Harvest removes MacDonald as senior pastor
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 2/13/19, 10:53 am
The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel fired James MacDonald as senior pastor of the Chicago megachurch after a radio show aired audio Tuesday of vulgar and inflammatory comments MacDonald made against Christianity Today leadership and journalist Julie Roys. In a statement released Wednesday morning, the elders said they had decided, after a lengthy time of reflection and prayer, to remove MacDonald from the position, and “that timeline accelerated, when on Tuesday morning highly inappropriate recorded comments made by Pastor MacDonald were given to media and reported.”
The remarks aired on WLS in Chicago on a program hosted by Mancow Muller, who attends Harvest and was a close friend of MacDonald’s. Muller did not identify the speaker on the air, but no one has denied it was MacDonald’s voice. The recording included obscene references to Christianity Today CEO Harold Smith, editor Mark Galli, and contributing editor Ed Stetzer, along with a threat to put child pornography on Smith’s computer. MacDonald is also heard accusing Galli of having an affair with Roys, a journalist whose December 2018 investigative report in WORLD Magazine detailed financial mismanagement and a culture of deception and intimidation at the church. “It’s disgusting,” Roys wrote on her blog Tuesday. “Galli and I have never had anything but a professional relationship, and it’s repulsive that anyone—a pastor, no less—would make a joke about that.”
MacDonald took an indefinite sabbatical from the pastorate in January, a move that sparked another controversy at a Harvest-affiliated church in Naples, Fla., where MacDonald planned to preach during the winter.
“A more detailed communication regarding next steps for our church will take place in our weekend services,” church elders said in Wednesday’s announcement.
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