Sunday, July 27, 2008

After reading this weekend about Kenneth Copeland's mansion "the size of a hotel," his 20 million dollar airplane, and seemingly unlimited financial resources, I actually find myself at a loss for words. (Trust me, though, this is only a temporary affliction.)

The Copelands embody and promote every negative stereotype of Christianity. Their doctrine is sprinkled with liberal doses of ignorance and ego, and their lifestyle is an embarrassment to the cause of Christ. If anything illegal has been going on at the Copeland compound in Texas, I sincerely hope that Senator Charles Grassley and the Senate Finance Committee nail their sleek hides to the wall.

The Times offers a nauseating little peek into the bizarre Kingdom of the Copelands:

Speaking to his assembled congregation on the runway by his new aeroplane, Mr Copeland said: “The Lord spoke to me and said ‘you're gonna believe for a Citation 10, right now'.” He also promised that the jet, one of four owned by the Church, “will never ever be used as for anything other than what is becoming of you Lord Jesus”. The ministry also owns an airport capable of accepting jet landings, leases land for Mr Copeland's cattle and horses and also leases land to the family so that it can operate oil and gas wells. [1]

When it comes to the "name it and claim it" gurus, I think my father said it best:

The attack upon the Church is two-fold: those who attack from without are called wolves. Christ warned of them. They are not Christian and their intent is to destroy the flock. Scripture says to put on the whole armor of God and resist them.

Then, there are those sheep who are divisive Christians within the body of Christ. They foment division and strife by writing their own private doctrines and teaching what the Church has never taught—leading people into terrible spiritual disasters.

Anyone who gets up and hawks healing, telling you it’s God’s will to heal you no matter what has forgotten all systematic theology and has no education of Biblical theology. God is the sovereign of this universe, and you will not compel Him to do anything no matter what kind of faith you’ve got. He will be God!

The apostle Paul says that God wants to heal us. The Scripture says that God loves us. He wants to provide every good thing for us, but we are not living in an Edenic paradise. We are living in a cursed world. You are living in a body which is dying—right now. If you don’t believe me look in the mirror in the morning before you wash your face. You think you’ll never get lines under your eyes and sagging under your chin, and that your hair will never change color or disappear? You’re a dreamer. You can exercise all the faith you want but you’ll still wear eyeglasses. You can exercise all the faith you want, but you’ll have china choppers for your teeth. You can talk about faith, faith, faith from now until the second coming of Jesus Christ, but if the sovereign God of the universe does not want to heal you, He will not do it. It’s as simple as that.

Now, we should proclaim Divine healing. We should proclaim Salvation. We should proclaim all the benefits that come through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. But, brothers and sisters, do not fall victim to the idea that your faith can dictate the will of God, because it can’t.

There are some people God wants sick.

Now you say, “How do you know that?” Because He said so! Exodus 4:11 says, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” What do you think He meant? You don’t have to be a Biblical scholar to figure that out. He said, “For my own sovereign purposes I allow these things to happen.”

It is not wrong to urge people to faith. It is not wrong to rely upon the Word of God for the salvation of the soul, and for the healing of the mind and the body. This is, of course, Biblical theology. But when it gets so far out of perspective that there are whole movements within the Church, and the lives of people are disrupted and confusion begins to reign, then it is necessary for the historic view of the Christian Church to come out in the open for everyone to hear.

[1] Suzy Jagger, "Televangelist Kenneth Copeland Refuses to Render Unto Taxman," Times Online, (accessed July 27, 2008).


Blogger JohnD said...

The Apostle Paul was correct on so many points about not tampering with the doctrines from God.

Your Dad said in 1985 that the Church was in apostasy for 50 years. I would say longer. But he was right on the mark about the condition of the Church... and most in the Church are clueless about it (usually reasoning that [their] Church is on the mark).

Chuck Swindoll preached on:

Romans 12:1
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

"Y'know... the trouble with being a living sacrifice," Swindoll said, "is that we keep trying to climb down off of the altar."

So true. It's the human condition. But going further back that I am expected to at this point, I'll point to a time when Christendom was wearied by the persecution which makes our contemporary scuffles seem like picnic. I am talking 1st through 3rd Century CE persecution where Christians were being fed to the lions for entertainment, and live believers were tied naked to a stake in a banquet room covered in oil and tar and lit on fire to illuminate the gardens the nighttime banquets were held in...

And though Fox's Book of Martyrs got it right that the blood of the martyrs is the seedbed of the Church... when Christianity was offered the chance to be legal in the Roman world... they apparently agreed and have been compromised ever since.

A modern equivalent would be the 401 C 3 tax exemption... provided the sermons do not include certain language... giving was down, after all, the little county seat baptist church we've all loved for generations couldn't withstand being taxed... and what difference does it make if I don't preach politics from the pulpit...

"[sniff sniff]" the late great Walter Martin would say at this point... "Smell the sulfur of compromise?"

"He who would sup with Satan had best have a long spoon."

The Church has been supping with the devil since at least the time when through Constantine the devil realize he couldn't lick the Church so he joined the Church.

A position held by none other than J. Vernon McGee and his mentor G. Campbell Morgan.

So it is no wonder that the Church is so divided and scattered all over the landscape with humanist land mines throughout its doctrine that hucksters like those you mentioned and those CRI has dealt with since your father founded it we are up to our arm pits in.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

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Robert Jimenez

1:16 PM  

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