A glimpse into the theology of the man Mark Driscoll calls “brother.”

Robert Schuller

The recent video released of Mark Driscoll preaching at Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral contained this exchange between the two:

SCHULLER: God loves you; so do I.

(Audience applause while Driscoll extends hand for handshake.)

DRISCOLL: I appreciate that, thank you brother.

So who is Robert Schuller, the man Mark Driscoll not only openly endorses but considers to be a brother in the Lord? He is none other than a long time rank heretic tied to the New Age movement as clearly noted in Warren Smith’s book Deceived on Purpose. In the book, former New Ager himself Smith, not only exposes Schuller as the disciple of Norman Vincent Peale, but Smith also details Schuller’s blatant New Age theology. Smith also reveals the little known fact that Rick Warren is a disciple of Robert Schuller; proof the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I digress.

For those not familiar with Robert Schuller, let’s take a moment to examine some of the teachings of the man that Mark Driscoll calls “brother.”

The following exchange took place during an interview on The White Horse Inn hosted by Michael Horton (you can read more from the interview here).

RS: 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.
MH: As Jesus said it was?
RS: 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….

And here’s another exchange between Horton and Schuller:

MH: Dr. Schuller, how could the cross as you write, “sanctify the ego trip,” and make us proud, in the light of passages that say, “I hate pride and arrogance (Prov. 8:13), “Pride goes before destruction” (Prov. 16:18),”The Lord detests all the proud” (Prov. 16:5), “Do not be proud”(Rom. 12:16), “Love does not boast it is not proud” (1Cor 13:4). In fact Paul warns Timothy that in the last days men “will be lovers of themselves” (2Tim 3:2). Why should we as Christian ministers, myself included, why should we do anything to encourage people to become “lovers of themselves” if Paul in fact warned others that that would be the state of godlessness in the last days?
RS: I hope you don’t preach this, I hope you don’t preach this!
MH: What, the texts?
RS: No, what you just spoke into the microphone right now. I hope you don’t because you could do a lot of damage to a lot of beautiful people. But maybe if you preach it, maybe you will demonstrate your knowledge of human relationships and maybe you’ll demonstrate a sensitivity of caring about these pathetic, pathetic people that are so lost in pain and suffering because of their sinful condition, and I think you’d want to save them. I think you’d want to bring them to Jesus. And so if you preach that text, oh man, I sure hope you give it the kind of interpretation that I do or, I’ll tell you, you’ll drive them farther away and they’ll be madder than hell at you and they’ll turn the Bible off, and they’ll switch you off, and they’ll turn on the rock music and Madonna. Just because it’s in the Bible doesn’t mean you should preach it.

Can someone please explain to me how Mark Driscoll can not only preach in Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral (as he did five years earlier in 2004), but also how he can call the man “brother?”


But wait, there’s more. The following quotes from Driscoll’s brother, Robert Schuller, are found in his book Self-Esteem: The New Reformation as cited in this article from RapidNet and this article from CrossRoad:

Christ is the Ideal One, for he was Self-Esteem Incarnate.

Every human being must be treated with respect; self-esteem is his sacred right.

Classical theology has erred in its insistence that theology be God-centered, not man-centered.

What we need is a theology of salvation that begins and ends with a recognition of every person’s hunger for glory.

The Cross sanctifies the ego trip. For the Cross protected our Lord’s perfect self-esteem from turning into sinful pride.

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.

Classical theology defines sin as “rebellion against God.” The answer is not incorrect as much as it is shallow and insulting to the human being.

To be born again means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image — from inferiority to self-esteem, from fear to love, from doubt to trust.

Jesus never called a person a sinner…. Rather he reserved his righteous rebuke for those who used their religious authority to generate guilt and caused people to lose their ability to taste and enjoy their right to dignity.

I found myself immediately attracted to Pope John Paul II when, upon his election to the Papacy, his published speeches invariably called attention to the need for recognizing the dignity of the human being as a child of God.

The core of original sin, then is LOT — Lack of Trust. Or, it could be considered an innate inability to adequately value ourselves. Label it a “negative self-image,” but do not say that the central core of the human soul is wickedness…. Positive Christianity does not hold to human depravity, but to human inability.

One classical role of the pulpit in Protestantism has been to “preach sermons” which imply indoctrination more than education. Within this from of communication, there is an inherent, intrinsic inclination to intimidate, manipulate, and, hence, offend the person’s most prized quality of humanness — his dignity.

