Televangelist, prosperity gospel preacher Jerry Savelle dies at 76

Televangelist Jerry Savelle preaching a sermon in April 2024.
Televangelist Jerry Savelle preaching a sermon in April 2024. | Screengrab: YouTube/Jerry Savelle

Jerry Savelle, a popular televangelist and proponent of the prosperity gospel, which claims that believers will see improvements in wealth and well-being in this life, has died at 76.

Jerry Savelle Ministries International announced on Facebook that the preacher died on Monday, identifying him as “a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, pastor, mentor, and resolute friend.”

“Brother Jerry’s journey on earth was one of immense impact, rooted in the powerful love of Jesus Christ. His life testified to the beauty of grace and power of faith,” stated the ministry.

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“As he often reminded us, through God’s hands, ‘nobodies’ are turned into champions, and today, he himself has received the crown of righteousness laid up for all who are called according to His purpose.”

JSMI went on to ask supporters to pray for “Mrs. Savelle, Jerriann, Terri, and the entire family” and to “celebrate his life, remembering and honoring the legacy of character, faith, and integrity that Dr. Jerry Savelle so gracefully built.”

“We will announce the details of Dr. Savelle’s celebration of life as they are confirmed over the next week. Please look for updates, which will be made public at the appropriate time,” concluded the announcement.

According to the JSMI website, Savelle began his ministry in 1969, having reportedly preached at around 3,500 churches in more than 40 countries. His official ministry group is based in Crowley, Texas, and has offices in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Savelle was a proponent of the prosperity gospel, the controversial belief that faith in God leads to improved health and financial well-being, as seen with such works as his 2014 book, Why God Wants You to Prosper.

“In this book, Jerry Savelle establishes a biblical foundation for understanding the principles of divine prosperity, with a special focus on the reasons why so many of God’s people are in financial bondage,” noted the book’s official synopsis.

“Based on more than forty years of ministry experience, he then provides a step-by-step explanation of what it takes to walk out of financial bondage and receive God’s promised prosperity.”

Stating that some people have “mistakenly approach biblical prosperity as if it were a get-rich-scheme,” the synopsis added that “God has already provided the way out of financial bondage and into a lifestyle of prosperity — if you are willing to obey His instructions and apply His principles to your life.”

Russell S. Woodbridge of The Gospel Coalition authored a piece in 2015 critically examining the origins of the prosperity gospel, in which Savelle was cited as an example of the theology.

“The prosperity gospel is built on a quasi-Christian heresy, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States, known as New Thought. This philosophy teaches that the key to health and wealth acquisition is thinking, visualizing, and speaking the right words,” wrote Woodbridge.

“The prosperity gospel says you are good and have the ability to bend circumstances to your will. Simply change your thinking and your words, believe, and then God — your personal cosmic bellhop — will give you a push on the road to success.”  

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