Christianity may be subdivided by many denominations, but despite these “divisions,” unity can be found in mutual love for Jesus Christ.Christians are all here, mixing together, in order to learn from one another and grow in faith.
Oral Roberts University is not affiliated with a particular denomination but claims Pentecostal Charismatic theology, resulting in an extensive range of more than 35 denominations represented in the ORU community.
The largest slice of students have a nondenominational affiliation, which comprises 33 percent of the student body. Following this group in size is the Assemblies of God denomination, making up 10 percent of students.
There are many aspects of ORU’s Pentecostal origins that make the university unique, but perhaps the most distinct is its emphasis on speaking in tongues.
Dr. Vinson Synan, current scholar-in-residence and one of the world’s leading historians on Pentecostalism, said that prayer language is an important part of the school’s classical Pentecostal roots.
Synan has also been a long time friend and advisor to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which is a movement merging Catholic theology with Charismatic practices. He has seen first hand the unity that can be found in the diversity of Christian denominations.
“He [Oral Roberts] wanted to serve the whole body of Christ, and this school expanded his vision far beyond the classical Pentecostal movements,” Synan explained.
ORU’s diversity of denominations allows for a wider spread of influence and welcomes those from various backgrounds to create a holistic understanding of the Body of Christ.
Morandon Henry, a senior Government major, is a member of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), which is a church in the Pentecostal Holiness tradition as well. He belongs to this denomination because of his family roots in the church.
“We believe in the Bible in its entirety. We talk about the Holy Ghost and why it’s important in our lives,” Henry said. “We’re the church, we go outside the four walls to do outreach.”
COGIC is in 83 nations across the world and its missions outreach extends globally, sharing ORU’s mission to send students “to the uttermost bounds of the earth.”
“Each denomination has something special about it. Each one has something that another one doesn’t have,” Henry stated.
In service to the whole body of Christ, denominations should unify rather than divide as each brings a different way of serving Christ the Savior.