Oral Roberts has been praised and accepted as a "great man of God" through the charismatic movement. For many he was the spiritual father and a great example. He died December 15, 2009 at age 91. Who was he and what did he teach?
Roberts was born as the fifth and youngest child of M. Ellis and Claudia Roberts. As a child he had tuberculosis and he stuttered, something he was very ashamed of. In 1935, Roberts was miraculously healed, a story he would often tell during meetings.
After high school he attended various Bible Schools. In 1938 he married Evelyn Lutman Fahnestock. Their marriage lasted 66 years until her death on May 4, 2005.
In 1947, Roberts founded the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association. Roberts became a pioneer in the use of radio and television. In the 1960s and 1970s, supposedly obeying a command from "God", he left the faith-healing circuit to build Oral Roberts University, founded in 1963 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. ORU's first students entered the school in 1965. One part of the REA was "The Prayer Tower", a tower with 24 hours a day prayers, especially by students of the Oral Roberts University. He claims to have raised over a billion dollars.
Roberts did a lot of tent "evangelism". He was a lot on the radio and later on TV. He also wrote over 120 books. The best known are "Miracle of Seed Faith" and his autobiography "Expect a Miracle".
Oral Roberts in 1960 brought a visit to the Netherlands he would speak at a so-called day of rejoicing in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. Expectations were high, but the "results" were disappointing because only a few people were "healed". Co-organizer Peter Quick, Sr. would later say over these days "the Gospel perhaps has done more harm than good." However, it was Robert that did all the harm, not the Gospel.
There was a lot of tragedy in the Roberts family. His daughter Rebecca and her husband Marshall Nash were in a airplane crash in 1977. His son Richard and daughter Patti, who would take over the ministry, were "divorced" in 1979 (a valid marriage cannot be divorced, they are still married to each other so long as the other spouse is alive). Three years later committed his rebellious older son Ronnie suicide. His 10th grandchild died in 1984, the son of Richard and his second wife, two days after birth.
Oral Roberts proclaims the Word of Faith doctrine, associated with the prosperity gospel. Oral Roberts and his family lived for over fifty years of donations from "Christians", given for the supposed "work of God". How much of that money given to the "work of God", is used for the personal benefit of Oral Roberts and his family?
Roberts had a luxurious lifestyle, he wore expensive suits and shoes, rings with diamonds and solid gold bracelets. He had a house in Tulsa and in Palm Springs ($ 1,000,000), flew in a plane through the country of 2 million and was a member of elite club (membership $ 20,000)
He taught that "God" wants all believers to be rich, healthy and happy. He declared that if you give money, especially donations to his "ministry", that you would get a financial reward from "God". He supported the Toronto Blessing and the "bartender" of the Holy Spirit Howerd Rodney Brown.
He is a great example for people in the "deliverance ministry" and "healing ministries". He claims many cures, but there is no evidence of an apparent cure. (Deformities, missing limbs, Down syndrome, etc.) All of his healings are mysterious and undetectable, during his healing campaigns were the blind, wheelchair users and terminally ill not healed . More than fifty years of false claims, but the so-called Christian world still has Oral Roberts in high esteem, despite the failures they find him a "great man of God".
David Edwin Harrell, Jr wrote: "I offered to appear before the Senate Investigating Committee in Washington and present evidence that Oral Roberts was guilty of `payola' on his TV Healing program. Among other things, I had evidence to prove that a person had `performed' on the Roberts healing TV program, claiming that he was healed as a `cripple,; but it was all a fake and he was paid by them to `fake' the healing. The person who faked the healing offered to testify." (Bloomington, Indiana University Press 47405. "Christian News", An American Life, December 9, 1985.)
He said "God" gave direct revelation to him to support his "ministry". Many prophecies that he expressed have not come true.
