Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oral Roberts (1918-2009)

Granville Oral Roberts, one of the first "televangelists", passed away December 14 at 91 after a lengthy bout with pneumonia.

Roberts was one of the prominent evangelists on Sunday morning television in the 70's & 80's, along with Rex Humbard and Robert Schuller, among others. Roberts began preaching in tent revivals in his home state of Oklahoma in the 40's before gravitating to radio & television. Roberts also used his ministry to solicit donations from viewers, and infamously claimed several years back that if he didn't raise a certain amount of money, that "God would call me home".

A vision from God led Roberts to build a hospital, which closed down due to lack of finances a few years ago. Oral Roberts University, meanwhile, is still active. In Genesis' video for their 1992 hit, "Jesus He Knows Me", the television studio set bore some resemblance to that of Roberts' television ministry of the period, all part of the context of the song, which also targeted disgraced evangelists Jim Bakker & Jimmy Swaggert.

It may have been a lot later than he first envisioned, but Oral Roberts has finally been called home. Rest in peace.

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