A memorial service for healing evangelist Oral Roberts will be held Monday at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla. The service will be broadcast live online beginning at 2 p.m. Central.
In the hours after Roberts died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia, Christian leaders began reflecting on his legacy, calling him a pioneer in televangelism and healing ministry whose impact transcended generations.
Evangelist Billy Graham said Roberts was a longtime friend whom he invited to speak at a conference in Berlin in the 1960s.
"I loved him as a brother," Graham said. "Just three weeks ago, I was privileged to talk to Oral over the telephone. During the short conversation, he said to me that he was near the end of his life's journey. I look forward to the day that I will see Oral and Evelyn Roberts again in heaven—our eternal home."
Roberts rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th century. Before his life ended, he had written more than 120 books, pioneered American television evangelism, bolstered belief in divine healing and founded his Oral Roberts University, which is now one of the nation's leading Pentecostal colleges. (Read about Oral Roberts' legacy.)
Trinity Broadcasting Network President Paul Crouch said Roberts was an enthusiastic supporter of the broadcast ministry he and his wife, Jan, founded. "We ... will forever treasure the messages of inspiration he gave to Jan and me personally as he encouraged us to expand the vision and outreach of TBN to reach the whole wide world," Crouch said. "His prayers and wisdom helped strengthen our faith in times of trial and difficulty."
Evangelist Benny Hinn said Roberts was "a true pioneer for the gospel of Jesus Christ."
"Only heaven will reveal how many hearts he has pointed toward heaven, how many homes have been revolutionized through his seed-faith teaching, and how many ears have heard his faith-filled phrase, 'Expect a miracle!'" Hinn wrote in a statement on his Web site Tuesday. "God has used him to open doors that were once considered closed to the miracle-working power of the gospel, and wherever I travel, I have been ever thankful for the trail he blazed."
Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, said Roberts was "a forerunner of Christian ministry whose message of total healing transcended the generations."
"His tents no longer flap in the wind; today they are pulled up by the stakes leaving only the echo of his distinct voice reverberating in the hearts of all those who admired him," Jakes said. "The world has lost a treasured gift from God embodied in the man Oral Roberts."
To read more Christian leaders' reflections on Oral Roberts, and to view video clips of him speaking as well as a photo gallery, visit Charisma's special tribute.
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