Updates on the Ben Courson Story: How To Throw Your Ex Under the Church Bus…
Let me note first that Ben Courson and his parents, Jon and Tammy Courson, have contracted the Covid 19 virus. It is said to have stricken Tammy Courson particularly hard.
This story has now garnered national attention and there are ongoing journalistic investigations happening as we speak, as well as inquiries from pastors and others.
I expect the national story to break sometime this week or next.
In the meantime, a particularly disturbing video of Ben Courson from 2017 has made the rounds and I want to show and comment on it here.
At about the 13 minute mark, Courson rips into his former wife while claiming that he doesn’t want to “expose” her.
He then compares himself to the biblical prophet Hosea and his former wife to the prophets wife Gomer…who the text tells us was a prostitute.
This was done in church, over the air, and is available on Youtube.
His ex wife is believed to be under a non disclosure agreement…meaning she can’t defend herself and if she could, it would be without this sort of reach and access.
Interestingly enough, none of these claims are in the divorce filings in Jackson County , Oregon.
They were divorced under “Irreconcilable differences” and he is paying her spousal support until 2024…if I’m reading the documents properly.
There’s along way to go on this one…more to come.
color me skeptical, but this appears to me to be a guy out for himself first and foremost, who learned a trade of gifted public speaking from his dad, and now has created a lucrative business that he doesn’t want to lose.
My only thought at this point-no matter what your status as to the responsibility of a marital breakup, you need time off if you are in pastoral ministry to process, not to dis your ex in public, especially if you’re not Hosea.
1. If you broadcast outside the local Assembly, then I don’t see how it is a local Assembly discipline issue. (Referencing the husband, not the wife)
2. Unlike in centuries past, there is no Metropolitan or Bishop in this structure to act as an authority.
3. We have Councils. Creeds and writings of the Church Fathers, but technology and society have changed over time. The best you can do is cite indirect precedent set by those who went before us.
4. Paul established that a local (city) Assembly could turn a person over to Satan, but I refer back to point 1. A broadcast does not have locality. This would appear to be a wild west show in the House of God. Is there anything stopping non-connected individuals from interceading in prayer as Paul discribed? For the situation/person to be prevented from proceeding further.
The closest precedent I can think of is the ordeal of bitter herbs. But essentially that is a reverse precedent, where the wife is accused but the husband cannot produce conclusive evidence. The herbs publicly exonerate the wife, but do nothing to restrain the husband from further acts, should he continue in bitterness.
What an [unprintable]. “…I don’t want to expose…” and then he says her name after describing what may or may not be her actions and then scrubbing himself clean.
And we wonder why people don’t feel safe or cared for at church… this is why.
Jon and PJ Courson along with the board brothers could have at a minimum:
Called a private church family meeting.
Explained why Ben was going to step back and learn and be counseled while the board brothers investigated this further.
Explained how they were going to provide covering and an offering of ministry to Ben’s former spouse.
Explain that what they knew at the present was fresh and incomplete information and that they would investigate the situation to provide recommendations of redemption, reconciliation and healing as much as possible and with wisdom to both parties and families because Ben and his wife are both children of God and members of ACF .
But, since according to Jon; He and the board fellas had spent hours of discussion prior to Ben’s self justifying sermon. Therefore, they authorized it and sanctioned it by their prayer at the end.
Costco Cal imo was a pretty good guy when out from under the family umbrella.
I thought we (Christians) are not suppose to gossip. (Ben exposing his ex wife’s sin) Or is it not gossip when it’s a leader “explaining”? Can non disclosure agreements be one way? One party can speak out but the other can’t?
Off the top of my head, I can think of 4-5 Southern California churches that had Ben teach in the last few months. Every single one of them should warn their church flock of this recent situation. Except those pastors will probably consider that gossip so they won’t say a peep. What a mess.
Is this an example of another extraordinary teacher who has committed sin, but it needs to be covered up so God can continue to use his gifts/talent?
Everyone in that auditorium should have stood up and walked out when he started trash-talking the mother of his children (if they have children). This is a man totally without honor. His wife’s friends in the church should have stood up and yelled at him. I would have.
Even if he his wife is guilty of all he claims, even if he is innocent of all others claim, that “sermon” was enough to disqualify him from any ministry.
Xenia @4:35….. AMEN ! ! !
Amen to Xenia…good comments here.
I have to take a little break…I’m overdoing a bit.
Check back later…
Sadly, PJ passed away a few years ago.
Michael, Yes, sad about PJ.
Oops, Meant London.
Why does the sissy call the waahmbulance?
Because he got caught with his pants down.
He reminds me of Tiger going on TV with his mommy.
Or Pee Wee Herman caught getting his jollies.
Not ashamed at all, how sad!
Ben looks to be a truly despicable POS.
