Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Elephant's Debt Update: Harvest Bible Church and a possible lack of disclosure to a Romanian church about its pastor's income

For those who are aware who James MacDonald is he's sounded off in hyperbolic terms about how congregational church polity is of the devil.  Now I'm not a Baptist and I'm not in a church with congregational polity but I have no problem with congregational polity.  :)  It's going to sound trite in the extreme but some of my favorite bloggers have been Baptists.  Longtime readers probably already know which Baptists, for that matter, have been my favorite bloggers to read. 

Without further ado:

... On the 11th of February, 2013, The Elephant’s Debt was contacted by an individual with strong ties to Harvest. According to this source, a member of Harvest Metanoia (Romania) had recently translated The Elephant’s Debt from English into Romanian; and was passing the site around within the local congregation. According to other sources that are active in the congregation, Metanoia’s Senior Pastor, Christian Barbosu, attempted to calm the growing storm by preaching a sermon on the topic of MacDonald’s character. According to these sources, the congregation was reportedly distressed over MacDonald’s admission of gambling and his excessive salary.

Compounding the problem was the fact that Metanoia had only two years prior discovered that their senior pastor, Christian Barbosu, was being compensated from the United States. What made this particularly troubling to the conservative, Eastern European congregation was that they had been sacrificially giving so that their pastor might have an average salary according to Romanian standards of living. They knew nothing of Barbosu’s support coming from the United States; and were greatly troubled by their pastor’s failure to inform them of this practice.

Transparency in finances is important in any organizationand if a group of people sacrifically give to a project or a person's salary only to discover at length there was a lack of full disclosure about something that betrays trust.  There are going to be things that are on a need-to-know basis, I suppose, but if true this situation is one where that wasn't one of those times.  Getting compensation from the US while Romanian Christians give money they don't always have to spare is bad.  After a few years in some places Wenatchee finds it nearly impossible not to be skeptical about anyone who urges that people "give sacrificially".

But that aside having been written and set aside, there's an update at The Elephant's Debt in case you're curious.

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