What is Robert Schuller ‘rethinking’?

Crystal Cathedral
Crystal Cathedral conference accused of twisting biblical Christianity

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”
—2Thessalonians 2:11

“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”
—Jeremiah 5:31

It’s an all-star conference set for the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., Jan. 17-19.

Former President George H.W. Bush will speak.

Chuck Colson will make a presentation.

Larry King will be there.

Rupert Murdoch will address attendees.

Ben Stein will appear.

And Kay Warren, wife of Saddleback Church mega-pastor Rick Warren, will join Robert Schuller, the white-haired, bespectacled purveyor of “possibility thinking.”

What could such a diverse group have in common? What’s the topic?

Well, it’s a little vague.

It’s called the “Rethink Conference,” and Schuller promises 30 “Aha!” moments from the 30 different speakers confirmed for the event.

Not everyone is thrilled about this meeting of the minds. Some, including Christian author and former New Age devotee Warren Smith, suspect an agenda to subvert the church – to take the focus off biblical truth and absolutes.

“From my perspective as a former New Age follower, I believe that Robert Schuller’s mission has always been to ‘rethink’ and ‘change’ biblical Christianity into something ‘new’ – as in New Age/New Spirituality,” he says.

Smith’s “Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church” documents Schuller’s contacts and endorsements of New Age stars such as Gerald Jampolsky, Neale Donald Walsch and Bernie Siegel.

“As a former New Age follower I could hardly believe it,” says Smith. “On October 17, 2004, more than 20 years after his first appearance on the ‘Hour of Power,’ New Age leader Gerald Jampolsky was once again Robert Schuller’s featured guest. I was not surprised on one level, because I had always been aware of Schuller’s affection for New Age teachings. What did surprise me was Schuller’s willingness to still be so openly aligned with a veteran New Age leader like Jampolsky.”

Smith says it was Jampolsky who first introduced him to “A Course in Miracles,” the best-selling book New Age bible that taught him “there is no sin,” “a slain Christ has no meaning” and “the recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.”

All of Jampolsky’s books, according to Smith, are based on “A Course in Miracles.” But yet, there was Schuller on his TV show recommending all of Jampolsky’s “fabulous” works. He even noted he sold some of them in the Crystal Cathedral bookstore. And, according to Smith, for awhile, Schuller even hosted “A Course in Miracles” study groups in his church.

It’s not a one-way street, either, says Smith. New Age leaders like Walsch, author of the best-selling “Conversations With God,” and Jampolsky go out of their way to praise Schuller, too.

“They know that Robert Schuller has always been open to spiritual compromise,” he says.

According to Smith, Schuller has always “done a good job of softening up the church” for what he sees as unbiblical New Age ideas. And that’s just what he expects the “Rethink Conference” is all about.

If indeed that’s what the conference is all about, some other big names are going along for the ride. They include Christian pollster George Barna, former heavyweight champ George Foreman, American Center for Law and Justice founder Jay Sekulow, Gary Smalley and “The Case for Christ” author Lee Strobel.

“Never before have we gathered such dynamic leaders who will challenge us to think outside the box as we grapple with a changing culture and our response to it,” said Schuller.

The conference will not only be attended by thousands at the Crystral Cathedral, but it will be telecast by satellite around the world by Church Communication Network, according to organizers.

“These culture pioneers know what is center-stage in our culture right now and also what is breaking on the horizon,” says Rethink Conference executive director Bill Dallas. “This conference will confront outdated and pre-conceived ideas, offer new perspectives and open our minds to all kinds of possibilities that connect us with out shifting culture without compromising our core values.”

Smith just wonders about those “outdated and pre-conceived ideas.”

“The church does not need to ‘rethink’ and ‘compromise’ its God-given biblical doctrines to accommodate the world,” he says. “It needs to rethink its willingness to follow worldly leaders like Robert Schuller.”

Read the related commentary by Warren Smith

Related special offers:

Get Warren Smith’s “Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church”

Get Warren Smith’s inspirational story of his journey from the New Age to Jesus Christ in “The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace.”

