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EVANGELIST PREACHER WHO WORSHIPED MONEY
The Irish Times ^ | December 19, 2009

Posted on 01/12/2010 5:40:21 AM PST by urroner

Oral Roberts: MANY OF America’s televangelists have had more than their fair share of scandals involving sex, fraud and extremist politics. But Oral Roberts, who has died aged 91 of complications from pneumonia, always devoted himself to money – and, occasionally, God. He even justified his love of wealth with a biblical source.

At the age of 29, he was a struggling part-time preacher with church pastorates in Oklahoma, and his college studies had not brought him a degree.

He told the story of how he picked up his Bible and it fell open at the Third Epistle of John. His eye caught verse two, which read: “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

He had not heard this verse before and neither had his schoolteacher wife Evelyn, although both were the offspring of preachers. Roberts decided immediately that it was all right to be rich.

The next day he bought a Buick and God appeared, he said, telling him to heal people. Roberts then added this aspect to his tent revival meetings. A month later in Enid, Oklahoma, he cured, he claimed, a woman the use of whose hand had been impaired for 38 years.

After leaving the Pentecostal Holiness church to become leader of the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, he was on his way to becoming the richest US evangelist. With his pioneering exploitation of radio and – from 1954 – television, he headed a broadcasting empire that transformed religion in America.

He also ran mailshot campaigns promising prosperity in return for financial expressions of faith in God: his message of health and wealth held enormous appeal for poor Americans.

At its height in the early 1980s, Roberts was chief of a $120 million a year business employing 2,300 people and controlling Oral Roberts University (ORU) – which opened in 1965 – a medical school and hospital and buildings on 50 acres south of Tulsa, Oklahoma, valued at $500 million.

Students at ORU, whose members were forbidden to drink, smoke or have sex before marriage, went on to reach 5,400.

Roberts’s broadcasts went to hundreds of radio and television stations, his appeals for money continued non-stop, while sales of his 120 books and hundreds of audio and video cassettes boosted the cashflow. In 1987, he created headlines by saying that unless he got another $4.5 million for his hospital in a few weeks, “God will call me home”.

He retired to his 10-storey prayer tower on campus and emerged – on the deadline – to declare that he had raised the sum. As usual, there was only his word for it.

Over the years there were various exposés of fraudulent healing practices and in 1989, he had to close his uneconomical City of Faith hospital. He even sold his holiday homes in Palm Springs and Beverly Hills, California, and three of his Mercedes cars, but continued to wear his Italian silk suits, diamond rings and gold bracelets – airbrushed out by his staff on publicity pictures.

In his last years, he retrenched the Roberts ministry, but was never engulfed in the scandals that brought down some of his peers, even though on several occasions people died at his “healing” prayer sessions.

He was ranked second only to Billy Graham in the hierarchy of US evangelists and was still referred to as “Dr” Roberts, despite having only honorary degrees.

Born into rural poverty in a log cabin near Ada, southeast of Oklahoma City, he nearly died of tuberculosis when he was 17. His family had joined the Pentecostal Holiness church and he credited God with his recovery after attending a revival meeting.

That launched his religious career, although one local newspaper sceptic wrote that Roberts treated religion the way that Tulsans went into oil: to make money.

At 18, he began preaching for the Pentecostal Holiness church.

Two years later he married Evelyn, who died in May 2005, aged 88. They had two sons and two daughters. His elder son, Ronald, shot himself dead in 1982, and his daughter Rebecca and her husband Marshall Nash died in an air crash in 1977, leaving $10 million, their proceeds from the Roberts empire. In the 1990s he had two heart attacks, and in 2006 he broke a hip.

Roberts’s daughter Roberta and his son Richard, who followed him as president of ORU until 2007, when he was forced to take leave of absence following allegations that he had used university funds for personal purposes, survive him.


