Raising The Dead

(Investigator 3, 1988 November)

Rumours of Oral Roberts raising the dead made headlines last year.

A paranormal claim of such nature deserved investigation.

INVESTIGATOR received 2 newspaper clippings and 2 letters which together reveal the truth.

The truth is that more die at Roberts' meetings than are raised.

The Spokesman-Review Spokane Chronicle, June 27, 1987
Evangelist Oral Roberts says 
he has brought the dead back to life

TULSA, Okla. – Evangelist Oral Roberts, whose plea for $8 million to save his life focused attention on his ministry earlier this year, said this week he has raised the dead and will return after his own death to rule alongside Jesus Christ.

Roberts' comments, made to about 5,000 people at the closing session of the three-day Charismatic Bible Ministries Conference on Thursday, were broadcast nationally Friday on his son's "Richard Roberts Live" program.

Richard Roberts acknowledged his father's statements were sure to arouse controversy. He held up a newspaper with a headline about Oral Roberts' claims.

"The good news is, they're printing the truth," Richard Roberts said. "I'm so glad the newspapers are beginning to get the story right..."

The elder Roberts, whose 40-year ministry originated with tent revivals in which the sick came to be healed, told his fellow ministers Thursday he also has brought the dead back to life.

"All of us in the ministry could talk about that – of certain dead ones raised, died right while I was preaching," Roberts said. "I had to stop and go back in the crowd and raise the dead person so I could go ahead with the service.

"That did increase my altar call (audience response) that night," Roberts said, drawing laughter from the crowd at Oral Roberts University's Mabee Center.

On his program Friday, Richard Roberts said be recalled one instance in his boyhood when he said a dead child was brought back to life by his father.

"Right in the middle of my dad's sermon a woman came running up to the platform with her baby in her arms screaming ‘My baby has just died,'" Richard Roberts said.

"The child had died during the service. My dad had to stop in the middle of his sermon and lay hands on that child. And that child came back to life again.

"There are probably dozens and dozens and dozen of documented instances of people who have been raised from the dead," Richard Roberts said after he and guests on the program recounted stories about the dead being revived…

[Oral] Roberts has criticized media coverage of his request for money to fund medical missionary scholarships at ORU. In March 1986, he said God told him to raise $8 million from followers or his life would be forfeited by the end of March 1987…

On April 1, Roberts announced that the money had been raised and that his life had been spared.


LOS ANGELES TIMES, 1987, Saturday, July 4 Part 2 p.5

Roberts' Book Makes No Mention of Raising Dead

BY JOHN DART, Times Religion Writer

Contrary to a recent claim that he has raised the dead Rev. Oral Roberts did not mention such a feat in his 1972 autobiography and Roberts' biographer says he never ran into such a claim when researching the faith healer's life.

Roberts said in Tulsa on June 25 that he once had to stop his service to revive a dead person before he could continue. Roberts' son, Richard Roberts, who played a videotape of his father's remarks the next day on his television show, recalled that during his own boyhood his father revived a dead baby brought up by a distraught mother.

But last Monday, the senior Roberts appeared on his son's television program and seemed to modify his claim, saying that the mother who brought the baby to him thought the child was dead. "His little body was cold," Roberts said. "The mother thought it was dead. I thought it was dead."

…David Edwin Harrell Jr., author of "Oral Roberts, an American Life," said that if the evangelist brought a dead person back to life, "it would have been in the '50s or the '60s." That was the period when Roberts, now president of Oral Roberts University, actively engaged in tent revivals and healing sessions, Harrell said…

In his autobiography, "The Call," Roberts wrote in a chapter titled "Success and Failure" that "We've even had three people die during our crusades." … Roberts wrote that one death was reported during a crusade in Detroit after a diabetic woman, convinced that she was healed at one of Roberts' services, gave up her insulin shots and died…

Nevertheless, in remarks to about 5,000 charismatic ministers on June 25, Oral Roberts said, "all of us in the ministry could talk about" cases of people raised from the dead. After declaring that he would not say how many have been raised under his own ministry, he told briefly of a person dying during a service. "I had to stop and go back in the crowd and raise the dead person so I could go ahead with the service," he said without telling where or when the incident occurred.

Richard Rawe, an independent religious researcher living in Soap Lake. Wash., pointed to the chapter in Roberts' autobiography and said, "I think that if he had raised the dead, he would have mentioned it." Such a case would have offered positive contrast to the deaths that occurred during his crusades Rawe said…

March 13, 1956

Oral Roberts

Dear Mr. Roberts,

A friend and I were discussing your work and got to wondering if you can cure or have cured lepers or raised up dead persons by God's power?

We found nothing about this in your magazines we have and thought we would write and ask.

Thank you for your consideration in this regard. Awaiting your answer.

Sincerely yours,

Richard Rawe



Richard Rawe
Gran. Coulee Wash.

Dear Brother Rawe,

Thank you for taking time to contact me. I pray my letter will be a blessing to you…

According to our records, we have had no correspondence from a leperous person who has been healed. In answer to your question concerning the raising of the dead, I have never felt led of God along this line. I know nothing is impossible with Him but we must leave matters of this nature entirely in His hands...

Your partner for deliverance,

Oral Roberts


[The above letters and newspaper clippings were supplied to Investigator by Richard Rawe who at the time was a subscriber to Investigator. Ed.]

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