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Déjà Vu (or This Sure Seems Familiar…)

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Déjà Vu

(or This Sure Seems Familiar…)

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The American baseball legend, Yogi Berra, once said, “This is like déjà vu all over again.” That is exactly how I felt when I read U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley’s original letter to Kenneth and Gloria Copeland on behalf of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (SFC), dated November 5, 2007.

As I explained in my article Senator Grassley’s Crusade of Honor, I took the time to investigate the SFC investigation. Like many Christians I was at first alarmed by the U.S. Federal government probing into religious organizations. However, once I discovered that the SFC had been investigating non-profit organizations for over seven years before turning their focus on the Six Televangelists (Kenneth and Gloria Copeland’s ministry being one of them) my concerns subsided somewhat.

On the other hand, when I then took the time to read Sen. Grassley’s letter to the Copelands specifically, I actually became more alarmed about my own challenges concerning Kenneth Copeland’s broken Angel Flight 44 promises. On page 5 under line item number 14, the senator had the following issue to address with them:

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14. KCM solicited donations through brochures to ministry partners to build “The Revival Capital of the World.” This project was to include ministry facilities, a headquarters, a resort hotel, a radio and television center, a kingdom park and a retirement community called Wisdom Heights. What is the current building status of “The Revival Capital of the World?” What is the status of the donations given for this project? Are the funds being held apart from other ministry donations? Have donors been given an update or status report for the ministry project? Is there a relationship between “The Revival Capital of the World” and the land currently being used for El Rancho Fe a/k/a Copeland Cattle Company? (Note: Some text bolded for emphasis)

You can download a scanned copy of the entire letter directly from Senator Grassley’s website by clicking here, or an OCR-processed copy (i.e. one that you can copy and paste from) via KennethCopelandBlog.com by clicking on the Adobe PDF image below (English only) :

Senator Grassley's Letter to the Copelands November 5, 2007

(1.4 mb)

Note: Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader 9.0 or higher is recommended to view the above PDF .

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I have probed deeper into the above “Revival Capital of the World” project myself, and was shocked how similar this twenty-five-year-old unfulfilled promise is to our own four-year-old unfulfilled Angel Flight 44 promises. Let me break this down further so you can see what concerns me so much…
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Of Buildings and Broken Promises:

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A major building program was launched back in the mid-1980s to develop the Eagle Mountain property where Kenneth Copeland Ministries and Eagle Mountain International Church now sit. Using brochures and other marketing efforts to raise donations from their partners, KCM pledged to build numerous types of special-use buildings on the property with the funds raised:

  1. KCM’s “Headquarters” where ministry offices are now located.
  2. Other “ministry facilities” which includes the original chapel of KCM in which the church was begun.
  3. A “radio and television center” where KCM now produces their broadcasts.
  4. A “resort hotel” where, allegedly, people could stay when attending events and touring the…
  5. “Kingdom park” theme park, which was to include Disney-like Autonomatronic robots of famous preachers such as Martin Luther and Smith Wigglesworth.
  6. And the “Wisdom Heights” retirement community, where senior citizens could live right on the grounds of KCM.

Of the six projects above, can you guess which three were completed? Yes, the top three exist today. I remember touring the grounds of KCM the first time in 2002 with my wife when we attended our first KCM Minister’s Conference. The sweet staff member who escorted us kept mentioning the “miracles” related to the construction of the buildings—most especially how they were all built “debt free.”

On the other hand, can you guess which of the six have NOT been completed…after about twenty-five years…and after millions spent on aircraft and other KCM projects? Yes, the last three. Not only has KCM not even broken ground on these three projects, but these projects “mysteriously disappeared” from all KCM literature, publications, and broadcasts…and were never mentioned publicly again (until Sen. Grassley’s letter, of course). It is as if those promises had never been made, and as if nobody had contributed towards the “Revival Capital of the World” overall development with those last three projects in mind. (Is this beginning to sound familiar yet?) However, this advertised project of KCM did exist (e.g. the senator would not have brought it up publicly if he did not have sufficient evidence to ask the question) and the pledges were in fact made—but have never been acted upon as promised.

