Kenneth Copeland Ministries Would Rather Have A Tax Audit? Why?

Over the course of the past six months, I’ve had the privilege of watching one of the most interesting battles take place between a powerful Senator and a popular Minister – Grassley vs. Copeland. I am doubtful that many reading this are not fully aware of the background so I won’t spend much time reviewing that – (however, I will, toward the end of this blog point out some of the more interesting questions asked by Grassley of the Copeland Ministries).

While many of the six ministries have complied in one form or another, Copeland’s ministries have been blatant about their refusal to comply completely. A letter dated March 31, 2008 was sent to Senators Max Baucus and Charles Grassley outlining the Kenneth Copeland Ministries position. The full letter can be found here.

Here are some excerpts to expedite the process:

The Church provided a complete response to six out of 42 questions, and provided a substantially complete response to eleven out of the remaining 36 questions. Where the Church did not provide a complete answer, the Church determined that the question raises constitutionally and statutorily based privacy, confidentiality, and freedom of association issues with respect to the Church and other parties (including, for example, the Church’s officers, directors, pastors, ministers, and members).

Your March 11th letter indicates that your intent in seeking the requested information from the Church is to allow the Committee “to conduct oversight into matters related to legislation enacted by Congress … to determine how well a particular agency of the executive branch is administering legislation enacted by Congress, if a particular law or section of the law is being administered in a manner consistent with the intent of Congress and what changes might be required to a law to improve and enhance it.” In addition, your letter states that, in order to exercise “oversight over the administration of the federal tax revenue system by the Internal Revenue Service to make sure that its rules and procedures meet the purpose and the intent of the revenue code, including those rules applicable to non-profit organizations … the Committee needs to understand clearly and specifically how non-profit organizations are structured and operated.” In the Church’s view, all of these purposes could be accomplished just as effectively by the Committee asking the Internal Revenue Service to provide all of the information Senator Grassley is seeking through a request pursuant to section 6103 of the Code. Section 6103 of the Code does not limit what the Committee can request from the Internal Revenue Service. It only limits the Committee’s ability to make that information public.

Now here I’m confused. Baucus and Grassley state, per the Copeland response, that they are requesting information “to conduct oversight into matters related to legislation enacted by Congress … to determine how well a particular agency of the executive branch is administering legislation enacted by Congress, if a particular law or section of the law is being administered in a manner consistent with the intent of Congress and what changes might be required to a law to improve and enhance it.” Yet Copeland wants the agency that Baucus and Grassley oversee to do the work to make sure that the IRS does what they are supposed to do. That’s bizarre!

Let me state that again, Grassley wants to make sure “how well” a particular agency (hum…must be the IRS) is administering the law. Yet, Copeland wants the agency in question to do an audit so that Grassley can take those finding to determine if they are doing their job. That will make you head wobble if you think about it.

Your March 11th letter states that “the Committee recognizes the concerns regarding privacy and confidentiality of certain records and has offered to work with [the Church] to protect any proprietary or confidential information.” In discussions with members of both of your staffs, however, it was made clear that the Committee was not willing to provide the types of confidentiality protections afforded by section 6103 of the Code, but rather was willing only to protect a very limited type of information such as social security numbers. However, any confidentiality protections short of those afforded by section 6103 of the Code are simply inadequate to address the Church’s concerns regarding the potential use and public dissemination of any information produced by the Church. In light of the Church’s view that the Committee’s oversight-related purposes could be accomplished notwithstanding the application of section 6103 of the Code to the information sought, the Church is deeply concerned that the information Senator Grassley is seeking could be used to subject the Church and its members to public stigma, scorn, and obloquy.

So the Senators say we will give you protections. The ministry says, we have better from the Internal Revenue Code. The Senators are trying to evaluate just how well the agency is administering the Code. The Ministry thumbs their nose at the Senators and says – not good enough – we don’t trust you. Well, it’s a free country and we enjoy freedom of speech so fair enough. But, as I’ve stated before, that’s playing with fire.

The six ministries under investigation all share a common theology based on the sincerely held religious belief that God wants His children to be spiritually, physically, and financially blessed and that prosperity in all areas of one’s life is an outward sign of the fulfillment of God’s promises contained in the Bible. The Church believes that the targeting of these ministries, and these ministries alone, violates a fundamental tenet of the First Amendment: that the government should not single out any religion for disparate treatment because of its beliefs. With respect to religion, the Constitution requires that the government be neutral, preferring no beliefs above others. The selective investigation only of churches that preach the “Word of Faith” message raises significant concerns as to whether the inquiry is aimed at publicly questioning the religious beliefs of the targeted churches, their preachers, and their members.

Keep in mind, it is just an opinion, but Copeland is way too egotistical here. There are way more than six ministries that believe that prosperity is a God given right and that anyone can claim that. Most new thought churches have believed that for years. In the movie and subsequent book, “The Secret” those same principles were espoused. In my home town of Dallas – Bishop T. D. Jakes has a massive ministry and certainly he believes in prosperity and preaches it as well. Yet, he was not “targeted.”

