Thursday, October 21, 2010

Robert Schuller's bankrupt church

I received an email complaining about how I was bashing Schuller's church (the one that filed bankruptcy for 43 million dollars in debt!). Below is a copy of his letter (no name mentioned)

"I am sure your church and your group has done much and that you have your take on what's good when we worship God/Jesus, but please don't bash a ministry that has been "all over the world" for nearly 40 years helping so much, so well.
No matter what, this church is a product of the downturn in the economy. This was one of the "FIRST" to ever reach out to the WORLD to share the word of the Lord. I have belonged to the Eagle's Club of this church 12 times and did it this year "just because" this church NEEDS to be around. When I see people belittle this church at this time in the life of the Crystal Cathedral, that's the kind of people a ministry needs to preach to and share the gospel with. Dr. Robert H. Schuller is right up there with Bill Graham and others. It's going to be fun watching them pull out of this, be back on top and the "belittlers" looking for someone else to kick...... God forgives, so you are still saved! "Inch By Inch, Anything's A Cinch" when it comes to what God can do!!"

Below is my reply to him. I brought up several of Schuller's false teachings. It will probably do no good, because one thing I have learned over the years is that once a person makes up his mind to follow false teachings or ideologies, it is hard (not impossible) for him to leave that teaching. All we can do is pray!

Sorry to hear you have been following his false teachings all these years! The first problem with Schuller’s teaching is that he has a man-centered theology as opposed to a God-centered theology. In a very subtle way , Schuller writes that God is not glorified until man is glorified. In fact, he writes, “…it is impossible to glorify God until we glorify his children.”

Schuller has redefined salvation, as well, by teaching that “to be born again means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image….” Hell is redefined as “the loss of pride that naturally follows separation from God…A person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem.” This is a major alteration of God’s Word because Jesus taught that hell is a literal place of torment (Mk. 9:47-48).

Certainly, one of the most blasphemous teachings by Schuller is that Christ’s death on the cross was for nothing more than protection against His perfect self-esteem from being turned into sinful pride. According to Schuller, Jesus would not even tell us that we are miserable sinners. Quite contrary, Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Lk. 5:32). Rather than the cross sanctifying the ego trip, it is a testimony of man’s utter depravity and the horrible price that God paid to redeem fallen mankind.

Another dangerous aspect of Schuller’s teaching is “possibility thinking,” which is nothing more than humanistic psychology stressing the powers of the mind. Faith is a force or power that Christians and even non-Christians can use to manipulate energy. By following these techniques man can become co-creators with God. In essence, Robert Schuller’s “possibility thinking” is the same as Eastern practitioners. In conclusion, the church should not accept Schuller’s teachings any longer. One should not seek fellowship where these false teachings are being taught (Rom. 16:17) for they will lead to dangerous consequences (Mt. 7:17; 24:11, 12; Acts 20:30).

Rev. Robert Schuller has devised his own gospel of Christianity and defines his own set of terms in relation to Biblical doctrines that are not orthodox. His gospel is a blend of psychology, positive thinking and New Age mysticism.

Robert Schuller justifies his teachings on the basis that he wishes to attract people to the gospel and not repel them with negative theological doctrine. He claims that the reformers, and all of orthodox Christianity, have gotten the message wrong. He is the standard by which the message of the gospel should be judged. He claims to teach only what Jesus Christ taught and not deal with the negative message taught by the Apostle Paul. By attempting to equate his message with what Jesus taught and rejecting the Apostle Paul, Robert Schuller reveals his true belief regarding the inspiration of the Bible. If the words are not from Jesus Christ, then he believes that he has the right to ignore those words or judge the effectiveness in the use of those words. Since he believes that the Apostle Paul has a negative message, as apposed to his positive message, then he states that he does not teach the message of the Apostle Paul. The Scripture speaks for itself when it says:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NAS)
Robert Schuller measures Scripture against his own pre-conceived ideas, based on what the non-Christian person has told him that they need or want, and so he disregards those Scriptures that do not meet those particular criteria, assuming that some Scriptures are more inspired than others. In other words, he does not believe in the trustworthiness of God's revelation in relation to what God believes and says that man needs, and he does not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture to meet those needs.
By preaching a gospel based on what the non-Christian tells him they need or want, that gospel is of necessity different than what is revealed in the Bible. God has been very specific in noting that what men say they need and want is not what He has declared as their basic need. Robert Schuller claims that people do not come to God because they are afraid, lack self-esteem and believe that they are not good enough to approach God. So, he preaches a message about possibility thinking and the ability of people to achieve anything they wish. It is through this message, that Robert Schuller claims that he can attract men to God.

