Fox News reported that Dr. Robert H. Schuller has died at the age of 88. Two years ago, the televangelist was diagnosed with a tumor in his esophagus that spread to his lymph nodes. He was at a skilled-nursing facility in Artesia, California. Prior to his death, he was in critical condition and was not expected to live through the Easter holiday.
Schuller was well known for being the visionary and founder of the Crystal Cathedral in Southern California. He has not been seen in recent years after having trouble with bankruptcy and the collapse of his beloved Crystal Cathedral.
He preached to thousands who once attended the Crystal Cathedral. Dr. Schuller’s messages were unlike most other televangelists. His messages were always positive and upbeat about faith and possibility thinking. He did not preach fire-and-brimstone condemnations or anything political. He often said he did not preach to convert or condemn people. Instead, he preached to encourage them in what he called “possibility thinking.” Critics accused him of blending Bible messages with psychology.
Dr. Schuller was one of the first televangelists after launching Hour of Power in 1970. He continued to preach on the program until 2010. He was viewed by millions on the broadcasts every Sunday from the 2,800-seat sanctuary of the Crystal Cathedral. In the 1990s, his preaching was seen by 20 million viewers in about 180 countries. He would often invite other religious leaders to preach on Hour of Power. Schuller wrote more than 30 books, and many of them were best sellers. In his books and his preaching, he focused on the themes of love, redemption, and living a peaceful life.
The Christian Post reported that the later years of Schuller’s life were tarnished by financial scandals after the Crystal Cathedral declared bankruptcy in 2010, with debts of more than $43 million. Dr. Schuller was forced to sell the iconic church building to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. The building was renamed Christ Cathedral, and the congregation was renamed Shepherd’s Grove. Today, that congregation is led by Bobby Schuller, the grandson of Dr. Schuller.
Schuller and his wife Arvella started their ministry in 1955 with $500. At that time, he preached from the roof of a concession stand at a drive-in movie theater southeast of Los Angeles.
After a brief illness, Arvella preceded her husband in death at the age of 84 on February 11, 2014. The Schullers had one son, Robert, and four daughters, Sheila, Jeanne, Carol and Gretchen.
[Image via Fox News]