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Monday, February 2, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

Rev. Robert A. Schuller, 82, founding pastor of The Crystal Cathedral in Arden Grove CA, is pained by the collapse of his televangelist ministry.

Son Robert resigned abruptly at the close of November, per AP.

The father and son have divergent views on the ministries’ future profile.

The ministry itself is in financial trouble. Leaders blame it mostly on the recession.

Some speculate that when a founding personage grows such a ministry and then another takes the founder’s place, there is a drop off in loyalty givers. That is what some propose happened at the Crystal Cathedral.

Schuller mixed positive thinking and elementary Christian doctrine with his weekly sermons. It was the West coasts mimic of Norman Vincent Peale’s “Power of Positive Thinking” philosophy at Manhattan’s Marble Collegiate Church.

Peale made popular his style over decades, his books selling off the charts and his weekly sermons published for freebie mail-outs to thousands upon thousands.

Schuller and Peale, both of the Reformed Church in America tradition, were two who made easy-understanding Christian theology. It was doctrine for the person-on-the-street. Their messages were replete with stories from real life.

“The church is in financial turmoil: It plans to sell more than $65 million worth of its Orange County property to pay off debt.

“Revenue dropped by nearly $5 million last year, according to a recent letter from the elder Schuller to elite donors. In the letter, he implored the Eagle's Club members — who supply 30 percent of the church's revenue — for donations and hinted that the show might go off the air without their support.

"’The final months of 2008 were devastating for our ministry,’ the 82-year-old pastor wrote.”

Read “Family spat divides televangelism empire” at