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  1. jen-o, 30 October, 2007

    well… this is what i think about the “rethink conference”…

    they actually have put up a website devoted to this one conference… and here is their stated goal:
    “our aim is to be immersed in the latest thoughts and perspectives of these respected cultural icons”

    yep, that’s the goal – to immerse yourself in what the cultural icons of the world think… (not one mention of Jesus)
    “for 3 days, you’ll be immersed in the latest thoughts of respected icons in media, politics, “faith”(my quotes), science, business, and technology… each speaker will reveal THEIR perspectives… the speakers will weigh in on everything from world issues to cultural trends to the secrets of success…”

    and who are these speakers?
    well, they include larry king, george bush sr., george foreman, evel knievel, ben stein, and folks from both willowcreek and saddleback, among other sundry characters… 30 in all…
    (but not Jesus)

    they also include rupert murdoch, controlling shareholder and chairman of News Corp. which publishes 175 newspapers and owns 35 TV stations…
    [hey, don’t we hear enough of this guys “thoughts” already?]

    these speakers will become your “thought partners”… in small break-out groups, you will “process what you’ve learned and make it your own”…
    [now that’s a scary thought!]

    you can “be a part of influential CHRISTIAN and GLOBAL LEADERS” (those words are in bold text on the website)
    [these folks don’t have a clue what they are saying… =:~o
    “and i saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast” Rev.17:3
    “mother of harlots” makes an alliance with the antichrist]

    and what will this wonderful experience cost you?
    $369. per person ($349. if you sign up early)… oh, and you get a continental breakfast and a box lunch with that!

    they expect 2500 people to attend on site, and another 20 to 50 thousand to watch via simulcast…

    so i began to calcuate how much money this event is expected to take in… oh did i forget to mention that they are also soliciting “sponsorhips”… limited sponsorships (at varying levels) total $168,000. and unlimited “sponsors/advertisers/exhibitors are, well, unlimited, i suppose…

    now at $350. per person (the bargain price) times 2500 people expected to attend = $875,000…
    plus the sponsorships we can calculate at $168,000 equals a grand total of $1,043,000…

    but wait, that’s not all…

    i noticed on the website that local churches could “host” the event… and quizzical as i am, i was wondering if there was a charge for this “honor” via simulcast… so i called them up and was told that the cost for a church to “host” was $1495. per church (unless you wanted the exclusive rights to be the only host in your city, then it would cost more)… btw, the $1495. includes the simulcast equipment… upon further inquiry, i discovered that the members of the church who attended the simulcast would also be charged $25. per ticket… at this point, the person on the phone was getting a little tongue-tied and really did not appreciate my questions (i suspect) because i was conveniently disconnected… but not before she told me that they would split the $25. ticket fee with the church (i’m not sure if they do that with all churches or if she just realized how bad it all sounded)

    oh well, we can still calculate…
    20,000 to 50,000 people are expected to view the event via simulcast…

    20,000 times $25. per ticket = $500,000…
    50,000 times $25.per ticket = $1,250,000…
    as for churches, the average size of a protestant church in america is between 200 – 300 people… (so i’ll use the number 250 for calculating)
    and let’s say 35,000 (midway between the 20K and 50K) people watch the simulcast… then 35,000 divided by 250 = 140 churches (a fair enough rough estimate, i think)
    so that’s an additional $1500. per church times 140 = $210,000…

    now for the grand total:
    $875,000 (2500 people attending on site)
    $168,000 (sponsorships)
    $75,000 (50 advertisers – a conservative estimate)
    $210,000 (church “host” charges)
    $440,000 (35,000 people watching via simulcast)… the $440,000 is their half of $875,000 total ticket charges since they said they were splitting that with the churches…

    for a grand total of $1,768,000. for ONE event…
    (and that’s a VERY conservatve estimate)

    so what do i think about the “rethink conference”?…
    i think the beast has met the harlot, and they are charging close to 2 million dollars for the event….

