Sunday, October 26, 2008

Interesting: Robert Schuller ousts his son from the pulpit

Hm. The guy who preaches in a big glass house is throwing rocks.

Background: as I shared over at Pyro, I spent my formative teenish years in a cult called Science of Mind, or Religious Science. I would sometimes listen to Robert Schuller, and kind of like him. He was mostly in line with us, except he said the name "Jesus" more than we would.

After my conversion, I thought I'd watch him again, and expected to get more out of him. Instead, he repulsed me. Christ's Lordship was nowhere to be found, the full Gospel message was absent; he was humoring the lost to Hell. More than ever, he sounded almost identical to the cult from which the Lord had just saved me.

Schuller has said many terrible things, judged from the perspective of the Gospel. His abominable book Self-Esteem: the New Reformation carries many of them. Unlike Christ, Schuller puts man at the center of the universe, with God there to serve, affirm, and accommodate. The Biblical teachings of God's holiness and judgment, of Christ's Lordship, of sin, redemption, and salvation through penal, subtitutionary atonement, have been conspicuously absent or denied. Repentance from sin, as Biblically defined and depicted, is not a Schuller theme.

Now I read that the elder Schuller has removed his son from the pulpit, citing different visions and directions that could damage the ministry. Well, that piqued my curiosity. What difference? I haven't been following the doings at Crystal Cathedral at all. Did the younger Schuller preach even less Biblicaloid notions than Dad could stand? Or, perhaps... the other direction?

I searched mostly in vain. But if the Wikipedia article on Robert A. Schuller is accurate, it may give us a clue. Check this:
...where his father's preaching tends to be heavier on psychological reference and lighter on scriptural reference, Robert A. Schuller's messages rely considerably on scriptural reference, hermeneutics, and apologetics, making the role of "positivism" secondary. This emphasis on scripture as a primary teaching source makes his preaching style considerably different from his father's.

Critics of his father will find Robert A. Schuller's teaching and style more in line with mainstream evangelical thought. Some argue that that he does not preach adequately on the topic of sin and man's fallen nature, while others counter-argue that he does so adequately without overemphasizing them (a common critique from evangelicals and fundamentalists).

It is also argued that, as with many televangelists, including his father, Schuller's message is not throughout truly Christian but tends to be rather secular. Others counterargue that the heavy use of scriptural reference, hermeneutics, and apologetics used by Schuller negate this argument.

So, maybe... too much Gospel?

Golly. Think what would happen if anyone tried to nail up 95 Theses there!

Or even just the first one:

When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said "Repent",
He called for the entire life of believers to be one of
repentance.

23 comments:

Stan McCullars said...

At least the elder Schuller is consistently heretical.

CR said...

This is one of those instances where it is good when the apple has fallen far from the tree.

chrish said...

I suppose, if there is something that would lead one to being asked not to preach anymore, the very best reason is that the preaching is too much Gospel. Sounds pretty familiar to the conversations that Peter, Paul, and the other apostles experienced in Acts...

DJP said...

Absolutely, Chris. But I stress, it's just a speculation on my part.

Carol Jean said...

You'd need one really LARGE broom and dust pan to sweep up all that broken glass.

Ken Abbott said...

What would happen if someone tried to nail up ninety-five theses there?

A heap of broken glass, I'd venture

Stan McCullars said...

Ken,
Do you think ninety-five would do it?

Carol Jean said...

OK, so maybe a Dyson rather than a dustpan and broom. Or a maybe an earth mover. I mean the pulpit alone...

Stefan said...

"When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said 'Repent,' He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance."

Wow, it doesn't get much more fundamental than that! That's sanctification in a nutshell.

donsands said...

"GOD is love. God IS love. God is LOVE."

This was one of Schuller's great sermons. And I watched his son a few times, and I couldn't see an difference really. Both spoke as empty clouds, and late autumn trees without fruit.

Tim said...

I really feel the love. Glad to hear you have the corner on the truth. Praise the Lord!

savumall said...

I say follow the WORD not the man.

DJP said...

Tim, I suppose that's one alternative to meaningful interaction.

Fred Butler said...

When I was a junior in college, a friend set up a meet with a couple of Mormon missionaries at the library on campus. Both of the fellows were attractive, arian Ken doll looking guys (and I make that observation with a proven record of total heterosexuality). We had a terse debate with them over what Mormonism taught about salvation, but it was pleasant none the less.

After about an hour of haggling back and forth it was apparent my friend and I, along with these two missionaries, were just talking in circles and both parties pretty much agreed to end the meeting and part ways. The most attractive of the two Mormons commented as we were packing up our Bibles, "You probably know my uncle, because he is a really famous evangelical preacher." I responded, "Oh yeah, who is that?" "Oh, Robert Schuller." I was stunned. "Really?" "Oh yes," replied the missionary, "He is sort of considered the black sheep of the family." Boy, did he call that one or what?!

By the way, Dan, you need to have Phil recount the time MacArthur encountered Schuller on an airplane flight back during his peak as a TV evangelist. That is an outstanding story.

David Castor said...

Just out of interest, what cult were you involved with Daniel?

DJP said...

Second sentence: "I spent my formative teenish years in a cult called Science of Mind, or Religious Science." That was its name.

If you'd like to, you could click on the Pyro link, and read more about it.

CR said...

Fred: By the way, Dan, you need to have Phil recount the time MacArthur encountered Schuller on an airplane flight back during his peak as a TV evangelist. That is an outstanding story.

I would pay real money to hear that story!

chrish said...

Oh yes please! I want to hear the conversation between Johnny Mac (I like to call him that; it makes him very relevant with today's culture...) and Dr Schuller.

Fred Butler said...

If you really wish to be relevant: "JMac"

Rachael Starke said...

When I was at TMC, we were always partial to "The Big Mac". :)

DJP said...

Any of which, I think, if he heard you kids saying, you'd find out what a "Mac attack" was all about.

Carol Jean said...

But everyone knows the "real" Johnny Mac plays for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was a fan favorite in the Indians farm system until he was traded to Toronto. Old school. Something in common with "The Big Mac" I guess!

MillionaireMark said...

My SPIRIT bore witness with his spirit (the sons) these past few years....MUCH More SCRIPTURE, more GOSPEL, more JESUS than his dad !!!And NOT 1/10th near as much PSYCHOLOGICAL mumbo jumbo as the senior.....