The more things change, the more they stay the same at the Crystal Cathedral.

From the Christian Post:

The Rev. Robert H. Schuller, founder of the historic Crystal Cathedral Ministries in Garden Grove, Calif., has spoken out about the sale of the church to a Roman Catholic diocese, reassuring concerned observers that the church’s beliefs are not going to suddenly change.

“The Roman Catholic Church isn’t going to change its theologies,” Schuller said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times published Sunday. “I trust them.”

The ministry’s decision to sell the famous building to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County raised some controversy at first. In the Sunday interview, the 85-year-old minister said he has always respected the Roman Catholic faith and considers it the “mother church.”

Read the rest of the article, Robert Schuller Trusts Catholic Church With Crystal Cathedral, here.

Book recommendation: “Deceived on Purpose” by Warren Smith.

I recently finished the book Deceived on Purpose by Warren Smith. Smith, a former New Ager turned Christian, wrote this heavily footnoted book after reading Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life and seeing the many New Age parallels throughout Rick Warren’s bestseller.

Warren Smith chronicles these familiar New Age teachings found in The Purpose Driven Life in his book Deceived on Purpose.  

Warren Smith also goes into detail about Rick Warren’s ties to Robert Schuller. And once Warren Smith begins connecting the dots between Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Bruce Wilkinson, Eugene Peterson and many well known New Agers like Neale Donald Walsch, Bernie Siegel, Benjamin Creme, and others, you will never look at Rick Warren the same way again and you will be even more disturbed as to why John Piper is willing to link arms with Rick Warren.

You can purchase the paperback version of the book here, or the e-book version here.

“As a self-proclaimed ‘change agent,’ it seemed that one of Rick Warren’s unstated purposes was to mainstream Robert Schuller’s teachings into the more traditional ‘Bible-based’ wing of the Church. Many believers who seem to trust Rick Warren, ironically, do not trust Robert Schuller. Rick Warren’s ‘magic’ seems to be able to make the teachings of Robert Schuller palatable to believers who would have otherwise never accepted these same teachings had they come directly from Schuller himself.”  Deceived on Purpose Page 113

American Christianity: “Cheerful platitudes and advice for successful living.”

The United Kingdom’s The Guardian has published a scathing indictment of the American mainstream church that Ingrid Schlueter described as:

Imagine finding the most incisive, succinct description of empty evangelicalism you’ve ever seen, and finding it in the UK’s left-wing Guardian newspaper.

The entire article, Crystal Cathedral Had It’s Day, can be read here. It’s certainly an article worth the read, but if you’re still reluctant I’ve provided the following quote to whet your whistle.

But there is nothing new under the sun. Saddleback and the Crystal Cathedral, Willow Creek and all the other evangelical megachurches that have had their time in the sun sell the same product: mind-power through talk-magic, which in secular packaging is just what all the innumerable therapies and self-help programmes on the market promise. In the US, where school psychologists are almost as common as school nurses, we are obsessed with talk therapies because they are in fact ecumenical and secularised versions of evangelical Christianity, our old time religion.

Those who preach in glass houses…

crystal-babel

UPDATED from February 1, 2009: How ironic!! Exactly one year ago to the date, comes this update on the Crystal Tower of Babel. Apparently, the downturn in the economy may not be such a bad thing. I posted a while back that Rod Parsley is hemorrhaging cash. Just goes to show, when you base your “ministry” on how many unsuspecting people you can fleece out of their hard-earned money, it’s a pyramid scheme that’s bound to come crashing down. Well, now, it looks like the ungodly empire built by Mr. Self-Esteem himself is about to circle the drain:

The Crystal Cathedral, the Garden Grove megachurch, is laying off 50 workers, selling surplus property and may pull its “Hour of Power” television show in up to eight markets because of a precipitous drop in contributions.

The 7,000-member church also has canceled its “Glory of Easter” pageant, a popular reenactment of the life and death of Jesus Christ, which sold tens of thousands of tickets each year. “This cuts to the heart of our ministry,” said spokesman John Charles. “It is sad news.”

Charles said the church’s revenue sank 27% from roughly $30 million in 2008 to $22 million in 2009. Anticipating a drop in 2010 revenue, he added, “If it maintains, that would be fine, but we don’t have a crystal ball, so we are cutting.”

———————————————-

The original February 1, 2009 post:

Apparently, the Robert Schuller empire, symbolized by the Crystal Tower of Babel Cathedral and built by the ultimate ultra-feel good pastor, the one who built a monument to man, whose shimmering building commemorates the gospel of Satan, is about to come crumbling down. (NOTE–link no longer works. sorry). One word describes this news:

Good.

