Costi Hinn, (nephew of Benny Hinn) is the Pastor of Adult Ministries at Mission Bible Church in Tustin, CA. In this article from our friends over at Pulpit & Pen, he exposes the heretical ‘ministry’ of Kenneth Copeland.
Kenneth Copeland’s Living Legacy of Heresy
Kenneth Copeland is 80 years old. Only the Lord knows the number of his days or where he’ll spend eternity but it’s safe to say that Copeland will be on the home stretch sometime in the next 20 or so years.
In this post, we’ll evaluate the living legacy that Copeland has compiled thus far.
From Flat Broke to “Billionaire” on Kenneth Hagin’s Heresy
When it comes to connections, self-proclaimed billionaire preacher Kenneth Copeland has them. By “connections”, I’m not referring to the layovers he takes when he’s flying around on one of his two private planes. I’m referring to the vast network of word of faith pastors and partners who share his teaching. His ministry has built its entire foundation on the belief that you can claim health and wealth by speaking it into existence by faith.
With best estimates putting his net worth around $700 million (he claims to be a billionaire – by faith), Copland has used “name it and claim it” theology to rise to the mountain peak of the word of faith movement – but he didn’t do it alone. He has stood on the shoulders of heretical giants. Before his rise to prominence, Copeland cut his teeth in the lower ranks of the word of faith movement by learning from Kenneth Hagin, who copied E.W. Kenyon, then doing it better than either of them ever did. Kenneth Hagin Jr. explains how a young Oral Roberts University graduate came to become the best in the game:
A poverty stricken student from Oral Roberts University attended my father’s Tulsa seminars in the mid 60’s and got turned onto the Word of God. The student was deeply in debt, but he desperately wanted my father’s tapes. He offered to trade the title of the car for them. Buddy Harrison, my brother-in-law, was managing the ministry then. He took one look at the old car and told him, “Just go ahead and take the tapes. Bring the money when you can.” So young Kenneth Copeland memorized those tapes and another great ministry was launched.
Kenny and the Catholics
For all the heretical hype surrounding Copeland’s ministry over the years, he has no doubt made his most prominent connection in the last few years by linking arms with the Catholic church – specifically the Pope himself! He’s not the first to spend extended time in the Vatican City or use the Catholic church to expand his donor base. Benny Hinn uses this tactic quite often – including a claim in October of 2016 that Catholics get more miracles than even Pentecostals because they revere the Eucharist and “don’t church hop.” Back in 2014 Joel Osteen landed a meeting with the Pope “on behalf of all the pastors in America.” Like Hinn, Osteen, and even Bethel’s Kris Vallaton, many charismatic leaders have taken their right of passage to the Vatican. But none can compare to the claim that Copeland and James Robison made about their partnership with the Pope. With an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, and charismatic Catholic numbers rising each year, the word of faith movement is poised to spread and reach heights that will dwarf even the greatest years of Copeland’s ministry.
Partnering with the Pope
Kenneth Copeland and a group of his high-profile charismatic friends had a historic meeting with Pope Francis in late June of 2014. This was more than just a group tour of the Vatican. They were putting plans in motion to be the answer to Jesus’ high priestly prayer. Copeland reports to his ministry partners:
I am so Blessed! What Jesus asked the Father for in John 17:21, “that we may all be one in Him”, is finally coming to pass. Pope Francis is a man filled with the love of Jesus. All eight of us in our meeting together with him were moved by the strong presence of the Holy Spirit, and our love for one another was strengthened beyond measure. Like I said, I am so BLESSED! What a time to be a believer!
Long-time charismatic televangelists James and Betty Robison, who were part of the visit, described their time to a reporter with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram saying, “This meeting was a miracle. This is something God has done. God wants his arms around the world. And he wants Christians to put his arms around the world by working together.” Robison said he believed he had a divine call to seek greater ties with other Christians while he was hospitalized several years ago with a serious illness. During that time, he said, he was impressed by a prayer of Jesus in John 17:21, pleading that all Christian believers be one. He explained, “We’ve tried to focus on being an answer to Jesus’ prayer,” Robison said. “We want to see Jesus’ prayer for unity answered in our day.” Robison also said he was “blessed to be part of perhaps an unprecedented moment between evangelicals and the Catholic Pope.” He described his and Copeland’s private meeting with the leader of the Pontiff as “an intimate circle of prayerful discussion and lunch to discuss not only seeing Jesus’ prayer answered, but that every believer would become a bold, joy-filled witnesses for Christ.
