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* Note to all before you read this. I am pentecostal myself, which means I believe in speaking in tongues, supernatural healings etc. for today. Copeland gives pentecostals/charismatics a bad name and in no way is a representative of what we believe. There is no person on the face of the earth more opposed to the heresies of Kenneth Copeland than I am.
(Taken from: Biblical Discernment Ministries)
- Tongues-speaking charismatic Kenneth Copeland is considered to be the most prosperous and well-known in the "Word-Faith"/"Positive Confession" movement. In his Believer's Voice of Victory magazine, Copeland teaches the following heresies: "God has never used sickness to discipline His children" (9/89); "AIDS is 'absolutely not' God's way of punishing immoral people" (11/87); Jesus didn't claim to be God when He lived on earth (8/88); the New Age/occult techniques of positive imaging and visualization are for God's people today (9/88); God intends for His people to be united, and, "That union won't be based on doctrine" (12/88); healing is for every believer (2/93); and tongues are for the entire Body of Christ (1/93). Copeland also says: "It would have been impossible for Jesus to have been poor!" (9/90 Charisma). (Reported in the 2/15/93 Calvary Contender.)
- As the name "Word-Faith" implies, this movement teaches that faith is a matter of what we say more that whom we trust or what truths we embrace and affirm in our hearts. A favorite term in the Word-Faith movement is "positive confession." It refers to the Word-Faith teaching that words have creative power. What you say, Word-Faith teachers claim, determines everything that happens to you. Your "confessions," that is, the things you say-especially the favors you demand of God-must all be stated positively and without wavering. Then God is required to answer (Charismatic Chaos, p. 281). Word-Faith believers view their positive confessions as an incantation by which they can conjure up anything they desire: "Believe it in your heart; say it with your mouth. That is the principle of faith. You can have what you say" (Charismatic Chaos, p. 285).
- Word-Faith is the fastest-growing movement within the professing church. It has involved two distinct but closely related factions: the Peale/Schuller Positive/Possibility thinkers, with their roots in New Thought, and the Hagin/Copeland Positive Confession and Word-Faith groups, which have their roots in E.W. Kenyon, William Branham, and the Manifest Sons of God/Latter Rain Movement. In Kenneth Hagin's book, Having Faith in Your Faith (Copeland confesses that Hagin's tapes and books revolutionized his ministry), Hagin teaches that anyone can develop universal "laws of faith" to get what he wants. Hagin teaches that for a pastor or anyone to drive a Chevrolet instead of a luxury car isn't "being humble, that's being ignorant" of God's "law of prosperity" that works for "whoever you are," saint or sinner. The battle-cry of the Positive Confession (PC) movement is: "Have faith in your faith." This is a far cry from what Jesus taught: "Have faith in God" (Charismatic Chaos, p. 281). (Copeland's book, The Laws of Prosperity, teaches these same concepts.)
This is at the heart of the PC movement today, also known as the "name-it-and-claim-it" gospel. The PC movement is a charismatic form of Christian Science. This can be substantiated by simply comparing the similarities in their common beliefs. PC is basically warmed-over New Thought dressed in evangelical/charismatic language. (Other well-known PC'ers besides the "father" of the movement, Kenneth Hagin, and Copeland, his most successful protege, are Charles Capps, Frederick K. Price, Robert Tilton, and Paul Yonggi Cho. Many of them are graduates of Hagin's Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.)
- Copeland is perhaps the best known proponent of the charismatic's "little gods" teaching (see below). He says Jesus told him: "Don't be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you are God ... They crucified Me for claiming I was God. I didn't claim that I was God; I just claimed that I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah! That's what you're doing..." (Copeland thus denies the uniqueness of Christ, saying that Christ was not God, only that He walked closely with God. And as Copeland says, so does he! Copeland, thereby, places himself on the same level as Jesus Christ, willing to blur the distinction between the will of God and the will of Copeland. Copeland seems to think that he and Jesus have about the same authority for the believer.) Copeland sounds like New Ager Shirley MacClaine when he says: "You're all God. You don't have a God living in you; you are one!" and "When I read in the Bible where God tells Moses, 'I AM,' I say, 'Yah, I am too!'"
