Oral Roberts and the "Seed Faith" Swindle

by Sharon

oral roberts universityImage by davidsilver via Flickr

Oral Roberts, the 91 year old founder of Oral Roberts University, now semi-retired, has taken to reminiscing on the Christian TBN network, about how he founded the University that bears his name. His fond remembrances of how "God" revealed to him the "seed faith" theology (a coin he termed), is enough to make any fiscally responsible persons' blood boil !

Oral Roberts founded the 263 acre University campus in 1963 in Tulsa Oklahoma. The current endowment rests at 33 million dollars, off of which Oral Roberts earns $83,505 per year for his retirement. In addition the University Board of Regents used millions of dollars of endowment money in 1988 to purchase property in exclusive Beverly Hills for Oral Roberts West Coast home and office, which also included a country club membership. In addition he also maintained an exclusive residence in the St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton Florida (until 1992), which he commuted to by private jet.

Now lets look at how he came by the capital for this privileged lifestyle that not only he has enjoyed but his wife and children, including the heir apparent son Richard Roberts and his family.

Where did the money come from to buy the original property and to build the original buildings of this dynasty? From the "seed faith" theology swindle. It works very simply. Convince people to give you their hard earned money from doing honest work that has earned them a profit. Promise them nothing in return from you. No stock certificates, no interest on their "investment", no dividends, nothing. Instead promise them that this magical thing called "seed faith" will bring them a "30,60 or 100 fold" increase on the amount they give you (and healing, and heaven, and you can add as many "blessings" as your imagination can conjure) because you are not responsible to produce anything for those who buy into this scheme! You do not have to give anything back to them for the use of their money. See they give the money to YOU, and you use it to buy something of actual value - property. Then you promise them, that "God" will pay them back. You get interest free money with no obligations for future payments, and they get "pie in the sky"! This is a swindle.

The Oral Roberts "seed faith swindle" pays no one, except Oral Roberts (and those affiliated with him). The Oral Roberts University endowment does not rely on "seed faith" theology to maintain the campus of ORU. Instead it uses old fashioned investments. You know investing in real businesses that produce actual products and countable profits in the here and now. They dont give away the endowment and trust God to give them "30,60 or 100 fold return" to meet the expenses of running the university (and paying Oral Roberts his retirement income).

When Donald Trump was beginning his rise to success, he did what honest business people do, he borrowed money from investors or banks who expected that he would return said money to them with interest. He then used their investment money to purchase property and materials to construct money producing buildings like hotels. He was then responsible to payback the original investment with interest. Oral Roberts had no such contract with his "investors".

This isnt even as good as a ponzi scheme. At least a ponzi scheme pays someone back! A ponzi scheme pays old investors with new investors money. The Oral Roberts "seed faith swindle" pays no one, except Oral Roberts (and those affiliated with him).

The only reason this swindle can be perpetrated to begin with, and can continue to this day without fear of criminal prosecution, is because those who espouse "seed faith" theology claim it is protected as a First Amendment right, under the auspices of the free exercise of religion. If this were a product being sold claiming to heal every disease AND bring the user a "30,60 or 100" fold increase in their salary, the FDA would halt all such advertisements today! The seller would have to show verifiable scientific proof of said claims to continue their advertising campaign. The "faith" community does not have to provide such proof, and hence can escape any fear of court orders to cease and desist their activities. What a great way to make a living! No wonder it attracts so many from the evangelical subculture who dont have the education or the skills to make a living doing something worthwhile, so instead prey on the unsuspecting with their "seed faith" theology.

The list of those who tout this horribly deceptive teaching is long and infamous. Kenneth Copeland, who used "seed faith" theology to buy his $20 Million dollars in property and assets in addition to a private jet also valued at $20 Million dollars. Joyce Meyers Ministries, $10 Million corporate jet, $2 Million dollar home for herself with additional $2 Million dollars in homes for her children, is expecting to make $95 Million this year from her "ministry", TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch in 2004 earned a combined total of $764,000 plus 30 ministry owned homes at their disposal including a pair of Newport Beach mansions, a mountain retreat and a ranch in Texas, and of course the ubiquitous $7.2 million dollar turbo jet for their private use. With the cloak of religion tightly clutched around their activities, they are able to continue to collect as much money as they can get the unwary to send them. This money is then used to purchase real investments; properties, businesses, portfolios of stocks and bonds. Those who makes these contributions have to depend on "God" when they lose their job and need help paying the bills, or need medical care, whereas the recipients of "seed faith" money can afford to not only pay their bills, but when they get sick can afford the best medical care available.

This swindle preys on the weak minded and the gullible. It should be illegal. Like all other cons and swindles and ponzi schemes this one should be relentlessly opposed by responsible members of society and halted from hurting the vulnerable.

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