The sad decline of the Crystal Cathedral, one of the towering innovators in American Christianity during the 20th century, reached its possible nadir late last month, when founder Robert H. Schuller declared the cancellation of their annual "Glory of Easter" pageant, selling of church property to close millions of dollars in debt, and even the pulling of its Hour of Power television program from stations to try and save moolah. This was a rational turn of events given the schism that happened a couple of years ago, when Schuller booted his heir apparent, Robert A., from the lead in church ministry, and Schuller fils left to create his own ministry, taking his own son and quite a few congregants.
As the Schullers Turn has received quite a lot of attention from the Christian press, but nothing as scathing as an article in the latest edition of Church Executive Magazine.The magazine uses the Schuller fiasco as an example of how churches can fail if too many relatives of the head pastor are on the payroll, and how their familial disputes can destroy ministries. They unearthed a secret Crystal Cathedral document in which Schuller pere tries to use the Bible as justification for hiring so many of his spawn. Funniest part? When Schuller tries to defend nepotism:
When we study the history of family in business, it is necessary to remember that the negative attitudes about family crept into society when left wing liberals and socialists expounding a Marxist philosophy became more and more vocal about "rich families staying in power, inheriting the wealth and oppressing the poor." Labeled as hegemony they revolted by becoming "anti-family," introducing higher estate taxes and "nepotism" became an in-word.
I always thought Schuller was the most-tolerant and likable of our Holy Rollers, and that he forsook his Red-baiting days—guess not...
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