For some while we have been
amazed that a 'success and positive thinking gospel' based on
Norman Vincent Peale's 'the power of positive thinking' message
has led thousands of devotees of this message to the now famed
'Crystal Cathedral' - the Gospel of Jesus Christ is notable for
its absence from this new Pealeist movement, and we have wanted
to bring you something on this for some while. This article comes
from the excellent 'Let Us Reason' website and appears
here with their kind permission.
You can watch him smile from ear to ear as he
delivers philosophy instead of the gospel, in his weekly service
broadcasts on TV, the "Hour of Power". He is Christianity's
"number one TV preacher" watched on hundreds of stations in more
than 180 countries with an audience of over 20 million, the
largest TV audience each Sunday of any televangelist. He is
Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove,
California, a successful television ministry which makes more
than $50 million a year. And why not, success is what Schuller is
all about, it is the essence of his message.
Robert Schuller was brought up in the Reformed Church in America. In 1951 in entered the pastorate at Hope Church in Chicago. In four years this church grew from 38 to 400 members. In 1955, his denomination sent him to Orange County, California to establish a new church there. After trying unsuccessfully to rent numerous facilities, Schuller finally rented the Orange County Drive-In Theater for his Sunday morning service.
It was Billy Graham who suggested to Schuller in 1969, "Bob, why don't you think of telecasting your services." Although it may not have been as obvious what he believed then, it certainly is now.
Schuller's intent on filling the church was to find what the people wanted in order to make them comfortable to come. He went from door to door asking them what type of church they would like to attend. His mission was to change his church to a place where non-Christians would feel comfortable enough to come in and then eventually "accept Jesus." This would be accomplished by preaching only positive messages! Anything on the sinfulness of man and his fallen condition was eliminated. From this concept he has built up a congregation of over 9,000, a very successful ministry in the eyes of the beholder.
What made Schuller successful in his ministry? Had he found something wrong with the ancient gospel? He now has the new 'improved' modern version. Schuller promotion can be attributed to how wonderful life can be if we all come together as one and be positive. His preaching is "Gospel of positiveness and Success". It has been embraced by numerous unbelievers and quite a number of Christian leaders as well. Schuller has claimed that 'thousands of pastors and hundreds of rabbis and over a million Muslims a week' watch his Hour of Power. The only way to please such a wide and varied audience is to have only positive things to say lest some feet get stepped on. He believes, "God is trying … to build a society of human beings who live out the golden rule" (Self-Esteem p. 135).
Schuller has found a basic defect in modern Christianity and identifies the problem, "What is that basic flaw? I believe is it the failure to proclaim the gospel in a way that can satisfy every person's deepest need - one's spiritual hunger for glory. Rather than glorify God's highest creation - the human being - Christian liturgies, hymns, prayers, and scriptural interpretations have often insensitively and destructively offended the dignity of the person..." (Self-Esteem, p. 31).
Bella Stumbo staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, after an extensive interview with Schuller, wrote: "In short, Robert Schuller believes that God placed him on this Earth to preach possibility thinking" ("The Gospel of Success," 5/29/83, Los Angeles Times, p. 24). To Schuller, this message is vitally important. He at one time wrote: "I believe in positive thinking. It is almost as important as the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (Michael Nason and Donna Nason, Robert Schuller: The Inside Story, 1983, p. 152). Interesting statement considering the fact that positive, or possibility thinking was not mentioned at all by Christ nor taught by his apostles.
Currently he has broadcasted well over 1000 programs. From his pulpit he has had speakers from all different religions, Hollywood, psychologists to new agers. "In the past, Schuller has also given his Hour of Power pulpit to a long list of New Agers, cultists, and occultists, ranging from Gerald Jampolsky (who uses A Course in Miracles, to influential Mormon leader, Jack Anderson." (Reported in the 1/88 and 2/88 issues of the CIB Bulletin).
