By Lewis Willis
So you had better hold on to your wallet! You know, the Lord surely has changed. He used to be concerned about souls and spiritual things. Now, if you listen to Roberts long enough, all He ever seems to be interested in is money. Everything that God says to Roberts and his buddies involves sending money. He never seems to have enough. A current country music song tells about the big bucks baseball and football players make and it speaks of the preachers who are always asking for money for the Lord. The song says to send the Lord’s money to the preacher’s mailing address!
These money grubbing preaching have bilked the public out of so much money that every new campaign is looked upon by the world as funny. They supposedly represent the cause of the Lord. However, with very little effort to conceal their disgust, comedians have made them and religion the brunt of their humor. I think I can safely say that God doesn’t find it very funny!
The latest, most preposterous, fund raising effort comes from Oral Roberts. The Cleveland Plain Dealer (1/18/83) reports that “millions of letters” are being sent out to “his hundreds of thousands” of “prayer partners,” seeking more money. You will recall that in 1981 he reported seeing a vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus standing over his City of Faith Medical Center. That “vision” in 1981 “generated millions of dollars in donations.” It is not particularly surprising that he suddenly had another contact with the Lord with the same purpose in mind.
His latest encounter with Jesus (which was far more pleasant than the one he’s going to have with Him at the judgment) was a seven-hour conversation. Now I know you’re not dumb – everyone knows you’ve got to be very special to the Lord for Him to take seven hours with you. Oral Roberts is a very special person – if you don’t believe it just ask him! The newspaper article says Jesus appeared to him “and told him God had chosen Roberts to find the cure for cancer. . . and other dread diseases.”
Many people are unaware of the magnitude of the undertaking which has Roberts in such dire financial straits. A few years ago, he decided to raise funds to build City of Faith Medical Center at his headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This consists of a 60-story diagnostic clinic, a 30-story hospital and a 20-story research center – a total of 110 stories of medical facilities under the supervision of a “faith healer.” This is roughly equivalent to delivering control of the Lord’s church into the hands of atheist, Madeline Murray O’Hare.
Some younger people do not know the Oral Roberts’ history. He has not always been a successful T.V. evangelist. He used to go into towns virtually unnoticed by the press. He got his start as a tent-meeting preacher. He traveled all over this country, putting up his tent on vacant lots, preaching and inviting all the sick people of every town he was in to come out to be healed. Every time he could get someone to say he had healed them, he publicized it till he and his listening audiences began to believe it. As he grew in popularity and power, he changed his approach. Today, instead of having people line up to be healed, he builds 110 stores of medical facilities and has them line up to be treated by doctors. Every treatment room on every floor of his 110 story facility cries out that Oral Roberts is a fraud! If he could heal people then, he can heal them now. The fact that they’re laying in a hospital bed under the care of a doctor proves he no longer has the power to heal or he never had it to begin with. Take your pick! If he can still do today what he did years ago, all he needs is a 9 x 12 room with a canopy covered sidewalk for the line of sick folks waiting to get into the room. Such a departure in approach from healing line to hospital bed might seem strange, but it is rather understandable. You were not invoiced by his accounting department for the services he rendered in his “healing line.” But, you can be certain you will be invoiced for his medical service in Tulsa. What has happened here is he has begged people to build him a facility which will perpetually enrich him. Unfortunately, millions will be too blind to see that. If American industry could figure a way to implement his tactics successfully, unemployment could be solved in a minute.
“The financially troubled project” has to have a new transfusion. And, wouldn’t you know Jesus was on the spot, ready with a quick solution. I know this is so, Oral Roberts said it was! These millions of “prayer partners” have been told that the Lord wants them to give $240.00 each ($20.00 per month for one year – I wonder if he accepts VISA or Master Card?). Roberts quoted the Lord as saying: “Tell them this is not Oral Roberts asking (for the $240.00), but their Lord.” Now let me think, when the Lord asks something of us, what do we call it? Is it a command, or is it optional? Oral Roberts’ devices makes Judas look like the Lord’s best friend.