Perhaps the most incredible aspect of the incident was Schuller's declaration of moral innocence -- "I'm very proud of who I am. I am innocent. I have not broken a single one of the Ten Commandments. I have not broken any of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and so I'm proud of my faith and message," Schuller said at a July 1 news conference after the incident. (Source: 4Q 1997, PFO The Quarterly Journal.)

HORTON: Dr. Schuller, what do we tell someone who says, "I'm already happy and fulfilled, so why do I need the gospel?"
SCHULLER: I don't know ... I can't relate to that

Robert Schuller's gospel is one of his own creation; a gospel of positive self-affirmation and personal goodness. It is a gospel of positive thinking, admonishing people that they can be and do anything that they wish. It is a gospel that affirms the positive and ignores the negative, even in the face or reality.

To a person who already has those beliefs, obtained outside of Robert Schuller's teaching, he has nothing to say, because he cannot relate to a person who has already achieved what he teaches. Self-affirmation is the goal, and for those who attain that degree of self-esteem, there is nothing more to say.

Robert Schuller teaches a different gospel from that in the Scripture.

SCHULLER: Listen, I believe in heaven. I believe in hell. But I don't know what happens there. I don't take it literally that it's a fire that never stops burning.
HORTON: As Jesus said it was?
SCHULLER: Jesus was not literal. See, now this is where you have differences of interpretation. I went to a different theological school than you did. And there are different denominations, like about four hundred in the United States of America, and we don't belong to the same denomination. In my denomination, Jesus stood outside Gehenna, the city dump, and said that's outside the walls, that's hell. And in the dump there were always worms, and there were fires....****

Robert Schuller shows his dishonesty in his approach to the Scripture and in relation to what Jesus Christ said. He is perfectly willing to say that Jesus Christ taught that there is a literal heaven, in Matthew 11:23, but in the same verse only seven words after heaven, the word Hades, or hell, occurs and he claims that is figurative. He is perfectly willing to say that Jesus Christ taught that there is a literal heaven, in Matthew 5:20, but only 2 verses later, in Matthew 5:22, when Jesus talks about hell, Robert Schuller says He is not speaking literally, but figuratively. He blames his training and association with a different school of theology as the reason for his belief, rather than taking responsibility for imposing beliefs that he created himself. He again denies that Jesus spoke about a literal hell in Matthew 5:29, 30. Robert Schuller simply chooses the verses that say the things with which he agrees and then "reinterprets" as being figurative, the verses that deny what he believes. By twisting the words of Jesus Christ, Robert Schuller reveals his true opinion about his accountability under the authority of Jesus Christ. He does not feel any apprehension when changing the words of Jesus Christ, and at the same time has no trouble changing the gospel of Jesus Christ, to fit his own belief.

"He (Jesus Christ) never did call them 'sinners.' He saw great possibilities in each of these men. How He tried to give them the sense of self-worth and dignity that they deserved! After all, they were human beings, descendants of God."
Move Ahead With Possibility Thinking, Robert Schuller, 1967, p. 209

"Christ always tried to give man's self-image a boost. When he met immoral people He never called them sinners. Never!"
Self-Love: The Dynamic Force Of Success, 1969, pp. 87, 88

"He believed in the dignity of the individual. So He never called a person a sinner. He always saw the individual as a saint."
Daily Power Thoughts, Robert Schuller, March 23, n.d.

