Harvest Bible Chapel, James MacDonald, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Bullies

Former Long-Time Harvest Bible Chapel Elder Dave Corning Accuses Pastor James MacDonald of Abuse of Power, Lack of Accountability

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Harvest Bible Chapel’s former long-time elder Dave Corning releases public letter to expose Pastor James MacDonald of abuse of power, lack of accountability, and personal financial gain.

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“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing
but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”  Matt 7:15

Holy Moly, that’s a lot of Twitter followers!  When reading this blog post, please consider how many people are and have been affected by Harvest Bible Chapel’s Pastor James MacDonald!

I have to say, I took in a deep sigh when I read this letter.  And then I e-mailed the guys at The Elephant’s Debt (TED) blog  seeking permission to copy the letter here so we could discuss it. Permission was granted.

When looking at spiritual abuse, I’ve said a number of times that it seems like all spiritual abusers go to a Creepy Spiritual Abuse School (CSAS) because they all behave the same, follow the same abuse patterns (they abuse their power, lack accountability, etc), use the same defense mechanisms, twist the same Bible verses.  Their behavior really is predictable.   This is probably the “best” letter I’ve read that uncovers so many aspects of abuse in such a clear fashion.  It should be sent out far and wide as a teaching tool on spiritual abuse.  I applaud Dave Corning for his powerful public statement. This statement gives credibility to the many elders who have already left as well as validates many who have been confused. It is so important to expose the truth.

The sad reality, which I mentioned to Ryan at The Elephant’s Debt, is that much harm is done to the Body of Christ when there is spiritual abuse.  Spiritual abuse leaves people confused, not knowing who to trust.  Some will defend their beloved pastor, some will start questioning.  Some will feel betrayed by a man who was supposed to be their godly shepherd.  This is one big mess and the spiritual ramifications may never be known.  We know the fallout.  We’ve seen it.  The most heart-wrenching part of spiritual abuse is what it does to one’s faith. Some may doubt their faith or even have a crisis of faith because of spiritual abuse.

If you found this blog via searching this story, welcome!  If you are from HBC, I’m very saddened to hear about what has been going on.  It is very troubling. I want you to know that we get spiritual abuse here.  Many of us have lived it and are working our way through it. I have posted Mr. Corning’s letter here in the hopes that my readers will tear it apart and identify key abuse issues that raise red flags for an unhealthy or spiritually abusive church. Some people are new here and others have been here for a while.  Please feel free to jump in on the conversation if you have more to share, questions to ask, etc.  ~Julie Anne

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Dave Corning Exposes Harvest Bible Church’s Pastor James MacDonald of Abuse, Lack of Accountability and Financial Gain

September 18, 2013

Today is the official twenty-fifth anniversary of Harvest Bible Chapel, a church that Betsy and I poured our lives into for twenty-two years, from the first informational meeting in May 1988. I served as the Elder Board Chairman for twenty-one years as well as on the boards of Walk in the Word and HBF.

As you may or may not know, we left Harvest nearly three years ago. Why would we leave our church home – where we raised our family, when we were not being forced out – unless we did not believe that it was absolutely necessary to do so? At the end of December 2010 we left of our own accord after many troubling years. We had twelve reasons for leaving that I will not disclose here, but I did share most of them in a meeting with James on December 20, 2010, our last day.

In the beginning of Harvest there was solid accountability for James and all the elders. The church seemed headed in the right direction. There were many good years. But over the years, James’ perspectives changed and he began to treat the church as if it belonged to him. This only escalated when the church was given the 600 acres of land in Michigan by the Van Kampens and the Elgin property by the Greens. He assumed Harvest was his and his to control. Harvest became more and more about him and his insatiable drive to expand his influence. The result has been abuse of power, lack of accountability and major financial gain to him.

James has a big issue with submitting to authority. He once said to me, “I have no problem with authority unless I think it’s stupid”. He has a major issue of entitlement. He cannot reveal his salary because it is indefensible. No one could even determine his total combined income from all of the Harvest ministries without seeing his tax returns. He hides his full income because it is beyond explanation to those who are sacrificially paying for it. That is why he cannot even give his elders more than a pie chart for the budget of the church.

Nearly two years before leaving Harvest, in February 2009, I met with James and told him that I had lost confidence in him and his leadership and that I didn’t want to work with him anymore. Immediately after, he began a concerted effort to weaken the elder board. He used degrading statements such as “You guys are useless; I do my best to make you feel like elders”. Solid leaders left the board.

It was at this point of the church history that James assigned a “research committee” outside of the elder board’s authority and knowledge, to significantly restructure the governance of the church. The intended result was to remove the elders from having authority over the direction of the church – giving him more authority than any one man should have. In essence, he already had it. He had a way of working around the elders to accomplish his objectives and announce them as “approved by the elders”. How James imploded the Harvest elder board in 2009 is remarkably similar to how Mark Driscoll imploded his a year earlier.

On August 23, 2009, there was an Elder meeting to which James invited, unannounced and against protocol, several pastoral staff to attend. His goal was to restructure the Board according the results of the “research” which he himself had directed. He wanted “proof” that he needed more control and greater affirmation. Only two elders dissented – myself, and Bill Ciofani. However, the writing was on the wall. I knew immediately that my time was up. I could not serve under such a system where the Senior Pastor has ultimate control with no true checks and balances. This includes control of the money, the staff, and the entire direction of the church.

It was an extremely difficult decision to leave Harvest altogether but over the next several months it became impossible in good conscience to remain. To do so would leave people with the false belief that James was accountable or that we supported the direction he was taking Harvest.

I rotated off the board in November 2009. It was clear to me and I said so, that the church would have to change its Constitution in order to enact James’ new structure. This can only be done with the full understanding and agreement of the congregation. The current Constitution must be shown to the congregation with the proposed changes in red letters. As far as I know that has never occurred, which would mean the church structure has been operating against the Constitution of the church since 2009. When Scott Phelps, an elder, asked to see a copy of the Constitution he was told there wasn’t one by Steve Huston. I carried one to every board meeting I ever attended.

One of the biggest reasons and the final straw for our leaving was James’ harsh and vindictive treatment of people. He assumed power to fire and hire anyone he chose. Several good people were forced out as James and the XLT, under his submission, decided they were “going in a new direction”.  The elder board operates in submission to the XLT even if they don’t realize it. They do not have any real authority to do anything except carry out James’ wishes.

Over the past nearly three years, the full force of James’ wrath has been manifested against me, and Betsy in nearly every possible way (though often cleverly disguised as the decision or action of another and usually executed through a long-time friend or acquaintance who must betray us to prove allegiance to James). He has worked behind the scenes to destroy our reputations, our ministries, even our livelihoods. One of the most perverse and shocking (though lightly veiled) accusations came in a public sermon by James on June 5, 2011, which also aired on Walk in the Word a year later. The Saturday night message was harsher; the Sunday message was edited. We were portrayed as “blaspheming the church and taking advantage”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our goal was to leave quietly and not cause any division. We fully, but wrongly believed that our friendships and even ministry relationships would continue. People even wrote to us saying as much, until James decided otherwise. There was no issue of sin being called out in us. To the contrary, Rick Donald wrote me and said, he would “never allow anyone to say anything bad about me”. There was no difficulty between us, or any person, except James. That of course, would change rapidly as James mounted charges against us.

In that last meeting, James and I agreed that our differences would remain between us. However, Betsy and I would soon discover that he had set upon a deliberate course to discredit us. What was between James and I, and was to remain as such, became a series of ever-expanding concentric circles of James’ influence of others against us – pastors, staff, flock leaders, friends, even Fellowship churches and leaders of ministries outside of Harvest. James has enlisted the aid of staff, including pastors and elders to slander us, calling us deceptive if we haven’t spoken, or divisive if they believe we have. This lie has been spread not only about us, but about many godly people. Apparently simply to leave Harvest is viewed as “betrayal”.

We sought counsel and were advised not to answer to the slander or engage in dialog with any of these people. We followed this counsel and yet there is a pandemic of strife encircling the globe and dividing even families and close friends – the ultimate result of one man’s actions. Long-time friendships have been utterly decimated.

We did not spread strife or discord. On the contrary, we were painstakingly careful not to. Time and again James used his power and influence to deliberately harm us. The slander continued unabated for over two years. Then suddenly and unannounced, James showed up at my office to “reconcile”. I was not there and am not interested in being maneuvered into “reconciling” with someone so that he can use me in his sermon illustration. James has never repented of nor even acknowledged his sinful actions. This absolution continues to be his stance and that of his elders, made clear by last weekend’s Harvest video. We have forgiven James and the many people he has manipulated against us for his gain and our loss. We are not bitter, just very much aware of the tactics and strategies of James MacDonald.

