Included in this post are the link to his video testimony, the transcript of the video, and my embedded comments.
There is nothing faithless about a man who has to get a pacemaker. If you need one, get one. I consider this instrument to be God’s healing too, through his giving wisdom to humans to invent it. I’m glad Copeland got one.
And the goal here is not to take cheap shots but to analyze his teaching in relation to these new developments.
For several decades this eighty+ year-old ultra-Word-of-Faith leader taught that we could confess our way to healing, if we just had enough faith. We could create our healing and even new worlds with our words.
Further, his demeanor and tone turned him into a TV bully, especially when he mocked doubters, sneering at them and impersonating their (seemingly) weak, helpless tone and words, as if they were whiners for not measuring up to his super-faith: “Now Brother Copeland, I didn’t get healed!” Then he would growl and snap out an answer like this: “You didn’t have enough faith, and your confession was wrong! Glohree tuh Gud!” “Glory to God” was his public display of super-piety.
No compassion. Zero.
Why criticize Mr. Copeland? In the past few months God has clarified that in addition to my main calling (teaching) he has a sidebar calling for me: Pointing out the excesses of various ministry practices and misinterpretations of Scripture.
Let me add that a commenter will say that I am causing division. This commenter needs to read 1 and 2 Timothy and Jude repeatedly. It is right to point out bad teachings, sometimes by the name of the teacher. I’m not bringing division, but clarification.
Now let’s get started with his video testimony and my analysis. Actually, before we get started,
Here is the link to the video of his testimony. If it goes dead, just copy and paste the words in a search engine:
Kenneth Copeland – Plug In With Faith for Your Healing
Fast-forward to 17:00. Note how small the audience is. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Word-of-Faith meetings drew thousands because they dominated Christian television, notable KTBN. But now it is a dying movement (though there are still large Word-of-Faith churches).
And by the way, I’m a continuationist who believes the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Cor. 12:7-11 are still operational, as the Spirit distributes them. I believe God still heals. I belong to the Renewal Movement, broadly defined.
Here is the transcript of just the announcement of his new pacemaker in the video, with my comments embedded within brackets and in bold font.
Copeland is speaking:
[…] Come on, come on, give the Lord praise. Give Him praise. Give Him authority over your body. Give Him authority over your sinuses. Give Him a authority. Do it right now. Glory to God. Give Him authority over your heart. Say it out loud, heart muscle, you’re a good heart. You’re a new heart. My name is, say Your name. My name is Kenneth new heart. I have a new heart. I actually do. I actually do. Kenneth. I actually do. [He has the small audience confess their health. Speaking positive words is fine, but they do not guarantee or create health. He is confessing words of health, hoping to create a new and healthy heart. It didn’t work, in this case.]
Let me give you a little word of my testimony. My DNA took after my mother’s side with a history of heart trouble. My mother died with heart disease and her younger brother, her older brother was killed in World War II. Her younger brother died of a heart attack. My grandfather died of a heart attack and I’m just gone that same way. [Sad to hear about his family history. It sounds like he had a weak heart for a long time, long before his eightieth birthday. He too needed medical science or he would die like they did.] And I was preaching in the prison and I had got short of breath and I’m going through all that stuff. I wouldn’t quit. [This is his positive confession that led him to keep going with a bad heart. It looks like he was determined to live by super-faith with his failing heart and ignore medical help. It didn’t work. His theology, such as it is, has holes in it.] It never did give me pain, but I could feel this tingling across my chest here. And I knew what it was and anyway, so, and I went to all the exams and all that stuff. [This is wise. He needed to get exams. His super-faith had to be “adjusted.” It was actually presumption, not faith. He has been practicing presumption, which he wrongly called faith, and teaching others to do the same.] And so the cardiologist examined me and he said, “Well, you need a pacemaker”. And I said, “Lord, I’m just going to believe. God, I’m just going to, without that pacemaker”. [This is again his positive confession and super-faith. He was going to hyper-believe God for divine health without a pacemaker and live by super-faith with his bad heart. For many decades he told his followers to do the same. Just speak the words and a new heart would be created. But something goes wrong. He gets rebuked for his presumption, next.] And the Word of the Lord came into me and He said, “No, you’re too far behind the power curve now. [He said in another TV show where he sat down alone to discuss his pacemaker with his audience that a “power curve” was an aviation term. Evidently, it means that God told him that his positive confession and his hyper-faith would not work to heal his heart. He could not create a new heart with his words. He would die without a pacemaker. Copeland’s teaching failed him. God told him so.] Receive the pacemaker by faith”. So I did. [Receiving a pacemaker by faith is not exactly right. He has lots of money and no doubt top-of-the-line insurance, plus Medicare. He received it by natural, monetary means, with his super-prosperity, initially given to him over the years by his donors.]
