have a great message for you this morning; I've been studying
and preparing for it for many years. That's very true. When
I graduated from Hope College, then Western Theological
Seminary, the graduate theological school of our denomination,
the Reformed Church in America, I entered into the ministry.
So many changes have happened after these fifty years, it
astounds me. Such as, fifty years ago, science and
religion were seen as competitors. Today, I see them as
complimentary forces. A favorite Bible text of mine all
these years says it so clearly.
"God is able to do exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think!" (Ephesians 3:20)
with this text before us, I'm speaking on the subject, forecasting
the future of the faith.
times in the past fifty years I have had to struggle with
power minds who challenged my faith, when they were predicting
that science would wipe out religion. And then, added to
that, there were predictions that the immorality culture
of our country and our world would wipe out our religion
and that religion is only a hangover of old ancient superstitions,
but it has no future. I've had to live with these challenges
and now, after fifty years as your pastor, on the first
Sunday of the second half century of this ministry, I am
ready to forecast the future
of the faith.
of all, as I look ahead this year, I think it is going to
be a fantastic year in this church and ministry. There is
no doubt about it. I'm excited first of all that in September
this year I'll celebrate my 80th birthday!
that's not as old as you think. I remember my grandson,
Jason, now in law school, who when he was three years old,
said to me, "Grandpa, were you in the Ark with Noah?"
I said, "No, Jason." "Then why didn't you
when Paul David Dunn's (Director/Producer of the Glory of
Christmas) grandmother celebrated her 100th birthday,
she received a bouquet of red roses with a note which read,
"To my baby sister." You see, her sister was 104
years old! So I still have great dreams for the next twenty
years to do something that I have been called by God to
have a dream to be the first minister in history ever to
preach a sermon from the Crystal Cathedral at the age of
100! And I have a strong belief that it is going to happen,
and if it doesn't happen, I can't lose.
Yes, "God is able to
do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask, seek or
think." (Ephesians 3:20)
What kind of a moral world are we walking into? What kind
of a secular world will we have to deal with? And how about
that powerful thing called science that for most of the
past 50 years was looked upon as the ultimate authority?
I will tell you this;
the world cannot live without a positive faith! We need
it! We cannot live without it!
mentioned I'm a graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
I'm very proud of that. Recently Hope College lost one of
its distinguished alumni. Before he died they were able
to give him an award. (I was honored to receive the same
award a few years ago. It is called a Distinguished Alumni
Award.) The alumnus I'm speaking about was Nobel Prize Winner,
Richard Smalley, who won the Nobel Prize nine years ago
for his ground breaking research in what has lead to nano-technology.
He was the leader in that field when he died only a few
months ago of cancer. He wasn't able to attend the ceremony
to receive the honor, but his prepared remarks were read
at the Hope College Distinguished Awards Ceremony.
"My short two years at Hope College, starting as
a freshman in 1961, were immensely important to me. I went
to chapel, studied religion, and attended church more than
I ever had before and I was among people who took these
issues seriously. I valued that greatly back then. Recently
I've gone back to church regularly with a new focus; to
understand as best I can what it is that makes Christianity
so vital and powerful in the lives of billions of people
today, even though almost 2000 years have passed since the
death and resurrection of Christ."
are the words of a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry ¡K
Why has the Christian faith survived?
"Although I suspect I will never fully understand,
I now think the answer is very simple. More people are religious
today than ever before and I think the answer is very simple
¡K "It's true."
Why does Christianity have a future? It's true!
Smalley¡¦s remarks continues,
"God did create the universe about 13.7 billion
years ago, and of necessity He has involved Himself with
His creation ever since. The purpose of this universe is
something only God knows for sure. But it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe
was exquisitely fine tuned to enable human life. We are somehow critically involved in His purpose.
Our job is to sense that purpose as best we can, love one
another and help God get that job done." *
seventy-five percent of professional physicists have come
to believe in a God; Yes, the world has changed. After 50
years in this ministry I meet scientists who treat me with
respect and that is mutual. Science is not the threat to
religion in the next 50 years as it was the past 50 years.
the threat to religion is secularism. And secularism is
an attempt to bring fulfillment, excitement and satisfaction
to life without spirituality. And that
will always fail.
Secularism strives to fulfill these basic human needs, but
the truth is; spirituality is the ultimate fulfillment of excitement and
is the number one problem in the human race? I've thought
about it, I've written a lot of books, I've met and listened
to some of the most profound thinkers in the world. I have
studied under Viktor Frankl, I have an immense collection
of what I have been taught and heard and I conclude that
the number one problem in the
human family is boredom.
