Daily Archives: March 9, 2019

Can Christians Lose Their Salvation? | CARM

image

One of the most common questions CARM gets is whether or not a Christian can lose their salvation. Sometimes people are asking in order to try to understand or challenge the reformed position of “perseverance of the saints.” Or the question might be asked when someone is reading in Hebrews 6 or Hebrews 10, or stories like that of the Holy Spirit departing from King Saul. A surface level reading can often leave a believer wondering what to think, so a careful walk through the context of these passages is in order.

Sometimes, however, the question is not an intellectual exercise at all, but rather a desperate, heartfelt concern for one’s soul. Often, Christians who have fallen into sin or strayed from their Christian walk can find themselves at the point of despair, worried that they have fallen into apostasy and think perhaps God will not take them back into His grace. They are wondering if they have actually lost their own salvation.

Such was the case with a dear sister who recently called the Matt Slick Live radio program. She was in the midst of that deep, personal struggle of faith where she needed more than just academic answers. She needed a pastoral reminder of the grace of our Lord and the triumph of Christ over even the worst of our sins.

Whether you are struggling with this issue right now or not, we all need regular reminders of that same gospel truth of Christ’s enduring love. I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch that conversation HERE or download the audio to the whole episode HERE.

March 9 Genuine Security

Scripture Reading: James 4:13–14

Key Verse: Proverbs 27:1

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

The older we grow, the more security conscious we become. The prospects of putting kids through college and providing for retirement, savings, and investments take on disproportionate significance.

In reality, however, our sense of well-being is never assured. Economic collapse, sickness, political or environmental fluctuations, or any number of unknown factors could seriously jeopardize our best-laid plans.

That is possible at any stage of life. That is the disquieting point of Proverbs 27:1: “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

Our only genuine security lies in our relationship with Jesus Christ. That is universally applicable because God is sovereign, which means that God is in control. He “guides and governs all events, circumstances, and free acts of angels and men and directs everything to its appointed goal for His own glory” (The New Bible Dictionary). Your security lies in His power to work everything for your good and His glory.

That is also eternally relevant because God is immutable. That means God is always the same and operates on unchanging principles.

Almighty God, I praise You that every detail of my life is directed by Your sovereign hand. I rest in the assurance that You govern each event and circumstance. I am secure in the knowledge that Your power weaves the dark and rough threads of life into a pattern for my good and Your glory.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 72). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics

9 facts you need to know if you’re considering an abortion

Bill Hybels Allegations Are Credible, Willow Creek Investigation Finds

Can Science Explain Everything?: John Lennox vs. Scientism

6 Things to Understand before Ministering to the Transgender Community

Women pastors — What does the Bible say?

The Church Made Vagina Sculptures Long Before Nadia Bolz-Weber

Former Student Warns of ‘Predatory’ Atheist College Profs

Movie Review: Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy

Book Review: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz Provides Moral Cover For Abortion On ‘The View’

New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger

They Are Real: Meet Born-Alive Abortion Survivors

Resurrection: The Day God Raised Me From the Dead

New Evidence- The Girl Scouts USA is an Abortion-Supporting Organization

How to Avoid Despair at Our Crumbling Culture

On Communism and Socialism, Many Americans are Still Clueless

Book Review: Seven Types of Atheism

Confirming the Big Bang: The Recent Decades

Galileo Myth Goes Marching On

Bill Dembski On Censorship Of Books At Amazon

Courage and Godspeed,

Chad
Our edition is here.

via Worldview and Apologetics in the News — Truthbomb Apologetics

The Holy God, an Unholy People, and a Remarkable Prophet — Ligonier Ministries Blog

Isaiah’s call to be a prophet was a traumatic experience. In his vision of the divine throne room, he saw angels hide their faces and heard them cry out, “Holy, holy, holy!” In that moment, he understood that God is holy and he was not, and he trembled in awe and terror.

