Why People Need to Leave Harvest Bible Chapel

This post explains to members and current attenders of Harvest Bible Chapel why they need to leave the questionable church network. The reasons are multiple and they are credible. From denying James MacDonald power and refusing to support his empire to why give money to an organization that lacks financial transparency? For those who read this who are involved in Harvest Bible Chapel it’s time to leave. 

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

John Dalberg-Acton 

“If you want to remove me, you’re going to have to sue me to get me out of here.  And gentlemen, I have two things you don’t have: control of the pulpit and the control of the money.  So good luck.”

James MacDonald

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Galatians 5:22-23 NLT 

An East German soldier leaps to freedom. May the souls at Harvest Bible Chapel also run to freedom as well. 

So tonight I learned that it only took four Tweets to get blocked by James MacDonald on Twitter. And this comes from the man who is known for the Act Like Men conference? Its time to have a frank discussion about Harvest Bible Chapel. I did an overview of the lawsuit in, “James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel Goes After The Elephant’s Debt Blog Accusing it of Defamation in a Lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, Illinois.” Plus you can read the original lawsuit in, “James MacDonald vs. The Elephant’s Debt Lawsuit.” Finally you can read the analysis I did of of the lawsuit and why it happened now and what I believe James MacDonald was trying to hide in the following post. “Why did Harvest Bible Go After The Elephant’s Debt Now? What was Julie Roys Going to Break Through World Magazine that James MacDonald is Desperate to Silence?A couple of years ago I did an article that looked at why people stay in cults and questionable religious groups. You can read that in, “Why Do People Get Involved in Questionable Religious Groups, Cults, and Sects?” 

Its the firm belief of this blog that people inside Harvest Bible Chapel need to leave the organization. Let’s look at the reasons why people need to walk away. 


James MacDonald is Unqualified to be a Pastor 

James MacDonald should not be a pastor. This blog believes he is a fraud. He’s a narcissist that is drunk with power. He is addicted to being in authority over other people.  He has no idea what humility is and he can’t serve at all. Jesus came to serve, but James MacDonald came to be served. James MacDonald exists for only one person, and that is himself. He is not about God, actually he fleeces God to expand and build his empire. He should not be in a position of teaching. There are too many ethical situations in Harvest Bible that show how MacDonald struggles with ethics. According to The Elephant’s Debt, MacDonald preaches about gambling but then loves to gamble. This is one of the reasons why he is a narcissist. The rules don’t apply to him. He is above them. He uses the rules to dominate and control others. For James he is addicted to the spotlight. He wants to be the center of attention. The fruits of the spirit are lacking in James. The lawsuit he launched tells you all you need to know about his intentions and motives. All of his sermons, books, teaching aids, videos and more need to be rejected. They are all worthless. His behavior and lifestyle which is one of excess and spiritual abuse speaks volumes and are what should turn people away from Harvest Bible Chapel. 


Why Give Money to an Organization Mired in Financial Problems? 

Harvest Bible Chapel has been mired in financial problems for years. Its massive amount of debt testifies to as how unhealthy this organization is. Please correct me if I am mistaken, but the name of The Elephant’s Debt blog comes from the debt this organization accumulated. The debt is a result of unsound fiscal policy. Now here is a question I have if you attend Harvest, why would you give money to an organization that doesn’t handle it responsibly? Why give money to an organization that ultimately doesn’t respect it? You work hard for your money. Some of you reading this have brutal commutes into Chicago. Others car pool or depend on Metra to get downtown or more. When you work hard for your money why give it to an organization that doesn’t handle it responsibly?  Think of other organizations, charities or ministries that could stretch your money and make it go far? Why support James MacDonald in his elaborate housing when you can help someone who is homeless find shelter for the night? 


Why Not Give Your Talent to Other Churches or Organizations? 

Here is another question I must ask. Harvest Bible Chapel is on the path to ruin. Its an empire that is slowly imploding. Why give your talents or effort to a sinking church network mired in scandal? How many other churches or organizations could use your support and time? How many homeless shelters in the Chicago area could use your support and assistance? How many children in programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters need help? Giving your time to Harvest Bible Chapel is a waste of time given the problems and abuse that occurs in this system. By being involved in Harvest time and resources is ultimately squandered. 