  2. Remnant, 30 October, 2007

    Why should we be suprised at this? Schuller has spent his entire time in the pulput diluting the Gospel with his pop-psychology positive thinking . His views have always been that, we need more than the Word of G_D to get humanity through the trials of this world. Schuller is a false teacher of huge proportions. An unashamed universalist, he even rejects Jesus as the only way to heaven

    Such works over faith leaders, as well as replacement theology and kingdom now looneys have always been welcome at this post-moderenism clearing house of bad Ideas.

    It’s no wonder that Rick and Kay Warren and His Purpose Riddin Drivel are not only welcome but extolled by the Crystal Cathedral sham. Warren had New Rage writer Ken Blanchard at Saddleback to speak to the congregation this past weekend. Warren like Schuller seems not to care who he shares a pulpit with.

    “Prominent ‘church growth’ pastors like Robert Schuller (Crystal Cathedral, LA), Rick Warren (Saddleback Church, California), Bill Hybels (Willow Creek Church, Chicago) and Joel Osteen (Lakewood Church, Houston) attract thousands to their churches each Sunday. Though a majority of this ‘growth’ occurs by transfer rather than ‘conversion’, multitudes of other churches have adopted this model and have seen their congregations rocket numerically. Small wonder anyone questioning the movement is told, “Never criticise what God is blessing.”1 Truth never stood a chance against success.” (Michael J. Penfold) The Purpose Driven Church (a critique)

    The church of Laodicea grows larger!

    Yeshua warned us that in these end time False Teachers and False shepherds will be everywhere. Not just on TBN.

    Brothers and Sisters in Messiah Be Bereans check what your pastor preaches with what G_D’s Word says.

    In Yeshua

  3. Apollo, 30 October, 2007

    I didn’t know we could change our Christian beliefs as long as our”core values” stayed the same. That’s a pretty sweet deal…NOT

    For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie (12)and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but delighted in wickedness. 2 Thess. 2:11-12

  4. Linda, 30 October, 2007

    When I read the beautiful & powerful Words of the Almighty, I just cannot understand how any man would feel the need to “rethink”; just savor the holiness of HIS Word.
    Thank you, FATHER, in Jesus name.

  5. NaroMyopicAlien, 31 October, 2007


    Thanks so much for all the research you do for us reading this site. I have only VERY recently escaped the “Emergent Church”. It is amazing to me how long I’ve been lathargic scripturally and yet so active in the EC. I believe God is opening my eyes to this deception and I seem to learn more each day.

    I have a question. The Purpose Driven Life is almost a sacred book in the church I came from. Are there any resources you or anyone on this blog could provide me that point out the biblical problems with the book?

  6. Jana Funkhouser, 31 October, 2007

    As I read through the list of ‘rich & famous’ speakers invited to Schuller’s glass church, I think about the true and faithful modern day witnesses to our LORD Yeshua and the Word of God. Some of these faithful ones who are presently being socially persecuted for their stand upon the Word of God are: Roger Oakland of Undestand The Times, Dave Hunt of The Berean Call, Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries & Hal Lindsey of Hal Lindsey Oracle. These are just a few of the faithful who would benefit from our prayers, notes of encouragement and financial assistance to continue their roles as modern day WATCHMEN ON THE WALLS.


  7. Remnant, 01 November, 2007

    Some site that can fill you in on Rick Warren and his apostate Purpose Drivel

    Southwest Radio Church Ministries

    The Berean Call Website

    Moriel Ministries

    Olive Tree Ministries


    The best advise I can give you is to forget everything you’ve been taught about Purpose Driven!

    In Messiah

  8. Kevin Wilson, 01 November, 2007

    Wow! This is a hot thread! Jen-o, your fire on this is well understood by me! I think this type of enemy is far more dangerous than the radical muslim fanatic with a suicide backpack!

    Simply put, I would give this conference a more accurate title:

    Rethinking Witchcraft…..