TOPICS: Activism; Current Events; Ministry/Outreach; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: christian; corruption; evangelical; fraud; hitpiece; money; mormon; oneofmanyfrauds; oralroberts; prosperitygospel; roberts
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1 posted on 01/12/2010 5:40:22 AM PST by urroner
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To: urroner

“EVANGELIST PREACHER WHO WORSHIPED MONEY”

When I saw the headline I thought it would be about Reverend Ike. Hadn’t read about him in years.


2 posted on 01/12/2010 5:48:34 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists...Call 'em What you Will, They ALL have Fairies Living In Their Trees.)
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To: urroner

After all, that’s why God gave man the Priesthood; to sell to the highest bidder, right? < /sarcasm>


3 posted on 01/12/2010 5:53:24 AM PST by Hodar (Who needs laws .... when this "feels" so right?)
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To: urroner
He told the story of how he picked up his Bible and it fell open at the Third Epistle of John. His eye caught verse two, which read: “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” He had not heard this verse before and neither had his schoolteacher wife Evelyn

A 29-year-old preacher that had "never heard the verse before"? Well, I suppose that's reasonable... Third John is an awfully long book, after all.

4 posted on 01/12/2010 5:56:45 AM PST by Sloth (Civil disobedience? I'm afraid only the uncivil kind is going to cut it this time.)
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To: urroner

Waiting for the turnabout-is-fair-play articles on Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson; various wealthy rabbis including the one arranging kidney donations for money; and the rich Muslim imams who make big bucks while sending everyone but themselves off to jihad....


5 posted on 01/12/2010 5:57:38 AM PST by ikka
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To: urroner

I worked with a man whose sister donated heavily to his “ministry” including the ORU hospital. When diagnosed with cancer she went there with a dying wish to see Oral Roberts in person. That wish went unfulfilled.


6 posted on 01/12/2010 6:00:24 AM PST by BipolarBob (The White House smoke from Bill Clintons cigar caused global warming.)
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To: urroner
Well, that was a lovely hatchet-job. I saw Oral Roberts once at a commencement ceremony at his university. The man was a great orator, one of the best I've ever seen and heard. Oh, and he didn't fleece me or promise to heal me, just filled me with inspiration. What a rotten SOB. </sarcasm>
7 posted on 01/12/2010 6:00:35 AM PST by randog (Tap into America!)
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To: rockinqsranch

OK, let’s compare Oral Roberts to the Rev Al Sharpton, or the Rev Jesse Jackson or the Rev Msgr Geno Baroni, or the Rev Msgr John Egan or the Rev ......

OR, let’s compare him to others with expensive tastes ... Hollywood stars, athletes, officers of Fannie/Freddie.

OR, let’s compare him to others who accepted money from others. Donations to Roberts were voluntary. Donantions to politicians were involuntary.

On balance, Oral Roberts was a positive force in society. On balance, his life benefitted others more than it hurt them. Yes, he had many flaws.

And I didn’t buy his theology or worship style. But that’s no reason to trash him.


8 posted on 01/12/2010 6:03:25 AM PST by spintreebob
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To: urroner

Oral Roberts was a wonderful man of God. The writer of this article on him doesn’t know the first or last thing about Christianity but he’s going to proclaim the final word on Oral Roberts? The writer is either a bitter atheist or a self-righteous, self-absorbed jerk who doesn’t know the Lord or anything about God’s love and grace. He obviously took pleasure in telling the misfortunes of the Roberts’ family. I loved Oral Roberts, and he prayed and preached for many years, encouraging people and having a positive influence on this country. He used to minister to people in the 1950s, and there were many miracles in his services. Most of the people he helped have probably gone on to be with the Lord, it was so long ago. I look forward to speaking to him someday in Heaven.


9 posted on 01/12/2010 6:19:01 AM PST by rimtop56
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To: ikka

Pack a sandwich. It’s gonna’ be a long wait.


10 posted on 01/12/2010 6:22:03 AM PST by vladimir998 (Part of the Vast Catholic Conspiracy (hat tip to Kells))
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To: urroner

And what positive things have you done for people or society, despite your human imperfections?

