Kenneth Copeland is considered to be the most prosperous and
well-known in the "Word-Faith"/"Positive
Confession" movement. His television program is carried
nationwide on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and he is the
author of numerous charismatic-oriented books and articles. Copeland's
daily Believers Voice of Victory television broadcast
is available to more than 76 million households on nearly 700
stations in the United States. An estimated 82 million households
are able to receive the Sunday broadcast over more than 600 stations,
and the broadcast can be seen on about 135 International stations.
Copeland also publishes the monthly Believer's Voice of Victory
magazine, and the bimonthly Shout! The Voice of Victory for
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 protégé,
are Charles Capps, Frederick K.C. Price, Robert Tilton, and David
(Paul) Yonggi Cho. Many of them are graduates of Hagin's
Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.)
- Copeland's teaching on healing is a particularly destructive
lie -- in the 2/93 issue of Believer's Voice of Victory,
Copeland says that every Christian is guaranteed physical healing
and financial prosperity. Multitudes of those who have believed
the charismatic lies about healing in the Atonement have become
confused and disappointed. Many have become bitter against God
because God did not do what they were convinced He had promised
to do. The problem with Copeland's teachings is that God has
not promised health and prosperity to His people
in this present world. Nevertheless, Copeland speaks disparagingly
of Christians who "are still living in sickness, bondage,
and lack." Yet this "sickness, bondage, and lack"
is the epitaph of a great many of God's choicest saints.
- Copeland is perhaps the best known proponent of the charismatic's
"little gods" teaching (see below). He says Jesus told
"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 ..."
("Take Time to Pray," Believer's Voice of Victory,
2/87, p. 9).
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, and 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! ... When I read in the Bible where
God tells Moses, 'I AM,' I say, 'Yah, I am too!'" ("The
Force of Love," Tape BBC-56).
- Copeland teaches that Adam was "created in the god
class"; i.e., 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
said went. What he did, counted. [And when he] bowed his knee
to Satan and put Satan up above him, then there wasn't anything
God could do about it, because a god had placed
[Satan] there" ("The Force of Love," tape #02-0028).
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,
- Copeland teaches, as do all the Word-Faith teachers,
that "Jesus Died Spiritually" (JDS). What makes the
Word-Faith teachers' version of JDS, heresy (if not 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 ... !" ("The Price
of it All," Believers Voice of Victory, September
1991, p. 4).
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! Moreover, 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" (Matt. 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! What
blasphemy! (5/93, Berean Call).
- 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).
Quotes Illustrating Kenneth Copelands Heretical Teachings
That Adam was God manifest in the flesh.
Gods reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce
Himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself, and in the Garden
of Eden He did just that. He was not a little like God. He was
not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God even. ...
Adam is as much like God as you could get, just the same as Jesus.
... Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh.
(Following the Faith of Abraham I, 1989 audiotape, #01-3001,
God is the greatest failure in the Universe.
I was shocked when I found out who the biggest failure
in the Bible actually is. ... The biggest one is God. ... I mean,
He lost His top-ranking, most anointed angel; the first man He
ever created; the first woman He ever created; the whole earth
and all the Fullness therein; a third of the angels, at least
thats a big loss, man ... Now, the reason you dont
think of God as a failure is He never said Hes a failure.
And youre not a failure till you say youre one.
(Praise-a-Thon program on TBN [April 1988] )
God lives on a mother planet
Heaven has a north and a south and an east and a west.
Consequently, it must be a planet. (Spirit, Soul and
Body I, 1985 audiotape #01-0601, side 1)
You dont think earth was first, do you? Huh? Well,
you dont think that God made man in His image, and then
made earth in some other image? There is not anything under this
whole sun thats new. Are you hearing what Im saying?
This is all a copy. Its a copy of home. Its a copy
of the Mother Planet. Where God lives, He made a little one just
like His and put us on it. (Following the Faith of Abraham
I, 1989 audiotape, #01-3001, side 1)
death of Jesus on the Cross did not pay the price for sins.
