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. 
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. Suzy Jagger, "Televangelist Kenneth Copeland Refuses to Render Unto Taxman," Times Online, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4281949.ece (accessed July 27, 2008).
In 1998, when Kevin and I first started Walter Martin Ministries, I became fascinated with early Mormon history and spent a great deal of time reading firsthand accounts of life with Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.The whole experience was like watching a trainwreck--so unbelievably awful--and yet I couldn't look away. Voices from the past told horrific stories of the pain of polygamy; stories of young wives tortured and young men castrated, all in the name of polygamy, and my only comfort at the time was the thought that at least it was over.Naive? Yes, but what can I say? It simply never dawned on me that our government would tolerate such a cruel practice, at least not in large numbers.But it did . . . and 10 years later, it still does.During my research in 1998, I had the opportunity to interview a former polygamist named Vicky Prunty, who repeated in painful detail the same story told by so many Mormon women 100 years before her. I was fortunate enough to be able to share some of this interview--along with my research--in an article called The Pain of Polygamy. You can read it here:http://www.watchman.org/lds/painpolygamy.htmAnd now, at long last, someone in the United States Government thinks we should actually do something about the illegal practice of polygamy. It only took them 118 years to get around to doing it.Senate committee to hold hearing on polygamyBy Michelle Roberts (AP, July 16, 2008)San Antonio, USA - A hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee next week will focus on coordinating a state and federal response to polygamy in the wake of a raid and bungled custody case in Texas. http://wwrn.org/article.php?idd=29078Yes, mistakes were made down in Texas, but I have to commend the Texas Child Protective Services for having the guts to do what no one else would do--stop the abuse inherent in polygamy.In America today, law abiding citizens get pulled over for a bad tail light, but it's okay for multi-million dollar U.S. Government Defense Contracts to be awarded to a "ranch" full of outlaw polygamists.Go figure . . . truth is stranger than fiction. That's life in America.And now, finally, someone is looking into this. I hope they follow it through to the bitter end. And it will be terribly bitter and very, very expensive . . . those million dollar defense contracts can pay for quite a few high buck Washington lawyers.
Great news on The Kingdom of the Occult! Thomas Nelson decided to publish our Kabbalah Chapter in its entirety. They even included new edits I made to strengthen the chapter. This is a victory for free speech and fair use, and I am delighted that TN chose to stand up to Madonna's guru--Philip Berg--and his very expensive LA law firm. If they have the truth like they say they do, then why are they threatening the people who question it? What are they afraid of? Fortunately, this is still America and not China (at least not yet), so we still have some recourse.
It's wonderful to have good news for a change.
This brave decision came after both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan were hit with a $70 million dollar lawsuit filed against them by a gay man upset by Bible verses condemning homosexuality.
"A homosexual man who has a blog on Sen. Barack Obama's campaign website is suing two major Christian publishers for violating his constitutional rights and causing emotional pain, because the Bible versions they publish refer to homosexuality as a sin.
Bradley LaShawn Fowler, 39, of Canton, Mich., is seeking $60 million from Zondervan and another $10 million from Thomas Nelson Publishing in lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the Grand Rapids Press reported."
What's amusing about this (if a bit weird) is Zondervan's response that Mr. Fowler should be suing the translation committee instead of them! Okay . . . .
Can you imagine any of this happening in the 1950s? It's like something out of a SciFi novel. Our reality makes George Orwell's book 1984 seem like a comedy sketch.
Stay tuned for more exciting news from the world of Christian Apologetics.Note: $60 million was filed against Zondervan and $10 million against Thomas Nelson.
Happy 4th! I hope everyone is having a great weekend. It's always nice when times are tough, (and so many of us are experiencing hard times right now) to spend quality time with family and friends. I'm grateful to all the men and women who gave their lives to buy this freedom, and I look around me and think I am so blessed, even when going through difficult days.I'd like to thank each and every one of you, my friends, for regularly taking the time to read my blog and support our ministry--it means a great deal to me, and I wish I could tell you in person how much I value your time and your opinions.As Wall Street's financial woes rain down upon corporate America and flood the rest of the country, I pray for God's mercy on America . . . we're going to need every bit of it.Life, with all its heartache, is still a precious thing though--something we cherish and defend. I commend all the people fighting right now in California to preserve the biblical definition of marriage, and all those who continue the fight against abortion; I admire their tenacity and their courage to stand for what is right, no matter how unpopular that stand might be.My sister, Cindee, and her husband, Rick, are two people who have tried to be a voice for little ones who have no voice. Cindee wrote her song, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made years ago, and it's touched so many lives since then. You can see it now on YouTube--it features my beautiful niece, Sharon, singing--and the incredibly photogenic Martin Family. :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ra-CnBxTOE