“My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” was Christ’s encounter with hell. In that ‘hellish’ death our Lord experienced the ultimate horror-humiliation, shame, and loss of pride as a human being. A person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem. Can you imagine any condition more tragic than to live life and eternity in shame?

Driscoll and Schuller

When the news of Driscoll’s scheduled appearance at the Crystal Cathedral broke, and the question of why he would join ranks with a heretic was raised, the Driscollites quickly came out in force to defend their golden calf.

Defenders of Driscoll never once denied Schuller’s abhorrent theology, and some even admitted that Schuller was a heretic (something we could finally agree on). So what was their hastily devised defense for their man Driscoll? They claimed that Driscoll had to go to the Crystal Cathedral to preach the true gospel to those who have been deceived under Schuller’s ministry.

This would have been a noble endeavor had it been true. The only problem was that–although this was the Driscoll defenders’ reason for Driscoll going–they didn’t foresee that this was apparently not Driscoll’s reason for going (evidenced by him identifying Schuller as his brother).

So instead of going to the Crystal Cathedral to show the Schullerites that they’ve swallowed a false gospel–and in turn preach the true gospel–all Mark Driscoll did was validate and legitimize Schuller and his teachings, and preach about a Jesus Christ that the audience believes is the same Jesus Christ that Schuller’s been talking about for years because, after all, Driscoll identified Schuller as his brother in Christ.

In a NutshellSo here’s the big problem in a nutshell for Driscoll defenders:

If they concede that Schuller teaches heresy, then they must explain how Driscoll can call the man brother (for what does light have to do with darkness let alone call it brother?). But if they say that Schuller’s teachings are sound and are consistent with 2,000 years of historic Christianity, then they’ve just opened a whole new Pandora’s Box of problems for Mark Driscoll and those who sit under his teaching.

The size of the problem cannot be understated when one considers that it is Driscoll’s “orthodoxy” that his defenders consistently point to as their greatest defense to excuse his foul mouth, his blasphemies, and his irreverent depiction of the Savior.

Now we know the die-hard Driscoll fans will just come up with one more weak excuse to place atop their crumbling deck of cards, and it will be interesting to see the spin doctors in full swing with this conundrum. This fork-in-the-road moment has proven to be a monumental problem for the never-say-die Drisollites; a problem that–since the airing of the video–they have yet to address.

But what about you, the Driscoll fan who genuinely seeks after truth first and foremost? Where do you stand today? Either choice leaves you at a crossroads with a big decision to make. Do you finally acknowledge that Mark Driscoll is not all that he’s been purported to be, or do you continue to stick your head in the proverbial sand and ignore all that is before you? Your decision will reveal your loyalty either to the truth of the gospel or to the adoration of a man.

When Mark Driscoll calls Rick Warren a “brother in Christ,” calls Joel Osteen his “Christian brother,” and gleefully shakes the hand of Robert Schuller while calling him “brother” too, this all begs the question, “What version of ‘Christianity’ does Mark Driscoll identify with?”

When Driscoll’s faith includes (and is comfortable with) the likes of Warren, Osteen, and Schuller, one has to wonder who or what is actually excluded in Driscoll’s “Christianity” (besides those critical of him of course). With “brothers” like Warren, Osteen, and Schuller, who needs enemies of the cross?

22 thoughts on “A glimpse into the theology of the man Mark Driscoll calls “brother.”

  1. The Church I had been attending here in Oregon just had that video of Driscoll at the CC and seemed to endorse what Driscoll said while there. I stopped attending there awhile ago because of their defense of Driscoll. They saw nothing wrong with his vulgar language from the Pulpit and used the classic defense of “he has to be relevant to the culture”. I will not and can not attend any Church that follows Driscoll and his Acts 29 group.

    Thank you for posting this. If only more people could have the veil pulled from their eyes and see what damage Driscoll and Schuller are doing to the body of Christ.


  2. The Pilgrim,

    Amen and amen! How tragic that many within evangelicalism are swallowing this drivel and making excuses for the likes of Mark Driscoll.

    All this still begs the question – How will ministers like John Piper NOW respond to Mark Driscoll? Will they still openly endorse his ministry or will they finally stand up and call a spade a spade regardless of whether it costs them sales at their bookstores??