The Church continues to believe that the most timely and efficient manner for the Committee to obtain the requested information without compromising the Church’s constitutional and statutorily based rights is for the Internal Revenue Service to obtain the requested information from the Church through a church tax inquiry conducted pursuant to section 7611 of the Code. As you know, this Code section, which was part of the Church Audit Procedures Act that Senator Grassley himself introduced in l983, was enacted in recognition of the of the unique issues raised by the government inquiries into the financial and other operations of churches, including the need for the separation of church and state, and the special relationship of a church to its members. At the conclusion of a properly conducted church tax inquiry, the Committee could obtain the information Senator Grassley is seeking from the Internal Revenue Service through a request pursuant to section 6103 of the Code.

That is a fair statement and request as it is characterized in accordance with a piece of legislation that Senator Grassley introduced. I have long espoused that if you want to fight the government, do it in a way that is not emotional and focuses are potentially effective secular arguments. To put back in Grassley’s face the Church Audit Procedures Act makes sense.

Below are some of the items that Grassley expressly asked for in his first request:

  • A detailed explanation of the personal use of assets of the tax-exempt organization (i.e., jets, employees, facilities) and an accounting of any repayments made to the tax-exempt entity for the personal use of stated assets for years 2004 to present.
  • Credit card statements for all credit cards used by Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland and John Copeland for the years 2004 to present for expenses paid by EMIC and KCM. An explanation of all credit card expenses paid by the organization on behalf of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland for years 2004 to present.
  • Has any of the land or assets tied to the land that was deeded to the church from th estate of Paul H. Pewitt been transferred conveyed, gifted or otherwise placed in the control or possession of any other entity or person? If so, who, when , for what amount and for what purpose? Provide the names and addresses of all person(s) who made the decision to relinquish control of the real property.
  • Provide detailed information (Year, Make, Model and Number) of any aircraft owned, used or leased by EMIC, KCM or any related or integrated auxiliary, including amounts paid for the purchase and/or lease of the aircraft and all maintenance expenses form 2004 to present. Copies of the flight records of any aircraft owned, used or leased by EMIC, KCM or any related or integrated auxiliary from 2004 to present. Copies of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland’s itinerary from 2004 to present.
  • El Rancho Fe is a for-profit working ranch owned by Kenneth and John Copeland. Is any of the property used by El Rancho Fe the same property deeded to the church by the estate of Paul H. Pewitt? If so, how is the church compensated for use of this asset and in what amounts for tax years 2002 to present? Who approved the use of this asset? If the Board of Directors approved, provide the names and addresses of the board members.
  • The name and address of the person and/or company that prints, audio records and video records Kenneth and Gloria Copeland’s material? The name and address of the person and/or company that owns the titles, copyrights, royalties or similar interests in sermons, videotapes, books, CD’s, DVD’s, or other materials prepared by EMIC and/or KCM. Are any of the ministry’s paid employees involved in the printing, publishing, recording and distribution of the books, videotapes, CD’s, or DVD’s?
  • According to documents provided to the Finance Committee, in November 2000, (ouch…the precedent has already been established that Copeland has provided documentation to the Senate Finance Committee without having to have an IRS Audit) EMIC borrowed $1,000,000 from Gloria Copeland for operation of ministry affairs. In 2002, the EMIC board of directors executed a replacement promissory note in the amount of $1,083,407.29. Provide the committee with copies of the executed notes and a copy of the board meeting minutes for each date, an explanation of the loan distribution including the original source of the loan (i.e. personal check, cashier’s check, wire transfer), names and addresses of the board members present at each meeting and a breakdown of the loan repayments to Gloria Copeland since the inception of the original note. Also explain why the church borrowed money from Gloria Copeland when it owns assets in excess fo $20 million dollars.

And the list goes own. For the full six page detailed request go here.

When you look at the study of ethics (which I do as an ethics speaker) you generally go into a discussion of morals. In Wikipedia a statement is made: “People who have moral responsibility for an action are usually called moral agents. Agents are creatures that are capable of reflecting on their situation, forming intentions about how they will act, and then carrying out that action.”

So as I conclude this rather long blog entry, I suppose that both Copeland and Grassley are moral agents. Grassley is a moral agent for watchdogging the enforcement of accountability as it relates to potential abuse by religious organizations in their tax-exempt mission. (Keep in mind, if they weren’t tax-exempt this would go away – there would be no issue!) Copeland, on the other hand, is a moral agent for making sure that people in power in our government play by the rules and don’t over step their bounds or abuse their power.