Can you guess which of the six projects above had the most people excited to contribute to that overall project? Yes, the last three unfulfilled projects would naturally stir emotions the most and would create the most enthusiasm for donor contributions. Though some might want to argue this fact with me, I think most people reading this article would agree that the last three projects would have caught their eye quicker than the first three.

Bless her heart, it is apparent that the sweet KCM staff member who showed my wife and I around on the grounds of KCM back in 2002 had no idea that the “paid for” buildings were probably funded with broken promises.

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Of Retirees and Trust:

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In my investigation of the “Wisdom Heights” portion of Copeland’s unfulfilled “Revival Capital of the World” projects, I talked with one investigator of this fiasco who has in his possession a canceled check made out to KCM for $1,000 towards that project. In January 2010 dollars, that check is equivalent to about $5,000 today when you use real inflationary figures. The person who wrote the check is a now very-senior citizen, who was looking forward to living in the Wisdom Heights retirement community.

How do you think that person feels, having had their check cashed by KCM—but their hopes crushed? How do you think that person feels when this is done without ANY explanation from KCM to those who donated money?

Probably a bit like I do regarding Copeland’s unfulfilled Angel Flight 44 promises. My name was attached to the book that detailed his commitments, and I invested about $30,000 worth of my own writing time and ability towards that book in hopes of helping KCM do something wonderful for hurting disaster victims. Thus, I am more than a little interested in getting some answers out of KCM just like that senior citizen above wants to know what happened to their retirement condo.

Unfulfilled promises look awfully similar to outright lies and fraud. It is time Kenneth Copeland and KCM cleared these matters up…or repent, whichever is applicable.

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KCM’s Response to Senator Grassley’s Inquiry:

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KCM responded in a written public document to Senator Grassley’s questions. In the interest of providing a full and fair treatment of this subject, I am posting their reply also. Here is their direct response to this particular question about the “Revival Capital of the World” below:
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The Church explained to Senator Grassley that it named the property purchased from the Estate of Paul H. Pewitt (i.e., the location of its current principal campus in Newark, Texas) the “Revival Capital of the World” and encouraged donors to support the improvement of that property for various church-related uses. The property currently has, among other things, a sanctuary and worship center, a chapel, a parsonage, class rooms, administrative offices, a prayer call center, and media development services facilities. These Church facilities have been built not only from donations received from donors during the “Revival Capital of the World” campaign, but also in subsequent years. The Church has since ceased referring to the Church’s Newark, Texas campus as the “Revival Capital of the World” and has abandoned plans to build certain facilities such as a kingdom park; however, the facilities that have been constructed on the Newark campus are consistent with the original vision for the “Revival Capital of the World”; moreover, the funds expended to purchase the land for, and to build the Church’s current campus, far exceed donations received in response to the “Revival Capital of the World” campaign. Accordingly, any donations given for this project were long ago fully expended for the purposes for which they were given, and to the extent such donations were insufficient to pay for all of the Church land and facilities described above, other donations have been used to make up the shortfall.

The Church further explained that Church members and donors are informed on a periodic basis regarding improvements to the Church’s Newark campus, as well as regarding other ministry activities, through membership newsletters, Internet updates, media presentations, Church events, and other literature. The Church also clarified for Senator Grassley that there is no relationship between the “Revival Campaign of the World” campaign and El Rancho Fe or Copeland Cattle Company. (page 14, text bolded for emphasis)

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Well, the explanation given by KCM’s lawyers on behalf of its leaders does NOT fully answer the senator’s questions—though at least it is something. (It is my understanding that many of the donors had never even received that much of an answer prior to the SFC investigation making this issue worldwide news…despite KCM’s inference otherwise above.) Moreover, there is still the unanswered question of, “Why did they abandon those additional projects?”

