Fourth Church “Kicked Out” of Fellowship via “Catapult?”

Pastor Mike Bryant: A Factious Man?

In the absence of a public statement being issued either by Harvest Bible Fellowship or by Harvest Bible Church (formerly Harvest Bible Chapel) of Grayslake, IL, those that are attempting to document the fallout from the Elephant Room 2 are left with the unenviable task of sifting through the available data in an attempt to piece together the developing story.

Yesterday morning, that task became somewhat lighter as Senior Pastor Mike Bryant [no relation to this author] lent credibility to emerging reports, when he addressed the matter in his weekly sermon.  Although a complete audio file of Bryant’s sermon on 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 can be found and downloaded at the church’s website, the relevant portion of the message has been transcribed for your convenience.  It begins at the 35:33 mark.

“… There is hope amidst the suffering.  Loved ones, we have hope.  And for our church, as I am studying the passage, I am amazed at the pertinence of God’s Word.  Can I just tell you that?  I am amazed that God sees what we are going through, and a year in advance knew that we would be in this passage.  And with the suffering that we are going through as a church – if you were here last week, you heard about the sufferings that our church is enduring.   That we have a sign out there that says: “Harvest Bible Chapel.”  And did you know that we are no longer a Harvest Bible Chapel?  Because our denomination decided they wanted to kick us out.  And why did they want to kick us out?  Because they wanted to choose to embrace, to invite and affirm somebody who teaches false doctrines about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and about the Trinity.  And so because of that loved ones, I don’t know about you, but I’m perplexed right now at this situation.  I’m confused.  I’m discouraged.  And I’m grieving over this.  I’m perplexed at the reality that the men — for some of us in this room, we served with them for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 plus, I’ve been a part of Harvest Bible Chapel for 23 years now! – and guess what, I cannot believe that these men have embraced this false teacher.  I can’t understand how they have done that.  I’m perplexed about that. And you’re probably perplexed as well, like I am.  I’m perplexed about the reality that they would invite and they would affirm this man and they would embrace him and share fellowship with him, while kicking those of us who have been with them and supported them and built God’s Kingdom through the work of Harvest Bible Chapel for 20 plus years – and to kick us to the side.  I’m perplexed by that, as I’m sure you are perplexed by that this morning.  I’m perplexed that when brothers came – when our elders went to them and spoke truth to them and said ‘Hey, the things were seeing, I don’t think this is good.’  And when we spoke truth to them and said, ‘This is wrong according to what Scripture says.  Why are we doing this?  We need to go in a different way.’ And they attacked us instead!  I’m perplexed by that.  I don’t get that.  It discourages my heart and it grieves my heart.”

If we are to take Mike Bryant’s statement at face value, it would appear that Harvest Bible Church was, as has previously been reported, kicked out the Fellowship for privately challenging the leadership of the Fellowship over their decision to “embrace, to invite and affirm somebody who teaches false doctrines.”

Interestingly enough, three days after Harvest Bible Church first received the news that they were being removed from the Fellowship, James MacDonald had this to say to a group of pastors:

“I secretly wish that these two verses were my elders’ favorite verses.  They’re not my life’s verse, but I wish that my elders had these two verses for their favorites.  One’s from the pastoral epistles where it says: ‘Reject a factious man after the second admonition.’[1]  I wish that was my elders’ life verse … Now reject him doesn’t mean he has to sit halfway back.  Okay.  Reject him means you can’t come here any more.  ‘Well, I’m sorry.’  Okay, that means you get to go to a different church.  Reject!  Do I need to spell that out?  ‘Why, why, why? That’s so cold.’ It’s so wise … And I wish [my elders’] other life verse from Proverbs was: “Cast out the scoffer and the strife will cease.”[2]

While it is somewhat telling to hear MacDonald list these passages as the two verses that he wished his elders held as their personal favorites, even more telling were these comments from the same message:

“A factious man is a danger to the church and you are released by Scripture to release him.  And I am releasing you to a take a small portion of your church’s budget, build a catapult, put it in the church parking lot and load it regularly.  ‘I think we can shoot this one right out of our county.’”

So, three days after the Fellowship kicked out Harvest Bible Church of Grayslake for privately expressing their concerns regarding the Elephant Room 2, MacDonald was seen standing in front of a room full of pastors, sarcastically and enthusiastically exhorting them to handle dissent by launching the dissenters right out of the church’s life.

Given that, one has to wonder: are the senior staff and elders of Harvest Bible Chapel and the members of the Fellowship truly “unified?”  Or are they merely fearful of what might come if they dare to express their own concerns?

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Church and Culture, Harvest Bible Chapel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Fourth Church “Kicked Out” of Fellowship via “Catapult?”

  1. Pingback: - ResoluteFaith.com

  2. Ryan M. Mahoney says:

    Reblogged this on Christus Victor.

  3. anotherviewpoint says:

    What a mess. Something smells rotten in Denmark…or Rolling Meadows.

    • What is so singularly frustrating, to me at least, is that none of this had to go down this way. The Elephant Room is not necessarily a bad idea. Putting people of differing opinions around a table for a robust and open discussion is a time-honored tradition. The problem is that MacDonald invited a controversial figure and then said nothing about some of his most controversial teachings.

      Can you imagine how instructive and informative this could have been if MacDonald (and others present) had truly engaged the issue? This could have been so helpful and beneficial for the wider Church community. Instead … it turns into this. So sad.

  4. Bill Radford says:

    Are you wearing your catapult pads? You might need them – just sayin’

  5. Paula Coyle says:

    Praise God for their courage!! I pray that God will raise up more godly pastors like this one!

  6. Paula Coyle says:

    Oh, btw he did also mention a real trial they are going through, in the opening.

    • Sola Scriptura says:

      Paula, are you referring to MacDonald or to Pastor Mike Bryant when you say that “he did also mention a real trial they are going through, in the opening”?

  7. truthunites says:

    Pastor Mike Bryant: “I’m perplexed about the reality that they would invite and they would affirm this man [T.D. Jakes] and they would embrace him and share fellowship with him, while kicking those of us who have been with them and supported them and built God’s Kingdom through the work of Harvest Bible Chapel for 20 plus years – and to kick us to the side.”

    I feel this man’s pain. Sounds like he feels he was betrayed. Betrayed in a really bad way.

  8. Melissa says:

    So many things have been lurking in the back rooms before ER2 emerged. This is truly grieving to me. My husband and I used to go to Harvest. We brought up concern once of false teaching in our small group. We were met with surprise. We were not met with working together to make things right but instead shown the door. By voicing our concerns and bringing some problems to light we were labeled as divisive. Two years later its very interesting to see what is coming about. The most grieving thing of all. Is that, good people trying to bring error to light and protect, are now be labeled as facticious.

