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Robert Schuller’s Spiritual Seduction

Robert Schuller has learned from Peale how to allure crowds. “Schuller is a self-confessed disciple of Norman Vincent Peale, the noted New York preacher and religious psychologist.”1)Ernest D. Pickering, The Tragedy of Compromise: The Origin and Impact of the New Evangelicalism, Bob Jones University Press, 1994, p. 135 These two personalities can practically be blended as one.

Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in southern California, has been called “the Norman Vincent Peale of the West.”2)David Cloud, The New Age Tower of Babel, Way of Life Literature, 2008, p. 367

Their Mind Science theology of success has been readily received within the American church. “At the same time the fastest-growing movement within the church has involved two distinct but closely related factions: the Peale/Schuller Positive Possibility thinkers, with their roots in New Thought, and the Hagin/Copeland Positive Confession and Word of Faith groups, which have their roots in E.W. Kenyon, William Branham, and the Manifested Sons of God/Latter Rain movement.”3)Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon, The Seduction of Christianity, Harvest House Publishers, 1985, p. 217 The doctrines of Peale and Schuller are so clearly in sync with Word-Faith teachers that Schuller’s wrote the Foreword to Paul Yonngi Cho’s The Fourth Dimension. “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”4)Robert Schuller, in the Foreword of Paul Yonngi Cho, The Fourth Dimension, Logos International, 1979
This comes as no surprise since they both follow metaphysical thought. The difference between the Word-Faith preachers is that they consistently deny the influence, while Schuller is quick to admit it.

I am indebted to Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, a guest on our “Hour of Power,” for helping me to see what is not only great psychology, but is profound theology. Obviously, there can be no conflict in truth – when psychology is “right on” and theology is “right on,” there will be harmony and both shall be led to higher levels of enlightenment.5)Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Word Books, 1982, p. 123

Dr. Gerald Jampolsky is a New Age leader. Without blushing, Schuller stated his theology is “right on.” Former New Ager Warren Smith further expounds on the Schuller and Jampolsky connection, as well as other New Agers that Schuller endorses.

Other New Age leaders, like Bernie Siegel and Gerald Jampolsky also praise Robert Schuller and endorse his writings and teachings. Jampolsky and Schuller have mutually endorsed each other’s books. In his book Self-Esteem: the New Reformation, Schuller favorably cites Jampolsky and praises the New Age leader for his “profound theology.” Yet it is Jampolsky who first introduced me to the teachings of A Course in Miracles when I was in the New Age Movement. I would later discover to my amazement that A Course in Miracle groups were meeting on the grounds of Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral back in 1985. I would also learn that Schuller has had an ongoing relationship with his “dear friend” Gerald Jampolsky from the early 1980s up through the present day. And it is not surprising that Bernie Siegel – the New Age leader Rick Warren cites in The Purpose Driven Life – had been a long-time member of the Board of Advisors for Jampolsky’s A Course in Miracles-based New Age Attitudinal Healing Center.6)Warren B. Smith, A “Wonderful” Deception: The Further New Age Implications of the Emerging/Purpose Driven Movement, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2009, p. 27

Eldon K. Winker noted that A Course in Miracles, a major text for the New Age spirituality, has been promoted by Schuller and others. “It [A Course in Miracles] has become extremely popular thanks to media personalities such as Oprah Winfrey, Robert Young, and Robert Schuller being either students or promoters of these newly revealed teachings of Jesus.”7)Eldon K. Winker, The New Age Is Lying to You, Concordia Publishing House, 1994, p. 185 Brian Flynn, an ex-New Age medium expressed his concern over this book being studied in churches. “Worse yet, countless churches in America use this book [A Course In Miracle] in place of Bible study.”8)Brian Flynn, Running Against the Wind: the transformation of a new age medium and his warning to the church, second edition, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2005, p. 122 Warren Smith uncovered Schuller attempting to separate himself from the insinuations he was beginning to get for his close involvement with the New Age. “…Jampolsky and Schuller had done workshops together in Hawaii…. Schuller knew exactly what he was doing with Jampolsky and A Course in Miracles, but apparently had to back off under pressure from [the more conservative] members of his church.”9)Warren B. Smith, Deceived On Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, Conscience Press, 2004, p. 90 However, Schuller’s church itself was financed by occultists such as Clement Stone.

