Crystal Cathedral Bankruptcy: Critics Question Whether Close is Inevitable

Crystal Cathedral’s fundraising initiative to save the iconic glass church from sale has fallen short of its $50 million goal, and people have now started questioning whether the Cathedral’s close is inevitable.

It was reported last month that the congregation raised only $4,737 in their Miracle Faith Offering drive, with $50 million needed to keep hold of the church.

The figure reflects donor contributions accumulated as of Aug. 31, the Orange County Register reported. Marc Winthrop, the attorney representing Crystal Cathedral, has stated that another progress report would be revealed this week.

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Officials at Crystal Cathedral have until Oct. 31 to come up with the $50 million owed in debts or risk losing the church to a Catholic archdiocese or another prospective buyer.

Moderators of the official "Hour of Power" Facebook page have asked supporters to sign up for "24/7 Prayers" – an effort to seek "God's miracle that will save Crystal Cathedral."

"Crystal Cathedral is now being prayed for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," the message on the California megachurch’s Facebook page declared. "Thank you to all our friends around the world who are praying for God's miracle that will save Crystal Cathedral."

The 24/7 Prayer initiative is an added attempt to prevent the sale of the Garden Grove, Calif., church.

Almost 400 creditors received a timeline to vote on the sale plan for the megachurch, which has already attracted several offers – the highest bid coming from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange for $53.6 million.

Crystal Cathedral administrators and the committee of creditors have until Oct. 31 to decide on an actual buyer.

Word of the Cathedral’s looming bankruptcy sale has sparked an online debate about the “evils” of megachurches and whether the Crystal Cathedral deserves to be shutdown.

“Maybe if they had actually done God’s Work, and stayed true the Word of God and did not stray into man’s theology and a man centered teaching just maybe they would not be in the position. But then again, look at their ‘church,’” David Roush wrote.

Roush added, “This Crystal Cathedral is built not unto God and His ways but it is built to the arrogance of man, to man’s pride. Look at the expense it took to build and to maintain this structure. They have not been doing God’s work but they have worked against GOD. They reap what they have sown.”

Another reader shared similar sentiments saying, “When God shuts things down, He shuts them down. When He wants them to grow they will grow.”

“I am reminded of the scripture that says one sows, one waters, but it is God that makes it grow. Looks like He has made a decision about this particular garden,” added Cynthia on a blog post regarding the church’s fundraising shortfall.

Scott Sanderson countered that regardless of the “megachurches are evil trope, it is still sad when a church closes.”

“No church is perfect. Some did receive blessings at Crystal. In Europe great cathedrals, are now museums or apartments, as churches have fallen into the margins. Perhaps they were consumed with greed, still, that does not deny good that had been done. I hope we aren't engaging in schadenfreude," Sanderson stated.

Another reader, Pamela Tomashek defended the Cathedral’s founder, Dr. Robert H. Schuller.

“Dr. Schuller’s faith-walk thru this scandal has been an inspiration to me. He has been my pastor for 22 years, and he is the most generous man I have ever known. He gave 100% of the proceeds of his books to the Crystal Cathedral. That is the pastor I know. His life belongs to God.”

Tomashek added, “Trials and recessions affect the righteous and the evil, both.”

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