¿De tal palo tal astilla? Surgen acusaciones contra el padre del acusado pastor de una megaiglesia de Oregón

por Rebecca Hopkins
Ben Courson Jon Courson
On June 17, 2021, pastor Ben Courson (left) and his dad, pastor emeritus Jon Courson, shared in an evening service at Applegate Christian Fellowship in Jacksonville, Oregon. (Photo: Screengrab / YouTube)

Ben Courson, pastor de una megaiglesia de Oregón, renunció recientemente en medio de acusaciones de abuso sexual y mala conducta. Ahora, los testigos se han presentado con acusaciones de que el padre de Ben, Jon Courson, fundador de Fraternidad cristiana de Applegate cerca de Medford, Oregón— tuvo una relación inapropiada con una mujer en la década de 1980.

Además, como Applegate supuestamente manejó las acusaciones recientes contra Ben Courson, los testigos dicen que los líderes de la iglesia en la década de 1980 también encubrieron la mala conducta de Jon Courson.

Además, varios exmiembros de la iglesia, incluido un exanciano y un expastor, acusan a Applegate de un patrón de intimidación y falta de transparencia. Dicen que la iglesia regularmente hacía lo que Jon Courson quería, incluso si eso significaba violar la ley o sobrecargar al personal hasta el punto de enfermarse.

Courson, quien fue asesorado por el fundador de Calvary Chapel, Chuck Smith, fundó Applegate Christian Fellowship a fines de la década de 1970. La iglesia creció hasta incluir tantos como 7,000 miembros, pero debido al COVID y al reciente escándalo, actualmente tiene una asistencia de unos pocos cientos, dijo el ex élder Paul Sandu.

Courson se retiró en 2020, pero aún mantiene un ministerio de radio llamado Reflector. El hijo de Jon, Ben Courson, fue designado para reemplazar a su padre en Applegate. Pero en agosto, Ben renunció después de que se hicieran públicas las denuncias de conducta sexual inapropiada por parte de numerosas mujeres.

Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “Wounded Faith,” edited by Rev. Dr. Neil Damgaard. To donate, haga clic aquí.

El Informe Roys Se acercó a Jon Courson, Ben Courson y Applegate para hacer comentarios, pero nadie respondió.

Una relación romántica inapropiada.

Según el profesor adjunto del seminario occidental Guy Gray, los líderes de Applegate sabían de "una relación romántica inapropiada" entre Jon Courson y una miembro del personal femenino en la década de 1980. Sin embargo, Gray dijo El Informe Roys que Applegate se negó a disciplinar a Courson y, en cambio, mantuvo su pecado en privado.

Gray se involucró en el tema en los años 80 porque la mujer dejó Applegate y comenzó a asistir a Medford Christian Fellowship, donde Grey pastoreaba en ese momento. Gray dijo que la mujer le contó sobre una relación de meses con Courson, que involucró besos en la oficina de la iglesia y al menos un encuentro en una habitación de hotel.

Gray dijo que la mujer no quería que otros resultaran “heridos”. Entonces, organizó una reunión entre la mujer, él mismo, otro pastor del área y un anciano de Applegate en la que la mujer compartió su historia. Gray dijo que el anciano de Applegate le dijo a la mujer en la reunión que creía en su historia, que involucraba “muchas reuniones privadas” con Courson.

Gray y el anciano luego se reunieron por separado con el resto de los líderes de Applegate y les contaron la historia de la mujer, dijo Gray.

Cuando se enfrentó, Courson admitió haber tenido una "aventura emocional", pero nada más, dijo Gray. Applegate no promulgó ninguna medida disciplinaria contra Courson, según Gray. Courson simplemente se ausentó por un tiempo y luego regresó al púlpito sin ninguna restauración o protección oficial.

