Harvest Bible Chapel, John Piper, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Troubling Tweets

A Smorgasborg of Churchianity Updates: Sovereign Grace Ministries, Harvest Bible Chapel and James MacDonald, David Hayward Article, and John Piper


Recent news events from Sovereign Grace Ministries, Harvest Bible Chapel and Pastor James MacDonald, David Hayward article, and another John Piper tweet


There have been some newsworthy events in Churchianity, some updates on stories I have covered and a couple of new items, so I thought it might be good to post them all in one lot here.  ~ja
New Church Added to Sovereign Grace Ministries Churches

Sovereign Grace (formerly Sovereign Grace Ministries) has welcomed a new church, Grace Life Fellowship in Hastings, Nebraska,  into its family of churches:  Welcome to the Family, Grace Life Fellowship

It’s mind-boggling that a new church would even consider joining Sovereign Grace churches amidst their recent and ongoing legal fiasco:

  • the largest sex abuse case in recent evangelical history
  • many pastors and churches left Sovereign Grace Ministries
  • many former members, including former SGM pastors calling out CJ Mahaney and the leaders for sex abuse coverup, spiritual abuse, etc.

What were they thinking?

From their pastor, Chad Haygood, on the new relationship with Sovereign Grace:

We are excited to join together with likeminded churches for the advancement of the gospel! We’re honored to share in the mission of advancing the kingdom of God through the planting of healthy churches. We also know that joining together with Sovereign Grace will benefit the overall health and longevity or our church.

How does one improve overall health when one is connecting to a cesspool of corruption?


Update on Harvest Bible and Pastor James MacDonald controversy involving the discipline and shunning of three elders in 2013.


Pastor James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, gave a public apology during the church service last weekend and posted a video.  In this short video,  you can see Pastor James MacDonald publicly apologize on behalf of himself and the elder board before the Harvest Bible Chapel congregation. WorldMag.com posted this on their recent article:

James MacDonald, an author and the senior pastor of Harvest, read a statement to the church saying he and the current church elders met last week with the three men and asked for their forgiveness: “I wish to announce that the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel have unanimously agreed to lift all discipline from Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh and Dan Marquardt.” WorldMag.com

This was a very messy and public situation.  Christianity Today gives a good summary of the full story here (you can also find related articles on SSB here). Last year, the elders were telling folks to essentially shun Philps, Slabaugh, and Marquardt.  Here is the offensive and abusive language we saw last year (I label it abusive because men used their position of authority to control in an abusive manner):

“If these men would express even a fraction of the constant and ongoing grace and humility that we see so frequently in our pastor, they could move beyond their bitterness to healing,” elder Steve Huston said in last year’s videotaped statement. “Their current refusal to do so is defiling many people, and that is a great sin.”

That Phelps and Slabaugh publicized their viewpoints after being rejected by the elder majority “is Satanic to the core and must be dealt with very directly,” Huston said last year. (Marquardt had already resigned from the elder board.) “We warn the people of Harvest Bible Chapel to separate themselves from these false messengers. … Please avoid these former Harvest elders at all costs lest you incur great detriment to your own soul.” (Christianity Today)

Those following the current Mark Driscoll/Mars Hill fiasco will recall that James MacDonald recently stepped down from his position in the advisory board at Mars Hill.  I can’t help but wonder if James MacDonald’s apology was prompted by the ongoing mess at Mars Hill.

MacDonald recently resigned from the advisory board of Mars Hill Church, shortly before nine pastors asked Mark Driscoll to step aside and submit to elder authority.  (Christianity Today)

Perhaps dealing with the Mars Hill situation caused some serious introspection for MacDonald?  Both men behaved like bullies in outing “divisive” elders. Maybe Mark Driscoll’s saga was hitting a little too close to home.  Time will tell how genuine this repentance is.  I pray that MacDonald will walk in integrity and transparency.


David Hayward’s Article on Thugs and Theology

David Hayward of “naked pastor” posted an excellent article, Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology?

In this article, he discusses some of what we have talked about here on abusive behavior and theology. I highly recommend his article. But what happens in the comments is quite revealing as well, as we have the Who’s Who of Emergent people gathered in one location hashing it out.  In this conversation, you can clearly see that abuse is not confined to one particular theological group.

John Piper Twitterings
John Piper proves once again that his words ought not be taken seriously:


Here is the ESV translation of the cited verse:  “therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will lay bare their secret parts.”

Let me remind you.  This man has 659 THOUSAND followers and he sends out a tweet like this?


Here are other notable tweets from this man with a huge following:

We must use critical thinking, people. We don’t need to follow after big-name celebrity leaders when they preach nonsense from their public platform.  Wow.  I just cannot believe this man has such a following.


112 thoughts on “A Smorgasborg of Churchianity Updates: Sovereign Grace Ministries, Harvest Bible Chapel and James MacDonald, David Hayward Article, and John Piper”

  1. “I don’t understand wanting to leave welts and bruises on your child. That seems more like letting out your anger and brutality.”

    Agreed. Yet the welts and bruises are, apparently, not a big deal to some people. Even though the child also had them documented on his genitals. People are defending this!
    In my former “church” one family sold an Arnica gel in their little store to help fade bruises. It was recommended to moms and dads to help fade the bruises left on their kids from being “disciplined” a la Pearl style.


  2. Brenda R,

    Yes, the sorting effect I have observed has been rather pronounced. In fairness, it should probably be observed that I am describing relatively small churches in small communities where everybody knows who everybody else is, what they do for a living, and so on. The sorting may be attributable to factors other than just ecclesiastical and theological perspective. The effect may not be so pronounced in large-population metropolitan areas. Yet the sorting I observed happened, and continues to happen, every time the church doors were/are open.


  3. Gary W,
    There are a few small churches in our area, but no there is no way that everyone knows everyone else and their business. I don’t even know everyone in my church. There are new faces all of the time and I can’t keep up with everyone. I guess folks go where they feel most comfortable.


  4. It is making me physically ill that Christians are defending Peterson. Last year, he also beat another four year old son in the car in such a way that his head hit the car seat, leaving scars around his eye. Also last year, his two year old son by yet a different woman was murdered by his mother’s new boyfriend who says he was only trying to discipline him. What will it take for Peterson to rethink his ideas about ‘discipline?’

    Christians keep saying that as long as one disciplines for the right motives, it isn’t child abuse. Tell that to Peterson’s children. Tell that to Lydia Shatz, Hana Williams (bith dead) and the children of the Barbours who were left near death, all of whom had devout Christian parents. The Barbours got probation and home confinement because the judge felt that they meant well (one child was found emancipated with a dangerously low body temperature and the other with permanent brain damage). Their church stood by them too.


  5. Marsha,
    What you are describing, if it happened in Michigan there are very stiff sentencing laws for child abuse and neglect. Over the last few years, better laws have been put on the books to protect and give justice to our kids. I agree, there is no way I would defend such actions.


  6. “What will it take for Peterson to rethink his ideas about ‘discipline?’”

    Unfortunately, probably a felony conviction, a sentence to a significant term of imprisonment, all followed by a no-nonsense, extended parole regimen.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. @BTDT:

    What’s really bothering me this morning: I lay in bed last night reading news stories about Adrian Peterson beating his young child– a beating that left him covered with welts and bruises.


    Yet the welts and bruises are, apparently, not a big deal to some people. Even though the child also had them documented on his genitals. People are defending this!

    Don’t forget the FOOTBALL STAR factor. (O.J.Simpson, anyone?)

    Especially to all those Al Bundy couch potatoes in their trailers.


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