Biography of Famous Preacher and Evangelist Oral Roberts Part 1

About the famous preacher and televangelist Oral Robert, history and biography of the religious figure and leader.

ORAL ROBERTS (1918- )

For 30 years, Granville Oral Roberts has weathered the fickle fortunes of faith healing to become one of the best-known charismatic religious leaders in the U.S.

Gone is the backwoods miracle man who left his Pentecostal audiences rolling in the dust and babbling in tongues. Today it is a vastly sanitized Oral Roberts reaching millions of Americans through prime-time television. His quarterly TV crusades skillfully blend cosmetic Christianity and popular music, exuding all the emotional dynamism of the Lawrence Welk show.

The son of a poor Oklahoma dirt farmer, Roberts heads a multimillion-dollar worldwide evangelistic enterprise. A Bible college dropout, he is president of his own university--a showplace around Tulsa. Though an awkward boy in his youth, with a pronounced speech defect, Oral Roberts today is 2nd only to Billy Graham in mass appeal--and his influence is increasing.

Surely, something very much like a miracle must have happened somewhere along the way.

Roberts makes it clear in his half-dozen separate autobiographies that his life has been chock full of miracles; and that his career has turned on direct spoken orders from God.

His books recount how he was cured of tuberculosis by divine intervention at age 17. Within weeks of full recovery the adolescent Roberts was ordained in the Pentecostal Holiness Church to become a traveling gospel preacher. Eleven years on the circuit brought an older--but still destitute--Roberts and his young family to Enid, Okla., where he accepted a settled pastorate for $55 a week.

In 1946 the young Oklahoma preacher could plainly see that his colleagues who performed miracles were far more popular than the non-healing clergy. At that moment, God told Brother Oral to go forth and heal the sick and cast out demons. An early autobiography tells how--much to his surprise--he found he had the power to restore a man's badly crushed foot merely by touching it.

Roberts moved to Tulsa, where he substituted one week for Steve Pringle, a popular tent revivalist. On his 2nd night police arrested a man for firing a revolver at the tent from across the street. Though no motive was ever determined, the incident brought the fledgling healer a windfall of free publicity.

A year later he was broadcasting over 2 radio stations, urging his listeners to find their "point of contact" with the Lord by laying hands on their home radio receivers. He incorporated as Healing Waters, Inc., in 1948.

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