Per your stats, he headed a $120 million empire at one point, with 2300 employees. Sounds like a positive to me, all those working people. BTW 120000000/2300 is $52,173.91/employee to pay them, business costs, taxes, etc. Doesn’t sound too egregious to me, but then I’m not jealous.

Also, I have a fine dentist friend, a wonderful man who has often fixed my teeth and my family’s teeth as well. He received an excellent education at Oral Roberts University.

While we should never worship any man (beside Jesus) nor blindly follow one, we would be well advised to do our best to follow the Lord Oral Roberts served, though, obviously, we will have our own struggles in doing so.


11 posted on 01/12/2010 6:33:12 AM PST by srweaver (Never Forget the Judicial Homicide of Terri Schiavo)
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To: Sloth

I take it ... That the verse never meant something to him before. I’ve read the Bible then read again and find something new for me.


12 posted on 01/12/2010 6:36:26 AM PST by the_daug
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To: urroner

pretty brutal headline...God rest his soul.


13 posted on 01/12/2010 6:41:24 AM PST by Jihadi Du Jour
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To: rimtop56

My father was a Methodist preacher who worked with disabled people. He confronted Oral Roberts in the 60’s about his healing practices, particularly healing deaf people. Dad struggled with a number of deaf parishoners who were sending Roberts money in order to be healed. Finally, Dad confronted Roberts and demanded that he hold a healing service for these deaf parishoners. Roberts refused.
After Dad died Roberts was accepted with full credentials as an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church. True to form the Methodist Bishops who engineered this blasphemy were more interested in Robert’s institutional prowess than his theology or ministerial practices.


14 posted on 01/12/2010 6:50:14 AM PST by Louis Foxwell (He is the son of soulless slavers, not the son of soulful slaves.)
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To: Sloth

“The awakening began in the spring of 1947 when, discouraged by the lack of enthusiasm in his congregation in Enid, Okla., Roberts prayed desperately for help. He says the Lord responded first by leading him to a passage in III John 2: `I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.’


15 posted on 01/12/2010 6:58:24 AM PST by the_daug
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To: Sloth
A 29-year-old preacher that had "never heard the verse before"? Well, I suppose that's reasonable... Third John is an awfully long book, after all.

That was my first thought. After all...3rd John has lots of chapters...

But...God forbid we ask students to live a moral, biblical life.

16 posted on 01/12/2010 6:58:32 AM PST by NELSON111
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To: Sloth

But one that tends to get overlooked in favor of Romans, Corinthians, Hebrews etc.

Anyway, its just a generic expression of goodwill.


17 posted on 01/12/2010 7:04:37 AM PST by Vanders9
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To: spintreebob

There is plenty of reason to expose and criticize Roberts. He twisted the Scriptures, fleeced old ladies, preached and practiced covetousness, taught all sorts or heresies and brought shame to the name Jesus Christ and to His Church.

Christians need to emphatically separate themselves from charlatans such as Roberts. Failing to do so allows Christianity, the Gospel and Jesus Christ Himself, to be misrepresented and blasphemed.

Chritians should be so united against these types of heretics and charlatans that even unbelievers would look at someone like Roberts and immediately say, “He’s not a real Christian preacher, real Christians don’t act like he does or teach or believe the things he does.”


18 posted on 01/12/2010 7:07:52 AM PST by Above My Pay Grade ("I don't have a whole lot of mercy for the bad guys, I'm on the good guys' side." -Sarah Palin)
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To: the_daug

Absolutely! Living word and all that...


19 posted on 01/12/2010 7:16:50 AM PST by Vanders9
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To: Above My Pay Grade

Agree 100%


20 posted on 01/12/2010 7:18:08 AM PST by Vanders9
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To: Hodar

That is called priestcraft, not priesthood. Religion for money..


