Matt Stowell left a comment on The Wondering Eagle and apologized to a former Harvest Bible Chapel church planting pastor. I contacted Matt and asked him if I can turn it into a quick post and allow for people that need to reconcile or work things out to contact him. Matt agreed. In this post you will have Matt Stowell’s contact information and you can reach out to Matt. Please be patient if you contact Matt and it takes some time, there may be a few people who want to contact him.
“The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
“Before Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962, he was an angry, relatively young man. He founded the ANC’s military wing. When he was released, he surprised everyone because he was talking about reconciliation and forgiveness and not about revenge.”
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Matthew 5:9 NIV
This blog would like to add another dimension to the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal and that is one of reconciliation and closure. That is also the desire of Matt Stowell to reconcile and make himself available to those who need to work things out. Before I proceed let me give you some background.
Matt Stowell contacted me and corrected the information. No one according to Matt was fired. Matt and his brother got involved and they were there for 8 years. Joe Stowell Sr. came for the last two years. They all left together and no one was terminated. Matt Stowell reached out and corrected me and that information needs to be stressed. Facts and information need to be accurate. My apology for anyone who believed othewothe.
Joe Stowell Sr went to Cornerstone in Michigan where he serves as president today. I do not know at this time where Joe Stowell Jr is at, but Matt Stowell is the missions pastor at Crossroads Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Matt Stowell Releases a Statement on his Facebook Page
On Matt Stowell’s Facebook page on December 22, 2018 Matt went public about the issues at Harvest Bible Chapel. You can read the post on his Facebook page here. Julie Roys sought and received permission my Matt Stowell to republish his comment at her blog post which she did that same day in the following blog post. Matt wrote about how toxic and harmful Harvest Bible became in the course of time. For myself as I read Matt’s post the part that stood out in my mind is the following.
“During those days, I would often tell my wife, Debbie, that I felt like the mental cost of reconciling all that was happening was bankrupting my soul, and that it was increasingly difficult for me to share the stage with James. That might sound extreme or unfair to some, but I was routinely beginning to witness James engaging in off-stage behavior that included brutal outbursts of anger, an incessant need to “win” at all costs, berating and belittling people, cruelly joking about others, and deceptively spinning truth for his own gain. Over time, the pervasive “only one voice really matters” culture of Harvest became one in which fear – more than love, or humility, or any of the other fruits of the spirit– was a daily, palpable reality. Specifically, this fear manifested itself in the form of an ever-present anxiety over what James might think, say about you, or do if you disappointed him or were perceived to have gone against him in any way.
It may seem unfair of me to share about this now, but that’s kind of my point – I was part of the problem. Looking back, I’ve come to see how I helped, often through my silent deference, to build and normalize a culture of unholy pragmatism at Harvest in which the pervading attitude began to be one best summed up in rationalizing conversations among co-workers like ‘Sure, all of these terrible things are happening behind the scenes, but look what God is doing! The seats are filled! People are being baptized! Lives are being changed! Clearly, James is an anointed, gifted preacher!’”
Matt Stowell Engages a Former Harvest Bible Chapel Pastor
At this blog a former Harvest Bible Chapel pastor commented that he wished Matt Stowell would have spoken out sooner. Had he known the issues in Harvest Bible Chapel he would not have been a Harvest Bible Chapel plant pastor. Matt Stowell responded to the comment and asked for forgiveness for not speaking up sooner. You can read the exchange in he comment section of, “A Second Open Letter to John Secrest of Harvest Bible Chapel Naples.” When I saw Matt Stowell’s comment I emailed him quickly and asked if I can do a quick post and draw attention to this and allow for people formerly of Harvest to contact him and work out any issues. Matt Stowell said that is fine and that is why this post is being written.
This Blog is About Reconciliation and Closure
This blog is deeply about reconciliation and closure. I actually look for stories to write about and proceed to do so. The last story I wrote is about the reconciliation of Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas which can be read in, “The Reconciliation of Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas is Yet Another Example for the Evangelical Church.” In that post you can find several other stories of reconciliation and closure. Its my belief that the reason why so much of evangelical Christianity is sick and diseased is because Christians don’t say they are sorry. They hurt people, walk away and leave them wounded. Christians often do not admit error and seek out forgiveness. They also don’t seek to undo the damage that they have caused. This blog was triggered out of one such incident that actually became the darkest season of my life. A military officer I knew in Washington, D.C. tried to get me involved in the final church plant of C.J. Mahaney’s Sovereign Grace Ministries in Arlington, Virginia. The church was named Redeemer Arlington and is led by Eric Simmons and Jordan Kauflin. The military officer and I clashed. I balked and raised issues when I saw all the corruption, child sex abuse and more hemorrhaging out of the Sovereign Grace organization. In time this military officer triggered a false accusation that threatened my name, ability to earn income and more. It was the darkest season of my life. The situation hurt my family in California and later would even pop up in my Mom’s hospital room about 2 months before her death. People need closure and that is a huge problem with organizations like Sovereign Grace, Harvest Bible Chapel and others similar.
It is this blogs belief that personalities like James MacDonald or Scott Milholland will not seek forgiveness or own their mistakes. They are too narcissistic to do so. James MacDonald is all about power and control and he doesn’t care what he does in order to obtain it. If you used to be involved in Harvest Bible Chapel and you want to engage with Matt Stowell you are free to do so. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I only ask that you be patient, and that you give Matt time. There may be a number of people that want to engage him and it may take time to work through them all. This blog has a lot of respect for Matt for doing the right thing and taking this course of action. In these stories that I write about I very much want to see people find closure, reconciliation and healing. Hands down that is why this blog exists. Thanks Matt for doing the right thing, my hat is off to you.