The course of miracles has been taught at Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral and is right in line with Schullers philosophy. It is a book from a disembodied voice claiming to be Jesus Christ, dictating its contents. Its purpose supposedly to correct the 'errors' in the Bible. The Course teaches that "forgiveness" is simply recognizing that sin does not exist and therefore there is nothing to forgive. To accept the Courses teachings is to reject all biblical doctrine, yet those who embrace it are able to call themselves Christians.
In 'Self-Esteem', Schuller's son attributes Norman Vincent Peale, as "responsible for dad's possibility thinking."
When Peale died, Schuller was in tears on his broadcast 1/16/94. Schuller told how Peale had been his inspiration and mentor and the man who had the greatest influence upon his theology and ministry. He attributed the starting of the positive thinking movement to Peale. Peale is known to be a 33rd degree Mason who also rejected the Christian doctrines of justification by faith alone, of sin and the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peale has said ... "Your unconscious-mind... [has a] power that turns wishes into realities when the wishes are strong enough."'(Norman V. Peale 'Positive Imaging' p.77). So, in some way, Positive Thinking is just another term for faith! ( Norman Vincent Peale, 'What Does It Take to Be a Christian').
Schuller had appeared on Larry King Live on 1/28/94, to promote his book, 'Achieve Your True Potential Through Power Thinking or Power Thoughts'. He said: "Forty years ago in 1953, the seminal book was published, 'The Power of Positive Thinking'. Twenty years later, a book was published, 'Move Ahead with Possibility Thinking', and now 20 years later in 1993, we have a book called, 'Achieve Your True Potential Through Power Thinking or Power Thoughts' - So it's from positive thinking to possibility thinking, to power thinking, and each is a level. ... Positive thinking says, 'Hey. I am somebody. I can do it.' Possibility thinking picks up on it and says, 'Okay, how is it possible and how can we make it possible,' and power thinking says, 'Okay. I am. I can. It's possible. Okay, let's you and me do it. Let's just make it happen.'... I sum up this in a sentence. Faith plus focus plus follow through equals achievement, and many people fail because they just don't have the faith in themselves, and others have the faith in themselves, but they don't focus.
The biblical attitude of faith (trust) in God is not what Schuller is describing, but a self birthed muster up in yourself any thing is possible attitude. He consistently reinterprets the biblical words to mean something that was not even practiced then." And I can feel the self-esteem rising all around me and within me, 'Rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me' (John 7:38). I'll really feel good about myself" (Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 80). The "rivers of living water" that Jesus spoke of in John 7:38 was hardly self-esteem but the holy Spirit who would indwell true believers who ask for forgiveness for their sins.
As an author of more than 25 books, several of them have become national best sellers. His books are often on The New York Times best-seller list. According to Christianity Today, "Schuller is now reaching more non-Christians than any other religious leader in America... Schuller's influence has had a tremendous impact on our culture."
Robert Schuller, in his book 'Self-Esteem: the New Reformation', writes, "I contend that this unfulfilled need for self-esteem underlies every act ...over and over again that the core of man's sin is not his depravity but a "lack of self-dignity", Self-esteem is ... the single greatest need facing the human race today." (p. 15) He calls this esteem "divine self-esteem" (p. 95). "If the gospel of Jesus Christ can be proclaimed as a theology of self-esteem, imagine the health this could generate in society!" ('Self-Esteem, The New Reformation', Word Books, 1982 p. 47)
His new reformation is not repentance or a renewed sense of dependence on God and his Word. No humbling our self before Almighty God. In fact it is the very opposite: a boosting of ourselves to a "divine self-esteem." The Bible tells us that our righteousness is like filthy rags before God (Isaiah 64:6), that we've all sinned and fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23), and that there are none who are righteous (Romans 3:10). All this and more is denied by the philosophical musing of a man who claims to represent Christ, his gospel, and the church.
In fact, he states "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). Is this an unchristian strategy? Paul wrote that, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (I Timothy 1: 15), and Christ Himself said that He came to call "sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32) Yet Schuller rejects the depravity of man which he calls "error" ('Self-Esteem the New Reformation', p.162) Then there is Romans 3:23: "all have sinned". Who is in question here the Bible or Schuller?
