The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel have formally disqualified their former and founding pastor, James MacDonald, from ministry Sunday, emphasizing his actions do not meet Scriptural requirements to be an elder.
In a letter that was read to the congregation Sunday, Elder Karl Jackson noted that though the elders were grateful for MacDonald’s three decades of ministry to the church, they nevertheless had to make a statement with some difficult truths about his conduct.
“On February 12, 2019 James MacDonald’s employment was terminated by our elder board as our Senior Pastor for not being ‘above reproach’ and for having a ‘sinful pattern of inappropriate language, anger, and domineering behavior,'” the elders stated. “You may be wondering why we’re coming to you now, months after James’ dismissal. As we spent time with the congregation and visited all of our campuses, it became clear that there was confusion over the previous statements about our former Senior Pastor. We are here today to provide clarity to our church family and to those who listened to and supported Walk in the Word, a ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel.”
Citing 1 Timothy 5:19-20 — which speaks of not charging an elder “except on the evidence of two or three witnesses” and to rebuke those who persist in sinning the presence of all, that the rest may stand in fear — the elders “interviewed and documented first-hand evidence of these accusations seeking to validate or refute them” against MacDonald since he was, in addition to being the lead pastor, also an elder.
“In this investigation, you can be assured of three things. (1) We have only considered accusations that included two or three witnesses. In fact, everything that is covered in this letter includes many more witnesses than the biblical requisite of two or three. (2) We have only considered evidence from first-hand witnesses. (3) We have listened to these witnesses in groups of two interviewers in order to protect us from an individual opinion swaying the outcome,” the elders stated.
The elders found that MacDonald was not above reproach, respectable, and upright, among other criteria set forth in 1 Timothy, Titus, and 1 Peter.
“We found that James had a pattern of improperly exercising his positional and spiritual authority over others to his own advantage” and that he had “made repeated efforts to profit himself beyond what was honorable,” the elders wrote, noting a pattern of extravagant spending utilizing church resources that resulted in his personal gain.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter