Resignations, Fabrications or Gross Mishandling of the Truth

Know Your Place Shut YOur FaceIn an attempt to leave HCA parents and students with the impression that the McCaulley’s left HCA/HBC without any significant grievances, Marc Abbatacola, the Executive Director of Harvest Christian Academy (HCA), finally released a letter today regarding Amy McCaulley’s resignation. So one of two things must be true.  This letter is either grossly inaccurate or it is a fabrication crafted to protect the image of both the school and the church.


To quickly review the events leading up to the latest HCA correspondence, please recall that on June, 6, 2013, we published a post describing how Marc Abbatacola and other significant HBC leaders terminated Roy McCaulley from his teaching position at HCA.  His termination was the result of a classroom discussion about church camp and the reliability of emotional experience as a mark of true spiritual transformation.

Subsequently, we wrote a follow up post, reporting that on June 14th, Marc Abbatacola wrote a letter in reaction to the June 6th article.  Abbatacola’s letter stated, among other things, that Roy McCaulley’s termination was not in reaction to his classroom discussion on the efficacy of church camp, but rather was related to “deep matters of the heart.”  Also, he indicated that “Amy [McCaulley] serves with distinction” and that she would “continue in that role.”

However, just days after Abbatacola’s letter, Amy resigned from her position at HCA as the lower school principal, and, soon after Amy McCaulley’s resignation, Mary Martin, former high school principal and current middle school English teacher, resigned as well.  Mary’s resignation was reported here on June 21st, but in the June 6th post regarding Roy’s termination we pointed out that Mary Martin had posted several comments in support of Roy through social media.  We asked our readers in that post to watch closely the relationship between Mary and HCA as a result of her public support of Roy McCaulley.

Also, on June 21st, we were made aware that Marc Abbatacola had penned a second letter, this one to explain Amy’s resignation, but while we published a post regarding Amy’s resignation on June 21, 2013, Abbatacola only released his letter today.  It is entirely possible that the resignation of three HBC elders that week drew Marc’s attention away from Amy’s resignation letter.  Nevertheless, here is Marc’s letter.

Amy McCaulley Letter II

As you can read from Marc’s letter, he rightly gives high praise to Amy’s character and effectiveness in ministry.  However, Marc claims, “Amy and her husband Roy have both been offered positions at the same school [in Atlanta], one which they have been interested in for some time.”  Based upon multiple, well placed sources, this is a fabrication (or, at best, a gross inaccuracy) that creates the impression that all is well between HCA/HBC and the McCaulley’s.  If HCA does not correct this assertion, than you will know that you are witnessing a fabrication, for these well-placed sources indicate that the McCaulley’s began looking at this school only after Abbatacola and other significant HBC leaders removed Roy from the classroom and suggested to him that he may not be returning as a teacher the next school year.  Moreover, what this means is that Roy and Amy were looking for a new position at the same time Roy was penning a letter that sang the praises of James, HBC and HCA.  Once again the facts on the ground do not comport well with HBC/HCA’s air campaign

In addition, Marc’s original letter, regarding Roy’s termination, stated, “This decision was not a matter of a particular class discussion, but related to deep matters of the heart and Roy’s response to certain recurring patterns of behavior that were brought to his attention.”  What makes this statement difficult to believe is that, according to multiple, well-placed sources, HCA offered a contract to Roy McCaulley, which he signed, to return as an HCA teacher for the 2013-14 school year.

So the question are:

  • if there were “recurring patterns of behavior” and issues relating to “deep matters of the heart,” then why did HCA allow him to teach for six years and provide him with yet another teaching contract for a seventh year?
  • Also, why remove McCauley from the class room before the school year is complete, the day after a church camp discussion, if the termination had nothing to do with a class discussion? 
  • Finally, why draft a letter stating that the McCaulley’s had been interested in this school for a long time, when this is not the case?

We will await answers to these questions, even as we continue to wait for HCA to formally announce Mary Martin’s resignation.

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9 Responses to Resignations, Fabrications or Gross Mishandling of the Truth

  1. G Snyder says:

    “For some time” could simply mean “for some time, after we fired the husband for allowing kids to think for themselves, thereby disenfranchising both husband and wife.”

    So their narrative fits. Kind of…

  2. Families were waiting for McCaulley to be fired for playing Devil’s advocate and challenging kids to develop a real, lasting faith. It was just a matter of time. McCaulley’s burden was to prepare students to go out into the world, outside of the HBC/HCA/HBC youth group/Camp Harvest bubble and be able to defend their faith and lead others to Christ. His methods were impeccable and lead to real growth.

    But bullies can’t be challenged, especially ones who have no business leading a school because they have no background in education. Children’s pastor does not equal children’s educator no matter what HBC would like to believe. When James told families in spring 2011 that he was going to get involved in the school and who would now be in charge, most knew it was the beginning of the end.

    Fear and intimidation are their most effective leadership methods, both within the church and the school–from academics to athletics.–while academic standards are significantly slipping. And families are paying for the privilege.

    • Truth Seeker says:

      I couldn’t agree more with bulliesforchrist. Very well stated and very true. Those are some of the reasons we left the bubble. Also, thank you for this blog, blood stained ink.

    • Michelle Scheffers says:

      You’re absolutely right!