The Israelites should have been trembling, too. They had become prideful, selfish, and idolatrous, a far cry from the righteousness the holy God demands. So God sent Isaiah on a dreadful mission: Isaiah would prophesy God’s wrath, but the people would not listen. Instead, they would be hardened for the coming judgment.

Yet there remained a glimmer of hope in Isaiah’s prophecies, for he saw far beyond the imminent war and exile to the future promise of redemption.

In today’s message from his video teaching series Dust to Glory, R.C. Sproul takes an in-depth look at these prophecies and explains why the church has long treasured them. In Isaiah, we find staggering predictions about the Messiah who will bear the sins of His people and redeem them—filling the earth with God’s glory much like His throne room in heaven.

Watch today’s message

via The Holy God, an Unholy People, and a Remarkable Prophet — Ligonier Ministries Blog

March 9 A Personal Invitation

Scripture reading: Matthew 11:28–30

Key verse: Psalm 116:7

Return to your rest, O my soul,

For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

It marked a turning point in Jesus’ ministry. He preached to great crowds, His words convicting and startling. He healed many, to their wonder and amazement. Yet up to that point, only the disciples had experienced personal intimacy with the Savior. Following a stinging rebuke to those who refused His message, Jesus issued a compassionate invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

“I’m here,” Jesus in essence said to His listeners, “to lift the burdens of life from your shoulders. I’ll take them on Me if you will let Me.”

If you are oppressed and bent under the accumulation of too many demands and concerns, Jesus stands ready to lighten your load. If you are exhausted from juggling bills, kids, work, and other pressing problems, Jesus can restore your weary spirit.

He invites you to come to Him. There are no strings attached, no restrictions, no fine print. He won’t condemn you for past failures. His arms are open wide to take you as you are and give you the help you need.

What a relief! What a Savior! Accept His personal invitation, and get out of the pressure cooker and into His rest. In the shadow of His wings you will find unconditional love and acceptance. Whatever you are facing, let the Savior face it with you.

I accept Your invitation, Lord. I enter into Your rest and hide myself in the shadow of Your wings.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 72). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 03/09/2019

Alabama Judge Recognizes Personhood of Murdered Baby in Father’s Lawsuit Against Abortion Facility   Mar 06, 2019 09:04 pm

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A probate judge in Alabama has granted a teenager’s request to represent his aborted son or daughter in his lawsuit against a local abortion facility. The teen says that the child was killed despite his wishes that his girlfriend keep the baby. “I’m here for the men who actually want to have their baby,” Ryan Magers, 19 and the father of the…

Continue reading the story


Walmart Releases ‘Love Is in the Aisle’ Video Depicting Two Men Meeting Up for ‘Blind Date’ at Store   Mar 04, 2019 10:13 am

“He’s Pat. He’s Andy. They’re going on a blind date at their local Walmart to see if love is in the aisle,” states a controversial video recently posted to social media by mega-retailer Walmart. The Facebook post is one of three “Love Is in the Aisle” videos released by Walmart in February, which depict single shoppers meeting up to go on a blind date at the…

Continue reading the story


‘The Kind of Guy He Takes Home to Mother’: Cottonelle Latest Among Brands Using Homosexuality in Advertising   Mar 06, 2019 05:18 pm

Kimberly-Clark’s toilet paper brand Cottonelle is the latest to use homosexuality in promotional advertising, as one of the commercials in its recently-released “DownThereCare” series centers on advising a man to give himself a “confidence boost” in meeting his partner’s parents for the first time. “Down there, because today you meet the parents,” the 15-second…

Continue reading the story


‘Tiniest Baby Boy’ Leaves Tokyo Hospital   Mar 03, 2019 10:57 pm

Photo Credit: Keio University Hospital (BBC) — A baby boy who weighed just 268g (9.45oz) at birth has been released from hospital in Japan, and is believed to be the smallest boy in the world to have been successfully treated. The baby was born by emergency C-section in August, and was so small he could fit into a pair of cupped hands. The infant was…

Continue reading the story


Street Preacher Who Had Been Arrested Following Complaint of ‘Islamophobia’ Speaks: ‘God Has Been So Faithful’   Mar 02, 2019 02:43 pm