In an earlier era, his ex-wife’s brothers would have the living s*it beaten out of him and he would be drinking his food through a straw for many months.
I never understood the draw to Jon Courson.
Hosea? HAH! ! !
God mau or may not have mercy on his soul. By their fruits we know them….. 😕
DH. Hearing JC audio was like a time capsule. Have not heard him in years. I recall him as a pleasant guy. I think it was the dude factor. Plus, lots of talk about doctrine. Listening years later, it’s empty talk.
But, in the video, Ben claims to be delivering a message from God. The Spirit if I recall. This would qualify as phophecing. I would not do that, out of concern it could be judged as Blasphemy of the Spirit.
Nathan Priddis, I knew a CC pastor who listened to him every week, I thought the teaching was shallow. Maybe if I heard him now I would think “empty talk”.
I didn’t hear Ben claim that but many Pastors think this also.
I would prefer to spend my time praying for John and Tami and then during their illness at this time. There are plenty of people spreading the word so I’m sure there will be time later to pursue this.
CM. He starts building his position around 16:00. He repeatedly “declares” and says God will meet us in the fire, and we will worship wet. (Not going to attempt an interpretation on those two items.)
John comes up and confirms Ben, and pronounces blessings. Peter John is asked to pray, and says we heard from the Holy Spirit. Ben remains silent.
If the Holy Spirit did not speak, Ben is compelled to say so. It’s a speak now, or forever hold your peace moment.
Something really weird happened @25:55–>. I had listened, but looked over at the screen at the end. John is finishing his prayer, and the camera remains on him as his head raises. It’s less then two seconds, and then the cutaway. That is a ..what the hell moment..if there ever was. Something is wrong with that look.
Ben courson groomed and preyed on young woman of Applegate maybe other places I have never heard that called dating mistakes he is a Wolf and conman like Jon courson most of Applegate just watched him thank God someone said it’s wrong no more church service some of you should contact medford tv stations tell them to stop covering the abuse up
What a douche….I hate Christians
You said you hate Christians ! Brutha ! Don’t hate Christians ! Hate wolves masking as Christians !
The Bible Jesus , Paul, John, Peter, Jude all despised hypocrite wolves who eat the sheep not feed the sheep
Taking God’s name in vain is a lot more than just swaring. But the worst is rendering the name of God useless especially in the pulpits where family names are the protected elite as the sheep they serve are served as Lamb Chops on their dinner plates ..
Big difference friend !
Its a state of grace AND a position of our hearts. Do we fall into the category of sadducees and pharosees (scholarly adjunct seers and doers of partial gospel OR do we reflect on CHRIST’S take on sin and look at ourselves and then put down ALL ROCKS both aimed at Ben, Jon, the Crew as well as all of us who read post and read again. These acts are OPPORTUNITIES to search our own hearts and be mindful of ALL JUDGMENT… CUZ THAT’S NOT OUR GIFT … IT IS GOD’S PROCESS!
stephanie, I understand your point, and we all should be mindful of what we post, but I am also reminded of someone calling some pharisees “a brood of vipers”.
people need to be warned about evil in the pulpit.
who will hold Ben accountable/responsible if he persists in his errant ways?
Or, since we all put down our rocks and cry “grace, grace!” do we allow other young women to be preyed upon while a hope generator continues to teach in a pulpit representing the Bible, Jesus, and all the rest of us?
When you answer, also indicate whether ACF has those structures/personnel in place or how Jon Courson will be convinced to place them.
Hi Michael, do you have any information about the report that Ben had his ex sign a non disclosure agreement shortly before the divorce? This way he and his dad could throw her under the bus and she couldn’t defend herself. PS I’m the guest on the Dove TV show that you mentioned in another post.
I believe the source for the NDA info is the ex’s family.
They aren’t covered by the NDA and seem to speak for her when she can’t.
The interesting thing to me is that the Courson’s haven’t petitioned to seal the divorce records…which seem to favor the former wife and make no mention of the claims he made afterward.
I know who you are…I’ve lived here forever… 🙂
Hi Michael, thanks for the quick response. I’m unaware of the parents speaking. I’m glad they have. Has anyone done a comprehensive interview with them? The reason this is an important topic is though all liars aren’t bullies, all serial bullies/abusers lie. Everyone of them.
So documents are extremely important in that they can’t lie their way out of their ramifications. I mean they can, and do, but thinking people will know better and be enlightened. This is what happened to Driscoll, for example. Documents came forth and became a kind of final body blow.
You’re in southern Oregon? I didn’t know. Applegaters disparaged us after my first book when we lived there. They still do. Yesterday, for example, we received a message from an Applegater questioning the accuracy of a statement I made. I thought to myself, “When did you suddenly care about accuracy?” That’s how the game is played, I know.
