Updates at the end of the post…
For several days, sources have told me that an announcement would be made today or tomorrow from Harvest Bible Chapel that James MacDonald was leaving Harvest Bible Chapel. I have been unable to confirm them but yesterday radio personality and former (?) friend of MacDonald broadcast his contention that MacDonald was out. The transcript of the announcement is at The Elephant’s Debt and was the subject of tweets from Muller. Here is a portion:
And this weekend, they will announce: James MacDonald is no longer a part of Harvest Bible Chapel. That is what my sources are telling me. There are many locations including the brilliant, beautiful cathedral in Chicago. And this will be the biggest story in religious news on earth today and you’re hearing it here first. I take no joy in this, but I really found him to be just a conman. Would have been a great car salesman. Would have been a great radio salesman. I would’ve liked to offer him a job selling the Mancow show here. My sources tell me he was fired, his assistant Rick will soon be gone and also the boys who I like a great deal, Luke and especially Landon. Again, I take no joy in this, but they also will be gone shortly. Again, I take no joy in this.
If this claim turns out to be accurate, it will mark the end of a stormy chapter in HBC’s history. Since 2013, HBC has been in and out of the center of public controversy. Most recently, the focus of attention has been on a defamation lawsuit brought by MacDonald and the church against two bloggers, their wives and journalist Julie Roys. The suit was abruptly dropped by the church when a judge refused to stay public revelation of information gained during the discovery process. Ultimately Roys’ investigative reporting and the lawsuit ignited withering public scrutiny.
I will provide updates here as I get them including a response to my email to HBC.
In hindsight, the most recent elder update (2/2/19) may have been signaling changes to come.
UPDATE | Shared in weekend services by Campus Pastors February 2-3, 2019
As shared with you two weekends ago, the Elders and staff are continuing to get low before the Lord. We have been working diligently to position our church in strength and health during this difficult season. To that end, the Elder Board has commissioned a team that has already begun to help us during this time.
The purpose of this team is to study and address critical areas of relationships and church functions that we know need to be addressed. It will consist of current Elders, staff, church members, and multiple outside professionals. As the plan continues to take shape, here are a few first priorities:
- Repentance – As the elders and leaders identify areas of sin, the first priority is repentance.
- Recovery – Ensure that the ministries of Harvest Bible Chapel are operating effectively in light of recent leadership transitions. Assign responsibility to existing Executive Leadership Team/staff and engage interim outside professional leadership where needed. Communicate effectively regarding our plan moving forward to increase confidence within our congregation.
- Review – Conduct a full review of our operating history to identify areas where we need to own our mistakes and areas that require change for a stronger way forward.
- Reconciliation – Initiate the peacemaking process under the direction of a third party, to pursue healing and reconciliation in all damaged relationships. The team will also seek to learn from all parties involved in an effort to help the ongoing efforts.
- Renewal – Recommend a leadership and operating structure that will position the church for future success in meeting the needs of the body.
Currently, our Elders are meeting multiple times per month. We will share more specifics on the work of this team as it unfolds in the weeks ahead, as well as other important areas the Elders and staff are working on.
Please continue to lift up the MacDonald family in prayer and also our pastors and Elders. We covet your prayers for wisdom and discernment as we seek the Lord together during this important time in our church.
Mancow Muller may have a different source of information today. He now suggests MacDonald may be soliciting donations for HBC.
Tribune reached out to me… hide your wallets! Boss MacDonald (Harvest Cult) is back in town after his lengthy vacation in Florida and he needs YOUR $$$ to fund his lavishness. Open the books conman! @HarvestBible1 @PamCapitanini @reachjulieroys @jamesmacdonald
— MancowMuller (@MancowMuller) February 9, 2019
An informed source tells me that elders at HBC are meeting today. Currently, there is uncertainty about the direction of HBC with some elders advocating for MacDonald’s removal and others wanting to keep him in place.
19 thoughts on “Mancow Muller: James MacDonald is Out at Harvest Bible Chapel (UPDATED)”
I see the Chicago radio host Mancow Muller has been prolific in spilling his feelings and thoughts about Harvest and James MacDonald on twitter since his open letter. He runs the gamut, from hurt, to outrage, to regret, to sorrow – stages of grief. He’s been emotionally all over the map and declaring he will file a class action Wednesday morning.
That pales from a portion of his show Tuesday morning.
He’s a pro, and did not actually say that the clips he played were of James MacDonald.
The react went beyond social media.
Christianity Today came out with a statement.
Julie Roys came out with a statement.
