Bonnie Parker was a faithful person, perhaps not much different from you or me. She was a dedicated follower of Christ and sincerely wanted to believe with all her heart. Then, she was diagnosed with cancer.
She was given hope, she said, when she listened to the teachings of Kenneth and Gloria Copeland on television. Perhaps you know the Copelands. They are arguably the most successful television evangelists in the world.
For instance, you may have seen the people lining up to be healed by the Copelands. And who wouldn’t, being told that all it takes is faith in order to be healed? Well, that and money. Lots of it. Parker’s husband Alvin and daughter Kristy believe Bonnie gave the Copelands upwards of a few hundred thousand dollars.
Sure, you must know the Copelands. They’re the ones who live in a $6.3 million lakeside villa because their ministry is a registered church.
You know, the Copelands who use ministry monies for two private jets, which they call “preaching machines,” because they are used solely for church activities. Except, of course, when they are not, like when they have been caught using these preaching machines to fly to luxury ski resorts and gaming trips to India to hunt exotic animals.
Yes, you may know them.
And are they ever so persuasive. The Copelands encourage their audience to show their faith by giving to Kenneth Copeland Ministries. Such demonstrations of faith, according to the couple, would bring about healing. Just trust God. Well, give money, and then trust God. In that order. That’s the magic formula. Yep, those Copelands.
Back in 2013, the Copelands' megachurch in North Texas experienced a measles outbreak. Former member, Amy Arden, described how the couple created an environment in which modern medicine was shunned in exchange for giving to the ministry and prayer.
She said, “To get a vaccine would have been viewed by me and my friends and my peers as an act of fear — that you doubted God would keep you safe, you doubted God would keep you healthy. We simply didn’t do it.”
Such nonsense is serious business. Measles is still deadly, killing 400 people per day worldwide.
Gloria Copeland, High Priestess in the Church of the Immaculate Misconception, in her series titled, “Healing Faith,” says this: “We know what’s wrong with you – you’ve got cancer! The bad news is we don’t know what to do about it except give you some poison that will make you sicker. Now, which do you want to do: do you want to do that, or do you want to sit here on Saturday morning, hear the word of God, and let faith come into your heart and be healed? Hallelujah.” You know the Copelands, don’t you?
Unfortunately, Bonnie Parker knew them well. Too well. Instead of seeking appropriate medical treatment for her cancer, Parker was persuaded to “sow” money into the Copeland’s ministry. The idea, presumably, is that Parker would “reap” the benefit of healing because of her faith as evidenced by her gifts to the Copeland’s ministry. She died, donating to the Copeland’s church until the day of her death.
Parker’s daughter, Kristy, said the Copelands convinced her mother that “if she went to a doctor, it was a sin. You didn’t believe enough if you did.”
Yes, you just might know the Copelands. But does the Lord? Jesus said, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)
And in Matthew 7:15, Jesus was clear: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
If no one has ever said this to you, let me be the first. If you are sick, pray and have others pray for you. But, immediately get to the best doctor you can find.
God made doctors and medicines too. And His answer to your prayer may be in the healing they bring.
As for the Copelands, dear God, may you never know them.