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: As Jesus said it was?
SCHULLER: Jesus was not literal.
QUESTIONER: Justified from what? The wrath of God?
SCHULLER: Oh! I'll never use that language.
QUESTIONER: But the Bible does.
SCHULLER: Yes, the Bible does, but the Bible is ... a contradiction: Old Testament -- Law, New Testament -- Grace. Jesus is a contradiction; totally human and totally God.
QUESTIONER: Of course we would say that the dual nature of Christ is a "mystery" but not a contradiction.
SCHULLER: It is a contradiction, but you know what? Contradictions are ultimate points of creativity...
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 ...