Hold on to your chair! I hope this doesn’t shock you, but the Lord has spoken to me too and He told me that Oral Roberts is a liar! Actually, what He said is that He has revealed Himself to man (1 Cor. 2:11-13). The Lord further told me that that revelation will make man perfect, furnishing him unto all good works (2 Tim. 3:15-17). His revelation is said to be “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25), providing us with “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). That revelation also told me about false teachers being among us, making merchandise of us (2 Pet. 2:1-3). It tells us to try the teachers with that revelation to determine who the false prophets are (1 Jno. 4:1). Finally, the revelation tells us that God is no respector of persons (Acts 10:34), that is, what He says to one of us, He says to all of us. And, God did not tell me what Oral Roberts said He told him. Roberts said God showed respect to his person and the Bible says He doesn’t do that. What the Bible says is, “Let God be true, but let every man be a liar” (Rom. 3:4). So, I tested what Roberts said with the Bible and Roberts came out on the short end of the stick! The Ephesian church tested some of its teachers and “found them liars” (Rev. 2:2). I tested Roberts and got the same result.
One of our members told me Roberts’ claims ought to be subjected to technical analysis to establish their truthfulness. I know he’s not opposed to technical procedures – he’s building 110 stores worth of technical facilities. This member volunteered to pay the costs of a polygraph test on Roberts any time he would be willing to submit himself to it. He can even take the test in Tulsa! All he has to do is express his willingness to do so. The following letter was mailed to him under date of January 25, 1983, asking if he is willing to take the test:
Dear Mr. Roberts:
Your conversation with the Lord regarding your selection to find the cure for cancer and other dread diseases, has received broad press coverage in this country. In our area, almost every television and radio station, as well as most newspapers, have noted the incident in some manner. Unfortunately, many of these reports have been “tongue-in’cheek” in nature and they have given the enemies of the Lord occasion to blaspheme. His Name and Cause have been subjected to ridicule by skeptics who perceive this as but another, though very dramatic, fund raising scheme.
I am aware that the Lord and His Apostles were looked upon skeptically by their peers. However, insofar as possible, they sought to eliminate as much skepticism as they could. Due to those efforts, Luke noted that such notable miracles as the resurrection were established “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). The miracles of the Apostles were “manifest” in such a way that the Jews announced, “we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16). Inasmuch as your recent seven-hour conversation with the Lord is so widely doubted, may I suggest that every possible thing be done to establish its validity? Many technical advancements have been made since the days of Jesus which could help in establishing the truth of your conversation. Such things as polygraph tests are used by law enforcement officials to determine facts in their investigations. May I suggest such a test be taken at your earliest opportunity, with the results being broadly circulated, to quieten those who speak against the Lord? A member of this church has offered to pay all costs of such a test upon your expression of willingness to submit to it. We will make all arrangements with the independent agency that will administer it.
I realize that such actually amounts to the proving of your integrity. However, when your integrity is established, the force of your declaration is greater. If millions of dollars are sought to build a technical center such as you are building, a simple technical test could quickly establish that such is of God and not of Oral Roberts alone.
The church here has had live, call-in radio broadcast on the air in Akron for almost five years. We have a rather large audience for each Sunday morning’s hour long broadcast. I would like to invite you to join us on the air for a discussion of this matter. A trip to Akron would not be necessary. From your home, you could talk with us by telephone. We are on the air from 8:05 until 9:00 A.M. Akron time. Though this would be a non-paid interview, in the interest of Truth, I solicit your favorable response to our invitation.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding these two matters, at your earliest convenience.
(Signed) Lewis Willis, Evangelist
However, you might heed this advice: Don’t try holding your breath until he agrees to take a lie-detector test. I was just thinkin’ – the monument to his memory on earth, and the lying schemes with which it is being built, will prove to be, in part, at least, his curse when he stands before God in the judgement.
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 5, pp. 143-144
March 3, 1983