There has been a revision of history taking place at Harvest. Only one perspective is given and there is no opportunity for those who would refute such things. We have prayed consistently for the Lord’s will to be done. We have never tried to convince anyone to leave Harvest. We have only prayed that people would have eyes to see and ears to hear, being fully convinced in their own minds of the choices they must make; choices for which we must give an account to the Lord someday.

The elder board this past weekend said that they are “completely satisfied” with James’ character. This on-going strife is all a result of this man’s character. James just lost three of his best elders. The men around him are not helping him but hurting him. I have told this to two current elders who have contacted me in the last couple of months.

We have not been divisive or deceptive or ever posted anything before this response. In many ways we feel we should have spoken out earlier but we chose to remain silent out of deference for many good people at Harvest. Now, however, I cannot stand back and see the godly reputations of former elders and friends be destroyed.

We stand behind Scott Phelps, Barry Slabaugh, Dan Marquardt and others who have asked simple questions that elders are required to ask and to be given full and satisfactory answers. The church discipline being done is just wrong. People should not be disciplined over the Internet and they should not be disciplined for something the elders are assuming they will do. In fact, church discipline in no way applies to these men. These actions are the result of James’ continuing pattern of using and abusing people.

So much more could be said. But my purpose here is to support the godly men who have been wrongly disciplined by the church and others who have been wrongfully terminated or forced to leave.

When the church ceases to be about the truth, it ceases to be the church. The Lord will bring truth to light, in His time and in His way. I am fulfilling my duty to warn.

Dave Corning

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187 thoughts on “Former Long-Time Harvest Bible Chapel Elder Dave Corning Accuses Pastor James MacDonald of Abuse of Power, Lack of Accountability”

  1. ” “Lords of the Electric Church” – does that sound like the name of a band to you?”

    Um, maybe backup for Black Sabbath?

    Like

  2. “…they all behave the same, follow the same abuse patterns (they abuse their power, lack accountability, etc), use the same defense mechanisms, twist the same Bible verses. Their behavior really is predictable.”

    Not surprising since they all have the same source, John 8:44: “…He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” (NKJV)

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  3. “The result has been abuse of power, lack of accountability and major financial gain to him.”

    There are three things that men in the ministry are constantly subjected to: Pride, women and money. The enemy seeks to trip up men with these things. Truth is, however, that what they become is what they were all along. A thief has always been a thief; his crime simply betrays what he has always been. And the danger of pride is that it makes you blind to your sin, so that you eventually believe what you are saying and doing is right and good.

    “He hides his full income because it is beyond explanation to those who are sacrificially paying for it.” The true mark of a hireling. Ezekiel 34 addresses this in a sobering way.

    “These actions are the result of James’ continuing pattern of using and abusing people.” Cults use the same tactics: Fear and Flattery. Those they cannot control through flattery, they seek to control through fear.

    Jesus addressed the rot of the problem in Matthew 24:48-51: “But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (NKJV).

    These words are sobering, as they are the words of Jesus. If they were the words of man, one could argue with him. But since they are the words of Jesus, one would be wise not to argue with Hm.

    Sadly, this behavior among “celebrity” pastors (I use the term loosely as these men are anything but servants), has always existed (Diotrephes, III John 9). However, it is increasing with alarm particularly in our day. A ma who is not accountable to God will never be accountable to men; so thereby one can accurately measure the true heart of a “servant of the Lord.”

    Dave Corning and his wife are paying the price for integrity. The friendships they lost, however seemingly sincere, were in fact insincere, proven by the fact that their “friends” have turned their backs on them. Their pain is very real. It is like a death in the family. It gets easer to deal with, but they will never get over it. (Unfortunately, my wife and I speak from experience).

    Job expresses the desire of the heart of the wounded, Job 6:14: “To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” (NKJV). Silence, shunning, slander, etc. should not be subjected upon the afflicted. Even if they were to walk away from the Lord, kindness should be our response towards them. Yet, those who question the “celebrity” pastor are subjected to the same abuse that the Cornings (and others) are being subjected to and soon forget their “friends.”

    For the “celebrity” pastor, I would hate to be in their shoes. There is an accounting coming, just as Jesus said. Perhaps in this life, perhaps not. But it is coming and it will be terrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve followed Pastor James for years, listening to his messages on a local radio station. I noticed a few years back, around the time of the Elephant Room, that he started putting more and more work into refining his image. No longer was he this goofy looking bald guy, but now he was better dressed and seemed to permanently grow and color his goatee. I figured he must have gained an image consultant or some such.
    Anyways, I went drove 2 hours to attend a Vertical Chuch tour meeting just for a chance to see him in person last summer. I was so excited. My wife and I arrived very early and waited for the doors to open. We were able to sit in the front row! I couldn’t wait to see one of my Christian heroes in action. The message was good although he did go on about supporting his ministry a bit longer than I would have liked (I had already committed and sent Walk in the Word a few hundred dollars).
    At the end, I couldn’t wait to meet Pastor James, and have him sign my copy of Vertical Church. When I did get face to face with him, along with his wife, it was a complete disappointment. He did not seem to want to make eye contact with anyone. He kept his head down and gave me the signature I had, up until that point, so badly desired. I walked away with mixed feelings. Was it me? Did he condemn me because in my excitement I had forgotten to bring my Bible? A man of God who was one of my spiritual role models did not have time to as much as smile at one of his devoted followers. But it was more than that… there was a feeling of… an ego.. pride… at the time it was hard for me to understand.
    Now, hearing this story… it fits. He wasn’t who I thought it was. I couldn’t even bring myself to read his book after our encounter. I passed on teaching his small group studies in my church. It was obvious to me that something was wrong. I thank God for revealing it to me at the time.
    I will pray for James, and I hope you all will too. He can repent and with prayer and time I have no doubt the Lord can restore in him a true servant’s spirit. God bless you all.

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  5. Sanctified Daily: Welcome to the blog and thank you for sharing your experience. Image control is a common concern for those who are high-controlling church leaders. It is about pride and arrogance. Your story about not making eye contact is very revealing. I have always been convinced that if someone cannot look at you in the eyes, they are hiding something.

    I’m glad you are piecing these crucial signs together. You’re right. We need to continue to pray for MacDonald and his church. There are so many people who are affected by this man.

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  6. Has anyone on this forum, particularly the blogger, ever spoken with Mr. MacDonald personally? I do not attend this church, I know none of the parties, and I have no skin in the game. Even if what Dave Corning said is true, I cannot find any evidence that Christ would want us handling it this way in the name of “warning” everyone. This looks a lot more like gossip to me. If anyone here has a problem with James MacDonald, they (like Mr Corning) should follow Matthew 18 and approach Mr MacDonald in private. Of course Matthew 18 addresses when a brother has sinned against YOU, not someone else.

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  7. Dave,

    This elder already took it through the appropriate biblical procedures. I have another post in which you can read the very public words of MacDonald in which he professes that he and his elders are mediators for God. That is completely against scripture. God’s word clearly says that only Christ is our mediator. MacDonald is a false teacher using his position of authority inappropriately.

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  8. Dave says, ” If anyone here has a problem with James MacDonald, they (like Mr Corning) should follow Matthew 18 and approach Mr MacDonald in private.”

    Yeah, Dave, like JMack would give anybody here the time of day if we tired the Matthew 18 thing–which doesn’t apply to the situation you’re addressing anyway. I’m sorry, but when religious leaders use their fraudulently claimed authority to the hurt of others, they have in my opinion placed themselves in the same category as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and Jesus called them out very publicly. And it wasn’t gossip. And Jesus called them things like wolves. And pigs. And snakes. And whitewashed tombs. Maybe I missed the part where Jesus first privately approached these wolves/pigs/snakes/whitewashed tombs.

    Maybe I missed the part where Paul approached Peter privately before very publicly calling him out. If so, the burden of proof is on you, Dave, to show us where.

    Dave, are we not called to seek justice for the oppressed? If you don’t like how we contend for “the least of these,” how would you do it? For whom do you have a heart, Dave, these mega-so-called-pastors or people like Julie Anne who, along with her daughter and others, got sued for half a million dollars by her former so-called pastor?

    No, I will continue to warn against wolves. Now that I think about it, The Matthew 18 procedure only applies as between sheep. Wherever did you get the idea, Dave, that sheep or shepherds are required to first go privately to the wolves before sounding the alarm? I couldn’t think of a better strategy for getting eaten alive. No thanks!

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  9. Dave

    You write…
    “Even if what Dave Corning said is true, I cannot find any evidence that Christ would want us handling it this way in the name of “warning” everyone.”

    I do have some scriptural “warnings” for believers – If you would like to see them?

    But – Was wondering…
    Are you “warning” us? – That we should NOT be “warning” others?”
    And, “warning“ us, “that Christ would “NOT’ want us handling it this way?”

    And – You write…
    “This looks a lot more like gossip to me. If anyone here has a problem with James MacDonald, they (like Mr Corning) should follow Matthew 18 and approach Mr MacDonald in private.”