It wasnt the physical death on the cross that paid
the price for sin ... anybody could do that. (What Satan
Saw on the Day of Pentecost)
Every prophet that walked the face of the earth under
the Abrahamic covenant could have paid the price if it were a
physical death only When He said It is finished
on that cross, He was not speaking of the plan of redemption.
The plan of redemption had just begun; there were still three
days and three nights to be gone through. [Jesus]
accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own Spirit, and at the
moment that He did so, He cried My God, my God, why have
you forsaken me?. He [Jesus] was down in
that pit and there he suffered the punishment for three horrible
days and nights for Adams treason ... There is a new
birth takes place in the very depths of the earth, when the command
of God says Thats enough, loose him and let him go.
(What Happened from the Cross to the Throne)
Jesus was raped by homosexual Roman soldiers
Let me tell you something folks. Anybody in here thats
ever been sexually abused, listen to me right now. Listen to
me very carefully. The Bibles very careful about the way
it says these things. But down there in that dungeon, Romans,
ungodly men, ungodly men, put Him (Jesus) to every kind of abuse
that you can think of. There is no sin that Jesus didnt
bare. There is no thing, there is no such thing as a sexual abuse
on somebody that Jesus doesnt know firsthand what its
all about. Hes been where you are. I dont care what
youve been through, Jesus has been through it. And everythings
done to him that we couldnt even speak of. (The
God and Adam are the same size.
God spoke Adam into existence in authority with words.
These words struck Adams body in the face. His body and
Gods were exactly the same size. (Holy Bible, Kenneth
Copeland Reference Edition 1991, p. 45)
God is a being that is very uncanny
the way Hes very much like you and me. A being that stands
somewhere around 6-2, 6-3, that weighs
somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred pounds,
little better, [and] has a [hand] span of nine inches across.
(Spirit, Soul and Body I, 1985, audiotape #01-0601, side
[Adam] was the copy, looked just like
[God]. If you stood Adam upside God, they look just exactly alike.
If you stood Jesus and Adam side-by-side, they would look and
sound exactly alike. (Authority of the Believer IV,
1987, audiotape #01-0304, side 1)
God has no right to the earth at all;
He needs an invitation.
God had no avenue of lasting faith or moving in the earth.
He had to have covenant with somebody. ... He had to be invited
in, in other words, or He couldnt come. God is on the outside
looking in. In order to have any say so in the earth, Hes
going to have to be in agreement with a man here. (Gods
Covenants With Man II, 1985, audiotape #01-4404, side 1)
The deification of Satan.
Satan is deified as the God this world and is positioned with
so much power that he could manage to turn the light off
Ownership of the earth is Satans.
Gods on the outside looking in. He doesnt
have any legal entree into the earth. The thing dont belong
to Him. You see how sassy the Devil was in the presence of God
in the book of Job? God said, Where have you been?
Wasnt any of Gods business. He [Satan] didnt
even have to answer if he didnt want to ... God didnt
argue with him a bit! You see, this is the position that Gods
Might say, Well, if Gods running things
Hes doing a lousy job of it. He hadnt been
running em, except when Hes just got, you know, a
little bit of a chance. (Image of God in You III,
1989, audiotape #01-1403, side 1)
Heres where were gonna
depart from ordinary church: Now, you see, God is injecting His
Word into the earth to produce this Jesusthese faith-filled
words that framed the image thats in Him
just walk onto the earth and say, Let it be! because
He doesnt have the right. He had to sneak it in here around
the god of this world that was blockin every way that he
possibly could. (The Image of God in You III, 1989,
audiotape #01-1403, side 2)
The Bible says that God gave this earth to the sons
and when [Adam] turned and gave that dominion to
Satan, look where it left God. If left Him on the outside looking
He had no legal right to do anything about it, did
He had injected Himself illegally into the earthwhat
Satan had intended for Him to do was to fall for itpull
off an illegal act and turn the light off in God, and subordinate
God to himself
He intended to get God into such a trap
that He couldnt get out. (What Happened from the
Cross to the Throne, 1990, audiotape #02-0017)
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 Adams fall, God found Himself in a peculiar position
God needed an avenue back into the earth
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.
(Our Covenant with God, 1987, pp. 8-11)
Jesus Christ communicates directly with Copeland.
Dont 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 theyre going to think that way of you.