People who have ticked off MacDonald are publicly starting to say…wait a minute, that woman in the elevator tried to set me up. Was she sent in retribution? Wait, those fake twitter accounts implying nude pics of me make sense now,etc.
What is evident from the clips is that the alleged James MacDonald cannot brook criticism and retaliates. Scorched earth contempt.
The clips are nauseating, alive in audio and not impersonal text, mirroring what people have said for years about the real James MacDonald and the culture at Harvest Bible Chapel.
As a reporter I took a lot of abuse, it came with the territory, but this…the alleged James MacDonald goes so far beyond the pale, things jump into criminal.
Such as…threatening to put porn on the computer of Harold Smith, President and CEO of Christianity today.
Muller tweets he has 100 hours of tape.
Something has got to give, Lord, have mercy on Your people.
This is just unbelievable. GO AWAY Macdonald. For crying out loud haven’t you done enough damage?
“I take no joy in this, but I really found him to be just a conman.”
I’m pretty sure that’s the whole point of organized religion. We really, really need to tax it.
Research how Scientology got their 501c3 status. They basically harassed and threatened IRS officials and their families for years to get it. Not joking. They do this to anyone they feel is a threat. Way too many of these evangelical pastors are doing the same these days.
There is no news at Harvest this weekend that James MacDonald is leaving. I don’t know where Mancow got his info. Perhaps he was given bad info. Perhaps the situation at Harvest changed. I feel like this is the time when Geraldo opened Al Capone’s vault.
Never has more “news” been generated from less information.
I don’t know! We are living in a trumpian age, where “news” means whatever Trumpty Dumpty wants it to mean!
He’s toast. Whatever you think of Mancow, he’s got a large microphone and is not afraid to use it against him. If they back off from firing MacDonald, Mancow will be a constant thorn in their side until they do.
I think in this case, he may well be the proverbial straw.
I really doubt that MacDonald would step down this easily. Unless they give him a real nice severance MacDonald has way too much to lo$e. In other words why should MacDonald give up his family bu$ine$$?
From a January 29 post over at “The Elephant’s Debt”:
“…Put simply, this situation may be mirroring the Mark Driscoll / Mars Hill collapse of 2014. As you may recall, as the internal and external pressure upon Driscoll were reaching their fever peak, Driscoll (who is a close friend of MacDonald’s ) took a “break” from teaching as the church investigated the various charges being levied against their pastor. Driscoll took this break in August of 2014. Within less than two months of taking a “break,” Driscoll returned to the church to announce that he was “resigning” in October 2014. Just two months, Driscoll had launched a new website; and now was claiming all of his back catalog of sermons as his own intellectual property….”
See link: https://theelephantsdebt.com/2019/01/29/macdonald-fundraising-while-on-a-sabbatical-from-his-sabbatical/
how about “you don’t have to pay your $40M+ debt you foisted on us” I think that’s far more than enough $everance.
…or maybe about a million other scenarios. Really, guys, when did your “righteous anger” give way to gossip, then to malicious gossip, then to rumor-mongering, then to slander?
What’s next? Pretending you’re Christians? oh…never mind…
Slander? Yeah. that didn’t go too well for James MacDonald either.
The healthiest step seems to be for the majority of those in leadership to resign with no further affiliation with HBC. This means that James MacDonald and every one of his enablers in church authority will, as you say, stop pretending that they are Christians. They could come clean today, right now.
The root problem, which many have correctly identified, is the commercialization of religion. Above all, it leads to idolatry. People who have been hurt, or seen others hurt, by the perverted results are angry, and perhaps this is the reason why people like MacDonald are attracting so much opprobrium.
Not long ago, I stayed with a friend (a relatively recent convert to Christianity) who was trying to come to terms with financial shenanigans at the church of which he is a member. He is finding the whole thing deeply hurtful. I might add that the outfit he attends seems to present some pretty unhealthy ideas of God, such as ‘magigod’ (who does tricks at and for people’s convenience as long as they part with enough of their money) and ‘psychogod’ (who condemns willy-nilly whole groups of people of whom he – or rather the ‘church’ in question – does not ‘approve’), which doesn’t help, to say the least. I’ll do my best to help him, and will not be charging a fee for my efforts!
I understand the dislike on some people’s part of denominations, but the checks and balances that cross-congregational oversight can bring can help to avoid the kinds of distortions (theological, financial …) too often seen at ‘independent (mega)churches’. It is also useful to understand that one is part of something that transcends communities and even nations, helping people to avoid ending up worshipping some tribal godlet that it essentially a projection of the prejudices of a particular bunch of people in a particular time and place.
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