    Was wondering…
    If you, Dave, have a problem with SSB, Spiritual Sounding Board, and the folks who comment here – Shouldn’t you? – According to your own words…

    Approach SSB in private?

    Dave – Why didn’t you, Dave, approach SSB in private?

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  10. Julie Anne

    Yeah – It’s funny how that works…

    Dave, believes it’s okay for him to “Warn” SSB, that we sound like Gossip…
    And – “that Christ would “NOT’ want us handling it this way?”

    But, it’s NOT okay for SSB, to “Warn” the Body of Christ about, eerrr…

    Wolves? Spirtual Abusers? Hyper-Authoritarian pastors?
    False Apostles, Many False Prophets, False Christ’s, False Teachers, Etc…
    James MacDonald?

    I believe Jesus had a few words about these guys… 😉

    Blind Guides – Hypocrites – Just to name a few…

    Mat 23:24-25
    Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, **hypocrites!**
    for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter,
    but within they are full of extortion and excess.

    hypocrisy – dictionary

    the practice of claiming to have **moral standards** or **beliefs**
    to which one’s own behavior does NOT conform;

    Wow – How accurate is that for this guy…

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  11. I am being attacked by people from my church Harvest Niagara for questioning James MacDonald and his friends! Why are so many churches in Canada, the U.S. and around the world not using discernment?

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  12. WOW! Regardless of what James’ actions are, this is not the way to handle this. Amazing that we always point out the speck in our brothers eye and fail to see the beam in our own. This in no way furthers the gospel to anyone. I am in no way connected to this but just stumbled on this as I was researching a sermon I heard online. You all should be ashamed of yourselves. Anyone that may have been saved in this church may now be questioning their salvation because of your actions. It is not our responsibility to judge or talk about this. This does nothing to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a deacon at my church and it goes the other way too. Too many church “leaders” have an agenda and when the pastor doesn’t do as they please, they rip him for many years before leaving. If you’re not happy with the way a church is run… just leave. Don’t gossip or slander… we’re not called to do that. It’s our responsibility to follow our Pastor as he follows after Christ. If you don’t feel he’s doing that, then leave and find another church. But instead, since we’ve been there for years we feel a sense of entitlement and “we won’t leave, he needs to change”. As I’ve been fond of saying, if you don’t like the direction our pastor is taking… “we’re not asking you to leave church, just this church”. How many people have been permanently damaged by people who just won’t leave and go somewhere else. “But why should I have to leave, I’m not in the wrong and this is my church”.. has ruined many a church.

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  13. Hi Mark

    I agree when you write…
    “Don’t gossip or slander…”

    Okay – How about if we “reprove” and “rebuke” with ALL authority?
    The unfruitful works of darkness?
    On a public blog, that others also may fear?

    Would this be okay with you? 🙂

    Eph 5:11 KJV
    And have NO fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
    but rather “reprove” them.

    Titus 2:15 KJV
    These things speak, and exhort, and “rebuke” with all authority.
    Let no man despise thee.

    1 Tim 5:20 KJV
    Them that sin “rebuke” before ALL, that others also may fear.

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  14. And Mark

    You seem to “complain and murmer” about the post and comments saying…
    “It is not our responsibility to judge or talk about this.
    This does nothing to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    Was wondering…
    Is it your responsibility to “judge” the folks here?
    Sounds like you are. 😉

    And – How did your comment to the folks here…
    “promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”

    Seems you only mentioned Jesus “once” in your 287 words.

    BUT – Speak of yourself – err – often. 😉
    1 – “I” am in no way connected…”
    2 – “I” was researching a sermon “I’ heard online…”
    3 – “I” am a deacon at my church…”
    4 – “As “I’ve” been fond of saying…”

    Jesus did say, “He who speaks of himself seeks his “OWN Glory.” John 7:18

    If you really believe what you said…
    “It is not our responsibility to judge or talk about this.
    This does nothing to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    Why did you NOT follow your own advice?

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    Like

  15. A. Amos Love,

    This is just not a topic that should be on the internet. Period. Reprove and rebuke should not be done a public forum. The bible clearly speaks that if you have an issue with your brother you are to go to them in private. If they won’t listen you take a witness, if that still doesn’t work, then you bring it be your church. There must be a different version that states #4 go to the internet… And before you say “you didn’t do that” there’s no way for that to be done directly on a blog website.

    The response stated was not an attempt to slander anyone on this blog. As you read through the post, did it once ever cross “your” mind that “Mark’s trying to tear down a church or a pastor”. Oh, that’s right, that goes against the attempt of the masses on this site… There’s no need to judge when it’s all right above for all to see.

    What exactly are others “fearing”. An opinion of those that are not directly involved in this situation? That sounds like a great idea.

    And in response to your “self glory” comment, this is just an underhanded response to discredit my post. In fact, you used “I” at least 17 times in your previous posts… Just sayin’… Maybe the course of action should have been to pray for the discord that is apparent in this post. “My” bad.

    Just to keep from becoming righteously angry, the browser will soon close and this page will not be visited again. How’s that for a post not using “I”.

    Like

  16. btw… Ephesians 4:29
    Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

    Like

  17. Dave A A,

    1. Yes, I did read the letter.

    2.This is only one side of the story from someone who may have an axe to grind. There’s no way of knowing who is slandered whom.

    Like

  18. Hi Mark

    Thanks for joining the conversation.

    You write…
    “The response stated was not an attempt to slander anyone on this blog.”

    Then – what did you mean when you said @ JANUARY 18, 2014 @ 8:03 AM…
    “You all should be “ashamed” of yourselves.”

    Sure sounds like it’s you’re “responsibility to “judge” the folks here?

    Does that statement promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

    And, how does that statement promote “building up” and “Give Grace” here???

    Ephesians 4:29
    “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for *building up*, as fits the occasion, that it may *give grace* to those who hear.”

    Like

  19. Mark

    You write…
    “Maybe the course of action should have been to pray for the discord that is apparent in this post. “My” bad.”

    Yes – It would be better for you to practice what you preach. 😉

    You write…
    “This is just not a topic that should be on the internet. Period. Reprove and rebuke should not be done a public forum. The bible clearly speaks that if you have an issue with your brother you are to go to them in private.”

    If you really believe “the Law’ you place on others?
    How come you reprove and rebuke the folks here ay SSB? In a “public forum?”

    Yes – It would be better for you to practice what you preach. 😉

    How come you do NOT come to me in private? If you have an issue with me?

    Yes – It would be better for you to practice what you preach. 😉

    Did you ever think as you were Judging the folks, telling commenters NOT to Judge, and to be “ashamed” that…

    You were taking on the form of a “Hypocrite?”

    Mat 23:3
    …but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

    Mat 23:24-25
    Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, **hypocrites!**
    for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter,
    but within they are full of extortion and excess.

    hypocrisy – dictionary
    the practice of claiming to have **moral standards** or **beliefs**
    to which one’s own behavior does NOT conform;

    Like

  20. And Mark

    You write @ JANUARY 18, 2014 @ 8:03 AM…
    “It’s our responsibility to follow “our Pastor” as he follows after Christ.”

    Is that in the Bible? Who told you that? Are you adding to the scriptures?
    Do you Qualify to be a “Deacon?” Those are some tuff Qualifications – Yes?

    Haven’t you ever wondered? Why? In the Bible?
    NOT one of His Disciples called themself pastor, or leader, or reverend?
    NOT one of His Disciples had the Title/Position pastor/leader/reverend?

    Where in the Bible does it say WE, His Body, His Sheep, His Disciples; Are to Follow a Mere Fallible Human who takes a Title that belongs only to Jesus?

    Seems those who are “Led” by the Spirit are the sons of God. Rom 8:14
    Jesus said, MY Sheep – Hear MY Voice – and Follow me – Jesus. John 10:27.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  21. Mark

    You write…
    “And in response to your “self glory” comment,
    this is just an underhanded response to discredit my post.”

    NOPE – NOT underhanded at all.

    Underhanded – Dictionary…
    Marked by or done in a deceptive, secret, or sly manner; dishonest, sneaky.

    NOPE – I pointed out your “Hypocrisy” in a “Public Forum.” This Blog. 🙂
    NOT deceptive, or sneaky, or in secrete. NOT underhanded.

    And I did NOT discredit your post – You did that all by your self… 😉

    You said one thing and did another. Mat 23:3
    You did the very things you told the commenters at SSB NOT to do.
    You “Judged” and “Talked” about this in a “Public Forum.”

    I just helped you, and others, to see – the Hypocrisy of your statements.

    Wikepedia – Hypocrisy

    Hypocrisy is the state of falsely claiming to possess virtuous characteristics that one lacks. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie. Hypocrisy is not simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches.

    You could have said Thank you… 🙂

    We are called to admonish one another – Warn one another – Yes?

