To open a discussion on this article, please use the contact page to provide your comments
Oral Roberts died this week. I was surprised to see the obituary because I thought he had been dead for years.
At one time he was one of the most famous preachers in North America. At a time when the three (in pre-Fox days) major television networks each felt it necessary to fill as many hours as possible on Sundays with Christianity, Oral Roberts was a mainstay. And he did put on an entertaining show.
Oral Roberts was essentially the originator of the "prosperity gospel" which is little more than a variant of The Secret. Believe in getting rich, and believe in God, and you will get rich. And of course you will get even richer if you donate. The current issue of The Atlantic links the preaching of the prosperity gospel to the crash of the housing market in the US in suggesting that people overcommited because they believed God would take care of their financial needs. The article is surprisingly convincing.
Roberts began to lose credibility when he claimed in 1977 to have recieved a vision from a 900 foot tall Jesus who told him to build a medical center. Subsequently in 1987 he announced that God would call him home if he was not successful in raising eight million dollars for the medical center. While the money came in, the medical center still closed two years later.
About this time, Roberts also claimed to have raised people from the dead.
And he gradually faded from the public eye. Unfortunately, those who have followed in his footsteps are still out there preaching the same message and collecting funds from the gullible.
- Did Christianity cause the crash?: How Preachers arespreading a gospel of debt, by Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic, December 2009 p 38