So how did a group of wildly charismatic, tongue-speaking, word of faith preachers end up in such a position with the Catholic pope? One man brought them all together. He is the late Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) front runner, Tony Palmer.
Before Tony Palmer was a Bishop with the Communion Evangelical Episcopal Churches, and before he became good friends with the Pope, he was the director of Kenneth Copeland Ministries’ (KCM) South African Office. After his role with KCM, he was invited by the Catholic church to move to Europe and minister to Catholics within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement as a non-Catholic minister. This led to many ministry partnerships in both Charismatic and Catholic circles. It was during a mission to Argentina that Palmer met and soon became close friends with Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as “Pope Francis I.” Palmer explains, “We had called on him to ask permission to minister in churches within his diocese for renewal,” Palmer recalled recently of that first meeting. “Immediately, Cardinal Bergoglio shared his heart and appreciation for what we were doing, and fully embraced us and the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us—not only to Catholic people, but to all Christian denominations.”
In an interview with Kenneth Copeland’s ministry, Palmer was asked why believers should be excited about the current Pope. His answer blurs the lines of truth and puts Catholics and Christians in the same category of “oneness”, while of course, painting the charismatic version of the Holy Spirit as the glue holding us all together.
Here is his answer:
I believe there exists enough evidence to cause every open-minded and open-eyed Christian to rejoice in the fact that a good man has been chosen to be pope—the spokesperson for western Christianity. He is a man after Jesus’ heart and a man full of the Spirit of God—open and humble enough to forgive and embrace brothers and sisters from all Christian denominations, allowing and assisting wounds of division to be healed. The time of “spiritual apartheid” is coming to an end, and I believe Pope Francis will be one of the proponents of its demise. We have a worldwide charismatic movement of the renewal of the Holy Spirit within the Catholic Church, officially and publicly supported by the last three popes, as well as the current pope. We now live in a post-Protestant era with a pope who openly embraces his brothers and sisters of all Christian denominations to the point of publicly kneeling for the laying on of hands and prayer by evangelical leaders. God is continuing what He began when Pope John XXIII prayed for a “new Pentecost” back in 1962. He has heard the prayers and tasted the tears of the faithful who, over the years, have joined our Master and Captain in His High Priestly prayer in John 17:21: “Father make them one so that the world will believe that You sent Me.” Diversity is divine, but division is diabolic. It’s time to celebrate diversity in the bond of unity. We are one Bride, one Body in one Baptism.
In 2014, under orders from his friend the Pope, Tony Palmer traveled to Kenneth Copeland’s Southwest Believer’s Conference. At this conference Palmer spoke during one of the sessions and made several historic statements to promote oneness between Catholics and Evangelicals. His entire message at the conference can be seen here. Palmer’s statements in the video are frightening. He says that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is the “hope of the Catholic church”, and that Pope Benedict (2005-2013) believed that Charismatics are “the hope of the church.” You can learn more about the late Tony Palmer at Puplit and Pen by clicking here. The Pope’s special message and Copeland’s response is below:
A False Teacher and a False Gospel
So why is it such a big deal that Kenneth Copeland and the Pope have put charismatic word of faith theology, and Catholic theology at the helm of a supposed “unified church”? Because Kenneth Copeland is a false teacher and the Pope is, well, Catholic.
The evidence that supports this claim is irrefutable. Any Christian who claims to believe in the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture, salvation by grace, and other essential orthodox views of Christianity itself, can easily see that these men and their doctrines are to be avoided completely.
Copeland has openly taught a different gospel (Galatians 1:6-12) for decades and makes no excuses for it.