LONDON — A pastor and missionary originally from Nigeria who had been arrested last Saturday in the UK after refusing to leave as a bystander complained to authorities that the man was “Islamophobic” is now thanking supporters and says that he was able to go back to the same spot where he was arrested and continue preaching without interruption. “I am well. I am…

Continue reading the story


Chair Says Idaho Bill to Outlaw Abortion ‘Adamantly Opposed’ by ‘Pro-Life’ Groups, ‘Hopes It Never Sees Light of Day’   Mar 04, 2019 05:57 pm

Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Fred Martin BOISE, Idaho — An audio recording posted online on Sunday captures the pro-life identifying chairman of a Senate committee in Idaho telling a constituent that local pro-life groups are “adamantly opposed” to a bill that seeks to outlaw abortion in the state, and that he likewise finds it to be “detrimental to the pro-life…

Continue reading the story


Colorado Drops Action Against Christian Baker Who Declined ‘Gender Transition’ Cake Order   Mar 05, 2019 04:59 pm

DENVER, Co. — The Colorado attorney general’s office announced on Tuesday that it will drop its action against Christian bakery owner Jack Phillips, and Phillips has consequently agreed to dismiss his lawsuit against the entity. The State had initially concluded that a complainant had standing against Phillips after he declined to make a cake for a “gender…

Continue reading the story


Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act Moving Forward as Bill Assigned to Favorable House Committee   Mar 07, 2019 07:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas — A bill that would outlaw abortion in Texas is taking its first steps forward in the state legislature as it has now been assigned to the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, which is chaired by a lawmaker who co-sponsored an identical bill to abolish abortion in 2017. Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has…

Continue reading the story


Chinese Villages Setting Up Boxes to Report Christian Churches and Other ‘Illegal Religious Activities’   Mar 05, 2019 02:35 pm

Photo Credit: Bitter Winter (Bitter Winter) — Religious belief is common among China’s rural population, representing the most significant base of believers. In an effort to attack religion at its core, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been mobilizing the masses to monitor and report each other using a variety of means. The latest tool is the revival of…

Continue reading the story


RI House Committee Approves Bill Codifying Roe Into Law, Removing Criminal Penalties for Causing Death of Unborn   Mar 06, 2019 11:51 am

Photo Credit: Daisy Laparra PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In a city that was founded in 1636 by Baptist theologian Roger Williams, and was named after “God’s merciful providence,” lawmakers in the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee have approved a bill that codifies the “right” to abortion under Roe v. Wade into law, and also removes a segment from the state’s…

Continue reading the story

Weekend Snapshot — Top Stories This Week · Mar. 9, 2019

The House Impeachment Subterfuge to Obstruct MAGA

Democrats’ “Hate Trump” Phase 2 plan — the impeachment obstruction of the MAGA agenda — is now underway.


Fascist Democrats Won’t Condemn Anti-Semitism

Even Ilhan Omar voted for the resolution that was originally supposed to rebuke her.


Demo-Controlled States Plan Electoral College Subversion

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact means the winner takes all votes.


The Unemployment Rate Can Only Go So Low

Only 20,000 jobs added in February, but unemployment is down and wages are up.


Violent MS-13 Crossing Border, Spreading Throughout U.S.

Begun by El Salvadorans in LA in the ’70s, the gang has spread all over America.


Methodists Hold Firm to Scripture … for Now

The nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination keeps the Biblical stance on homosexuality.


Save Social Security or Expand It?

Democrats have a plan to keep it solvent, but, of course, it would do just the opposite.


Hyperventilation Over the Trade Deficit

The biggest reason for the increase is that the Trump economy is doing so well.


DNC Blacklists Fox Dem Debate Coverage

Arguing the network is pro-Trump, Tom Perez ignores the blatant history of pro-Dem MSM bias.


Democrats Are Goose-Stepping Towards Irrelevancy

In a party where loyalty is paramount but the goalposts keep moving, what happens next?



