A sad and interesting turn of events from this past weekend when Robert H. Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral and the "Hour of Power" television ministry, announced that he had removed his son, Robert A. Schuller, as host of the television ministry.
Robert A. Schuller, known to congregants as Robert II, had been groomed to take over for his father since 1996. He had followed in his father's footsteps almost exactly, attending the same college, Hope College in Holland, Mich. He also founded his own Orange County church, in San Juan Capistrano, before coming to the Crystal Cathedral seven years ago.
Like his father, he also writes religious books - 13 at last count, according to the church's website. In recent months, however, the younger Schuller had disappeared from the television program, replaced by reruns featuring his father.
The reason for the split?
"It is no secret to any of you that my son, Robert, and I have been struggling as we each have different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry as we move into the future," the elder Schuller stated in a statement published on the church's Web site.
"For this lack of shared vision and the jeopardy in which this is placing this entire ministry, it has become necessary for Robert and me to part ways in the Hour of Power television ministry to each pursue our own unique God-ordained visions."
However, as one columnist suspects, the truth of the matter could be much more sinister - the son was fired for preaching too much Bible.
Here is the really interesting part of the report:
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."
These comments indicate something beyond a disagreement over having multiple preachers on the television program. Was the younger Schuller ousted because he was preaching sermons the father considered to be too biblical in content?
In the elder Schuller's view, preaching "what is sin and isn't sin" is out of bounds for his television program. He explicitly identified the Crystal Cathedral as a "mission" first and then a church, with preaching about sin evidently out of bounds for a "mission."
As the paper explains: "Asked whether his son wanted to turn the Crystal Cathedral into a church rather than a mission, Schuller declined to answer, then said, 'But I think it is a wise question.'"
Unbelievable! Unfortunately, this is the problem with many mega-churches and church leaders today. They'd rather be pop psychologists and life coaches before being men of God.
This entire movement that says we need to change the Gospel and the message of the Bible in order to make it more palatable to the lost is a severely misguided one. The problem isn't God's Word - it's God's people.
The Scriptures have the same life-changing power today as they did yesterday. To attempt to change that is arrogant, disobedient, blasphemous, and destructive.
Does anyone else find this whole thing ironic as well? I mean, here we have the very public display of a messy relationship between a father and his son. It should speak volumes to us given the world majority's messy relationship between the Father and His sons and daughters.
Simply more proof that we are living in the times Jesus described for us when asked about the last days.
"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near." Luke 21:28
Keep looking up!
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