In responding to a question from Paul Crouch on TBN's 12/8/87 television show, concerning those who claim Schuller doesn't preach repentance, Schuller's response was, "I preach repentance so positively, most people don't recognize it" If we can't recognize how can the sinner? We see that John the Baptist called sin, sin. So did Jesus they didn't try to disguise it so it would taste good. Actually if it is not spelled out clearly, people - by human nature - try to gloss it over. What he is doing is helping them ignore the essential problem.
"I may not deserve it [salvation] but I am worth it so don't say that I am unworthy." (Self-Esteem, p. 74) "The most serious sin is the one that causes me to say, 'I am unworthy. I may have no claim to divine sonship if you examine me at my worst.'" "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." (Self-Esteem, p. 98) The Bible says the very opposite. This is psychology and it has come into the church disguised as a help to our self worth. But this is humanism and is antithetical to the very essence of the gospel: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (I Tim. 1:15).
Question: What is sin? Answer: "What do I mean by sin? Any human condition or act that robs God of glory by stripping one of his children of their right to divine dignity - Sin is any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem." (Page 14)
The Bible's definition is the transgression of the law, missing the mark, not living up to God's perfect standard, anything that contradicts the nature of God. Which means we are SINNERS.
Question: What are demonic influences?
Answer: "Any analysis of 'sin' or 'evil' or 'demonic influence' or 'negative thinking' or 'systemic evil' or 'antisocial behavior' that fails to see the lack of self-dignity as the core of the problem will prove to be too shallow." (page 15).
Question: What does it mean to be born again? (p. 68).
Answer: "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.
How can this happen? It happens through a meeting with the Ideal One. From my perspective I would expect such an Ideal One to ignore or reject me because of my own shortcomings. But if in fact the Ideal One receives me as his peer and treats me as an equal even though he knows who and what I am - the ill I've done, and the good I've failed to do - then something profoundly deep will happen at the core of my personality. I will be born again." (page 68)
Schuller's "salvation experience" is not the normal born again one. He states that at some time after he took his position at the Garden Grove, he was overtaken by a fear of failure for about two years. Finally he prayed, "Dear Jesus Christ, if you're alive (emphasis mine), and I can't even prove you are, I pray that you'll reach into my mind and take out this horrible fear. Save me", after which he felt a pressure in his head, then release and peace (p. 130). Taking an aspirin may have had the same affect and would have had no theological consequences. His salvation was one of eliminating the pain from fear.
Question: Should a minister preach that all are sinners in his effort to win the lost?
Answer: "A theology of salvation that starts with an appeal to the value of the person will produce mentally and emotionally healthy human beings. At the same time, a theology of salvation that exploits the person's intrinsic guilt and insecurity can and often does produce neurotic converts.
"Christians abound who are walking cases of uptight, defensive, angry, fearful, neurotic meanies. Why is this? What else can we expect if the call to conversion is a blatant appeal to a person's "depraved, unworthy, totally sinful nature"? If the seeds of evangelism are dropped in the smelly swamps of self-shame, we can expect the emerging convert, who has been 'born again' in a womb of shame, to be saturated with a negative self-image." (page 152).
Salvation according to Schuller's theology is not God rescuing us from sin, death, and hell (Eph.2:1,5,6; Jn. 3:14-21); but instead is a "rescue from shame to glory … guilt to pride … fear to love … distrust to faith … hypocrisy to honesty" (p. 151). This means many can have salvation apart from Christ's death on the cross and what Christ did, dying for sin was wrong! What it is can be described as a discovery of self, with all its trappings of pride.
He also stated "Jesus knew his worth, his success fed his self-esteem.... He suffered the cross to sanctify his self-esteem. And he bore the cross to sanctify your self-esteem. And the cross will sanctify the ego trip!" (Living Positively One Day at a Time, p.201).