I posted something on Facebook yesterday that further explained my experiences and thoughts about the church and how to move forward, for those who have ears to hear.
No one has interviewed them to my knowledge…most of what I’ve been told sounds like the broken heart of a parent combatting the lies of the machine about their child.
I’ve lived here all my life…it was the blowup at Ashland Christian Fellowship that “created” this site…and 20 years and 40 million views later we’re telling the same stories we lived way back then.
Applegaters are the reason I rarely post personal pics…
Paul, I would love to repost that here…very well said!
Stephanie, here are my thoughts:
As far as a fallen pastor’s influence reaches, that should be the arena of his repentance. If’s he’s a pastor of a small church with no internet/radio/print influence, it is sufficient that he repent before God, his family, and his congregation. For the congregation, I don’t think details are necessary, and if it hurts innocent people, a confession should be deliberately vague. If he did something illegal, call the cops. For outsiders to demand justice or more details… No.
For a pastor who has a big national influence through various forms of media, he’s fair game for wide discussion, if people are so inclined, which I (and you too, I think) are not so inclined. But if he wants to be a famous celebrity, then that’s the risk he has agreed to take. But again, as I am not involved with Applegate, I don’t feel inclined to say too much about him in particular, although I can’t help but make some comments about church polity and theology in general that leads to this kind of behavior.
And of course, I have to look to my own self to reflect on how I may have injected sin into the system by supporting various things, such as mass media. I may think my “little” sins have no effect but they do, and add up all our little sins and you have the godless morass that is the world’s culture. So even though I don’t feel like it’s appropriate for me to talk about Ben, as I don’t know him and it’s not my church, etc, it is appropriate- and necessary- for me to do some soul searching to discern what kinds of things that I do that help prop up this rotten culture of promiscuity abd materialism. The world is rotten- what have I done to contribute to its rottenness?
Micheal, please do. Thank you. The post has already helped people and will help more when posted here.
Your boldness is helping me…it takes some courage to do what you did…
Oh man, thank you. Funny. I don’t see myself that way. I’m a recovering coward like most others. I do, however, try to fight it 🙂
The potential for truth and healing along this path is very encouraging to me, and just a little bit scary, triggering my PTSD.
Thank you Michael.
Thank you Paul C.
Praying for Truth and God’s glory.
All the thanks to you, my friend…
Thanks Paul. We are in your neighborhood for the weekend if you wanna get coffee
Steve, let’s make it happen. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to work out details. Sandy would love to see Debbie if possible as well.
How sad!!!!! The evangelical church seems to be about money and power!!! 22 billion dollar busines. Franklin Graham 14 million . Courson 6 million or more. And on. And on. Yet that isn’t who Christ was. Hmmmm sad.
People on here are mixing up the two brothers. Ben Courson is alive and well and the result of his pastor dad’s 2nd marriage to Tammy. P.J. (Peter John) Courson was the brother from Pastor Jon’s first marriage (his marriage ended when wife died) and P.J. died of illness in 2019. get your facts straight before you post.
Hi Joyce, most of us here know who Peter John was, as he used to be a regular poster here on the PhxP. We remember when he passed away, and grieved.
Peter Jon seems set apart. Special in my mind. Very sincere and courageous. Ben seems immature, I think if they held him accountable it would benefit him. He shouldn’t preach anymore but hes God’s Child and if he would own his weaknesses he could be healed!
I am with you, Richard.
You nailed you. Sad to hear all this, my heart is just crushed, but my faith is unshakable.
I have enough of this world, Maranatha!!
Just a girl looking for the truth….your statement, “Interestingly enough, none of these claims are in the divorce filings in Jackson County , Oregon.” Is alarming….can you please provide a link to the divorce filings, since they should be after of public record. Thank you
*a matter of not after of. Sorry for the autocorrect typo
The divorce filings were still open last time I checked…but you have to go to the Jackson County Courthouse to access them.
Michael, thanks for your quick response. Unfortunately, I am not able to go Oregon to investigate further….I cannot even find evidence that Ben admitted to sexual immorality. I have checked Applegate and searchlight sites, along with bens own Hope Generation site…
The only thing he confessed to were “mistakes” in dating.
That video is up on the Applegate Survivors Facebook page and probably on this site somewhere…
I sure hope none of you people criticizing this young man are Christian. You are doing to him what you say he is doing to the ex. There is nothing wrong with what he is saying. Do you want him to lie? This is what happened to him. His testimony. His wife committed adultery. Why does he need to cover for her? You all need to stop being judgmental and pray for him and his wife and yourselves. So that this doesn’t happen to any of you.
We all hope that Ben get’s the help he needs. One day, with some accountability, maybe he can again be in ministry in some capacity. But it’s too easy to film a video and appear contritious and repentant.