Quite frankly, I do NOT believe them when they claim (indirectly) that the donors were informed (and I will explain why further below). The fact that partners, church members, and donors, are all aware that there is NOT a theme park, resort hotel, and retirement community, on the grounds of KCM does not mean that those who donated for such projects were properly informed of the abandonment of those projects—and KCM’s reasons for doing so. Furthermore, the fact that current church members, KCM partners, & etc., are informed of new building programs does not mean they ever received an explanation for those abandoned ones of the past.

Nevertheless, you can download the entire KCM response here and compare their answers to the senator’s questions:

KCM's response to Senator Grassley's Letter

(88 kb)

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In Short:

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Though KCM has tried to paint a nice face on what appears to be an ugly deception, there are amazing similarities between KCM’s unfulfilled commitments of 25-years ago and their unfulfilled commitments of the last four years with regard to Angel Flight 44:

  • Both situations contained grand promises, but comparatively much less fulfillment (and absolutely NO fulfillment with regard to AF44).
  • Both projects brought in donations from excited contributors.
  • Both projects were seemingly abandoned quietly without explanation.
  • Funds from both projects seemed to be directed towards what was important to the Copelands, rather than what was important to the donors (or for that matter, even for what was important to disaster victims with regards to his failed AF44 commitments).

I am personally quite sure that the earthquake victims in Haiti right now do not want a form letter from KCM’s legal department that says merely, “Our partners know the state of Angel Flight 44.” (i.e. That AF44 simply does not exist.) I think the Haitians would rather have had airplanes loaded down with food, water and medical supplies landing on both “land and water” as Copeland had pledged.

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I Hope I Am Wrong, But…

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I surely do HOPE that there is a good explanation for all of this. I really would love to be proven wrong by newly uncovered facts so that I can change KennethCopelandBlog.com to reflect those new pieces of information and bring these sinister looking situations into a much more positive light.

Nevertheless, after nearly three years of trying to get answers out of the Copelands, I am not overly optimistic that any such redeeming facts will surface and come to light. In fact, their stubborn refusal in both my private and public efforts to confront this situation to date leads me to believe that I am unfortunately VERY right in my conclusions that extensive deception and probable fraud have occurred. This is especially true in view of what Jesus said:

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For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

(John 3:16-21, NKJV, emphasis added)

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If they were truly being honest, shouldn’t they have answered my own private inquiries before? They did not, and given the evidence I have presented here on KennethCopelandBlog.com, it should be obvious to most people why I simply do NOT consider the Copelands honest anymore. As a former partner with KCM for about seventeen years, I once thought they were one of the most honorable ministries around. After having personal exposure to them regarding this Angel Flight 44 fiasco, however, my former opinion about their integrity has been radically altered to the negative.

Let me point out again in the light of what Senator Grassley wrote above, how KCM replied, and all I have written herein and on this website: Kenneth Copeland Ministries is NOT open about their finances to any third-party accountability group. such as the Evangelical Counsel for Financial Accountability or Ministrywatch.com. Though KCM now makes pseudo-efforts to try and appear to their partners that they are being accountable, those efforts actually HIDE the information that truly indicates how faithful KCM is with donor funds (e.g. executive salaries, financial arrangements between for-profit entities and KCM, and etc.).

KCM may make statements that everything is “honest and above board” when pushed to do so by a senator (or maybe even by KennethCopelandBlog.com), but there is no way of confirming their claims unless they will seek to become accountable to third-party groups as Joyce Meyer’s ministry recently did.

Such utter lack of transparency does NOT follow the standard biblical protocol for financial accountability, as our next article will explore.

Consequently, we are calling on Kenneth Copeland, his family, and his ministry, to simply repent...which is what this blog is really all about anyway: Their redemption.

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This entry was posted in: Angel Flight 44, Bible, Christianity, Faith, Kenneth Copeland, Televangelist, Word of Faith
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