    The Desert Pastor


  3. “I hope you don’t preach this. I hope you don’t preach this.” robert Schuller poster boy of the heretics. Is he the alpha male of the wolf pack, it seems this way. Well has rs been told the truth by God fearing pastors, then we are to have nothing to do with him. So md why were you at the crystal cathedral preaching and calling this man a brother? I get so cranky at all this rot, and all the defenders. What people don’t seem to understand is we do it God’s way, or not at all. What a pathetic excuse for a gospel message.


  4. Very well written, Pilgrim! You have done an excellent job at explaining what RS believes and, because of that, it exposes MD to what his true beliefs are since he’s calling RS a brother. He can say what he wants but his actions speak louder than his words and tell a different story when he’s willing to hobnob with heretics!


  5. I just want to thank sites like this. I didn’t know much about RS and alot of these other “preachers” that are out there. Because of these sites that are willing to take hits in protecting the Word of God I was able to redirect my sister to someone who I thought to be able to tell her the truth (Kay Arthur). She had wanted to get one of RS’s books that was about $70 of dribble. She doesn’t need self-esteem, she needs to know Jesus as Savior. Thanks for helping be to be more discerning in these terrible days of apostasy.


  6. Pilgrim,

    Strange, isn’t it, how facts get in the way of feelings? Back when I first heard about Driscoll, I saw a video where he called Joel Osteen “brother.” That made me, to say the least, queasy. Then he called Rick Warren “brother.” Sent up more red flags than Moscow on May Day. So now he calls Robert Schuller “brother,” and all bets are off. If this man truly accepts Robert Schuller as a brother in Christ, then Driscoll is saying that he accepts Schuller’s theology as orthodox and is openly endorsing heresy.

    Any Driscoll supporters want to defend Driscoll’s embrace of Schuller’s heresy?


  7. I listened to his sermon, it was a clear presentation of the gospel, maybe the only time that the people at the Crystal Cathedral would hear it.


  8. Thomas ~

    I heard A gospel being preached there but I did not hear THE Gospel of the Bible being preached. I doubt RS would have allowed MD to preach the real Gospel of the Bible. The microphone would have been unplugged and the TV cameras turned off. And when MD calls RS a brother, that’s more proof that THE Gospel of the Bible was not preached there.


  9. Thomas:
    The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains certain essential elements. Repentance is a key element (mentioned by Jesus Himself in several places: Luke 24:47, Luke 13:5, etc). Unfortunately, Mr. Mark Driscoll failed to mention that those listening to his speech must repent of their sins. Thus, he did not preach the true Gospel. But that omission fits well with Mr. Schuller’s teaching as noted above. Such talk of repentance of sin might hurt the self-esteem of the audience.


  10. Dear Thomas:

    First I want to thank you for disagreeing with us without a snarky condescending tone. It is quite refreshing.

    Secondly, I wanted to make you aware that your comment is probably more apropos to the Desert Pastor’s post on Driscoll’s sermon found here. (In it the Desert Pastor challenges your notion that it was a “clear presentation of the gospel.”)

    This particular post was not about Driscoll’s message, but about his embracing and endorsing Robert Schuller, a man who openly teachers false doctrines and heresy.

    Your comment failed to address this matter.

    And, I would also challenge the thrust of your comment. You see–as I clearly stated in this post–when Driscoll happily extends his hand to Schuller and calls him “brother” he just validated everything Schuller stands for. So the “Jesus” Schuller has preached for decades subsequently becomes the same “Jesus” Driscoll spoke about. No distinction was made.

    If Driscoll refused to distinguish between the true Jesus and Schuller’s Jesus, then nothing was accomplished. And so far no reports of anyone repenting and renouncing Schuller’s false gospel has surfaced stemming from Driscoll’s “clear presentation of the gospel.”

    You see, Thomas, when someone stands up at the Crystal Cathedral and says something like “you must repent of your sins” (if Schuller would allow such language) the audience hears “sins” and understands it through the filter of what they’ve been told “sin” is by Schuller. Their view of “sin” is not the Biblical view of “sin.”

    Or if someone proclaims “you must be born again,” the Schullerites understand this as being “changed from a negative to a positive self-image,” and not born again as the Bible dictates it.

    Walter Martin used to call the endeavor of clearly defining your terms with cults and false religions as “scaling the language barrier.” Until you do that you will just go in circles.

    Don’t believe me? Try witnessing to a Mormon WITHOUT defining your terms and see how far you get.

