COMMENTS: Charismatic Christianity

All three newscasts treated Oral Roberts' life as historic enough to assign a correspondent to file an obituary when he died at the age of 94. All agreed that his significance was at the intersection of born-again religion and the medium of television. "He will be remembered as a man who fused old-time tent revival religion with TV technology," was how NBC's George Lewis put it, with Pat Robertson among his proteges…"By the '60s and '70s he was among the first televangelists," ABC's David Muir stated…"The father of televangelists, among the first preachers to take religious revivals from tents to television," recalled CBS' Don Teague.

As for his religious practice, NBC's Lewis flat out stated that his "specialty was faith healing." The other correspondents were more deferent. "Many called him a faith healer," mused ABC's Muir, "but Roberts said God Heals; I Don't." CBS' Teague characterized Roberts' theology thus: "Through his ministry he brought charismatic Christianity into the mainstream--the belief that God bestows His powers on man, including healing."


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