Gray dijo que instó a los líderes de Applegate a seguir I Timoteo 5: 19-20, que instruye a los líderes de la iglesia a exponer a los ancianos pecadores. Pero en cambio, los líderes de la iglesia supuestamente citaron Génesis 9 como su guía, señalando que los hijos de Noé cubrieron la desnudez de Noé.

Los líderes también dijeron que habían "orado contra" el "espíritu de sensualidad" que había descendido sobre la iglesia, dijo Gray, y creían que esto resolvería el problema.

“La respuesta fue esencialmente ignorar todo y seguir adelante”, dijo Gray.

La iglesia de Gray, que en ese momento tenía conexiones ministeriales con Applegate, se “desvinculó” de Applegate debido a la respuesta de Applegate. Gray dijo que se presenta ahora porque está preocupado por un patrón de abuso espiritual y abuso de poder que ve en la iglesia evangélica en Estados Unidos.

“La gente se está lastimando en el proceso y la iglesia merece algo mejor”, dijo.

La ex miembro de Applegate, Charleen Trimmer, confirmó la historia de Gray sobre Courson.

Ella dijo que en la década de 1980, Courson admitió en una reunión de estudio bíblico una "indiscreción" con un miembro del personal femenino, pero dijo que el miembro del personal "entendió mal" la relación.

Sin embargo, Trimmer dijo que había "encontrado" a Courson "besando y abrazando" a la mujer en la oficina de la iglesia. Trimmer dijo que también escuchó a Courson preparándose para un retiro bíblico en Hawái que coincidió con las vacaciones de la empleada allí. 

En ese momento, Courson estaba casado con su primera esposa, quien luego murió en un accidente automovilístico.

“(Jon Courson) encubrió el nivel de participación e insinuó que solo fue una leve indiscreción, pero yo sabía que no era cierto”, dijo Trimmer.

Agregó que en ese momento, Courson dijo que se iría a Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa por unas semanas para “su tiempo de arrepentimiento”. Regresó al ministerio pastoral en Applegate después de eso, dijo Trimmer.

“Mi corazón es ver un verdadero arrepentimiento donde ha habido una larga historia de negación, encubrimiento y destrucción de la vida de las mujeres para traer restauración, sanación y verdadera responsabilidad a todos los involucrados”, dijo Trimmer. “Muchas mujeres han resultado perjudicadas por las indiscreciones de los Courson a lo largo de los años y las familias han sido destruidas”.

El Informe Roys se comunicó con la mujer que supuestamente tuvo una relación inapropiada con Courson a través de su hija, pero la mujer rechazó nuestra solicitud de entrevista.

'Es lo que dice Jon'

Varios ex miembros de Applegate también han presentado preocupaciones que abarcan décadas y que se centraron en el control del personal, los miembros de la iglesia y las finanzas de la iglesia por parte de Jon Courson.

"No hizo ninguna diferencia si está bien o mal, es lo que dice Jon", dijo Ken Skeen, ex diácono y anciano, que estuvo en Applegate de 1989 a 1999.

Skeen dijo que expresó su preocupación a fines de la década de 1990 sobre los proyectos de construcción de Applegate, como Bus Barn, una propiedad de la iglesia que se usaba para albergar a personas para capacitación ministerial. Sin embargo, a pesar de señalar ilegalidades en los planos de construcción, Skeen dijo que fue rechazado.

“No hay sellos, no hay salida de incendios. No hay forma de poner a 24 personas aquí”, dijo Skeen a los líderes de Applegate. “Sería altamente ilegal”.

Sin embargo, Skeen dijo que los líderes respondieron que no había ninguna diferencia porque "eso es lo que (Jon) quería". Como resultado, Skeen renunció a su participación en la iglesia.

Jon Courson Applegate
Jon Courson, fundador de Applegate Christian Fellowship cerca de Medford, Oregón, tuvo una relación inapropiada con una mujer en la década de 1980 que fue encubierta por los líderes de la iglesia, según varias fuentes. (fuente: Pinterest)

Las noticias del día ha informado problemas similares con los edificios de Applegate, incluida la construcción sin permisos, la construcción en la propiedad de un vecino y la alteración de una llanura aluvial.

