James MacDonald, pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in the Chicago area, has withdrawn his name from the speaker lineup of the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference, event president Danny Wood announced on Twitter Dec. 17.
Baptist Press photo by Bill Bangham
MacDonald was the centerpiece of a Dec. 13 news story by WORLD Magazine that detailed allegations of “an ongoing pattern of relational and financial abuse, a lack of transparency, and outright deception” among Harvest leaders. The article’s sources included more than two dozen former elders, staff and members of the church.
MacDonald has disputed the claims and filed a defamation lawsuit against the journalist responsible for the news piece and others who have chronicled the years-long controversy on a blogging website.
Wood, pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., said MacDonald contacted him to indicate he is “stepping away from all outside speaking engagements for a season.” Wood expressed gratitude for MacDonald and said “he has my prayers.”
A speaker list on the pastors' conference website also includes Andrew Brunson, an international church planter who was recently released from prison in Turkey; Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta, Ga., and vice president of the North American Mission Board’s Send Network; Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and David Platt, pastor of McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C., and former president of the International Mission Board.
The event is slated for June 9-10 to coincide with the 2019 SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala. Visit SBCPC.net for more information.