    Yup – You could have said thank you

    Like

  22. Mark,
    The scripture says “take it to the church”, not a church, not the local church, but “the church”. When a pastor is so much in control that he can dismiss elders, the venue cannot be in the church the pastor controls, it must be the the larger body, the church at large. And that is what is being done in this instance.

    Like

  23. An Attorney,
    Yes. This “take it to the church” is problematic. Which ever group this church is, it must needs be an assembly to which the sinner MIGHT possibly listen. Hence our Lord’s subsequent “and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be…”
    Dave had already left the “localchurch” and gone away all quiet – like, just as Mark recommends, before much of the mistreatment he alleges. AND he had already gone privately and with others. His next option might have been the church as a whole in the Chicago area– if there were any cooperation among protestants, but there would be no hope the alleged sinner would listen. He could go to the denominational apostle or bishop or presbytery or convention or ?? But the alleged sinner is THE SOLE DENOMINATIONAL AUTHORITY!
    So, although the Internet may not be ideal– it’s POSSIBLE the alleged sinner might listen– it’s an assembly the alleged sinner utilizes EXTENSIVELY (even to *discipline* other former elders).

    Like

  24. Look online and you’ll find hundreds of sites
    catering to these kinds of institutions teach people, how to meet the love of your
    life, and this includes looks, appearance and personality.
    This is a shocking statement to some, however, said their schools did not have one in place to deal with your shy date.
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    Like

  25. Spiritual Abuse:

    As a former eleven-year attender of the main branch of Harvest Bible Chapel in Rolling Meadows followed by a move to one of the satellites, I can say that easily the last three years I was there my gut was telling me that something was off. The message and the messenger were sending mixed signals.

    When I first began attending HBC, I was a single mom. I ran into financial difficulties and was referred to the benevolence ministry who in turn rebuked me for my irresponsibility with my finances. (I had been a stay at home mom who was married to an abusive, alcoholic who up and disappeared, finances and all). Today, I find myself infuriated that I faithfully tithed to a “church” that went gambling with my pennies that could have fed my children.

    As a single mom wanting to raise godly children, I sent one of my children to the Michigan camp regularly. Finally, on year three she told me to stop. She said no one is “saved” but ministry leaders put so much pressure and shame on the kids to claim a newfound faith. She said she wished I could hear the adults leading the camp and claimed it was a cult of verbally abusive leaders.

    I also served on a ministry team and it was in that role that I first noticed the communication between satellites and the main campus was non-existent if not antagonistic. In this ministry, I also noticed the tenets of Humanism creeping in and I showed leaders of this ministry the proof. What they did was reduce my role in the ministry until I was silenced and I eventually dropped from the ministry.

    Small groups are an important part of Harvest and I was in one of the women’s groups. Multiple times, I brought my concerns to my small group but was rebuffed. I remember stating a concern about putting too much faith in the messenger and not enough faith in the message (the Bible). Increasingly, small group became a weekly attack for expressing my independent thinking and I was met with legalism, which Harvest members dish out with ease. The “flock leader” showed up at some of our weekly meetings and I realize looking back, their role was to identify the enemy.

    For two years now, I have been without a church. The members of my small group do not talk to me at all, nor do my fellow ministry members, both of which I was surrounded by for years. I am a black sheep to be avoided at all cost. A community of “believers” is the last place I would think to go to pour my heart out or grow in faith. I walked away from my faith completely, angry as could be. I have HATED God with a vengeance for what happened at Harvest and for the false community that occurred there. It is only recently that I am coming to a place of returning to God. However, my distrust for the church is likely irreparable and I doubt I will ever again find myself in a community of believers. No, this is not a sin. People throughout the world worship Christ only in their minds for fear of being killed for their faith.

    I was nobody at Harvest, just one of invisible thousands who filled a seat on Sunday and had a small ministry role. I can say that when I found The Elephant’s Debt I was relieved that I was not alone and that what I perceived was happening really was. Actually, it was so much worse. Spiritual abuse does not just happen at the highest levels at Harvest. It happens to anyone who dares to question aloud anything Harvest.

    Dave Corning would not remember me, but he is a good person, a loving husband, a good father and an adoring grandfather. I know this because I was in his New Believers class when I first started at Harvest and his life evidenced this in and out of church. He spoke lovingly of his wife and treated her accordingly. The same goes for his family. I wondered why he had disappeared from the church many years before I left. It is a shame how he was attacked.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Had the same problem with the leaders of The Crowded House missional church planting crew in Sheffield, England. Depressingly familiar. Tolstoy was wrong when he said at the start of Anna Karenina :”Happy families are all alike. Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” It’s exactly the other way around. There is a liberty and creativity to happy biological and spiritual families, and a depressing sameness to the unhappiness in those that are unhappy. All of the newspaper headlines about abuse in the church highlight sexual abuse, but my wife is a clinical psychologist and is clear on this: Spiritual abuse is less reportable, less sensational, but just as abusive and just as toxic in its results.”

    Like

  27. Welcome stephenmcalpine!

    I completely agree. It’s comparable to emotional abuse. It’s silent, but so deadly. It kills your heart and soul.

    Like

  28. I attended HBC a few years back after being told by many people how wonderful the pastor was. I must say that after just a few services I was appalled by the messages and did not return. Spending an hour listening to Pastor James tell about what happened to him on his great family vacation, or while flying to yet another destination, or the famous people he ran into was incredulous. I literally turned around looking at people raptly listening and couldn’t believe no one found issues with this. The last time I went he had purchased a coffin where everyone was to write something on a piece of paper and throw into the coffin for it to be literally buried in the ground. All that kept going through my head was instead of spending money on such stunts wouldn’t it be more deserving to perhaps help the needier church members with that money.

    Like

  29. I had no idea this was going on at HBC. I grew up in a Bible church and attended HBC a few years back but left due to witnessing or being an unwilling part of strange situations that went against some basic simple truths of the Bible. I attended one of the HBC satellite churches.

    If James is doing the Lords work and has been wrongfully accused we all need to pray for this situation to be resolved. If the information provided in the letter posted is true then we need to pray for the truth to win out and for the Lord to provide for it to be used for His glory.

    I think about the day I will stand before the Lord and on the one hand I can’t wait and on the other I am scared because even though I know I am cover by the blood of Jesus, I am so ashamed of the missed opportunities for the Lord and the people I have hurt and the many sins I have committed. We have to be so very grateful that Jesus has taken our sins away. That is the main focus. If you are worshiping somewhere that you feel is not doing so then of course you need to pray and do as the Holy Spirit directs.

    Harvest is a huge opportunity for Christ. I hope the leaders such as pastors and elders are indeed following what the Lord is telling them in their hearts. I have seen many people convince themselves that they are doing what the Lord wants, when in realty it is not. I have not listened to any of Jame’s messages in the past few years but I always believed he was very straight forward and honest in his messages.

    All we need to do is pray that the Lord’s will be done. God is always in control and to him there are no hot-shots here on earth. And pride and arrogance always goes before the fall. If people are taking control over and above the Lord and using his Bride (the Church/the Whole Body of Christ) as their own property or to inflict harm, woe to them. If they are faithfully serving the Lord then they are blessed.

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  30. James MacDonald posted “Walk in the Word on Television” to his blog (http://jamesmacdonald.com/blog/walk-in-the-word-on-television/) on March 31, 2014.

    The Christian Post also published “Chicago Megachurch Pastor’s Wife in Tears: I Thank God for Criticism, It Has Sanctified Us” (http://www.christianpost.com/news/chicago-megachurch-pastors-wife-in-tears-i-thank-god-for-criticism-it-has-sanctified-us-121225/), on June 10, 2014, regarding a recent speech by James’ wife, Kathy MacDonald.

    Almost one year after David Corning’s statement was published, it is still relevant:
    _____________________________
    Kathy MacDonald (June 10, 2014) – MacDonald broke down as she recalled the attacks that she and husband James faced…”Unfortunately I feel like I have my PhD in this topic,” she shared with the audience of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Wives Conference.

    David Corning (September 18, 2013) – “Over the past nearly three years, the full force of James’ wrath has been manifested against me, and Betsy in nearly every possible way…He has worked behind the scenes to destroy our reputations, our ministries, even our livelihoods.”
    _____________________________
    James MacDonald (March 31, 2014) – “Attack from outside our church was painful and relentless…”

    David Corning (September 18, 2013) – “This on-going strife is all a result of [James MacDonald’s] character.”
    _____________________________
    Kathy MacDonald (June 10, 2014) – MacDonald said her family has walked through “quite a season” of criticism as their church has expanded. She explained “It’s just the reality at our scope of ministry, people don’t even know us anymore and they think that they do and they say things.”