ON DOCTRINE COMMENT: Just a cursory examination of the Scriptures reveals that Robert Schuller speaks an absolute untruth in relation to what he claims Jesus Christ said. To claim that Jesus Christ never called a person a sinner and saw every individual as a saint, is a blatant and deliberate deception in which Robert Schuller writes the words to his own Bible and ignores the words of the true Scripture. He deliberately ignores the reality of the words and message of Jesus Christ, and claims that Jesus Christ spoke what He did not and did not speak what He did. In order to promote his own agenda, Robert Schuller changes the words that Christ spoke and he claims that Christ did not speak words that are recorded in the Scripture, confirming by his own words that he speaks the words of a Bible that exists only within his own mind.

in his book on self-esteem...
How can we believe Schuller when he says, "'Pride in being a human being' is the single greatest need facing the human race today" (p. 19)? God says, "I hate pride" (Prov. 8:13), and Peter tells us, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5; cf. James 4:6, 10).
Schuller has said, "Do not fear pride" (p. 57). Scripture says, "Pride goes before destruction" (Prov. 16:18).

Schuller has said, "What we need is a theology of salvation that begins and ends with a recognition of every person's hunger for glory" (pp. 26, 27). God says, "I will not give My glory to another" (Isa. 42:8; cf. Herod Agrippa, Acts 12:21-23).

Should all men in the world have a high sense of self-worth based on the fact that they are all under the fatherhood of god, since "the Fatherhood of God is built into our subconscious" (p. 54)? But Christ said unsaved men were children of the devil (John 8:44). John adds, "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God" (1 John 3:10).

From what Scripture do we learn that the core of original sin is negative self-image or lack of self- esteem, but not wickedness (pp. 67, 98)? Certainly we would have to ask what God meant in Jeremiah 17:9 when He said the heart of man is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked," or in 1 John 3:4 and 5:17, "sin is lawlessness" and "all unrighteousness is sin."

How can he say, "The cross sanctifies the ego trip" (p. 75), when Scripture presents it as the event most reflective of man's vile, evil nature (Rom. 3:1-20)?

When Schuller says, "The cross protected out Lord's perfect self-esteem from turning into sinful pride" (p. 75), what psychological implications is he relating to the Son of God and what is he saying about Christ's impeccability (p. 75)?

Why does Schuller rank Jesus with Freud, Adler and Frankl, as if He were a psychiatrist (p. 79), when Scripture affirms His utter pre-eminence (Col. 1:15-19)?

Can we believe Schuller who says, "Gods ultimate objective is to turn you and me into self- confident persons" (p. 80), when Philippians 3:3 says, "for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of god and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh"?

Schuller writes: "My friend Fred Smith of Dallas expressed it like this: 'You know what hell would be for me? If, when I stand before God, he would tell me all the things I could have done in my life if I had only had more faith.'

"I agree, it would be hell if God ever told me all of the 'diamond ideas' that I have allowed to flow wastefully through my brain. It would be hell if God ever told me of the beautiful relationships I could have had if only I'd had more courage, or more patience.

"It would be hell if God told me all of the accomplishments I could have achieved in life if I had been willing to pay the price. It would be hell if God should tell me all of the possibilities I wasted.

"It would be hell if God showed me how I could have succeeded if I'd only tried, if I had not quit, and if I'd just hung on a little longer" (p. 93).

Can this be hell when Jesus calls hell and eternal "furnace of fire" (Matt. 13:42, 50)?

Schuller says, "The most serious sin is the one that causes me to say, 'I am unworthy....'For once a person believes he is an 'unworthy sinner,' it is doubtful if he can really honestly accept the saving grace God offers in Jesus Christ" (p. 98).

Is not this opposite the message of the Lord Jesus which confronts a person's sin and calls him to repent and be converted (Matt. 4:17)?

Schuller says: "Salvation. What does it mean to be saved? It means to be permanently lifted from sin (psychological self-abuse with all of its consequences as seen above) and shame to self-esteem and its God-glorifying, human need-meeting, constructive, and creative consequences" (p. 99).

