Home > Church, Gospel, In the News > in the news: Schuller split

in the news: Schuller split

Robert H & son, Robert A.

the Schullers: Robert H & son, Robert A.

In my daily review of the news I stumbled across an interesting story.

Evidently, this weekend Robert H. Schuller, well known pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, announced that his son, Robert A.Schuller, was being removed from leadership of CC’s “Hour of Power” television ministry.

In making the announcement, the elder Schuller cited “different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry (‘Hour of Power’) as we move into the future”.

This statement, not surprisingly, grabbed my attention.  It is one of those statements that manages to leave you feeling that you know what’s going on when, in fact, you don’t.

So I did a little more digging and found and article in the Los Angeles Times that gets a bit closer to the meaning of “different ideas” for ‘Hour of Power’ – the entire article is worth reading, but here is the part I found most insightful:

Schuller built his worldwide ministry over a half century on the psychology of positive thinking and appealing to people turned off by the formality of traditional faiths. In contrast, his son’s sermons have been full of direct references to the Bible.

“I was called to start a mission, not a church,” Schuller told his audience Sunday. “There is a difference. . . . You don’t try to preach . . . what is sin and what isn’t sin. A mission is a place where you ask nonbelievers to come and find faith and hope and feel love. We’re a mission first, a church second.”

Now, I am in no position to speak with any authority when it comes to the differences between the two Schullers, not having heard either of them preach more than once or twice in passing.  

I cannot speak to the faithfulness of either man when it comes to their adherence to the biblical gospel, but I find it intriguing that the elder Schuller seems desirous that his “mission” be a place “where you ask nonbelievers to come and find faith and hope and feel love”, yet – according the this journalist’s  interpretation  – preaching from the scriptures does not line up with the elder Schuller’s understanding of “faith”, “hope”, or “love”.

If this article is right and the difference between the two men is preaching from the scripture, I got to ask myself, “what’s the point?”

What’s the point of gathering a group of people together in a massive marvel of church architecture to gush intangible feelings of faith, hope, and love that have no clearly defined meaning?  What is the benefit? Why even waste the time? 

If that is the kind of faith, hope, and love coming out of the Crystal Cathedral, then that place is nothing more than a Crystal Tomb, adorned in whitewash.

We need faith, hope, and love that are rooted in Jesus Christ’s death in our place.  

We need faith in his sacrifice.

We need the hope that comes from his glorious resurrection from death.

We need love that is inseparable from 1 John 4: 9-11: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”


***Editorial Addition: Tuesday morning my Google Reader delivered an outstanding article on the Schuller Split with additional helpful research and insight, so if you want to know more check out Al Mohler’s article “So Much for Possibility Thinking” at his blog, www.albertmohler.com.

***Editorial Note:  Let me be clear that this article has several holes in it, that it provides helpful insight into the nature of the “differences” between the two Schullers, but it is far from conclusive.  

Unfortunately, the language of the Christian subculture is not clearly defined and it is especially prone to misuse by media outlets.  Having recognized this, I want to be clear that my thoughts above are made conditionally, and should not be read as an outright and definite condemnation of the Crystal Cathedral.

  1. October 28, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Way to go Lee, you scooped Al Mohler. He was a day behind you, and probably got the idea to comment from your blog. But, without the “HT”!

  2. leewilson7170
    October 28, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I noticed that too, and had a good laugh (but let’s be honest, his post is better than mine)

  3. Brandon
    October 30, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    What I can’t figure out, whether mission or church, why the junk is he wearing that dadgum robe?

    If I’m trying to get people to hear my message (not matter what it may be) I’d throw that thing out.

    But more seriously, things like this get my blood a-boilin’. I don’t understand how a dude who claims to know Jesus can speak such absurdities. I’m so thankful that I have friends like you who I know will bring the true gospel to the world.

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