  9. Pingback: Fourth Church “Departs” Harvest Bible Fellowship via Blood Stained Ink Blog | Pilgrimage to Geneva

  10. That video was grossly disturbing.

  11. Kirk Herren says:

    I guess the basic q is who exactly knighted you judge between sides–when it appears you are bias toward the only one you’ve heard from/or perhaps you just blindly defend anyone who is “done wrong” by Harvest? But again, who put you in the seat, gave you the “the unenviable task of sifting through the available data in an attempt to piece together the developing story.” That’s your job? Huh. Public watchdog? Someone really paying you for this unenviable task? Nothing better to occupy your time? Disgruntled former employee? Whatever the case…this isn’t journalism, if that’s what you think you’re doing. It’s not careful reflection for edification. Ranting maybe. You are judging motives of hearts you cannot see and sitting in the seat that God says, leave to me. And if that denomination is that screwed up, this pastor and his church have just been liberated! Don’t lament it, celebrate it. “Free at last, thank God we’re free at last!” Cautioning you/bloggers who expound and speculate on matters that stir things up, not settle them down. If they are in sin, God is able to slap them round somethin’ good. You discredit your own voice by mudslinging. Pastor Bryant (and you) assume a heretic has been embraced…is the heretic on their staff? Speaking at their church? On their board? An invitation to debate theology is not a proposal for marriage. But you seem to both equate them…if you move to L.A. are you immediately guilty for choosing to live in the same town as Madonna? How could you!! Is that an endorsement? Overstatement…but that’s the logic you embrace and peddle. Your caricature of the matter diminishes the value you could draw forth as we reflect on what we’re learning. But, maybe I’ve just missed the whole and you never stated or intended to be a thoughtful and critical reviewing of theology and culture just a narrow minded, per-programmed, blogger-in-angst who happens to own his very own well-used…catapult. For reflection and refinement for us all me thinks.

    kirk

    • Kirk … Thank you for stopping by to leave a comment.

    • Ryan (my real name) says:

      @”Kirk”

      1. “I guess the basic q is who exactly knighted you judge between sides–when it appears you are bias toward the only one you’ve heard from/or perhaps you just blindly defend anyone who is “done wrong” by Harvest?”

      I will role in the mud with the pigs when Scott won’t, so here we go. Your question is ridiculous, of course, no one knighted Scott to judge between sides. That is not the issue, Mr. Obfuscation. Yes, Scott and I are biased. We try to believe our friends, with whom we have had significant history, suggesting a pattern of honesty, integrity and high character, over and against silence or a complete lack of any contrary evidence to demonstrate that our friend is lying to everyone.

      2. “But again, who put you in the seat, gave you the “the unenviable task of sifting through the available data in an attempt to piece together the developing story.” That’s your job? Huh. Public watchdog? Someone really paying you for this unenviable task? Nothing better to occupy your time? Disgruntled former employee?”

      I only ask you the same question, Mr. Anonymous, blog-trolling, comment monkey.

      3. “Whatever the case…this isn’t journalism, if that’s what you think you’re doing. It’s not careful reflection for edification. Ranting maybe.”

      And, you and Catapult boy at HU aren’t ranting!?

      4. ” You are judging motives of hearts you cannot see and sitting in the seat that God says, leave to me.”

      How are you not doing the same thing!?

      5. “And if that denomination is that screwed up, this pastor and his church have just been liberated! Don’t lament it, celebrate it. “Free at last, thank God we’re free at last!”’

      Of course we celebrate, but we morn too. We both have a long history with HBC, and the things we have seen and learned hurt and sadden us. However, we refuse to be passive in the face of clearly wrongful action toward our friend. I’ll stand up for him when he won’t do it himself.

      6. “Cautioning you/bloggers who expound and speculate on matters that stir things up, not settle them down. If they are in sin, God is able to slap them round somethin’ good. You discredit your own voice by mudslinging.”

      Where’s the mudslinging? Nothing but statements from two people here. Mudslinging would be to call JMac a lover of heresy (which I have not nor seen reason to do), but to call him on his own PUBLIC mistreatment of another pastor of his own Fellowship is not mudslinging.

      Also, there is no speculation here. It is clear, according to HBCGL’s public statements, as to what happened. IF those comments are untrue, HBC is free to make a public statement, or develop an army of anonymous blog trollers to leave comments.

      Of course, God is able to handle the sins of others, but that in no way is an argument for silence in the face of public sin. If so, the OT prophets, St. Francis, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King Jr., Wilberforce, ect should have sat idly by while injustice abounded.

      7. “Pastor Bryant (and you) assume a heretic has been embraced…is the heretic on their staff? Speaking at their church? On their board? An invitation to debate theology is not a proposal for marriage. But you seem to both equate them…if you move to L.A. are you immediately guilty for choosing to live in the same town as Madonna? How could you!! Is that an endorsement?”

      You have missed the point. Invite Jakes. Talk with Jakes. Record Jakes. Sell the DVD of Jakes. It’s all fine and good just as TGC initially said it was, inviting a person of different view points in for a discussion. BUT THERE WAS NO DISCUSSION! Not a single question of his views on gospel were asked, and that is some of the most troubling stuff about Jakes, known to the public. That’s not a “debate” as you called it. However, I don’t need a debate; a civil conversation about the difference, the story behind the differences and why these differences matter would have been fine.

      Cooperating with Jakes on a mission to feed the hungry or house the homeless is fine; you are right there is no endorsement of theology because of limited cooperation on points where agreement can be had. I am no screaming “fundie.” However, to invite someone to your conference to talk theology, at your church, and fail to engage the man (gently, lovingly, kindly) on the serious, critical, issues that separate you is at least neglectful, needing correction, or it is complicit, for some other, as of yet unknown, purpose. And then to make critical questions about this failure (intended or otherwise) as the basis for “building a catapult” is absurd.

      8. “Your caricature of the matter diminishes the value you could draw forth as we reflect on what we’re learning. But, maybe I’ve just missed the whole and you never stated or intended to be a thoughtful and critical reviewing of theology and culture just a narrow minded, per-programmed, blogger-in-angst who happens to own his very own well-used…catapult. For reflection and refinement for us all me thinks.”

      Do you need the big picture spelled out for you? HBCGL dared to ask a question that HBC/F did not feel like answering.