Joshua Jordan, miembro de Applegate desde hace mucho tiempo y pastor durante cinco años, dijo que al personal de la iglesia a menudo no se le decía cómo iban los ministerios, a dónde iban las finanzas o incluso quiénes eran los ancianos.

Una vez, en 2005, le pidieron a su familia que se mudara a México para ayudar con un ministerio de la iglesia. Pero después de que vendieron la mayoría de sus pertenencias, se les dijo a los Jordan que, después de todo, no irían; Jon Courson iba en su lugar.

En ese momento, Jordan dijo que él y su esposa, Teresa, "aceptaron" y siguieron trabajando para la iglesia en otras capacidades. Pero el año pasado, los Jordan comenzaron a plantear inquietudes cuando Jon Courson ascendió a Ben a pastor principal.

Ahora Jordan mira hacia atrás con escepticismo sobre cómo los pastores manejaron las críticas del pasado.

“Siempre escuchamos las líneas que básicamente inferían que 'esto es solo un ataque de carácter a nuestra familia, a los Courson, así que debemos estar haciendo algo bien'”, dijo Jordan.

Recogiendo a los heridos

Otra miembro dedicada de Applegate e hija de un pastor, Heidi Smith, dijo que trabajaba para campamentos de iglesias durante muchas horas y con poca paga, lo cual era típico del personal del campamento de Applegate. Pero el trabajo tuvo un costo: un ataque de herpes zóster a los 19 años.

“Lo estábamos haciendo por Jesús”, dijo. “Cualquier tipo de sufrimiento, cualquier tipo de conflicto personal, esa es la alfombra debajo de la cual lo deslizamos, porque haríamos cualquier cosa por la expansión del Evangelio”.

La cultura y los sermones de Applegate tendían a basarse en obras mezcladas con muchas profecías del tiempo del fin, dijo.

Cuando Smith descubrió un evangelio basado en la gracia, se emocionó y comenzó a hablar de él en la iglesia. Pero, según los informes, esa conversación no fue bienvenida. Smith se alejó de Applegate en 2010.

“Sentí que era una hija de la iglesia”, dijo. “¿No debería alguien de la iglesia a la que le había dado mi vida entera, no debería haber venido detrás de mí para ayudarme? Pero nunca lo hicieron”.

De manera similar, otro ex miembro, Paul Coughlin, dijo que Jon Courson haría profecías y predicciones, a menudo en la víspera de Año Nuevo. Aunque esto no funcionó, Coughlin dijo que Courson no se disculparía.

 “Así es como operan estos muchachos”, dijo Coughilin. “No tienen que dar una explicación. Nadie los hace realmente responsables de las cosas realmente malas que dicen”.

El año pasado, en torno al lanzamiento del último libro de Ben Courson, Coqueteando con la oscuridad: construyendo esperanza frente a la depresión, Smith comenzó a ponerse en contacto con otras personas que la iglesia había herido. Ahora, 53 personas se han unido a un grupo de Facebook que comenzó Smith, llamado Sobrevivientes cristianos de Applegate.

La respuesta de Applegate

A pesar de las acusaciones contra Jon y Ben Courson, los pastores de la iglesia no han respondido a El Informe Roys Múltiples solicitudes de comentarios. Sin embargo, la iglesia eliminó recientemente al pastor administrativo de Applegate, Joe Stroble, de su sitio web.

Como informado anteriormente en El Informe Roys, dos ex ancianos de Applegate dicen que a principios de este verano, Stroble encubrió múltiples acusaciones de conducta sexual inapropiada por parte de Ben Courson.

Cuando se le pidió un comentario, Stroble dijo El Informe Roys para "ahorrar el centavo y no volver a llamarme".

