Apprising Ministries recently shared about a newly published website, The Elephant’s Debt, which addresses some of the concerns, both financial and otherwise, surrounding Harvest Bible Chapel and its leadership, namely senior pastor James MacDonald. In light of this information, we find Carl Trueman’s article today at Reformation 21 rather timely. Trueman writes:
In fact, as Paul himself makes clear, the gospel – the true gospel – can be peddled for power and for profit. To borrow Lutheran terminology, just because the product being sold is the theology of the cross does not mean that the salesman is not a theologian of glory. Cults and corruption are reflections of certain cultures, not of confessions….So just because somebody preaches the gospel, uses the name of Jesus every other sentence and cries when they talk about the lost does not guarantee that they are not a cult leader or simply in it for what they can get out of it.
The key is the culture. One must ask cultural questions of such men, not simply doctrinal ones. Is the culture of their church or organisation transparent? Are there clear lines of accountability which flow both ways, from the leadership to the grassroots and from the grassroots to the leadership?…And one interesting question which I remember a pastor once asking in a pulpit when I was a college student: how far above the average economic level of the congregation or funding constituency does the leadership live?