      • Kirk Herren says:

        “Ryan” if that’s your real name…wow, how cool to garner so much fan mail…even a nick-name…from a single blog-trolling outing. And you’re hired. Mom liked Kirk, but “monkey” has a lot of verve. And I’m sure your mom would be so proud of you too sticking up for the “boys-club-of-the-disenfranchised-by-golly-we’re-just-like-Wilberforce-n-Luther-brigade!” And your style/flavor of “mourning” is really a nice saucy type. It’s so nice that a church you hate and have left gets so much of your ongoing attention and angst. The gift that just keeps on giving I guess. Maybe the only point we can agree upon is that the church is full of jerks. Harvest has them and you’re one too. So…wait just a minute, that means you share lots in common with them! Are you sure you shouldn’t rejoin? You seem to wield an nearly identical sword as Pastor MacDonald. Do you need a mirror? We’ve already established that I’m a monkey, so you have no need to take that pet name away from me. Maybe when Scott gets a back-bone and can defend himself and all your cadre, he’ll be able to respond to trolling monkeys just like his buddy. Good job “Ryan.” You are trapped in a reality of your own making just as they are. PS I watched the Jakes videos. You must have either turned off the volume and only watched them, or your fell asleep, or were blogging or you are lying. Jakes was asked about the Gospel and Trinity as Driscoll waved the Bible around. Maybe I can learn how to transcript and paste in conversation like the ink stained guy. But again, taking time to get the full or true story for you must just be too exhausting and take away from the glorious purpose you serve in the realms of blog-o-mania. Off now to get my new “Blog-trolling-monkey” site off the ground, my t-shirts made and the IPO ready. You’ll stop by from time-to-time won’t you? And the “Pirate” you linked to is perfect for you band of half-cocked catapult operators! The Jakes stuff he play is benign. If you didn’t believe it you wouldn’t see it. I wouldn’t step near TBN either. Another issue/matter of poor association, for sure. But his clips present a non-compelling “see I told you so” support for the Grayslake man (who sounds quite miffed…you sure he isn’t the factious one after all. Bully-pulpits r us suits him too.) But no, he is the noble one, right, forgot that. Label correctly monkey. Back to my bananas and trolling I guess 🙂 Maybe the Jane Goodall blog will like me.

        • Ryan M. Mahoney says:

          Wow the only thing missing from your sophomoric tripe is a hearty “yo mama.” Have a nice day.

          • David says:

            Kirk you are one angry guy. The folks here were having a friendly discussion and you add nothing but vile hate and misdirection.

            David

    • Michael says:

      Might as well just sign this one “James MacDonald.”

    • Brian says:

      It’s also disturbing how fervently people defend hbc. Churches are flawed, they’re run by humans. Churches are also here today and gone tomorrow. Don’t defend a flawed church, defend the gospel.

      Ps, I attended an hbc for several years and the arrogance that permeates from their pulpits is palpable, it’s in the form of absolute disregard, bordering on hatred for other christian denominations and para church ministries (that list could be longer). They also only use the old testament to meet their needs (ie Malachi’s reference of tithing, which they give a recycled sermon on ever 6 weeks).

      Point is, American churches, talk a good game but they aren’t really changing lives for the better.

  12. Waldo says:

    Scott:
    Thanks for exposing the deceipt at HBC. I only wish there would have been more information available several years ago before I wasted so much at HBC Rolling Meadows.

  13. Melissa says:

    Would you happen to know if Pastor MacDonald gave this talk at Harvest U? Our pastors recently attended that event, and I am curious to know if this is what they heard while they were there.

    • Melissa … If I may be so bold, I’d like to offer this suggestion by way of response. If your pastors attended this conference, why don’t you take this video to them and ask them about it? If they were there, they may have seen it. At the same time, they may not. Remember, at a lot of these conferences, people sometimes skip individual sessions because there is so much to take in and it all becomes a bit overwhelming. So it is possible that your pastors saw it, but it’s also possible they did not. Either way, if your pastors/elders are attending Harvest University, this is a video that they should be willing to discuss with a congregant that is concerned.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to engage the discussion.

  14. stauron3n1 says:

    In light of the known facts, a couple of questions come to mind.

    First off, how does one define “factious”? Somehow, defining it as any expressed disagreement between brothers and sisters in Christ on matters of doctrine or polity doesn’t seem to wash biblically.

    Paul and Barnabus had a “sharp disagreement” (ESV) that resulted in them separating, but neither was reported to be in error, labeled “factious” nor removed from the church. Paul publically rebuked Peter when he was the de facto leader of the Church in Jerusalem, but Peter accepted the correction with grace, and didn’t rail or “disfellowship” Paul.

    Instead of “factious” the KJV uses the word “heritick while the ESV and NKJV uses “devisive man”. With due respect to Pastor James, could it be that the admonition “to reject” or “have nothing to do with” the “factious or divisive” should be reserved for matters on the level of the authority of the Gospel and integrity of the church and not for compulsory agreement on every small matter of doctrine or practice?

    If the “factious” bar were to be set so low that privately expressing differing views on anything but the most fundamental issues of orthodoxy and orthopraxy justifies “disfellowshipping” it would hard to imagine how the church survived, let alone grew and flourished.

    Also, when we consider that the issues involved in ER2 were important enough to persuade men like Mark Dever and Voddie Baucham to decline invitations to participate in the event, and prompted Don Carson and Tim Keller to thoughtfully weigh-in, was it necessarily unreasonable or divisive for HBC Grayslake’s leadership to express concern or even disagreement about the same issues?

    The word scoffer is also worthy of consideration. According to proverbs 21:24 “Scoffer is the name for the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride”. Based upon this definition, it hardly seems biblical or reasonable to apply Proverbs 22:10 to HBC Grayslake’s pastor and elders or to any member of the Body of Christ who expresses sincere and respectful disagreement or dissent with leadership.

    Incidentally, this Proverb can be pointed in both directions. A good case could be made that the “disfellowshipping” and Pastor James’ flippant admonitions about “catapults” directed to the “graduating pastors” are better examples of arrogance than the actions of HBC Grayslake’s leadership .

    Second and last; is applying Proverbs and Paul’s prescriptions in these matters without grace godly or loving? Pastor James has said in the past that “Truth without love is brutality”. In like manner, applying Proverbs 22:10 and Titus 3:10 without grace seems equally brutal.

    James on the other hand said that it was wise. I suppose that it may be, if demonstrating personal authority and influence is prima facia evidence of biblical wisdom in the “Harvest Universe”.

    • Carol says:

      Excellent, thoughtful observations. This is a difficult and painful situation; holding things up to the light of scripture is always the right way to go.

  15. Me says:

    http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2012/05/heresy-is-the-new-orthodoxy.html

    Editorial Update: This link, which was submitted to this site overnight, comes from Pirate Christian Radio. At the 17:50 mark of the podcast, the radio host begins to discuss the recent events surrounding Harvest Bible Church of Grayslake being removed from the Fellowship.