21 posted on 01/12/2010 8:11:04 AM PST by handmade
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To: urroner

My lynn, thought you were off to make a firing room for nasa. While you are at it, why not comment on all those poor people who gave their gold cavity fillings for a mormon temple that they probably will never be “worthy” enough to enter? Or the lds demads of 10% in order to pay your way to obtain godhood?


22 posted on 01/12/2010 8:34:49 AM PST by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: spintreebob

You’re not a very good thinker are you, or your brain is a spinning tree.

My comment was specifically, and I might add explicitly targeted at the HEADLINE, not at Oral Roberts, or this authors story about Oral Roberts. I made a point of doing so, because I didn’t want to offend any supporters of Oral Roberts especially as I didn’t know him, but only of him.

The HEADLINE reminded me of the phony, but for awhile revered Reverend Ike whom amassed a fortune before falling from grace. For him it was the wealth he could accumulate quickly that drove him, and apparently a passion for Rolls Royces to drive.

That said I note yours was the only response to my comment at the HEADLINE, therefore I presume the other readers, commentors got it. It was the HEADLINE, NOT the content.


23 posted on 01/12/2010 9:03:08 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists...Call 'em What you Will, They ALL have Fairies Living In Their Trees.)
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To: Godzilla

I’m very sick to Godzilla, so I’m home. I’m also going into the hospital tomorrow for a minor operation on my back and might even take a few days of for that. Sorry to disappoint you, but next week, it’s back to the salt mines.


24 posted on 01/12/2010 9:29:22 AM PST by urroner
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To: colorcountry; Colofornian; Elsie; svcw; Zakeet; SkyPilot; Tennessee Nana; aMorePerfectUnion; ...
When losing the argument on threads about mormonism, try throwing dirt at an Evangelical even if you have to go to Ireland to find an article with an inflammatory headline about the death of the Evangelical.

The comical thing about this is that odds are that Oral Roberts has already been baptized and confirmed a member in the mormon church in the mormon temple since his death..

Romney and the very, very wealthy mormon church that is at present building a multibillion-dollar mall and demands 10% of members income before they are considered "worthy" to enter their temple, (worship money much?) must really be getting worried about Romney's chances in 2012 to have called out the troops to FR to battle against the storm that Harry Reid has stirred up with his "negro" remark!

Some FReepers refuse to acknowledge that Romney is persona non grata on FR. I predict they will be reminded of that fact.

25 posted on 01/12/2010 9:40:10 AM PST by greyfoxx39 (Obamacare: Old folks don't deserve healthcare. They use up too many carbon credits just breathing.)
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To: urroner
WOW! People are (sometimes) scum. Who would have thought, really who would have thunk it. Purpose of post is what to show Christians that there are scum, crooks in Christianity. Sorry to let you down, we know this and admit it, and try and weed these charlatans out. Unlike ldsers who have the same but stand with them and elevate them to higher than Jesus.
26 posted on 01/12/2010 9:49:11 AM PST by svcw (The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves. GW)
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To: urroner
Sorry to hear that. Will pray for a speedy recovery and God's guiding of the doctors hands.
27 posted on 01/12/2010 9:51:07 AM PST by svcw (The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves. GW)
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To: urroner

***He retired to his 10-storey prayer tower on campus and emerged – on the deadline – to declare that he had raised the sum. As usual, there was only his word for it.***

It was said he had a hot tub and a wet bar in his prayer tower. Many here referred to it as “the sip and dip”!


28 posted on 01/12/2010 10:05:44 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Are my guns loaded? Break in and find out.)
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To: urroner

I am reminded of a painting and poem by Charles M. Russell.

Two cowboys are robbing a preacher. One holds a gun and the other goes through the preacher’s pockets.

The poem reads..

If money’s the root of all evil,
Your Reverence is going to weed!
It’s the duty of a Saint not a sinner,
To shake out your clothes for the seed.