Now at my age, having record of heart problems, to get my FAA physical [He likes to fly airplanes. Reports say he has two jets and two propeller planes,] I had to do an extreme stress test. And well, not just at my age, at any age, if you want your physical back, you got to do this particularly, but from 75 up, you would have to take that stress test. Well, here I am 84, and this pacemaker had the new technology. The FAA really didn’t have much experience at it. Pacemakers, they do. This thing had a defibrillator in it. Poom! Now, before… And I set the thing off a couple of times, and it really wasn’t. All that much to it. But anyway, I just started training, got on the treadmill and actually I took the stress test before I ever went and took the stress test. Thanks to Keith and Phyllis Moore [two Word-of-Faith pastors, who appear in the video, seated in front], who some time ago had given me, because I liked Phyllis’ treadmill. Her treadmill was better than my little rinky dink treadmill. [It seems that with his money he could afford the best one, but I’m glad he got to use the best because the Moores were generous. Or maybe he means he bought their brand with his own money.] And the little household treadmills will only go up to about 10 degree incline, but to pass the stress test, I had to go to 14.
Thank God I had the treadmill that I could do it. So I passed the test. It’s supposed to be nine minutes. At my age, I only had to do six, but it did the whole nine minutes with the defibrillator in there and didn’t set it off, because I received the pacemaker and defibrillator by faith. [As noted, not entirely by faith, but at least he got the pacemaker and defibrillator, since he needed them. At least he exercised and passed his physical exam. Give him credit for that.] Now I did it with the defibrillator active, and then after I passed the stress test, representative of the manufacturer of this machine that’s in here, came out with the computer and turned that defibrillator off because I don’t need it anymore. I’m going for that 120. [He believes that he will live to be 120 years old because Gen. 6:3 says that humankind is promised that many years, or so he believes.] Glory to God, I said. You understand, by faith, by faith. [As noted, not exactly by faith alone or the positive confession of his creative words. His doctrine failed him.] Put your hand over your heart. I take my new heart. I have it now, so begin to rejoice. Praise Him, praise Him and thank Him. Praise Him and thank Him. Praise Him. This is the key to it. The praise cure. […] [Here is his positive praise to twist God’s arm to compel him to heal. Just enough praise will do the trick! “One more ‘praise him!’ compel a reluctant God to heal you!” (my paraphrase of his meaning). I’m all for praise but not to coerce God.]
Transcription and comments end.
I repeat: if you need a pacemaker, get one. I have no problem with this. And I don’t begrudge Copeland getting his pacemaker, either. I’m glad he did. No cheap shots here.
For many years now, he has scolded and intimidated and growled at the Body of Christ with his faith message. He growled out things like (paraphrased): “Confess your healing. Don’t say, ‘I got cancer.’ Say, ‘I got a healing!'” Even though you really still have cancer. In other words, his faith message requires believers to lie to themselves, lie to people and lie to God. Bad theology and ministry practice.
Or something like: “If you pray once, then confess your healing! When you keep on praying for your healing, this is unbelief! God heard you the first time! You got your healing already. Now wait for it to manifest! Your words will create healing!” His pacemaker puts the lie to his doctrine.
Or something like: “If you didn’t get healed, you didn’t have enough faith! Keep believin’ God! I said, ‘Keep believin’ God!’ Glohree tuh Gud!”
Make sure you hear his growl in all of those words, without an ounce of compassion.
However, he himself could not believe and confess and create a healthy heart with the power of his words and super-faith. He was behind the aviation “power curve.” His Word-of-Faith message failed him. God told him so.
Will he apologize and admit he was wrong and his teaching needed major adjustments? Of course not. He got his pacemaker “by faith“! Growl!
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