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Investigative Reporter Julie Roys Removes Herself From Her Own Conference After Accusations of ‘Spiritual Abuse’

Screengrab via Twitter @reachjulieroys

Julie Roys is a Christian investigative reporter located in Chicago who is known for having brought to light abuse and corruption relating to some of America’s most high profile pastors and evangelists.

Who Is Julie Roys?

Roys launched “The Roys Report” in 2019, shortly after investigating alleged corruption within Moody Bible Institute in 2018, for whom she was working as a national radio host at the time. The investigative series led to three of Moody’s top officers exiting their positions and ultimately ended her relationship with her employer. Her personal blog, where she shared her articles, became a what she describes as “a Christian media outlet, reporting the unvarnished truth about what’s happening in the Christian community so the church can be reformed and restored.”

In 2018, Roys’ journalism exposed the now-former senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC) James MacDonald for his aggressive leadership style and abuse of the church’s finances. The Roys Report has over 78 articles dedicated to MacDonald and/or HBC, many of which were written by Roys. MacDonald was fired in February 2019 by HBC elders stating that their pastor’s conduct was “harmful to the best interests of the church.”

Days after MacDonald’s firing, HBC’s executive leadership, which included elders, announced their resignation, admitting that they had “made mistakes,” specifically when it came to “direction, discipline, and response time.”

Since then, HBC has apologized to MacDonald after MacDonald won a legal dispute where he retained ownership and rights to “Walk in the Word,” the broadcast ministry MacDonald started in 1997. MacDonald received the assets of “Walk in the Word” books, marketing materials, and equipment, as well as sermons, podcasts, and websites.

MacDonald sued many of those who went after him, including Roys. In the summer of 2021, he unleashed a social-media tirade against the investigative reporter, calling her a “gossipslut,” a “liar,” and an “apostate.”

Roys was also involved in detailing many of the sexual-abuse allegations brought against world-renowned Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias by multiple women. The sexual abuse claims were found to be true after Zacharias’ death in May 2020.

Roys has covered high-profile scandals, including sexual abuse allegations directed at Willow Creek Church and former senior pastor Bill Hybels, abusive leadership by former Mars Hill pastor and current pastor of The Trinity Church Mark Driscoll, and Naghmeh Panahi’s allegations that Franklin Graham pressured her to return to her abusive husband. Roys has published allegations regarding Grace Community Church’s senior pastor John MacArthur, accusing him of covering up sexual abuse and plagiarism. The hot-button coverage is possible reason why Roys has seen an uptick in character attacks lately.

Roys Removes Herself From Her Own Restore Conference

Roys founded a one-day conference called “Restore” hosted at Judson University, saying that it is “aimed at restoring faith in God in the church.”

“I put together Restore Chicago because I’ve witnessed firsthand the pain and the devastation left by two major church scandals in the Chicago area,” Roys said in her podcast while recapping highlights from the 2019 conference and referring to the MacDonald and Hybels scandals.

This year’s conference is taking place on May 21, 2022, and will include Diane Langberg, Scot McKnight, Lori Anne Thompson, Wade Mullen, Lina Abujamra, and Karen Swallow Prior. The conference will cover topics including “Where is God when there’s abuse?” “Recovering from spiritual trauma,” “Effective victim advocacy,” and “Choosing hope vs. despair.”