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Oral Roberts obituary
Breaking: Oral Roberts U. Sex (and more) Scandal
From the time he began his ministry in the s Roberts was one of the most successful practitioners of the art of blending a hellfire vision with the growing material success of his traditionally poor and unsophisticated followers. His creed dictated that people are saved not so much by grace but by the uses to which they put their money. His favourite tele-blessing ran: "May God bless you in your bodies, in your spirits and in your finances. One of the first of a generation of Protestant preachers who came to dominate the airwaves in America, Roberts placed his miraculous powers of faith healing at the centre of his ministry. In his early days, when he addressed gatherings of the faithful in tents, he would lay his divinely anointed right hand on the afflicted and claimed to achieve instant cures.
Sexual Misconduct Policy
Originally a minister in the Pentecostal Holiness Church, he switched his denominational affiliation to Methodist but still maintained a Pentecostal theology. After the deaths of his daughter and son-in-law in a fatal plane crash in , his son Ronnie who apparently committed suicide after becoming addicted to drugs in Viet Nam and two grandchildren to sudden infant death, Roberts went on a spiritual pilgrimage and unfortunately sought the support of Kenneth Hagin, the creator of a prosperity cult he called "Word of Faith": the Prosperity Gospel, or " Name it and claim it ", school of religious faith. The stress caused by these deaths seems to have sent Oral on a wild ride of alleged visions and new doctrines. Previously an opponent of the prosperity message, Oral was now insisting, to the chagrin of his faculty, that Oral Roberts University award Kagin an honorary doctorate. Additionally, following a series of alleged visions in the late s, including one of a nine-hundred-foot-tall Jesus, Roberts founded the City of Faith Medical and Research Center, a hospital focused on "merging the healing power of medicine and prayer".
America's televangelists have had more than their fair share of scandals involving sex, fraud and extremist politics. But Oral Roberts, who has died aged 91 of complications from pneumonia, always devoted himself to money — and, occasionally, God. He even justified his love of wealth with a biblical source.