    David Corning (September 18, 2013) – “[James] assumed Harvest was his and his to control. Harvest became more and more about him and his insatiable drive to expand his influence. The result has been abuse of power, lack of accountability and major financial gain to him.”
    _____________________________
    James MacDonald (March 31, 2014) – “Walk in the Word was merged with the ministry of Harvest bringing all broadcast ministry under the authority of our Elders.”

    David Corning (September 18, 2013) – “The elder board… [does] not have any real authority to do anything except carry out James’ wishes.”
    _____________________________
    Kathy MacDonald (June 10, 2014) – She also said that her husband’s character made them a target for disparaging words. “He is a passionate man and he is a firecracker and he is out there and I love everything about that. But that also means that sometimes there are things that come back at you,” she described.

    David Corning (September 18, 2013) – “One of the biggest reasons and the final straw for our leaving was James’ harsh and vindictive treatment of people.”
    _____________________________
    James MacDonald (March 31, 2014) – “Needed adjustments were made to our governance structure, policy, and systems for accountability/support.”

    David Corning (September 18, 2013) – “James has a big issue with submitting to authority. He once said to me, “I have no problem with authority unless I think it’s stupid”.”
    _____________________________
    Kathy MacDonald (June 10, 2014) – Kathy MacDonald recalled a time when his detractors nearly drove him to quit his ministry. She recalled, “We were driving to church in the midst of all of this real heartache, and my husband said I just don’t think I can do this again.”

    David Corning (September 18, 2013) – “James…has a major issue of entitlement.”
    _____________________________
    James MacDonald (March 31, 2014) – “Personally, I made significant adjustments in lifestyle and liberty to better conform to congregational expectations and prepare for even broader exposure to public opinion.”

    David Corning (September 18, 2013) – “James…cannot reveal his salary because it is indefensible. No one could even determine his total combined income from all of the Harvest ministries without seeing his tax returns. He hides his full income because it is beyond explanation to those who are sacrificially paying for it.”
    _____________________________
    Kathy MacDonald (June 10, 2014) – MacDonald encouraged pastors’ wives…to not allow church members’ barbs to weigh them down.

    David Corning (September 18, 2013) – “When the church ceases to be about the truth, it ceases to be the church. The Lord will bring truth to light, in His time and in His way. I am fulfilling my duty to warn.”
    _____________________________

    Like

  31. Sean,

    Thanks for posting the excerpts from the recent article with Kathy MacDonald and comparing them with Corning’s words. You’re right, nothing has changed.

    Like

  32. I attended this church for around ten years, things were good in the early years!, and left when his son, the youth pastor told me that my fears over not feeling Christ were because I just didn’t want to feel Christ and that I was a bad Christian. Never went back. But I wanted to add on to what he said about good people being forced to leave for no reasons. The youth pastor and highschool pastor (this is a BIG church, people) are both his sons that took over the ministries from outstanding godly men with young families, even though they have no experience or even degrees in ministry (at the time.) Both families had to relocate outside of the state, after years of selfless ministry and changing kids lives. Then he sends in his two knuckleheaded kids who encourage gossip, greed, etc., in any conversation they have with the kids they are supposed to be leading. I could go on for hours about his sons, and James, but I’m going to say I’m glad I left the church when I did. Sadly, others have not seen the light and I lost many good friends over my decision, which is thankfully one even the elders are following.

    Like

  33. Harvest Bible Chapel’s Elder Updates (http://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/blogarchive.aspx?author=Harvest%20Bible%20Chapel%20Elders&blog_id=368679&site_id=10780) has the following as part of the November 17, 2012, entry:

    We have asked Pastor James to make his personal ministry to our church family a higher priority. To that end he has gladly agreed to:

    – Submit to the Elders in all matters of personal freedom and lifestyle.
    – Circulate in the lobby before or after all weekend services, except during an emergency.
    – Clear weekly time in his schedule to meet with anyone in the church requesting an appointment.
    – Submit for prior approval all requests for ministry outside of Harvest.
    – Greatly diminish the amount of time he is away from Harvest annually.

    Given that, as David Corning points out, “James has a big issue with submitting to authority. He once said to me, “I have no problem with authority unless I think it’s stupid”, it’s surprising James MacDonald’s sons aren’t already Elders at Harvest.

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  34. Pingback: Theological Abuse
  35. This letter seems to not be a part of any biblical process for handling disputes in the family of Christ. This letter says to me they strongly disagree with actions of church pastor and after making that known to the leadership and maybe to congregation, they should have TRUSTED God to, in His time, rightly judge. After this, I would have rather left than to a bring cloud over entire ministry without proof of blatant sin. To ask James M. to expose All his personal financial numbers is going to far, pastors have some sense of privacy as well. The board should know his church salary and an overview of monies spent by church, but his personal income outside the church is his business. Wonder if the board of directors shows the congregation their tax returns? Spiritual parenting will always have to deal with disgruntled children. Still have not heard or seen enough proof to merit putting out this letter for the whole world to make judgement with half-information that could be tied to emotionally guided assessments. Not saying James is a saint or perfect, but this is not in-line with how the bible teaches to handles church differences…
    “Then suddenly and unannounced, James showed up at my office to “reconcile”. I was not there and am not interested…”
    Shows me both parties may have some fault.

    I’ll be found trust, praying and obeying God’s righteously taught word…

    Like

  36. Welcome, Charles.

    I respectfully disagree with you on the salary issue. I’ve been in churches my whole life. I’ve never heard of a church holding a pastor’s church salary confidential. The tithe-paying church members have a right to know how much of their $$ is paying their pastor’s salary and where the rest of their tithes are going.

    By the way, recently Pastor MacDonald apologized for the way he and his elders handled this situation. I guess God doesn’t speak through him as he and his elders said. Because God doesn’t make mistakes, does He? This was a big one.

    Like

  37. Hi Anne,
    Agree members should know pastor’s salary limits but being a pastor does not mean you have to share where every nickle and dime goes from the part of the monies (salary) God allows him to manage for or from personal use

    Like

  38. Hi Charles

    You write…
    “This letter seems to NOT be a part of any biblical process
    for handling disputes in the family of Christ.”

    Maybe these will help.

    1 Tim 5:20
    Them that sin “rebuke before ALL,” that others also may fear.

    Eph 5:11
    And have NO fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
    but rather “reprove them.”

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  39. Charles

    You end your first post with…
    “I’ll be found trust, praying and obeying God’s righteously taught word…”

    Was wondering… Because you also write…
    “Spiritual parenting will always have to deal with disgruntled children.”

    Can you explain from “ God’s righteously taught word?”
    Who is doing this “spiritual parenting?”
    And who are the “disgrunled children?”

    And you also write…
    “…they strongly disagree with actions of church pastor…”

    Can you explain from “ God’s righteously taught word?”
    Where one of His Disciples called them self “church pastor?”
    Where one of His Disciples called another Disciple “church pastor?”
    Where there is such a thing as “church pastor?”

    Thanks…

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  40. Charles

    Was also wondering why you ended this quote from Dave Corning?
    Where you did?

    “Then suddenly and unannounced, James showed up at my office to “reconcile”. I was not there and am not interested…”
    Shows me both parties may have some fault.”

    And why you did NOT quote a little more?
    Where Dave Corning explains why he is NOT interested to “reconcile?”

    “Then suddenly and unannounced, James showed up at my office to “reconcile”. I was not there and am not interested in being maneuvered into “reconciling” with someone so that he can use me in his sermon illustration. James has never repented of nor even acknowledged his sinful actions.”

    Seems Dave Corning has seen James in action before…
    And it ain’t pretty…

    Now, If I’m Wrong – Please forgive me…
    And, If I’m Correct – Please apologize…

    But – It looks to me like you’re trying to discredit Dave…
    Trying to make Dave Corning part of the problem…
    When you ended this quote from Dave Corning – Where you did.

    But – Outside of trying to make Dave Corning part of the problem…
    By saying – “Shows me both parties may have some fault.”

    Do you have another reason for ending his quote where you did?

    Ps 138:6
    Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly:
    but the proud he knoweth afar off.

    Ps 40:4
    Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust,
    and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

    Like

  41. As sincere as the current discussion of David Corning’s letter may be, this discourse is missing the point. In this instance, the relevant quote from his letter is as follows:
    ———————————————————————————————————-
    “I cannot stand back and see the godly reputations of former elders and friends be destroyed.

    “We stand behind Scott Phelps, Barry Slabaugh, Dan Marquardt and others who have asked simple questions that elders are required to ask and to be given full and satisfactory answers. The church discipline being done is just wrong. People should not be disciplined over the Internet and they should not be disciplined for something the elders are assuming they will do. In fact, church discipline in no way applies to these men. These actions are the result of James’ [MacDonald] continuing pattern of using and abusing people.

