Friday, January 20, 2006

Driscoll on Schuller

Many think of Mark Driscoll as the conservative edge of the Emerging Church movement. His preaching is largely expositional, and he has been quoted as saying that to imbibe the frequent emerging church denial of historic doctrine is "drinking from the emerging church toilet."

Those who think of him in this way may be surprised to hear his reflections on his recent visit to Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral.

HT: Paradoxum


Wendy said...

The only suprise here is that Schuller didn't live down to our preconceived notions of him. It ought to cause rejoicing that Schuller did indeed demonstrate a love for Jesus and was open to an honest and rebuking message from Mark.

Sharon said...

It never ceases to amaze me that we Christians haven't gotten the message of John 17 YET! If we don't love one another, people are never going to believe our message or trust our Jesus!
Pastor Schuller may not "do church" the way we do, but he certainly loves both his Savior and his brothers and sisters in Christ. And that should be the rest of the story! Good for Mark!

Andy Efting said...


If he loved the Savior, he wouldn't be preaching a false gospel. There is a Biblical way to respond to apostates like Schuller (Gal. 1:6-9) and it is not wishing him well for many years in the "ministry."

Wendy said...

No. It's to confront them. And if they respond to the confrontation, to receive them graciously. I believe that is what Mark did.

Ben said...


People are only going to believe our message and trust our Jesus if we present the biblical Jesus. Love for Jesus is only real love if it is faithful to the biblical teaching that He is the one and only way to eternal life—a teaching that Schuller has publicly and forcefully repudiated.


If folks have preconceived notions of Schuller, they are based on his words. Is it unfair to assume that he believes what he says, namely, that there are other ways to eternal life besides faith in Christ?

I would dearly love to believe that, as a result of Driscoll's message, Schuller repented of the false gospel of pluralism that he has taught. Since Driscoll spoke at the CC "a few years ago," one might expect that if Schuller's repentance had been authentic, we might have seen some changes in his message since then. I'm wholly unaware of any. Perhaps you can point me to some evidence.

But then, by Driscoll's own testimony, he wasn't confronting Schuller's false doctrine on the gospel, as you seem to imply. You are painting a picture in your replies of confrontation and response that goes beyond what Driscoll describes. Perhaps you can point me to some documentation that the interaction between Schulller and Driscoll was of greater substance than a message on the importance of reaching young men. Barring that development, I'll continue to see this post as a really bad move on Driscoll's part.

Wendy said...

This is from Crystal Cathedral's statement of faith on their website:

1. Man is by nature sinful and cannot make himself good.
2. He can only be made righteous by accepting God’s forgiveness for sin through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
3. He will be given a new life because of his relation to Jesus Christ.
4. He is designed for everlasting life.

This was under the heading MAN. As for the rest of the statement of faith, I didn't see anything I disagreed with. And the part I quoted seems clear that they teach that man is depraved and unable to make himself righteous and that his only hope for salvation is through Christ.

The statement of faith could go further, but it didn't send up any red flags either. It doesn't emphasize God's justice and wrath, but neither does it discount it.

I don't know the timing of Schuller's other comments or if the statement of faith has been corrected over the years. Though he obviously has problems in emphasis, I have not seen recent evidence that he is apostate.

You missed part of what Mark's message was about. It wasn't just that we've forgotten to reach men, but that we've preached an effiminate version of God, de-emphasizing God's wrath, judgement, and justice--as Mark likes to say, teaching a sky-fairy god in purple tights. He was rebuking this as much as the undermining of male leadership in the church. The place we undermine it first and foremost is in our treatment of God Himself.

In summary, Mark's message confronted a feel-good gospel that downplays the justice of God and results in an effiminate form of religion. Mark thought they'd kick him out in anger. Instead, they received the hard word graciously.

Good. Amen. Keep it up.

Sometimes I get the impression that fundamentalists would rather people not respond when rebuked. It seems easier to write the heretics off than to figure out what to do with them when they respond.

Ben said...


Although I appreciate your desire to defend your pastor, I don't see this as a defensible hill on which to take a stand.

Schuller's denial of the biblical gospel is so prolific that I really don't see the need to document it. If want to see the quotes for yourself, just Google ["Robert Schuller" gospel].

Consider also the following exchange between Schuller and Billy Graham cited by Iain Murray in Evangelicalism Divided:

"BG: I think that everybody that loves or knows Christ, whether they are conscious of it or not, they are members of the body of Christ. And I don't think that we are going to see a great sweeping revival that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that—the Apostle James in the first Council in Jerusalem—when he said that God's purpose for this age is to call out a people for his name. And that is what he is doing today. He is calling people out of the world for his name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they have been called by God. They may not know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something they do not have, and they turn to the only light they have, and I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in heaven.

"RS: What, what I hear you saying, that it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life, even if they have been born in darkness and have never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you are saying?

"BG: Yes, it is.

"RS: I'm so thrilled to hear you say this: "There's a wideness in God's mercy."

"BG: There is. There definitely is."

Now, if Schuller had responded repentantly to Driscoll's rebuke, one might assume that there would be some evidence in spoken or written word since their interaction. After all, would a truly repentant person not want to warn those who fell prey to his false doctrine? Perhaps you might point me to that documentation. I would love to see evidence that Schuller has changed. The great irony in such a change is that it would put Schuller to the right of Billy Graham. Pardon my skepticism.

Quite to the contrary, visit the Crystal Cathedral online gift store and you'll find them still peddling the same self-esteem/positive thinking ideas that Schuller popularized over the decades (though some of the original titles seem to be out of print).

By the way, if I missed part of what Driscoll's message was about, it's because he didn't tell us about it. He says nothing in his post about confronting "an effiminate version of God, de-emphasizing God's wrath, judgement, and justice," as you say he did. If Driscoll did that, I would love to know where to find documentation of what he said and how Schuller responded by abandoning his false doctrine. I simply don't see it in what either Driscoll or Schuller have said.

Schuller might call Driscoll a modern Spurgeon, but somehow, I think Spurgeon might be looking for similar evidence of genuine change before he lauded praise on the Schullers of his day.

By the way, thanks for calling me a fundamentalist.

Wendy said...

I disagree with your analysis, but such is life.

ScottyB said...

Paleo--This is an unfortunate post. Just out of curiosity how many times have you prayed for Shuller to repent?

Ben said...


Help me out. Please tell me what about this post is unfortunate:

"Many think of Mark Driscoll as the conservative edge of the Emerging Church movement. His preaching is largely expositional, and he has been quoted as saying that to imbibe the frequent emerging church denial of historic doctrine is "drinking from the emerging church toilet."

"Those who think of him in this way may be surprised to hear his reflections on his recent visit to Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral."

My post simply directs people to some very public comments made by a person who has made very public comments of his own.

ScottyB said...

Sorry Bro

The comments that you are making with these two ladies are unfortunate, the post itself is fine. The point of Driscolls blog post on Shuller was missed.