The Legacy of Oral Roberts

An Excerpt from "The Fleecing of Christianity" 
 by Jackie Alnor

 

TBN’s September, 1999 newsletter tells the story. "The first glimmer came one night after a PRAISE THE LORD program," wrote Paul Crouch to his supporters. "Pastor John Hinkle, of Christ Church in Los Angeles (who went to be with the Lord a few weeks ago), had been our guest1. . . . John told us that while he was driving home after the program that night, the Lord spoke to him so powerfully he literally had to pull his car to the side of the freeway and stop. The heavens lit up and he saw in a vision the words, "100 TV STATIONS." We rejoiced to hear of this revelation."2 (emphasis in original)

"The next great revelation came some years later," Crouch continued, "as Jan and I were hosting a PRAISE THE LORD program at one of the great Oral Roberts’ campmeetings. . . As he began to speak, a strange new expression came over his face. He paused for several seconds as he looked heavenward and said, ‘Paul, the Lord says, ‘The day will come when you will see ONE THOUSAND TV STATIONS -- and MORE before the Lord returns.’ Jan and I sat there, stunned and transfixed for several moments before we could even speak."3

Yet, contrast this newsletter’s proclamation with that of a TBN newsletter 10 years earlier. The January 1989 TBN newsletter noted, "The Lord is still speaking through His Prophets to His people TODAY! . . . Brother Oral Roberts gave us a prophetic Word from the Lord -- that the TBN Network would grow to be 100 STATIONS and, yes, surpass even that! The Lord also revealed this to Pastor John Hinkle . . . at a time when TBN was only one station!"4

So with Oral Roberts it was both 100 and then 1,000 stations. Yet Oral Roberts, according to Paul Crouch’s statement at a 1984 camp meeting at Melodyland, the prophesied 100 stations would "usher in the coming of Jesus Christ."5 And, today TBN has over 5,000 television stations6 and over 33 satellites. So what might have looked like a valid prophecy at one time is invalidated by Roberts’ time frame into which it was locked.

Oral Roberts is still touted by the Crouches as some great prophet/healer. They do this even though his record as both is very poor. His hearing of audible voices has proven to be false so that even if anything he predicts comes true it cannot be thought of as coming from God. But as noted earlier, the Crouches have Roberts to thank for giving them the key to the viewer’s wallets -- the seed-faith heresy. Christian media expert Al Dager, of Media Spotlight, gave a very accurate summary of Oral Roberts’ ability to hear from the Lord in his own prophetic record.7

  • "1960: Roberts claimed that God had told him to make His healing power known throughout the earth.
  • 1977: Roberts said he had received a vision from God telling him to build the City of Faith. He later claimed to have seen a 900-foot-tall Jesus who told him that the vision would soon be realized and that the hospital would be a success. The City of Faith opened in 1981.
  • 1983: Roberts announced that Jesus had appeared to him in person and commissioned him to find a cure for cancer (Time, July 4, 1983).
  • 1986: Roberts said God had told him, ‘I want you to use the ORU medical school to put My medical presence in the earth. I want you to get this going in one year or I will call you home. It will cost $8 million and I want you to believe you can raise it.’ (Abundant Life, Jan/Feb. 1987).
  • January 1987: Roberts said God had told him . . . he had to raise $8 million by March 1 or God would take him home. Roberts said the money would be used to provide full scholarships for medical missionaries who would be sent to Third World countries. . . He said $3.5 million had been raised and all he needed was $4.5 million before March 1 that year.
  • April 1, 1987: Roberts announced that he had raised $9.1 million -- $1.1 million more than needed. Of the money raised, $1.3 million was given by a dog track owner, Jerry Collins.
  • November 1987: Roberts announced that the City of Faith medical clinic will close in three months.
  • January 1988: Roberts canceled the university’s free medical tuition program despite his claim that God had told him to make the medical school a world outreach program.
  • March 1988: The medical scholarship fund went bankrupt. Students were required to repay scholarship funds at 18 percent annual interest if they transferred to another school rather than stay at ORU medical school and start paying the high tuition.
  • September 1989: Roberts decided to close the medical school and the City of Faith hospital to pay off debts."

"When Oral Roberts says that God told him that he was going to take him home if he didn't get 8 million dollars, he lied to the public," noted the late Bible Answer-man Walter Martin. "God never told him that at all. Don't you get the feeling that something's going wrong? It is and it's found for you in scripture. We're told in scripture to reprove, rebuke, and exhort . . . for the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine . . . It's here."8

This makes Oral Roberts a certified false prophet, false teacher, and lying wolf in sheep’s clothing. And his son Richard Roberts, the current president of Oral Roberts University (ORU), is following in his father’s footsteps. On Richard and Lindsey Roberts’ show, "Something Good Tonight," that aired in March, 2000, Richard Roberts spoke to the ORU students in the chapel service and claimed that God said "’I want you to get my university out of debt.’ Students, I prophesy and I’m not a man that prophesies very often unless God gives me a word. I prophesy to you. . . I prophesy that we are very near to the day when this university is going to be totally debt-free. . . Every one of you who are sowing seed. . . Students, if you’ve not been sowing seed you don’t have a right to this prayer. God is not going to multiply what you don’t sow. But if you have been sowing seed then I want you to lay your hands on my hands… we’re going to break the spirit of debt off of you who are giving."

Of course, none of these students were part of the now defunct medical program at ORU, but were merely liberal arts students, many of whom gave up their spending money so that the Roberts family could get ORU out of its reported 33 million dollar debt.9 False prophesying worked for his father, so no doubt it would work for the younger one as well. The biggest losers in the deal were those struggling ORU students.

None of this should come to any surprise. Richard Roberts made it quite clear that his policy was to work the same tricks as his dad taught him. He often brags "when you see me, you've seen my father."

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1Note that Paul Crouch still endorsed John Hinkle after it was already shown that he was a false prophet. Crouch would never want to acknowledge he was wrong -- that would be too humbling.

2Paul Crouch, TBN newsletter, September, 1999, Vol. XXV, No. IX.

3Ibid.

4TBN Newsletter, January 1989, Vol. XVI, No. I.

5Paul Crouch, Vintage 1984 Camp Meeting at Melodyland, video on file.

6http://www.tbn.org/index.php/3/18.html

7Al Dager, quoted in O Timothy magazine, Vol. 7, Issue 3, 1990.

8Walter Martin, audio tape "Schismatic Sheep"--pt. 2, tape on file.

9Per Oral Roberts at the ICBM Conference 6/20/2000, video tape on file.

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