Tanto el sermón del miércoles pasado en Applegate como el sermón de este domingo publicado en línea no hacen referencia a Stroble ni a ninguna acusación contra Ben Courson. El 25 de agosto Servicio de miércoles por la noche, el pastor Alex Heater predicó sobre I Corintios 3, instando a la congregación a no juzgar a los demás.

“El Señor dice que cuando vienen a la iglesia, es un lugar para estar abiertos, para ser reales, para no juzgarse unos a otros, para no menospreciarse unos a otros, para no decir: 'No puedo creer lo que hizo esta persona. '”, predicó Heater.

Heater también advirtió a su congregación contra la división y advirtió que Dios vendría contra cualquiera que venga “contra Su iglesia”.

El Informe Roys Se acercó a Heater para obtener más comentarios, pero no respondió.

Rebecca Hopkins es una periodista radicada en Colorado.

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39 pensamientos sobre “Like Father, Like Son? Allegations Surface Against Father of Accused Oregon Megachurch Pastor”

  1. The Voice of God is not to the wolves and hirelings but rather to the sheep !

    My sheep know my voice and because they know me they will not follow or be misled to another

    When He comes back will he find us in pastures where wolves and hirelings lead blind undiscerning sheep ?

    Are we really ready for His Return? He is testing us and showing us a test so we can see ourselves moreso than the wolves we allowed to lead us with hearts set upon Pastoral IDOL a worship

    He shows us because He loves us and His heart is grieved when He see’s His blood bought sheep especially His precious daughters dearest to His heart in the blood filled mouths of the wolves !

    Test all things ! Especially your leaders as the Bereans tested the greatest apostle ever lived!

    Note; if your church leaders are incorporating Hillsong music in worship , RUN for the leaders are blind ! Ask questions later

    1. I think this verse goes well on another thing with that:
      1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

    2. I would think the bible is the policy the church has. But the one time I tried to be a part of a church and my son was unjustly accused as a young child basicly of something that was just silly. He acually wanted to do it the Bible’s way and talk to his accuser and the church refused. He was punished by being followed around by the youth pastor , which was humilating . Then a few years later the pastor apologised because it came out that it was never my son. But he was publicly punished and recieved a private apology. He stoped going to church and so did we. Now years later I think churches are far to interrested in looking Christain than being Christain.

  2. I went to a Calvary Chapel in Phoenix for 10 years. The leader passed the church on to his son and last I knew was planting franchises in England. He had invited KP Yohannan, the billion dollar conman, to his church where I saw him. When the scandal broke his wife was promoting KP’s wife there on the big island. I wrote him and his son a warning about what was going on. His son responded, but he never did. His name is Bob Claycamp.

  3. This is what happens when a church institution doesn’t have a sexual misconduct policy in place. It has to be a policy that is strong and pushed from the Board and Elders down to the senior pastor all volunteers or anyone such as staff working with congregants. Its more than defining what improper relationships are . Its training on how to best protect everyone including staff. That kind of policy includes reporting procedures. That is the point where most abuse reporting falls apart….the person hearing what happened. Without a policy the person hearing might say, “I’m sure you misunderstood. Pastor so and so would never do that. Let talks about your problems. Don’t you know what forgiveness is.” Its all manipulation to shame and silence the person. Its to get all parties to forget or minimize the incident. Without a comprehensive policy in place a church is basically sending the message that what one has to report is not welcome. Its why so much goes unreported and stories like this eventually work their way up to the surface where then its too late.

