Kenneth Copeland Ministries issued an official letter to the Internal Revenue Service last week, agreeing to an audit of the church.
The letter --personally delivered April 7 by John Copeland, CEO of the ministry-- welcomed questions regarding a probe by Sen. Charles Grassley, but only through the IRS.
"We told the IRS in a letter that we welcome them to come and make inquiry of us and we will provide answers to the IRS regarding questions that Sen. Grassley has," Copeland explained. "The Church desires to protect its and all other churches' First Amendment rights, and by this action, we believe we are doing just that."
Click play for video of a press conference with John Copeland.
Kenneth Copeland Ministries is one of six currently under investigation by the Senate Finance Committee for suspected misappropriation of church funds.
The church was one of only two ministries to meet Grassley's initial Dec 6. deadline to submit financial records.
The ministry, however, believes the IRS is the agency that should receive private information from the church, not the Senate.
"It's been our contention all along that there is a process that is already in place to provide this kind of information, and this process is giving it to the IRS," Copeland said at a press conference. "They are the appointed agency by the government to receive this kind of information."
Grassley will still be able to obtain the information he is demanding by requesting it from the IRS after its investigation, the letter said.
Copeland Ministries issued a letter to Grassley before expressing its concerns over the investigation.
Dr. Vinson Synan, Dean Emeritus of the School of Divinity at Regent University, believes Grassley's investigation singles out Pentacostal churches who preach the "Word of Faith."
"It appears the inquiry is aimed at publicly questioning the religious beliefs of the targeted churches, their ministers and their members, while ignoring televangelists of other denominations," he said. "This violates the fundamental tenet of the First Amendment that the government should not single out any religion because of its beliefs. It also raises the question of religious bias against the Pentecostals and Charismatics who now number almost 70,000,000 Americans according to a recent Pew Survey."
Sources: Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Christian News Wire