The EFCA One conference is being held in Chicago in June of 2019. One of the key speaker/teachers/trainers is Ed Stetzer. Yes that Ed Stetzer who doesn’t know what ethics is. The same Stetzer who accepted gifts from James MacDonald while writing about him for Christianity Today. The same Ed Stetzer that has tried to silence people from the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal. The Wondering Eagle wants to raise the question, why is the EFCA tone deaf to scandals in evangelicalism? Do they care about the Christian faith and the Gospel?
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. “
Martin Luther King
Blessed are those who act justly,
who always do what is right.
Psalm 106:3 NIV
Crossway Fellowship in Manassas, Virginia
In the 2012 and 2013 time-frame I was going through a faith crisis. The biggest question that drove me was the problem of evil. Given my background and history with the EFCA I avoided one Acts 29 church called Redemption Hill in Washington, D.C. I was watching and seeing the scandal of Mars Hill in Seattle with Mark Driscoll bloom. Keep in mind that Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll was the leader of the Acts 29 movement. Driscoll was deeply controversial. In 2012 it was known that he preached a sermon in Edinburgh, Scotland that talked about how a repentant women performs a blow job on her husband. He also spoke about how that blow job brought someone to Jesus. You can listen to that sermon in, “Reflecting on a Controversial Mark Driscoll Sermon About how a Repentant Woman Gets on Her Knees and Performs Oral Sex.” There were blogs by former Mars Hill members writing about abuse from Acts 29 and Mars Hill. All this was on my mind when I entered Crossway Fellowship in the 2012 time-frame. I was nervous about trying out a church but I hoped that this could be an exception. I emailed the pastor beforehand a series of questions, of which I never got a response. As I walked down the hall I saw a poster on the wall that stunned me. Crossway Fellowship was supporting the planting of an Acts 29 church in Washington, D.C. I felt sick and was baffled. Did the EFCA know about the issues with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Seattle? Why would they work to plant an Acts 29 church near me? Why did I know these issues and the EFCA just ignored them? Didn’t the EFCA care about the Gospel and Christianity? I stayed for the service but I knew at the time that Crossway was not going to be a church that could spiritually help me. I decided to leave after the service and not look back.
In time Mars Hill Seattle would implode. Later in 2012 Jonna Petry published a blog in which it was learned that Mark Driscoll had alleged threatened violence against her husband. It also looked at a “wrongful trial” and how her family was shunned. She wrote with remorse about how her father had tried church for the first time in 40 years and how he was shunned also. Later on in 2014 word would get out the Mark Driscoll taught that the United States was a “pussified nation.” In the process he called women penis homes which got the attention of the press. As an outsider my suspicions were validated and staying away from the Acts 29 mess and denomination that supported it was confirmed.
Fast Forward to 2018-2019 and the Harvest Bible Chapel Scandal Explodes
In the fall of 2018 the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal exploded. James MacDonald and Harvest brought a lawsuit against a Christian journalist and the writers of The Elephant’s Debt which chronicled the issues at Harvest. You can read about that 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” and “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?” With a journalist and The Elephant’s Debt caught up in a lawsuit people were scared to publish about Harvest Bible Chapel. After penning those articles a number of people from Harvest reached out to me and asked for the coverage to continue. Knowing the risks I couldn’t say no to a request for help and stepped up and wrote aggressively about the problem and tried to support them in the process.
In time Julie Roys would publish her article which James MacDonald tried to silence. The Harvest scandal would grow darker as it dragged on. Child sexual abuse came out in the form of Paxton Singer. A mother whose child knew Paxton wrote a post for this blog about the topic which you can read in, “Guest Post: An Open Letter from a Concerned Mother Disheartened About how Harvest Bible Chapel Mishandled Paxton Singer’s Arrest.” Then a Chicago shock jock on the radio broadcast a recording from a hot open mike. In front of a microphone in the Walk in the Word studio someone who sounded like James MacDonald talked about how he wanted to plant child pornography on the computer of the CEO of Christianity Today. James was angry in that he believed that Christianity Today wasn’t giving him the coverage he deserved. The Elder Board at Harvest Bible fired MacDonald. You can read about that situation in, “Mancow Muller Produces an Audiotape of James MacDonald Allegedly Wanting to Plant Child Pornography on a “Critic’s” Computer. Harvest Bible Chapel Elder Board Promptly Fires Him” and “The Allegation of Child Pornography and James MacDonald. Also a Question for Garrett Higbee.” As the Harvest Bible Chapel continued to unfold this blog played a role in leaking an internal letter from Dean Butters that was meant for the Elder Board. You can read that in, “The Wondering Eagle Exclusive: Dean Butters Statement” and “Why Publish the Dean Butters Statement in Its Entirety?” The Harvest Bible Chapel scandal is still unfolding though James MacDonald was fired. There are others who supported MacDonald or abuse stories still to come out. The story of Paxton Singer, a former Youth Pastor who groomed and sexted underage teenagers for planned sexual abuse and the cover up is now coming out in more detail.
Enter Ed Stetzer and Harvest Bible Chapel Scandal
Ed Stetzer has had a long history with James MacDonald. Recently journalist Julie Roys wrote at her blog recently about how James MacDonald used funds from Walk in the Word to buy Ed Stetzer a VW. A year ago Stetzer on Facebook boasted of having a VW Beetle. Ed Stetzer assumed it came from MacDonald’s personal funds until he read about the lavish lifestyle and extravagant use of money that James MacDonald uses. What happened is that Ed Stetzer reimbursed Walk in the Word for nearly $13,000.
This issue raises questions as to whether Ed Stetzer is aware of what ethics is? For example did Ed Stetzer see the conflict of interest in publishing for Christianity Today, which wrote about Harvest Bible Chapel, and then accept a gift from its leader at Harvest? Does Ed Stetzer understand ethics and how they function? This blog would like to know did Ed Stetzer plan to give the $13,000 back to Harvest, or did he do so when he learned that the information was coming out? Its been this blog’s belief that many evangelical Christians don’t know what ethics are and that is due to how many seminaries fail to teach the subject. You can learn more about ethics working the financial industry, medicine, or government then in going to seminary. But Ed Stetzer’s behavior also raises another question in that Ed has used his position to try and silence people from the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal.
Why is Ed Stetzer Speaking at EFCA One in Chicago in June of 2019? Why is the EFCA Tone Deaf to Evangelical Scandal and Problems?
Despite the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal, and Ed Stetzer not knowing what ethics are and the conflict of interests he has displayed, and his efforts to silence victims from the Harvest scandal he is scheduled to speak. Where you ask? Well its the upcoming annual EFCA national conference that is held in Chicago this year. I looked at the schedule and do not know when he is speaking or the time. But this blog is deeply disgusted with the EFCA for giving Ed Stetzer the platform to speak, teach train or whatever he is doing. This raises deep questions about the health of the EFCA. Why is the EFCA continually tone deaf to scandal and issues? Why did they plant and work with Acts 29 when Mars Hill has problems years ago (and still do). Why is the EFCA giving a platform for a key person in the Harvest Bible Chapel scandal? It leaves me to ask this question. Does the EFCA know what the Gospel is? Do they know what Christianity is about? Do they honestly care about the Gospel and what Jesus taught? If so then why do they kick victims to the side and put questionable people in the pulpit? This is part of the reason why this blog has a lot of respect for secular humanists and atheists. They can see these problems better than many Christians. They see through the charade, the fallacies and the scandals. They call it for what it is. To the EFCA this blog is deeply disappointed in some of your selection of speakers for EFCA One. Maybe its time to not consider the EFCA a Christian organization if they continue to put people on a platform when they deserve none.