Either way…asking (in effect) for a tax audit is gutsy. It will be interesting to see what the outcome is…

Business ethics speaker – Chuck Gallagher -signing off…

40 Responses to Kenneth Copeland Ministries Would Rather Have A Tax Audit? Why?

  1. glenn dowgiallo says:

    Dear Mr. Gallagher,
    Wow!! I can’t believe Kenneth Copeland. He was on a Carribean Cruise
    on Jan 2008. He was wearing a white shirt with a” Jesus died for you” slogan and
    a Crown motiff. He was very quiet and kept sunglasses on. You couldn’t mistake his jawline, dark hair and commanding Presence. Ken and his wife were suntanning on the Upper Deck. I made a casual comment that my wife was watching the Men’s swinsuit Contest by the Pool. That comment went off like a lead balloon. There was something about him… I knew he was a TV Evangenlist. My wife
    just fluffed it off. That was almost 5 months ago. It’s like starring inside the frig and realizing who someone is. Why would he be on a Royal Caribbean Cruise with us Common folk?? Is he hiding or trying to blend in? Thanks for the blog. Also, I want to see the outcome. Best, Glenn

  2. Joh says:

    I somehow doubt that Kenneth and Gloria would be on a public cruise ship when infact they most likely could own the cruise line business… maybe it was a Ken lookalike huh???:)

  3. Joh says:

    Oh almost forgot to ask.. did you take any snaps of the happy couple suntanning?? if so post them somewhere for us to peruse :) oh and by the way Chuck.. i know thats most likely not ethical … might be kinda funny though :)

  4. Roy says:

    Do you think the church of Scientology should be investigated next?

    They are much more secretive than any of these ministries and their leaders live very lavishly. Is it moral for Grassley to focus only on Pentecostal/Charismatic TV preachers and ignore all other organizations with possible abuses?

  5. Joh says:

    Roy you totally miss the point.. Grassley only “focused” on 6 ministries out of many thousands of “televangelist”/”prosperity” “ministries”… think about it my friend :)

  6. Roy…I can’t speak to the Church of Scientology. I know that Tom Cruise is a very public figure who is a member. What I can’t speak to is whether the church leader (as you said they are secretive) publicly seeks donations and touts that God is giving a jet. The ministry that doesn’t publicly mix contributions, TV and lavish lifestyle probably slides below the radar.

    Above the radar or below, any ministry that violates the IRS rules for non-profit status should be reviewed. These six may set the review standard for others to come. The one thing I believe is that Copeland is making life difficult for himself by holding out on a feeble claim – especially considering he cooperated with the same Senate committee in 2000.

    Wesley Snipes was very public about his beliefs that he should not have to pay or file tax returns. He was acquitted on felony charges and only guilty of misdeameanor charges of not filing tax returns. BUT since he had been so vocal and so uncooperative he was sentenced to 36 months in prison. MORAL to the story…just cooperate – life is much easier that way. If Copeland is innocent, then he has nothing to fear. If guilty, the repercussions will be much less severe.

  7. carlton says:

    NRB – – sent a letter
    The National Religious Broadcasters expressed concern about Grassley’s investigation in early December, even though none of the six ministries is an NRB member. NRB President Frank Wright said in a letter to Grassley he was worried about the “broader implications,” saying the senator’s letter “goes far beyond a mere request for financial records necessary to scrutinize the charitable nature of [an] organization’s operations.”

    Craig Parshall, NRB’s senior vice president and general counsel, criticized Grassley’s letter, arguing that “more than three decades ago the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the wisdom of tax exemptions for non-profit religious organizations.”

    “The court held that such a framework reinforced the required ‘insulating’ of church groups from excessive government oversight,” Parshall said, “but unfortunately Senator Grassley’s overly broad approach utilizes an axe rather than a scalpel in this delicate constitutional area, and also oversteps the IRS audit procedures which are designed for handling these kinds of issues.” – sent a letter

    Christianity Today articles, including “Oversight Overstep”

    There’s more out there seeing that they too have a dog in this race. These disparate groups share the concern Copeland is expressing.

    The comment in the NRB letter about Grassley using an axe instead of a scalpel follows his treatment of this. It is unprecedented as many are noting, but I understand this tactic is not new to him – hook in with the media and get them to help get the hooks in whomever he is after. Then contact the target after he has laid the mines.

    The senator’s high toned comments do not match his low blow actions. If you’ve got a point, got evidence, then make the point and use the evidence. Instead, he has laid this open to a religiously skeptical media and the buffoonery do-nothings love.

    If he has anything like is claimed over and over, that volkswagon full of stuff, then why haven’t the IRS or the Justice Department swooped down on anyone by now?

    Where are the ethics in these actions by the senator?

    I see Copeland taking high ground with this, rather than hiding something, It’s a pay now or pay later situation with freedom loss. Much easier to go along.

  8. Carlton…your question about Grassley’s ethics is a good one. While Grassley’s questions of Copeland may be on point and appropriate, there certainly is an issue with the ethics involved in how, when and why the message was delivered in the way it was delivered.

