By Vernon Love
“The Marked Tree Church of Christ, 409 Broadway, Marked Tree, Ark. offers $1000 cash to any modern day faith heater, who can perform a bonafide miracle, like the New Testament miracles, (as in Acts 4:16), upon a local resident, who has been examined before and after by two reputable physicians.”
This challenge was made in the local newspaper, daily on the churchs radio program, and ten spot announcements daily for five days, while Mr. Kenneth Copeland (a student of Oral Roberts), performed in the high school gym. On February 28 through March 4, Copeland performed pseudo-services, but never healed anyone though many attempts were made.
Each night there was at least one “backfire” and some nights two or more obvious failures. The first night, a man with arthritis, was told to come back each night that he might lay his hands on him, but this man still walks with a limp and a cane. No notable miracle was done here! A mother, whose son was retarded, wearing braces on his legs, carried her son to the prayer line and then out to the car. Copeland told her that her son received the power and she must change her thinking about her son from what he was to what he is! No notable miracle here! The Lord was supposed to have been talking to him each night and would tell Copeland what to do and what to say. One night he approached a lady telling her she had been sick for a long time and had financial problems, and that the Lord told him He was going to take all that away. The lady shook her head “No I” Copeland said, “What do you mean No?” The lady said, “I have never been sick a day in my life!” He wiggled out of that by then moving to the next lady in line, repeating the same diagnosis, and she willingly accepted Copelands profound words of healing. No notable miracle here.
The very first night, Copeland piously stated he did not want any money, but every night the 11 yellow buckets” were passed and none of the contents were refused! He would preach long on Rom. 10: 13-17, but never would go to Acts 2:21, or to any passage on baptism showing baptism was a part of the gospel also. Many were “saved” by only raising their hands saying “I believe.” He would preach “Faith could move mountains” but never even moved a small gopher hill! A lot more notable contradictions could be noted, but these suffice.
Temporary at Best
On Wednesday evening, one of those “healed” some two years ago died just 135 miles away! Why the healer did not fly to the person and heal him and then fly back, is another notable mystery to us! No notable miracle here.
Twice Copeland mentioned the $1000 but refused to accept the challenge. We even challenged him to do as Paul did in Acts 13. We offered him our auditorium to perform a miracle or to “strike us blind,” but he never once has replied to our challenge, nor to our letters!
Demand a Miracle
We must challenge these and all others who are leading multitudes down the “broad way that leadeth to destruction!” (Mt. 7:13-14) Brethren, in each our hands must be the “Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17), so let us “stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6: 11) The miracles of the New Testament have ceased (I Cor. 13:8-13), but they continue to cause faith as we preach them, and “challenge modern day faith healers to perform a miracle!” These side show acts only lead multitudes to destruction.
“The week following the appearance of the false teacher, the Marked Tree church conducted a special improvised gospel meeting specifically to counter the false teaching done the week before in their city. J. T. Smith, now of Conway, Ark., did the preaching in the meeting March 12-17. Fourteen were baptized, and fifteen were restored. There have been five other responses since the meeting closed. It pays to fight false doctrine with truth.” – Cecil Willis
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 34, pp. 12-13
June 29, 1972