Schuller on the Phil Donahue Show, 8/12/80, said, "Jesus had an ego. He said, 'I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.' Wow, what an ego trip He was on!" This is how distorted his views are that God is on an ego trip! The Creator of all men. The One who out of love came by humbling Himself as no other man , to the point of death on the cross and died for those who even reject Him.! This he calls egotistical. "Christ is the Ideal One, for he was Self-Esteem Incarnate" (Schuller, Self-Esteem, p. 135). My Bible says He was God incarnate!
In fact, Schuller prays self-esteem prayers, "Father we thank you for giving us a legacy of self-esteem and self love." (broadcast 1590, 2,000). Self is not to be the focus of a Christian unless they are dealing with overcoming sin. Even then it is a work of Christ. We thank God for Jesus who is the Savior from sin - not for him boosting our ego.
In his book Schuller explains away our problems as well as the punishment replacing it with self-esteem.
Question: What is hell?
Answer: "It is the loss of pride that naturally follows separation from God - the ultimate and unfailing source of our soul's sense of self-respect - A person is in hell when he has lost his self-esteem. (Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation pp. 14-15.) According to Schuller, hell is not punishment for those who rejected Christ, we can be in it now if we believe we are sinners.
To accept "his philosophy" one would have to throw out the entire New Testament which focuses around Jesus Christ and His purpose for coming, to redeem mankind from sin by his work on the cross. But then it may damage one's self-esteem to hear that he is a sinner.
He affirms that "Jesus never called anyone a sinner" (pp. 100,126, 157). Was it a mistake when Jesus called the Pharisees names such as "hypocrites, white sepulchres, serpents, generation of vipers, fools" (Matt. 23) Jesus was concerned about building up their self image. Jesus did preach repentance, but it would be useless if people were not sinners (Mk. 1:15) Schuller teaches that the church's problem is that it has had a God-centered theology for centuries, when it needs a man-centered one; we're not bad, merely badly informed about how good we are.
If we go to a doctor because we are having pain and have an x-ray it reveals what is wrong with us, would we get mad at the doctor for telling us the results that the x-ray revealed. Is that rational, do we never get another x-ray because it showed us our sickness? Schuller wants to be liked by all people and still represent the Lord. But his failure is seeing what the Lord Himself said we would be hated by all men for his name sake not loved. He actually pronounced a woe against those who are loved by all. People should be reacting to our giving the message, it should make them either glad or mad. Glad because it is the truth and it is by grace or mad because they refuse God's way and are challenged in their falsehood of working their way to heaven.
In 1992, Robert Schuller launched a new
organization called 'Churches United in Global Mission' (CUGM),
"to share positively the message of Jesus Christ... (in) a spirit
of unity that is truly Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox,
evangelical and charismatic." A friend of mine wrote from Moscow,
"On his [Robert Schuller's] Sunday morning telecast he said
something like, 'If being a Protestant means that I protest my
Catholic brothers ... [or] against my Orthodox brothers ... [or]
against believers of other religions, I am not a
Protestant."'(quoted in Berean Call).
Schuller is currently promoting CAMP-'Christians and Muslims for Peace'. Which is an organization of both Christians and Muslims finding "Common Ground" by being dedicated to the promotion of Peace and Justice, as well as reconciling the world’s two largest religions. Schuller, whose Crystal Cathedral houses the offices for "Christians and Muslims for Peace," told Imam Alfred Mohammed of 'The Muslim American Society' that "if he [Schuller] came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn't bother him...." Schuller is unconcerned that Islam denies that Jesus is God and that He died for our sins (they teach someone else died on the Cross in His place). In its place they offer good works for salvation, and death in jihad as the only sure way to the Muslim's "heaven". This is more than just warming your hands at the enemie's fire.
During the Pope's visit to Los Angeles in 1987, Schuller said: "It's time for Protestants to go to the shepherd [Pope] and say 'What do we have to do to come home?'" (Calvary Contender 11/15/87). When Schuller was planning for the building of his Crystal Cathedral, he made a special trip to Rome to ask the Pope's blessing on the building plans (Foundation , March-April 1990).
