Televangelist Oral Roberts dies

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 4:14pm

TULSA, Okla - Oral Roberts, the evangelist who rose from humble tent revivals to found a multimillion-dollar ministry and a university bearing his name, died Tuesday. He was 91.

Roberts died of complications from pneumonia in Newport Beach, Calif., according to his spokesman, A. Larry Ross. The evangelist was hospitalized after a fall on Saturday. He had survived two heart attacks in the 1990s and a broken hip in 2006.

Roberts was a pioneer on two fronts — he helped bring spirit-filled charismatic Christianity into the mainstream and took his trademark revivals to television, a new frontier for religion.

Roberts overcame tuberculosis at age 17, and credited that triumph with leading him to become one of the country's most famous ministers.

He gave up a local pastorate in Enid in 1947 to enter an evangelistic ministry in Tulsa to pray for the healing of the whole person — the body, mind and spirit. The philosophy led many to call him a "faith healer," a label he rejected with the comment: "God heals — I don't."

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