    “So much more could be said. But my purpose here is to support the godly men who have been wrongly disciplined by the church and others who have been wrongfully terminated or forced to leave.”
    ———————————————————————————————————-
    In judging where Pastor James MacDonald’s heart, and the institutional conscience of Harvest Bible Chapel, truly lies, compare the announcement of “church discipline” against the three former elders, from September of last year (https://archive.org/details/JamesMacDonaldHarvastBibleChapel) with the announcement reversing this “discipline”, from September of this year (http://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/10780/blogarchive/blog_id/368679/year/2014/month/9/Blog-Archive).

    Given how heavily nuanced Pastor MacDonald’s statements reversing Harvest’s “discipline” are, replete with references to such equivocal terminology as a “biblically required restorative component”, “a redemptive solution for our differences” and “outside Christian leaders”, it’s difficult, at best, to understand what Harvest’s leadership is trying to communicate. Perhaps the only statement within Pastor MacDonald’s remarks that expresses any real conviction, on behalf of himself and Harvest’s Elder Board, is that “With this action we consider this difficult chapter closed.”

    By the same token, there is now an October Elder Update provided by Harvest (http://www.harvestbiblechapel.org/10780/blogarchive/blog_id/368679/year/2014/month/10/Blog-Archive), which reiterates what is clearly the sincere desire of Pastor MacDonald and Harvest’s current Elder Board regarding any further discussion of their sins against the three former elders. “We are grateful for the lessons of this difficult season now behind us”, declares this month’s update, while devoting a substantially greater amount of real estate on this page to “Pastor Appreciation Month”, and how Harvest’s parishioners can express appreciation to their Pastor, James MacDonald.

    It is, at best, suspicious how the resolution of this dispute between Harvest and the three former elders has apparently reached detente almost exactly one year after Harvest both publicly and relentlessly bore false witness against these three men, in response to their “ask[ing] simple questions that elders are required to ask and to be given full and satisfactory answers”, as David Corning points out. Remember that, as Corning further reveals in his letter, “[Pastor James MacDonald] cannot even give his elders more than a pie chart for the budget of the church”.

    Further, in looking closely at Pastor MacDonald’s remarks last month, he states the following; “For many months, we have labored under the awareness that our church discipline of a year ago was a failure in many respects, not the least of which was the complete lack of a biblically required restorative component, which wronged the brothers that we were attempting to help.”

    Attempting to help? Why, then, did Pastor MacDonald preside over what will undoubtedly be seen as one of the most vicious, feral attacks ever undertaken against people of conscience in church history? When the current Chairman of Harvest’s Elder Board, Steve Huston, declared that the actions of these three former elders were “Satanic to the core”, was he being scripted by James MacDonald? Was that also part of Harvest’s Bible Chapel’s attempt to “help” these former elders? Another important element of David Corning’s letter is his revelation that “The elder board…[does] not have any real authority to do anything except carry out James’ wishes”.

    Furthermore, Pastor MacDonald states that “We delayed making this confession, not wanting to worsen matters as we prayed for a true reconciliation. Praise God, that reconciliation happened meaningfully and mutually this week.” If, in fact, “a true reconciliation” was accomplished, why is it that the outcome of Harvest’s efforts resulted only in the three former elders accepting Harvest’s apology, and agreeing to be “at peace…with Harvest”?

    It’s not hard to see that the primary consideration of Pastor James MacDonald, and Harvest’s current Elder Board, is a limitation of their liability resulting from their slander against three Christ-followers who were only trying to serve the Lord and defend His church. If it is true that, as noted by one respondent on this blog, “Spiritual parenting will always have to deal with disgruntled children”, are there any adults left in positions of authority at Harvest Bible Chapel?

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  42. Sean, welcome to SSB. My thought is that he changed his tune on his own elders after being on the BOAA of Mars Hill (and recently resigning) and seeing the Mark Driscoll fiasco go down in a big way. Look at all the $$ Mars Hill has lost in recent months, even closing down churches. Perhaps it was an effort to save his own $$ assets?

    Interesting the renewed interest in this old thread.

    Like

  43. Matthew 23: 25-26 contains Jesus’ admonition to the Pharisees, a legalistic sect during Biblical times and very similar to Harvest Bible Chapel today:

    25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

    Regardless of specific motives, it’s abundantly clear that Harvest Bible Chapel’s institutional commitment is to furiously polishing the outside of its cup and plate.

    Like

  44. Learned that here in Rochester MN, the head of the Harvest plant came from another church, taking with him a number of young families, and in the process changing his views on spiritual gifts (he went from cessationism to soft charismaticism) and church polity (from congregational to MacDonald’s “episcopal presbyterianism”). His successor’s biggest problem in youth ministry is getting the kids to actually learn some theology.

    What I glean from this; either HBC is really bad at screening candidates for pastorates, or they’ve got a process which is either inadvertently or intentionally designed to hire people of some flexible theological commitments–and given that those theological commitments are addressed in church constitutions, it would seem that some of these candidates have some selective moral commitments as well, if you catch my drift. It would seem to reckon as well that they may be deliberately choosing those who refuse to teach basic theology.

    (I’ve got no problem with you if you’re episcopalian in church polity or charismatic in your views, but please don’t tell me you’re congregational and cessationist just to get the job. Thanks!)

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  45. The church is a mess. How is anyone to know who to trust? I thought James MacDonald was a trustworthy man. He sure seemed like one from the pulpit. It is really confusing. How could I have been so easily duped? It hurts to even say that I was b/c that is basically saying I was intentionally deceived. Which makes the betrayal all the harder to believe/accept. James personally told me that me and others who left the church were “duped” by the former elders who left. He put the blame on them. My friend and I both did not get a great impression from our time with him and some of the newer leaders. Some of the other leaders seem like good guys. Is everyone blinded by success? I think I wanted his approval and that is probably why it was hard to both leave and believe the reports that were coming out. Peace.

    Like

  46. Juan,

    Read Mark’s comments above and in other places on this blog. I think that his comments will help. I recommend him, because he had a history from a church that changed it’s doctrines in a stealth way, over a period of time, and he came to blame himself, too, because he knew scripture, so when he discovered what was going on, he was like, “What the…”, and began to blame himself, because he felt that he should have seen it coming.

    Don’t blame yourself, Juan.

    Ed

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Juan, don’t blame yourself. It can be hard to see through a guy, especially someone as charismatic as MacDonald. There are whole books devoted to the concept that some people can seemingly get away with anything.

    But from your note, one “tell” you might practice recognizing is his habit of blaming others for his problems, and of doing so in derogatory terms–you’re saying he basically accused his former elders of lying to cause people to leave the church, no?

    Other things you can look for; love of money and/or fame, reckless living (like his poker games and 2 million dollar home), sloppy exegesis of the Bible, and the like.

    Now I’m not saying he’s a psychopath–that has a real specific meaning–but this article (and the book it references) are worth reading when we’re trying to understand abusive leadership.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/04/25/the-disturbing-link-between-psychopathy-and-leadership/

    In other words, a lot of people will be able to read and manipulate you, and it’s going to take a “road to Antioch moment” to figure it out. But if you train your “nonsense meter”, you can figure these things out more quickly and reduce your pain.

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  48. I am beginning to wonder…how pure are our motives in seeking to bring down people in leadership? Are we being rebellious or insubordinate? Sometimes, I am not sure. Maybe that is b/c I do not understand the dynamics of abuse. I also wonder sometimes if I myself am abusive. I hope not! But, maybe I am? How could I know/discern? Peace.

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  49. Juan,

    If your daughter was being raped, what would you do? Would you stand there and do nothing? Would you shout about it and warn others?

    I think of spiritual abuse as spiritual rape. It causes many to abandon their faith. We see examples of calling out false leaders in Scripture. You’re not being abusive 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Juan, probably best to ask a simple question; if a church leader’s conduct violates the prescriptions in 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1, who is bringing him down when that conduct comes to light? Is it the accuser, or the church leader?

    Seems to me that the accuser wouldn’t have anything to do if the church leader’s conduct were, as the apostle Paul clarifies, “above reproach.” No? So it’s not the accuser who brings a man down. It’s the man.

    Like

  51. Thanks Julie Anne and Bike Bubba. What you say makes sense. I am just saying, could it not also be true, that somewhere in the recesses of our hearts, we lust for the same power they have (or have had)? Is at least some of our opposition or support of others opposition rooted in jealousy and envy of what we don’t have? I wonder that about myself. Maybe I am just making sure I keep in mind the sinfulness in my own heart even as I expose or grieve over the sins of others. Peace.

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  52. Juan,one could have that somewhere, but the trick is that if I lust for power/money/whatever, that does not in itself impeach my testimony. It means that I do well to do what I’d do well to to anyways; tie my testimony to things that cannot be disputed.

    And to be honest, I’m thinking that if you’re concerned that you might have that lust somewhere hidden in the recesses of your heart, you really don’t have much to worry about. Rather, I think you’ve been “had” by those who would use insecurity to protect themselves from rightful criticism.

