doing nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; Philippians 2:3
Biblical Examples of Positive Self-Esteem (Below)
Quotes by Robert Schuller (Below)
Self-Esteem for Christians?
If there is one thing the world and many in the church have in common these days, it's the psychology of self-esteem.
Christians and non Christians alike are bombarded from the cradle to the grave with religious mantras and feel good philosophies promoting self-worth, self-love, and self-acceptance, which seem to have become society’s fashionable antidote for whatever ails you. The popular affirmations being "You just need to love and accept yourself the way you are. You just need to forgive yourself.. You are a valuable lovable person who should feel good about yourself," The pursuit of self has become an end in itself. The self esteem of people in a materialistic 21st century often tends to hang on the temporal including how much money one has, how successful one is, what kind of car one drives, how attractive one’s face and figure is… Self esteem preaches self-love, self-promotion and self-glorification
Rather than resisting this glorification of man, a vast number of Christians have jumped on the bandwagon of humanistic psychology and set up their own cheering section, stressing the value and goodness of human beings. Countless best-selling books, numbering in the tens of millions, are now being promoted by "conservative" Christian leaders, seminaries, and counselors. So called Christian leaders like Robert Schuller, have spearheaded the movement to set man up on his own private pedestal and has had a considerable amount of influence on other Christian leaders. And so the movement has crept, nay galloped, through the flock. In fact, prominent Christian personalities can be heard to claim that society's greatest problem is that of "low self-esteem", and that everything from abortion, school drop-outs, teen pregnancy to rape, robbery, and poverty can be solved if only we help people to esteem themselves more highly; to love themselves more and more; and to realize their great self-worth! The central focus in many of Jim Dobson's writings is the belief that low self-esteem is the cause of the world's problems. That the greatest need of women of the world is a healthy dose of self-esteem and personal worth. (Hide and Seek. p. 35).
We are a self-absorbed society.
Yet nowhere In Scripture do we see God’s servants with ‘a healthy self-image’—but instead see them as being very aware of who they are.
And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Genesis 18:27
¶ And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? Exodus 3:11
And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. Exodus 4:10
And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me? 1 Samuel 9:21
Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. Proverbs 30:2
And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. Matthew 1:7
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1 Corinthians 15:9
The Bible tells us: "Let each esteem others better than themselves" (Philippians 2:3); "Not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."(Romans 12:3) The opposite of God's way of thinking is to regard oneself more highly than we ought and become puffed up with pride which is usually the end result of one finding ways to boost their self-esteem.
Additionally Scripture gives us a record of the very first exercise of self-love and its consequences in Isaiah 14:12-17:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? (Isaiah 14:12-17 AV. Emphasis Added)
So much for positive affirmations.
There are those on the opposite side of the spectrum that see the movement of self esteem as simply humanism invading the church. They believe that man is less than the dirt on the surface of this earth, is totally depraved and has no intrinsic self worth whatsoever.. They believe that self esteem is simply pride in another garb and view those who believe in it as workers of the devil. This extreme view holds that any love of the self is morally wrong. (See The Myth of Original Sin on THIS Page)
The truth lies somewhere in between..
John Ankerberg and John Weldon, in their pamphlet, "The Facts of Self-Esteem, Psychology and the Recovery movement," pungently observe: "In fact the very 'self' that modern psychology exalts is the fallen self, whose exaltation God teaches will result in self-destruction. It is the selfism of modern psychology and culture that leads to widespread social desolation about us…The psychological concept of self-love leading to esteem and the biblical concept of self-denial leading to self-enrichment are diametrically opposed…The teaching of the Bible, human history and personal experience tell us that it is principally holiness that leads to emotional wholeness, and not vice versa. In fact, when emotional wholeness is pursued for itself, it rarely leads to personal holiness."
Consider Romans 12:3:
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
The Bible warns us not to think more highly than we ought. It does not forbid us to think highly of ourselves, but simply not to think more highly. The word “more” deals with quantity. The issue is not whether you should think well of yourself, but whether or not you have gone too far. Paul makes this clear in 2 Corinthians 10:14, “We are not going too far in our boasting.” The issue is a matter of degree.