29 posted on 01/12/2010 10:10:07 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Are my guns loaded? Break in and find out.)
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To: urroner

Prayers for your healing, but if it is back surgery, don’t count on work next week either.


30 posted on 01/12/2010 10:16:51 AM PST by Godzilla (3-7-77)
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To: urroner; colorcountry; Godzilla

... poor, poor mormonisms

it’s tricksy, in its underwears, isn’t it??


31 posted on 01/12/2010 10:21:52 AM PST by aMorePerfectUnion
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To: urroner; Godzilla

32 posted on 01/12/2010 10:24:48 AM PST by ejonesie22
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To: rockinqsranch
As usual, there was only his word for it.

Dang!

Sounds like Joseph Smith and his bunch!

What are the MORMONs worth these days?

33 posted on 01/12/2010 10:26:28 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: urroner

God speed you in your recovery.


34 posted on 01/12/2010 10:27:02 AM PST by ejonesie22
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To: spintreebob
But that’s no reason to trash him.

The REASON is to draw attention away from MORMONism and all of it's foibles.

35 posted on 01/12/2010 10:28:13 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Godzilla

Thanks Godzilla. I have a ruptured disk and the doc has tried a couple of things already, but none of them are working. Tomorrow, I’m going in and he’s going to be poking about eight different needles in between my disks and seeing if that helps. I have had rocks, tiny smooth rocks glued to the bottom of my right foot for almost two years now. Well, that is what it feels like. I can’t remember the name of the procedure, it’s long, but it doesn’t take very long. The anesthesiologist comes in and deadens my lower back and then the pain doctor comes in and inserts drugs and other good stuff in between some disks, then then everybody goes home.

The doc said I should feel better anytime between a couple of hours to a couple of weeks. I really hope the former. If this procedure doesn’t work, they could stick a huge needle in my back and suck some stuff out and then it’s implant a device in my back that counteracts the pain. I really hope that the operation tomorrow works. I had major back surgery years ago and I couldn’t go back to work for almost six months. I don’t want that to happen again.

And Godzilla, honestly, thanks for the prayers.


36 posted on 01/12/2010 10:30:38 AM PST by urroner
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To: srweaver
 
While we should never worship any man (beside Jesus) nor blindly follow one, we would be well advised to do our best to follow the Lord Oral Roberts served, though, obviously, we will have our own struggles in doing so.
 
You'd make a poor MORMON!


More from the mouth of a late Prophet of MORMONism:
 

In conclusion let us summarize this grand key, these “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet”, for our salvation depends on them.


1. The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
2. The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
3. The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
4. The prophet will never lead the church astray.
5. The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
6. The prophet does not have to say “Thus Saith the Lord,” to give us scripture.
7. The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
8. The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
9. The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
10. The prophet may advise on civic matters.
11. The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
12. The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
13. The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.
14. The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the First Presidency—follow them and be blessed—reject them and suffer.

I testify that these fourteen fundamentals in following the living prophet are true. If we want to know how well we stand with the Lord then let us ask ourselves how well we stand with His mortal captain—how close do our lives harmonize with the Lord’s anointed—the living Prophet—President of the Church, and with the Quorum of the First Presidency.

Ezra Taft Benson

(Address given Tuesday, February 26, 1980 at Brigham Young University)

 


 


37 posted on 01/12/2010 10:30:42 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: ejonesie22

Thanks ejonesie.


38 posted on 01/12/2010 10:32:38 AM PST by urroner
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
it’s tricksy, in its underwears, isn’t it??

That's going to be REAL tricky: in them AIRPORT SCANNERS!!

39 posted on 01/12/2010 10:34:36 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: urroner
How much $$, and property does LDS, Inc. have?

LDS, Inc. puts OR to shame in the $$ department.

40 posted on 01/12/2010 10:37:50 AM PST by Osage Orange (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It)
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To: Elsie

You’re right, I would make a poor Mormon. However, since I am not one, I can focus on following Jesus and incorporate His teachings and the Word of God into my life.