    That said, and I want to be fair, questioning Grassley’s ethics should not deter the question to Copeland of what his resistance is to complying with the Senator’s request. He has done so before. What makes this time different?

    Perhaps I should do a blog entry about Grassleys techniques and the ethics involved.

    Thanks for your comment.

  9. TYZ says:

    I think that it’s great that other Christian leaders have gotten behind Copeland and his cause. They have seen the future implications this investigation can have if Grassley is given authority to access all of the information he requested.

  10. Joh says:

    TYZ you may want to revise your research on that subject… those “ministers” you speak of who are behind Copeland are all in some way tied to the prosperity brigade… not your average run of the mill Christian leaders

  11. Soul Searching says:

    Carlton – you do bring up some valid points. I have to agree with you that Copeland is taking the higher road here. Grassley definitely made some mistakes in his handling of this situation, and I think that is where many of the issues lie. Grassley should have taken more time to plan this investigation and the way he went about it. The information he wants, he could have gotten through the proper IRS channels in about 60 days. And he would have avoided all of this media hype.

  12. 437Sandy says:

    I believe we have a senator on our hands who has let the power go to his head. Way to go for Copeland heading to the IRS. I highly doubt any other person out there would ask the IRS for an audit, especially when you are handling millions of dollars. I agree that they shouldn’t let Grassley bully them around and try to go around the system. We need to keep our Senators focused on our nation, not 1. Ministries that are providing a good service to the community, 2. Steroids in baseball. 3. Spygate in football. Come senators, lets get our priorities straight.

  13. tgif says:

    437Sandy- I have to agree with you – Grassley is OUT of control. The smear campaign launched from his camp last week is entertaining. The nepotism angled attack is yet another attempt to smear Copeland. How many organizations are family run in this country? How about other ministries? Or does it matter that they are of different denominations? It is past time for this to come to an end.

  14. michele says:

    tgif & sandy – you both are right. It’s time for this situation to come to an end I’d say. it’s been going on for way too long. Grassley has obviously messed up with his handling of this. Copeland is not going to back down- which he shouldn’t. I think it’s time to get back to work and more pressing issues. Like you mentioned sandy – time to get the priorities straight.

  15. halcyon2 says:

    Joh – what is an average run of the mill Christian leader?

    The research is accurate from the previous posters on the subject. These ministries adding their protest are quite different from the ones under investigation. It has been pointed out in many articles, both religious and secular, including a recent Zimbio article. They are not “behind Copeland” in their thrust of ministry or in their response to this investigation. They are getting behind the principle they see violated in the nature and scope of it, seeing that, if passed, may come knocking on their door.

    Mr. Grassley appears to be in a defensive posture with this recent nepotism thing, losing steam and struggling to whip up support for what he started. And, where is closure for those who provided everything he asked for? The IRS does around 60 days on this. It doesn’t seem to make a difference if you divvy up or not. Where is clearance for the responsive ones? I bet he wishes he never started this. It has not gone well for him. He needs our prayers, along with those who provided him with all the “information.” I see the holdouts being upheld and rightly so.

  16. four4seasons says:

    Check. Don’t mind Joh. You catch him on all the blogs of this type. He’s obvious. An ignorant detractor bumbling around with cheap shots and misinformation. Best ignored. It helps that he uses all those idiot grin faces. Makes it easier to skip his junk.

  17. four4seasons says:

    The Grassley “investigation” is wearing thin and running out of steam. The nepotism ploy is just the latest absurdity. Retort on this is building – from the public, supporters, ministries totally unconnected with the WOF message and even within his own party.

    Good to see someone else wonders about the status of those two who provided all their records en toto? Mr. Grassley’s got what he said he wanted from them. So, what’s the result? He’s stalled with the ball in his court now. Why? Verdict please. Innocent or guilty? Cleared or smeared? Either produce the mud or dry up. Instead, they are all left dangling on the media circus wire. Judicial/investigative process in the US is expected to give a ruling, especially when the media spotlight has been so inappropriately given first shot and repeated morsels along the way. Now this.

    Didn’t we all hear at the beginning that this was not about doctrine – no, no, not at all – and now it is about nepotism. They’ve just made obvious what many saw from the beginning, that it was never about financial records. It is no wonder some of the group have chosen not to be drawn into the show. True, we now see it has made little difference whether you complied or not. The holdouts and the compliers are all still left in that cage Mr. Grassley shoved them in. still subject to everyone gawking and poking at them. The holdouts were right.

  18. Joh says:

    Four4Seasons… ignorance is bliss is it not?? and you fit the bill perfectly…go on being critical of other peoples viewpoint just as your “idol” Kenneth does…ultimately the truth will come out it always does

  19. Enough says:

    four4seasons – I agree with you completely! Great comments. The nepotism attack thrown out by Grassley’s group 2 weeks ago is laughable. How many other ministries in this country have family members running them? and companies? Or is it okay because they fall under a different denomination? It’s time for this to come to an end. Copeland isn’t going to give up and he shouldn’t!

