FORT WORTH, Texas — Prosperity preacher Kenneth Copeland recently acquired a Gulfstream V private jet, which his staff says is “debt free” because of the donations of his followers. The announcement has drawn both applause and outrage.
Copeland’s organization announced on Jan. 12 that the 81-year-old took possession of the jet, which he purchased from actor, comedian and gospel songwriter Tyler Perry.
“[T]he Holy Spirit confirmed to Brother Copeland that the Gulfstream V was the plane the Lord had set aside for KCM,” claimed Charlie Bollinger, who identified as a volunteer Elite CX Team Leader. “Right away discussions began, and Brother Copeland developed a wonderful personal relationship with the seller, Christian businessman and moviemaker Tyler Perry.”
“Soon a contract was signed, a cash deposit was paid, and the aircraft was brought to Dallas for a very thorough pre-buy inspection process, which [was] wrapped up in November,” he continued. “And praise God, it was actually during Thanksgiving week that the purchase was completed, the title was signed, and thanks to the CX Team, the cash was in the bank to mark it paid in full!”
The Elite CX Team is a group of Copeland supporters who purpose to assist the prosperity preacher financially with his stated projects. Copeland points to a 2002 “prophecy” given by friend Keith Moore of Faith Life Church in Branson, who stated that the Lord was going to raise up wealthy supporters to back Copeland.
“Thus saith the Lord: I am rallying and raising up support to you. It will far surpass all you have previously seen or known,” Moore said. “I’m joining to you new partners who are very strong financially, and they will obey Me. I’m prospering your longtime partners with supernatural increase and they will obey Me.”
Copeland opined in a video posted to YouTube that he believed that the prophecy was coming to pass with the purchase of the Gulfstream V.
While it is unclear as to how much was paid for the jet, Bollinger notes that another $2.5 million is desired to upgrade the avionics in light of soon-coming FAA standards, and that the ultimate goal is to raise $17 million, which will include constructing a hanger for the plane.
“[E]arlier this year when the CX leadership team met to pray and hear from the Lord, the word we heard was harvest. Yes, harvest, harvest, harvest!” he wrote. “The Lord reminded us that, through our CX Team giving, together we have sown into KCM a Citation X, a state-of-the-art HD TV truck, and now we’ve sown a Gulfstream V—all of which are producing a bountiful harvest for every single team member.”
As previously reported, in 2015, Copeland asserted on his television broadcast, “The Believer’s Voice of Victory,” that he flies on a private jet to avoid being bothered by “demon” passengers.
“Oral [Roberts] used to fly airlines,” he said. “But even back then it got to the place where it was agitating his spirit—people coming up to him, he had become famous, and they wanted him to pray for them and all that. You can’t manage that today [in] this dope-filled world, and get in a long tube with a bunch of demons. And it’s deadly.”
While he said that he didn’t want to fly with a “bunch of demons,” moments later, Copeland contended that he needed a private jet to help reach the lost.
“We’re in soul business here. We’ve got a dying world around us. We’ve got a dying nation around us,” Copeland proclaimed. “We can’t even get there on the airlines.”
Last month, in the midst of a series on “supernatural wealth transfer,” his organization posted to social media the exhortation to make the faith confessions, “The wealth of the sinner comes to me now,” “The Lord is increasing me more and more,” and “I call in the harvest on every seed sown.”
The announcement of the purchase of the Gulfstream V has generated mixed reaction, with some praising God for the plane and others lamenting that the money was not used to help the poor and hungry.
“My Father God is raising me to become like the Elite CX Team partners, moving His kingdom forward through prosperity. Hallelujah!” one commenter wrote.
“I am so happy it is here. I know God is going to use you and the plane to bless so many people. I am praying and believing for finances for the hanger and the runway,” another stated.
“Reminds me of the man who said, ‘I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones,'” a third wrote, referring to Christ’s words in Luke 12. “And, oh yes, whilst half the world goes to sleep each night with an empty stomach. Keep on your blindfolds all you gullible people who give to this scam. What a shame.”
“So somehow sowing the Gospel of Christ crucified and reaping a harvest of righteousness has become sowing money into an organization and reaping a harvest of sweet vehicles for said organization and its leader?” another asked.
Jesus said in Luke 12:15, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”