    1. Mike, a policy which tells people to report to the government is NOT the answer. It is what has destroyed a number of innocent families and missionaries. Follow the policy…the “well-trained experts” will be able to figure this out, is what you are trained. I know. I bought it all.
      Then a friend told lies about my husband, my daughter, my son, and eventually me. Following the “well-researched” policy which included “believing the victim who comes forward with their allegations of abuse” and “reporting to ‘authorities’ within 24 hours no matter what you might think you know about the person accused of abuse”, our longtime church, school, and mission threw us to the wolves, and the christian community of our city was thrown into complete fear and disarray.
      But for God’s grace the males in our family would all be dead, not sure about my daughter and me.
      Our accuser was the wolf in sheep’s clothing…abusing her own daughter and pointing at those who truly loved her.
      The sage continues in the country in which we used to serve, which really does have a serious problem with abuse of children and women. But to this point, numerous people who were truly loving and caring for the under trodden there have been fired from their organizations, traumatized, and one was thrown in jail and has been fighting within the justice system (all the way to the supreme court of the country). It is still in process.
      If you believe that here in the US a falsely accused person (especially straight male who loves Jesus and is talented as a pastor) will get a fair chance and due diligence done, you are sadly mistaken. This is the WORST tool I’ve ever seen for the church to use…unless, of course, you happen to be Satan. Then you are thanking the church for handing you such an excellent tool to destroy pastors, families, and churches.

      1. A sexual prevention/misconduct policy is written by churches for churches. It does work when it covers all the bases. I was a victim of sexual abuse in my own church. I was up against a senior pastor, 9 associate pastors, 39 elders and a church membership of nearly 5000. I was told to leave the church and take other victims with me. The perpertrator (associate pastor) eventually resigned. There was no court system involved and that was ok with me. I wanted everyone to know and they did. Leadership was not happy. But the senior pastor also resigned. I went to an organization that wrote sexual misconduct policies for churches and businesses. I had a clergy person who does flown in from New York. I had help, but it took two years of my life and much heartache. I demanded a comprehensive policy for that church and I got it. Again church leadership was not happy with that as I went over their heads and went to the head of the denomination (Presbyterian). During the whole time I was a lightning rod. I took a lot of heat and it was absolutely exhausting. I got counseling in the end and made the church pay for it. Though I eventually left it did not make me bitter. I pursued change so that this church (and others in the system) could not ignore or dismiss victims in the future. I will never be thanked for it but that is ok. Pursuing the legal system wasn’t the answer for me. But change within was. I do feel bad for what you went through. I just chose for things to be done differently, but it felt right. The future needs of others was more important than what happened to me and that is what kept me going.

    2. Do we really think another policy, law or regulation will solve the problem of sexual sin, bullying, financial fraud or any of the other possible land mines?

      These abhorrent behaviors are a result of non-discipleship. The only cure is Christlike character. Discipleship. Becoming apprentices to Jesus. Learning to live my life in the way Jesus would if He was me. In the marketplace. In my neighborhood. At work. On the highways and byways.
      More policies and rules will not change our inner character. The failure is a failure of discipleship.

      “Go and make disciples. Teach them to do what I do and speak as I speak.” Jesus

      1. A bit of saying ‘no’ would help. Don’t get involved with a married man might be a good place for the first ‘no’. Then a second attempt by the man possibly constitutes an offense. Call the cops.

        1. There were no innocent parties during the 80’s incident. Why isn’t anyone holding the woman responsible as well? I am not suggesting throwing stones, but again, there were no innocent parties.

      2. día del escocés

        Caren,

        you said, “These abhorrent behaviors are a result of non-discipleship. The only cure is Christlike character. Discipleship. Becoming apprentices to Jesus. Learning to live my life in the way Jesus would if He was me.”
        ————-

        the fact of the matter is that my friends and family who are agnostic, atheist, muslim, hindu, and buddhist have higher personal integrity standards for themselves than many christians.

        It is beneath them to betray their relationship commitments, to lie, to take advantage of other human beings, and to exploit others and systems for selfish gain.

        That’s not saying it strong enough — these behaviors are abhorrent to them. They don’t tolerate such things in their alliances with people.

        For some reason, christian culture produces sloppy morals & integrity that are inferior to “the world” which christians look down on in superiority.