So we pray for him, but many were hurt by what he did. They feel they got burned and a little leery to openhandedly extend a hand of fellowship
I haven’t seen Ben around. I doubt he’s in the area trying to work thru his issues and the hurt he caused. My guess is he’s in Southern California where the weather and the culture is a bit warmer
I agree, the Lord will deal with the wicked.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”; I just think the Christian community should not be bad mouthing their brethren. This is why unbelievers critique and blaspheme the name of God. Unbelievers mock us when they read this type of garbage. Christians think they are criticizing this young man. You are not only criticizing and speaking Evil of him but also of our God. Jesus said “Paul why are you persecuting me”? You are saying our God is incompetent and dead beat dad that he isn’t doing anything about this pastor’s sin. Therefore you all need to step in. Just like the sons of Jacob they took matters into their own hand when Jacob didn’t do anything about his daughter being raped. At the end the sons lost their inheritance. This should be a warning to all of us . You are not persecuting the believer but you are persecuting Jesus.
You are biblically illiterate .
“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”
(1 Corinthians 5:12 ESV)
We are commanded to protect the church from perverts and wolves…and Ben is both.
While i respect my brother Michael’s opinion, I can’t bring myself to say he’s pervert and a wolf. But Michael knows more about this situation than me and may have access to information I’m not aware of.
At the very least, he is eliminated from ministry at least for a while. There needs to be some demonstration of genuine repentance and some long term accountability rather than just a 6 month sabbatical before he can pastor or preach again (IMO).
I am very familiar with both Jon and Ben. I worked at ACF in it’s hay day. My guard is up because both are charismatic individuals who have a tendency to use that gift to both manipulate a situation and deny allegations.
I’ve seen it. I sincerely hope Ben is earnest in his confession and transformation.
Michael @12:13pm…. AMEN! ! !
I don’t understand why everyone is hating on Ben Courson. I think he preached a very good sermon, and he did the right thing when explaining the situation to the congregation, as to avoid gossip. Regardless, it’s no one’s place to judge his actions or judge him behind his back. NO ONE has that right, and as Christians we must lift each other up instead of bringing each other down through gossip, even when it’s online. I don’t think his sermon was a form of “revenge” against his former wife, but rather a way to explain the situation to the congregation and heal his broken heart. Everyone’s grief journey is different and we must remember that even pastors go through hard things and need counseling and professional help (which he’s sought out for many years). As a woman, I don’t think he’s taking advantage of his former wife. She made a mistake, and as a member of the congregation it’s not biblically sound to cover it up for the sake of having a “clear” reputation.
Let’s have some grace, people, and not try to fix everyone else’s problems through the Internet.
Ben is a liar and a fraud…the mistake his ex made was marrying him…
Ben’s “confession” or “sermon” was not always truthful. It seemed more scripted than honest and focused on damage control and protecting his brand.
I am a former pastor at ACF and was there when Ben was born. I was also a police officer trained in sex offense investigation. And two characteristics of sexual offenders is manipulate and deny.
I think Ben did just that.
Here’s where Michael and I would differ. I believe there is the possibility of some sort of restoration bak to ministry. What that would entail would be something to talk about as well as what it would entail.
Regarding the issue of judgment the Bible is clear about marking those who lead others astray. Mark them.
Because one identifies a sin in another person isn’t necessarily judging one to condemnation (which I believe is part of the understanding of judging another) as much as protecting the flock, keeping the gospel message clear, and calling another individual to repentance.
Having been a pastor for 30 plus years, I can honestly say there is a huge responsibility in accepting the calling of the pastorate. And there are consequence to sinful behavior.
Steve, as always, I appreciate your thinking. And Michael’s. I also think that when we’re told to not judge, it’s probably better understood to not condemn another. Are you aware of a word study from the original language that would support the idea that this key passage is better understood or translated as condemn?
As you point out, the Bible tells us to judge. It’s foolish not to. Answering this conundrum is important in many ways, especially how this argument is used to defend abusers in the church.
When someone says that a Christian should never judge, that’s incorrect. But people use the passage of Matthew :1, “Judge not, that you be not judged”. But, He went on to say, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (verse 15)
Unless we make some kind of judgment, or evaluation, how will we determine who a false prophet is? 1 Corinthians 6:2 tells us, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?”
There are many verses that teach us as Christians to judge, or make evaluations, and exercise discernment. So we are to make evaluations in judgment. It’s very important.
So, what did Jesus mean when He said, “Judge not, that you be not judged”? I think a better way to translate Matthew 7:1 is, “Condemn not, that you be not condemned.”
So, as followers of Christ, we are to make judgments, or evaluations, and use our discernment. But, we are not to condemn others. We judge for identification, not for condemnation. So, while we should make evaluations in judgment, we should not condemn other individual.
Those are my thoughts, friend.
Thank you for this Steve, and Michael for what you’ve done and continue to do.