Ezra Taft Benson’s teachings do not accord with the teachings of the bible.


41 posted on 01/12/2010 10:39:29 AM PST by srweaver (Never Forget the Judicial Homicide of Terri Schiavo)
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To: urroner
BTW, I seriously hope your medical procedure goes well.
42 posted on 01/12/2010 10:39:54 AM PST by Osage Orange (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It)
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To: Above My Pay Grade

Based on the vitriol of your comments, I doubt if Jesus Himself, the apostles Peter or Paul, or anyone else would meet with your criteria of what constitutes a “real” Christian preacher.


43 posted on 01/12/2010 10:47:44 AM PST by srweaver (Never Forget the Judicial Homicide of Terri Schiavo)
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To: Above My Pay Grade

Based on the vitriol of your comments, I doubt if Jesus Himself, the apostles Peter or Paul, or anyone else would meet with your criteria of what constitutes a “real” Christian preacher.


44 posted on 01/12/2010 10:47:55 AM PST by srweaver (Never Forget the Judicial Homicide of Terri Schiavo)
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To: Osage Orange

Thanks Double O.


45 posted on 01/12/2010 10:54:10 AM PST by urroner
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To: srweaver

Of course they would! To compare a man who made a career out of preaching false doctrine, and swindling gullible Christians, for enormous, personal, financial gain, to great men like Peter and Paul who gave up everything to preach the truth of the Gospel, is absurd. To compare such a man to the Lord Jesus Christ, is blasphemous.


46 posted on 01/12/2010 10:56:17 AM PST by Above My Pay Grade ("I don't have a whole lot of mercy for the bad guys, I'm on the good guys' side." -Sarah Palin)
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To: urroner; colorcountry; Colofornian; Elsie; svcw; Zakeet; ejonesie22; Tennessee Nana; ...

Really, is Oral Roberts the BEST you can do?

For shame.


47 posted on 01/12/2010 11:21:31 AM PST by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian - "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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To: Above My Pay Grade
To compare a man who made a career out of preaching false doctrine, and swindling gullible Christians, for enormous, personal, financial gain, to great men like Peter and Paul who gave up everything to preach the truth of the Gospel, is absurd. To compare such a man to the Lord Jesus Christ, is blasphemous.

It certainly IS blasphemous!

On October 9, 1859, Brigham Young said, "From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are -- I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent" (Journal of Discourses 7:289).

Brigham Young claimed "Well now, examine the character of the Savior, and examine the characters of those who have written the Old and New Testaments; and then compare them with the character of Joseph Smith... and you will find that his character stands as fair as any man's mentioned in the Bible" (Journal of Discourses 14:203, August 31, 1871).

48 posted on 01/12/2010 11:22:20 AM PST by greyfoxx39 (Obamacare: Old folks don't deserve healthcare. They use up too many carbon credits just breathing.)
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To: greyfoxx39

You mean Mormonism isn’t just another Christian denomination? /sarc

Those quotes certainly add to the Mount Everest of evidence that Mormonism is a false religion and not in any way a valid form of Christianity. Thanks.


49 posted on 01/12/2010 11:27:52 AM PST by Above My Pay Grade ("I don't have a whole lot of mercy for the bad guys, I'm on the good guys' side." -Sarah Palin)
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To: Above My Pay Grade; colorcountry; Colofornian; Elsie; FastCoyote; svcw; Zakeet; SkyPilot; ...

Chritians should be so united against these types of heretics and charlatans that even unbelievers would look at someone like Roberts and immediately say, “He’s not a real Christian preacher, real Christians don’t act like he does or teach or believe the things he does.”

- - - - -
I agree we should “out” the charlatans and heretics, especially those who claim Christianity. This includes people like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, Gordon B. Hinkey and Thomas S. Monson.

I also apply it to anyone who take the name of the Lord in vain by using Him for their own gain.


50 posted on 01/12/2010 11:33:27 AM PST by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian - "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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