It is a good thing that this man-made facade of a church should dissolve into dust. It is a good thing that this empire, built on the lie of universal salvation, should return to the dung heap from which it came. Just like the Tower of Babel, which was built for men to worship the “God” of their own making, so was this abomination of man’s making built to worship a fuzzy-wuzzy “God” who is not holy, is not righteous, and is not even real.

tower_of_babel_painting_close1

Once one of the nation’s most popular televangelists, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller is watching his life’s work crumble.

His son and recent successor, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, has abruptly resigned as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral. The shimmering, glass-walled megachurch is home to the “Hour of Power” broadcast, an evangelism staple that’s been on the air for more than three decades.

The church is in financial turmoil: It plans to sell more than $65 million worth of its Orange County property to pay off debt. Revenue dropped by nearly $5 million last year, according to a recent letter from the elder Schuller to elite donors. In the letter, Schuller Sr. implored the Eagle’s Club members — who supply 30 percent of the church’s revenue — for donations and hinted that the show might go off the air without their support.

If Robert Schuller continues to preach a God who will save everybody, and that we are not sinners, and that we will all go to heaven–in other words, if he continues preaching a different gospel–then when he dies, he will suffer a much greater fate than watching his private Tower of Babel fall to the ground.

Galatians 1:8-9–But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

“Let us flee, for the enemy of the truth is inside!!”

In the First Century AD, Cerinthus was a well-known heretic, being one of the early leaders of the Gnostic movement. John opposed him as fiercely as a man possible could (thus giving us a better example of how to deal with heretics than the many modern-day milquetoast “pastors” who think we need to buddy-up with heretics and call them “brothers in Christ”). In fact, the story goes that when John and some of his disciples (possibly Polycarp) were about to enter a bathhouse, and John heard that Cerinthus was inside, John fled the building with his disciples, shouting

“Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”

If only that which calls itself “the church” in America today would follow John’s example, we might not need a site like this. If the quote-unquote “church” would rise up and flee, flee, flee! Flee swiftly from those institutions that teach things that are contrary to the Word of God!!

  • “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Roman Catholic idolatry, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
  • “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Emergent “Christianity”, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
  • “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Purpose-Driven™/Seeker-Driven™ egocentrism, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
  • “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Prosperity heretics, those enemies of the truth, are inside!”
  • “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Robert Schuller, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
  • “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for self-esteem, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
  • “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Compromise of all sorts, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”

That which calls itself “church”–if only they would adopt the attitude of John the Apostle, and “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for [fill in the blank], the enemy of the truth, is inside!” Remember these words which our Lord Jesus spoke to this one who fled from Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth. Listen to what He said to these gatherings that claimed to be of Christ–but which allowed Satan to enter through the front door, all the while claiming they did it “for Christ”:

Revelation 2:12-16And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write…I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”

Revelation 2:18-23And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write…I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.”

These were churches that were “doing good things.” They went around preaching “Love!! Love!! Love!!” They had all kinds of faith. But what did they do? They brought the enemy inside. They brought in Balaam, and they brought in Jezebel–and by doing so, they brought in all of their destructive heresies.

  • Did Jesus say, “Oh, I’m so proud of you!! You’re using Satan’s methods to bring people in the doors! How wonderful!!”
  • Did Jesus say, “It just thrills my heart to see you joining the worship of the true God with those who teach false Christs and bow down to worship statues!!”
  • Did Jesus say, “I love how you guys are engaging the culture around you!!”
  • Did Jesus say, “That’s the way to do church!! After all, who wants to sit there for a half an hour and just hear about…Me? Bring in more games!!”

NO!!!!!

Look at the warnings Jesus gives the church at Pergamos, and the church at Thyatira. Notice how they compromised with the world, and notice the rebuke from Christ. Then ask yourself: Would your church receive a “Well Done.” Or would He rebuke you for flinging wide the front door and inviting Balaam and Jezebel inside?

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?”

DoctrineTomb

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?




Mark Driscoll to preach at the Crystal Cathedral.

Mark Driscoll Alley

***** UPDATE *****

Review of Driscoll’s sermon at the Crystal Cathedral can be found here.

Lighthouse Trails, Church Solutions, Thinking Out Loud, Slice of Laodicea, and even Mark Driscoll’s calendar on his website are announcing the upcoming June 14th event.