They crucified Me for claiming that I was God. But I didnt
claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with Him and that He
was in Me. Hallelujah. (Take Time to Pray,
Believers Voice of, February 1987, p. 9)
The Spirit of God spoke to me and He said, Son,
realize this. Now follow me in this and dont let your tradition
trip you up. He said, Think this waya twice-born
man whipped Satan in his own domain. And I threw my Bible
like that. I said, What? He said, A
born-again man defeated Satan, the firstborn of many brethren
defeated him. He said, You are the very image, the
very copy of that one. I said, Well now you dont
mean, you couldnt dare mean, that I could have done the
same thing? He said, Oh yeah, if youd had the
knowledge of the Word of God that He did, you couldve done
the same thing, cause youre a reborn man too.
(Substitution and Identification, 1989, tape #00-0202,
Copeland says that Jesus became a sign of Satan when He was hanging
on the cross: The righteousness of God was made to be sin.
He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. And at
the moment that He did so, He cried, My God, My God, why
hast thou forsaken Me? You dont know what happened
at the cross. Why do you think Moses, upon instruction of God,
raised the serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That used
to bug me. I said, Why in the world would you want to put
a snake up therethe sign of Satan? Why didnt you
put a lamb on that pole? And the Lord said, Because
it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross. He
said, I accepted, in My own spirit, spiritual death; and
the light was turned off. (What Happened from
the Cross to the Throne, 1990, audiotape #02-0017, side 2)
When Jesus cried, It is finished! He was
not speaking of the plan of redemption. There were still three
days and nights to go through before He went to the throne.
Jesus death on the cross was only the beginning of the
complete work of redemption. (JesusOur Lord
of Glory, Believers Voice of Victory, April
1982, p. 3)
Jesus rebirth in hell.
[I]n hell He [Jesus] suffered for you and for me. The Bible
says hell was made for Satan and his angles. It was not made
for men. Satan was holding the Son of God there illegally
The trap was set for Satan and Jesus was the bait. (Walking
in the Realm of the Miraculous, 1979, p. 77)
Satan blew it on a technicality, according to Faith theology,
because Satan had dragged Jesus into hell illegally. As Copeland
puts it, The Devil forgot to take into consideration that
Jesus hadnt sinned Himself but, rather, had merely become
sin as a result of the sin of others. (What Happened
from the Cross to the Throne, 1990, audiotape #02-0017, side
[t]hat Word of the living God went down into
that 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 began to look like
something the devil had never seen before. He was literally being
reborn before the devils very eyes. He began to flex His
Jesus was born againthe first-born
from the dead the Word calls Himand He whipped the devil
in his own backyard. He took everything he had away from him.
He took his keys and his authority away from him. (The
Price of it All, Believers Voice of Victory,
September 1991, p. 4)
Any O.T. prophet could have atoned for our sins if they
knew what Jesus knew. (Substitution and Identification)
Jesus is no longer the only begotten Son of God.
(Now We Are In Christ Jesus, 1980, p. 24)
Adam was made in the image of God. He was as much female
as he was male. He was exactly like God. Then God separated him
and removed the female part. Woman means man with the womb.
Eve had as much authority as Adam did as long as they stayed
together. (Sensitivity of Heart, KCP Publications,
1984, p. 23)
He [Jesus] is suffering all that there is to suffer.
There is no suffering left apart from Him. His emaciated, poured
out, little, wormy spirit is down in the bottom of that thing
[hell]. And the Devil thinks hes got Him destroyed.
(Believers Voice of Victory program [21 April 1991].
This message was originally delivered at the Full Gospel Motorcycle
Rally Association, 1990 Rally at Eagle Mountain Lake, Texas.)
As a believer, you have a right to make commands in
the name of Jesus. Each time you stand on the Word, you are commanding
God to a certain extent because it is His Word. (Our
Covenant with God, KCP Publications, 1987, p. 32)
God was making promises to Jesus, and Jesus wasnt
even there. But, you see, God deals with things that are not
yet as though they already were. Thats the way He gets
them to come to pass. (What Happened from the Cross
to the Throne, 1990, audiotape #02-0017)