Pentecostal evangelist Oral Roberts died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia. He was 91. Roberts was one of the nation's first television evangelists, author of more than 100 books, and founder of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. Christianity Today spoke with the president of the university, Mark Rutland, about Roberts's life and legacy.

What will we look back and remember about Oral Roberts?

His legacy will be on two different levels. One is the physical aspect. Oral Roberts University is a healthy, strong, comprehensive university that's going forward and will continue to prosper. Leaving a university that you carved out of the prairie is a pretty big legacy. One of his other legacies will be a spiritual or theological legacy. Oral Roberts kind of transcended his own roots. He was a prairie Pentecostal who began in the healing ministry at tent revivals. He was part of the wave of healing ministries in the mid-20th century. While some of those people thought medicine was the opposite of faith, Oral Roberts took a more holistic look at life. One of the great aspects of his legacy is a broad view of spiritual life. He really was one of the prominent lights of the 20th century. Oral Roberts and Billy Graham were the two preeminent luminaries of the 20th century.

Is there anyone who could take his place?

I don't think people take somebody's place like that. I don't think there's a swap label where another steps in. I think God raises up unique ministries at unique times. I believe Oral Roberts was a truly unique instrument. I don't really see anyone slipping on Oral Roberts's coat.

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueWhat the Church Says to Terrible People
What the Church Says to Terrible People Subscriber Access Only
‘Welcome to the club.’
RecommendedCover Story: Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church
Cover Story: Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel ChurchSubscriber Access Only
Some visitors claim to be healed. Others claim to receive direct words from God. Is it 'real'--or dangerous?
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSix Ways Men Can Support Women’s Discipleship
Six Ways Men Can Support Women’s Discipleship
Male clergy and laity who want to enable women’s ministry often don't know how to get involved or what to do.
Christianity Today
Q+A: Mark Rutland on Oral Roberts's Legacy
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

December 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.