“When Jesus was asked what the greatest moral commandment was, he replied by quoting two commands from the Old Testament. "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself'" (Matthew 22:37-39). Many have understood this second commandment as including a command to love ourselves. However, this is a misreading of what it actually says. We are not commanded to love our neighbour and ourselves, but as ourselves. In other words, the statement naturally assumes that we have a certain desire for our own well-being, and the command is to have an equal concern for the well-being of others. Self-love is not a virtue that Scripture commends, but one of the facts of our humanity that it recognises and tells us to use as a standard” (Dick Tripp. Exploring Christianity - Self-Esteem))
The problem arises when we try to feel good about ourselves based on who we are, what we've done, what our status is, what we own. A healthy self-image is seeing yourself as God sees you; no more and no less. True self-esteem is knowing who you are. That kind of identity comes from knowing whom you belong to, that you are safe, that you are loved, that you matter. It gives you confidence. It builds strength. It satisfies your need to belong.
In the words of Arla Caraboolad (Self-esteem and the Christian)
“Self-esteem for the Christian is a paradox:
The more of the real thing you have, the less you think about how good you are.
The stronger you get, the more you become aware of your weaknesses.
The better you look, the less you care who's looking.
The more self-esteem you have, the less self-conscious you are”.
“… I must believe that my existence counts for something...that I matter...that the life within me has some significance in the scheme of things—greater than just the daily task of surviving. The human being was created with an unquenchable quest to find significance and meaning, a purpose somewhere in life. The human being is the only creature on this planet for whom the need to be needed, the need to have a purpose in life, is greater than our will to survive. We're the only creature we know of who will become anorexic, suicidal, literally give up he will to live, if we believe our lives don't matter anywhere to anyone.
And Dick Tripp. Exploring Christianity - Self-Esteem)
“The kind of self-esteem we have been talking about is one where you know you have been totally forgiven and fully accepted by the God who planned your existence. It involves a growing awareness of your infinite value to him. It is a self-esteem that enables you to accept unashamedly your strengths and weaknesses, and your capabilities. It includes an awareness that God is transforming you from the inside out and the assurance that one day you will be everything that God has planned and all that you could desire. It invites the challenge that, now being comfortable with yourself, you can now focus your attention on God's purpose for your life and how best you can do your bit to meet the many needs that you will find in the world around you”.
Joseph Piper in his essay "Zucht und Mass" stresses
"there are two opposing ways in which a man can love himself: selflessly or selfishly. Only the first is self-preserving, while the second is self-destroying."
John Stott says in 'Am I supposed to love myself or hate myself?
What we are (our personal identity) is partly the result of the Creation (the image of God), and partly the result of the Fall (the image defaced). The self we are to deny, disown, and crucify is our fallen self, everything within us that is incompatible with Jesus Christ (hence Christ's command, "let him deny himself and follow me"). The self we are to affirm and value is our created self, everything within us that is compatible with Jesus Christ (hence his statement that if we lose ourselves by self-denial we shall find ourselves). True self-denial (the denial of our false, fallen self) is not the road to self-destruction, but the road to self-discovery.
So, then, whatever we are by creation, we must affirm: our rationality, our sense of moral obligation, our masculinity and femininity, our aesthetic appreciation and artistic creativity, our stewardship of the fruitful earth, our hunger for love and community, our sense of the transcendent mystery of God, and our inbuilt urge to fall down and worship him. All this is part of our created humanness. True, it has all been tainted and twisted by sin. Yet Christ came to redeem and not destroy it. So we must affirm it.
But whatever we are by the Fall, we must deny or repudiate: our irrationality; our moral perversity; our loss of sexual distinctiveness; our fascination with the ugly; our lazy refusal to develop God's gifts; our pollution and spoilation of the environment; our selfishness, malice, individualism, and revenge, which are destructive of human community; our proud autonomy; and our idolatrous refusal to worship God. All this is part of our fallen humanness. Christ came not to redeem this but to destroy it. So we must deny it.
