From time to time, people ask us: how have we gotten here? How have things gotten so crazy? Perhaps it’s time for a short recap through the lens of Mancow Muller.
In 2012, James MacDonald invited the well-known, millionaire, prosperity gospel preacher known as T.D. Jakes to his conference called “The Elephant Room 2.” The Gospel Coalition (TGC), of which MacDonald was a member, strongly disagreed with this move. Indeed, the TGC’s concerns were so strong that many members of the coalition began to push for MacDonald’s resignation from the organization. Felling the pressure, MacDonald did eventually “resign” citing “methodological” differences as his reason for leaving. While there were many questions and concerns at the time, one central concern was whether James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll would provide sufficient critique of Jakes’ prosperity gospel teachings, the heretical theology that God will reward our faith with material wealth and blessings.
With cameras rolling, James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll proceeded to ask Jakes a series of questions regarding the Trinity; and Jakes’ response were slippery at best. More significantly, MacDonald failed to ask a single question regarding Jakes’ views on wealth, theology and/or the blessings of God stemming from personal faith. He even admits this failure in the lawsuit:
“The ED website falsely asserted that James S. MacDonald did not address ‘Jakes’ well established history of preaching the prosperity gospel’ simply because he did not do so publicly.” 
To the watching evangelical world (including pastors and theologians such as Tim Keller and Don Carson), it appeared as though prosperity gospel preaching was being ushered in the front door by James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll.
After reading the summaries of The Elephant Room 2 conference, the authors of this blog wrote their first article about James MacDonald and his failure as an Elder to guard the sheep from errant, destructive and ultimately predatory theology. It was at that time that we began to privately hear from former pastors and elders that while MacDonald’s apparent shift in theology was troubling, what concerned them most was the nature of their experiences with him over the years.
MacDonald’s defense, at that time, was that the evangelical world was falling under the influence of men like David Platt, who were rejecting the crass consumerism of the West. MacDonald believes:
“We need a full-orbed theology of joy in God that includes joy in the good gifts God has given us. Emphasizing radical sacrifice can lead to poverty theology that is all about the immediate divesting of money rather than the multiplication of money that will lead to greater involvement in mission.”
As you can see, at that time, there were serious concerns about the trajectory of MacDonald’s theology. Was he headed towards adopting the prosperity gospel?
The authors of the blog were convinced that a public airing of the issues surrounding MacDonald’s character was necessary to defend the church. While the former elders and pastors would not allow us to publish many of their private stories and experiences, we were able to publish all manner of questions regarding his personal finances and the church’s finances, which appeared to conflating at an alarming rate. So we told the story of how Harvest accumulated $70 million in debt (see the 2008 audit on the HBC website), without the full knowledge of the greatly expanded Elder Board. We also brought to light the nature of his extravagant lifestyle. When we did, he pledged to voluntarily scale back “for the sake of Jesus,” moved into a smaller home, and then began plans to construct a new, even more luxurious home.
Early this morning, after a week of publicly questioning MacDonald on both the radio and on Twitter, Mancow Muller, the WLS morning host and Chicagoland radio legend, wrote an open letter to James MacDonald, which was published in The Daily Herald. This letter needs to be read and appreciated in its entirety. This deeply personal letter reads as one Christian brother pleading to another out of love, but as he does so, he makes numerous, blisteringly sharp remarks about MacDonald’s “cult-like” choices, demanding that MacDonald face the church and answer his critics. So to read our post and assume that you understand the entirety of what he is saying would be a mistake. We are simply highlighting one issue in a devastating letter – an issue that pertains to the very origins of The Elephant’s Debt almost seven years ago.
So here we are.
As of this morning, Mancow Muller is now functioning for the evangelical world as the prophet Nathan functioned before King David.  And after seven years, Mancow Muller’s testimony finally begins to answer some of the questions we have asked about both MacDonald’s theology and his character. In addition to charging MacDonald with creating a culture of “authoritarianism, secrecy, intimidation, outlandish fundraising expectations, poor financial controls and debt,” he also tells a private story about MacDonald asking him to donate millions to the church.
Pastor James … asked me to donate $3 million recently. This seemed rather tone-deaf to me because I was unemployed at the time. The number kept shrinking until I was asked if I could at least sell all of my memories (in the form of my memorabilia) and give that money to Harvest. My weakness was sickening. I wish I had said something more aggressive about how awful it was. Instead, I just sat there with a stupid smile on my face.
“Why don’t you sell your Harley?” I joked with Pastor James, trying to lighten the mood. “No,” he responded, “I like my motorcycle … but if you don’t give, see who is more blessed — me or you.“
Do you see it?
As we said above, the full letter is worth reading in its entirety. And thus, we post it again for your consideration.
 This citation can be found in paragraph 83 of the legal complaint.
 2 Samuel 12