Harvest Bible Chapel founder James MacDonald faces foreclosure on $1.6M home

Pastor James MacDonald
Pastor James MacDonald | Screenshot: Harvest Bible Chapel

James MacDonald, controversial founder of Harvest Bible Chapel in greater Chicago, is now in danger of losing his custom-built home in Elgin, Illinois, for failing to pay his mortgage with the Republic Bank of Chicago, according to a new lawsuit.

MacDonald, according to a Daily Herald report, owes the Republic Bank of Chicago $947,546.34 on the 5-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom home that sits on 10 acres along Highland Avenue.

The Harvest Bible Chapel founder who was ousted from the helm of the church in February 2019 for "highly inappropriate recorded comments" he made on a radio program as well as "other conduct," allegedly borrowed $990,000 from Republic Bank of Chicago to purchase the home in 2016. Since last December, MacDonald hasn’t made a mortgage payment, the bank argues, and now owes $925,902.96 on the loan, $20,669.34 in unpaid interest, as well as $974.04 in late charges.

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MacDonald's LLC, Vanilla Bean, is also named as a defendant in the foreclosure lawsuit filed last week in Kane County.

James Madonald's home in Elgin, Ill., is on on sale for .6 M.
James Madonald's home in Elgin, Ill., is on on sale for .6 M. | Screenshot: Redfin

Real estate website has listed the property for sale for the last 137 days along with several other leading sites like,

“Home has high end custom windows throughout, state of the art security and sound system. Ample indoor/outdoor entertaining areas are perfect settings to host gatherings large & small to create memories for a lifetime. Outdoor kitchen perfect to BBQ for your family and guests. Extensive landscaping with gardens, trees, Koi pond with waterfall. Home has a cedar shake roof, a sprinkler system and so much more. Home is on 10 acres. All you have to do is move in,” the description of the lavish home says in part.

The property was first listed for $1.9 million in March but was cut by $300,000 in May to $1.6 million.

MacDonald was fired from Harvest Bible Chapel after recordings were made public of him talking about planting child pornography on Christianity Today CEO Harold Smith's computer. He also made crude remarks about independent journalist Julie Roys — including joking that she had an affair with now former CT editor-in-chief Mark Galli — and a vulgar reference to Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College.

He was also investigated for financial abuse. Harvest Bible Chapel has since published a summary of a legal and financial review of MacDonald’s leadership, suggesting he extensively misused the church’s financial resources for improper financial benefit.

From January 2016 through mid-February 2019, MacDonald's spending included $170,851 on hunting and fishing trips; $139,502 on meals and entertainment; and over $94,000 for clothing and eyewear. The church maintained two private checking accounts that gave MacDonald $3.1 million during those three years.

He returned to public ministry in March this year, stating that he had undergone a process of repentance.

“I was, am, and will remain very sorry for the careless and hurtful words that were illegally recorded and publicized,” MacDonald wrote about the recordings that got him fired. “I immediately sent written apologies where appropriate, grieving what it revealed about the state of my heart at the time, as well as the hurt caused to those who trusted us to be a more consistent example of Christlikeness. I have no excuse and am truly sorry.”

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