    In prayer


  9. jen-o, 02 November, 2007

    hi NarrowMyopicAlien!

    i LOVE your name… can i be a narrow myopic alien, too?

    narrow – for straight is the gate and narrow is the way… that leads to life, and few there be that find it!

    myopic – well, i do need glasses… for now we see through a glass darkly… but then face to face…

    alien – we are strangers and pilgrims and aliens on this earth… and our citizenship is in heaven…

    so i think it is a great name!

    thanks for your comment… i don’t know too much about the emergent church first hand… i was involved with a nondenominational church a few years back, and they started carrying rick warren’s stuff in their bookstore… (i even bought the “purpose-driven life”)… the church began to move in a different direction (although i never thought about it at the time)… i just thought it got boring and “fluffy”… “fluff” is all that extraneous stuff that is irrelevant and nonessential to the Truth of God’s Word… i was getting lulled to sleep, so i understand how easy it is to get caught up in that kind of thing… after a while, i just quit going to church… there was no meat of the Word there anyway…

    i thank God that the pastor of a calvary chapel church showed up on my doorstep one morning (door-to-door witnessing) and i later attended one of the services and was pleasantly surprised to find a church focused on Jesus and the bible (without any “fluff”)…

    as for the “purpose driven life” book, i did read some of it… i just pulled out my dust laden copy to find that i stopped reading at chapter 21 entitled “protecting your church”… LOL, i think that is funny… what a place to stop, eh?…

    okay, i just read that chapter… (you know, those chapters are only 4 or 5 pages long)… i can see why rick warren put that chapter in there… he needs to protect HIS cult NOT the true church of God… the whole chapter is designed to protect HIS own ideas (and error)… it is very cultish! and uses very strong language against people who might question him… ex. “destroy it (unity), and you rip the heart out of Christ’s body” (pg. 160)… the focus and theme of the chapter is unity at all costs… any conflict is a result of “less important issues”, we need to accept everbody’s differences including different “interpretations” (huge red flag for me)… warren advocates unity over Truth… he speaks strongly against “troublemakers” who cause “division” and “split churches”…

    Jesus said: “Suppose ye that I am come to bring peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother…” Luke 12:51-53a

    but warren needs to protect his own ideology, and it looks like he’s going for global unity! while trying to stamp out any judgment and analytical thought processes along the way… he has harsh words of criticism for those who notice and speak out against problems in the church… he also advocates blindly following “leadership”… this has all the markings of a cult!

    and there is another problem with warren’s book… his chapters are peppered with italicized words that are suppose to be quotes from the bible… he does not give a scripture reference, but rather numbers these quotes and the effect of this is that you get a dose of his ideas as if they are supported by scripture (which they are NOT)… but at the back of the book there is a scripture list (which probably nobody reads) that lists all the scripture and their SOURCES… there are 15 different sources, most of them PARAPHRASES of God’s Word… some of them are paraphrase versions that i have never even heard of, published as late as 1995 and 1996… no wonder i didn’t recognize the Word of God in his book!…

    warren states: “i have DELIBERATELY used paraphrases in order to help you see Gods truth in new, fresh ways”… really?, i didn’t know God needed warren to help HIM express HIMSELF in “new, fresh ways”… what, did the original Word of God get stale or something?
    [btw, warren used the KJV only 11 times out of over 800 scripture references… the rest are paraphrases… “the message” must have been used at least 100 times)

    so that’s a big biblical problem with the book… there is no bible in it!… warren has substituted his own ideas for the Word of God…

    warren is purposely deceptive and misleading… he has his own agenda… i wouldn’t trust a thing he says!

    NarrowMyopicAlien, if your old church was using warren’s book as a “sacred text”, then they have fallen away from the truth… i am sooo glad that you are not in warren’s cult anymore…


    p.s. jana and remnant listed some good resources to check out!

  10. Linda, 20 December, 2007



    “Oprah and Friends” to teach course on New Age Christ

    Oprah Winfrey will be letting out all the stops on her XM Satellite Radio program this coming year. Beginning January 1, 2008, “Oprah & Friends” will offer a year-long course on the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles.1 A lesson a day throughout the year will completely cover the 365 lessons from the Course in Miracles “Workbook.”

    This will bless you:

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