Quote Of The Week

“Even if [Ilhan Omar] isn’t embarrassed by her anti-Semitism, she should be embarrassed about how she’s being coddled. ‘She just didn’t know.’ ‘She’s from a different culture!’ ‘She needs education.’ So, basically, it’s not that she’s an anti-Semite, she’s just an idiot. Gotcha.” —Allie Beth Stuckey

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Clinton Foundation Connected AGT Forwarded Top Secret US Intel to RUSSIA – FBI/DOJ Covered It Up – Part VIII — The Gateway Pundit

 

A 2016 DOJ criminal investigation was suppressed and buried by the DOJ/FBI that involved a major NY Democratic power broker and the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation.

The investigation revolved around the illegal sale of controlled US Homeland Security technology to Russia and China in the years before the 2016 election by a company named AGT.

The DOJ terminated its internal investigation in 2016 despite clear and irrefutable evidence of criminal activity and hid it from the public!

In Part I of our series we discussed the Clinton Foundation and the donations to the Foundation from the COB (Martin L. Edelman) and CEO (Mati Kochavi) of AGT International as well as from Sheikhs in the UAE. These donations in the millions of dollars were for favors from the Clintons, in return the Clintons helped promote AGT.

In Part II of our series we discussed the illegal actions that AGT International took to generate revenues around the globe. Highly sensitive US defense technology and ITAR classified products were provided to China, Russia and other countries in the name of sales growth. These actions were beyond criminal, they were treasonous.

(Below is an AGT article about its premier defense software from its company 4D Security Solutions.)

In Part III of our series we discussed the investigation that the FBI/DOJ started into AGT and the Clinton Foundation but then terminated and covered up before the 2016 Presidential election despite irrefutable crimes!

 

In Part IV of our series we discussed the activities by individuals associated with AGT in obtaining entrance to a highly sensitive US Intel facility circumventing the controls in place that prevent illegal entries to the facility.

In Part V of our series we discussed the efforts by AGT to obtain top secret US Intel for the sole purpose of selling to the Russians. AGT personnel used the information as a means to entice sales from US adversaries. AGT offered Russians the ability to conduct counter-Intel operations (e.g. cell phone intercepts, object and vehicle tracking, etc.). All of this information provided to the Russians was highly classified and never should have been placed in their hands. This information was provided by AGT senior managers like Gadi Lenz, a US national who also held a key executive position at the US based defense contractor 4D Security Solutions.

The image below shows an AGT C4I system deployed in Liaoyuan China. The system among other things was designed to automatically track and create a detailed pattern of motion of vehicles belonging to western embassies.

In Part VI of our series we showed the shady efforts AGT took to obtain contracts in the US and abroad. AGT utilized its COB (Martin Edelman) and the Clintons to gain access to highly placed Law Enforcement Agents (LEA’s) and former Federal and political figures in in the US and used bribes around the world to initiate contracts.

In Part VII of our series we provided evidence that AGT hid its employees identities in the US market by using aliases for all its employees at 3i-MIND.

AGT management sent an email to the employees at 3i-MIND and noted that “since the blog will be used in the US as well, we are and we will not be allowed identifying ourselves using our real names.” This poorly written comment provides evidence that the company encouraged its employees to hide their identities in the US.

Today in Part VIII of our series we’ll provide evidence that AGT assisted a group of Chinese citizens to inconspicuously enter the US without properly identifying their  purpose, which was to obtain highly sensitive and classified US Homeland security information and devices.

On June 5, 2012, AGT announced in its company newsletter that it had just signed an agreement in Guangzhou, China, with a group of Chinese and Singapore individuals to implement its highly classified and sophisticated ‘safe city’ system in the world’s largest metropolitan area.

A month later the top leadership at AGT discussed a visit to NYT by a group of Chinese individuals to the AGT location in New York City on Park Avenue.

