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Oral Roberts: Pentecostal evangelist who popularized “prosperity gospel” dead at 91

Oral Roberts: Pentecostal evangelist who popularized 'prosperity gospel' dead at 91Oral Roberts, a pioneer televangelist who founded a multimillion-dollar ministry and a university died Tuesday at the age of 91.

According to his spokesman, A. Larry Ross, Roberts died of complications from pneumonia in Newport Beach, California. The evangelist was hospitalized after a fall on Saturday. He had survived two heart attacks in the 1990s and a broken hip in 2006.

Mr. Roberts became one of the most famous preachers of the 20th century by pioneering the use of television and computerized databases to spread the gospel and raise hundreds of millions of dollars — a formula followed by many other ministries.

Using sophisticated direct-mail campaigns, Mr. Roberts popularized the “prosperity gospel,” which asserts that God generously rewards financial acts of faith.

“It gives people hope and expectation that seeds sown to God will be multiplied back in every area of life,” Mr. Roberts wrote in his 1995 autobiography, “Expect a Miracle: My Life and Ministry.”

In a statement, Jack Hayford, president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, said, “If God had not, in His sovereign will, raised up the ministry of Oral Roberts, the entire charismatic movement might not have occurred.”