Feb 3, 2009

Robert Schuller’s Mighty Glass Empire Is Shattering

By Don Koenig

Robert Schuller’s mighty glass empire appears to be shattering and his hour of power seems to be on its final minute. Robert A. Schuller is a believer and teacher of Universalism (all will be saved no human is condemned by sin). He is the father of the gospel of self-esteem and possibility thinking and was one of the top pushers of Christian pop psychology and was also a main figure in the Church Growth Movement, and those redefining Christianity.

How the mighty have fallen over family feuds and secret sin!

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. - 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.

“The final months of 2008 were devastating for our ministry,” the 82-year-old pastor wrote.

The Crystal Cathedral blames the recession for its woes. But it’s clear that the elder Schuller’s carefully orchestrated leadership transition, planned over a decade, has stumbled badly.

It’s a problem common to personality driven ministries. Most have collapsed or been greatly diminished after their founders left the pulpit or died.