 

There is no way the individuals from China would have been allowed into the US to obtain information on the company’s ITAR regulated product called ‘Wisdom’ which was renamed around the world as an alias such as ‘Safe City’, if US authorities knew the product was being provided to the Chinese.  Therefore it is also very probable that these individuals coming to the US were somehow allowed into the US on a visa that mischaracterized their visit purpose.  These individuals also were then moved to the AGT Headquarters on some sort of underhanded move unbeknownst to law enforcement authorities.

The individual who set up the meeting with top executives at AGT was Rami Kirshblum –

Then in December 2012 a group of Chinese individuals visited the AGT location in the Netherlands and this was promoted through the company’s newsletter –

This company was so corrupt it had to be involved with the Clinton Foundation!

The AGT family of companies participated in numerous corrupt and criminal activities. The leaders of the company were Clinton friends and major donors to the Clinton Foundation. The Clintons in turn helped promote AGT.

AGT then participated in numerous shady and criminal activities, the worst of which were selling US ITAR regulated products and information to the Russians and Chinese.

The DOJ/FBI started an investigation of AGT but then covered it up. The investigation into the Clinton Foundation and AGT was material to the 2016 US election and yet the FBI and DOJ concealed it from the American public.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The Clinton Foundation and the DOJ and FBI must be investigated and the crimes committed by these entities must be brought to justice!

via CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Clinton Foundation Connected AGT Forwarded Top Secret US Intel to RUSSIA – FBI/DOJ Covered It Up – Part VIII — The Gateway Pundit

Read or listen to F. A. Hayek’s classic book “The Road to Serfdom” for free

WINTERY KNIGHT

No matter where you go, more freedom means more prosperity No matter where you go, more freedom means more prosperity

I want to recommend to everyone a famous book about how socialism leads to mass murder by government. The book is written by Nobel prize winner F. A. Hayek. This is one of my favorite books on economics. The full PDF of the book is available for download on archive.org.

The audio version is available FOR FREE on YouTube:

Outline:

View original post 249 more words

Former Harvest Employees Say James MacDonald Lived Large on Church’s Dime — Julie Roys

In 2015, James MacDonald went on a worldwide missions trip that was so stressful, he needed a safari in South Africa to help him recover from it. At least, that’s what MacDonald, the recently-fired founder of Harvest Bible Chapel, claimed to justify the church paying for the safari for him and two others, according to his bodyguard at the time, Jacob Ross.

But that’s not all.

In a letter Ross submitted to Harvest leadership in late January and was recently leaked to me, Ross writes that MacDonald wasn’t satisfied with his initial budget of $5,000 for the safari. “James decided he wanted to shoot a high value animal,” Ross writes, “a sable to be specific, which cost $15,000 to $20,000.”

So, Ross writes that MacDonald called Fred Adams, former Harvest CFO, and got him to wire additional money from the church to the safari company, “citing his stress from the trip and need for a relaxing vacation doing something he enjoyed.”

“’James decided he wanted to shoot a high value animal . . . a sable to be specific, which cost $15,000 to $20,000.’ So, Ross writes that MacDonald called Fred Adams, former Harvest CFO, and got him to wire additional money from the church.”

Ross also writes that on the same missions trip, Harvest paid for a three- to four-day stay at a resort in the Dominican Republic for MacDonald, Ross, and Harvest Executive Pastor Jeff Donaldson. (Both Donaldson and Ross had also joined MacDonald on the safari.)

Not only did Harvest pay for the three men, Ross wrote, the church also paid for their wives to fly out and join them. “Again, James justified this expense as the result of the extreme stress he was under on the trip.”

These are just two of numerous incidents in Ross’ letter, showing that MacDonald lived large on the church’s dime. Plus, Ross is not the only former Harvest employee alleging these things. A letter by another former employee alleges that while Harvest was imposing “austerity measures” like removing the coffee and water dispensers, MacDonald was remodeling his office for $150,000 and authorizing a $40,000 fence for a whitetail trophy deer herd at Camp Harvest.

These expenditures were in addition to MacDonald’s salary, which the church continues to keep private. However, Dave Corning, a founding elder who chaired the elder board for 21 years, told me that in 2009, MacDonald was making a combined $550,000 from both the church and Walk in the Word, MacDonald’s broadcast ministry.