In Attending Harvest Bible You Are Perpetrating Spiritual Abuse on Others

Harvest Bible Chapel is a spiritually abusive network of churches. All one has to consider is the abuse of Dan Marquardt, Scott Phelps and Barry Slabaugh. James MacDonald wanted to make an example of them and practiced church discipline on those former elders. What was their crime that justified such action? They wanted to see a line item budget and were denied. MacDonald had church discipline practiced on them and had the video shown at all campuses. Here is the problem if you saw that or other forms of abuse and you continue to attend Harvest, you become part of the abuse as well. You support the abuse and in essence almost become an abuser.  When you know of the problem but you decide to ignore it, you help make the system work. The system can be brought down overnight if everyone walked away. But many people are choosing to stay? Is that how a person from Harvest wants to be remembered? Is that the way they want to live their “faith?” 

You Can’t Invite People to a Church Mired in Questionable Practices

Here is another problem that all members and attenders of Harvest Bible Chapel will face. You claim you care about the “Gospel” and you have neighbors, co-workers and colleagues that you want to see get involved in church. You will try and invite them to Harvest and they will do a quick Google search and find articles like mine and will be baffled and troubled. They will see descriptions of Harvest being a cult or cult like. They will read about the financial problems and James MacDonald’s abuse of power. They will then tell you no they are not interested in going to church with you.  Or if they discover the news and hear about the problems then they will leave. People will look at you, the member of attender of Harvest Bible Chapel, in a different light. They will wonder why you would choose to remain involved in a questionable organization. They will also wonder and question your faith. If that person from Harvest cared about God then why go to a church network that is spiritually abusive? This will also affect your relationship with family and friends. Family members will be concerned about you being involved in a questionable organization. Friends will be troubled that you continue to go despite the problems that are ongoing. Those who love and care about you will have nights they can’t sleep and remain troubled because of the problems at Harvest. Those of you who used to be involved in Harvest who have left had those conversations where you brother, sister or parent said, “I’m glad you left, I was deeply worried about you.” You know what I am talking about. 


Supporting Harvest Bible Chapel DeFames God and for Evangelicals is Sinful

This is a point I want to drive home for many evangelicals who are consumed with worshiping God and honoring him. If many Christians had a deep and vibrant faith they would be sensitive and understand how organizations like Harvest Bible Chapel are a mockery to the Lord. Because of James MacDonald’s corruption the biggest person who is bruised, hurt and defamed is that of God. Harvest Bible Chapel exists for James MacDonald, it does not exist for the Lord. If James MacDonald actually worshiped the Lord he would shut down the Harvest empire and grieve the people he has spiritually wounded. Christians who go to Harvest Bible Chapel are engaging in sin. How you ask? Well they help keep a questionable enterprise open. They keep it functioning by attendance and finances that they give. To attend Harvest Bible Chapel is to engage in sin and keep alive an organization that needs to be shut down. Harvest Bible Chapel, much like the Soviet Union needs to go into the dust bin of history. Let sociologists and historians dissect its remains and write about it.

Supporting a Questionable Church Affirms Atheist Claims About Christianity Being Corrupt

This blog has a deep amount of respect for atheists and secular humanists. Its my belief that many are misunderstood and that many atheists speak out and say words that are truth filled. Many Christians want to ignore and dismiss what many atheists say, and that  is a tragedy. There is a lot that can be learned from atheists and its time that Christians listen closely to what many skeptics and non-believers say about the churches that Christians attend and patronize.  Many atheists will talk about churches being corrupt and they are correct. Look at the situation with Harvest Bible Chapel? James MacDonald’s corrupt church empire validates what many atheists say about Christians being corrupt. As a side note many atheists also point out that many Christians go along with questionable churches and stay silent about the issues. Its time to listen to atheists and realize that they contain a lot of wisdom. How do you think this scandal inside Harvest Bible Chapel is being viewed by atheists and those on the outside? How many people are having their feelings and opinions validate and reaffirmed by how this is playing out, James MacDonald’s behavior and the Christians who go along with the scandal? 


Giving Money to Harvest Enables a Questionable Lawsuit 

James MacDonald is a man drunk with authority and a creature of extreme luxury. It used to be that if you gave money to Harvest Bible that all you were doing were supporting his lifestyle and questionable church network. With the launch of a lawsuit against The Elephant’s Debt your money is now being used for far more nefarious purposes. In this case you are paying lawyers to support a machine that is cranking out questionable and unethical lawsuits that are deeply suspect. You are supporting additional abuse that is threatening people’s livelihoods. This lawsuit against The Elephant’s Debt is uncalled for, and wrong. Its part of the reason why I am standing in the corner with them. But if you are going to Harvest Bible Chapel and are giving money you are being had and engaging in foolishness. People could end all this within a couple of months if they all walk away and vote with their feet. If you want to send James MacDonald a message that is loud and clear, that would be a good one. 


