Oral Roberts and the Holy Spirit

Donald P. Ames
Tampa, Florida

For some time now, I have been keeping my eyes open for material concerning Oral Roberts and his divine "healing" campaigns. The fact that he's a man to play on other people's emotions and ignorance is readily noticeable.

However, as a man begins to defend error, there is no stopping place until he has gone all the way. Such is the case with Oral Roberts. In a personal letter to me dated November 16, 1955, Mr. Roberts said, "I wrote these tracts as the Holy Spirit anointed me." Now, if such is actually the case, then the material in those tracts that he enclosed in that letter should have been composed of all truth, nothing but the truth, and nothing less than the truth, according to John 16:13. It is my opinion, however, that his claim is false. Therefore, I wish to present some examples of his teaching, and compare thin with the Bible.

Before actually entering into that, though, there is something that I'd like to know. Since these tracts came off the press, Oral Roberts has printed them again, and three of them (10 ways to know you are saved; You can be healed; and The Faith that Heals) have been reduced almost in half. Why? Oral Roberts, were you directed by the Holy Spirit in the re-writing of these three tracts? If so, why were they cut in half? Did the Holy Spirit "goof" the first time? If not, then what right did you have to exclude what the Holy Spirit (?) included (?) in them?

Another thing that puzzles me, considering his claim of divine inspiration, is his abilitv to dodge the issue. When direct refutations to his claims are brought to his attention, he runs around them with such expressions as "So glad to hear from you again, and knowing my program is reaching you. Always remember Christ is the answer! I know you believe this, and am happy to have followship with you on this point. I look forward to hearing from you again. May God bless you." And, blithely dismisses the case. Oral Roberts will not meet in debate nor defend his case before the public with reliable doctors and investigators present to examine the facts! I challenge him to do so! Nor, if pinpointed down on a hard passage (for his doctrine) will he answer it. This was not Paul's attitude, nor that of any of the other apostles. Truth has nothing to fear, but Oral Roberts does, therefore Oral Roberts must not have the truth.

But, back to our investigation of his claim to be divinely guided by the Holy Spirit. In his two tracts, 10 Ways to Know You Are Saved, Oral Roberts has two conflicting doctrines presented. Under point 3, he says (in the original) "Now you realize that you have assumed a new relationship with God by repenting of your sins and receiving the forgiveness of Christ. No, longer is there conflict between your conscience and uour maker." Yet, under the same point in the re-print, he says, "You know that you are saved, because no longer is there conflict between you and your Maker." Why the difference (emphasis in the first quote are mine) in the two points? Oh, you say, that is trivial. No, it isn't, considering the first at least was written (?) by the Holy Spirit. In the first, repentance, is definitely required, but in the latter, he merely states that as a result of belief, this is further evidence we are "saved." Oral Roberts, is repentance still essential? Why isn't it listed in the second, or reprint? Oral Roberts, did the Holv Spirit "goof" in requiring repentance in the first? I think not (Acts 2:38, 17:30), but Mr. Roberts certainly erred in the second !

Another proof against his claims of divine inspiration is his plan of salvation. Since there is very little variation in the two tracts on this point, I quote the latter:

IF YOU ARE NOT SAVED, pray this prayer with me: "Lord Jesus have mercy upon my lost soul. Forgive my sins; take away this load of sin; give me peace and joy, love and power. I receive thee into my heart as my Lord and Saviour. I will live for thee, by thy grace, from this hour. Save me now for Jesus' sake. Amen."

From this point, they are led into the "back room" where the other "apostles" join them in prayer, till they know they've ben saved.

Try as I will, I've been unable to find any scriptures for this point in his tract (as well as the others). Now, I can turn to my Bible and find where the Holy Spirit, which always leads to all truth, teaches one to believe (John 3:16), repent (Acts 17:30), confess (Rom. 10:9-10), and be buried in baptism (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet. 3 :21, Rom. 6:4) if he hasn't been saved yet. But, nowhere do I find the "mourner's bench", nor anything related to Mr. Robert's plan of salvation. Oral Roberts, perhaps you'd like to explain this differing of the Holy Spirit with itself.

Oral Roberts, was it the Holy Spirit that led you to write that tract, "It happened in Russia"? In that tract, you related a case of a healing of an epileptic man. Now, Oral, why can't you do that in the U.S.? Men all over the nation have challenged you to present a single genuine cure of an incurable disease -- to no avail. Christ let men examine his cures, and they couldn't account for them. Will you? Maybe you will let it "happen in the United States" some day?

Again, in his tract, "How You Can Know You Are Saved," he states, "When you get saved you will be baptized in water . . . but those things do not save you." Nor, Oral, I'll agree baptism without belief will not save you, but that wasn't the context of your statement. The context was salvation by faith only. Therefore, I want to ask you the following question: Is baptism essential? You say, "No." (Note: "When you get saved" - past tense). But, the Bible says, "Yes" (I Pet. 3:21, Mk. 16:16). Someone was not led by the Holy Spirit here. Which would you rather say, Roberts, or the apostles?

Space forbids going into all his claims of healing and his arguments for keeping your healing. However, if the reader will go back to past issues of TRUTH (Vol. 2 and 3) these are presented in detail there. In conclusion, we have but one comment to make. Rather than the Holy Spirit leading Oral Roberts to write those tracts, I must rather fear it was "an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). Friends, "believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I Jn. 4:1). Remember, "prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (I Thess. 5:21).

Truth Magazine IV:3, pp. 14-15
December 1959