Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. -- 1Timothy 4:16 (NIV)
I used to receive daily devotionals from James McDonald. I have friends who have followed his ministry over the years and have been blessed by his teachings. He has long been considered a giant in the preaching business. The key verses remind us though that a pastor must guard two things. Doctrine is obviously important and we discuss that nearly every day regarding false teachers. Guarding your life though is just as important even if we tend to turn a blind eye to it more easily. There is a reason why God lists many difficult qualifications for pastors and the bigger you get the more Teflon you think you are as you begin to believe your own press. Such appears to be the case with James McDonald. I have only written about him once, four months ago, when I said this:
"It details decades of financial malfeasance committed by James McDonald to the tune of having his church once fall 70 million in debt while he was receiving a 40% pay increase to $350,000. Tales of a Mark Driscoll-esque power grab where McDonald expanded his board from 12 to 30 so they would have less individual power. Publicly admitted gambling problems from McDonald after railing against gambling from the pulpit. Accusing three such elders of being "satanic to the core" publicly because they had the temerity to ask for a line item budget of expenses. I know this much beloved, when there is this much smoke there is usually a house on fire." -- Anthony Wade (November 2018)
The house that James McDonald built burned to the ground today as he was fired from Harvest Bible Chapel. After years of trying to defend himself against accusations of moral failure in running the church audio tapes have come to light where McDonald was discussing putting child pornography on the computer of Harold Smith, the CEO of Christianity Today. Additionally there were other crude comments about reporters for Christianity Today, whom McDonald has had a long term issue with for their coverage of his previous problems. These comments are part of a 50 minute conversation with a radio personality that will be aired soon as a podcast.
Beloved, the above link lists some of the rude and wildly inappropriate comments made by McDonald during this interview. I will not repeat them. They are disgusting in general, let alone to come from the mouth of someone claiming to be a pastor. This is just another sad outcome of believing the purpose driven lies of church growth and the false authority paradigms that come with it. The pastor is a shepherd of the flock, not the CEO of a business. He is to be fully accountable to the church not lord himself over it. The only cult of personality figure we need is Jesus. Too many people worship preachers to the point that they stand atop a pedestal so high that when they fall they will not survive when the bill comes due for not guarding their life and/or their doctrine. That bill came due for James McDonald today. Pray for the restoration of his walk -- not his ministry. Pray as well for the scattered and wounded sheep he leaves behind because they are the true victims.