        I think part of it is a misunderstanding and misapplication of “grace”, and an end-justifies-the-means happy-go-lucky attitude.

        Part of it is an agenda of fear which leaders have cultivated– fear of judging, fear of gossip, fear of being divisive, fear of this, fear of that…. all that’s left is passive compliance & lax accountability. christians tolerate all kinds of rotten behavior, being too timid and afraid to take a stand on anything (except abortion and homosexuality).

        christian culture produces people who are more concerned about their own ‘sinlessness’ & ‘advancing the gospel’ than they are about taking a stand on right and wrong and the consequences that bring harm to others.

        it’s horrendously embarrassing, whether people immersed in christian culture feel it or not. The ‘evil world’ sees it all and shakes their head is astonishment & well-deserved disgust.

    3. Beth Price-Almeida

      Except that it DOES have such a policy. As any church that claims to be Christian, the Bible is the governing policy in EVERY situation. However, every person in this story who knew about any indiscretion would also be held accountable even off they choose to quit rather than too report building code violations (which could get people killed), or if they chose to separate themselves from the ‘scandal’ rather than to make sure there was some accountability made to the congregation, and especially as an elder who was aware of any behavior that was not Biblically sound. Every single control out into place according to the Bible, failed from the top to the bottom. If just ONE of those people had honored their role by upholding their responsibility in that position as it is described according to the BIBLE, the situation wouldn’t be such a mess or have been dragged out for so long.

      1. Samantha Morgan

        This is ridiculous. Cancel culture at its finest. “OMG Jon Courson had an emotional affair in the 1980s!!!” READ that again. That was 35 years ago! Who of you has a spotless history? None of you. This man was dragged for no reason. His ministry changed my families life, saved my dad, and Jon continues to be an awesome force in this world.

        To the author- you’re ridiculous. I’d be ashamed to publish such he said she said. Shame on you. And to add an element of surprise- I’m an atheist. But Jon Courson. He’s a saint.

        1. You’re an atheist. Lol Well if you’re an atheist why are you in church? There is no God so why go? In your opinion rather than being a saint I would think you’d consider Pastors including Jon a con man. He’s worth at least 6 million so his ministry has blessed at least him and his family. His ministry was paying his son 20 k a month I hear. Without the sexual abuse alligations that would also or should be questioned don’t you think???? Well God bless you anyway. Atheist or not. Your a true Non believer.

  4. “Heater also warned his congregation against division and warned that God would come against anyone who would come “against His church.””

    Another classic example of spiritual abuse. Do these “pastors” take a class at seminary on how best to gaslight congregants and misuse scriptures to cover their sins??

    It’s like they read the same exact same script.
    Increíble.

  5. I attended ACF from Nov 1999 until a little after Ben took over the fellowship. I had a problem with his divorce and how it was handled at the congregation, then I was a little concerned with some of his teachings and I finally left when Ben preached his support of BLM and the protesting, which when brought up in an email to Ben I was ignored. So I am not a fan of what is happening and I have lost my home church and fellowship of 20 years. I however think that accuracy and honesty is more important than feelings based statements. “Applegate culture and sermons tended to be works-based mixed with a lot of end-time prophecies” Jon did teach about Prophesy, esp. around New Years; I appreciated those teaching a lot; however, Jon did not teach a works based salvation in any way for the 20 + years I was under his teaching – it was always by the grace of God.
    “Paul Coughlin, said Jon Courson would make prophecies and predictions, often at New Year’s Eve. Even though these didn’t pan out, Coughlin said Courson wouldn’t apologize.” This is not true in my 20+ years of following Jon’s teaching; I never heard him set dates or claim to be making a prophesy. He taught how societal trends lined up with scripture and prophesies of the end times, he discussed how new technologies might play a role or be heading toward those prophesies, but I never heard anything that “didn’t pan out” and would require any apology. I was at least two times a week in attendance and often listened on the radio during the rest of the week, so I doubt I missed very much.
    It is my understanding that Joe Stroble resigned.