Here are just four of his numerous heretical teachings:
1. You Are a god.
Word of faith preachers take Genesis 1:27 way too far. Yes, we are created in God’s image, but that doesn’t mean that we are little gods. The basics of being “in God’s image” is that we have a will, are His most prized creation, and are given the opportunity to live eternally with Him. This has nothing to do with being a deified human. The belief that we are little gods stems from a mixture of errors from other cults and false religions. Mormons teach that Jesus was a god, and that humans can be gods too. Catholics teach that Christians become one with Christ through the Eucharist through a doctrine more commonly known as the “divinization of men.” They teach that “the only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” This evidence alone should make any Christian highly resistant to this doctrine. It is a staple in word of faith theology. The late Paul Crouch (TBN’s founder), Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, and countless others headline this teaching. It should not need to be argued, but sadly must be stated, little “god” theology is entirely unbiblical. Why do they teach it? It sets the perfect stage for them to elevate people’s view of their own self so that they will be more open to accepting their other humanistic and materialistic teachings. The most obvious statement he ever made on this false doctrine was when he claimed, “I say this with all respect so that it don’t upset you too bad, but I say it anyway. When I read in the Bible where he says, ‘I Am,’ I just smile and say, ‘Yes, I Am, too!’”
2. God is the Biggest Failure in the Bible.
Copeland goes for shock and awe with his teaching methods. One of his biggest theological blunders was on TBN. He preached, “I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure in the Bible actually is. The biggest one in the whole Bible is God. In one of his books Copeland clarifies his point by writing, “Adam committed high treason; and at that point, all the dominion and authority God had given to him was handed over to Satan. Suddenly, God was on the outside looking in…After Adam’s fall, God found Himself in a peculiar position…God needed an avenue back into the earth…God laid out His proposition and Abram accepted it. It gave God access to the earth and gave man access to God..Technically, if God ever broke the Covenant, He would have to destroy Himself.” Copeland’s teachings are irreverent and mock the doctrine of the sovereignty of God.
3. Jesus Didn’t Claim He Was God
One of Copeland’s best methods for deflecting criticism of his insane theology is to say that Jesus experienced the same criticism so as to elevate himself in the mind of his followers. Quoting Jesus talking directly to him he writes, “Don’t be disturbed when people put you down and speak harshly and roughly of you. They spoke that way of Me, should they not speak that way of you? The more you get to be like Me, the more they’re going to think that way of you. They crucified Me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah. That’s what you’re doing.” John 8:58, John 10:30-33, and John 9:35-38 are all tossed aside so Copeland can teach his money-making version of Christology. Jesus most definitely claimed He was God.
4. Saving Sinners and Defeating Death: So Easy Any Born Again Man Can Do It
Finally, Copeland proves that he’s way outside biblical boundaries in his statements that claim God told him that he could have done what Christ did too. As in, come to earth, be born of a virgin, die, defeat Satan, conquer death, and raise to life. This is due to the word of faith teaching that Jesus was “born-again.” He claims, “The Spirit of God spoke to me. And He said, “Son, realize this: Now follow Me in this, don’t let your tradition trip you up.” He said, “Think this way: A twice-born man whipped Satan in his own domain.” And I threw my Bible down. I said, “What?” He said, “A born-again man defeated Satan. The first-born of many brethren defeated him.” He said, “You are the very image and the very copy of that one.” I said, “Goodness gracious, sakes alive!” And I began to see what had gone on in there, and I said, “You don’t mean–you couldn’t dare mean, that I could have done the same thing?” He said, “Oh, yeah, if you’d had the knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you could have done the same thing, ’cause you’re a reborn man, too.””
Copeland is a verified heretic in every sense of the word. These four examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
We can only pray that he repents and recants before his dying breath…
Source: Costi Hinn, contributor at ‘Pulpit & Pen, Theology-Polemics-Discernment’, Kenneth Copeland’s Living Legacy of Heresy, http://pulpitandpen.org/2017/02/28/kenneth-copelands-living-legacy-of-heresy/, Published 28/02/17. (Accessed 01/03/17.)
Email all comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.