  16. Jon says:

    So how do you connect the “catapult” video and the Grayslake separation?

    Could not one still hold to the idea that too many churches have not been strong enough in dealing with factitious people (so agree with the MacDonald video) … and also be cool with the fact that Grayslake and Harvest may have had a Paul and Barnabas moment.

    You may have jumped the gun in assuming that Grayslake is considered factitious by Harvest … they may just not agree on the direction of their denomination and so they go their separate ways a la Paul and Barnabas.

    • stauron3n1 says:

      Inasmuch, as the leadership of HBC Grayslake, didn’t know in advance that they were being involuntarily “separated” it’s not reasonable nor possible to conclude that it was a mutual decision as in the case of Paul and Barnabus.

      It may be a small point, but the HB Fellowship has never claimed to be a denomination.

    • Hi Jon …

      You raise a great point; and more than that, you did so in a constructive manner. So thank you for that.

      With regards to your question, I would say that you are correct. There is no “smoking gun” that directly links these two transcripts together. But given the timing of two statements and the events that have circled the Elephant Room 2, the link begins to feel far less tenuous. So much so that, in the opinion of this author, it’s worth asking questions.

      Remember, Bryant’s message clearly implied that they were content to remain within the Fellowship. They had expressed their concerns, but unlike other churches, they hadn’t withdrawn from HBF. They were “kicked out.” And that’s what makes MacDonald’s comments so instructive.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to raise a valid question; and thanks for doing so in a manner that pushes the conversation forward in a helpful way.

    • Phil Zone says:

      Agreed. It makes sense that the trebuchet or catapult would be reserved for the scoffer that himself or his family remains at the church but he is actually *anti* – afore-mentioned church or prescribes to “another gospel” that actually undermines the message and mission of the church he is attending. This is dangerous and a much deeper problem than ER2 issue.
      Grayslake is not “factitious” they are awesome!

  17. Kirk says:

    SWB,

    You seem measured in your responses and after truth and integrity. So here is the digging I did that makes me question your efforts in this particular matter. With little effort, here is the truth. GRAYSLAKE IS THE ONLY CHURCH “KICKED OUT.” The other three CHOSE to leave. Call them yourself which, it appears, you did not. So why did you post un-true things (lies if you knew)? And what will you do now? That is the test.

    Put aside the matters of what the issues for leaving or kicking are and trying to rightly assign the title “factious” Your headline is not fact and sensational because you didn’t do your homework.

    If you are who you purport to be, trying to accomplish what I believe you are (honesty and dialogue on real matters of faith and practice) to the best of your ability, don’t negate your voice by taking tips from the tabloids.

    Only ONE church was “kicked out.” Only one EVER. If you are in fact wrong here…and printed/published inaccurate assessments…might you have other facts wrong because you don’t know the story like you think you do? I can appreciate your friendship with the Grayslake pastor, but should you not then recuse yourself for bias and potential blind spots or corners you’d cut? Like the one I’m bringing to your attention without the panche or sass of Ryan.

    Thankfully there are verses like Matthew 16:18.

    Respectfully,
    Kirk

    • Dear Kirk,

      First things first. I do appreciate you taking the time to stick with the conversation. From what I can tell, this seems to be a frustrating issue for you; and I applaud you for your willingness to do some research to see if what is being printed is accurate. Although we don’t know one another, I can tell you that I am a man who is never turned off by a question. Questions tend to shed light in places where things are obscured. So I truly don’t mind you pushing back. All I ask is that you do so in a respectful manner.

      With regards to contacting the first three churches, one need not do so. They have already put statements out on their respective websites; and all three statements are crystal clear. They approached HBC/HBF with their concerns and ultimately, they were told that plans for the Elephant Room 2 were moving forward. So those three churches all pulled themselves over their concerns with ER2. It’s as simple as that.

      As for Grayslake, what it shares in common is the fact that it brought its concerns to HBC/HBF. As to how things went down after that, we don’t fully know. Grayslake has yet to issue a public statement; and thus we can only piece together the info that is available. But assuming that Mike Bryant is not lying as he preaches the Word of God to his congregation, we know that Grayslake was kicked out because of their concerns.

      So in that sense, they do become the “Fourth Church” that is no longer connected to the Fellowship because of the Elephant Room 2.

      As for the headline on this article, if you read carefully, you will notice that I finished it off with a question mark. So it wasn’t a statement. If you read my comments above, you will see that I openly say that there is no “smoking gun” that directly links these two events. But you have two statements in close proximity – statements that pertain to the nature of MacDonald’s leadership. If you listen to Pastor Bryant’s sermon, you can hear the anguish. They tried to stay in and they were “kicked out” because their elders expressed concern over the ER2. Now look at MacDonald’s statement. The probability that these two comments are connected is high, in my opinion. Nevertheless, I cannot be certain, and that is why I began the article with a question (in the headline) and ended the article with a question.

      Given my inquisitive nature, Kirk, I’m wondering if I can ask you a question or two. Do you attend Harvest Bible Chapel? I only ask because all three of your comments have a certain amount of “energy” behind them. That probably doesn’t sound great as you read it, so please forgive me if that sounds harsh or combative. What I’m trying to say is that your comments clearly indicate that you care deeply about this issue. And I guess I’m asking, why? Do you attend the church? Are you concerned that people are unfairly attacking MacDonald? If so, I can honestly respect that. I think it would be a natural instinct, almost like a son trying to protect his father. I think all of us love the Church universal, but if we’re being honest, we love our local church even more.

      More significantly, what do you think of the Elephant Room 2 and MacDonald’s handling of the aftermath?

      Thanks again for taking the time to continue the discussion.

      Yours,
      Scott

  18. Stacey says:

    I believe if a man has to stand up and protect himself in front of a congregation time and time again. He
    Needs to really look at his heart. No need to prove yourself if you know you are right.

  19. Kirk Herren says:

    SWB,

    First, my preamble…brevity is not my gift.

    Next, honesty.

    I honestly “feel” (aren’t feelings great.) I feel like you are being dodgy. If you knew the three appealed and then self-selected out…it was their wise choice to distance themselves based upon their own conviction–whether right or wrong by Heaven’s court–they followed their conscience. Don’t spin it. They left. They were not kicked. You are not playing fair. You concede nothing, only defend with your use of a question mark. Own it. It was an inflated cheap-shot that to me (and I am fallible for sure) downgrades my willingness to take you prima-facia. Your agenda eeks into you comments. And it’s your blog, after all…so it’s your blog. But if you’re really after the truth, then let the facts defend themselves. Leaving the “kicked out” door open for speculation when you know it was not the case is deception.

