Disgraced former pastor of Rolling Meadows church is charged with assault in California

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, after he allegedly attacked a 59-year-old woman.

He was trying to parallel park his truck about 10:15 a.m. in the 900 block of Orange Avenue when he struck the woman’s car. The two exited their cars, and he "attacked" her, according to Coronado police.

The woman was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for serious injuries, police said.

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


Michael Pancer, an attorney representing Macdonald, said in a statement to the Sun-Times that, "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 if it were biblical for Christians to sue other Christians and deciding 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 explained Macdonald was terminated "for engaging in conduct that the Elders believe is contrary and harmful to the best interests of the church."

His next court date in California is scheduled for June 14.