Rev. VanBaren is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Loveland, Colorado.

Strange Bed-fellows!

Rev. Robert Schuller has a way of getting his name regularly in the press. Recently there has been reported an altercation which took place on a plane. But his association with people of every religion seems the more newsworthy—particularly because he is a minister in the Reformed Church in America. His statements made in connection with unusual visits are appalling. One wonders how any “Reformed” man could place himself in such a position. The Grand Rapids Press, September 1, 1997, reported:

One of the most visible American “televangelists,” the Rev. Robert Schuller, made a broad appeal for Christian-Muslim understanding Sunday, delivering a keynote address before a large gathering of American Muslims at the Meadowlands.

“What we really are trying to do is to show that America can accommodate the three Abrahamic religions,” said Imam Alfred Mohammed, of Elizabeth, NJ, who is involved in the annual convention of the Muslim American Society.

“I think it’s a major event in American religion, because of the fact that you’re seeing one of the leaders of a major school in Christianity reaching out to Muslim leaders.”

…Schuller, a graduate of Western Theological Seminary in Holland, also wields influence through his weekly “Hour of Power” TV program, which reaches 20 million viewers from his Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.

The cathedral houses an organization called Christians and Muslims for Peace, whose founder, Bill Baker, helped set up a meeting at the cathedral between Schuller and Mohammed last year.

“They spent two hours together,” said Michael Nason, a Schuller spokesman. “That was when he extended the invitation.” On that visit Schuller told Mohammed that if he came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslim, it wouldn’t bother him—so long as they weren’t atheists.

About two years earlier Schuller had attended a conference in Gabon, in west central Africa, where he encountered many Muslims, including Betty Shabazz, the widow of the slain Muslim leader, Malcolm X.

From that point until her death last month, Shabazz and Schuller were friends. “That is why he was invited by the family to the funeral,” Nason said.

What does Scripture declare? “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (II Cor. 6:14-15). He would not even be disturbed if his grandchildren became Muslims? But Schuller evidently places himself above Scripture. Nor could he support or encourage mission work among Jews or Muslims. One wonders what the Reformed Church in America thinks of all of this—or does it not care?

Schuller was to be found also at the funeral of Mother Teresa in India. He had her speak on his “Hour of Power” some years ago and claimed to be a great admirerer of her too. Darrell Maurina of the United Reformed Press Service reports:

This morning, Schuller participated in Mother Teresa’s own funeral as a member of the official United States delegation to the event in Calcutta, India. Schuller, a graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary who pastors the largest congregation in the 313,000-member Reformed Church in America, is a personal friend of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton who headed the United States delegation.

Schuller, whose “Hour of Power” television program counts over 20 million viewers worldwide, first met Mother Teresa in Mexico in 1989. The Roman Catholic nun, known worldwide as founder and head of the Missionaries of Charity order devoted to poverty relief among the “poorest of the poor” in India and eighty other countries, gave Schuller a prayer at that time that still hangs in his office.

“Be all and only for Jesus,” reads the prayer. “Let him use you without him having to consult you first.”

In a statement issued by Schuller’s press office, Schuller said Mother Teresa was the “first lady of the twentieth century.”

Mother Teresa “taught us that God has given us a responsibility to our brothers and sisters to look after and care for them,” said Schuller.

It appears that the Reformation also has no real importance in the eyes of Schuller. Whether Roman Catholic, Jew, or Muslim—all appear to have equal standing in the eyes of Schuller. Is he a preacher of the cross—or a deceiver of many?

Which Killing is Worse?

The Denver Post, September 13, 1997, reports on a bizarre incident—but one which gives pause for serious thought. The account is of three high school students who cruelly killed many cats and injured others.

They are accused of driving off, first to pick up two baseball bats and then to sneak into a certain white house with blue trim at the edge of town—a haven for strays founded by a couple who had moved to central Iowa from Los Angeles.

The next morning, the shelter’s driveway resembled a triage site, an animal M.A.S.H. Veterinarians sorted through the bashed and bloodied, deciding which to treat on the spot and which to rush off for the hour’s drive to care at Iowa State University.

…As a November trial looms, Morrissey’s office has filed thousands of letters and printouts of e-mail from all over the globe into a cache of cardboard boxes.

Nearly every missive clamors for prison for Lamansky and Myers, who have pleaded not guilty. The writers quote the Bible and Gandhi, and refer darkly to serial killers Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Send a message, they urge, that beating animals to death is a serious crime. “I hope some judge doesn’t order community service,” wrote Rita… of Cleveland. “I pray they get the max!”

It is, of course, a horrible crime—and another indication of the “moral meltdown” in our society today. But is it any wonder? When unborn babes can be ripped from their mothers’ wombs, cruelly destroyed, a million and a half annually in our country, is it any wonder that children grow up placing little or no value on life—of animal or of man? One wonders, too, if those raising a hue and cry for a good prison sentence for these young people, cry equally insistently for the punishment of the abortionist? Terrible though the crime of these high school students was, it is hardly equal to the killing of the unborn!

Great Divorce Cover-up Exposed

In a striking article, Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, writes of the “great divorce cover-up finally exposed.” The report is appalling and the conclusion correct.

The biggest cover-up in the last quarter-century has nothing to do with Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton or even politics. It has been the cover-up about the impact divorce has had on a generation of children. Now, that cover has been blown by the release of a lengthy study of middle- and upper-middle-class families from Marin County, Calif., by psychologist and divorce research expert Judith Wallerstein and Julia Lewis, a psychology professor at San Francisco State University.

The folks who gave us “no-fault” divorce and tried to persuade us that it mattered not how we lived, only that we be “happy,” have inflicted profound unhappiness on countless children abandoned by their parents.

The report, the result of a 25-year study, traces the effect divorce has had on 60 families, including 26 very young lives—children aged 2 to 5 when their parents broke up. Wallerstein and Lewis show that far from just the initial impact on children, which fades with time, divorce is a cumulative experience that produces stark emotional scars and shapes the attitudes, behavior and relationships of the children of divorce unto adulthood.

Half of those studied became seriously involved with drugs and alcohol. Many of the children, especially the girls, became sexually active early in adolescence. Though many fathers held degrees in professions that allowed them to make a good living, not one father provided full financial support for his child’s college education and one-fourth stopped sending any financial help after the children turned 18.

…The major media and various interest groups were telling us that divorce is normal and that few are profoundly affected for lengthy periods when their parents split. If ever there was a case of denial, this was it. Many who wanted us to be “sensitive” about the feelings of other categories of humanity (and the animal and plant kingdom) were far less con

cerned about the impact of the “divorce culture”…. Children in single-parent families are six times as likely to be poor, she notes. And children of divorce are two to three times as likely as those in two-parent homes to have emotional and behavioral problems. But who cares in a culture that promotes personal and instant “happiness” as the only goal worthy of pursuit?

That attitude has melted much of the glue that held our society together. Some still deny divorce is a catastrophe because many cannot stand to face the reality and consequences of what they’ve done to themselves, their children and their nation.

If the report by Wallerstein and Lewis had been about business rather than family, the children of divorce would have the right to file a class-action suit—citing breach of contract by their parents.

Amen!! But above all, God’s Word forbids divorce. To break up what God designed to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church will bring consequences not only upon the parents, but upon their children and children’s children. Those consequences we see on every hand in our society today.