That Time God Destroyed Oral Roberts’ Healing Tent, And He Made a Point
…heal thyself – Jesus (Luke 4:23)
Granville Oral Roberts is one of the most controversial Montanist-Charismatic evangelists of the 20th Century. Venerated by modern faith-healers like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and most of the lineup at Trinity Broadcasting Network, Roberts virtually invented televangelism with the Abundant Life Program in 1957.
Roberts brought the Health and Wealth gospel to the mainstream, and was one of the early proponents of the Word-Faith movement that has so ravaged Charismaticism. Roberts regularly recalled visions from Jesus (and on at least one occasion, a 900-foot Jesus), which although was novel at the time, helped to revitalize the ancient heresy of Montanism in western Christianity, after laying dormant for nearly 1700 years.
One of Roberts’ chief draws of attention were his claims of healing. Heck, there were even claims he raised the dead. Tens of thousands of people would gather in his famous healing tent to be healed of their back pain, toothaches, arthritis and other ailments that could receive temporary psychosomatic relief.
However, there is one interesting tale that we polemicists should pull out of the dustbin and make available before it forever goes down the memory hole.
The Associated Press reported on September 11, 1950 (in the Ft. Worth Star Telegram) that Oral Roberts hosted a healing-tent revival service in Amarillo, Texas. It was then, that the God of nature saw fit for a high wind to pick up the tent (including the tent-pegs) and bring it crushing down upon the crowd of sign-seekers (Matthew 17:17), wounding over 50.
It was then that Oral Roberts, full of the Holy Spirit, waded out into the crowd and began to heal people of the cuts, wounds and serious contusions. Just kidding. He was utterly helpless to heal a single person. They all had to go to the hospital.
That’s right. People at a “healing tent” could not be healed by the faith-healer. They had to go from the healing tent to the hospital to get actual medical attention.
Behold, the power of charismania.