Perhaps it is said best by
A man should carry two stones in his pocket. On one should be inscribed, 'I am but dust and ashes.' On the other, 'For my sake was the world created.' And he should use each stone as he needs it.x
Biblical Examples of Positive Self-Esteem
From nearly every direction, we are told that our success in life is dependent on our having a positive self-esteem. According to this thinking, success in school, making friends, having a happy marriage, and doing well on our jobs all depend on having a positive self-image. If having a positive self-image is so important, we should expect the Bible to have something to say about it. After all, 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that God "has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness." Surely, if our self-image is so crucial to our well-being, God must have taught on this critical subject somewhere in His revealed Word. In reality, this is one of the more frequently taught subjects in the Bible. The Scriptures teach principles related to having a positive self-esteem from Genesis to Revelation. There are a multitude of passages that could be used in studying this subject, but one simple method is to examine the examples of people in the Bible who achieved positive self-esteem and notice the benefit they received from it.
One man who had a positive self-esteem can be found in Isaiah 10. The king of Assyria had, in today's terminology, achieved "self-actualization." He felt very positive about his ability to accomplish his goals. He had already been very successful in battle and fully believed that he would continue in his conquests. He boasted,
"Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? ...as I have done to Samaria and her idols, shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?" (Isaiah 10:9-11).
He was confident of his strength and wisdom. He was not afraid of accepting challenges in life because he was sure he had the ability to succeed. His own words were,
"By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent; also I have removed the boundaries of the people, and have robbed their treasuries; so I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man. My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people, and as one gathers eggs that are left, I have gathered all the earth; and there was no one who moved his wing, nor opened his mouth with even a peep" (Isaiah 10:13-14).
Think of how this man, with his high self-image, would be praised as a great successful leader if he was living today. He managed to achieve the self-image that many are striving for today as they blindly follow the tune of modern humanistic psychology. While many today would be impressed with the king of Assyria, the Lord said that after He was finished with Jerusalem that He would "punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks" (Isaiah 10:12).
One of the greatest examples of a man with positive self-esteem is the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14. He said in his heart,
"I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God" (Isaiah 14:13). Here is a man who thought highly of himself! He went on to say he would "ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:14).
You can't get a more positive self-esteem than this! There would be no concern that this man would not be able to perform well at social functions because he had such a low view of himself! While he might have been the life of the party, he wasn't so attractive after the Lord finished spreading maggots under him and covering him with worms (Isaiah 14:11).
Ezekiel revealed another man who managed to achieve a positive self-esteem similar to the king of Babylon. The prince of Tyre believed in himself to the point that he said, "I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods" (Ezekiel 28:2). The people of Tyre did not have to worry about their leader being indecisive and being unable to lead them because he thought too poorly of himself! If he were living today, he could charge huge fees to hold seminars to help people achieve the same level of self-awareness. During the seminars, it is doubtful that he would mention how the Lord promised to cast to the ground those who have a high opinion of themselves (Ezekiel 28:17).
James Dobson claims that women of America are afflicted with great suffering as a result of their poor self-image. According to him, women in America have difficulty being the mothers and wives and friends they should be because they think so poorly of themselves. Isn't it reassuring to know that not all women have suffered such emotional distress? We can read of the women of Jerusalem who must have been exceptional wives and mothers when we consider the positive self-image they managed to develop. The Lord acknowledged their positive self-esteem when He said,
"the daughters of Zion are proud, and walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, and go along with mincing steps, and tinkle the bangles on their feet" (Isaiah 3:16).
You wouldn't have to worry about these women suffering from depression or failing to relate to others because of their poor self-image! Although they were highly pleased with themselves, the Lord did not share their opinion. Instead of prospering them so they could continue in their self-love, the Lord promised them a stench, baldness, sackcloth and branding (Isaiah 3:24).
Daniel wrote of a great and successful man of his day who wasn't plagued by inward doubts concerning his self-worth. He wasn't experiencing the emotional anguish of thinking that he might be inferior in any way. Instead, as Nebuchadnezzar looked about the city of Babylon, he could say with great satisfaction,
"Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30).
Who, among the disciples of modern psychology, could find fault with Nebuchadnezzar's feelings toward his own power and majesty? According to their teaching, he had attained the positive self-image that makes life worth living! While he may have been a success by today's standards, his glory and majesty was not be so magnificent when the Lord drove him from men and made him eat grass like oxen (Dan. 4:33).
