Oral Roberts

Oral Roberts

Oral Roberts is an American neo-Pentecostal televangelist. He also is known for his claims of faith-healing power and being spoken to by God.

Youth and marriage

Granville Oral" Roberts was born on January 14, 1918, in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, to the Reverend and Mrs. Ellis M. Roberts. He is the fifth and youngest child. After Oral left high school, he attended Oklahoma Bible schools on a part-time basis.

Roberts married Evelyn Lutman Fahnestock in 1938; she was a preachers daughter. They remained married until her death in 2005. They had four children: two sons, and two daughters. His family has endured much sadness with several losses. In 1977, Roberts' daughter, Rebecca, and her husband, Marshall Nash, were killed in an airplane crash. His eldest son, Ronnie, committed suicide in 1972. His son, Richard, and daughter-in-law, Patti, who were being groomed to take over Roberts' ministry, were divorced in 1979. In 1984, Richard and his second wife, Lindsay, lost their baby two days after birth.

Beyond the church walls

After serving as a Pentecostal pastor of four congregations, Roberts left that ministry in 1947, to found the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association. He established a series of radio programs, and by 1950, was traveling the country with an 18,000-seat tent and broadcasting simultaneous broadcasts of his appearances on 63 radio stations. By 1952, his radio and television programs were broadcast all over the United States and Canada, and around the world on short-wave radio.

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A call to educate

To obey a command from God in 1963, Roberts founded Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The university enrolled its first students in 1965.

The Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association also operates the Abundant Life Prayer Group, which operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and is staffed by students from the university. The call center receives thousands of prayer requests a day from around the world. It is located in the Prayer Tower in the middle of the university's campus.

A tall order

In 1980, Oral Roberts announced he had received a vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus, who encouraged him to continue building the City of Faith Medical and Research Center. Opened in 1981, the complex includes three skyscrapers. The Cityplex Tower is the tallest, standing at 648 feet, and boasts 60 floors. It is the second-tallest building in Oklahoma. The center was intended to merge prayer and medicine in the healing process.

The facility was in operation for just eight years before closing in late 1989, proving to be to costly to operate. The Orthopedic Hospital of Oklahoma operates on the premises today.

A divine deadline

In 1987, Roberts announced that unless he raised $8 million by March, God would "call him home." The funds would send medical missionaries to Africa.

After the March deadline came and went, he stated on April 1 that the money had been raised. A dog track owner in Florida had donated the final $1.5 million needed to reach the required amount.

Oral Roberts has received many awards, including Indian of the Year (1963) by the American Indian Exposition, Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1973), and Oklahoman of the Year (1974) by the American Broadcasters Association. He also has received numerous honorary doctoral degrees.

Off-site search results for "Oral Roberts"...

Oral histories
... in DLG Common Search Tool Troup County Digital Archives Project Oral Histories Oral histories of Troup County residents from the Troup County Archives and the Troup-Harris-Coweta Regional Library | More about this collection » Collection ...

Oral Presentation
Oral Presentation Excellent Satisfactory Needs Improvement Content Organization Clarity Excellent Satisfactory Needs Improvement Content State the year and list which states entered the union. Give important facts about the history of that time.

Oral History Project, 2000
... by Kent author Sandra Perlman Halem.There are two earlier oral history projects: Oral History Project, 1990 recorded during the 20th Annual Commemoration in May of 1990 and Oral History Project, 1995 recorded during the 25th Annual Commemoration.