The elders of Harvest Bible Chapel announced Wednesday that Pastor James MacDonald would take an “indefinite sabbatical” from preaching and leadership at the Chicago megachurch while it works to reconcile with past critics. The decision came after the church’s Executive Committee of the Elders held a closed-door meeting on Monday and presented its recommendations to the entire Elder Board Tuesday night.
At one time, three members of the Stowell family worked at James MacDonald’s Chicago-area mega-church, Harvest Bible Chapel. Joe Stowell, Sr., President of Cornerstone University and former President of the Moody Bible Institute, served as a teaching pastor there. His son, Joe Stowell, Jr., served as an executive pastor. And Matt Stowell served as a worship pastor. Then, during a six-month period in 2008, all three Stowells left Harvest quietly.
[no] evidence of reforms at Harvest, and instead ... repeated stories of mistreatment. The five other signers of the 2013 letter likewise say they’ve seen no evidence that the character issues involving MacDonald have been resolved. I’ve also interviewed more than two dozen former staff, elders, and members of Harvest, including some who have left the church within the past two years.
“For many months, we have labored under the awareness that our church discipline of a year ago was a failure in many respects, not the least of which was the complete lack of biblically required restorative component, which wronged the brothers that we were attempting to help” CT