    1. I attended ACF from 1981 to about 1985-86 – While I was shocked and pleased to see this article, I have to say Jon did bring the allegations of sexual misconduct to the congregation and he did apologize to all of us. And it was devastating to many of us. When the “elders” went to the woman in question home to tell her husband, there were children there, including my daughter who was a teenager at the time. It did not go over well. Jon was very much loved and respected, maybe too much so. What made this and all betrayal of trust just that, a betrayal of trust, for all parties involved. The Church, marriages, families, it left all of us reeling. It puts forgiveness to the test. That whole incident really brought out the crazies too. I laugh now, but back then it was no laughing matter. Jon should be ashamed of himself, but I remember him saying “Keep your eyes of Jesus, Keep your eyes on God.” I had to! I found out I am not a very forgiving person. I have not forgiven Jon or Garnet Page or the Elders for the way handled that. My family is in splinters, still, after all these years. I think we all went a little bit crazy. We all thought is Jon can fall, we all can. So, we did. I am not sure what God plan is, but if nothing else he shows us just how flawed people are and that is why we have to live covered by the blood of Jesus. People like Jon and his son Ben will come and go, but Jesus is forever.

  6. In ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece, priesthood was a heredity, government position, a heritable civil service job. It didn’t matter if a guy didn’t believe in Amun, Marduk, or Apollo, and it didn’t matter if he was a total creep. Just show up and follow the book and do the rituals and collect the donations.

  7. Passing your pulpit along to your sons seems to have become fairly common in prosperous megachurches over the last 30-40 years. Was it always so?
    Somehow it lacks the signs of divine leading, IMHO.

    1. No, it wasn’t always so because the mega-church is a fairly recent phenomenon though Metropolitan Tabernacle in UK where Charles Spurgeon preached would be considered mega. The “recent” – think Robert Schuler Crystal Cathedral, helped pioneer the mega church movement (along with the “church growth”) methodology. He attempted to pass it on to his family which has been a disaster. Many of the mega church founders are reaching retirement age so we are beginning to see transitions in many of these churches. Church government which allows for the pastor to appoint his successor often leads to this kind of situation. Not all mega churches have this church government. Also, the issue of succession to children is not limited to mega churches. It does occur in smaller churches, again where church government invests most of the decision making with just the pastor who chooses his own successor.

  8. The leaders used “Genesis 9 as their guideline”? This is not even remotely a text about how to choose pastors or elders. Apparently context does not matter. Cherry-picking and twisting scripture will lead you far… away!

  9. Goodness, uncovering sin from the 1980’s is a bit nuts. I got saved in the 80’s, and that’s a long time ago. People repent, change, grow.

    Love does not keep a list of wrongs.

    Yes, I understand exposing unrepentant sin, but sins from decades ago?

    1. Cindy Hinkel

      The in-depth reporting of Jon Courson’s sin and the umbilical handling of it decades ago is to give the context of the unbiblical way the sin of Jon’s son, Ben, is being handled now. Sin not dealt with will ALWAYS be repeated and in bigger ways. This is the tip of only one iceberg.
      Genesis 4:7, Numbers 32:23

    2. @Cindy, A “pastor” who sexually abuses someone in his congregation is disqualified from being a pastor, no matter how long ago it was. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t forgiveness and some other ministry opportunity, but they can’t be pastors. They have violated a sacred trust – and they have harmed a sheep that belongs to the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:1-4, see also 1 Tim. 3 & Titus 1 for pastoral qualifications). I know an individual who embezzled money from a bank. He received probation before judgment, but he is not allowed in the banking industry the remainder of his life. He has gone on to be successful in another business.

