Obits are coming in for Oral Roberts –
Jack Hayford (who pastors down the street from my church) –
Dr. Jack Hayford, president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, said of Roberts, “If God had not, in His sovereign will, raised up the ministry of Oral Roberts, the entire charismatic movement might not have occurred. Oral shook the landscape with the inescapable reality and practicality of Jesus’ whole ministry. His teaching and concepts were foundational to the renewal that swept through the whole church. He taught concepts that spread throughout the world and simplified and focused a spiritual lifestyle that is embraced by huge sectors of today’s church.”
So, is he saying that if a future terminator were to be sent back in time to Bebee, Oklahoma, and rubbed out a baby Oral, we would had been spared the 50 years of this miserable charismatic lunacy that has wrecked the lives of countless millions worldwide?
It certainly was God’s sovereign will to raise up Oral, but for judgment, not for blessing. Oral preached a self-centered, “me” oriented gospel message that turned Jesus into a personal magic geni who was to answer a person’s requests no matter how absurd they might have been. Of course, the power of Jesus was dependent upon one’s own faith, so if Jesus failed to deliver the goods, it was your fault, not Jesus’.
The “Jesus” Oral preached, however, was a liar and a failure. In 1977, “Jesus” allegedly gave Oral a vision of a gigantic healing center in which millions would come and be healed of all sorts of diseases. A cure for cancer was promised. In 1979, the City of Faith began construction and Oral went to the TV airwaves telling of his visions of a 900 foot Jesus who continued to promise all sorts of success for the future medical center. By 1987, the entire project was losing 10 million a year and Oral again went to his supporters claiming Jesus would kill him if he didn’t raise the money. A dog track owner helped pay off the debt, but by 1989 this monument to a false prophet’s folly was closed. Eventually, the structure was renamed Cityplex Towers and is largely office space for telemarketers.
Yet, instead of being rejected as a spectacular fraud, tarred and feathered, and then drawn and quartered, greedy, selfish people continued to support this charlatan all with the hopes that they too would get rich by the promise of Jesus blessing them because they gave to him.
Yes, I know people want to cast many of these people in the role of being innocent victims: hopeless people who were taken advantage of by a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but the scriptures have stern exhortations to being spiritually discerning and dire warnings against simple mindedness. Rather than seeing innocent people being tricked out of their money, and certainly those folks exist for sure, I see greedy materialists who only lust for more who wish to live comfortable lives free of any pain and trial, and they all believe the phony “Jesus” Oral offered would give such a life to them.