Biography of Famous Preacher and Evangelist Oral Roberts Part 2

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

ORAL ROBERTS (1918- )

Roberts' name-recognition soared after he placed his public career in the able hands of L. E. "Pete" White, who would later promote Billy James Hargis out of obscurity as well. Soon national news media were "discovering" this darkly handsome young man who was filling a 10,000-seat auditorium nightly in Atlanta, Ga. In 1955, Healing Waters, Inc., took in $3 million. A staff of 287 helped with audits and bookkeeping and sales of books, tracts, films, and "Jesus Heals!" lapel pins.

Made prosperous at last by "love offerings" and royalties from his books, Roberts could now indulge himself as a gentleman-farmer. He bought a 280-acre ranch near Tulsa, where he pastured purebred cattle and hangared his 12-passenger airplane. In Tulsa he built the 7-story Abundant Life Building as headquarters for the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association, Inc., successor to Healing Waters.

Then, in the late '50s, public reaction set in against the practitioners of faith healing. The Rev. Jack Coe, 2nd only to Roberts in the field, was jailed in Florida for practicing medicine without a license. In Detroit a diabetic woman attended a Roberts revival, then threw away her insulin, believing herself cured. She was dead in 3 days. Faith cures were denounced by the national Presbyterian and Lutheran churches and the American Medical Association--among others.

With his unerring sense of timing, Roberts withdrew from active public healing and concentrated on building Oral Roberts University near Tulsa. In 1966 he withdrew his televised healing programs from all 115 stations. A year later he gave orders to strike the last of his huge canvas tents.

In April, 1968, still another divine inspiration made his rise to respectability complete: He left the Pentecostal faith and joined a Methodist church. The storm that followed cut deeply into his popular standing as well as his financial support. Roberts turned inward and later emerged with a new theory he called "See-Faith," which could help anyone through times of adversity.

He wrote a book about See-Faith that outsold all his earlier works. The money started flowing again. Soon he was back on television--this time with star-studded spectaculars that appeal to middle-class Americans in a way his televised tent meetings never could.

In the turbulence of the late '60s and early '70s, many Americans looked to mysticism and antirationalism for answers, giving new currency to religious leaders like Oral Roberts. With renewed popular interest in what is now called psychic healing, paranormal cures, and ESP, Roberts's star shines brighter than ever.

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