Comment on Why People are Still Attending Harvest Bible Chapel, Plus the Atheist Community is Noticing the Issues with James MacDonald

A comment on a prior post at this blog leads to this article. A former member of Harvest Bible Chapel explained why they attended. Also worth noting is that the atheist community is paying attention to the Harvest Bile Chapel scandal. This is two posts in one

But yet the sheep at the megachurch will still blindly obey the pastor and the elders. They’re Godly men you see and to say anything negative against them is a sin! It pains me to see how dumb and gullible so many Christians are.

Comment on The Friendly Atheist 

Its’ the healthiest church I have been involved in Dave.” That is what an Air Force Captain who graduated from the Air Force Academy told me about his former Sovereign Grace church – Redeemer Arlington in the Washington, D.C. area. Accusations about covering up child sex abuse from a lot of their churches poured out on a blog called SGM Survivors. There was allegations of C.J. Mahaney’s criminal activity. I was dumb founded as to why a person would want to go to such a church. If they cared about God why attend a church mired in scandal, corruption and more? I still don’t understand it to be honest with you. 

What happened in Sovereign Grace Ministries also is ongoing in Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago. The question that also must be asked is why are people attending Harvest Bible Chapel. Amidst the abuse, the Paxton Singer situation being mishandled, and so much more. I wrote why people need to leave Harvest Bible Chapel in, “Why People Need to Leave Harvest Bible Chapel.”  They other day a person left a comment on a post that explained why they attended Harvest Bible Chapel. I want to use what they said to explain to others why people are still attending. I would love if those of you who left Harvest could explain and discuss what is said here in the comment section below. 

I can tell from experience. It’s literally a Midwest thing. We don’t care if we don’t have to. I was there (Harvest Bible Chapel) for 21 years and literally didn’t care as long as I got my worship fix and a good message. Didn’t care about anything else. I wised up one day when he (James MacDonald) attacked and laughed at something very important to me. I never set foot in HBC again.

The people there love the brand and or the product. You can tell them it’s toxic or a disaster, they don’t care. They get their Sunday fix, pay their tithe, grab the kids and go home.
I still have friends that go and when we see them they’re all “wasn’t the sermon great today..???” Etc. They’re not interested in what anyone else has to say. They love Jmac and are totally loyal to him and his product. They love the worship, trust me it’s second to none, and that’s what keeps them.


The Atheist Community is Watching the Harvest Bible Chapel Scandal

Up above there is a quote from someone who explained why people attend Harvest Bible Chapel. There is another factor to consider and its this point. Many atheists and secular humanists are watching all this play out with James MacDonald. They are noticing, discussing and speaking about this issue. This also happened with Mars Hill in Seattle. One of the biggest critics of Mark Driscoll was atheist Valerie Tarico who wrote about Driscoll in posts like this and this. If you read Valerie’s blog you can read about 8 articles and see Mars Hill from the perspective of an atheist. 

Now we are dealing with Harvest Bible Chapel and its one of the most well known atheist bloggers who is writing about the scandal with James MacDonald. One of the posts is not by Hemant Mehta, but the other one is. You can read what those in the atheist of secular humanist community are saying about the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal at The Friendly Atheist. Those posts are here and here

I am poking around and seeing what else is being said. But I thought this post is a good opportunity to combine two topics. Why people go to Harvest Bible and what atheists are saying about people who attend Harvest Bible Chapel. By the way read the comment section it is rich. 

11 thoughts on “Comment on Why People are Still Attending Harvest Bible Chapel, Plus the Atheist Community is Noticing the Issues with James MacDonald

  1. Yep James uses people and people use James. James uses them for his own ego to get pumped up and to get big bucks from them. People use James to give them a sense of being a part of something “big” and meaningful. If you notice the harvesters think they have touched the whole world with the blood of Jesus Christ, literally one follower said that. ( Dude your only a congregation of 12,000) but Macdonald has masterfully brainwashed them that there expanse is Huuugee. So it’s a real blow to their own egos to to admit the empire is a fail. So along with James they cling on to the very last piece of ripped clothe of harvest as they can. Thereby all of them acting like 2 year olds together.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Wonder what they will say when more of the Paxton Singer situation comes out.

        What else?
        FAKE NEWS.
        Pastor Johnny is LORD.
        Here’s my Vertical Church Tattoo! See?
        Why Haven’t YOU Taken The Mark?


    • So it’s a real blow to their own egos to to admit the empire is a fail.