Apparently this isn’t the first time he’s been featured there. He spoke at Schuller’s 2004 conference and his messages are still available for purchase from the Crystal Cathedral online bookstore.

It shall be interesting to see how this plays out.

On a side note, while not too shocked to see Driscoll appear at this rank heretic’s church, I was disappointed to see Joni Eareckson Tada there. They’re even selling her book. Is there no longer any discernment in the body of Christ?

Contrasts.

Observe the contrast between heresy and biblical teaching. The first quote comes from a rank heretic of the first order. The second quote comes from a man who faithfully exposited the Word of God in England for years.

schuller“I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.” Time, March 18, 1985 – Robert Schuller

martyn-lloyd-jones1“Evangelism must start with the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the demands of the law, and the eternal consequences of evil.” Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, pg. 225

Ravi’s crash and burn.

I’ve previously reported on Ravi Zacharias’ failure to preach the Gospel to those following a counterfeit Christ after he was invited to speak at the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City (see here). Then I posted on Ravi’s descent into the abyss of compromise (see here) when he refused to pray in the name of Jesus Christ at the latest National Day of Prayer (Coram Deo even wrote a piece on Ravi’s compromise here).

And now Ravi Zacharias is proving yet again that compromise will always take a man where he never intended to go.

RAVI’S CRASH:

Ravi speaks favorably of Henri Nouwen and can be seen in the following video (at the 5:47 mark) calling this Roman Catholic mystic “one of the greatest saints of recent memory.”


Ken Silva has also weighed in on this here.

RAVI’S BURN:

And what started as a little compromise here and there, seems to have started a snowball rolling for Ravi. Slaughter of the Sheep is reporting that Ravi Zacharias will now be speaking at none other than the Crystal Cathedral at Robert Schuller’s infamous ReThink Conference scheduled for February 2009. Lighthouse Trails is also on top of Ravi’s latest compromise with the rank heretic Schuller in a piece they did here.

Are Christian bookstore owners responsible for what they sell?

Back in February I asked the question do you support your local Christian bookstore?

I now have a follow-up question:

Are the owners of Christian bookstores responsible to their fellow-Christians, the Church, and ultimately God, for the products they sell?

This past week I entered another one of these Christian book and paraphernalia bazaars. The first faces I saw staring back at me as soon as I entered were the prominently displayed faces of Joel Osteen, Juanita Bynum, TD Jakes, and Joyce Meyer (just to name a few) along with all the “Jesus junk” and trinkets that adorned the shelves and displays from wall to wall. A few more steps and I was struck with Rob Bell’s book Sex God and his Nooma videos

Another disturbing book I unexpectedly came across was a children’s book on the virgin Mary and praying the Rosary. In this book were Romanism’s false teaching of Mary being crowned Queen of Heaven and Queen of the universe. This was in a “Christian” bookstore!

I recall a brief conversation I had with the owner of one of these bookstore a few months back in which he provided me two excuses reasons why he sold the merchandise of such heretical teachers as Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Brian McLaren and Rob Bell. He said he 1). cannot possibly read every book that he sells; and that he 2). does not want to promote censorship.

This was such a sad example of wiggling around his deeper responsibility to not lead people astray. First of all he can’t be accused of censorship for not carrying certain books anymore than he an be accused of censorship for not allowing these types of books into his home. He owns his home, he owns the bookstore. He–as a retailer–has the right to sell whatever he does or does not want on his shelves, which explains the absence of such material as the Book of Mormon, the Satanic Bible or pornography. Is the absence of these books considered “censorship?” Furthermore, in order for his refusal to carry certain books to qualify as “censorship” he would have to be a representative of the government.

Secondly, the “I can’t possibly read every book I sell” excuse is a cop-out. You don’t have to read every book by Brian McLaren, Rob Bell or Robert Schuller to know that they’re spreading heresy . . . it’s common knowledge! And if you’re not that aware of what’s going on or you lack discernment regarding the wolves among us, a quick internet search will tell you all you need to know.

Do you need to read every issue of the Awake! that the Watchtower organization produces to be able to confidently say that they are a cult and thus not carry their material? Of course not. So why do certain big name heretics and false teachers under the umbrella of evangelicalism get a pass by the guise of willful ignorance?

These bookstore owners are knowingly or unknowingly selling doctrines of demons; material that an impressionable undiscerning person could buy which would lead them on the primrose path to Hell. This leads me to ask, will these bookstore owners be held responsible before God for selling these heretical, apostate, and often times blasphemous doctrines of wolves in sheep’s clothing?