Oral Roberts Dies at 91: Remembering America's Televangelist

Roberts leaves behind a multimillion dollar ministry and a university bearing his name

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Oral Roberts, the legendary televangelist and founder of a multimillion dollar ministry died Tuesday at 91. He passed away in Newport Beach, California due to complications from pneumonia. From humble roots, Roberts built up an enormous ministry and founded Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. Here's how Roberts is being remembered in the media:

  • A Multi-Platform Media Giant, observes the Associated Press: "By the 1960s and '70s, he was reaching millions around the world through radio, television, publications and personal appearances. He remained on TV into the new century, co-hosting the program, 'Miracles Now,' with son Richard. He published dozens of books and conducted hundreds of crusades."
  • A Household Name, writes Mitchell Hadley at Our World: "He was arguably, next to Billy Graham, the most famous evangelist on television. Millions of people watched his weekly program and his holiday entertainment specials. His most famous phrases, such as 'Expect a miracle!' were, if not nationwide catchphrases, at least fairly familiar ones... I would imagine that a lot of people owe their faith in some degree to Oral Roberts."
  • No Stranger to Controversy, writes Bill Sherman at Tulsa World: "Early in 1987, Roberts touched off another controversy by announcing on television that if he did not raise $8 million for medical students’ scholarships so they could become missionaries, he would die by the end of March. After the announcement, a few television stations refused to air the broadcasts. Roberts received the needed money, including $1.3 million from a dog track owner in Florida, before the March 31 deadline, and he proclaimed victory in the campaign."
  • Global in Scope, writes Glenn Johnson at Canwest News Service: "Roberts established the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association in Oklahoma in 1947 and conducted healing crusades across America and around the world in a great 'tent cathedral.' Each night, thousands who were sick and dying came for healing prayer. Through the years, he conducted more than 300 healing crusades in more than 35 countries on six continents. It's estimated that Roberts personally laid hands on more than two million people for healing prayer."
  • A Faithful Leader, writes his son, Richard Roberts: “Oral Roberts was the greatest man of God I’ve ever known... His name is synonymous with miracles. He came along when many in Christendom did not believe in the power of God and His goodness."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.