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.
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.