    Second. I’ve lived in the greater Chicago area for over ten years. I don’t attend MacDonald’s church but have been greatly helped by his books…think I’ve read them all. So, yes, I have a great respect for him and have a desire to defend him/them from tabloid pot-shots. I am vested in my own church…and quite frankly, don’t think they need me/anyone else.

    That said, third, I believe, like you…the Bride of Christ is the ultimate prize we must assign our loyalties to…so I would not defend any person at the expense of the Church universal, God’s word, etc. I’m on your team (if you would graciously grant for the moment.)

    Fourth…I am amazed at the vilification MacDonald received by simply hosting Jakes/ER2. The flak validates our inability to come to the table and discuss. And yes, I am greatly vexed by the cheap luxuries bloggers take to sit back and arm-chair quarterback things they are not able to know fully or have been asked to comment on. That’s why I’m pushing on you. From my scan of your content and response to comments, I believe you’re an intelligent, godly man. I buy the fact you want to help. I’d like to say to myself, “Glad there are people like him out there keep folks aware of what the prize is we are ultimately supposed to be fighting for.”

    Ultimately I’m for you.

    I just don’t buy the fact that the link is there. Jakes @ ER2 = they chose him over their partner churches? That’s ludicrous. The didn’t give him an honorary degree or endorse/sell his wares on their site…I could be wrong…but don’t think MacDonald has ever spoken at Jakes church (at least that I can find.) So…it seems like their stance/posture (the four) was, “The very fact that you will associate with him/his kind = you are a heretic too.” Has he been given a chance to defend himself? No. If you invited MacLaren to a blog discussion on “A Generous Orthodoxy” and “Ryan” said, “Dude, if you do that, you’re a monkey.” Would you listen to him? Or would you say, “Hold the phone. We’re just dialoguing about our divergent positions. Let’s see where this goes and learn along the way. I’ll ask him how he reconciles those thoughts with the Bible.”

    That’s not allowed? We’ve got to boycott because they want to DISCUSS stuff with someone who doesn’t agree? The way you would paint MacDonald, you’d think he’d ONLY invite people he could beat up on or were already in his camp. But, no. They invited someone who is arguably much more “successful” than MacDonald, of a different race, and of a different theological backdrop, for a conversation. Does that sound like a factious man? It doesn’t mean he is the poster-boy for humility, but it’s not the siege mentality I’d suggest the four exhibit.

    But their posture? “And if he goes through with it…I’m picking up my toys and leaving.” Really?!

    That’s what it appears these churches have done. Where is the forum to vet such matters? Only by lobbing grenades through blogs? That stinks…

    So…my country is Heaven. At the end of the day, I don’t have a blog like you…but if I did…I think Id’ be trying to do what I think you are trying to do.

    I just think on this one, your posse has missed it too. I am not a Harvest man. I am not an ER man. I am not a Jakes man. I am not a blog man. I want to be a Jesus man.

    I’ve got energy because I think we lack the skill and willingness to even talk honestly about our differences. My point in trying to rattle your particular cage is to call you to play honest. They may truly need to refinement, but we all do. Your question mark doesn’t validate free-n-lose play with the facts. It salacious and tabloid-esque.

    Personally, I will be bummed if there isn’t an ER3. I think the church today has been hindered by the internet and taken up refuge in our grenades cast from afar. I love the fact that someone is saying, “Let’s sit down and talk. Face to face.” (I’m accusing myself here, for sure.)

    But back to my fourth point of vexation…I think it ill-played for those churches to threaten either departure or offer rebuke for an event that isn’t “the church” but instead a forum we are very much in need of…and that, yes, stirs MUCH angst within me. So if you will believe me or suspend your disbelief…I truly am baffled why hosting an event, whose stated purpose, ELEPHANT ROOM, is to talk about the stuff everyone wants to avoid, equals theological infidelity.

    Help me Rhonda.

    That’s my secret loaded and energized agenda. That’s it.

    I’m owning mine…just want you to do the same. And that is I guess the root of the matter. I am upset that Grayslake and the three others would associate the desire for ER type discussion with Harvest embracing heresy themselves. That’s crazy. But instead, you are taking the side to defend your friend. Sure…don’t write books together. Don’t let a Jakes preach at your church or don”t sell his stuff on your web site. Fine. But don’t even talk about the elephants in the room????

    That’s insane. Shame on Grayslake and the other three…they merit the rebuke. Modern Pharisees.

    So, de facto, you are worked up and blogging because four churches can’t stomach that desire to discuss, not endorse, discuss differences? Maybe it wasn’t what Don Carson called success, but I think it was a step in the right direction. Do we really want to reason together or just tell each other why you’re/we’re wrong???

    And let me assume the worst…Jakes is a unorthodox heretic. Fine. I’d love for a bombastic Driscoll and MacDonald to have few rounds with him. I’d love to see MacLaren and Carson at an ER4. Mohler and Hybels at an ER5…so much potential! But people like Grayslake, and it appears you, will not have it. Legalism of a new sort.

    Sigh…

    Maybe I am just a dim monkey. But that’s my angst. Vilify the one trying to get us talking, defend the one who refuses “come reason together…”

    No wonder the world hates the church.

    Come quickly Lord Jesus.

    Ball to you SWB. I won’t post any more…I’ll leave you to your call. I’ve taken enough of your time. But I will eagerly read and prayerfully consider how you respond to my honest angst.

    I am praying for your ministry (and even that friend of yours 😉

    Kirk

    • Kirk, I’d like to see it your way and I understand your position on unity (and I agree that we need to work for it, but it has to be done well, which I don’t think was the case here), but I think you’ve missed several key arguments in the whole ER2 discussion along the way and the resulting fallout. Also, many of us who have commented have at one time or another sat in Harvest pews (often for many years before choosing to leave).

      Lest I throw the baby out with the bathwater, I will say that I learned some very good things during my time at Harvest and it was a stepping stone for me in my spiritual journey. And I am glad you have been helped by Pastor James through his books and resources. However, there are some serious problems with that church that stem from it’s leadership. And unless you’ve sat in those pews and experienced it, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. This (ER2 and the resulting fallout) is just one in a myriad of alarming things congregants (or former ones) have noticed. All is not well. Power corrupts. Total power corrupts totally.

      Peace, brother.

      • Ryan M. Mahoney says:

        Jen, I knew I liked you for some reason.