Six Devastating Letters Sent to Elders, but Suppressed

Ross’ letter was one of six letters by former and present staff that were presented to Harvest elders about five weeks ago, according to Elder Dan George and former Elder Mike Dunwoody.

These letters are devastating, documenting scores of incidents where MacDonald mocked, threatened, and belittled staff, contractors, and other Christian leaders; lied and reneged on promises; raged at those around him; and prospered financially at the church’s expense. I reached out to the church and MacDonald for comment about these letters, but they did not respond.

“Dunwoody and George said when the elder board met on February 5th, Harvest Assistant Senior Pastor Rick Donald . . . adamantly opposed releasing the letters. So they were withheld.”

I have read all six of the letters, though only five were given to me to publish. I am releasing information today from two of them, which relate to finances—Ross’ letter and a letter by Dean Butters, former executive director of business operations at Harvest. Both Ross and Butters authenticated their letters with me but declined to comment due to non-disclosure agreements.

Dunwoody and George said these six letters were key in the board’s decision to fire MacDonald. (The final straw was MacDonald’s vile recorded comments that were aired on Mancow Muller’s Chicago radio show.)

But Dunwoody and George added that the full board almost didn’t get to see the letters. They said most of the letters initially were sent to Campus Pastor Greg Bradshaw, who had been asked by the board to review the letters with three other elders. Dunwoody and George said when the elder board met on February 5th, Harvest Assistant Senior Pastor Rick Donald, who was on the board at the time but has since stepped down, adamantly opposed releasing the letters. So they were withheld. I reached out to Donald for comment, but he did not respond.

Then on February 6th, George said he and several elders met with MacDonald at Harvest’s Elgin campus. And at that meeting, George said MacDonald argued that the letters should go to Crossroads Resolution Group, the company Harvest had hired to manage their “reconciliation process” with aggrieved parties. George said Donald and Elder Steve Huston, who chaired the elder executive committee before it was dissolved, argued strongly in favor of MacDonald’s suggestion.

However, George said he was able to obtain all the letters independently soon after that meeting. He then distributed the letters to other elders—the last of them going to elders on February 12th, the same day MacDonald was fired.

More Evidence MacDonald Spent Church’s Money for Lavish Lifestyle

Like Ross, Butters’ letter documents numerous incidents where MacDonald spent the church’s money to support his lavish lifestyle. And apparently, MacDonald’s African safari was not an isolated incident. Butters writes that MacDonald “led various hunting trips throughout the U.S. and Africa for his friends and couched them as a business expense.”

Butters also said that when MacDonald moved from his Inverness home to his Elgin home, the church paid $50,000 to move and store his personal possessions. Butters added that MacDonald also donated a broken hot tub to the church that cost more to fix than to replace. Yet according to Butters, MacDonald took an $8,000 tax write-off for the donation.

Butters letter also reveals that MacDonald and other executives at Harvest were given bonuses when the church hit certain “revenue target(s).” He adds that one year, someone manipulated the books, attributing income from Camp Harvest to the general fund so church executives would qualify for bonuses.

Butters also writes that MacDonald:

  • Bought more than $500 in cigars with church funds

  • Tipped a waitress $400 with church funds

  • Spent more than $50,000 of church money on his camp site the first year of “Act Like Men Palooza.”

  • Demanded that fiber optic cable be installed at Camp Harvest so the internet service would be faster, costing $20,000 per month on a three-year contract.

  • Demanded that the church pay to repair his truck after he scraped and dented it on one of the columns in the Elgin church parking garage, blaming security for “setting the cones up wrong.”

  • Demanded that his office be remodeled in 2013 for about $150,000, while all senior and middle management, and their direct reports, took a 10-percent pay cut. The church had also removed coffee/water for employees as “austerity measures” due to low giving. (Ross also writes about the remodel, noting that many expenses “exceeded reasonable,” including Ross’ “custom built in hardwood desk that cost several thousand dollars.”)