Is this consistent with Scripture's presentation of salvation?

How does the Lord's call for a contrite, broken spirit, a meek and humble repentance permit the idea that "too many prayers of confession of sin and repentance have been destructive to the emotional health of Christians by feeding their sense of nonworth" (p. 104)?

Page 136 offers a summation of this "other gospel." Schuller writes: "Christ must be, at all times, Lord over the Scriptures. I cannot comprehend Christ ever treating any person, lost or saved, sinner or saint, in an insulting manner.

"God is trying to build his kingdom by appealing to our unsatisfied huger for self-esteem. He offers to save us from guilt and shame and insecurity and fear and boredom to a life of security, serenity, stimulation, and self-esteem!

"Here then is a theology of salvation that glorifies God, for it glorifies his children by lifting them from hostility and rebellion-generating doubt and fear to self-confidence-building, creativity- inspiring, human-potential-releasing, human-brotherhood-motivating, self-esteem.

"Here, too is a theology of salvation that inspires the quality of individual life and social behavior which meets the biblical label, 'Good works.' As such, this is a theology that, by its nature, sustains faith, for 'faith without works is dead.'"

Since when do "good works" sustain faith? Are they not the result of faith (Eph. 2:8-10; James 2:18)?

His whole approach brings to mind an article written by Charles Finney 108 years ago. Published in the Advent Review and Herald of the Sabbath (July 29, 1875), it was titled "Mastering the Art of Preaching so as to Convert Nobody." Here, paraphrased, are some of the 42 ways he gave to accomplish this:
1. Let your supreme motive be to secure your own popularity.
2. Aim at pleasing rather than correcting.
3. Let your sermons be literary, flowery, ornate, flowing beautifully so your hearers never remember the lack of content.
4. Be sparing of thought, lest you sermon contain enough truth to convert a soul.
5. Avoid preaching doctrines that are offensive to the carnal mind.
6. Deal with sin in the abstract and make no allusions to the sins of your audience.
7. Preach salvation by grace; but ignore the condemned and lost condition of the sinner, lest he should understand what you mean by grace and sense his need of it.
8. Make no appeals to the fears of sinner; give them the impression that they have no reason to fear.
9. Preach the love of God, but ignore the holiness of His love.
10. Do not rebuke the worldly tendencies of the church, lest you should hut people's feelings.
11. Select your themes and present them to attract and flatter the wealthy, aristocratic, self-indulgent, extravagant, pleasure-seeking classes, and you will not convert any of them to the cross-bearing religion of Christ.
12. Ridicule solemn earnestness in pulling sinners out of the fire and recommend by precept or example a jovial, fun-loving religion.
13. Cultivate fastidious tastes in your people by avoiding all disagreeable allusions to the last judgment and final retribution. Treat, old and uncomfortable doctrines as obsolete and out of place in these days of Christian refinement.
14. exhibit religion to encourage the selfish pursuit of it. Make the impression upon sinners that their own safety and happiness is the supreme motive of being religious.
15. See to it that you say nothing to any hearer that applies to him or her, unless is be something flattering.

Schuller's book falls into this formula of converting nobody. In his attempt to bring a new reformation, he has merely proposed an unbiblical solution to man's need for repentance from sin.

This is a long response to you sir, but it is needed as you have spent 20 some years in his teachings. The pharisees were blinded to the truth. Mormons are blinded to the truth. You need to have your eyes opened. How many thousands of dollars have you invested in this man's ego trip? What does the bible say about being good stewards with God's money? Irresponsibility in the handling of money is only one of many things that shows this church is not a true church. You cannot blame the economy. If God were truly a part of this church he can take the least bit of money and have it cover all the bills. I am planning now on posting on my blog an entire article on the false teachings of Robert Schuller. My prayers are with you and all of the people in that church. May you one day see the light.

1 comment:

Question of Identity said...

Have to read this letter fully, but what i have read so far makes some important points very effectively. I am off to bed for now but will return to this letter later.
God bless