    Like

  53. Juan – appreciate your attitude and questions

    A true statement. A reasonable question @ JANUARY 7, 2015 @ 11:33 AM…
    “The church is a mess. How is anyone to know who to trust?”

    I had to learn this the hard way. By trusting, “a leader,” who deceived me saying they had my best interest at heart.

    But – Jesus warns WE, His Sheep… The Bible warns WE, His Disciples…
    Trust NO Man… Over and over, again and again… Trust NO Man..

    Jer 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man…

    Ps 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

    Ps 146:3 Put not your trust in princes…

    Isa 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD,
    that take counsel, but NOT of me;

    Isa 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help;
    and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many;
    and in horsemen, because they are very strong;
    **but they look NOT unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!

    Matthew 24:4 …Take heed that no man deceive you.
    Mark 13:5 … Take heed lest any man deceive you:
    Luke 21:8 …Take heed that ye be not deceived:

    Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words…
    2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means…
    1 John 3:7 Little children, Let no man deceive you …

    Col 2:4 …lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

    2 Pet 2:3 And through covetousness
    shall they with *Feigned Words* make merchandise of you:

    ***Think I’ll stick to Jesus as “The ONE Shepherd” I can “Trust.”

    Proverbs 3:5-7 “Trust” in the LORD with all thine heart;
    and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
    Be not wise in thine own eyes…

    Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:

    John 10:27 MY Sheep Hear MY Voice, I know them, and they Follow Me.

    John 10:16
    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.

    One Voice, One Fold, One Shepherd, One Leader.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  54. Juan

    You ask another good question @ JANUARY 8, 2015 @ 10:03 AM…
    “how pure are our motives in seeking to bring down people in leadership?”

    Well – What if leadership is NOT an idea found in the Bible?
    For one of His Disciples?

    Then, maybe, it’s NOT bringing “down people in leadership.” But, it’s admonishing leaders, warning leaders, the postion “leader,” is NOT in the Bible for one of His Disciples. And now, they have to make a tough decision.

    This was hard for me to understand at first – BUT – when I checked…
    In the Bible, ALL of “His Disciples” called themselves “Servants.” 😉
    NOT one of His Disciples called them self “leader.” Or, “servant-leader.”
    NOT one of His Disciples called another Disciple “leader.”

    Seems, Jesus, has a unique take on leadership for His Disciples – “ONE”
    Seems, Jesus, taught His Disciples NOT to be called “Leader.”
    For you have “ONE’ leader – Christ. And NOT one disciple did.

    Mat 23:10-12 NASB – New American Standard Bible
    Do NOT be called leaders; for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    But the greatest among you shall be your “Servant”.
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
    and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

    The Message – Mat 23:10-12.
    And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.
    There is only “ONE” Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
    **Do you want to stand out? – Then step down. – Be a servant.**
    If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you.
    But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.

    Today, it looks like lots of guys who want to be, and are, called leaders…
    In opposition to what Jesus taught His Diciples…
    Are getting the wind knocked out of them – being humbled… Yes?

    If someone calls themself “leader?”
    Allows others to call them “leader?”

    Are they one of His Disciples?

    Why isn’t what Jesus said important? 😉

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  55. I attended Harvest Bible Chapel for several years, became a member and actively served in one of its ministries. During that time, I believed I had found my spiritual home. Regrettably, I left Harvest knowing I would never be able to trust any of the Pastors, Lay Leaders or anyone else in positions of authority there.

    While I was discouraged and filled with both self-doubt and self-condemnation as I was leaving, I now realize God was rescuing me from the sinking vessel known as Harvest Bible Chapel. The fact that He delivered me before the current maelstrom makes me even more grateful.

    To demonstrate how unhealthy the culture at Harvest is, it is fair to describe the Pastor in leadership over the ministry I served there as incompetent. Ultimately, betrayal and humiliation was visited upon me at the hands of this Pastor, who tasked Lay Leaders serving under him with “handling” me.

    I believe it was the incompetence of this Pastor that led him to believe it was appropriate to shame me. Fortunately, I was not alone in my assessment of him; this Pastor apparently left Harvest not long after another serving in his area of ministry escalated complaints about him to one of Harvest’s Elders.

    More recently, this same Pastor has apparently returned to Harvest, and is serving in another ministry leadership role. Doesn’t the Bible say that a dog returns to its own vomit?

    Ironically, I recently saw one of the aforementioned Lay Leaders in services at the church I now attend. In fact, I see a fair number of people from Harvest I knew personally, or knew of, in services at that church.

    As noted in 2 Peter 2, verse 1 (English Standard Version), “…false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

    Like

  56. Sean, if I might beg you to characterize your experience more specifically, you might help others that way. My experience with MacDonald was peripheral–my former church was using his material–and what I noted in his work was weak exegesis (e.g. using Isaiah 58 to justify ritual fasting–it does the opposite), apparent love of money, waffling on the importance of the Trinity (Elephant Room 2), and political moves (abuse of power) to cover up for all that.

    Others I know characterize HBC in terms of rushing people to the baptismal before they really understand their salvation, and still others have accused them of sending a lot of kids to local Christian schools who really didn’t know Christ.

    So if you can take the general “incompetent” and translate that into specific things related to theology–you’re coming close when you note that you were being monitored by lay leaders and such–you could help people affiliated with HBC to understand what’s wrong and help them to repent of that sin.

    Might be hard, I know, but if you can, you might be a huge blessing to a lot of people.

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  57. I started attending in 2013, during the “scandal.” I see nothing to charge this man with. I see him as selfless in the way he teaches. His books outline his self-admitted shortcomings. He preaches with authority and arrogance may be his personal struggle. He wrote many books and has the radio/tv ministry he could have made millions from, but the profit goes to the church/ministry. I don’t know his situation, nor does it affect me or Gods ability to work through me. You think pastors are perfect? You feel like shaming someone on social media is glorifying God? I take personal offense to someone discounting what God has done and all the good that has come from HBC.

    This is why I have no faith in church in America…and it has very little to do with imperfect pastors and everything to do with the hearts of people in the church.

    If James is some self-serving false prophet, how can he teach Gods word every week? How can God do so much through HBCs ministry? Why would God do so much through an evil spirit known as James MacDonald? I think you should worry about yourselves and take your concerns to the Lord. There may be a little pride in your hearts. Everyone I’ve met from HBC are sold out followers of Jesus, not followers of James MacDonald.

    As an example, I really dislike the Catholic Church. I feel it’s teaching and theology is off-base. Yet they still profess Jesus as Savior. So I’ll let God worry about that. I won’t go online and bash the church. I will do my best to stand up for the faith, based on what the bible says. It would only serve to deter and hurt the cause of Christ. Think about why were here and what our purpose in life is…and I’ll bet you’ll see how futile your efforts are to bring down one man.

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  58. John,

    You had said:
    “If James is some self-serving false prophet, how can he teach Gods word every week?”

    Really?

    Lord, Lord, didn’t I do this in your name, didn’t I do that in your name?

    Get away from me, I never knew you.

    Ed

    Like

  59. John

    You write…
    “I think you should worry about yourselves and take your concerns to the Lord.”

    Was wondering…
    How come you do NOT follow your own advice?

    Like

  60. John

    You write about James…
    “…how can he teach Gods word every week?”

    “You think pastors are perfect?”

    In God’s word…
    Did any of His Disciples call themselves pastor/leader?
    Did any of His Disciples have the “Title/Position” pastor/leader?
    ———–

    In God’s word, Jesus taught His Disciples NOT to be called leader…
    for you have “ONE” leader, the Christ.

    Mat 23:10-12 NASB – New American Standard Bible
    Do NOT be called leaders; for “ONE” is your Leader, that is, Christ.
    But the greatest among you shall be your “Servant”.
    Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;
    and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

    The Message – Mat 23:10-12.
    And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.
    There is only “ONE” Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
    **Do you want to stand out? – Then step down. – Be a servant.**
    If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you.
    But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.
    ————–

    Is James teaching God’s word? when he calls himself pastor/leader?
    Is James obeying Jesus?

    Isa 3:12 KJV
    …O my people, *they which lead thee* cause thee to err,
    and destroy the way of thy paths.

    Isa 9:16 KJV
    For *the leaders* of this people cause them to err;
    and they that are led of them are destroyed.

    Some legacy todays “Church Leaders” are creating for themselves…

    I’m in agreement with King David…

    The Lord is my Shepherd. 🙂

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  61. Tell me, John,

    What are all them books that he wrote about? Did Jesus pass out pamphlets or tracts, sell books, CD’s, DVD’s?

    Did anyone write books of the Bible for profit or for sale for donating the proceeds to the church, or to pay for per diem for their travel expenses?

    Which Apostle had a college education? What did he think of his own education?