  20. haycyon2 says:

    I too appreciate four4seasons’ perspective. There are several holdouts. My reference to Copeland was in response to Joh’s confusing comments. He appears to be the one who is obsessed with him.

  21. halcyon2 says:

    I too appreciate four4seasons’ perspective. There are several holdouts. My reference to Copeland was in response to Joh’s confusing comments. He appears to be the one who is obsessed with him.

  22. Joh says:

    What a shame “reality is beyond your grasp”

  23. halcyon2 says:

    “Joh – what is an average run of the mill Christian leader?

    The research is accurate from the previous posters on the subject. These ministries adding their protest are quite different from the ones under investigation. It has been pointed out in many articles, both religious and secular, including a recent Zimbio article. They are not “behind Copeland” in their thrust of ministry or in their response to this investigation. They are getting behind the principle they see violated in the nature and scope of it, seeing that, if passed, may come knocking on their door. ”

    Awaiting response.

  24. richardson says:

    Don’t hold your breath trying to bring persons of this ilk to the facts, much less principle. They don’t bother with them. They are only in their element on the comic strip blogs that are set up to tear down. With or without the profuse yellow smirks, on a blog where there is a sincere issue or concern, an Ole plant stands out like a sore thumb.

  25. Joh says:

    halcyon2… “average run of the mill” what i was referring to was a Church that is of a genuine(non materialistic) manner and completely without Guilt or secrets… i realize many in this blog simply believe that Copeland/Hinn/Dollar etc are Genuine… but its quite obvious they are not If a REAL church opens its doors to full inspection it obviously has nothing to hide or be afraid of? wouldn’t this be what Jesus would want? im sure a lot of the Ministries that are supporting Copeland etc may well be genuine.. but there is much much more to this whole thing than meets the eye…. simply do some deep research and you will find a VERY tangled web of not quite honest goings on… Copeland is an industry/a business/ call it whatever you like… he has some involvement in many different”ministries” be it either Financial in manner or in some other ways… ORU was recently exposed and Copeland/his son inlaw and Dollar and Hinn Very quickly Got out of it or were “put on the back burners” depending the outcome of Senator Grassleys inquiry…. i know you guys here seem to think im some kind of Fanatical fool but i have personally seen the harm and destruction Copeland/Hinn/Dollar etc have done to the lives of Genuine Christian people.

  26. halcyon2 says:

    Wow. Deep research is not required. We know the associations. You’re spinning here. The ORU board members were not embroiled in the ORU mess as you say. They sorted out what was best for the university – under fire. George Pearsons did a yeoman’s job with that. He pastors one of the most vibrant, on-fire congregations in North America. His staff stepped up and took over many of his duties, but he managed to be in his pulpit incredibly consistently during that time. The fact that seasoned ministers do not bail when there is trouble does not mean co-conspiracy. That seems like something obvious to you because you are so many steps removed from what you claim to know so much about. You also do not know or care to know the many major ministry meetings and outeaches conducted by these that would be a full-time and a half job for most. Clearly, you do not have a dog in this race. Say hi to Ole and remind him that not every televangelist is a Bob Tilton.

  27. richardson says:

    I’m at work and glad I checked back. Hmmm. Pretty lame speel or spin as you say. Maybe that’s what comes of hanging around those “average run of the mill churches” we’ve heard so much about . . . Sounds a lot like “form of religion, but denying the power.”

    I’ve downloaded Pastor George’s sermons from their church site in the past. He is his own man of God with his own walk and calling. It is pretty amazing what these people accomplish in God. I think that ‘s part of the problem from Grassley down – lukewarm. They can’t see anything but malfeasance since they are so ingrained with arm chair religion. If the movement gets out of their back yard, they get very nervous.

    I personally care about their condition and know what I am supposed to do about it. But I also don’t brook the foolishness when I run into it. The way I read, Jesus did not. He loves us all and is patient with all our faultiness, but what’s come out in this current situation needs standing up to. Some are truly ignorant of what they are doing, but then again one sees the Pharisee spirit raising its ugly head in much of this.

  28. TGIS says:

    There are some really good insights on this thread. Reading this has helped me see into a lot of these people’s hyper mania when they find out about a jet or partnering together of ministers and so forth. Some groups have had so much in-fighting in their ranks such cooperation would never be considered. No way could they work together like these men do. Really, I have been bowled over at the things these bloggers say. The Pharisee analogy is really apropos. Another thing said here gave me some help with it. They are so many steps removed – like way out in the outer, outer 40. They in turn are as aghast that other ministries are so far ahead of them in experiencing what God can do. All they know is what man can do with just a little divine squirt here and there. Like Mr. Grassley’s denomination, so much fighting and splitting off. They move their pastors around on a set schedule, random and rote. All of those things are just normal to them, just the way we do things. I in turn don’t understand that kind of thing at all either. And if a minister or ministry has a global ministry that impacts the world for Christ in one year more than their whole denomination has done in 50 years, he just has to be a con artist working in intricately layered webs of intrigue and chicanery. So, it is just poles part. I thank God he put me where I am and I am sorry for these incredibly unbelieving believers (and the lost ones in there too).

