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Manufactured controversy over Crystal Cathedral’s choir covenant?

by Brad A. Greenberg

March 19, 2011 | 12:35 pm

Crystal Cathedral got a lot of negative attention this week for having required choir members to sign a statement saying God intends sex only for married heterosexuals. Here’s what the Los Angeles Times reported:

“Crystal Cathedral ministries believes that it is important to teach and model the biblical view,” reads the paragraph in the Crystal Cathedral Worship Choir and Worship Team Covenant that has raised the ire of some choir members. “I understand that Crystal Cathedral Ministries teaches that sexual intimacy is intended by God to only be within the bonds of marriage, between one man and one woman.”

In a statement Tuesday, Senior Pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman said the covenant is meant to clarify expectations placed on choir members as ministry leaders. But she also offered an apology.

“The church of Jesus Christ at large is grappling with the challenge of reconciling love and adherence to God’s word, even those passages that challenge us,” she said. “As the church has been engaging in this sensitive dialogue, people that we care for deeply have been hurt. We are sincerely sorry.”

I don’t really see what all the fuss is about. This is not like the loyalty oaths that UC professors had to sign in the late ‘40s and ‘50s. Everyone knows that the Orange Church megachurch, which has its roots in the Reform Church in America, believes that God condones neither premarital sex nor homosexual acts.

Still, the Crystal Cathedral’s founder, the Rev. Robert Schuller, who retired a few years back, said he would not have approved of a covenant with the choir members. He did, however, emphasize that the covenant’s statement on homosexuality was in step with the church’s beliefs.

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