Religion News Blog tracks ORU lawsuit story; ministrywatch.org

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Religion News Blog has set up a special category for stories relating to the lawsuit against Oral Roberts University by three former professors.

One of the more recent items is this overview of the ORU controversy that ran in Sunday's Oklahoman. The story provides an overview of the Oral Roberts-related entities, the various subsidiaries, compensation received by Richard and Lindsay Roberts, and key figures on the board of regents:

The Board of Regents at ORU is a mix of professionals from around the country. But the majority are heads of large ministries with a presence on either Trinity Broadcasting Network or Daystar Television Network.

Many, like Oral, Richard and Lindsay Roberts, are self-professed faith-healers and teach the Word of Faith or Prosperity Gospel.

The story mentions that four of the regents -- Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, John Hagee, and Creflo Dollar -- head ministries that have received "F" grades for transparency from ministrywatch.org.

Meanwhile, the ministrywatch.org home page features a 20/20 story from March about financial accountability. The group tracks over 500 ministries and provides detailed, balanced, and informative reports.

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14 Comments

See-Dubya said:

Benny Hinn is on the ORU regents? THAT Benny Hinn?

You're freaking kidding me.

jasonk Author Profile Page said:

Great link, Michael. Thanks for posting it. From what I have read, the ORU infrastructure is like a house of cards, and if the three plantiffs refuse to settle and go quietly, the whole thing will come crashing down. Depending on one's perspective, it would be the best thing, or the worst thing, that could happen to the city of Tulsa.

Pamela said:

Many Pentecostal/Charismatic ministers are not members of ECFA because they felt that they were not be treated fairly because that group at least at one point were hostile to those that believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to people, heals the sick, etc. It appears that ministrywatch.com uses ECFA as a guide in determining transparancy. I would question the fairness of a group that appears to bring tertiary doctrinal issues into dealing with ministries. This does not mean that I believe the ministers mentioned are above board. I just do not trust ministrywatch.com and their motives.

From my understanding churches having different rules as far as what they are 'required' to disclose to contributors. Parachurch groups have to disclose a lot more details about their expenses. If these ministers are indeed trying to hide their finances it would really be convenient for them to have churches so they only have to legally disclose a minimum amount of information. All they have to do is declare that their ministry is a ministry within the church. More and more of these TV preachers have been 'led of the Lord' to start churches. I suspect there are other reasons for the chuches being launched.

I'm an ORU graduate. When the lawsuit was filed took a look at the list of the Board of Regents. It is an amazing list of people. I knew a few of them. This is from the current ORU catalog. It does not have Billy Joe Daugherty on there because he was not asked back before it was printed.
http://www.tulsaworld.com/webextra/content/2007/oru-lawsuit/ORU_pdf_p10.pdf

Obeying the letter of the law in this case is pretty ugly where obeying the spirit of the law would be more helpful.

How very sad. As I was reading back through some of the articles on that link, I realized it has only been 20 days since the story broke. I'd imagine those have been some tough ones for the Roberts family. If they are, indeed, guilty of improprieties, then they should be exposed, but it is unfortunate that the losers are all those students and donors--for even if the allegations are false, the taint will be apparent for many years.
TM

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

First, I believe the Holy Spirit speaks to people. I also believe prople are healed supernaturally, still today. I do not believe God or the Holy Spirit needs a human to participate in either process.

That said, I think this mess will be a tragedy no matter how it plays out. The Roberts family and its minstries will now be forever tied with Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker, and Robert Tilton to name a few. What we need in all parts of the world is more people who can credibily stand up and enunciate God's word, not less.

If only pastors who are mega successes could remember what Jesus himself said. Its harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get in to heaven.

David V Author Profile Page said:

Your writing has one error. You state that:

"..But the majority are heads of large ministries with a presence on either Trinity Broadcasting Network or Daystar Television Network. Many, like Oral, Richard and Lindsay Roberts, are self-professed faith-healers..."

I do not know of anyone of them claiming anything other than Jesus is the healer, not themselves. That is what they profess. Please correct the record or let me know where they made a contrary profession.

On another point; I predicted a week ago that there is an 80% probability that this will be settled out-of-court for very large "undisclosed" terms. That's how they handled Richard's decision to divorce his first wife; Patty Roberts. Richard's comments in ORU's chapel services was a confirmation that the Board of Regents will ardently pursue a settlement.

Failure to settle out-of-court will result in a huge decline in donations, from the devastating testimony.