  29. richardson says:

    Going to try again from work on this. Hey, maybe the problem here is that average run of the mill situation we’ve heard so much about. Sounds much like having a form of religion but denying the power. Unfortunately, there is much more than steps apart, more like way out in the back 40. Some of it is ignorance, but those Pharisees have a way of getting very jealous over the crowds. These ministries and others do more in actual soul winning, actual results, in one year than some of the denominations have done in more than half their history. No wonder they get nervous when they see movement. Boldness is taken for arrogance. The anointing of power is construed to be snake oil. Many are threatened by the level of success. There are just such poles apart.

    When ministries like this work together so closely, they are seen as being intricately webbed in intrigue of some sort. Understandable, when Sen. Grassley’s denomination is known for its infighting and splits – shooting their wounded. Seeing a group roll up their sleeves and join together to work out somebody’s mess is such an oddity, so foreign to their religious experience that they can only ascribe it to some sort of intrigue … Sad. They can wake up. They can make better choices and have a deeper life and empowerment. All they can see is dollar signs.

  30. TGIS says:

    Glad you agree even if a bit repetitious of our points. Guess they got a little behind on the posting here and there in this. But I am excited about seeing into this. I just could not understand some of these fierce anti-televangelist bloggers with their conspiracy theories. You’d almost think they were talking about the Mafia ! It’s just that they have such a limited experience themselves of God and what he can do. I’m starting to feel sorry for them. Now I am praying for a strong witness to go to the religious world in particular to come to a fuller understanding of how fabulous God is — what he can do in a man or woman’s life who actually put their dependence on him — and Believe his word! That passage comes to mind that God is great and we know him not. But we can do something about that. Draw nearer Religious World – Unbeliever – to him and allow him to work his larger potential in and through you. He’s coming back and there is much to do!

  31. luke says:

    Here we are months later and still no conclusion to this “investigation.” Copeland has proven he is not going to back down and his support has only grown over time. I think it’s apparent Grassley didn’t find what he expected or he would have already used the sub peonas he threatened months ago. It’s time to finally call an end to this before decisions get made that will affect us all negatively.

  32. Election day says:

    Luke – I have to agree with you. I was just going back over some things regarding this “investigation.” Grassley made mistakes from day one with this whole situation. He wasn’t prepared for the strong opposition he faced. Copeland stood strong and Grassley sunk to some shady levels to smear Copeland and his family. I am glad Copeland stood up for all of us. I don’t think the average bear realizes how this could affect so much more than the church organizations involved.

  33. I disagree respectfully with both Luke and Election Day above. Kenneth Copeland is neither the “champion” of religious rights he purports himself to be, nor being honest with the public about the true nature of this investigation and his unwillingness to cooperate like Joyce Meyer and others already have. Let me explain briefly…

    I do not believe that Copeland has a solid leg to stand on with regard to the Grassley investigation. His premise is completely wrong, for this has nothing to do with First Amendment issues. In fact, the investigation began back in 2004 and examined non-profit hospitals, the Statue of Liberty Foundation, and even the Red Cross, well-before they even turned their attention to the six “televangelists.” Here is my blog post that DETAILS the Grassley investigation with a thorough examination:

    Copeland’s “religious persecution” argument rings particularly hollow once you realize that the VERY things he is being investigated for were previously confronted by Kenneth E. Hagin. Hagin told him and other “prosperity preachers” that they were in excess and error. He rebuked them even for “displaying a lavish, ostentatious lifestyle” as well, which is what drew Senator Grassley’s attention to the Copelands in the first place.

    So if Copeland is in defiance of the rebuke brought to him by the founder of the Word of Faith movement (and he most certainly is) then how can he claim he is being persecuted for “Word of Faith” beliefs? He cannot…at least he cannot honestly. Here is my blog post detailing this point also:

    I have read Chuck’s assessment of this situation in two posts, and I CERTAINLY agree with him that Copeland is hiding something… and I have firsthand knowledge that he really is. Unlike most of you, I actually KNOW Kenneth Copeland personally and even wrote a book with him entitled Angel Flight 44.

    However, when I got around him closely I saw firsthand his error and sin. I decided as a minister of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ that I could no longer associate with such filth. Moreover, I have since launched a public rebuke of the man for his documentable lies, probable public fraud, and many doctrinal errors (which even Hagin tried to correct before). The site is nowhere near complete yet, but the text and videos already on there clearly articulate our objective: My family and I, along with our supporters, are now publicly calling on Kenneth Copeland, his family, and his ministry…to simply repent.