Jesus mentioned a man who had a positive self-image. He expressed his attitude when he prayed,
"God, I thank You that I am not like other men - extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess" (Luke 18:11-12).
There was no danger of this man's marriage failing because he had a low sense of self- worth! If he could bless us with his presence today, we wouldn't have to worry about him failing to desire the office of a bishop because he had such a low view of himself! He may have been willing to take on responsibility because of his high self-esteem, but it was the humble sinner who was justified before God, and not him (Luke 18:14).
Our modern teachers tell us that we are suffering from low self-esteem in epidemic proportions. The church has not always been in such sad shape as it is today. We can read of an entire congregation of the Lord's people in the first century who did not fail to share the gospel because of their feelings of inadequacy. Instead, the Laodiceans said, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing" (Rev. 3:17). How many congregations among us have managed to achieve the same level of self-actualization as these early Christians? Is this the New Testament church any of us are seeking to restore? Before we consider imitating their self-esteem, we should pay close attention to the warning that the Lord was about to vomit them out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16).
In all of these examples, the people involved achieved a positive view of themselves. They were self-confident and self-actualized. However, none of them achieved any lasting benefit from their efforts. They made the same mistake that the modern propagators of self-love make. They ignore God's warning when He says He "resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6, 1 Pet. 5:5). In our culture, it is popular to be "proud to be an American" and patriotic to buy products "proudly made in the U.S.A." Parents and teachers try to boost children's egos by telling them how proud they are of their accomplishments. Minority races are supposed to be proud of their heritage and salesmen are proud to sell their superior products. If we have disasters come into our lives, all is not lost if we emerge with our pride intact. In all of this talk about our pride, do we have time to reflect on the O.T. verse quoted most often in the N.T., Habakkuk 2:4.? This passage contrasts two kinds of people, the proud and the faithful. The Lord said, "Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith." If we really want to "speak where the Bible speaks", do we want to say that we are proud?
Paul wrote 2 Timothy around 67 A.D. when Nero was cruelly persecuting the church. There were false teachers infiltrating the church who were seducing Christians away from the pure faith. The Jewish War was raging in Judea that would culminate with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. With sadness, Paul would write, "all those in Asia have turned away from me" (2 Timothy 1:15). As Paul was sitting in prison, he understood his time of execution was drawing near. With a setting like this, Paul wrote some of the most amazing words found in his epistles. He wrote, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times WILL come" (2 Timothy 3:1). What does Paul mean, perilous times will come? What about the days that he was living in at that time? If they weren't perilous times, what would it take to make them perilous? When we read the context, Paul's concern was not the physical persecution that was at hand, but he was concerned about a greater danger. He knew of an apostasy that was coming that would ruin the church. Although the apostates would maintain "a form of godliness" (2 Timothy 3:5), they would be totally corrupt. Paul lists the characteristics these apostates would develop. First on the list is that they would be "lovers of self". These self-lovers would serve only themselves instead of one another. Paul understood self-lovers do not practice self-sacrifice, but instead, live for self-indulgence. Self-lovers have no intention of following the instructions Paul had earlier given to the Philippians when he wrote, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself" (Phil. 2:3). Instead of humbly serving God and their brethren, those who love themselves cause great turmoil as they seek their own selfish desires (Proverbs 13:10, 28:25, 1 Timothy 6:3-4).
Just as Israel forgot God when they were filled with themselves (Deuteronomy 8:13-17, Hosea 13:5-9), spiritual Israel will do the same when she begins to be concerned with her own glory. This attitude is brought out by the great harlot in Revelation. Instead of glorifying God, "she glorified herself and lived sensuously" (Rev. 18:7). She, too, had a positive self-image as she boasted, "I sit as queen, and am no widow."
There is a trait that all these individuals with positive self-esteem lacked. This is the trait called humility. Instead of understanding that all they were and all they had came from God, they actually believed they were the ones who were great. This was the attitude of the Corinthians who Paul asked, "what do you have that you did not receive?" (1 Corinthians 4:7). Paul was trying to get them to see that we have originated nothing from ourselves, but instead, have received everything from God. Paul went on to ask these arrogant boasters, "Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it?"