      Sunk Cost Fallacy, the con man’s greatest friend.

      Get the suckers so emotionally invested (as well as financially) in the con to the point where they CAN’T back out, even when they KNOW they’re being taken to the cleaners. Because then they’d have to admit to themselves and others that They Got Conned. If they’re invested enough, the suckers will fanatically defend the con man even as he cleans them out.


  2. FEAR!!! Their whole world is wrapped up in the church and the school. They are comfortable. The thought of losing friends or heaven forbid their child has to go to public school, absolutely terrifys them. It’s sad really. No trust in God, but all their trust has been put in James. Worshipping James and not God. Simple as that. We all know what happens when we put our trust in man.


    • Yep, and the Bible’s pretty clear about it: “Cursed is the one who puts their trust in man.” I don’t what what more God could say to them to get their attention–then again, I’ll bet that part of the Bible is ignored from the pulpit at HBC.


  3. I think that there are a lot of over-simplifications being made so I will put in my two cents as a former harvest member who still has friends at Harvest. I believe that many of the people who are staying have vital ministries that are reaching people despite all of the issues. They know there are problems, but don’t know the full extent because they don’t read any of the blogs. They make comments like, “no church is perfect” and “the church is more than just James.” The best way to think of it is this; in any totalitarian country (USSR or Nazi Germany) there are some who will defect, some who will stay and try to make reforms, and some who just accept the status quo as long as their needs are met. I was in the group who wanted to stay and make reforms for several years until it got to be too much. I understand that thinking (This is my church. Why should I leave? I’m doing what I’m supposed to). I think there are many others in that group. As long as they hold on to the hope that things will get better they will stay and continue to say “no church is perfect”.


  4. I was nodding when I first saw this comment about “its a midwest thing” a few days ago. If Mancow never wrote an article, how else would I have known? I am 46 years old. I raise my autistic granddaughter who is 5, and don’t really have much time. Granted it has been forever since I stepped foot in HBC, however I didn’t hesitate to watch online, or tv Walk in the Word, Pastor James’s tv show if I had a moment. When I first read the article, I was in shock. And a few hours that led to sadness, that once again, pride and money came before the reason we were all there. GOD. Now I see him for who he has became, and it is devastating to me. I wouldn’t listen, again. Not because he hasn’t provided a message, but because is he just a con man? Was he always? Not that I won’t watch fallen speakers. I have caught Jim Bakker on tv recently, and prayed, and took in a bible study. Do I think he changed? Who am I to judge someone’s heart? This situation is really sad indeed. The more I read about who has gotten hurt at HBC, the more I just pray for healing to all. I am not burying my head in the sand. I want to know more, but not for drama.. just to pray. I hope that helps a little. I started following your blog a few days ago, and very moved by it all.


  5. Two observations about the way Harvesters were told they were part of something huge:

    EVERY follower of Jesus is already part of the greatest story in all of history- even isolated Christians in prison cells. We don’t need stages, cool bands and celebrity preachers to give us significance. Jesus is significant enough!

    Secondly, the Harvest Bible Chapels I knew of across the country were barely touching the non-Christian community. In our area right after Harvest Bible Chapel launched they grew very quickly because existing Christians poured in from all the other area churches. In five years maybe 10 people max made professions of faith and got baptized. The rest were transfers. The same was true of Harvest churches planted in other areas (including the existing churches they took over and “rebranded”). The Harvest model did not meaningfully engage those far from God. It was designed to attract Christians by providing exciting programs for them. And apparently, to pressure them to give big bucks for it once they were “in”.


  6. So let down by everything that’s gone on… HOWEVER, I’m not at all surprised! Think about it… imperfect men running an imperfect church for God’s perfect work. God never promised that it’d be squeaky clean.. in fact the Bible is littered with all the bad that has been done in a climax to all that we NEED! Christ! James is no different, but I’m still dumbfounded about how an intelligent man like himself can rattle off so much trash about other people. Us men of God are about His kingdom and cannot spare a moment on the misgivings of this Earth. Now, there are many things, that were simply just unbecoming of any pastor, and for that, I’m glad he was fired. However, I could sit in a room with him and be his friend. He messed up BIG TIME! I’d forgive him, but never let him run my church…

    All that being said… God DID speak through him and will more than likely speak through him again… some day… just the same as Peter… who denied Christ… James will have to deny himself… big time!

    Ciao, James! I wish you the best! I will be taking the Vertical Church Band sticker off of my computer now… 😦


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