JAMES MACDONALD AND ALLEGATIONS OF GAMBLING

In Elephant Room Curator James MacDonald And The Elephant’s Debt and Latest As James MacDonald Addresses Detractors At Harvest Bible Church here at Apprising Ministries I’ve been covering what seems to be a ongoing story concerning Elephant Room curator James MacDonald.

This still developing mission field of online apologetics and discernment work is not an easy field because those of us who engage in it often are hit by friendly fire. Unfortunately, with the rise of social media and the descent of evangelical leadership OADM labors in the Lord have become necessary.

Sadly, the neo-liberal cult operating within the Emerging Church—with its core doctrine of Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism—would widely corrupt the younger sectors of mainstream Christendom. This Foster-Willardism has become a cult of its own and vehemently attacks practitioners’ view of Scripture.

How this applies to evangelical leaders e.g. like Mark Driscoll and his fellow ER cohost James MacDonald is evidence of their apparent drift into a syncretism with Church Growth guru Rick Warren and Seeker Driven generals like Craig Groeschel. Take for example the lineup for Acts 29’s recent R 12 conference:

Now that I have given you a better vantage point from which you can survey the evangelical battlefield, we return to that aforementioned continuing saga of MacDonald and a website called The Elephant’s Debt: From Exodus To Jubilee (TED), which was put up a two former members of his Harvest Bible Chapel.

For more information I refer you to the AM articles above, but briefly, Scott Bryant was involved in a couple of church plants for Harvest Bible Fellowship and Ryan Mahoney, an attorney, has also been personally involved with HBC. Bryant and Mahoney have also spoken with several former members of HBF and HBC leadership.

Let me tell you that what I’m going to point you to now at TED is something that numerous sources in and around the organizations of James MacDonald have also shared with me about alleged very high stakes Texas Hold’em poker games in which MacDonald is supposed to be involved on a regular basis in Las Vegas.

However, not being directly involved with HBF and HBC myself, I had no real way to investigate these allegations further and decided to wait. As I sought the Lord about them, it seemed to me that if there really is some truth to the charges then they would surface. It now seems as if perhaps they have.

In Recent Developments (6 November 2012) MacDonald and the Questions  Regarding Allegations of Gambling …) we read:

Several weeks ago, when The Elephant’s Debt was originally released, readers were allowed to publicly share their stories through the website.  But as the concerns and comments began to roll in, we quickly realized that the personal experiences of many people had the potential to overwhelm the central argument that we had advanced.

And so, after much deliberation, we decided to restrict that section of the site to people who had close ties with both MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel.While we do not regret our decision to act in the way that we did, we are aware that just as we were preparing to make our decision, a rather serious conversation was beginning to take place.

More specifically, a number of people seemed genuinely concerned by the accounts of gambling and trips to Vegas that had emerged through the input of other readers. (source)

This type of thing is why I mentioned before that the God is raising up OADM in the Lord. As Jesus sends more 1 Peter 4:17 judgments and spiritual blindness upon apostatizing evangelicalism, it’s becoming apparent there’s a real need to make sure that information such as this be presented with journalistic integrity.

Frankly, this is simply not always the case with more and more individuals electing themselves as “discernment ministries.” Unfortunately, such as these all too often actually do fall into using faulty logic and resorting to guilt-by-assoiciation, which has reflected badly upon those of us presenting factual information.

Leaving that aside, for now, this is certainly not the case Bryant and Mahoney, which is why I have no problem bringing TED to your attention. They now continue by informing us that:

This update seeks to bring closure to that discussion by offering a sampling of the comments that were made as well as two photos that were emailed to The Elephant’s Debt in response to a reader’s request.  We are not prepared to offer any editorial on these remarks or photos; and you are free to draw your own conclusions from the pictures.

Having said that, we leave you with these two questions.  First, can anyone identify the two oddly-bearded and yet similarly-bearded men that MacDonald is standing with in these photos that were originally posted on Twitter?  Secondly, can anyone identify when and where these photos were taken? (source)

I’ve also placed the photos in question at the top of this piece as well. Although the picture itself that James MacDonald originally tweeted out is now missing, this past June 26th we find:


(source)

Jesse aka @pocketdeuces, the man in the first picture above, would appear to be Jesse Rockowitz:

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ESPN Poker informs us that a couple of years ago that:

Jesse Rockowitz, a 24-year-old professional poker player from Petaluma, CA, won the 3,097-player field and an amazing payday of $721,373. (source)

It’s also interesting to note that Bluff Magazine lists a James MacDonald in their player profiles:


(source)

Although at this time we don’t know if it’s James MacDonald of HBC, actually a Google search for james macdonald poker shows that a James MacDonald is listed at a number of Poker venues. One other that catches our attention is from Card Player:


(source)

While it could be an odd coincidence, but pastor James MacDonald’s country of origin also happens to be Canada.1 In any event, you can read the TED post in its entirety right here.

Further reading

Endnotes

  1. http://jamesmacdonald.com/about/, accessed 11/7/12.