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From the LA Times: Robert Schuller taps his daughter to lead ministry’s grand comeback

24 June, 2009

brannansmall1The article is available here. After a falling out with his son, Crystal Cathedral and “Hour of Power” icon Robert Schuller has decided to bequeath everything to his oldest daughter, Sheila Schuller Coleman. Unfortunately, I’m not expecting any change toward a scriptural and gospel-driven ministry of word and sacrament.

I’m not at all posting this to belittle or sneer, but simply to highlight an excerpt from Schuller Coleman’s interview that seems (worringly) all too common even among much more traditional Christians than the Schullers. Notice particularly the almost antithetical relationship between the Bible and evangelism, and between understanding and faith:

She’s looking forward to speaking from the pulpit (maybe once every four to six weeks) but says her sermons won’t sound like those of a preacher. “My messages will be very light on Scripture. They’ll be stories, primarily, with lessons. They’ll be biblical concepts, but my platform on the ‘Hour of Power’ and the cathedral on Sunday mornings is as an outreach to the unchurched.”

Poised to become the public face of the ministry, Coleman laughs easily and acknowledges having had a bout with religious skepticism as a college student. The doubt is behind her, but she still says that faith is fraught with illogic.

“I tried to make it logical,” she said of that period. “When you’re a science major, everything is why, why, why? And every time I’d ask why, I could come up with a logical explanation but then I’d right away come up with another why. Finally, I realized I just needed to take a leap of faith. I know it sounds trite, but it’s just a leap of faith. I just said, ‘Lord, I don’t know that I can understand this, I can’t explain it all, but I’m choosing to believe in you.’ The minute I did that, everything fell into place.”

Wow. Now for some head-clearingly solid statements from the Heidelberg Catechism on the relationship between the Bible and evangelism:

Q. 18: But who now is that Mediator, who in one person is true God and also a true and righteous man?

A.: Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is freely given unto us for complete redemption and righteousness.

Q. 19: From where do you know this?

A.: From the Holy Gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise [Gen 3:15], afterwards proclaimed by the holy patriarchs and prophets, and foreshadowed by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law, and finally fulfilled by his well-beloved Son.

And on the relationship between understanding and faith:

Q. 21: What is true faith?

A.: True faith is not only a sure knowledge whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in his Word, but also a hearty trust, which the Holy Spirit works in me by the Gospel, that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.

  1. 25 June, 2009 3:51 am

    Thank you for the head clearing quotes from the HC. If you hadn’t posted those, my head would have imploded. What makes me sad is all those people listening to all that (expletive) coming out of Schuller/Coleman’s mouth, nodding their self-esteeming heads and shouting amens. Makes me want to either cry, kill small animals, or eat a lot of comfort food.

  2. 25 June, 2009 1:27 pm

    Great article Brannan! I particularly liked your use of the Heidelberg Catechism to point out how far Coleman’s intended content for her messages is from sound Reformed doctrine. I must add at least some sarcasm by inferring from her comments, “If messages “very light on Scripture” are good according to Coleman, then would not messages based on no Scripture be better?”.

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