Julie Roys on James MacDonald Being Fired From Harvest Bible Chapel

I woke up this morning to multiple texts informing me that James MacDonald had been fired from Harvest Bible Chapel. My first emotion was relief. Finally, some 10 months after a former Harvest pastor contacted me and urged me to investigate the mega-church pastor, MacDonald was out.

No longer can he prey on the sheep he was supposed to protect.  No longer can he use church members’ money to line his pockets. No longer can he rage on innocent employees and get people to believe the lies he’s spread about those who challenge him.

Scripture encourages believers to rejoice in the judgment of God (Psalm 96:13Rev. 18:20) and this morning I felt a bit of that. But it was quickly tempered.

Sadly, thousands today are reeling in pain. A church is in shambles. Evangelicals are publicly embarrassed—again. And more men remain in positions of influence who have done reprehensible things.

No, today is not a day to rejoice; it is a day to pause and reflect. A day to mourn. A day to pray. A day to sit before God and plead for revival—both personally and collectively as His Body.

It is a solemn day. And in that spirit, I offer the following thoughts and suggestions that have been ruminating in me for some time:

  • Continue the Cleansing at Harvest

While I am heartened that the elders finally removed MacDonald, he should have been fired five years ago. That’s when eight former elders sent a letter to the sitting elder board, warning them that MacDonald was disqualified for office. Yet instead of investigating MacDonald, the board excommunicated some of the messengers. And shockingly, two of the elders who participated in a video slandering those men, Steve Huston and Paul Inserra, remain on the board. Huston even chairs the Executive Committee of the Elders.

In addition, Jeff Smith, the chairman of the finance committee who’s clearly failed to oversee properly the finances of the church, remains an elder.  So do Fred Ananias and Scott Stonebreaker, who wrongfully fired Pastor John Secrest from HBC Naples. And let’s not forget that the entire elder board recently pledged their unconditional support for MacDonald, showing a grievous misunderstanding of what it means to be an elder. All of them should step down and a transition team should be put in place.

Plus, the members of Harvest’s dwindling executive leadership team, including MacDonald’s two sons, should resign. These men worked very closely with MacDonald, and certainly knew of his reprehensible behavior. At best, they did nothing.  At worst, they protected him and punished his critics. If Harvest is going to have any hope of reforming its culture, it needs a clean slate and fresh leadership. These men need to go.

  • Fix the “Evangelical Machine”

The men surrounding MacDonald at Harvest weren’t the only ones who insulated him from accountability. As I wrote last year after blowing the whistle on the Moody Bible Institute, there’s an entire evangelical infrastructure, or “celebrity machine,” that shamefully protects the powerful. Sadly, evangelical leaders have known about MacDonald’s miserable behavior for years. I’ve heard them repeatedly talk about it behind closed doors.

MacDonald should have been removed from radio in 2012 when his gambling first came to light. I remember talking to leaders at Moody about it and being assured that MacDonald was repentant, only to find out later that he had been gambling with Moody’s chairman of the board.

But more recently, I heard a recording that’s perhaps the most disgusting example of this collusion and protection that I’ve ever witnessed. I am hoping and praying that Mancow will publish the full 50 minutes of audio that he has. As I mentioned, I have heard that full audio. And it includes two separate conversations with men in powerful positions within evangelicalism. They laugh along with MacDonald’s vile comments and become accomplices in his smear campaign against me and others. This kind of behavior is reprehensible and inexcusable and needs to end now among evangelical leaders. The good, old boy network is not good. It’s sinful.

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Source: Julie Roys

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