Image: James MacDonald, pastor Harvest Bible Chapel
Recently, Harvest Bible Chapel sued bloggers and a journalist who reported about the church. Since then various questions have been raised about why a church would sue fellow believers. In a statement dated yesterday but apparently uploaded today, the church addressed the lawsuit and their problem with journalist Julie Roys.
Q. “Why did we proceed with the lawsuit now, given that the attack bloggers had not published since December 2017?”
A. As of June 2017, the attack bloggers had not published since January of 2014 due to a period of relative peace in our church. Then, as we were concluding a difficult process of separation from leading HBF and all the churches we had planted, the attack bloggers began to publish in earnest doing great damage through outright falsehoods. This, after more than four years of silence and with significant detrimental impact upon treasured relationships in our own church and among our church plants. So after sixteen months of reflection and consultation among Christian leaders outside our church family, we decided to move past self-examination and the many changes we had made and take action to protect our church family. We agreed that the bloggers refusal to come under Matthew 18’s
prescription for conflict resolution among believers, freed us to “treat them as a non-believer” (Matthew 18:17) and seek the legal protection afforded us in the civil authorities “ordained by God for the punishment of wrongdoers” (Romans 13:1-6).
In the statement, HBC’s leaders makes it clear how they feel about journalist Julie Roys.
The issue with Julie Roys is her lack of objectivity and how she came to focus on Harvest Bible Chapel, a church she has never participated in. Our awareness of her attempts to stir up gossip, sow discord, inflame old animosities, and confront sensitive matters with specific church families in order to discredit the church led us to include her in the lawsuit.
In some circles, what HBC describes might be called reporting and fact finding but I guess we will have to wait for Roys’ article in WORLD to find out.
Image: By Esther 5000 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48825134