest of us. OR he could reach out to Scott and Ryan with responses. OR Scott & Ryan could reach back or to him. In those cases, Scott & Ryan could update this post — which they’ve done in the past.

      Here’s my question: Mr. Jones, why have you turned a blind eye to sin & corruption at HBC for so many years?

      • Mike Medow says:

        Well said, Jessica (Ex-Harvest Member).

        If someone desires to be an elder, they are to be held to a higher standard. Look to how Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and others handled hypocrisy in the church. (Read the four gospel accounts and the epistle letters to the churches). Look at how we are told to expose works of darkness (Eph. 5:11-12; Ps. 94:16; Gal. 2:11-14).

        To Leaders at Harvest—May 1 Timothy 5:20 be a reminder to you—“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.”

        To People Who Can’t Understand Why Some of us Continue to Expose Works of Darkness and Hypocrisy in the Church—Read your Bible—From cover to cover, we read God is far more interested in purifying His people than He is in propping up the image of hypocrital religious leaders.

        It’s time you hear the words of Jesus, the founder and leader of our faith louder than you hear the words of James, the founder and leader of Harvest Bible Chapel.

  5. LuvJesus says:

    They (the elders) also said they would be posting the latest update (that was read at each campus on Sunday, except Naples apparently) on the “In the News” section of the website, and they have yet to do so. I wonder why? If they updated the list of elders online it’s not like they havent had a chance yet…

  6. Amy Moore says:

    Resigning in silence and secrecy then waiting for watchbloggers to do a roll call of existing elders is not an efficient or compelling way to effect real change. If Jones wants to change Harvest, that would be best accomplished taking a stand from a position of leadership.

    It is imperative that the elders come together to make the much needed changes to save Harvest while James is away working on his tan for the next month and half. This winter constitutes the single most important timeframe for elders seeking change to get in there, live up to their biblical responsibilities, and make the changes necessary to restore Harvest to a healthy and godly church.

    If they have the biblical and political will, it would take less than an hour to gather and enact Article 14.01 and through a consensus of elders, legally change the bylaws so that James could be removed. That’s more easily done while James is 1,400 miles away and not able to intimidate leaders with his daily, menacing presence. Men of character need to rise to this challenge and not sneak off quietly merely “hoping” things will change on their own.

    • Soli Deo Gloria says:

      This ^^^^

    • IsmellaRat says:

      You have to understand many many men warned the Elders what was going on under their noses, many pleas went unanswered.
      Former Elders and staff, the Pastors from the GCC, all tried in vain.
      You’re seeing God dismantle everything James tried to build.
      This will all be washed away in a few months, no more Fellowship, no more Walk in the Word, and no more campuses in IL.
      The Lord is speaking now and He will not be mocked!

      • Michael says:

        James didn’t ‘try’ to build anything. The Lord, through James and Harvest, has already built and accomplished more that most people will in their entire lives. What do you mean the Lord will not be mocked? Surely you can’t mean the existence of Harvest mocks the Lord. Without questions, the worship and praise that fills the walls weekly at Harvest is inhabited by the Lord. Why is this site filled with so many that take joy is seeing a brother publicly shamed and a body of Christ loving brothers and sisters suffer.

        • IsmellaRat says:

          Taking joy, are you out of your mind? I take no joy in watching this unfold.
          You judge me unfairly!
          Unless the Lord builds it they will labor in vain.
          Much of what was done was done by man and through manipulation and deceit that is why it’s falling.
          Wake up and see how God lowers the proud.
          Otherwise enjoy the kool-aid.

        • Shada says:

          Very well said Michael, why would anyone want a church to fail.

        • IsmellaRat says:

          Listen junior I said nothing about joy in seeing the destruction that James has brought upon himself.
          If the Lord built it, it would prosper not be torn down like it is.
          God will not be mocked when men use deceit and manipulation in His name.
          The innocent sheep suffer when the Shepard is corrupt.
          Get your eyes off of man and back on the Lord.

      • One of the 1000... 12-14 families... of whose face James didn't know... See Marquarts testimony says:

        I can’t imagine how difficult it has been for the authors of the Elephant Debt. But, I’m glad they were willing to do what others wouldn’t / couldn’t. Its an encouraging act to witness. Thank you for speaking up!

        Harvest used to be such a great fellowship. Their college and HS ministry was a beacon of light in a dark world back in the early 2000’s. The quality of disciples was second to none. Things had progressively got worse since the giving of Camp Harvest.

        We left Harvest RM around 2005, eventually went to CL around 2011 to 2012. Such great people at that campus too. That is until you start asking questions about James, at that time his house was becoming more of a topic.

        Then there was that all churches meeting for only the Men to swear allegiance to JMAC. As it was reported at that time he was under attack from enemies outside the church. I believe it was at the Elgin campus where he asked the Men to throw one hand in the air and repeat after him. Looked a bit to much like an unsavory salute. For the life of me I can’t remember what it was. It was strange enough, that when it was brought up in our small group, the leader tried to just quiet the conversation.

        Eventually, I had a phone call with pastor Bradshaw, he assured James was doing well, and his expensive house was not an issue. We eventually left Harvest. My impression at that time was something was off, the elders were yes men, James always before the flock. It was also surprising every time a small group started to grow, they were in a hurry to divide it up, to “multiply.” More times than not, this ended up being a poor strategy. Usually shedding off quality people.

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