Megachurch Pastor James MacDonald Fired Following ‘Highly Inappropriate Comments’

by | Feb 13, 2019 | Church & Ministry

James MacDonald, pastor of the megachurch Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC), was fired from the church after a radio show host aired the first of several inflammatory audio clips. In the clips, a man who is presumed to be MacDonald makes crude comments about Christianity Today, reporters and even discusses a plan to plant child pornography on someone’s computer.

According to HBC:

Following a lengthy season of review, reflection, and prayerful discussion, the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel had determined that Pastor MacDonald should be removed from his role of senior pastor. That timeline accelerated when on Tuesday morning, highly inappropriate recorded comments made by Pastor MacDonald were given to media and reported. Given that and other conduct under consideration, in accordance with the procedures in our bylaws, Pastor MacDonald was removed as senior pastor and as an elder of the church for engaging in conduct that the elders believe is contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church. His employment has been terminated from Harvest Bible Chapel, effective today, Feb. 12, 2019. This decision was made with heavy hearts and much time spent in earnest prayer, followed by input from various trusted outside advisers.

Julie Roys, a Chicago-area reporter and watchdog blogger, offered more information:

“[Tuesday], Chicago radio personality Mancow Muller played shocking clips of someone sounding exactly like Harvest Bible Chapel Pastor James MacDonald discussing putting child porn on the computer of Christianity Today CEO Harold Smith.”

She continues:

Mancow told me he didn’t definitively identify MacDonald to protect himself from potential litigation. Yet MacDonald’s trademark voice, though somewhat distorted, was unmistakable. I’ve also now heard the complete 50 minutes of audio that Mancow referenced, and heard the clips in context, and they are credible. I’ve also reached out to MacDonald for comment, and he did not respond with either a confirmation or denial.

Mancow said he plans to air the entire 50-minute conversation on an upcoming podcast. I will save some of my comments about the recording until then.

But the clips Mancow played today are breathtaking. On them, the man who’s presumably MacDonald jokes about me having an affair with Mark Galli, editor-in-chief of Christianity Today (CT). That’s not funny. It’s disgusting. Galli and I have never had anything but a professional relationship, and it’s repulsive that anyone—a pastor, no less—would make a joke about that.

MacDonald also makes vulgar references to Harold Smith and Ed Stetzer, CT contributing editor and the executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. He also allegedly insults CT, calling it a “… pipe-organ protecting, musty, mild smell of urine, blue-hair Methodist loving, mainline dying, women preacher championing, emerging church adoring, almost good with all gays and closet Palestine promoting Christianity” magazine.

However, especially disconcerting to me is an excerpt where MacDonald alleges that I and “another person who used to attend (Harvest)” approached the houses of people who were victims in a DCFS investigation and shouted at them about a cover-up at Harvest. He alleges that I’m “off the rails” and predicts that in 30 days, I’m going to be “riding a tricycle with a midget on (my) shoulders.”

Roys previously reported that MacDonald took money from church coffers.

HBC previously filed a suit against Roys, among others, for her articles. The suit was eventually dropped.

According to Christianity Today:

MacDonald took an “indefinite sabbatical” in January, following a tumultuous few months defending Harvest in a defamation lawsuit against its critics and in the aftermath of a World magazine investigation into mismanagement at the church.

The public scrutiny continued with pushback against MacDonald’s decision to preach at a Harvest affiliate in Florida during his sabbatical. Then, a famous friend of his, Chicago shock jock Mancow Muller, spoke out in a local newspaper against the manipulation and ego he observed around MacDonald’s “cult of personality” at Harvest. On his show, Muller later aired what sounded like clips of MacDonald making harsh comments toward media who had covered the story.

This is not MacDonald’s first brush with controversy.

In 2014, MacDonald confessed that the Harvest elder board slandered three elders as “false messengers.”

MacDonald founded HBC in 1988. He hosted a daily radio and TV program called Walk in the Word. MacDonald also worked with Mission Harvest, Harvest Training Center, Vertical Church Conferences and Vertical Church Network.

MacDonald wrote several books and Bible studies, including: Act Like Men; Vertical Church; Lord, Change Me; Lord, Change My Attitude; When Life is Hard; Always True and most recently, The Will of God IS the Word of God.

The church asked for prayer as they move forward.

Our elders and staff are committed to fulfilling our fiduciary duty as the leadership of this congregation, knowing that at times the outcome may be misunderstood or emotionally painful. A more detailed communication regarding next steps for our church will take place in our weekend services.

We sincerely thank you for your prayers, your support and your patience as we work together to restore a trust in leadership, a humility to surrender to biblical authority and a firm resolve to move forward as a church family. Please continue to uphold our church, the elder board, staff and the MacDonald family in prayer at this time.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven? Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are...

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

This month we are entering a season which, in the United States, has been devoted to gratitude and thanksgiving for 400 years! While the Thanksgiving holiday has had a long and varied history within the United States, the practice of devoting sacrificial offerings,...

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

My frequent trips to developing nations always help me adjust my attitude. Just when I start to feel spoiled and entitled, I meet people from places like Congo, India and Honduras—and I realize just how blessed I am. This happened to me again last week during a trip...

The Power of Being Thankful

The Power of Being Thankful

One of the best ways to show God we love Him is to be thankful. When we express our deep gratitude to Him, it actually invites His presence onto our lives. Being thankful also neutralizes the enemy and brings victory into our situations no matter what the outcome....

Get Off Your Pew!

Get Off Your Pew!

As God’s clock inches closer to the final hour before His return, many people find themselves filled with angst, anxiety and despair. People are not sleeping well, many have fallen into depression and are feeling hopeless. These are the very days that we have been...

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

Read Time: 4 Minutes 28 Seconds While all of the stories we read in the Torah are meaningful, sometimes the events we read about can seem to hold more relevance, especially for those of us who are followers of Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. One such event is the calling...

RECENT ARTICLES

The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America

Read Time: 3 Minutes 17 Seconds The controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving and his post of a tweet that claims the Jews in Israel are not the real Jews—that Black Africans are the real Jews—raises...
Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Read Time: 4 Minutes 42 Seconds Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away for U.S. Americans. It is a favorite holiday—perhaps only exceeded by Christmas—to gather with family and friends to watch parades, play (American) “football” and eat delicious food—often from...

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFbfS03JkKY&t=1s Read Time: 3 Minutes, 10 Seconds Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are murderers, pedophiles and cannibals walking along the streets of gold? We are taught in the book of Romans, "That if...

Pin It on Pinterest