Plagiarism of E. W. Kenyon by Kenneth E. Hagin?
One respected Charismatic leader, who has since gone on to be with the Lord, said of E.W. Kenyon that he was often quoted, yet seldom footnoted.
In his book A Different Gospel, author D.R. McConnell goes to some length to show that Kenneth Hagin plagiarized the writings of E. W. Kenyon. Some have contacted the office of Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society quite irritated about this situation. So what is our response?
First of all, it must be noted that Kenneth Hagin, to the best of my knowledge does not actually write his books. What I mean by this is that his books are for the most part transcriptions of his speaking ministry. Someone transcribes the taped messages and then they are edited and put into book form. Those who are preachers understand that it is impossible to stop and credit everyone who influenced your message while you are preaching. As someone who has been preaching and teaching for around 20 years, I shudder to think what would happen if I were called upon to remember each author or speaker who had influenced any given message I teach.
Anyone listening to me preach who was familiar with E.W. Kenyon would recognize many of his ideas in my preaching. The thoughtful listener would also recognize many other influences in my speaking ministry. This would be confirmed by my personal library of books and tapes.
One respected Charismatic leader, who has since gone on to be with the Lord, said of E.W. Kenyon that he was often quoted, yet seldom footnoted. Many people have absorbed his phrases and echoed his ideas. I have heard Kenneth Hagin personally testify to the fact that many of the phrases he has used and ideas he has taught, he heard from some other preachers before he ever heard of E.W. Kenyon. It is quite possible that they were quoting Kenyon and using his material and Kenneth Hagin didn’t know the original source. Liking the sound of the phrases, Hagin added them to his preaching vocabulary.
Hagin has noted that he has an almost photographic memory. Reading or hearing something once was all that was necessary for him to recall it verbatim. Every preacher wishes he had this ability! Most of us remember what we can but seldom remember where we heard it. But most preachers have no need to become paranoid about someone chastising us for quoting another author or preacher in our messages and being accused of plagiarism either! Brother Hagin has not been so fortunate.
A second thought that bears on this subject: All of those ministers who worked with Kenyon used his terminology and catchy phrases. It’s would be hard to imagine him being offended by this. People enjoy Kenyon’s writings because he had a unique way of stating things that grabs our attention. People seldom imitate boring speakers! Kenyon would probably be delighted to find that so many are using his phraseology today. In his day he sent forth many ministers that he trained in his churches and Bible schools who preached essentially his message. A father in the faith is blessed when his children imitate him, not angered.
A third point: Kenneth Hagin published a book titled The Name of Jesus. The book was taken from tapes of a seminar where he taught through Kenyon’s book The Wonderful Name of Jesus. He credits Kenyon both on the tapes and in the introduction to the book. He worked, through his editor, with Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society and had the complete approval of Ruth Kenyon Housworth (Kenyon’s late daughter) for the book when it went to print. Hagin’s ministry has always maintained a good relationship with Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society. One of Kenyon’s books is used in the curriculum at Hagin’s Rhema Bible Training Center.
We consider Kenneth E. Hagin to be a great man of God. If E.W. Kenyon were here today, he and Hagin would probably be good friends. And from his vantage point in heaven, Kenyon is probably delighted that Kenneth E. Hagin has been so successful in getting the message of faith, so dear to Kenyon’s heart, out to so many in the world in this generation.
If Kenyon himself wouldn’t be bothered about it all, why should anyone else?