About six miles away from Harvest Bible Chapel Elgin is another church that consists of many former Harvest members. City of Joy is led by RT Maldaner and is young but the reports I am hearing about this organization are good. For those looking for a reformed alternative this blog is going to encourage people to attend City of Joy.
“The success of an organization will depend on the people you surround yourself with.“
“Every organization should tolerate rebels who tell the emperor he has no clothes.”
So there was great joy in that city.
Acts 8:8 NLT
University of Chicago Chapel
The goal of this post is to encourage people inside Harvest Bible Chapel to leave and migrate to City of Joy. But before I explain why let me give you my thoughts as to where Harvest Bible Chapel will go.
What Harvest Bible Chapel Will Look Like When the Scandal is Completed
After interacting with a wide number of sources, and reading some of the emails that I am receiving let me state where I think Harvest Bible Chapel will go. The Elephant’s Debt blog did a good job in scratching the surface. Bit in reading and studying it I also believe that there is much more that they could do. I believe that Harvest Bible Chapel will have the worst aspects of Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Seattle and C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries. James MacDonald has been close to Mark Driscoll and his anger issues complement Mark Driscolls. Mars Hill had the drama of implosion and financial issues, allegations of misused money and an abusive machine that steam rolled people. In contrast C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries was known for sexual and domestic abuse. Some of the stories that came out of Sovereign Grace were horrifying. If you want a taste of it you can read, “What Matt Larson, Anthem Thousand Oaks, Anthem Ventura, and Anthem Camarillo can Learn from Taylor, Noel and Sovereign Grace Fairfax/SGM “Family of Churches”
I believe that due to financial issues Harvest Bible Chapel’s financial implosion will be massive and will be a topic that sociologists and anthropologists will be able to study for years to come. Meanwhile through a multitude of sources I am hearing stories that deal with allegations of either sexual abuse or domestic abuse. It is this blog’s belief that Paxton Singer is the tip of the iceberg. When all the allegations of abuse come forward people will be horrified. The abuse will make what transpired inside Sovereign Grace to be minor. That is my fear based off a few tips I am starting to receive. So what about James MacDonald? What will happen to him? Well, Harvest Bible Chapel started a campus in Naples, Florida. It is this blog’s belief that when the scandal reaches a crescendo, that James MacDonald will flee Chicago and end up in Naples, Florida in a couple of years trying to reinvent himself. Think of what Mark Driscoll did in Seattle and how he ended up in Arizona. Harvest Bible Chapel Naples is James MacDonald’s ace in the hole. Its his escape method. But I will be writing and analyzing that information as that develops. Its my understanding that Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin, Illinois has cut back a service and has gone from an attendance of 4,000 to 1,500 and that it dropped again recently to 1,200. So as people leave where should they go and where can they take refuge? This blog is going to be throwing its weight behind City of Joy Church.
RT Maldaner and City of Joy Church
About six miles away from Harvest Bible Chapel Elgin, is City of Joy Church. The church was recently planted by RT Maldaner. Maldaner grew up in Marengo, Illinois. After high school he attended the University of Northwestern in Minnesota. RT then got involved John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist for ten years. In the Twin Cities area he worked at running a business that oversaw several Best Buy stores. From there he went to plant a church in Sandpoint, Idaho. Eventually he came back to Illinois where he was on staff at Harvest Bible Chapel. In January of 2018 RT resigned and walked away from Harvest Bible Chapel. He planted City of Joy Church which is very young.
Why The Wondering Eagle is Recommending City of Joy
So for those of you who read me and know my history you may ask why am I supporting City of Joy? After all I am not reformed in my theology and have written about how Neo-Calvinist theology makes the problem of evil worse in, “How Reformed Theology/Neo-Calvinism Make the Problem of Evil Worse: John Piper, Adam Lanza and a Massacre in Connecticut.” In regards to John Piper I have written a multitude of articles about the issues with him. For example I wrote about how John Piper incapacitates and can harm a person’s faith. Why? Celebrity pastors like himself teach people what to think and not how to think. You can read more in, “John Piper and Guns: How the Celebrity Pastor Movement is Crippling People’s Faith” Then consider the Acts 29 scandals and more that I have written. So why would this blog recommend City of Joy?
Here is something that I have learned in traveling and writing both in the Midwest and up and down the East Coast. Despite the issues that exist in the Neo-Calvinist movement there are pockets of good here and there that have honestly surprised me. I have written about the positives in the movement in, “What The Wondering Eagle Appreciates and Respects About Neo-Calvinism.” This blog – The Wondering Eagle is basically religious intelligence. It has written about issues inside the Evangelical Free Church of America, Acts 29, Sojourn Network and more. But religious intelligence is not always about looking for scandals or problems. Sometimes its about vetting positive and good information as well. That is what this post is about in the end. When you are committed to truth you have to deal with the information that you are provided. Here is some more information about City of Joy Church that is encouraging. RT has left Harvest Bible Chapel and he understands the issues and problems inside Harvest Bible Chapel. Also worth stating is that over 50% of this congregation consists of members who have escaped Harvest Bible Chapel. A number have been through difficult situations and City of Joy provides an environment that allows many of them to heal. Also informative is this little tidbit of information. The MacDonald family especially Luke MacDonald believes that this church is stealing members from Harvest Bible Chapel. If Luke MacDonald feels that way then maybe he and others in his family should do some soul-searching about how they are functioning. So that is part of the reason why I am recommending City of Joy.
I have also heard from independent sources that City of Joy and RT Maldaner is kind, loving and that the leadership there is supportive. This information has come from a couple of different sources. So in analyzing the situation I have to look at the facts and make a decision. The news is encouraging and when you stop and consider the Harvest story in itself City of Joy is to be promoted as well. Some blogs can become focused on breaking stories and leaving it there. But the question remains is what about the people? In the end the story is about people who are caught up in a questionable entity. In writing about the issues with James MacDonald one also had to stop and consider alternatives and to help find a solution for people as well. That is why I am taking a step back and getting this post written up. I have already explained why people need to leave Harvest in, “Why People Need to Leave Harvest Bible Chapel.” As the story continues to break people need to be pointed in the right direction. And that is where City of Joy comes into play.