If You Are Reading this and You Are Involved in Harvest Bible Chapel…it’s Time to Walk Away. 

This post will no doubt make it into the hands of members and attenders of Harvest Bible Chapel. That is the point of this post. The point of this post is to trigger you conscious to the point where you are asking yourself, “Should we be going to Harvest?” The point of this post is to give those inside Harvest something to wrestle with and struggle. May this cause a number of discussions, journaling and for some people sleepless nights where they realize that the only option is to leave Harvest Bible Chapel. If people need help they are free to contact me and explain their thought process. My goal is for the people to leave and find peace. I will not have peace in my own life from fundamentalism. But for those who find peace that gives me deep comfort. My hope is that families are re-united. Brothers and sisters become close. Children and parents become less estranged. Organizations like Harvest Bible Chapel can tear families apart and divide them. Its my hope that many families are spared that situation. If you are at Harvest Bible Chapel I hope this pricks your conscious to where you walk away and never look back. If any of you want to talk I am here for you. Like that picture up above of an East German soldier fleeing East Berlin and making his way to freedom. I hope many families and people will overcome their own Berlin wall and flee Harvest Bible Chapel.  

17 thoughts on “Why People Need to Leave Harvest Bible Chapel

  1. Your last line of this article is a trigger for former and current members of Harvest. I thought I should let you know that their tag line is “You are loved”. I got nauseaous reading it. I’m out, but I still suffer everyday. Harvest took my faith and made a mess of it. It’s been three years and I was sure I’d be better by now. But I’m not. Please, take the last line out. Say it a different way. Something. How can a person comprehend that they are love while someone beats them up with bible verses? Says how you’re not faithful enough? Not serving enough? Not enough. But you are loved?


    • My apologies I dropped the last line completely. I hope the edit helps significantly. If you want it to end a certain way I am happy to do that. Take care and thanks for the correction.


    • How can a person comprehend that they are love while someone beats them up with bible verses? Says how you’re not faithful enough? Not serving enough? Not enough. But you are loved?

      From the abuser’s definition of Love, YES.
      Redefinition of words into their “diablolical meanings”, My Dear Wormwood.


    • My wife and I just left a Harvest Plant. I found several things problematic. One is that it partnered with a ministry called Love Inc, which called Catholics our brothers and sisters in Christ. Also, it failed in my opinion in discernment.


  2. MacDonald had church discipline practiced on them and had the video shown at all campuses.

    Just like Der Fuehrer after Operation Valkyrie.
    Except MacDonald’s church discipline didn’t involve meathooks and piano wire.
    And the video media was higher-tech.
    But the principle still holds:
    Make an Example of One and you Silence a Thousand.


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  4. Another red flag with MacDonald (as if there aren’t enough already) is, and correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t he put all his kids on the Harvest payroll, earning nice salaries? If he did, that seems like further evidence how MacDonald always takes care of himself/or his family before helping others.


    • His “kids” that you refer to, are the same ones that have prayed with my kids for years. Yes they are on the payroll and yes, they are the same people who went to camp with our children when they were younger and the same ones who prayed with our kids when they were younger. Not everyone’s children follow in their footsteps… we have been so lucky to have his children in our lives… as well as our children’s lives. ♡

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  8. Just a thought, but maybe write an article that has actual facts in it. Other than the fact that Harvest is suing some blog, which by definition of our law is completely legal, I did not see a single fact but only rhetoric in your article. But hey, I guess you got me to read it so I’m the idiot!

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  9. The preaching of James MacDonald is without question the most passionate, clear and convicting preaching that I have heard in my lifetime of 63 years. That is one mans objective opinion. I will let the God that you refer to so often in this article sort this mess out. He doesn’t need my help, or yours for that matter. I have been a believer long enough to know when the Holy Spirit is using someone, and He has spoken to me on many occasions through this man. You obviously have an ax to grind here, and I’m not sure what you have had to say was Holy Spirit inspired discourse. I do know this: when a man is having an impact for Christ, he may as well have a target on his back. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood”. If you are not part of the answer as a Christian, then you have become part of the problem. I would take a breath if I were you my friend.

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