James Robison celebrates 50 years of marriage, ministry

Posted Friday, Jul. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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More than 5,000 people attending an “Awaken Now” conference lauded evangelist James Robison and his wife, Betty, for 50 years of marriage and 50 years of ministry this week.

“I truly believe God sent James Robison as a prophet for our time,” Fox news commentator Mike Huckabee said Thursday night.

The three-day conference ends Saturday at Gateway Church in Southlake, where Robison and his wife are members.

Huckabee, Robison and other speakers called on fellow Christians of all denominations to repent of their role in contributing to what they described as America’s cultural slide into moral decline.

“We’ve had so many things in our culture that it’s hard to fathom how rapid our culture has changed and is unrecognizable from what most of us grew up with,” Huckabee said. “Hollywood isn’t to blame. We are. We’ve adopted the same goals that drive the world. We live for happiness. God tells us to live for holiness.”

Another speaker, Beth Moore, founder of Living Proof Ministries, received rousing cheers as she called on Christians to ask God for a new spiritual outpouring. She praised Robison and his wife.

“They are real to the bone,” said Moore, who does a Bible study each week on the Robisons’ Life Today television program.

In an interview, Robison said one of the major goals of his ministry is to bring Christians together who may differ on doctrine but agree on many spiritual matters.

“I’m not talking about sameness,” he said. “I’m meeting with Catholics that are so in love with Jesus, so in love with the Word and they want an awakening in the Catholic church just like I want in the Protestant.”

Other speakers included Gateway senior pastor Robert Morris, Ruth Graham, daughter of Billy Graham, and the Rev. Tony Evans, senior pastor of the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas and founder of a national television ministry.

“He’s burdened for the nation as I am,” Evans said. “James is a great combination. He loves people and he loves God.”

Morris founded Gateway in 2000 with a campus on Southlake Boulevard. Now it has five campuses, including its mammoth home base on just off of Texas 114, and averages 23,000 in attendance each Sunday.

Morris worked for Robison as a 20-year-old.

“I would go into high school assemblies and invite kids to come to James’ evangelistic crusades,” Morris said. “It’s extremely significant that he and Betty have been in ministry for 50 years. He’s impacted people all over the world.”

A Thursday night packed house gave Robison and his wife a standing ovation as they walked onstage.

“I’ve been standing on the shoulders of this beautiful woman all these years,” Robison said of his wife.

“It’s been an exciting time,” Betty Robison said earlier. They met at age 15 at Palestine High School near Houston.

The conference was partly a homecoming for many who had worked with Robison during the last half century. Two of Robison’s former music evangelists, John McKay and Jeanne Rogers, performed during the conference. Other speakers included some of Robison’s longtime associates, including Mark Rutland, Peter Lord, Dudley Hall, Jack Taylor, T. D. Hall, Rick Godwin and Jim Hylton.

Huckabee, who was a 21-year-old student at Fort Worth’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary when he worked as communications director for Robison, was the keynote speaker Thursday night.

“The only suit I had was a polyester, double-knit, which I bought for $12.50 at a thrift outlet,” Huckabee said of his early days. “One day James told me, ‘If you want to work for me, I want you to look sharp.’ He drove me to a Hurst mall and picked out three suits for me. Being James, he didn’t want me to have anything to say about the selection. He paid for it all.”

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