A report came out in the Los Angles Times yesterday that said Dr. Robert Schuller had been ousted from the board of the famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove California (a suburb of Anaheim). Robert H. Schuller is 84 years old.
Let me give you a little history lesson here... Dr. Schuller came to Garden Grove in 1955 to start a church for the Reformed Church Denomination. The problem was that he couldn't find a building to suit so he decided to rent a drive-in theater and preach from the roof of the snack stand. The church grew year after year until he was finally able to build his first building in 1961. The Crystal Cathedral was not finished until 1980. Dr. Schuller stepped down from the pulpit in 2006 and turned it over to his son, Robert A. Schuller. But that lasted less than three years. He fired his son over differences of opinion on the direction of the church. The Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy in late 2010 being almost 45 million dollars in debt. Ouch!
I have to say I like Dr. Schuller's vision. To start a church at a drive-in was really "outside the box" for the 1950's. He started the first 24-hour suicide hotlines. And was a pioneer for the televangelist program. At one point it was estimated that over 30 million people tuned in to his TV broadcast, and that was almost 25 years ago. I have to say I do admire him for his visioneering of the ministry.However... (you knew this was coming, right?) I have always had issues with some of the positions on bible doctrines and teachings. And oddly enough, that is what got him into some hot water with his own board and his family.
A couple of years ago one of Dr. Schuller's daughters took over the ministry and became he Senior Pastor. Her name is Sheila (Schuller) Coleman. Now, I could comment on my concerns surrounding women pastors here but I'm fearful it would hijack the story. But suffice it to say... I'm not a huge fan. My opinion... I own it. Please direct all opposing and hateful comments to Tony C. Today.
However, I have to applaud Rev. Sheila for a couple of things. Things that Dr. Schuller opposes and eventually led to his ouster from the board. Rev. Sheila actually made the folks in the church choir sign a covenant stating that they had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior and that they firmly believed the Bibles teaching that marriage should be between a man and a woman! Groundbreaking stuff!!!! Especially given the fact that she is in California and is a part of one of the most liberal churches in America. And her father, Dr. Robert H. Schuller opposed it!!!
Dr. Schuller argument reportedly was that he wanted people to know that everyone was welcome at the Crystal Cathedral. I agree. I want everyone to know they are welcome at the church I pastor, but the choir members are a part of the ministry. Is it too much to ask them to be a Christian before serving in a ministry like leading worship? Is it too much to ask them to adhere to some basic tenets of scripture? I would hope not. I think this goes to show how Dr. Schuller has let his standards slip over the years.
Which begs the question... Have we done the same thing? When is the last time you took a look within to see if you have changed in ways that aren't very becoming a Christian? Are you more than just a believer in the Book? Are you a follower of the Book? The whole Bible?