Last week Naomi and I were privileged to attend 50th Anniversary events at Oral Roberts University. What a great celebration of God’s faithfulness. Both of my sisters graduated from ORU. Although my undergraduate degree is from another great Christian school (John Brown University), I’m honored to hold an honorary doctorate from ORU.
I’m sure only a few who gathered last week for the legacy chapel and the 50th Anniversary Dinner could say they also attended the 1967 dedication of Oral Roberts University. I am one of those blessed few. As a 17 year old recently called to preach, I was strongly impacted by witnessing that historic occasion. Oral Roberts and Billy Graham, the two greatest evangelists of that time and both at the prime of their ministries, joined together for that landmark event. Just seeing them together for the gospel charged me with inspiration and set a standard in my young heart.
The very public crisis ORU experienced around eight years ago is well known. In my tribute to Oral Roberts that was published in Charisma I wrote, “I am convinced that his fiercely focused faith, in the university’s darkest hours, simply would not permit Oral Roberts University to die.”
Praise be to Jesus, the renaissance of the university is also well known. The profoundly generous intervention of the David Green family rallied many to rebuild a great institution. I’ve been on campus frequently through the last five decades. But never have I seen the campus more beautiful and manicured than last Friday. The students were upbeat and friendly, even to us old guys! Faith, hope, and love were on vivid display. And isn’t that what Paul said are our abiding distinctives as followers of Christ?
Congratulations to my friends, Rob Hoskins, chairman of ORU’s board of trustees, and Dr. William Wilson, president of ORU. The ministry of Oral Roberts University reverberates though its graduates on every continent. The greatest days of impact are just ahead. Half a century later, ORU remains firmly committed to obeying the directive the Lord gave Oral Roberts before there was even a campus –
“Raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim, where My voice is heard small, and My healing power is not known, even to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours. And in this I am well pleased.” That is Great Commission language.