By Ron Halbrook
It should have happened in 1977 when Oral Roberts said the Lord told him to build a hospital. Hospitals were never needed for miraculous healing in Bible times. Then, it should have happened in 1981 when Roberts said a 900-foot-tall Jesus appeared to him with a message instructing people to send more money to complete the hospital. Roberts said on his 4 January 1987 T.V. show that God warned last March that He will take his life unless 8 million dollars above normal ministry expenses can be raised by the end of this March to train new doctors.
Roberts should be thanked for finally becoming so frantic and extravagant in attempting to raise more money and in claiming divine messages. Many blinded eyes are now opening! Some are getting their eyes opened who thought, “We should never question the religious claims of another person,” or, “All churches, religions, and preachers are sent from God,” or, “If someone says he received a message from God, we cannot deny it,” or, “Oral Roberts and other ‘faith healers’ are men of God.” Even some Pentecostal people are embarrassed by this latest fiasco and are trying to distance themselves from it.
If someone claims the miraculous powers mentioned in the Bible, his preaching and performance must match of the Bible record. For instance, Paul proved that he was an apostle by producing “the signs of an apostle” (2 Cor. 12:12). John commended those who test men claiming miraculous powers and who prove them to be “liars” (Rev. 2:2). Oral Roberts’ work through the years fails the test of the Bible pattern of miracles in all the following ways:
1. In Bible days, money was never collected in connection with promises or cases of healing.
2. No inspired man or worker of miracles ever claimed God would take his life if people failed to fund certain programs for him.
3. The apostles never “prepped” an audience with shouts, cries and loud music to create an emotionally charged atmosphere.
4. Jesus never preceded miracles with an entertainment blitz.
5. No person performing a miracle in the Bible ever told of feeling a sudden “surge of power.”
6. The sick were never promised that they would feel a sudden or strange “surge of power.”
7. Bible miracles were so “notable” or apparent that no one had to coach the person to be healed by saying, “Are you ready for a miracle? This is going to be a miracle, isn’t it? Get ready! Do you feel it? It’s a miracle, isn’t it?”
8. Bible miracles were not limited to only certain illnesses or events, but included all sick and a wide range of events such as walking on water, feeding thousands with a little food, stilling storms, raising the dead out of tombs, etc.
9. True miracles were so evident or “notable” that no even the enemies of the Lord could deny them (Matt. 12:24; Acts 4:16).
10. No Bible prophet promised that people would see the risen Lord, receive new messages, or perform other miracles after the close of New Testament revelation. Beware of any man who says he has heard from God or received miraculous powers after the confirmation and close of a perfect revelation in Scripture (Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Cor. 13:8-10).
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 8, p. 234
April 16, 1987