  • During the same time period, the church bought fencing for the new deer herd at Camp Harvest for over $40,000.

Harvest’s “Black Budget” & “Executive Checkbook”

It’s not clear how the church justified paying for MacDonald’s lavish personal expenses, or how these expenses were budgeted. I sent emails this week to the elder board, as well as Harvest CFO Jeff Sharda, but no one responded.

However, as I reported earlier in WORLD Magazine, two former Harvest executives said the church hid about 20-percent of its budget from all but top church staffers and the executive committee (EC). Both said this so-called “black budget” was controlled by Fred Adams.

Also, this week, Bill Sperling—a former member of the EC and a current elder and church treasurer—gave some insight to MacDonald’s spending at a question and answer meeting. According to Sperling, the church maintained an “executive checkbook” that amounted to one-percent of the annual income of the church—about $250,000. Sperling admitted that this “checkbook” was “too liberal” and “not dotting i’s and crossing t’s.” He added that members of the former executive committee knew about this checkbook, as well as the auditors. (Capin Crouse conducts annual audits of Harvest.)

“According to Sperling, the church maintained an ‘executive checkbook’ that amounted to one-percent of the annual income of the church—about $250,000. . . . He added that members of the former executive committee knew about this checkbook, as well as the auditors.”

Four of the five members of the former executive committee remain on Harvest’s elder board. They are Bill Sperling, Steve Huston, Jeff Smith, and Sam Booras. Former EC member Ron Duitsman resigned in February.

Sperling’s account seems consistent with what Ross wrote in his letter. Ross said that MacDonald had a church credit card “that was given outside of normal church protocol—set up directly through Fred (Adams).” Ross said he and MacDonald’s former assistant, Chiquita Brown, were also issued credit cards tied to that account.

Ross said he was instructed to put “anything related to James on James’ card.” At the end of each month, Ross said he would give the card statements directly to Adams with descriptions of each charge. Ross said these monthly charges were “regularly in excess of $10,000,” and occasionally as high as “$20,000 to over $30,000.”

Ross said in 2015, MacDonald instructed him to book a vacation at a resort in Naples, Florida, for MacDonald and his wife, Kathy, and to charge it to his church-issued credit card. Ross said MacDonald authorized him to spend “whatever was necessary.” Ross added, “(MacDonald) told me he’d call Fred and his friends on the elder board to justify the expense as necessary due to the tough year he had and the toll it took on him.” Ross said the vacation cost more than $20,000.

According to Rusty Leonard of the watchdog group, Ministry Watch, using church funds for personal use normally qualifies as embezzlement. However, if MacDonald’s spending was approved by the executive committee, it’s not legally embezzlement because the board gave MacDonald the cover he needed to take the money.

However, Leonard said he suspects the IRS might view some of MacDonald’s expenditures as income. So, if MacDonald didn’t pay tax on that income, it could be considered tax evasion.

Ross & Butters Break Silence Due to Hope for Change

Ross said he left his position after continued berating by MacDonald, calling him “stupid,” “incompetent,” “worthless,” and “of no use to him,” proved too much. Ross said he remained silent until now because of a mixture of fear and a desire to not “harm my church.”

He said he finally broke his silence because he believed the vast majority of staff, elders, and members of Harvest are “not privy to many of the situations” he highlighted in his letter. Ross added, “Those who are seeking to make the correct decision regarding the future of Harvest Bible Chapel simply can’t without the correct information.”

Similarly, Butters writes that he left the church because his “ability to continue believing the best about (the leaders over him) diminished.” He added that the “things I was seeing with my eyes, hearing with my ears, and feeling in my soul became more convincing than the narrative that was continually being spun.”

Butters said he wrote his letter “with the hope that it will help to prevent others from being spiritually manipulated and brutalized by James MacDonald and others at Harvest Bible Chapel who carry out his commands.”

via Former Harvest Employees Say James MacDonald Lived Large on Church’s Dime — Julie Roys