Schuller's monthly newsletter Powerlines (May 1998), wrote of his meeting with Pope John Paul II in Rome, "it was the fourth time Dr. Schuller and the Pope had met, hand-to-hand, heart-to-heart at the Vatican." The article also added a brief note concerning the discussion between the Pope and Schuller: "When the Schullers met Pope John Paul II in March, the Pope expressed interest in how our churches could work together to take part in the Vatican's preparations for the Jubilee celebrations of Christianity's third millennium in the year 2000." Pope John Paul II also blessed Mrs. Schuller, an act which Robert Schuller said may have caused his wife to be healed five days later when Mrs. Schuller suffered a mild heart attack. "How could Arvella help but be healed when the Crystal Cathedral Congregation is praying for her, and after she had received private blessings from the Pope and a special visit from the pastor of the largest Protestant church in the world, David Yonggi Cho," Schuller said. Both the Pope and David Yonggi Cho are leading millions of people astray by the false doctrines they propagate, and Schuller is perfectly comfortable commending these men as servants of God! (Source: May-June 1998, Foundation magazine.)
Sir John Marks Templeton, founder of 'The
Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion'. Templeton's beliefs
are clearly expressed in his writings. He is an evolutionist,
pantheist, universalist, and occultist and in no unequivocal
terms rejects the God of the Bible, Christ as the only Savior and
only way to God. He claims that heaven and hell are states of
mind we create here on earth, that truth is relative, and that
Christianity is no longer relevant. He states, 'Behind this book
is my belief that the basic principles for leading a "sublime
life"... may be derived from any religious tradition Jewish,
Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and others as well as Christian....'
(John Marks Templeton, 'Discovering the Laws of Life', 1994
inside front of jacket.)
Templeton and his new age views were first introduced to the church by none other than Robert Schuller in 1986. Schuller continues to endorse him by putting Templeton's picture on his Possibilities magazine front cover, and running a major interview with Templeton. In it Templeton articulated his Unity of all Religions beliefs, 'Your spiritual principles attract prosperity to you, material success comes ... from being in tune with the infinite.... The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not nothing exists except God." ( Possibilities, p. 12 Summer 1986, pp. 8-12.) Templeton has become famous for offering a million dollars from his religious research center that is developing progress in religion. Maybe Schuller would like to be the next recipient.
On an Amway motivational tape, Robert Schuller sums it up: 'You don't know what power you have within you! ... You make the world into anything you choose. Yes, you can make your world into whatever you want it to be'. ( R Schuller,Possiblity Thinking :Goals Amway corp. tape).
What is this power within? Schuller's article in the Summer 1986 issue of Possibilities magazine explains the central message as being that 'all is God and God is all,' the article also declared that, "The Christ Spirit dwells in every human being, whether the person knows it or not" (p. 12). So now we are born with Christ instead of with sin. The Bible says the very opposite, Galatians 3:26-28 "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." These heresies are upheld by Schuller to his readers and those who watch his TV program.
Schuller has addressed Unity ministers in training, at the Unity School of Christianity in Kansas City, not only stating that he agreed with their teachings (which, among other things, reject the gospel of Christ, and teach Yoga, reincarnation, and other New Age philosophies), but he also commended Unity and offered his success techniques to help Unity grow larger. In an address to a Unity congregation in Warren, Michigan, Schuller's motivational talk presented Jesus as "the greatest Possibility Thinker of all time!" (Reported in the 1/88 issue of the CIB Bulletin).
Unity is a Mind-science cult, with occultic beliefs incorporated as well. Actually they accept just about anything except the biblical record.
"The classical interpretation of this teaching of Christ on 'bearing our cross' desperately needs reformation...."