    In Jesus,

    -Rich Vermillion

  34. Correction: I typed “2004” above but should have put “2001” there instead. Senator Grassley’s investigation has been going on since 2001, and is now about to enter its eighth year. In contrast, the “televangelist” portion of the investigation is ONLY just over one year old. So it is quite incorrect to attribute the SFC investigation to being merely a “witch hunt” of Christian ministries.

    I also disagree with Luke’s assessment above that Copeland’s support has grown. There are an increasing number of us CHRISTIANS who reject his behavior, and more than a few Christian organizations. For example, I already mentioned the late Kenneth E. Hagin’s previous efforts to correct Copeland in my comment above, but Charisma Magazine has called on Copeland to cooperate. has been trying to hold the Copelands (and all other large Christian ministries) to the biblical standard of transparency and honesty as well. (the site which we founded) is only therefore an extension of the correction already underway through the Body of Christ.

    BTW: Have any of you considered the Words of Jesus about what we should conclude when people hide from the “light”? In John 3:19-21 (Amplified) we read, “The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil. For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved. But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are–wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him].

    And Paul set the standard for honesty with regard to ministry finances in 2 Corinthians 8:19-21 (Amplified) saying, “And more than that, he has been appointed by the churches to travel as our companion in regard to this bountiful contribution which we are administering for the glory of the Lord Himself and [to show] our eager readiness [as Christians to help one another]. [For] we are on our guard, intending that no one should find anything for which to blame us in regard to our administration of this large contribution. For we take thought beforehand and aim to be honest and absolutely above suspicion, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.

    So the Scriptures themselves clearly support the position of Chuck Gallagher, that Copeland should be forthcoming with the requested information, and cooperate with the investigation.

    Personally, I would support Copeland if he took a Fifth Amendment stand with regard to his personal financial affairs. However, regarding the ministry of KCM, it is my conclusion in the light of Scriptures and the facts at hand that he has absolutely no SOUND biblical or “Constitutional” reason to FAIL to cooperate with the ministry-part of the investigation. So why is he?

    As I said before above, I will say now again: We have firsthand knowledge that Copeland has “skeletons” he is hiding in his closet (and we will continue to document them over time). Therefore, my family and I, along with our supporters, are now publicly calling on Kenneth Copeland, his family, and his ministry…to simply repent.

    In Jesus,

    -Rich Vermillion

  35. Hi!
    Just wanting to find out what Pastor Copeland’s position is on this tax investigation. As you know, we hear negative things, but are they true. I never knew that Pastor Copeland asked for an audit!

    Thanks and God Bless!

    Dr. Gary

  36. Jim says:

    Yeah…you expect ANYBODY to trust any Senator???

    Copeland is correct…all the info the Senator wants, and easily be obtained from the IRS, but they’ll have to get a court order to obtain it.

    If Copeland is so dangerous…what’s the problem in getting a court order to obtain what is needed from the IRS on these financial records???

    If the door is opened to these Senators…then it’ll soon be open season on ALL Christian ministries as many in the Federal Government are scared of Christians in general and would like a way to shut them up…especially as we head towards the one world government and one world religion!

    So, kudos to Copeland for making Grassley go to the IRS to get the records he is seeking! It’s actually a blessing for all of us cause Senators damage the country much more than any preacher!

  37. Jim says:

    Rich Vermillion’s claim that Copeland is going to go to hell (claims he’s not even a Christian, as though rich even knows!)….really takes so much away from the expose he is trying to make money on.

    Sure, the Copelands seem to have financial irregularities…but is this cause to claim someone is not even saved and is going to burn in hell???

    Rich Vermillion sits in judgement over another man’s soul…and he has no right to do so from scripture, so Rich…keep your expose on that which you know and not dreams and visions of Copeland burning in hell, OK?

  38. Jim,

    I want to thank you for writing one of the most absurd and unsubstantiated set of false accusations against me that I have seen online in a long time. Frankly, this is refreshing. I had begun to think that something was wrong since I had not received such ludicrous false accusations against me in a while:

    ** Luke 6:22 Blessed are you when men hate you,
    And when they exclude you,
    And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
    For the Son of Man’s sake.
    23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
    For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
    For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
    24 “But woe to you who are rich,
    For you have received your consolation.
    25 Woe to you who are full,
    For you shall hunger.
    Woe to you who laugh now,
    For you shall mourn and weep.
    26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
    For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

    So thank you, Jim. Your unsubstantiated false accusations really blessed me tonight. ;)

    Now, let me demonstrate how utterly absurd your comment really is for the benefit of others…

    Jim says: “Rich Vermillion’s claim that Copeland is going to go to hell (claims he’s not even a Christian, as though rich even knows!)….really takes so much away from the expose he is trying to make money on.

