Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oral Roberts Dies At 91

Evangelist Oral Roberts Dies At Age 91

TULSA, OK -- Dr. Oral Roberts died Tuesday in Newport Beach, California due to complications from pneumonia.

According to a news release from the family, his son, Richard, and daughter, Roberta, were at his side. The founder of Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association and Oral Roberts University was 91.

The release says there will be a private family internment and that arrangements for a public memorial service in Tulsa will be announced soon.

The 91-year-old was taken to the hospital this weekend, after he fell and broke several bones. That's when doctors noted his pneumonia.

12/14/2009 Related story: Oral Roberts Hospitalized After Fall

Oral Roberts was an international spiritual leader and certainly a local newsmaker.

Born the youngest child of a rural Oklahoma preacher, Oral Roberts himself was a pioneer, one of the first to bring his message of salvation to television.

Roberts said he heard the voice of God at 17 and started his ministry at revivals around America.

Before he was 30, he founded Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association.

His 300 crusades crossed the country and the globe. He preached on six continents, and his ministry estimates Roberts personally laid hands on two-million people.

Roberts' reach expanded even further in 1954 when he first gave television audiences what he called "a front-row seat to miracles." Millions still watch broadcasts of worship services on a daily basis.

Oral Roberts says he was obeying a command from God when he founded Oral Roberts University in 1963. The school's first students arrived two years later. Roberts served as ORU president into the 1990's and remained university chancellor until his death.

Touched at an early age by the gospel of healing, Roberts began a new crusade in 1977 to build an evangelical hospital.

Oral Roberts claimed a 900-foot-tall Jesus appeared to him in a vision, instructing him to build a hospital that merged medicine and prayer. When the City of Faith Medical Center was finished, it was one of the largest health facilities on the planet.

Another vision in 1987 raised eyebrows and controversy, when Roberts said God would "call him home" unless he raised $8-million in two months. The worldwide outpouring help raised even more than that.

In his life, Oral Roberts authored more than 130 inspirational books, and the prayer ministry he founded still fields phone calls around the clock.

His legacy also lives on at his university.