MSNBC reports that Oral Roberts received his eternal promotion into the presence of the Lord, Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009. He was 91. As others have noted, it can hardly be argued that he was the single greatest and most influential healing – televangelist of his day. In many respects the greatest legacy he has left behind is his founding of the Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In the article, the quote by Jack Hayford can hardly be disputed:
If God had not, in His sovereign will, raised up the ministry of Oral Roberts, the entire charismatic movement might not have occurred.
This is true in many respects because, while many may disagree with his theology and practice, in the early days, he brought a significant amount of credibility to the faith healing and Charismatic movement, especially in the 50’s before the movement really took off in 1960. I mean if you compare him and his early ministry to that of some of the others around at that time such as William Brenham, A.A. Allen, Jack Coe, and others, Roberts had more integrity in his left pinky than these other guys did in their whole body.
Though some of these guys were drunks, schemers, manipulators, and so on… God still managed to use them (though I tend to think A. A. Allen can hardly be blamed. His parents gave him beer when he was a toddler and then sat around and laughed at him while he stumbled around drunk – he died of liver complications all alone in a hotel room somewhere in Los Angeles (I think)) – before we are quick to judge, consider re-reading the story of Sampson and how God still used him for his redemptive purposes despite Sampson’s faults. We may not all agree with how many in the Charismatic movement carry out their faith life and practice, but somehow God is able to work in and through them and the movement.
May the Lord be with the Roberts family in this time.