        • Mahoney, I have to say I knew you had some spunk in you and all seeing that you’re Scotch-Irish, but I never saw it in action. Lawd! I don’t know what kind of law you practiced or if you ever practiced it in a courtroom, but if you did, I’m sure you had the opposition shaking in their boots. I’d hate to provoke you with a stupid comment! lol!

          • Kirk says:

            How funny. James bullies and he’s a heretic…a mean, mean abuser of leadership. “Ryan”, however, is the paragon of virtue and godliness as he bullies guests on a site that he doesn’t even moderate–he’s just a cute, cute lawyer. How quaint. Yea, what about forrest and trees o’ wise Eaby? This dysfunctional family can’t even see that they (you) drink heartily from the same well as the Harvest you indict. Jennifer you may have left Harvest, but you’re no different. Wow, James, wait I mean “Ryan,” I’m shaking in my boots. Jennifer, you admire “Ryan” for attacking “stupid” but are incensed that Harvest presumes to do the exact same thing? What a bizarre world. And with logic and wit like his…and of course Christ-unlikeness, I’m sure “Ryans” got a burgeoning law practice. My guess? Failure at law. Grad student never quite grown up or found how to be comfortable in his own skin. Can only seem to muster re-blogs on his own site. A sad little life ranting out of his own failure he can’t figure out how to confront. But I’d better stop per Jennifer’s foreboding words…”I’d hate to provoke” “Ryan.” And, then the kicker, wait for it… “lol.” Can’t forget that! Harvest is the anti-church…us…we’re just having fun at the expense of others! Wheeee. And again, “Ryan” demonstrates himself to be MacDonald understudy. Sure you not related??

            And in this exciting blog, Jennifer will be playing the part of the churches that have stayed at Harvest blind to the sickness of their leader.,,the great evil empire will be played by the one known as “Ryan.”

            Couldn’t have brought a better mirror. You are them.

            Great friends SWB. You don’t need a Harvest for a circus, you travel with your own. And if you’re not married, “Ryan” sounds like Jennifer is interested. She likes your action. Next issue: “Sexy Scottish Boot Shaker vs. The Blog Trolling Monkey.” “Oh Mahoney, you’re so brave.” Really, I meant to leave Blood Stained Oz, but the little man behind the curtain is so entertaining it’s hard not to watch…add to it the infatuated girl blind to truth and you’ve just got a second season.

          • Ryan M. Mahoney says:

            🙂 Here’s the other cheek.

  20. stauron3n1 says:

    Lest we forget, despite his good works and notariety James Macdonald is a man like all others and pray to the same temptations and weakness.

    You do him no favor to lionize him and excuse or ignore his failings only because of his successes. Isolation from criticism resulting from success and fame has been the undoing of greater men than James.

    The long version of the quote by Lord John Dahlberg-Acton speaks to this situation.

    “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”

    as well as…“There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

    or “Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.”

    or even “There is no error so monstrous that it fails to find defenders among the ablest men.” “There is not a more perilous or immoral habit of mind than the sanctifying of success.”

  21. Stephy says:

    Kirk, after reading your post, I must say a giant “Amen”. That needed to be said. Thank you.

  22. bill says:

    Perhaps it is time for a new thread?

  23. cindycurtis says:

    Kirk sounds mentally ill. Jennifer makes some good points.

  24. justasheep7 says:

    If James is going to build a catapult in the parking lot out at HBC, he needs to consider with much prayer and fasting if the first person to go in the catapult should not be him.

    • justafollowerofChrist says:

      LOL. I know it’s probably not a Christ-like response, but LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Mark Notestine says:

    I was thinking about the catapult analogy a bit more. If they were really forward thinking, then a trebuchet would be much better. It can throw things much farther.

  26. bill says:

    time for a new thread

  27. karpeles says:

    My heart and spirit are saddened that James was speaking to a roomful of pastors in the above video clip. In the clip James does not clarify what behavior would characterize a factious person or a scoffer (mocker, NIV). It appears he is speaking about church employees, leaders, pastors and attenders who aren’t giving him allegiance and are those he can no longer count on. Is that an accurate standard for determining when it is time to load the catapult?
    Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines a scoffer as someone who mocks or treats with derision or scorn. From “Opening Up Proverbs”, scripture is referring to those who are hardened in their hearts beyond reproof, those who mock wisdom and Christ. I don’t think disagreeing with the pastor would not necessarily place one in the category of being divisive or mocking.
    Most churches I have attended struggle to handle conflict resolution well. And conflict is inevitable in a church. Burying issues under the rug has been a common method. Shunning (yes, it was an evangelical church) a group that read a book the pastor disagreed with was another. Now I can add the catapult method to the this illustrious and non-productive list.
    Providing 5 constructive and usable steps to resolving church conflict would have been equivalent to handing gold bouillon to those pastors in attendance. Those are the tools that are needed, not a catapult building manual.
    Certainly there are times when a person needs to be asked to leave a congregation, but I would hope there is much grace, love and opportunity for dialogue provided before launching them into the next county.

  28. Kirk Herren says:

    Why will no one deal with the Elephant in the room? De-personify the matter. NO ONE WILL DEAL WITH THE ISSUE. Deep six Bryant, MacDonald, Bryant, Mahoney. Deep six your Harvest baggage and loaded lens. Address the core issues.

    Issue: “A GROSS OVER REACTION to getting divergent people in a room to discuss church and theology is at the root of this matter.”

    Issue: “Does pastor ‘a’ have a right to call a meeting where other leaders/pastors can discuss/debate/reason together…perhaps to walk away again with content to further consider, but perhaps not in agreement?”

    Issue: “Association for debate is not endorsement or wholesale support.”

    Issue: “The Elephant Room is not the church. It is a neutral venue/think-tank opportunity to bring divergent passions to the floor for discussion or invigorated debate.”

    Issue: “Right-wing conservative zealot have now taken seat as the counsel in Jerusalem–declaring, as Rome, who can and cannot meet to discuss theology and practice.”

    Issue: “Evangelical (whatever that means anymore) have again declared themselves incapable or dialogue with public castigation of those who do not share their opinion/beliefs.”

    Issue: “Bloggers have become a reckless tribe who spin facts and cloud, not clarify, clear Christian thought from the Scripture.”

    Issue: “4 churches who thinks/believe/declare that debate with spiritually divergent views is associating with the spiritual lepers of our day, making every Pharisee touching them ‘unclean’, have been enshrined, falsely, as heroes, compromising discussion that might bring grace and health to Christ’s bride.”

    To review…this entire “story” developed from HBC’s ER2 guest list. The above thread appears to present a group more interested in rehearsing wounds inflicted from other unfortunate and perhaps sinful situations. Fine. That is not this matter…there may be interwoven story lines…but the issues have not been addressed.