Yes, even more than guilt, because boredom produces activity
that generates guilt. Boredom comes first. This means
that the single deepest need
in every human being is stimulation ¡K excitement.
And that is what the Christian faith offers.
the stimulation and excitement is offered to you by secularism,
how do they do that? Through something that works
through your glands, maybe a pill, maybe a drink, maybe
sexual activity. All these will do you more harm than good.
Stimulation through secularism is not the answer.
answer comes through a spiritual faith. How does that work?
Spirituality through the Christian faith alone provides stimulation from boredom, through
salvation from guilt ¡K and that delivers
self esteem, dignity and self respect, to do God's dream
for your life.
Now you are truly stimulated!
talking about the deepest human need that will never go
away, not in one thousand years ¡K not in ten thousand
years. The human being needs to be stimulated or he will
be bored and that is the road to hell. To be stimulated,
you need salvation. What holds us back more than anything
else is lack of internal harmony, which we call salvation?
Yes, get rid of a thing called guilt because next to boredom it is guilt that holds the human being back. When your internal
emotions and spiritual system is in harmony, and not internally
conflicted, then you¡¦ll end up with self esteem, self
respect, and dignity. Live that way! Then, "You can
come to the end of your life with pride behind you, love
around you and hope ahead of you." (I delivered these
lines at Senator Hubert Humphrey¡¦s funeral in 1978.)
the Christian faith can deliver this kind of a life ¡K
stimulation, salvation and self-esteem! Then what
happens? Then you begin to think positively. Yes, you still
will have problems, disappointments, rejections, and hurts,
of course, but you look at the positive instead of the negative
and you keep on practicing possibilities and you know that
you will achieve your dreams.
fifty years, the basic dream I've had has come true. I signed
a contract, a call from our denomination, The Reformed Church
in America, to start a church. This meant I had to buy land,
build buildings, hire architects, raise money, work with
subcontractors and at the same time, build a congregation
of believers who would make the positive faith happen in
their daily life, changing their communities; and their
fifty years I have preached how the Christian faith alone
provides stimulation ¡K salvation ¡K self esteem ¡K
and possibility thinking. I wanted you, my congregation,
to believe in yourself, to know you can do it, to know you
are somebody! Dream the great dreams and set
goals. When you become a goal oriented, goal managed person,
that's how you become a God-managed
person! That is how to live the God life that He wants you
to live. Find out what God's dream is for you. What does
He want you to be as a person? That becomes your goal. Yes,
then far more than you know, you become a God-managed person,
and you glorify God in your
The Christian faith provides a success that glorifies God.
a theologian, (I am not a theological scholar but I've done
my work and still do my work) I look back at my studies
where in the Bible, and in all theology, it says that sins
are either those of omission or commission. And the church,
too often in the past thousand years, has emphasized the
sin of commission. That means the many acts that the church
has declared as sin. You are committing a sin if you do
this. If you do that, you're committing a sin and every
Sunday we are to be reminded of how sinful we are and how
bad we have been. So the conclusion is to ask repentance
for forgiveness for sins and you go out of the church with
an awareness that your sins are forgiven because Jesus died
on the cross for you.
church, for one thousand years, has been focused on these
sins of commission, but I submit, the church has too often
ignored the sins of omission, to ask the question, "What
does God want me to do?" It is not enough to just have
peace of mind knowing that your guilt is gone; to not only
leave church with a guilt free feeling, but you also need
to leave church with a dream, a goal ¡K I am! ¡K I can! ¡K I will! ... I believe! Yes, I am
somebody! I can achieve something! I CAN DO something! I
WILL DO something! When you do that, you bring
glory to God! That's the emphasis this ministry has brought
into historic Christian faith.
The Christian faith works because it is true!
does the Christian faith work? As Dr. Smalley, the Nobel
Prize winner said, "It works simply because it's true."
Why does it work? Faith brings constructive stimulation
to get going to do something beautiful. That's how it saves
you from boredom. Faith gives you salvation, internal spiritual
harmony, Jesus is there. So you are free from guilt. Then
you receive the gift of self esteem, you believe in yourself,
because of the Spirit of Jesus in you. And through positive
thinking you become goal oriented. You achieve success as
you leave something behind that makes the world more beautiful,
as Mother Teresa said to me, "Do
something beautiful for God." Yes, this
kind of faith that we've been preaching for fifty years
will never die! Because every human being needs
final reason why the Christian faith will never die is because it's the only
possible answer to life's greatest mystery. No
matter what race, what creed, what intellect, what culture
you are, from around the world, every human being is born
to face the mystery that he has to live with until he dies.
