Ousted pastor of Rolling Meadows church charged with assault in California

James Macdonald, fired from Harvest Bible Chapel in 2019, has been charged in a March attack on a woman in a parking dispute, police said.

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Pastor James Macdonald speaks during a Sunday service at Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin in 2013. Macdonald was ousted from his leadership role in 2019.

James Macdonald speaks during a Sunday service at Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin in 2013.

Sun-Times file photo

The former pastor of a Rolling Meadows church has been charged with felony battery and assault in California.

James Macdonald, who was fired from Harvest Bible Chapel in 2019, was arrested March 22 in Coronado, California, on charges that accuse him of attacking a 59-year-old woman.

According to the Coronado police, Macdonald was trying to parallel park his truck when he struck the woman’s car, and, after they both got out, attacked her, causing serious injuries.

Macdonald, 62, is charged in San Diego County with battery causing serious bodily injury and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.

Michael Pancer, a lawyer representing Macdonald, said, “James Macdonald would never intentionally harm another human being. The charges as written are not accurate as to what took place. We believe the evidence will show Dr. Macdonald’s intent and conduct was neither malicious nor correctly assigned in the charges filed. We look to the legal process to establish what did happen and remedy the situation lawfully.”

Macdonald founded Harvest Bible Church in 1988. The church grew to 13,000 members and seven locations across the Chicago area.

Shortly before he was fired, Chicago radio host Mancow Muller broadcast on WLS-AM (890) tape recordings of “a guy who sounds like James Macdonald.”

In the recording, a person can be heard responding angrily to a Christianity Today podcast asking whether it were biblical for Christians to sue other Christians and saying it probably isn’t.

The man on the recording is heard calling one editor “a certifiable p---k” and hinting that former Christianity Today CEO Harold Smith be brought down by uploading child pornography to his computer.

Harvest Bible said Macdonald was terminated “for engaging in conduct that the elders believe is contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church.”

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