Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bishop Robert Schuller and the Crystal Cathedral (It Always Was Roman Catholic)

Today the courts announced that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange (California) had won their bid to purchase the Crystal Cathedral brought to fame by Robert Schuller and his show the "Hour of Power."

When the corporation that owns Crystal Cathedral filled for bankruptcy last year, it was $81.5 MILLION in debt. This staggering number blows my mind.

The sale of the property was for $57.5 million. Quite a short sale. The Diocese now has an Orange County cathedral.

Photo from Jae C Hong/AP; Oct 27, 2011

Several members of the congregation were on the grounds last night, complaining that 'their church had been stolen from them,' that 'they had paid for it over 30 years, and now it was gone.'

Sorry loves. It was never yours. Yes, you made your donations, and yes that money was used to purchase the grounds, pay Schuller, support outreaches, pay Schuller, pay staff, and pay Schuller. You may have even paid for a brick or a window and put your name on it. That didn't make it yours.

Let's look at the detail.

The Board of Directors for the Crystal Cathedral Ministries decided Wednesday to move their support from Chapman University's bid ($59 million) for the property to the Archdiocese. Instead of turning it into a medical school, they decided to keep it as a "religious institution." They felt this respected the wishes of those who funded the original project.

In reality, over the weekend, the Diocese bumped their $55.4 million offer to $57.5 million, throwing in a $300,000 annuity for Robert H Schuller and his wife Arvella. Really? Is this the reason the BOD decided to take less money and give it to the Roman Catholics? Yet they cited "religious institution?"

a) Where is there a board of directors in the scriptures? Elders yes, Board of Directors, no. (That's one indication the church is not correctly established.)
b) Those who funded the project were funding (they thought) a PROTESTANT ministry. And now, just to keep it 'religious' it's going to be a Roman Catholic organization. Oh, how the Reformation has been forgotten. Ironically, Schuller originally represented the Reformed Church in America.
c) The present church corporation was founded fairly recently, in 1995.

From the court records:
  • The present congregation has three years to desert the property. That's an amazing generous lease-back provision.
  • The purchase includes a $300,000 annuity (annual payment) to Robert & Arvella Schuller until they die. That's also amazingly generous. A representative of the Diocese said they wanted to provide for Schuller in his senior years. $300K a year is a lot of providing.
  • Robert H Schuller had retired, and turned the church over to his son Robert A Schuller. He had the highest salary, of $196,478 annually. And now daddy is getting a $100K+ bump.
  • The Diocese will not be changing the outside of the building. They don't need to, it already has a statue of Christ! So much for the commandment of no idols or images of God, Christ or the Holy Spirit.
  • The Diocese has to do very little to the inside of the sanctuary. They will add some statues, and an alter (which always contains some of the cross that Christ died on).
  • In three years the congregation will be moved to "a smaller facility that houses a [Roman] Catholic church."

Is anyone else seeing how Roman Catholic Robert Schuller and his church already were? The Diocese is going to take care of him, like a good retired bishop. And the congregation will moved to a Roman Catholic church.

If the congregation didn't know they were Roman Catholics in Protestant clothing, they should now.

Yes, I would have gone with Chapman University and a medical school. If Bob didn't learn how to live within his means, and already provide for his retirment years (I'm sure he did) then he wasn't following what he should have been teaching. Does his estate really need a 300K boost each year?

I've never been a fan of Robert Schuller. I grew up with Hour of Power. We belonged to a good Presbyterian church in Northern KY, yet my mother preferred the modern version of Norman Vincent Peale-isms that Schuller espoused (I can't call his pep talks a sermon). After my father died and mom still didn't attend our church, the pastor asked me where she was. I told him about Schuller, and he honestly responded with "who stood with her and buried her husband? Who will marry her children?" Amen, Bing!

Years later, when I would travel as a Califonian, and I would give my city, I would always hear Schuller's name, statements of how great the show was and be asked what I thought of it all (it is like the only thing in my city was him). My response was always the same..."Ah yes. The famous actor Bob Schuller. One day he may win an Oscar." Never did I meet anyone watch or supported his show. Yet the sputtering responses I would get were a crack up.

Fame, popularity, or financial success doesn't mean you are right. Or pleasing God. Or producing something that honors Him, even if you throw in His name a lot. Nope, I'm not his fan.

In the past year I did meet two members of his congregation, a mid-70s married couple. It was during a sales call, and he brought up that he was an Elder of Bob's. Politics and Religion are two subjects you avoid during sales. An Elder...I know what that means, so we chatted about that. Guess what...Bob (or his non-biblical Board of Directors) had changed the definition of an Elder, too! By scriptural definition, this dear man was not an Elder. Bob, Bob, Bob. How far did your misguidings go? And why are you now being rewarded by the Roman Catholics? Well, you have done a lot to promote their cause.

The good news is the congregants now have the opportunity to find a church where they will hear the gospel. Honor God. Follow what the Bible says. Find a church that sings the Psalms, that avoids musical instruments, that deals with sin, that celebrates the resurrection of Christ every week, not just in the Spring.

God is very specific in the Bible about what is required for worship that pleases Him. He's strict! He tells you exactly what he wants. If there are images of God, move on. If they offer a play or a musical or "modern worship," move on. If your ears are tickled by the service, if the sermon examples are fluff and not scriptures themselves, then keep looking. Conviction and forgiveness are good things.

If you honestly believe that 'being a good person' is enough to get into heaven, understand that it is not. What's required is right there, in the scriptures. Then you can rightfully call yourself a Christian.

If you need some help finding a faithful church, let me know. And read my post from yesterday,
Nov 16, 2011.

Honor God, above all.

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