by: Jonathan Root
In 1946, God gave Oral Roberts a new Buick.
And this just one of many miracles the young, broke preacher learned to expect, as Oral Roberts would go on to build an evangelistic ministry worth millions of dollars, a medical complex, and a university. How do we interpret the life of a man who seemed to combine rampant consumerist excess with a sincere devotion to the gospel?
Seeking to answer this question, Jonathan Root weaves together accounts of Oral Roberts's life in a balanced and engaging narrative. This fresh biography covers Roberts's early life during the Great Depression in Oklahoma, his family's financial struggles during his early career as a Pentecostal preacher, his healing ministry's explosive growth in popularity via the new media of radio and television, and his empire's eventual collapse. Root pays special attention to how Roberts introduced the "prosperity gospel" to American Protestants with his affirmation that God intends his followers to be both spiritually and physically fulfilled.
Root's engaging narration looks to primary sources on Roberts's life as well as the mythologized stories he told years later. The man who emerges is both deeply flawed and entirely earnest in his devotion to Christ. Oral Roberts and the Rise of the Prosperity Gospel will be an absorbing read for all those interested in American religious history and one of its most colorful figures.