He gave one million dollars to Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller to begin construction on the now world-famous Crystal Cathedral. When the church was completed, Rev. Schuller invited Stone to be first to speak as a lay person to those attending. Stone told the congregation: “You need to read Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude. I will get each of you a copy.” Later a truck delivered over 7,000 copies of this book co-written by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone.10)The Last Interview with Financial Industry Legend: W. Clement Stone. The Register. Vol. 7 No. 8. August 2006. Official IARFC Publication. International Association of Registered Financial Consultants, as cited http://www.inplainsite.org/html/robert_schuller.html, accessed 11/7/11

This occult influence has never ceased to hold its grip on the Crystal Cathedral. Warren Smith relates a conversation he had with a cashier at a bookstore he was purchasing Robert Schuller materials for his research for his book Deceived on Purpose. Reminiscent of the conversation he writes, “…she told me that in the early 1970s she had attended the Schuller Institute for Successful Church Leadership. She said that she and her husband were religious Science ministers…”11)Warren B. Smith, Deceived On Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, Conscience Press, 2004, p. 95 One would think it odd that ministers of a mind science cult would feel comfortable at a “Christian” Institute which ought to be specified for training Christians. Yet we can see just why she felt comfortable as Warren Smith continues his account of the conversation. “Then she told me a very revealing story. She said that during her time at the Institute, the group had visited with Schuller in his church office. In a conversation with Schuller, she had shared with him that she was a minister with the Church of Religious Science. Acknowledging her New Age beliefs, he opened his bottom desk drawer and pulled out a copy of Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes’ book The Science of Mind. She said Schuller seemed very comfortable showing her that he had this classic New Age text.”12)Warren B. Smith, Deceived On Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, Conscience Press, 2004, p. 96 Marcus Bach, a minister of Unity School of Christianity wrote about Schuller attending his church. “Dr. Schuller attended the first of three services [at a Unity church in Hawaii] this one at 7:30 am. When we shook hands at the door, he tarried to assure me how much Unity principles meant to him and how helpful they had been to him in his work.”13)Marcus Bach, The Unity Way, Unity School of Christianity, 1982, p. 267

Schuller’s association with the Unity cult raises great concern when considering what James Freeman has written. “We have borrowed the best from all religions, that is the reason we are called Unity…. Unity is the Truth that is taught in all religions, simplified and systemized so that anyone can understand and apply it. Students of Unity do not find it necessary to sever their church affiliations.”14)James Freeman, The Story of Unity, Unity School of Christianity, 1978, p. 60
Schuller’s influence has remained on the fringe of Christianity for his obvious abhorrent metaphysical message of possibility thinking. His extensive influence reaches over evangelicalism through his Institute for Successful Church Leadership. George Barna has noted, “Often large and growing churches gain numbers by compromising what they believe in order to maintain their growth.”15)George Barna, User Friendly Churches, Regal Books, 1991, 64 When Church leaders are only concerned with the size of the Church, compromise is inevitable, even the compromise with a man as blatantly unorthodox as Robert Schuller. “But it’s hard to argue that Schuller was not the first person to be effective on a national scale. He was unquestionably a pioneer in the Church Growth Movement and a major influence on Rick Warren.”16)George Mair, A Life With Purpose: Reverend Rick Warren: The Most Inspiring Pastor of Our Time, Berkeley Books, 2005, p. 103 Bob DeWaay recognized: “The differences between Schuller and Warren are merely superficial. Warren includes evangelical terminology and has a more orthodox statement of faith. But what is preached to the general public is very similar.”17)Bob DeWaay, Redefining Christianity: Understanding the Purpose Driven Movement, 21st Century Press, 2006, p. 65 Noah Hutchings wrote,

On page 99 of his book [Rick Warren and the Purpose that Drives Him], Abanes practically flushes Dr. Bob [i.e. Robert] Schuller down the toilet in order to distance him from Dr. Warren. Yet, if Rick Warren’s name was not on the article “Learn to Love Yourself” in the March 2005 Ladies Home & Journal (p. 36), we would think it was written by Dr. Schuller.18)Noah W. Hutchings, The Dark Side of the Purpose Driven Church, Expanded Edition, Bible Belt Publishing, 2005, 2007, p. 56

Warren Smith acknowledged, “Schuller’s name is never even mentioned in The Purpose-Driven Life…”19)Warren B. Smith, Deceived On Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, Conscience Press, 2004, p. 106 which is thievery and pantomime plagiarism, “Consider Rick Warren’s inclination to use unattributed Schuller material.”20)Warren B. Smith, Deceived On Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, Conscience Press, 2004, p. 73 He further assets:

The more I read Robert Schuller, the more I was shocked at how so many of Rick Warren’s thoughts, ideas, references, words, terms, phrases, and quotes in The Purpose-Driven Life seemed to be directly inspired by Schuller’s writings and teachings. Surprisingly, Rick Warren does not directly acknowledge Schuller in The Purpose-Driven Life. A generic tip of the hat to “the hundreds of writers and teachers” that “shaped” his life hardly did justice to the Schuller influence that had become so obvious in his book.21)Warren B. Smith, Deceived On Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, Conscience Press, 2004, p. 97


If you liked this article, you may also be interested in Crept In Unawares: Mysticism by Heath Henning is available for purchase here.



Heath Henning
Heath Henning
Heath heads the Set Free addictions ministry on Friday nights at Mukwonago Baptist Church and is involved in evangelism on the University of Wisconsin Whitewater campus, offering his expertise in apologetics at the weekly Set Free Bible Study every Tuesday evening. He currently lives in East Troy, Wisconsin with his wife and nine children. Read Heath Henning's Testimony

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