    The conclusion I have drawn that lacks response:

    “A church or church leader has the right to call a meeting with theologically opposing individuals or groups to discuss and debate the biblical merits and presuppositions of their position. This gathering does not, de facto, confer endorsement or acceptance of the other side, perspective, individual or group. To damn such gatherings, out of hand, shows a lack of grace and a fulness of pride, arrogance and ignorance.”

    Philippians 1:15-18

    Kirk

    • Stephy says:

      Exactly!! Sometimes I wonder if sanity has left the blogosphere, and then I read comments like this and I have hope again. 🙂

  29. George says:

    Scott –

    I’ve tried to keep up with this discussion, but honestly, it is quite long and detailed. I also believe that at your core, you are trying to uphold God’s law and hold brothers accountable.

    However, I do know that you are biased against Harvest and James. Not that I am pointing fingers, we are all biased one-way or the other.

    Yet, I do feel that you only give one side to your stories about HBF and HBC.

    Your choice of words tends to be inflaming and often inaccurate.

    Only Harvest Grayslake has been “kicked out” of the Fellowship. Detroit, Prescott and New Lennox all left the fellowship on their own.

    With a headline of the 4th church “Kicked Out”, you are inaccurate at best and dishonest at your worst.

    Finally, I know that you have access to the letter that Harvest Grayslake received that explained why they were being removed from the fellowship.

    Why not at least post that to your readers?

    What are you afraid of people seeing? That this is a more complicated issue and that there are two sides to this story.

    And as for full disclosure, yes, I attend Harvest. No, I am not nor have I ever been on staff. No, I have no leadership position with Harvest, not an elder, Flock leader or small group leader.

    And yes, George is my real name.

    George

    • Stephy says:

      This is troubling. Why are we hearing only one side of the story? George, you bring up some very good points.

      • justafollowerofChrist says:

        Kirk and Stephy-I’m guessing you do not attend a Harvest Bible Chapel? There has been a serious change in the tone and direction of the church. What was once a conservative Bible church has become a very culturally relevant, corporate, ministry machine. The James of 5 years ago (maybe7) would have railed against the activities of the current James. So whether you think ER2 is biblically commendable or not, those who have sat under James’ teaching for years ARE railing against the James of today. Many attendees have tried to talk to the elders and their concerns have fallen on deaf ears. The elders simply get replaced with different elders. We never hear why…When it is your own church and you see that these relationships with other pastors that are crass, inflated, and immature (and now merchants of the prosperity gospel) have been influencing your congregation, your family, you are not over-reacting. James puts these guys into our pulpit to teach our brothers and sisters. Maybe we will all be hearing from Jakes some soon Sunday..isn’t he Furtick’s favorite teacher?
        Just saying, there is a reason this story line is interesting to many of us.
        George-how long have you been at Harvest?

        • George says:

          @Justafollower – I have attended Harvest for 12 years. I would agree that James has changed over the last 12 years. In some areas, he has grown and I appreciate this (i.e. grace, race, loving, understanding). In some areas, I, too, have concerns (i.e. Jakes, changes to staff and elders).

          However, I have spoken to several elders and pastors about my concerns and most of the concerns have been answered. What I have found is there truly is two-sides to all stories. It is never as it seems when you only hear one side.

          • justafollowerofChrist says:

            Perhaps you would be willing to share some of the answers that satisfied your questions. I have never received satisfactory answers to mine.

        • Stephy says:

          Actually, I do actually attend a Harvest plant and have since 2008. In fact, I’m not sure why you assumed I had no knowledge.Of course the church plants have their own pastors, but I do follow James’ messages fairly regularly through the podcasts. I really appreciate his teaching and more so as the years go along (he has softened in many areas, but I feel that is a good thing). Our small group is currently watching his “vertical church” series and it is pure gold. I’m not sure how you could walk away from watching that and say that he’s off base. Perhaps it isn’t what you are looking for, but from my perspective it is solid, biblical and focused on grace.

          I understand his reasons for ER and ER2 and like Kirk, I think it’s valid to get together with those from other denominations and discuss differences. That doesn’t mean that James or HBF is affirming everything about those various pastors or even that they necessarily expected the backlash to inviting TD Jakes. I think the “web response” to an honest call for conversation just proves that we have a serious problem. We are so afraid to talk to someone that we’d rather blog about about how heretical they are. I think it’s based on fear and that’s not from the Lord.

          I would also disagree about Harvest being a “culturally relevant, corporate, ministry machine.” I’m not sure where the “culturally relevant” stuff comes in unless you’re saying that because they use guitars and drums. 🙂 The efficiency that is needed with a large church can appear that way but there are two points to keep in mind: 1. Outside of Chicago, most of the Harvests are much smaller and have a very different feel as a result (very small, warm, friendly). I’ve visited half a dozen or more and always feel so welcome. “justafollowerofChrist”, have you ever been to any of the Harvest church plants or have you only been to the mega churches in Chicago?
          2. All the Harvests are based on the same pillars and concepts and teaching and philosophies of ministry (based on a discipleship small group model). So they are all working from the same model, but it looks very different in a big church. But honestly, I think it’s pretty much impossible not to come across as “corporate” when you get that big. It never seems that way in the smaller Harvests. But that’s okay….when I go to a big church, I don’t want disorganization. Do you? It only works on that scale if it is very well organized. I was at Harvest University (the training conference referenced above) and they ran it SO well. It would have been a shame to bring 2200 people from all over the world and not do a good job with it. So please don’t knock it just because they are doing their best and using highly skilled people to do that. The Harvest plants are BLESSED to have a fellowship that actually shares quality resources and quality training. They couldn’t do that if they weren’t organized. Call it a machine if you want, but I call it a bunch of people working very hard, on the same mission.

          Bottomline: Harvest and its leadership are being used of God to bless many people all over the world. You may not agree with the style or even the ministry model, but why does that mean you need to attack it? There are so many truly heretical movements out there-why not focus on them? Or just pray? I don’t understand the desire to attack a movement that truly wants to see Christ lifted high and is striving to make Him known around the world.

          • Alex says:

            Justafollowerofchrist? I’d love to hear your response to Stephy’s well thought out answer to your questions …

          • rnieman says:

            Hello Stephy,

            You said: “I understand his reasons for ER and ER2 and like Kirk, I think it’s valid to get together with those from other denominations and discuss differences. That doesn’t mean that James or HBF is affirming everything about those various pastors or even that they necessarily expected the backlash to inviting TD Jakes. I think the “web response” to an honest call for conversation just proves that we have a serious problem. We are so afraid to talk to someone that we’d rather blog about about how heretical they are. I think it’s based on fear and that’s not from the Lord.”