    According to the Catholics, if you aren’t in their church, you are a heathen. So, they preach Jesus, huh? Most ex-Catholics that I know, they tell us that they don’t preach Jesus. They preach “church fathers”, not Jesus.

    Ed

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  62. Lydia,

    Well, I gotta say that I sort’a disagree a little bit. If you look at each and every signer of the Declaration of Independence, they came from all sorts of differing Christian beliefs, not agreeing with each other, crack pot or not, which is why I posted the words of Ben Franklin. He knew that there was differing beliefs out there about God. And he was OK with that, and why? Because he had differing beliefs. He didn’t know who was telling the truth, or telling lies.

    In regards to paying for doctors and such, Boston Tea Party! We the People have the right to revolt against a tyranny. We are the militia, but some don’t want us to be well armed.

    But then again, it can be argued that we the people allowed those laws to be passed, because we the people were not being represented by our representatives, and yet, we elected them. Whose fault is it, in the end? We the people. We were dumb enough to let it happen.

    Ed

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  63. John, your naiveté is alarming and typical of those who are biased towards celebrity pastors. I know. I was where you are at several years ago when we blindly followed a celebrity pastor. That is, until we began to examine him in light of the Word of God.

    Jannes and Jambres (2 Timothy 3:8, KJV) withstood Moses and mimicked the miracles God did through him. The false prophet will work miracles and deceive those who have received the mark of the beast, (Revelation 19:20, KJV).

    And you may want to read 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:

    “13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
    14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
    15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” KJV

    Genuine believers are compelled to examine all that is taught in the name of Christ:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21: 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. KJV

    1 John 4:1: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. KJV

    Matthew 7:15-20: 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. KJV

    Not everyone that attracts a crowd is being used by God. And many religions that name the name of Christ, teach salvation by works and not solely by faith.

    Men who enrich themselves by the “ministry” are false prophets, such as was Balaam.

    Please, examine behavior in light of the Word. Pray for discernment. Test everything that is taught in light of the whole counsel of God’s Word.

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  64. John, my response to you is simple; Mr. MacDonald has accepted a modalist explanation of the Trinity from T.D. Jakes in “Elephant Room 2”, lives in a two million dollar home, hid his income from his own elders and put two of them out of fellowship when they challenged him, takes a majority vote on the elder board (he is effectively a bishop), and in my experience, takes some dubious theological stands, like semi-endorsing the prosperity theology of T.D. Jakes.

    So in my view, he’s got some problem with being a “lover of money” and being “quarrelsome”–he does not appear to be gentle. Now as I read 1 Timothy 3, there is a list of qualifications, and “apt to teach” (which I’d also contest, having read through “Authentic”) is only one of them.

    So it is entirely possible for a man to appear to be a great teacher of God’s Word, and yet be entirely unsuited for church ministry. For Mr. MacDonald to be suited for Gospel ministry, I would suggest the following changes.

    1. Sell the house.
    2. Restore the excommunicated elders to the eldership.
    3. Give up his 50% vote on the elder board.
    4. Open budgets.
    5. Apologize for some of the errant teaching he’s done–e.g. “Authentic” on fasting, service, and the like, as well as his endorsement of prosperity theology and failure to recognize the modalism of T.D. Jakes in Elephant Room 2.

    One final thing that would be brutal, but necessary, for him would be for him to move from a “megachurch” setting to a church of 2-500 people where he can actually minister to congregants. A shepherd doesn’t just talk to the sheep for an hour each week. James MacDonald is not a shepherd.

    Liked by 1 person

  65. Here’s a quote about John D. Macdonald that I often see bouncing around the web (I hesitate to quote from Wikipeida, which we all know is generally stuff we can wipe our asses with, but this seems legit). “Macdonald is by any standards a better writer than Saul Bellow, only Macdonald writes thrillers and Bellow is a human heart chap, so guess who wears the top grade laurels?” That’s from Kingsley Amis.
    http://postmoderndeconstructionmadhouse.blogspot.com/2015/01/john-d-macdonald-look-at-some-aspects.html#.VNHn89L

    Like

  66. “Around them in the world, people ride escalators up and sneak secret glances at the faces coming down. People dangle teabags over hot water in white CUPS. Cars run silently on the autobahns, streaks of painted light. People sit at desks and stare at office walls. They smell their shirts and drop them in the hamper. People bind themselves into numbered seats and and fly across time zones and high cirrus and deep night, knowing there is something they’ve forgotten to do.”
    http://postmoderndeconstructionmadhouse.blogspot.com/2015/01/john-d-macdonald-look-at-some-aspects.html#.VNHn89L

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  67. Pastor James Macdonald led me to Christ and walked me through what I need to do to be accepted and forever forgiven by Jesus. He has done the same for at least thousands of other people. That is exactly what the Bible commands us as followers of Christ to do. Explain to me what you do that is better than what Pastor James does?

    Like

  68. Dear Brian Cyr,

    To my knowledge, Julie Anne has never claimed to do anything “greater” or “better” than James MacDonald. She hasn’t compared herself to him at all. As far as I can tell, she’s only working to give a voice to those who’ve been abused, so that the abusers don’t get to control the conversation.

    So, just because MacDonald led you to Jesus, do you think that excuses him badmouthing his former elders, and lording it over his own flock by making himself unaccountable? Or that spiritual abuse is “worth it”, as long as “thousands” are led to Christ? Many defenders of Driscoll and C.J. Mahaney seem to take that line. I don’t find it any more convincing — or Christlike — from them, either.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. Brian, that article was written after McDonald and his elders spiritually abused other elders. Later, he eventually apologized publicly and to the elders he harmed. I think James himself would correct you and say that he was not acting appropriately then.

    Like

  70. I accepted Christ as Lord and Savior of my life during the early 1990’s. I was led to the Lord by a Pastor, began attending his church, and was a member there for nearly seven years. During that time, I received counseling and discipleship from this Pastor, both of which I benefitted from greatly. As I began growing in my faith, and became more active within the church, I began to see how my getting closer to the Lord exposed how unhealthy that particular church was.

    Ultimately, the same Pastor who led me to the Lord years earlier, developed the expectation that I would assist him in facilitating an arrangement for his receiving compensation from the church. That “arrangement” is most accurately described as money laundering. When I understood the extent to which I could have been both personally and professionally implicated in this unethical, if not illegal, conduct on the part of this Pastor and his church, I realized I had no choice but to walk away.

    I also had to realize that this Pastor was not God, that his church was not sacrificed for my sins, and that I had to learn to not only choose, but welcome, the Lord’s leadership in these matters over that of other people. Today, the church where I accepted Christ as Lord and Savior more than 20 years ago, now appears to have been abandoned.

    Several years ago, I was told by someone attempting to resuscitate this church that my former Pastor cleaned out the church’s bank accounts, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, before making a hasty exit. I drive by this church sometimes, perpetually amazed that the place where my spiritual life was born is now spiritually dead.

    By the same token, I walked away from Harvest Bible Chapel after having been a member there and also having actively served in one of Harvest’s ministries. During that time, I believed I had found my spiritual home. Regrettably, I left Harvest knowing I would never be able to trust any of the Pastors, Lay Leaders or anyone else in positions of authority there.

    Once again, I was being called to realize that neither James MacDonald nor any other Pastor at Harvest is God, that neither Harvest nor any other church was sacrificed for my sins, and that I had to learn to not only choose, but welcome, the Lord’s leadership in these matters over that of other people. It’s now abundantly clear that Harvest Bible Chapel is on the same destructive path the church I was saved in over 20 years ago descended down into its current abyss.

    The relevant question here is not who is better. Rather, as stated in Romans 3:23, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” If I have learned anything in more than 23 years as a Christ-follower, it is that trusting the Lord necessarily means having a healthy degree of skepticism about both the intentions and ultimate objectives of church leaders, particularly Senior Pastors.

    Liked by 3 people

  71. James has been arrogant for a long time.His biblical knowledge is lacking.This man needs to be humbled.

    Like

  72. Harvest Bible Chapel run by racists and antisemitism. I came to Christ sixteen years ago. Fourth generation American of Jewish heritage. Unlike Pastor James who comes from Canada. They wanted to segregate me Nazi Bastards.

    Like

  73. Truth always comes to the light and I praise God for the truth of James MacDonald being exposed. I have been a member of Harvest since summer of 2005 and will conitinue until the Lord guides me otherwise. Many of us who choose to remain are doing so in faithfulness to God. We did not “follow” James M., we follow and serve the Lord. To read comments in the news that Harvest is a cult is just pure evil. We are not a cult, we are followers and believers in Jesus Christ.

    The members who choose to stay do so in prayerfully waiting on God to move and rebuild His church. To restore the body of Christ and bring those woundered back to faith in Him.

    Thank you for continuing to expose false teachers everywhere. I only ask that the news stop referring to the church as a cult. The body of Christ who remain at Harvest are not a cult. We are Christ followers.

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