    • Carol says:

      Totally get your point and agree, except (now, you may think I’m being overly sensitive in my next remark)…nevertheless, I think that “playing Devil’s advocate” is a really bad figure of speech to combine with “challenging kids to develop a real, lasting faith”. The Devil would never do that. Rather, he would tempt kids to sin, rebel and reject God. He would snatch away the Word of God that was “sown” to them.

      That being said, this brings to mind a biblical point worth thinking about, which applies directly to this whole situation with HCA.

      What did McCaulley apparently allow in a classroom discussion?

      Wasn’t the discussion about the very same subject brought up by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in His parable of the Sower [Matthew 13]? Didn’t He address this very same issue, that there are several kinds of so-called faith responses that are shallow and temporary (i.e. not real, lasting faith)?

      Jesus’ Words:
      “…this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy [emotional experience]; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” Matthew 13:20-21

      Jesus was discussing emotional experience versus genuine faith with His disciples! They asked about the parable, and He explained it! This is in the Bible! While I don’t know the details, it sounds like McCaulley was allowing this same kind of discussion, and encouraging his students to think biblically, something every effective Christian teacher should do.

      Now, it appears that those in authority at HBC/HCA think that allowing this topic and discussion is cause for dismissal. Don’t they want students to ponder the subject of false and genuine faith?….or even worse….is it possible that there are some HBC/HCA leaders that don’t even understand Jesus’ parable? Matthew 13:13

      • Carol,

        Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing your concerns. It may put you at ease to know the origins of the phrase “Devil’s Advocate” and its contemporary usage.

        During the Medieval period, there was a formal process of the Church by which deceased became saints. The Promoter of the Faith, popularly known as the Devil’s advocate, was a canon lawyer appointed by Church authorities to argue against the canonization of a candidate. It was this person’s job to take a skeptical view of the candidate’s character, to look for holes in the evidence, to argue that any miracles attributed to the candidate were fraudulent.

        This term morphed, as all metaphors do, so that today when anyone takes up the other side’s arguments to expose the faulty nature of them, they are said to be playing the Devil’s Advocate. It does not carry any denotation or connotation implying the Devil’s position or role in cosmological affairs. It is merely a colloquial phrase used to describe the cognitive activity of taking up the other’s argument for close examination.

        • Carol says:

          I agree that the phrase “devil’s advocate” is a very old, commonly used figure of speech, used unconsciously without specific regard to the biblical implications. Your point is well taken, and I did assume that was the original intent.

          Where we probably disagree is whether a phrase that is commonly accepted in the culture, can be considered benign in usage (by Christians), just because it’s ingrained in the language. The phrase basically means “to be adversarial”, and I guess my whole point here is that the Devil’s adversarial activities are always motivated by the desire to corrupt and destroy, never to seek the truth of a matter.

          I think the classroom discussion was about seeking and understanding the truth regarding genuine salvation, and that’s why I originally opined that it was a bad choice of words. Anyway….enough said on that…I don’t want to “beat a dead horse”.

  3. Pondering says:

    I wonder if this school in Atlanta was informed of Mr. McCaulley’s issues related to “deep matters of the heart”? If they’re an open minded organization that encourages their people to challenge each other and the children they’re charged with educating in their way of thinking, they likely shook their heads at it and asked this gentleman if he would join them in the fall. Thankful that he and his wife, who sound like great people, were able to make a soft catapult landing down south.

  4. Jeff Collazo says:

    Very disturbing things that I am reading here. It’s been a few months since I read anything from your websites. Let’s say I’m getting caught up.

    Wanted to reply on your June 6 posting but I wasn’t able to. If it’s off-topic from this recent blogpost, I will apologize upfront.

    I did want to revisit that question that was raised at Roy’s classroom: Can church camp environments produce emotional experiences that are not authentic signs of spiritual transformation? I think that this is a VERY legitimate question that needs to be answered by all churches, not just HBC.

    In light of my research and speaking to others (especially those who walked away from the faith), here is what I detailed:

    1) The emphasis of these camps is to provide a fun, non-threatening environment where the prospects of friendly people is to illicit an emotional response. It’s the equivalent of the “follow the herd” mentality.

    2) Pastors trying too hard to appeal to younger kids, instead of challenging kids critically think about the hard issues in life and to challenge them to mature. Leaving kids in a perpetual state of adolescence (which is an American invention) is neither helpful or beneficial.

    3) Children are given morality stories instead of being confronted with their sin. There are given a litany of “you need to change” speeches instead of “you need to be forgiven of your sins by Christ’s work on the cross on your behalf”.

    Why the leadership at HBC would be threatened by such a question only goes to show a very shallow view of true repentance and conversion. In my last year at attending HBC, I noticed a very drastic shift in how testimonies were given during baptisms. No mention of repentance and faith and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. The kids were saying the same thing again and again: “I need to change”. I agree that we all need to change, but life-change does not have the power to save you from God’s wrath.

    The parents who go to HBC can’t rely on the church to do the job of teaching their kids the faith. That’s their responsibility. HBC (and many other churches like them) need to come the realization that teaching topically does not convert the soul. The word of God has power to convert when it is taught correctly. Even then, It’s ultimately up to the Holy Spirit to convert the soul, not HBC’s programs or teachings (which are sorely lacking in true exegesis).

    If you think that I am picking on HBC, I will inform you that this is a universal problem with most churches. HBC just has the benefit of being a high-profile church.

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