When I was 12, living in Wilmington, DE, a local theater changed it's marquee. Instead of a movie title, it said JESUS SAVES. Oral Roberts had come to town on a healing crusade. My parents dismissed him as a hoax, so I did too, until recently -- when I learned more about his life.



Did you know he was raised in frontier poverty near Ada, Oklahoma? As a teenager in 1934, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis so advanced he could not survive. With no other hope, his parents took him to an evangelist meeting in a tent in Ada. In his autobiography, Expect a Miracle, Roberts recalls hearing God's voice on the way to the meeting. "Son, I'm going to heal you, and you're going to take my healing power to your generation." At the end of the meeting, the evangelist put his hand on Roberts' head and shouted to the illness, "Come out of this boy!" Roberts fully recovered and began studying the Bible, giving his first sermon two years later.

He began his TV career in 1954 by filming worship services conducted under a traveling tent big enough to seat 10,000. Leaders of many denominations doubted his cures. Arizona ministers offered $1,000 to anyone who could prove medically that Oral Roberts cured them. They received no response, but thousands claimed they had been healed by the touch of his hand.

During his long career, he placed his hand on more than 1.5 million sick people. Millions wrote him seeking counsel, including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. In 1972, John Lennon wrote asking forgiveness for saying the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus."

If you never watched Oral Roberts on television, click the blue link below to see a brief clip. His disclaimer at the beginning may interest you, as well as the second healing -- of a boy who stutters. When criticized by churches, Roberts replied, "I have more friends among doctors than clergymen."

youtube.com/watch?v=mCgxVW3i8JI