The lack of objective accountability is the biggest failure in the "5 families" of Tulsa. I would have found it interesting to have been a "fly on the wall" when Richard and Billy Joe "patched up" their differences, recently.


We can all learn a lesson from Professor Brooker's mistake. He agreed to be the "fall guy", and lie to the IRS, for Richard's political activities. He did something dishonorable and the administration respected him even less. Now he'll have a more difficult time proving his claims because he has to admit to being a liar in order to support his claims.

David, that block of text is a quote from the Oklahoman, not my words. (Someday, I'll figure out how to fix my stylesheet to make that more apparent.) But isn't it fair to say that several members of the ORU Board of Regents claim a special anointing from God to be his instrument for healing the sick?

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

don't know how others view the "healers" but here's my view.

In any service praying for the sick and injured is standard. We are all called to do that. But when I see a pastor call people from the audience, touch them in some way and claim the person is healed I am sceptical. Just because the Apostles did that doesn't mean people today can. Why would God need a human to be a visible part of what we all know God does himself?

s said:

The four ORU regents you mentioned all live lavish lifestyles and live like millionaires -- Dollar, Hinn, Hagee, Copeland. Do you know of any minister here in Tulsa churches that pay their pastor one million dollars or more and since
ORU is so free with money, why do they pay their staff so little? Do they not value their teachers time, commitment to their own ORU students?

Oral Roberts unfortunately taught his son Richard to live that way even though Oral and his wife was raised in poverty.

David V Author Profile Page said:

Michael, thanks for further explaining that. I now realize you were quoting an article.
And yes, they do acknowledge an anointing in accordance with Jesus words:

"These signs shall follow them that believe... they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover..".

But Peter said;

"such as I have, give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk."
Peter didn't heal the man. Jesus did. Kenneth Hagin ardently corrected anyone who called him a "faith-healer". All the praise belongs to God.

I'm sorry to divert the conversation. Back to the issue of financial accountability.

We need to resist the temptation to allow doctrinal differences to shade our judgement of this case.

I used to view denominational structure as hindering a "movement" of God. Now I value the accountability such structures can provide. The five families(Roberts, Hagin, Daugherty, George, and Yandian) all have a simular absence of outside accountability. I don't endorse that, but I value their faithfulness to the gospel message.

s said:

The October 18-24 story in Urban Tulsa Weekly's
Lifestyle's of the Rich Evangelists is interesting if you can post that Michael.

Do you think those that watch Richard and/or Lindsey's television shows would approve of the salaries that Lindsey and Richard Roberts make if they would put in bold print those facts when they are asking for people for money (by direct mail or t.v.)

s said:

ORU is about $55 million in debt and their endowment is now a lot lower than what it used to be.

With the above in mind, how does Richard and Lindsey Roberts justify the huge income they receive each year.

Thomas said:

It's all a big money scam thats been going on in some form since the beginning of Organized Religion. I personally hope that Benny Hinn and his big hair does some time. I just feel sorry for the majority of the students at ORU.

tui Author Profile Page said:


It is rather disgusting that people like the Robertses use God's Holy Name to scam millions of people for money for so many year's. Not only in this country but so many around the world.

How can they call themselves God's servants is beyond me. They live in mansion's, drive the most expensive car's and wear expensive clothe's not to mention the diamond's and gold they drape themselves with while their congregations donate money earned of their sweat and tear;s and hard work.

My parent's bless their heart's gave the best of what they had to the church, served the minister as he was God himself and taught us to do the same. Through the year's it became evident to me that most of all the minister's or so called men of God, were nothing more than crooks and liar's and scam artists that use the pulpit to make a living and live lavishly on unsuspecting respectful God fearing people that gave unselfishly to God and the Church.

For almost 20 year's now I have prayed in the privacy of my own home as I refuse to fall victim to the crooks and the liar's and the hippocrites that call themselves men of God the likes of Oral Roberts and his ministry, Jim Bakker, Swaggart, the list goes on and on.

My parent;s though in their 80's are still serving God, still giving unselfishly for the name of God. I do believe they have been brainwashed for so long, they don't know any better. For me, everytime I think maybe I should start going back to church, something like this happens and it changes everything. My faith in God will never waiver, but I will always see these so called ministries as a scam and a bunch of liar's and hippocrites raking in millions and using God;s name to do it. Shame, shame on them!!

I see them as nothing but wolves in sheeps clothing.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 22, 2007 6:26 PM.

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