James MacDonald Pursuing Arbitration With Harvest Bible Chapel in Dispute Over His Firing and “Walk in the Word” Broadcast

Harvest Bible Chapel founder James MacDonald is still contesting his firing from the greater Chicago megachurch even as police investigate murder for hire allegations.

Elders at the embattled megachurch revealed in an announcement Saturday that MacDonald is pursuing arbitration with the church to settle a dispute over his firing and the church’s broadcast ministry, Walk in the Word.

“On May 16, 2019, we received a letter informing us that James MacDonald is pursuing arbitration with Harvest Bible Chapel through the Institute for Christian Conciliation,” the church said.

“Arbitration is a method used to resolve disputes outside of the courts. Essentially, it allows a group of arbitrators to listen to arguments presented by both parties and then the arbitrators decide how this issue will be settled. Both parties submit to the decision of the arbitrators as it is legally binding. This is not a lawsuit in a court of law, and James has not sued our church by taking this action. The issues of this claim primarily involve the termination of James MacDonald and the ownership of Walk in the Word,” the announcement continued.

MacDonald’s Feb. 12 ouster from Harvest Bible Chapel was triggered by “highly inappropriate recorded comments” he made on a radio program as well as “other conduct.”

He was recorded talking about planting child pornography on Christianity Today CEO’s Harold Smith’s computer, and making crude remarks about independent journalist Julie Roys — including joking that she had an affair with CT Editor-in-Chief Mark Galli — and a vulgar reference to Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.

He also exited the megachurch under a cloud of allegations of financial abuse.

The elders maintain that he was fired for cause and that Walk in the Word belongs to the church.

“As the leaders of this church, we are committing to communicating about this arbitration process as it progresses. There is no desire to keep this matter unnecessarily private. We expect this to take months, not weeks. The Elders and Church Leadership Team are united in their position that James MacDonald’s termination was with cause and that Walk in the Word is a ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel,” they insisted.

The announcement came just days before police in Illinois confirmed they are investigating new claims that James MacDonald sought to find a hitman to commit murder multiple times.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair