Defending the Indefensible Kenneth Copeland-a Response to Stephen Strang

Defending the Indefensible Kenneth Copeland-a Response to Stephen Strang

Titus 1:7-11  “For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.” (Note that God’s Word says a real man of God should NOT teach for the sake of sordid gain)


In case you missed it last month, secular news outlet Inside Edition cornered Kenneth Copeland to ask him some pointed questions about his ministry expenses, in particular his affinity for flying on swanky private jets. The result was Copeland looking very petty, creepy, patronizing, and almost demonic at one point as he tried to defend the indefensible. Inside Edition already had footage of Copeland talking with fellow charlatan Jesse Duplantis about regular commercial jets being a “tube full of demons.” The best Copeland could offer when put on the spot was that if he flew commercial he would have to give up 65% of his ministry activities. So, 65% less people will hear your false gospel? Sign him up! Seriously, I thought this story had run its course and we could all move on to the next dire warning about marine demons from Jennifer Leclaire but then along came Stephen Strang from Charisma to defend Copeland at the above linked article. Let us reason once more, beloved.

“As a journalist, I understand the media game. So when I saw how Inside Edition did an ambush interview with evangelist Kenneth Copeland—and how it was picked up by the Ft. Worth Star Telegram and Fox News online—I felt I needed to share my opinion. In my view, it was the "same old, same old" journalistic treatment of successful media ministers. At the same time, I believe other Christian leaders should stand with Copeland and let him know we believe he handled the situation well.” – Stephen Strang

Ok, first of all Stephen Strang is not a “journalist.” He is a political salesmen disguised as a Christian. Secondly, the interview was not an ambush, that is absurd. This is how journalism is conducted in this country, especially with people who will never set up time for a real interview. Is Strang delusional? If Inside Edition called and asked for an interview to discuss how much of a whore Kenneth Copeland is do you think he would agree? When you are a public figure who has bragged from the pulpit about being a billionaire, questions come with the territory. Kenneth Copeland is a wolf and as such he has victims – he is not a victim!

“Copeland could have closed the door and driven off, and some ministry leaders would have done that. Instead, he answered her questions and talked about spiritual warfare, the Abrahamic covenant, the number of people who have accepted Christ through his ministry and the millions of dollars they give to the poor. To me, it was if he was ministering to a brand-new audience on Inside Edition as he showed respect and love to the reporter, even praying for her by name. (The YouTube video has been viewed by 1.7 million so far plus whoever watched it on TV.) Of course, the media that picked up the story reported none of that and instead only focused on his use of a private airplane.” – Stephen Strang

Because the airplanes are the point. Yes, that is plural, because he owns three! The fact is, he has made somewhere around $700 million from fleecing the flock of God. We don’t know the exact amount because Copeland is very secretive about his money; what does that tell us? Has he given millions of dollars to the poor? While that would be commendable, if it were true, that would be a drop in the bucket compared to what he has extracted from the foolish, ignorant masses who fall for his heretical sales pitch. “Accepted Christ” through his ministry? What christ have they accepted?

“Kenneth Copeland can speak for himself. He doesn't need me to speak for him, and no one from his ministry asked me to record a podcast or write this newsletter with my insight on how the secular media covers ministries. In my opinion, this type of journalism is so predictable I could write the story and just leave the names blank. I saw this same thing four decades ago when I was in secular journalism. Then on the other side, I share on my podcast my unscripted thoughts about the integrity I've seen in Copeland and his ministry going back 40 years to when I first interviewed him in 1979. (Listen to the podcast right here or in this article.) I interviewed Copeland while sitting in the back of his prop plane all those decades ago. Charisma highlighted Copeland and his ministry on the cover of our June 1979 issue and explored his message of faith and abundant life—a message he has held to faithfully to this day.” – Stephen Strang

Integrity. Kenneth Copeland. The gospel of Copeland is about the abundant life. His abundant life. It is a mixture of Word of Faith theology and prosperity heresy. His Word of Faith teachings are so aberrant that he claims we can control the weather by our spoken word. He has taken the little gods theology and placed it on steroids by claiming Adam was God in the flesh, a blasphemous assertion. His calling card however is an unashamed, unabashed mugging of God’s sheep to enrich himself. If you think nothing of a pastor owning three multi million-dollar luxury jets, writing off his 6.5 million dollar mansion as a parsonage to avoid paying taxes on it and bragging about being a billionaire from the pulpit then all I can do is suggest you read the Bible again. Check out the Biblical Guide to Prosperity.

“Since that interview 40 years ago, I have watched Copeland conduct his life and ministry with integrity. He has consistently preached the gospel, winning as many as 122 million people to Christ, according to what he said in the interview. His ministry has also given millions of dollars to help the poor—something they couldn't have done if they weren't as big as they are. Every person I've ever known who works in Copeland's ministry is of high caliber, ethical and honest. I feel at peace with the way Copeland's ministry conducts its affairs—to the extent that I support them financially each month out my own pocket.” – Stephen Strang

This is what is so wrong with modern Christianity in this country. That anyone would believe that 122 million people have been saved through the efforts of a huckster who has profited to the tune of somewhere around a billion dollars is simply staggering. What this probably means is 122 million people believe they are saved but have never known Christ. They will stand before Him and say, “Lord Lord, did we not sow into Kenneth Copeland’s ministry for decades and He will say away from me, for I do not know you. Harsh? Too bad. There are eternal lives at stake while Strang props up someone so blatantly false as Copeland. As for the giving of millions of dollars it is only in proportion to the hundreds of millions (or billion) he has fleeced that it matters. The widow’s mite was considered more for she gave all she had. As for being ethical and honest, why did they refuse to turn over their financial records to Congress back in 2007?

“But the reporter didn't focus on those good qualities. She focused on one quote from several years ago in which Copeland said he bought his own private plane so that he didn't have to fly "in a long tube with a bunch of demons." Those who know Copeland immediately realized his comment was purposefully a little tongue in cheek. And Copeland made it clear that he wasn't referring to people when he was talking about demons. On the contrary, he emphasized how much he cared about people. Instead, he was talking about the spiritual atmosphere of a public place.” – Stephen Strang

Does Stephen Strang not realize that anyone can see the “tube full of demons” comment for themselves and see how serious (and creepy) Copeland was?

Perhaps Stephen finds this amusing, but as a minister who fancies himself so powerful, shouldn’t he be seeking out demonic filled tubes to drive them out and set people free? He was not talking about spiritual warfare in public spaces, please.

“To put it into perspective, he could have said the same thing about Greyhound buses. How many people choose to buy their own cars instead of riding a public form of transportation, despite the lower cost of a bus ticket? We don't question the motives of people who buy their own cars, yet we question the motives of an evangelist who would prefer to fly in his private plane to minister around the world instead of using a public airline.” – Stephen Strang

Wow, that has to be one of the most asinine comparisons I have ever heard. Let me break it down for you Steve. A car, costs in the thousands of dollars. Even if a prosperity pimp like Copeland wanted a 60K automobile I don’t think anyone would blink. When you buy your wife however a $200,000 Lamborghini, as John Gray did recently, you have crossed a line of unseemliness. The larger point, of course, is that a luxury private aircraft runs typically between $3-90 million. Your comparison is ridiculous.

“Although the Inside Edition reporter had no business asking Copeland some of the questions she did, I believe Copeland was still very gracious with her. When she told him that both her grandfathers were poor preachers who would've been appalled at Copeland's lavish lifestyle, he responded with a smile and thanked God for faithful preachers like them. The bottom line is that this kind of skepticism and criticism is rooted in jealousy. Unfortunately, there are many people who are jealous of successful ministries. I've witnessed the same kind of jealousy in the publishing business and in the media.” – Stephen Strang

Once again, trying to paint Copeland as a victim does not fly. The reporter was doing her job. Her questions were all professional and topical. He thanks God for faithful preachers like the reporter’s grandfathers? What did you expect him to say? Let’s get something straight here. I do not feel any jealousy towards Kenneth Copeland. I feel nothing but abject pity for him, because he will answer for the blood of all of the people he has led astray.

I am not jealous of successful ministries. I am angry at false ministries perverting the Gospel of Jesus Christ for their own shameful gain.

“I've even come to expect this kind of criticism from the secular media, but it's disheartening when it comes from other Christians. It's also discouraging to see how few believers came to his defense after the interview came out. I believe Christians should speak up and defend Brother Copeland, because if they don't, the secular world will continue to misconstrue and even demonize his words. So I encourage you to share this article and my podcast on your social media. Tell people that you don't think Inside Edition should have treated Copeland that way. Speak up in defense of the many other Christian leaders the secular media berates and accuses. Be the one who is willing to say that biased ambush journalism is wrong.” – Stephen Strang

You mean the way you are ambushing this poor Inside Edition reporter? Maligning her motives, intent, and questioning without even inviting her to respond or defend herself? That sure sounds a lot more like an ambush than her interview of Copeland. It is reassuring that some Christians saw this for what it was and called out the wolf in public. I do not need to misconstrue or demonize the words of Kenneth Copeland – I just have to read them. I applaud Inside Edition for confronting what the church refuses to – wolves in the pulpit making obscene amounts of money from selling a false gospel. I do not blame Stephen Strang because he is just as much a wolf as Kenneth Copeland. It is those that insist on defending the indefensible that worry me more. The key verse is from the qualifications to be a pastor and it says he must not be a lover of money. So let us summarize:

* Claims to be a billionaire

* Owns not one, not two, but three luxury private jets

* Used those private jets to travel 143 times to his ski resort in Colorado, since 2000

* Lives in a $6 million mansion

* Writes the mansion off as a parsonage to avoid taxes

Yet God’s word says he must not be a lover of money.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
— Matthew 6:19-21

Enough said.

Reverend Anthony Wade – June 6, 2019

Anthony Wade is the minister for 828 Ministries devoted to the purity of doctrine