"The cross Christ calls us to bear will be offered as a dream... an inspiring idea that would incarnate itself in a form of ministry that helps the self-esteem impoverished persons to discover their self-worth through salvation and subsequent social service in our Savior's name..." "So the proclamation of possibility thinking is the positive proclamation of the cross!..."
When he was asked, 'Dr. Schuller, we hear a lot of talk these days about the New Age, the Age of Aquarius, the type of New Age thinking that we are involved in with Holistic healing and various other things that are part of what is called the New Age. Will you describe the role of what you might consider the New Age minister in the '80s and beyond?'" Schuller replied, "Well, I think it depends upon where you're working. I believe that the responsibility in this Age is to 'positivize' religion. Now this probably doesn't have much bearing to you people, being Unity people, you're positive. But I talk a great deal to groups that are not positive... even to what we would call Fundamentalists who deal constantly with words like sin, salvation, repentance, guilt, that sort of thing.. what we have to do is positivize the words that have classically only had a negative interpretation." ( address at Unity Village, Unity tape).
Schuller states, "It is important to remember that meditation in any form is the harnessing, by human means, of God's divine laws.... We are endowed with a great many powers and forces that we do not yet fully understand. (He believes these are valid methods for "the harnessing, by human means, of God's divine laws).
"The most effective mantras employ the "M" sound. You can get the feel of it by repeating the words, 'I am, I am,' many times over.... Transcendental Meditation or TM... is not a religion nor is it necessarily anti-Christian." (Peace of Mind Through Possibility Thinking, pp. 131-32) TM is religious and is Hinduism, and leads to union with the Hindu God Brahma and to eternal separation from Christ. A variety of meditation is employed by many different religions TM, Zen Buddhism, or Yoga.
He writes, "I discovered the reality of that dynamic dimension in prayer that comes through visualizing..... Don't try to understand it. Just start to enjoy it! It's true. It works. I tried it." (The Fourth Dimension, Foreword) Schuller consistently promotes New Age concepts, including the visualization of spirit guides. An occult technique (learned from demons posing as "Masters" of a "Temple of Wisdom" on the "astral plane") first brought into the business world by Napoleon Hill, whose teachings Schuller promotes. Just as his mentor Norman V. Peale says "God is energy. As you breathe God in, as you visualize His energy, you will be reenergized!" (Norman V Peale, PLUS, The Magazine of Positive Thinking, May 1986, p. 23).
To Schuller, "faith" is a power of the mind and "God" is there to help one "believe" and activate ones mind power which will change our environment. For example, on an Amway tape, Schuller exults, "You don't know the power you have within you! ... You make the world into anything you choose." It is Babel again, only in a more sophisticated form. The power of thinking becomes the magic stairway that leads to the paradise where all one's wishes can be fulfilled--nothing but an "evangelical" form of Christian Science or Science of Mind! (6/93 Berean Call ).
Schuller proclaims, "to keep you believing in the Great Believer, Who believes in us ... believe in the God Who believes in you ... Be a believer in belief and believe in the Great Believer. Someday you'll be in heaven because you believed in the Great Believer." This is not the message of the Bible or Christ, and is a complete denial of the gospel which alone can save.
Schuller smiles as he says " Now-Believe and You Will Achieve".('Tough times never last but tough people do', p.161 1984) But the Bible's solution is, as you follow after Christ deny yourself then you will see the change from his power in your life. The church today has adopted his model of positive thinking or possibility thinking, as well as the Word-faith promoters who think faith is a force that we can muster up in ourselves. Much of what we see today in positive attitude is hyping one's imagination to think only good can happen.
'I can' is the motto of his motivation, not I can do all things through Christ; a declaration of dependence, just 'I can'. Could we change what the Apostle Paul wrote ; "Christ Jesus came into the world to save those who lack self-esteem, who have not found their full potential, of whom I am chief"?
It was the apostle Paul who said at the end of his life he was the chief of sinners - what a negative confession! Did he learn anything at all from Christ? According to Schuller he was wrong, and he (Schuller) is right.
"For I determined not to know any thing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified -; And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (I Corinthians 2:2,4-5).