    Okay…now that you have put your foot in your mouth, let’s see if you can extract it and fill that cavity instead with anything worth reading. Question: In what way am I trying to “make money” from exposing the Copelands? I have no products for sale on our public rebuke website. I have no donation buttons on ANY of my websites. So…how am I “making money” in what we are doing by exposing the Copelands as wolves, calling on them to repent, and warning people to stay away from them unitl they do?

    Your false allegations are patently absurd. It COSTS me money to maintain that website, and I do not make a dime from it. Thus, your lying accusation above is also plainly sinful too:

    ** Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

    ** Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

    So let me get this straight: From the attitude that you have demonstrated in your post above, you seem to feel that you are somehow more biblical and correct than I am. Okay…so how does making false accusations qualify you as somehow “better” than me?

    In contrast to your fallacious tripe above, on my website, I actually back up my conclusions with facts, Scripture, and sound logic. You have not bothered to even ATTEMPT to use even ONE of these three: You have no facts, you did not bother to quote any Scripture, and you are purely fallacious in that you use “begging the question,” “ad hominem” and “straw man” fallacies (among others) within your comment.

    Let me now address your next absurdity, Jim:

    “Rich Vermillion sits in judgement over another man’s soul…and he has no right to do so from scripture, so Rich…keep your expose on that which you know and not dreams and visions of Copeland burning in hell, OK?”

    Again, you have used a “straw man argument” fallacy here by suggesting that I am sitting “in judgment over another man’s soul” when I have never done any such thing at all. Instead, I have detailed the Scriptures and facts, and by sound logic, reached my conclusions. I then expressed my CONCERN that Kenneth Copeland is NOT SAVED in that light.

    Is there “no right” in Scripture to express CONCERN over the state of a man’s soul? Here are a few passages that you apparently have NOT read:

    ** James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

    ** 1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

    ** Titus 1:15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

    Thus, the Bible says quite clearly that we can KNOW those who are “children of the devil” by their behavior…and Jesus Himself said this before the apostles did:

    ** Luke 6:43 “For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

    ** Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

    In your view, Jim, it would seem that you think Jesus was quite stupid for daring to tell us how to identify false prophets and unsaved people “by their fruits.” It also seems that in your view, the apostles were somehow fools for having taught similar things themselves. (How dare James, John, and Paul repeat Jesus’s teaching to others!)

    So, Jim, you are not only a false accuser who cannot back up his false allegations with facts, but you are also quite demonstrably ignorant of the Bible too.

    Thus, again, your comment above blessed me tonight. There is not one shred of truth to it, and it seems obvious that you are “reviling” me and “casting out my name as evil” as Jesus said above. Thus, I am blessed. :D

    However, YOU are self-refuted.

    Moreover, I am now concerned about YOUR soul, Jim. Why? Because as the passages above reveal, a “tree” is known by its “fruit,” and those who “practice sin” are actually “children of the devil.” Worse yet, Jesus said that “all liars” will have their place in the Lake of Fire:

    ** Revelation 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

    Even more terrifying than that, Jesus actually said that “many” who profess to know Him are really unsaved!

    ** Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are MANY who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are FEW who find it….

    v. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 MANY will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

    The very same “many” of verse 13 is the very same “many” of verse 22! Oh, the horror of people thinking that they are saved until they wake up in Hell and find out that their “broad way” preachers led them to destruction!!!!

    Oh, and yes, in between these two passages above is the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” passage that I already quoted above…demonstrating that those who seek the “broad way” paths are often influenced to do so by such self-serving wolves as the Copelands.

    Consequently, I am VERY concerned about YOUR soul now, Jim. You are demonstrably a liar, and have very little accurate comprehension of the Scriptures. Worse yet, by defending Copeland as you so errantly and ardently do, you have demonstrated that you are following him on the very same self-serving greedy “broad way” that he himself is on…and THAT road leads to “destruction,” my friend.

    Please wake up, Jim. Hell is the wrong place for you to discover that you were NEVER saved.

    @ EVERYONE: So that you know what article Jim was attacking with his ludicrous comment above, I will provide the direct link here as a courtesy:

    Always in Jesus,

    -Rich Vermillion

    • Fascinating. I just noticed that my reply to “Jim” above was posted two years to the day from when he posted his lying accusations. That is an intriguing coincidence.

      Nevertheless, I was overjoyed at discovering his post last night (belated or not) and replying to it substantively.

      Always in Jesus,


      • Rich, you’re just as big a fraud as Copeland. It took you seventeen years to figure out Copeland was bad news? What’s the matter never watched the news in the 80’s when everybody was criticizing Copeland? Maybe you got your seventeen years out of him and then saw the time was right to leave? How much money did you make off his fraud before jumping ship? This is an honest question. There is no way a person works for a ministry like that for seventeen years and doesn’t notice a thing until right up till the end. Maybe what you really saw is that Copeland might go down and take you with him? So you bailed from the Titanic which isn’t sunk yet. Yet on you’re site you are doing the same thing as he, only you’re not going big time.

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