Published: March 16, 2011
Updated: March 17, 2011 8:45 a.m.
Schuller Sr. speaks out against Crystal Cathedral anti-
By DEEPA BHARATH
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
GARDEN GROVE – Robert H. Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral, said Wednesday that he strongly disapproves of an anti-
Schuller contacted the Register to say he did not know about the existence of such a covenant and would have personally never approved it.
"I have a reputation worldwide of being tolerant of all people and their views," he said. "I'm too well-
The "Crystal Cathedral Worship Choir and Worship Team Covenant," which choir members have been strongly encouraged to sign, states that members should commit to being Christians by following the Bible in every way.
The covenant states: "I understand that in an era where images of family relationship and personal sexuality are often confused, Crystal Cathedral Ministries believes that it is important to teach and model the biblical view. I understand that Crystal Cathedral Ministries teaches that sexual intimacy is intended by God to only be within the bonds of marriage, between one man and one woman."
Some choir members said this week that they were upset by the statements made in the covenant and would refuse to sign the document.
Schuller said he supports the view of homosexuality as detailed by the covenant.
"That doesn't mean that we are going to start a crusade against homosexuals," he said. "But if my church members required covenants, they would no longer live up to the principles of being positive that marks the history of the ministry of Robert H. Schuller."
Senior pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman could not be reached for comment Wednesday. She released a statement Tuesday saying that the Cathedral is standing by the Reform Church's views on homosexuality and that covenant does not mean homosexuals are not welcome in the church. She apologized for the pain the document caused choir members and other church members, but emphasized that it was a statement of faith on the part of the church.
The covenant also placed a strong emphasis on church leaders and choir members being Christian.
"We have never been for covenants or definitions," Robert Schuller said. "We don't test anyone who comes to our ministry. We don't require them to be Christian. We would not demand that they be born-
His daughter, Carol Schuller Milner, said her father's statements in no way lessen his support of Coleman's ministry or leadership.
"There are going to be times when he might have done something differently," she said. "As he is less and less involved in management, this is going to happen more. His personal views may not coincide with the management's view. But, the organization and his voice are no longer seamless. It can never go back to being that way."
Robert Harold Schuller's ministry burst into the Orange County scene with his message of positive ministry and positive thinking on the sticky tar paper roof of a snack bar in the Orange drive-
By 2005, he was the head of a large congregation with an $80 million budget.
But over the last three years, the iconic megachurch has been grappling with financial issues including an unprecedented drop in donations. The church has sold many of its assets, cut about 150 of its staff members and slashed air time for the Hour of Power by 50 percent. The cathedral also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Oct. 18.
Schuller did not comment on the church's financial problems.
Judi Feutz, a 19-
"I think Dr. Schuller's statement hits the nail right on the head," she said. "But this covenant came from his daughters, so I don't know where their thinking is coming from. I'm not surprised at all that he feels this way. For the first time in a long time, I feel that the church will get back on track to the way (Schuller) founded it and his beliefs."
Anne Waltz, who sang in Schuller's first ever choir in the drive-
"This is the man we came to hear and we all believe in," she said. "My pastor (Dr. Schuller) always said that the church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners. I'm glad that he still believes that."