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Pentecostal Evangelist Oral Roberts Dies at 91

Roberts founded Oral Roberts University in 1963.

Pentecostal evangelist Oral Roberts died today of complications from pneumonia. He was 91.

Roberts was hospitalized after a fall on Saturday.

"If God had not, in His sovereign will, raised up the ministry of Oral Roberts, the entire charismatic movement might not have occurred," Jack Hayford, president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, said in a statement. "Oral shook the landscape with the inescapable reality and practicality of Jesus' whole ministry. His teaching and concepts were foundational to the renewal that swept through the whole church. He taught concepts that spread throughout the world and simplified and focused a spiritual lifestyle that is embraced by huge sectors of today's church."

The Tulsa World has a lengthy obituary and special section on Roberts, who founded Oral Roberts University.

He was a pioneer of the healing evangelism movement in the 1940s and '50s and of radio and television ministry, which made his a household name to generations of Americans.

Roberts' life was fashioned by what he described as a call to take "God's healing power" to his generation, and every major effort he undertook was to that end.

Charisma magazine has a round-up of reactions from the Charismatic/Pentecostal community:

Born Jan. 24, 1918, north of Ada, Oklahoma, Roberts survived a raging flu epidemic that wiped out more Americans than World War I. Before his life ended, he had written more than 120 books, pioneered American television evangelism, bolstered belief in divine healing and founded his trademark university.

"He's one of the most significant figures in American religious history," said Pentecostal historian Vinson Synan. "I think he planted the seeds publicly of what became the charismatic renewal after 1960 because the American public first saw Pentecostalism in their living rooms through his televised tent crusades."

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Posted:December 15, 2009 at 3:28PM
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