The humble realize that they are the creation of God and that they depend on Him for their continued existence. They understand that God holds their breath in His hand and owns all their ways (Daniel 5:23). The humble consider the works of God, the heavens, the moon, and stars, and instead of exalting self, are amazed that such a great God is mindful of man (Psalms 8:4). When the humble consider the fact that God has placed them over His Creation, instead of being filled with a high self-esteem, the humble praise God (Psalms 8:1, 9). When the humble studies himself and sees the magnificence of God's creative powers, and understands how he is "fearfully and wonderfully made", he knows full well that the praise belongs to Jehovah alone (Psalms 139:14).
The Bible speaks clearly on the idea of having a positive self-esteem. Instead of glorifying those who think highly of themselves, the Bible exposes their wicked arrogance and foolishness. We are warned not to be self-lovers who care for and exalt themselves. Glory belongs to our Creator, not to us. We are sinners saved by the grace and mercy of God. Our glory or boast is in the cross of our Lord, not in anything we are or have done (Gal. 6:14). Not even the angels in heaven praise themselves, but continually praise God, for He is the one worthy of honor.
The Bible never instructs us to develop a positive self-esteem. The Scriptures assume that everyone already cares for themselves. Jesus did not command us to learn to love ourselves so we could then learn to love others. He assumed that we already love ourselves and told us to go love others the same way (Matt. 22:39). Likewise, Paul did not teach husbands to learn to love themselves so they could then learn to love their wives. He taught husbands to love their wives like they already love themselves (Ephesians. 5:28). God created us to be concerned about ourselves. This is a part of our makeup we cannot deny. Even destructive behavior that is often attributed to a lack of self-esteem is, in reality, a manifestation of one's concern with self. When someone takes drugs, it is not because they hate themselves, but in reality are seeking pleasure for themselves or trying to escape their problems and give themselves some relief. Even when people commit suicide, they are thinking about themselves. They are seeking to escape from their problems and are not considering what their actions may do to others. Depression and anger also stem from a concern with self. These emotions may arise from feeling we should have known better than to do what we did, or believing we don't deserve what happened to us, or events that are affecting our lives that are beyond our control. No matter what the source of the feelings, the point of focus is the same, our concern is for ourselves. The Bible exhorts us to rise above ourselves and serve God and our fellow man. The Bible nowhere tells us to cultivate a high self-esteem, but there are many warnings for us to keep our self-esteem subdued and in control.
The Bible does not teach us to be self-deprecators who are always cutting ourselves down and deny the abilities with which God has blessed us. We are called to be self-forgetters who forget ourselves and our own glory. We are freed from being concerned with self and rise above the petty way of life in which the world is involved. Instead of being concerned with our worth and value, we seek the glory of Him who is worthy of praise, honor and glory. We have been redeemed from this vain manner of living in which we were once involved and now seek the glory of the One who created us by His mighty power and redeemed us with His own blood (2 Cor. 5:15, Gal. 2:20).
As long as our thoughts are wrapped up in ourselves so that we are concerned about our self-worth and self-esteem we will never rise above the narrow and shallow and paltry confines of our own existence. Our modern society may try to elevate positive self-esteem to be something noble and we can try to re-word it to make it sound better, but it is still an attempt to glorify sinners whose only hope is being saved by the grace of God. Instead of seeking our own glory, let us join the heavenly host saying, "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created" and "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!" (Rev 4:10-11, 5:12).
Also See Robert Schuller... the epitome of the wolf that Paul spoke about in Acts 20:29-30.
Schuller's gospel is the replacement of negative self-concepts with positive ones. To Schuller, sin is merely the lack of self esteem.
"What do I mean by sin? Answer: Any human condition or act that robs God of glory by stripping one of his children of their right to divine dignity. I could offer another complementing answer: Sin is that deep lack of trust that separates me from God and leaves me with a sense of shame and unworthiness. I can offer still another answer: Sin is any act or thought that robs myself or another human being of his or her self-esteem" (Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 14).