But Schuller believes that, "The classical interpretation of this teaching of Christ on 'bearing our cross' desperately needs reformation...."
Schuller declares: "Christ was the world's greatest possibility thinker. Do we dare follow him?" ('Self-Esteem', pp. 22, 117-19). Does anyone dare follow the Christ of possibilities or the one who was in reality the creator knowing the end from the beginning?.
The Bible says "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" and, "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).Did he say SINNERS?
Schuller does equal damage on the doctrine of the Bible's inspiration. He states, "Can anything be above the Scriptures? Yes, the Eternal Word transcends the written Word. Christ is Lord over the Scriptures; the Scriptures are not Lord over Christ" (p. 45).
Jesus said his words are spirit and life, they go together as He is the Word made flesh. Its not 'either or' but they are both in agreement. Actually God says in the OT I have exalted my word above my name. Contrary to Mr. Schuller's view, The written Word is the eternal Word.
"Remember, 'If your pride is rooted in your divine call, your humility is assured. The Cross will sanctify your ego trip.... For the Cross protected our Lord's perfect self-esteem from turning into sinful pride." (Self-Esteem, p. 57, 74).
"Self-love is a crowning sense of self-worth. It is an ennobling emotion of self-respect... an abiding faith in yourself. It is sincere belief in yourself...It comes through self-discovery, self-discipline, self-forgiveness and self-acceptance. It produces self-reliance, self-confidence and an inner security, calm as the night." ('Self-Love, The Dynamic Force of Success', p. 32). "Self-esteem then, or pride in being a human being, is the single greatest need facing the human race today .. I strongly suggest that self-love is the ultimate will of man - that what you really want more than anything else in the world is the awareness that you are a worthy person ... Do not fear pride: the easiest job God has is to humble us. God's almost impossible task is to keep us believing every hour of every day how great we are as his sons and daughters on planet earth." But surely Jesus said to Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and strength - not to love yourself this way. Humble yourself, not exalt yourself. If we humble ourselves He will exalt us, if we exalt ourselves He will humble us. Pride, self focus is what caused the fall of Lucifer, and Schuller is promoting this as the solution. "Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me." (2 Pet 3:9; Jn 14:6). 'The Way' is not possiblity thinking, nor an ego blast.
Peale has said, 'Positive thinking is just another term for faith'. (Norman Vincent Peale, 'What Does It Take to Be a Christian?'). Robert Schuller's Possibility Thinking is little different to Norman Vincent Peale's 'Positive Thinking', which is no different than the Positive Confession's false "faith" that cannot save.
They may mean well in the end they detour people from the true gospel, which is the power of God. Schuller ponders, 'Isn't that what the gospel is? Isn't God's message to sinful humanity that He sees in each of us a divine nature of such worth that He sacrificed His own Son so that our divine potentialities might be realized?' No - it is not!
Anything less than the preaching of the cross as the gospel is deficient. Having a positive attitude or incorporating so-called 'possibility thinking' can replace or improve our dependence on Christ's work for us in salvation or sanctification. The cross is and will always be Gods instrument to save.
Schuller says: "Is there any possibility of a person being, quote--saved --unquote, without accepting Jesus Christ in a way evangelicals preach it today? My answer is, I don't know. That's the honest to God truth. But I believe in the sovereignty of God and the sovereignty of Jesus Christ. I hope so. Is it possible to be saved without making public repentance? I think so. On the cross, Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.' He didn't say, 'Father, forgive them because they repented.' Jesus has a different theology of salvation than most preachers." (from O' Timothy). Jesus had a different theology than repentance? Maybe but only if he is a different Jesus! "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15) like it or not we all fit this category. The Lord ... is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance";
Schuller's non-offensive positive gospel of to "believe in SELF" is hardly new, but most ancient. One who has familiarized themselves with the word of God might ask themselves does Schuller even know what the gospel is? All this makes it, "the gospel according to Schuller," not according to Jesus!