Kenneth Copeland and Cookies from Heaven

Frank Lockwood
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
The Bible is full of jaw-dropping dreams, visions and divine visitations, but none quite like this one, shared by televangelist Kenneth Copeland during a sermon at Little Rock’s Agape Church.

“The Lord woke me up in the middle of the night,” Copeland told worshippers on Sunday. “There stood Jesus with a huge tray and the tray was heaped with cookies, and he said, ‘Kenneth, have a cookie.’”
Grabbing for one of the bedtime snacks, Copeland says he replied: “I believe I will.”

If you have enough faith to move mountains, Copeland suggested, God can give you the desires of your heart: vigorous health, limitless wealth, unending happiness and eternal life — plus new airplanes and fresh-baked goods.

You believe. You receive.

“Have faith in God,” Copeland said over and over. “That’s God’s plan. Increase. Increase. Growth all the time. Better and better and better.”

As the national unemployment rate creeps toward double digits, Copeland argued that Christians should be exempt from economic downturns. “Big brother” Jesus “bore the curse of poverty” so that the rest of us wouldn’t have to scrape together nickels and dimes, Copeland argued. “We are family — joint heirs — with the wealthiest man that exists.”

Copeland, 72, who has his own airport, knows a thing or two about material abundance. The Fort Worth-area multimillionaire flies around the world in a ministry-owned $20 million Cessna Citation X jet. He relaxes in an 18,000-square-foot lakeside parsonage. He drives luxury cars and owns a fleet of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

His family has its own Texas-sized cattle ranch and his church has its own natural gas wells.

Many of Copeland’s followers are committed “tithers” — giving at least 10 percent of their earnings to religious organizations. Some give substantially more.

For his 70th birthday, Copeland and his wife, Gloria, reportedly received personal gifts totaling more than $2 million. (The ministry, while refusing to reveal the exact dollar total, says the gift was actually less than $2 million.)

Copeland, whose lavish spending is under investigation by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, showed up roughly 15 minutes late for Agape Church’s morning worship service, entering just in time to pray for the sick and to recite the Agape Church donors’ creed.

The words, chanted in unison, echoed throughout the cavernous hall:
“The tithe guarantees financial favor.
“The tithe guarantees your covenant partnership with God.
“The tithe is proof of honor.
“The tithe is proof of obedience.
“The tithe silences the devourer in your life.
“The tithe guarantees consistent harvest on your seed.
“The tithe opens the windows of heaven …”

Agape Church pastor Happy Caldwell urged everyone — including those facing poverty and hunger — to dig deep, promising God would supernaturally reward them.

During his sermon, Copeland mentioned the economy roughly 10 times, and said the federal government had triggered an “economic mess” by “departing from God.”

But Copeland said his ministry has escaped the ravages of recession. “Our income in the ministry has been going up,” he said.

The crowd peppered Copeland’s message with shouts of “Amen” and “Hallelujah.”

As Copeland wrapped up his sermon, he led worshippers in a chant: “I’m not cursed. I’m blessed. I’m not cursed. I’m blessed.”

Instead of an altar call, the service climaxed with a final financial solicitation — this one aimed at enriching the morning speaker.

The collection “plates” — plastic buckets adorned with the Agape Church logo — made an encore appearance.

“All the offerings,” Caldwell promised, “will go to Brother Copeland.”

Updated: October 13, 2009 — 10:15 am

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  1. It is manipulation of people’s sentiment for personal benefits to raise funds using gifts of God, deliver to us to meet our day to day challenges with confidence. Congregation should be aware that 15 cent out of each dolor contributed (15% max.) is the ideal amount for administrative cost including salary and benefits of the Church’s personnel. The rest should be used for glory of God, not staying in a five star hotel or travel by personal jet plane or become a country club member. Transparency is key factor to stop misuse of funds in the name of God.

  2. After reading this blog, I can only cringe at the fact that many are so quick to discredit tithing. I dont agree in most of the techniques preachers, pasters and even television evangelists use. But let us be careful not to be so cynical that we miss a blessing discrediting tithing all together. There is a promise from God in the bible regarding the faith it takes to tithe. So, who do we have faith in? God or man. If you see pervertion in the church from the “man of God”, my only advise is sew your seed in better ground. We should also pray God pricks the heart of those out to make a buck.

  3. Christians are being misled financially and spiritually. As Caleb and Julian stated this is a perversion of the gospel and a form of manipulation. This is sad.

  4. I am astounded by so many preachers are the way Kennith Copeland preaches. It is so much how you give, it is not the way I now our Lord preached.

  5. God’s plan is for our life to be better and better and better? Well, how many people live past 100? How many live past 80 and their health is better than ever? In the end, no matter how many prayers or how much donated to quacks like this guy, we all die. And in most cases, our lives get worse and worse before we die. Would it be any different if we didn’t pray at all, or didn’t donate at all? Nope.

  6. I think and HOPE he/they mean what God says about tithing.
    Genesis 4:5-
    Exodus 23:19
    Malachi 3:8-12
    Luke 6:38
    Hebrews 7:2-9

    There are many others. Keep in mind that the elder Rockefeller tithed 10% of his income and John Deer gave 90% of his. Look what happened to them. However, tithing alone will not work without obeying the other commands. People think all they have to do is give money and poof – all their troubles are over (because of misguided teaching). It doesn’t work like that. Also, when one tithes, the tither will be credited by God. If the money is misused, the misuser (slang intended) will be punished by God. If given in good faith, one is ok because God judges the heart or intent. One must walk the walk and talk the talk to come into the blessings of God. I know. Ask anyone who knows my name! I know both how to abound and how to be abased. God has blessed me when I did what I knew was right in my heart.

  7. This is terrible. The next thing we will probably hear is of cocholate chip cookies appearing out of nowhere like that gold dust thing people claimed to happen.

  8. Tithe but not keep kosher. Law or not. Search tithing and read the truth about “rob God” and so on. tithingdebate.com

  9. You have to wonder if all the money given to support these huge campuses and lifestyles and to settle lawsuits were given to the poor, how many poor and hungry would we have left.
    While in the cathedral praying the other day, I wondered how many families gave money so we would have a place to pray that was fitting for a King, but is this really what Christianity is all about?

  10. For other world religions i.e. Muslims, etc., whom we fear and wage war on, the Christian religion has its sick leaders as well. What do you think people unfamiliar with our Christian ethics must think of the Christian religion when they hear and read something like this declaring to be and urging others to become a Christian? Just as bad as the Taliban, if you ask me. The Taliban kills you here on earth and religions such as this teach if you are not a believer, then you will burn forever in hell. One is as bad as the other and I am beginning to believe that religion and politics are nothing short of ego.

  11. How can the likes of Kenneth Copeland and company be legally allowed to preach this kind of religion? Isn’t stealing unlawful? Isn’t that what he is doing? First he is playing mind games with vulnerable people and then he is becoming rich off their misery, fear, or insecurity. Can’t something be done to stop this madness

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