December 15th marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Oral Roberts. The university he named after himself, (a prideful act in and of itself), has honored his memory on the ORU website [www.oru.edu].
"Oral Roberts was a great man who profoundly impacted the world for Jesus Christ. We are deeply thankful for his life," said ORU President Mark Rutland.
"ORU is Oral Roberts' most enduring legacy. It represents everything he stood for - from healing evangelism to whole person living to academic excellence," said Thomson Mathew, dean of ORU's College of Theology and Ministry.
The ORU news release stated, “The university was founded as a result of Roberts' obeying God's mandate to build a university on God's authority and the Holy Spirit. God's commission to Roberts was to ‘Raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim, where My voice is heard small, and My healing power is not known, even to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased.’"
Of course the source of that quote was Oral Roberts himself who had a nasty habit of speaking in first person singular as if channeling God.
But what is Oral Roberts’ true legacy? He was a foundation stone in the great apostasy we see in the church today due to his plagiarized invention of “seed faith.” The idea to twist scripture to say that if you see money as a seed that can be sown in the soil of a ministry or church and that it will have to result in more money (10-20-100-fold return) coming into your pocket was actually the invention of Gene Ewing. He has assisted countless televangelists in coming up with direct-mail fundraising appeals and has gotten rich in doing so.
Oral Roberts took this “money as a seed” idea and it has evolved into what became the Positive Confession movement that morphed into the Word/Faith movement that today we know as the Prosperity Gospel. This heresy has had many offshoots so that today some charismaniacs think they can call God’s glory down from heaven with their words.
Charles Capps wrote in "Seed-Faith Book Turns Life Around," from Oral Roberts' magazine, Abundant Life, May/June 1987, “Several years ago one of Oral Roberts’ books came into my hands, entitled Miracle of Seed-Faith. I suppose this book transformed my life as much as any book I have ever read . . . Oral put it in understandable form so that I could put it to work in my life.”
And from that Capps went on to systematize the Positive Confession theology that teaches that whatever you think and say can be yours so that all your carnal desires can be met.
The Word/Faith belief that Christians are little gods that can manipulate universal laws to get miracles for themselves spun off from that one seed-faith principle that Pat Robertson renamed the ‘law of reciprocity’ and it has defiled many believers ever since.
Those of us who approach God humbly in prayer asking that His will be done are seen as those of little faith who just don’t know how to use faith principles to get their miracles.
Time has shown that Oral Roberts never heard from God, yet still people lift him up as one who has and should be emulated. Dave Hunt put it well when he wrote:
“How about Oral Roberts? You know he had a seven-hour conversation with a 900-foot Jesus who told him to build a hospital in Tulsa that anybody knew wasn’t needed. Promises that there will be miracles, a cure for cancer. 777 beds. You know three 7s—that’s terrific! I don’t think they ever had more than 246 of them occupied. The thing went bankrupt. No cure for cancer. No miracles. Is that a false prophecy? You have to ask yourself seriously. Was Oral Roberts just lying to us or was he hallucinating or did he really have this conversation? I mean a 7-hour hallucination? That’s pretty long. Did he really have a conversation with some 900-foot being that claimed to be Jesus? That’s quite a delusion! But he continues to be quite popular.”
In a last ditch effort to kick God off the throne, before his death Oral Roberts promised his blind followers that he would look down from heaven upon them and guide them after his death. In a video on the ORU tribute page he said, “You’re in my heart; you’re in my prayers. When I go home to be with Jesus, I will take the memory of you with me and I will be sending back love and peace and joy forever into your life.”
Could this be why some of his loyal followers have claimed to have seen him in their visions and dreams after his demise? Did he make such a claim to divine power before he left so that he could retain his godlike status among his blind followers?
I love how a former member of his family summed him up Oral Roberts’ seed faith error. In her book, Ashes to Gold, Oral’s one-time daughter-in-law Patti Roberts wrote:
“Oral thought I was splitting theological hairs, but it seemed supremely important to me. If we give to God because we think by giving we have somehow placed Him in our debt and He is now required to come through for us and meet our needs, we have, I believe, perverted the heart of the Gospel. Our only motive for giving should be love. When we encouraged people to give in order to have their needs met or so that they would receive ‘a hundredfold in return,’ I believed we were appealing to their sense of greed or desperation, neither of which seemed admirable to me… Luther was incensed by the Church’s practice of selling indulgences—offering forgiveness of sin and a shorter period of time in purgatory in return for gifts to the church, I had a very difficult time distinguishing between the selling of indulgences and the concept of Seed-Faith inflated to the degree to which we had inflated it.”