Oklahoma Richard Roberts told students at Oral Roberts University on Wednesday that he did not want to resign as president of the scandal-plagued evangelical school but did so because God insisted.
God told him on Thanksgiving that he should resign the next day, Roberts told students in the university's chapel.
"Every ounce of my flesh said 'no'" to the idea, Roberts said, but he prayed over the decision with his wife and his father, Oral Roberts, and decided to step down.
Roberts said he wanted to "strike out" against the people who were persecuting him, and considered countersuing, but "the Lord said, 'don't do that,'" he said.
After submitting his resignation, he said, for the "first time in 60 days peace came into my heart."
Roberts spoke for only a few minutes and was applauded and cheered by students. He wiped away tears with a white handkerchief and his hands.
"This has nearly destroyed my family, and it's nearly destroyed ORU," Roberts said.
A lawsuit accuses Roberts of lavish spending at a time when the university faced more than $50 million in debt, including taking shopping sprees, buying a stable of horses and paying for a daughter to travel to the Bahamas aboard the university jet.