    3. Thank you Cindy for reminding us of those words and I have to add, let him without sin throw the first stone. Pastor Jon has taught me so, so much and he is a big part of my life even though I live too far away to go to church there. I never expected him to be perfect. He’s human! Whatever happened or didn’t happen is none of our business. It’s between Jon and God. Nobody else should be judging brother Jon or trying to solve this issue. The battle is not yours but God’s. Pastor Jon has worked miracles in my life and all the good he’s done should count and be pointed out at this time. If anyone knew of all of my failures they would not think a thing about brother Jon and what he did or didn’t do. They would all be too busy saying bad things about me but brother Jon taught me how to live for the Lord and I can’t thank him enough for that! Now my life revolves around the Lord, thanks to brother Jon. I pray we can all ask ourselves, what would Jesus do.
      Your sister in the Lord

      1. I think you’re overlooking the fact that Scripture gives very specific qualifications for elders/pastors. (Titus 1:5-9) Why would Scripture give these qualifications if Christians are just supposed to use them to determine if a pastor is qualified for office?

  10. I used to listen to Christian radio a lot for a time decades ago. Jon Courson rubbed me the wrong way. This was also true of an ad for Searchlight: both the promotion and a sample of him speaking.

    A major red flag in one of his messages was excessive self praise of his own preaching, followed by “and that’s why you’re here”. The statement reminded me of the abusively controlling church that I had been involved with earlier.

  11. This is an interesting article and set of comments from readers. I think that the important thing is to remember that NO ONE is without sin. This principle certainly does not excuse sin. If a believer (including a minister) is in sin, then that minister needs to acknowledge and repent of that sin (preferably in private…and not to bring a public reproach to the faith).

    In this case, a lot of time has passed since the 1980s (roughly 40 years now). In truth, we don’t know the veracity of these reports. Yes, we might not have a reason to “doubt” the claims. However, that is the key. We should always be ready to be careful about taking a side in any accusation. The only “side” that we should take is the side of the Lord (*as the angel told Joshua in Joshua 5:13-14).

    If true, the allegations would be disappointing — as any would be against a pastor or local church. Yet, regardless, the Lord deals with people individually.

  12. I find USA “lead preachers/teahers”sure do have A LOT of time on their hands. Preaching Sundays or Wednesdays, big deal! Try running a dairy farm 24/7 365. Pastors should have real jobs and then preach on the weekend or a midweek study.

    Proverbs 16:27-29
    “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop:idle lips are his mouthpiece
    An evil man sows strife:gossips separates the best of friends
    Wickedness loves company–and leads other into sin.”

    Like father like son. Guess John needs to cover for Benji….a chip off the old rock

  13. I am in shock over this story. I learned alot from Jon Courson over the last 30 years. I’m so sad that another church leader is brought down. It just shows that no one is immune from sinning. I’m sure if one of these “elders” had the courage to confront either Ben or Jon, as it is instructed in God’s Word…. one person was to go to them and confront them about their sin, and if not repentant, then the elders were to go to them and if still unrepentant, then presented to the congregation and dismissed out of the congregation… well, apparently the latter was done, because both JON and BEN are no longer at Applegate. What I’m still confused about, is WHY Christian stations are still broadcasting ‘SEARCHLIGHT’ podcasts on their stations. I’m so confused. Jon is still teaching about God’s Word… but is Jon still GOD’S man to preach to us anymore? I’m just asking!

    1. Why do we, especially Christians, treat anyone like they are guilty before all the facts are presented and proven guilty or innocent? The Bible warns that gossiping and slandering is also a sin. Sin is sin in God’s Word. There is no sin greater or less than the other, other than blasphemy. It is not for us or me to slander someone or judge them. God will judge all of our actions and HE will reveal truth. After all these are just allegations at this point. And we know our enemy Satan accuses every single one of God’s children every second of every day before before the throne of our Almighty Merciful God. The only reason we are innocent is because of the blood of Jesus. John 3:16-17.
      What are your secret sins that you think are not as equal to accusations in this article?

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