Megachurch pastor James MacDonald has reportedly asked the congregation of his Harvest Bible Chapel to forgive they way he publicly disciplined church elders in 2013.
In a video, MacDonald told the 13,000-member church, “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.”
MacDonald said that the elder board has lifted its discipline from elders Scott Phelps, Barry Slabaugh and Daniel Marquardt, and they have reconciled.
"Although the remaining elders of Harvest agreed to the need for such discipline, we almost immediately realized that we erred in the manner in which it was done and in what it implied. We delayed making this confession, not wanting to worsen matters as we prayed for a true reconciliation. Praise God, that reconciliation happened meaningfully and mutually this week,” MacDonald said.
Phelps, Slabaugh and Marquardt spoke out last year about the Harvest Bible Chapel’s “culture of fear and intimidation” and the lack of clear facts on financial matters. The men were then publicly disciplined in a video that stated the elders were no longer welcome at the church. The video reached thousands through Harvest Bible Chapel’s seven campuses, as well as online.
Publication date: September 16, 2014