Hard Questions for Robert Schuller About Sin and Self-Esteem
Image: Bill Youngblood

Robert Schuller’s supporters say he has reformed the Reformation. His detractors say he has rejected it.

His supporters say he has found the wavelength of the secular mind. His detractors say he has lost the gospel.

His supporters say he presents sin without turning off the listener. His detractors say he is soft on sin.

His supporters say he has created a glass church whose openness reflects the possibilities of the gospel. His detractors say he has built a $20 million monstrosity.

What is Robert Schuller really saying and doing? To find out, Christianity Today flew a team of interviewers to Garden Grove, California, location of Schuller’s 10,000-member “Crystal Cathedral of the Reformed Church in America.” On the team were Kenneth S. Kantzer, president of Trinity College (Deerfield, Ill.), David F. Wells, professor of historical and systematic theology, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, Mass.), and V. Gilbert Beers, editor of CT.

In their taped interview, which lasted several hours, they questioned Schuller on his mission, on self-esteem, the “New Reformation,” and especially on the places he sees for sin in the Christian message.

The following is an edited transcript.

Is Sunday morning worship at the Crystal Cathedral a normal Protestant service?

Not really. Suppose that when you start a church as a mission, your audience is made up of, say, 100 non-Christians. That will challenge any body’s idea of how to plan a Sunday morning service. You can’t use regular hymns. You can’t serve Communion to people who haven’t confessed Christ. You can’t baptize children, because their parents are unbelievers.

I ask Christians, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this IssueA Theologian Looks at Schuller
A Theologian Looks at Schuller Subscriber Access Only
Dr. Kantzer has read extensively the writings of Robert Schuller and was a member of the trio sent by CT to spend a day interviewing him.
RecommendedHow Do I Explain Easter to My Children?
How Do I Explain Easter to My Children?Subscriber Access Only
The reality of a human raised from the dead is hard enough for adults to understand, much less kids. But here are some approaches I've taken.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickWho’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
The age of the Internet has birthed a crisis of authority, especially for women.
Christianity Today
Hard Questions for Robert Schuller About Sin and Self-Esteem
hide thisAugust 10 August 10

In the Magazine

August 10, 1984

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.