In a 10/5/84 letter to Christianity Today, Schuller wrote,
"I don't think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and hence counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition" (cf. Romans 1:18-3:20
In response to a question from Paul Crouch on Crouch's TBN 12/8/87 television show, concerning critic's claims that Schuller doesn't preach repentance, Schuller responded, "I preach repentance so positively, most people don't recognize it" (cf. Ezekiel 18:30-32). (If they don’t recognize it, How do they repent?)
Schuller said, "Jesus had an ego. He said, 'I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.' Wow, what an ego trip He was on!" (8/12/80 Phil Donahue Show)
"Jesus knew his worth, his success fed his self-esteem.... He suffered the cross to sanctify his self-esteem. And he bore the cross to sanctify your self-esteem. And the cross will sanctify the ego trip!" (Living Positively One Day at a Time, p.201)
Schuller once wrote: "I believe in positive thinking. It is almost as important as the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (Michael Nason and Donna Nason, Robert Schuller: The Inside Story, 1983, p. 152).
"And I can feel the self-esteem rising all around me and within me, 'Rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me' (John 7:38, TLB). I'll really feel good about myself" (Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, p. 80).
Robert Schuller has proudly said: "...what sets me apart from fundamentalists [is that they] are trying to convert everybody to believe how they believe. ... We know the things the major faiths can agree on. We try to focus on those without offending those with different view-points. ..." (3/23/89, USA Today).
Schuller said: "It's time for Protestants to go to the shepherd [Pope] and say 'what do we have to do to come home?'" (11/15/87,).
Schuller told Imam Alfred Mohammed of the Muslim American Society that "if he [Schuller] came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn't bother him. ..." (Source: 5/98, TBC.)
(CNN's 12/19/98 broadcast of "Larry King Live Weekend")
KING: What does the nation do with something like this? What would you say to people? It's a sad day.
SCHULLER: It's a sad day, and people are hurting, and they're hurting on all sides. What does this mean? A hurt internally is an indication that we have spiritual needs that we're not totally personally adequate to handle all alone, which means we all need God. We have to find God in our own way, God lives in people.
KING: But Democrats say they believe in God and Republicans say they believe in God ... and they're angry, and people are being hurt and we're meddling into lives.
SCHULLER: Which means we need -- we need Ramadan. We need Christmas. We need Hanukkah. This is the time of the year when all human beings should realize, leave us alone into our whims and fantasies and prejudices and hatreds and insecurities and fears and prejudices and we can be very mean people. People can be real mean. This is the time to come clean and be kind and civil.
(11/92 radio interview with Robert Schuller)
QUESTIONER: Would you be willing to address your congregation as a group as sinners?
SCHULLER: No I don't think I need to do that. ... My only concern is: I don't want to drive them farther away than they are! ... I do let people know how great their sins and miseries are. How do I do that? I don't do that by standing in a pulpit and telling them they're sinners. ... The way I do it is ask questions. Are you happy? Do you have problems, what are they? So then I come across as somebody who cares about them ... So the way I preach sin is by calling to attention what it does to them here and now, and their need for divine grace! ... I believe in heaven. I believe in hell. But I don't know what happens there. I don't take it literally that it's a fire that never stops burning.
QUESTIONER: How could the cross, as you write, "sanctify the ego trip," and make us proud, in the light of passages that say, "I hate pride and arrogance (Prov. 8:13), "Pride goes before destruction" (Prov. 16:18),"The Lord detests all the proud" (Prov. 16:5), "Do not be proud" (Rom. 12:16), "Love does not boast, it is not proud" (1 Cor. 13:4). In fact Paul warns Timothy that in the last days men "will be lovers of themselves" (2 Tim. 3:2). ... Why should we do anything to encourage people to become "lovers of themselves" if Paul in fact warned others that that would be the state of godlessness in the last days?
SCHULLER: I hope you don't [preach this] because you could do a lot of damage to a lot of beautiful people. ... if you preach that text, oh man, I sure hope you give it the kind of interpretation that I do or, I'll tell you, you'll drive them farther away and they'll be madder than hell at you and they'll turn the Bible off, and they'll switch you off, and they'll turn on the rock music and Madonna. Just because it's in the Bible doesn't mean you should preach it. ... it is so difficult to preach some of those texts and not come across as lacking humility