James MacDonald Fired from Harvest

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Leak of “highly inappropriate” comments by founding pastor of Chicago-area megachurch caps months-long clash with critics.

In the midst of efforts to reconcile with longtime critics, Harvest Bible Chapel fired its founder and senior pastor James MacDonald for “engaging in conduct … contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church.”

Harvest elders announced this morning that they were forced to take “immediate action” on Tuesday to end his 30-year tenure.

“Following a lengthy season of review, reflection, and prayerful discussion, the Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel had determined that Pastor MacDonald should be removed from his role of Senior Pastor. That timeline accelerated, when on Tuesday morning highly inappropriate recorded comments made by Pastor MacDonald were given to media and reported,” they wrote.

“This decision was made with heavy hearts and much time spent in earnest prayer, followed by input from various trusted outside advisors.”

MacDonald took an “indefinite sabbatical” in January, following a tumultuous few months defending Harvest in a defamation lawsuit against its critics and in the aftermath of a World magazine investigation into mismanagement at the church.

The public scrutiny continued with pushback against MacDonald’s decision to preach at a Harvest affiliate in Florida during his sabbatical. Then, a famous friend of his, Chicago shock jock Mancow Muller, spoke out in a local newspaper against the manipulation and ego he observed around MacDonald’s “cult of personality” at Harvest. On his radio show, Muller later aired what sounded like clips of MacDonald making harsh comments toward media who had covered the story.

Now, the church has decided its longtime leader won’t be coming back.

Muller had prematurely announced the …

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