Roberts' fundraising was controversial. In January 1987, during a fundraising drive, Roberts announced to a television audience that unless he raised $8 million by that March, God would "call him home." Some were fearful that he was referring to suicide, given the impassioned pleas and tears that accompanied his statement. He raised $9.1 million. Later that year, he announced that God had raised the dead through Roberts' ministry.[
16] Some of Roberts' fundraising letters were written by Gene Ewing, who heads a business writing donation letters for other evangelicals such as Don Stewart and Robert Tilton.
He stirred up controversy when Time reported in 1987 that his son Richard Roberts claimed that he had seen his father raise a child from the dead.
 That year, the Bloom County comic strip recast its character Bill the Cat as a satirized televangelist, "Fundamentally Oral Bill." In 1987 Time stated that he was "re-emphasizing faith healing and [is] reaching for his old-time constituency." However, his income continued to decrease (from $88 million in 1980 to $55 million in 1986, according to the Tulsa Tribune) and his largely vacant City of Faith Medical Center continued to lose money.
Harry McNevin said that in 1988 the ORU Board of Regents "rubber-stamped" the "use of millions in endowment money to buy a Beverly Hills property so that Oral Roberts could have a West Coast office and house." In addition, he said a country club membership was purchased for the Robertses' home. The lavish expenses led to McNevin's resignation from the Board.
Richard Roberts resigned from the presidency of ORU on November 23, 2007 after being named as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging improper use of university funds for political and personal purposes, and improper use of university resources.
 The university was given a donation of $8 million by entrepreneur Mart Green, and although the lawsuit is still in process, the school has submitted to an outside audit, and with a good report will be given an additional $62 million by Green.  Oral Roberts announced he would return to once again help fulfill his administrative role along with Billy Joe Daugherty, who was named as the executive regent to assume administrative responsibilities of the Office of the President by the ORU Board of Regents.
Roberts' daughter Rebecca Nash died in an airplane crash on February 11, 1977 with her husband, businessman Marshall Nash. Roberts' eldest son Ronald committed suicide in June 1982, five months after receiving a court order to undergo counseling at a drug treatment center. The other two Roberts children are still living: son Richard, a well-known evangelist and former president of Oral Roberts University (ORU), and daughter Roberta Potts, an attorney.