    – The Pilgrim


  11. Frank!

    If you have been reading the posts on Mark Driscoll, you could not help but notice that we have clearly explained where Mark Driscoll stands in 1) his theology, 2) his vulgar language, 3) his sexual innuendos, 4) his lack of respect for the God of the Bible, 5) and his embracing of people like Schuller as a “brother in Christ.”

    If your purpose is just to defend Mark Driscoll at ALL costs despite the warnings given by the Word of God against those who would endorse another gospel, then you are at the wrong blogsite. I do not know how we could make any clearer where and how Mark stands in direct opposition to the Word of God in far too many areas to remain qualified as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    We do not “try” Driscoll for another man’s sins. We are here to warn true believers of the dangers of blindly following the teachings of a man who shows such blatant disregard for what many gave their lives for down through the ages. I hope this has cleared up your questions.

    One final point, I am afraid that there are many who claim to be Christians who would believe in their minds that the only way they will ever back off of Mark Driscoll would be if he came right out and said something like, “I whole-heartedly endorse Robert Schuller and the teachings at Crystal Cathedral!” Sadly, those same people will remain blinded even then and will come up with some lame excuse as to what they think Mark really means and then will turn around and share how “wonderful” it is that two mega-churches can now “serve God” together!

    The Desert Pastor


  12. Doesn’t RS believe in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the the dead, you will be saved” RS is my “brother in Christ” if he believe in Romans10:9. I have never heard RS preach that Romans 10:9 is incorrect.


  13. Larry,

    Have you ever heard him say that it is correct?

    Strange thing is, there are a lot of people who claim to believe that verse. But do their lives reflect it? Or do they draw near with their lips while their hearts are far from Him? I’m sure you could ask 100 Mormons if they believe Romans 10:9 and they would say “Yes.” You could ask 100 Jehovah’s Witnesses the same question, and they would not doubt answer positively.

    Problem is, RS may claim to believe that Jesus is Lord. But as you can see from the above exchange between he and Michael Horton, RS maintains that a person must have pride in themselves. When, in fact, Jesus preached the very opposite. He preached that anyone who was proud of themselves was not worthy of the kingdom of Heaven. (see The Beatitudes, His encounter with the rich young ruler, etc).


  14. I will do what you guys should have done in the first place, (maybe you did) since this is a public matter with him going on national TV and you guys posting this on the internet, I will call him and write an email and when I get an explantion I will share it with you and if he needs to be brought in church discipline than we will handle that when it comes.


  15. Travis,

    I am afraid that you do not understand the biblical pattern of church discipline especially if you think you will have or gain some right in the future to effect discipline against Mark Driscoll. Church discipline is between members within each local assembly. My church cannot discipline you as an example if we saw you coming out of a nightclub with a woman on your arm who is not your wife. However, we would have the right and solemn responsibility to inform the leadership of your church if you were operating in a public fashion that was bringing disgrace upon the testimony of Christ and of your local assembly.

    The Desert Pastor


  16. Wow, these things are incredible!

    Mark Driscolls acknowledgement of Joel is inexcusable, unthinkable! But then Robert Schuller! Then Rick Warren!

    Terrible, Lord help us and have mercy.


  17. Thanks for men who have discernment of the spirit and who will make a stand against the evil that has crept into the church….wait didn’t the start of this post start with RS saying; RS: 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.
    So he is from a different denomination, seems to be quit a few of them according to RS, about 400 of them. And the very few That I know of all in some way or another are based on works in one way or another, and if not works they think that all they have to do is rely on certain select scripture versus taken out of context to make them feel righteous before God.
    So when Paul tells us in Romans;Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
    Rom 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. )( so then Paul is telling us that not only do we question the doctrine of other denominations but our own as well. He is also telling us that we must fallow doctrine that is laid out in the letters and books of the bible, will this is the bases for our foundation, don’t you think it wise to get into the bible and study it and even to see if your own foundation is right. I know that I did and what I found out was that the things that I did and said was no more than lip service and that I was lost and without hope and on that day that I stand before God I would have nothing to offer God as a means to justify the reasons that I couldn’t battle the sin that was still in power over me, not of baptism not of some simple prayer that I had wrote down some where.
    What God showed me was that I need his mercy, his grace, and to look to the only thing that could bring to him righteous was the work he accomplished in his son and to put my faith in him. And as Paul tells us; Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,

    which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    I find today has I look into the different denominations that most seem to have this one over riding view and that is that they make them selves right before God by some thing that they have done and not what God has accompished.


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