            Mathew 18:15-17 teaches how to approach a brother who is in error.

            15“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16“But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

            Now how did the ER2 do this? Instead it was done in public (almost like a talk show of sorts) which is contrary to scripture. These issues should be addressed as you were saying, but according to scripture.

            Russ

      • Henry says:

        Stephy ? Is NOT YOUR real name!

        • Stephy says:

          Sure it is. Have you never heard of it? It’s a version of Stephanie or Steph. Wow.

    • George …

      Although there are a number of concerns you raised in your comment, I wanted to take the time to respond to one in particular:

      “Finally, I know that you have access to the letter that Harvest Grayslake received that explained why they were being removed from the fellowship. Why not at least post that to your readers?”

      Just to perfectly clear, I have not had access to any “letter” or other form of written documentation that may have been given to Harvest Bible Church of Grayslake. If, at some point in time, either the Fellowship or Harvest Bible Church of Grayslake sees fit to release such materials, I would absolutely consider posting them on this site for readers who are interested.

      Thank you for stopping and taking the time to voice your concerns.

      • George says:

        Scott –

        I have not seen the letter either, but I have been told what it says. You should reach out to Grayslake and ask for it.

        Like I said, there are always two-sides to every story.

        I do know that Grayslake had been warned for years about not participating in the fellowship (i.e. not supporting the fellowship monetarily, not coming to Harvest U, etc.)

        I think that when you combine these concerns and their unwillingness to submit to the authority of the Fellowship, I can see why they were removed from the Fellowship.

        NOW, I will admit, I did not think that “kicking” them out of the Fellowship was the right decision. Honestly, it just makes the Fellowship look bad, but I can understand why they did it.

        I implore you to investigate both sides of your stories.

        Otherwise, your blog could be interpreted as just bitterness and gossip.

        George

        • Stephy says:

          Makes sense. It’s pretty hard to be part of a fellowship and not have any fellowship with anyone of the other churches in it!! Especially if it’s going on for years…..

  30. x Pat58 says:

    Maybe someone should ask if Kirk Herren is really James MacDonald?

  31. justafollowerofChrist says:

    Alex-I didn’t bother replying to Stephy’s well thought out answer to my questions, because #1-I don’t think she read my post very carefully…

    {When it is your own church and you see that these relationships with other pastors that are crass, inflated, and immature (and now merchants of the prosperity gospel) have been influencing your congregation, your family, you are not over-reacting. James puts these guys into our pulpit to teach our brothers and sisters.–How can you not understand this???}

    and
    #2=She has come to HBC after the transformation…of course she is defending it. I haven’t “visited” any of the other Harvest plants because the mother ship is my home church. I raised my family there. As I tried to explain, many of us that have been a part of the body of Christ there for many years are dismayed and heartbroken at much of what has transpired. If you don’t get that, then you just don’t get it. My experience is very different than hers. My perspective is different. And my pastor was different. We are a more conservative group and we were taught to be discerning…by James.

    I will respectfully bow out of this conversation. And Stephy…what on Earth makes you think that we don’t pray for our church, pastor, elders, and brothers & sisters in Christ? It’s not a movement to us. It is our church.

  32. Dan McGhee says:

    George,

    I am going to respond to your comments on this blog because they contain factual errors. I’m hoping that these errors on your part weren’t deliberate in nature, but that you were simply relaying what you have been told. However, if this is the case, then all I can say to you is some important details seem to have been conveniently forgotten regarding Mike Bryant’s church and his participation in the HBF.

    Let me set the record straight regarding two matters:

    1. You stated that “Grayslake had been warned for years about not participating in the fellowship (i.e. not supporting the fellowship monetarily…”

    Have you asked Mike Bryant about this accusation which you so freely distributed here on the internet? Well, I did…

    Mike’s church was current with all their dues when they were discarded by HBF. Yes, they did have a time of leanness in their giving where they were literally living week-to-week for several months, as is often the case with young, smaller, start-up churches. However, during this time of leanness they communicated with the Fellowship about this and get this – once they got through the challenging time, THEY CAUGHT UP WITH ALL THEIR DUES TO HBF. They actually made some double payments when they were able to do so. At the time of their removal they were current.

    This is not unusual for the churches in HBF, especially the smaller ones that have times of difficulty financially. It happened to our church over the years when we were part of the HBF, and in each case, we did the same thing Mike’s church did – communicated the situation and then caught up when we were finally able to do so.

    What’s troubling to me is this – if you were then given the impression that somehow Grayslake didn’t fulfill their commitment… this is unspeakably sad. What’s even more sad to me is that this attitude is so contrary to the spirit of the church in Antioch found in Acts 11. When their brothers and sisters back in Jerusalem were struggling financially because of a famine, the Antioch church took up a special offering to assist them during their time of challenge, rather than holding their struggle against them. This is the true spirit of Christ, is it not?

    2. You also stated that “Grayslake had been warned for years about not participating in the fellowship (i.e…not coming to Harvest U, etc.).

    Now, I don’t know what your “etc.” means in this statement but I do know this – Mike Bryant attended every Harvest U since the beginning, according to his own testimony to me. Furthermore, the only one he DIDN’T attend was this last one – and this is at least in part because he was told not to come by HBF leadership. He was willing to attend some of it, but not all of it, for reasons I’ll let him explain if you reach out to him. Additionally, the only two events he didn’t attend prior to this was the Elephant Room as well as the last “Pastors and Wives Gathering” in Orlando, Fl. Why didn’t he attend that? Again, financial reasons. BTW, the pastors and wives gatherings were NEVER mandatory events, and neither was attending the debacles known as ER1 and ER2.

    • Fred says:

      WHAT!? An arrogant, mega-conglomerate lying to protect is branding…shocking!

    • BJ Sherril says:

      So how much are the dues one is required to pay to HBF? What do you get for your money?

  33. amomentofinfinity says:

    May I also add that a large group of middle school and high school students (myself being one of them) were in the room during the catapult sermon to the pastors at Harvest U? As a student at Harvest Christian Academy, it is sad to see my classmates be so openly indoctrinated… Many have no notion to question messages from Pastor James.

  34. Pingback: WARNING YOU WITH TEARS « Living4HisGlory's Blog

  35. D.G. says:

    Interesting. After HBC Grayslake (Formerly Gurnee) kicked a few people out of their church, now they have been kicked out of HBF.

    • Stlhook says:

      DG – Interesting….would you care to give specifics and site your sources or simply make snide, sarcastic, unhelpful, anonymous comments after the fact? Do you have an axe to grind or can you contribute to this discussion biblically?

Comments are closed.