It is not always God's will to give prosperity, or for example, healing. Both the Scriptures and experience teach that God may use afflictions and hardships for refining, correcting, and chastening (Hebrews 12:3-11; Job 23:10). God's Word teaches that He can heal anyone and make anyone rich, anytime, but that He does not heal everyone or make everyone prosper, every time. Paul learned this truth when God explained why his thrice repeated prayer for personal healing was not granted (2 Corinthians 12:1-10); and, also, like when he had suffered the loss of all things, and counted all but dung to win Christ (Philippians 3:8). When we pray for prosperity or healing for ourselves or others, we must never forget that such healing or prosperity is always God's prerogative based upon what He knows is best for each of His children, not upon "demanding" or "claiming" such prosperity or healing as do the Charismatics.
Oral Roberts claimed in 1977 that he had received a vision from God telling him to build the "City of Faith Medical Center". He claimed that he saw a 900 feet (270 m) tall Jesus, who said that the city of faith would succeed. Four years later, in 1981, he opened the city of faith.
In a letter, Roberts spoke of the vision: "when I opened my eyes, there He stood...some 900 feet tall, looking at me; His eyes...Oh! His eyes! He stood a full 300 feet taller than the 600 foot tall City of Faith." The center opened in 1981. During the eight years it remained open, City of Faith was one of the largest health facilities of its kind in the world, and was an innovator in merging prayer and medicine in the healing process.
Oral Roberts said in 1983 that Jesus Christ appeared to him in person (not a vision) and told him to find a cure for cancer. 1986 Oral Roberts said God had told him "I want you to use the ORU medical school for my medical presence on earth."
On January 4, 1987, Roberts appealed on the television program "Expect a Miracle" and revealed that unless he raised $8 million during the fund raising drive for the City of Faith, God would supposedly "call him home." He stated this money was to be used to train "Christian doctors" as 'medical missionaries.' As a result, Roberts raised $9.1 million; $1.3 million of this was given by a single donor, a dog racing track owner. However, the fundraiser did not permanently save the City of Faith: In November 1987, Roberts announced the closure of the City of Faith. The City's buildings have since been converted into predominantly office space and renamed the CityPlex Towers.
Roberts maintained his love of finery and one obituary claimed that even when times become hard, "he continued to wear his Italian silk suits, diamond rings and gold bracelets – airbrushed out by his staff on publicity pictures".
He stirred up controversy when Time reported in 1987 that his son Richard Roberts claimed that he had seen his father raise a child from the dead. In 1987 Time stated that he was "re-emphasizing faith healing and [is] reaching for his old-time constituency." However, his income continued to decrease (from $88 million in 1980 to $55 million in 1986, according to the Tulsa Tribune) and his largely vacant City of Faith Medical Center continued to lose money.
His organizations were also affected by scandals involving other televangelists and the City of Faith hospital was forced to close in 1989 after losing money. Roberts was forced to respond with the sale of his holiday homes in Palm Springs and Beverly Hills as well as three of his Mercedes cars.
Harry McNevin said that in 1988 the ORU Board of Regents "rubber-stamped" the "use of millions in endowment money to buy a Beverly Hills property so that Oral Roberts could have a West Coast office and house". In addition, he said a country club membership was purchased for the Roberts' home. The lavish expenses led to McNevin's resignation from the Board.
At its peak in the early 1980s, Roberts was the leader of a $120 million-a-year organization employing 2,300 people. This spanned not only a university but also a medical school and hospital as well as buildings on 50 acres (200,000 m2) south of Tulsa valued at $500 million.
In 2004 Oral Roberts was in the program of Benny Hinn - This Is Your Day – in which he said that he had seen in a vision a dark cloud over New York. That would be a wake up call, in order to tell people that Christ would come soon. Oral Roberts was a regular guest on Benny Hinn and others on "God TV".
All in all, he was nothing but a Protestant heretic who preached the Word of Faith doctrine, which gave a large contribution to this doctrine and the charismatic movement. Despite his false teachings, false prophecies and false healings he still is in this area greatly appreciated.
Oral Roberts was sadly a non-Catholic charismatic and heretic that died outside the Church of Christ. Roberts is tragically in Hell now. If Roberts did not deny the Bible or was a heretic he would not be a Protestant because the Bible clearly proves the teachings of the Catholic Church.