Televangelist Kenneth Copeland spoke for about five minutes at a Donald Trump rally in Latrobe, Pa., on Nov. 5.
With Trump standing behind him, Copeland, 86, spoke to the audience members about George Washington, voting, and the need for energy independence in America. “Voting is a sacred trust,” he said. “And if you don’t vote, hush.”
Copeland noted how he has lived “through a lot of presidents, beginning with FDR.” He said Trump is the only president he has ever seen who wears “red, white, and blue to the office.”
Copeland also prayed from the podium, calling America “the greatest nation in history.”
“You’re my president, you know,” Copeland said to Trump before exiting the stage.
A Controversial Charismatic
Copeland, who leads Kenneth Copeland Ministries, rose to prominence within the charismatic movement but has also received denunciation for his unorthodox theology.
In 1987 Copeland drew criticism from evangelicals when he published a prophecy which he claims was directly from Jesus. “Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you’re God,” Copeland claimed Jesus prophesied through him. “The more you get to be like me, the more they’re going to think that way of you. They crucified me for claiming that I was God. But I didn’t claim I was God.”
Later that year, on July 19, 1987, Copeland made remarks during a nationally televised crusade which caused more concern among evangelicals: “I say this and repeat it so it don’t upset you too bad…When I read in the Bible where he (Jesus) says, ‘I am,’ yes, I am, too!”
In a 1994 article, the late R.C. Sproul called out Copeland for teaching heresy. “In the currency of Christian thought, the term heresy has usually been reserved for gross and heinous distortions of biblical truth, for errors so grave that they threaten either the essence (esse) of the Christian faith or the well-being (bene esse) of the Christian church,” Sproul wrote.
In more recent times, Copeland has been called a false teacher by Reformed Baptist theologian James R. White.
Despite the longstanding criticism, Copeland continues to accept donations via his ministry. His net worth is estimated to be over $700 million.