3 John 3:2—That You May Prosper

Oral Roberts (1918–2009) was a highly successful television evangelist. He founded the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association and Oral Roberts University. In the latter decades of the twentieth century he became one of the best-known, but also most controversial, religious leaders in America, in part because of his tactics and strategies for fundraising.

Roberts’ ministry focused on “seed faith,” a philosophy for life enhancement that laid foundations for what is sometimes called “the prosperity gospel movement.” Early on he was best known as a faith healer, but he emphasized to an unprecedented extent that divine healing could include miraculous intervention that would bring emotional, social, and financial well-being as well as physical health.

By his own account, Roberts received his call to this style of ministry when he was 29 years old and opened his Bible to 3 John 1:2, which reads, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in good health, even as thy soul prospereth” (KJV). Roberts took this as a sign that God did not just care about people’s spiritual needs but wanted people to be physically healthy and financially prosperous.