Granville Oral Roberts was born on the 24th of January, 1918 in Oklahoma. He was the 5th and youngest of Reverend Ellis Melvin Roberts and Claudia Priscilla Roberts. In his early life (17 years), Roberts almost died of tuberculosis due to family hardships.
NUCLEAR FAMILY OF ORAL ROBERTS
- He got married at 20 years to a preacher’s daughter (Evelyn Lutman Fahnestock) in 1938.
- His wife Evelyn died on 4th May, 2005 after a fall. She was 88 years old.
- They had 4 children (Rebecca, Ronald, Richard and Roberta).
- Rebecca (daughter) got married to Marshall Nash but they both lost their lives in an airplane crash on the 11th of February, 1977.
- Ronald (son) shot himself in the heart (suicide) on 10th June, 1982. This happened after he received a court order to go through counseling at a rehabilitation center and admitting to be “Gay”.
- Richard took over his father’s university.
- Roberta grew up to become an attorney.
CALL TO MINISTRY
He is described as a Charismatic Christian Televangelist in both Pentecostal and Methodist churches. He is also known to be the godfather of Charismatic movement worldwide. In reference to his ministry works in the 20th century, he was seen to be very controversial preacher who laid the basis for “prosperity preaching and healing”. He was the first to start “televangelism” which attracted worldwide audience.
He started the Oral Roberts University and Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association. The university was commissioned in 1963 and received its first students in 1965. Students were required to sign a code of conduct pledging not to smoke, drink or engage in premarital sexual activities.
He struggled as a part-time preacher in Oklahoma till he received a word from his bible in 3John verse 2– (I wish above all things that you prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers). After this revelation with other encounters, he began his healing ministry.
- In 1947 (November), he began to publish a monthly magazine “Healing waters” to help support his meetings. He also made direct mails to generate seed-faith which aided less privileged Americans.
- He participated in more than 300 crusades in various continents and prayed for more than 2 million persons.
- He began radio broadcast in 1947 and his television broadcast in 1954. He also formed the Golden Eagle Broadcasting.
- Roberts was an elder in the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church from 1968 to 1987.
- He was mostly seen in fashionable Italian silk suits, diamond rings and gold bracelets.
- In the 1980s, Roberts headed an organization which employed 2,300 individuals. The organization was not limited to only a university but also a medical school and hospital (City of Faith Medical and Research Center).
HIS OLDER YEARS
- He died from Pneumonia on 15th December, 2009. He was 91 years old then and lived a reserved life in California. He was laid to rest near his wife at Oklahoma (where T.L. Osborn was buried).
- He was honored by the Oklahoma Senate and Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters (OAB).