And it is the mystery of what happens when we die. There
are different answers. Some say "you're dead"
period. But there is an overwhelming intuitive concept born
into us. You didn't learn it. It is born into us in an intuitive
sense that there is something
beyond death. That there is still a higher level
of life. It's spiritual, and there will be rewards
and there will be justice. But the only answer to the ultimate
mystery comes through faith and it comes through the faith
that we get through the people we can trust. Who can we
trust? With so many weird, and yes, wicked, religions, who
can you trust? I trust Jesus Christ. I believe God had to
come to earth and die and rise again to prove to us there
is an ultimate truth. And
the truth is the gospel of Jesus Christ!
That's what I believe today at nearly 80 years old and stronger
than ever in my life.
have four passions, one ¡K to live to be 100 to preach
second passion is to do what has to be done to assure that
the Crystal Cathedral will have perpetuity. The Reformed
Church of America's oldest church started in 1928. It's
the Marble Collegiate Church on 5th Avenue New
York and its sister church was St. Nicholas, nearby. The
St. Nicholas Church ran into debt, couldn't pay the debt
off easily, so they sold St. Nicholas Church in 1949. Life
Magazine, the most prominent magazine at that time, showed
the most beautiful church steeple in the world, the St.
Nicholas Church steeple torn down with a wrecking ball.
The land was sold and today is the Rockefeller Center. We
must not let that happen to the Crystal Cathedral 100 or
130 years from now, so for the next ten years I will focus
on coming up with a creative solution. It has already been
given to me by God, to make sure that this will not happen
to this church. So I'll work to prevent that from ever happening
with a Crystal Cathedral Foundation. I'll be raising money
for that, anybody and everybody can help.
third passion is to build the church of Jesus Christ in
America and the world and continue to counsel ministers.
Our institute these past 40 years has graduated many, many
ministers who launched their ministries and have credited
the institute. Rick Warren and Bill Hybels are just two
of thousands. I want to continue to build the church of
fourth passion I have is to continue my theological writings.
I have theological concepts that have never been written
and I think I need to write them.
I have asked the church board to relieve me as President
of this ministry and the day-to-day matters in this huge
congregation and I am very proud to announce that this past
week, the board has nominated and voted unanimously to elect
my son, Robert Anthony Schuller, as the second senior pastor
of the Crystal Cathedral Congregation and the Hour of Power.
will take on a new role as Founding Pastor and I will remain
Chairman of the International Board of the Crystal Cathedral
Ministries which governs the many ministries beyond this
church and the Hour of Power. We will continue to be a great
father-son team and we have a great deal of respect for
each other! To God be the glory!
am forecasting that the future of the faith that has evolved
here in this ministry these past fifty years has its greatest
days ahead with my son as the next Senior Pastor. He was
six months old when we started the first church service,
and has all of his academic credentials. Robert has been
prepared to lead this church. God made it happen. And he
needs your prayers because ultimately a church will succeed
or fail not because of the pastor in the pulpit, it happens
by the people. You make it happen or you make it not happen.
Ultimately you are the ultimate power in this ministry,
not I or Robert. It's up to you. Make it happen!
Anthony Schuller's Response:
want to say that I need your prayers. I covet your prayers,
and I want to say that I really believe that God has called
me from the time I was born and has equipped me and has
allowed me to take on this incredible challenge, so on January
22, 2006, I will be installed by The Reformed Church in
America as the Senior Pastor of the Crystal Cathedral congregation
and I am honored and humbled to accept this opportunity.
I know that with God all things are possible and I know
that together, as a team, we will succeed and that we will
take this ministry to the next level in the next fifty years,
so it's a challenge that I'm excited about and that I know
will be full of many blessings so I thank you for the opportunity.
- Robert H. Schuller
God, thank you that You've brought us into the land of beginning
again, a new morning, a new week, a new year and a new half
century for this church's ministry. O God, thank You that
You've brought us here because You need us, You want us,
You love us, You've given to each of us gifts that You need
to use in this world. The smile of hope, the laughter of
faith and the courage to take Your impossible dreams and
make them come true with You. Hallelujah, it will be a happy
New Year. Amen.