- Copeland teaches that Adam was "created in the god class," that is, he was a reproduction of God: "He was not subordinate to God, but was walking as a god with the authority of a god. What he did, counted. And when he bowed his knee to Satan and put Satan up above him, there wasn't anything God could do about it, because a god had placed Satan there." When Adam committed high treason, according to Copeland, even though "created in the god class," he fell below the god class, but on the cross, Jesus won the right for believers to be born again back into the "god class" (see below). Jesus' deity, according to Copeland, encompasses "healing, deliverance, financial prosperity, mental prosperity, physical prosperity, and family prosperity." And because believers are now back in the "god class," they are guaranteed those blessings here and now (Charismatic Chaos, p. 272).
- Copeland teaches, as do all the Word-Faith teachers, that "Jesus Died Spiritually" (JDS). What makes their version of JDS heresy and blasphemy is their teaching that our redemption comes not from Christ's death upon the cross, but from His being tortured by Satan in hell for three days and nights. Copeland has, thus, embraced a heresy known as the "Ransom theory of the atonement." It is the view that Christ's death was a ransom paid to Satan to settle the legal claim the devil had on the human race because of Adam's sin. But that view contradicts the clear biblical teaching that Christ's death was a sacrifice offered to God, not to Satan (Eph. 5:2) (Charismatic Chaos, p. 278). Copeland, for example, says:
"He allowed the devil to drag Him into the depths of hell as if He were the most wicked sinner who ever lived...Every demon in hell came down on Him to annihilate Him...[They] tortured Him beyond anything that anybody has ever conceived ... In a thunder of spiritual force, the voice of God spoke to the death-whipped, broken, punished spirit of Jesus ... [in] the pit of destruction and charged the spirit of Jesus with resurrection power! Suddenly His twisted, death-wracked spirit began to fill out and come back to life ... He was literally being reborn before the devil's very eyes. He began to flex His spiritual muscles ... Jesus Christ dragged Satan up and down the halls of hell ... Jesus ... was raised up a born-again man ... The day I realized that a born-again man had defeated Satan, hell, and death, I got so excited ... ! (Believer's Voice of Victory, September 1991).
It is both fanciful nonsense and heretical to teach that our redemption comes through Satan torturing Jesus in hell. That would make Satan our co-redeemer. If he didn't torture Jesus enough, we wouldn't be saved-and if he did, do we thank Satan? Incredible! [Satan isn't even the proprietor of hell. He hasn't even been there yet. Nor will Satan torture the damned but will himself be tortured with "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt 25:41) when death and hell have been "cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:14).]
Before He died, Jesus cried in triumph, "It is finished" (Jn. 19:30), indicating that our redemption has been accomplished on the Cross. Christ told the thief on the cross who believed in Him, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Lk. 23:43), not in hell! He said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Lk. 23:46). Yet Hagin, Copeland, et al, say He ended up, instead, in the hands of Satan in the depths of hell! (Berean Call 5/93).
- Word-Faith teachers owe their ancestry to groups like Christian Science, Swedenborgianism, Theosophy, Science of Mind, and New Thought-not to classical Pentecostalism. It reveals that at their very core, Word-Faith teachings are corrupt. Their undeniable derivation is cultish, not Christian. The sad truth is that the gospel proclaimed by the Word-Faith movement is not the gospel of the New Testament. Word-Faith doctrine is a mongrel system, a blend of mysticism, dualism, and gnosticism that borrows generously from the teachings of the metaphysical cults. The Word-Faith movement may be the most dangerous false system that has grown out of the charismatic movement so far, because so many charismatics are unsure of the finality of Scripture (Charismatic Chaos, p. 290).
Titus 1:9 -". . . hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that [you] can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."
Taken from: Biblical Discernment Ministries - 5/93
I feel sorry for Copeland's victims. I even believe with some of these teachers, that they mean well and are deceived themselves. These people are not wolves like Tilton and Rev. Ike, I don't think. I believe they are just people who have had life handed to them on a silver platter and think that it or could be like that for everyone if all people just had the same kind of "faith" they do. I don't think faith or formulas have anything to do with it. In America prosperity is possible for all those who will work for it and are a bit clever in any field, even the ministry.
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