The Promise Keepers' Objective
Appendix 1: An Earlier Report on Promise Keepers
following report was prepared in the late spring of 1986, and complements
quite well the preceding portion of this book. This data could have been
combined with that which preceded it, but it was felt the clear impact of
the latest findings about Promise Keepers' ecumenical, Catholic, and
Charismatic connections would have been weakened by so doing.
here, in concise format, is this additional information on Promise
Popovich, pastor of the Rapid City, South Dakota, Church of the Nazarene,
Keepers is the best hope for a Holy Ghost revival in America!"-Rapid
City Journal, April 22, 1995. Head of the local chapter of Promise Keepers
International, he gives its promotion all his spare time.
not underestimate Promise Keepers. Careful observers of the religious
scene declare it to be the first time, since the days of John the
Revelator (A.D. 95), that one organization has successfully bridged the
gap between nearly all forms of Christianity, won them over to its side,
and actively obtained their full cooperation!
Protestants of nearly all types, Catholics, Pentecostals, and even Mormons
are jumping on board. Yes, and even Seventh-day Adventist churches, as
is the story of Promise Keepers, an organization to keep your eye on. It
could become a key means of bringing all the churches together, and
binding them in the bundle, in preparation for the National Sunday Law
year was 1990. Bill McCartney, well-known head football couch at
University of Colorado, was driving from Denver to Pueblo, Colorado, to
speak at a luncheon. McCartney expressed his concern to see some kind of
organization started, which could get men into more active rolls at home
the luncheon, he noticed that some fathers had attended with their sons,
and he wondered how he could get men meeting together in their own
attends the Boulder Valley, Colorado, Vineyard Church, which has some
unusual teachings about how individuals can obtain special revelations
from God. A few weeks afterward, McCartney got several men together and
came up with the basic idea for Promise Keepers. They believed it was a
special revelation from Heaven.
Ryle, pastor of the church, recommended Randy Phillips, another Vineyard
member, as the one to head the new organization. He has been its
president ever since.
growth of Promise Keepers has been astounding. The first conference was
held at a stadium in Boulder, Colorado, in 1991.
figure jumped to 22.000 men at the next conference, in 1992. In 1993,
50,000 men attended Promise Keepers' conferences. In 1994, the number was
300,000 men at seven conferences..
1995, the figure swelled to 750,000.
one of the many conferences scheduled for 1996 will be at the JFK
Stadium, in Washington, D.C. In connection with this, a million men are
supposed to gather by the Washington Monument.
day, Promise Keepers receives about 20,000 phone calls and about 11,000
pieces of mail. The organization has over 120 fulltime workers.
is declared that this is the work of the Holy Spirit, and that it will
result in the eventual conversion of the world. Soon, Phillips says, most
everyone will be going to church on Sunday.
A PROMISE KEEPERS' CONFERENCE
is a Promise Keepers' meeting like? Announcements have been mailed out to
local churches throughout the region. An immense stadium is rented for a
day or two. Gradually, the stadium fills to overflowing.
several large beach balls are tossed in (probably by the Promise Keepers'
management), and the men play at socking them around the stadium. Soon
yells begin, as one side screams at the other, "We love Jesus; do you
love Him too?" All over the playing field, more chairs are packed
full. Then, men arise in one area and, with arms raised, shout. Several
waves travel through the stands and across the central seating.
a low rumble is heard. Could a thunderstorm be approaching? Everyone
begins quieting down, listening. The sound grows steadily louder. Then men
realize it is coming from the loud speakers. Louder and louder it becomes.
this point, immense screens, strategically placed, light up-and a
gigantic jet plane is shown, taking off in a thunder of noise.
that moment, standing at the central podium, an announcer shouts a welcome
to all. "We welcome you to the flight for restored manhood!"
of approval come from all over the stadium.
men have been emotionally prepared. Excitement and screaming, such as you
would find at an NFL football game, has brought everyone to a fever
pitch. Now they are ready to listen closely and accept all that follows.
Promise Keepers' stadium conference has begun.
what really is Promise Keepers? What is its objective? What are its teachings?
Here are some facts you will want to consider and share with others:
WHO PROMOTES IT?
strong recommendations of leading Christian speakers, such as Gary
Smalley, Bill Bright, and James Dobson, have given Promise Keepers a
them, Dobson, whose organization, Focus on the Family headquartered in
nearby Colorado Springs, Colorado, has led out in urging his millions of
radio listeners and supporters to fill those stadiums. Since about 70
percent of his listeners are women, they urge their husbands to attend the
and away, it is the women of America who are getting those stadiums
filled. They get their husbands and sons to go. But, as you will learn,
they do 'not realize what they are sending them to.
pastors of America's churches are promoting Promise Keepers just as
strongly. It is significant that over 60,000 pastors have attended the
conferences. Pastors are highly respected, and those attending the
conferences are told to trust their pastors and do whatever their pastors
most stadium gatherings, the pastors are asked to come forward to the
podium for consecration: and, as they do so, the men are told that, when
they return home, they must obey their pastors. The comment is made that
only the pastors know how to rightly interpret the Word of God.
by church members who attend with them, few pastors dare not go forward
for the consecration service to the cause of Promise Keepers.
the women and pastors on board is part of the strategy; getting the men is
men are told that they can elect to be either Point Men or Ambassadors.
stadium conferences actually have three direct objectives: (1) Get the men
to go back home and begin working with their pastors. (2) Motivate them
to become Point Men or Ambassadors. (3) Get men's meetings started in the
local churches, where Promise Keepers' books are studied.
man who agrees to become a "Point Man" has the assignment of
winning his local church over to full support of Promise Keepers. They
keep everyone in their own congregation posted on forthcoming conferences,
training seminars, and printed and taped instructional material.
do all that, plus more. They must also visit neighboring churches and pastors
and win them over to Promise Keepers. In addition, it is their job to
recruit additional Point Men. The plan is to fill all the churches with
Point Men. Ambassadors, and men's groups studying recommended Promise Keepers'
addition to planning for smaller local conferences, the Point Men and
Ambassadors are told to, whenever possible, start these men's meetings in
each home church.
has been said, with good reason, that the local men's groups, conducted by
Promise Keepers, are more dangerous than the stadium conferences are.
You are about to learn why.
WHAT ARE THEIR PUBLICATIONS?
Keepers does not have its own publishing house, but instead prints through
other publishers-primarily Focus on the Family and NavPress, both based
in Colorado, where Promise Keepers' headquarters is.
magazine is called New Man. and is published by Strang Communications, the
publishers of Charisma magazine.
three of these publishers are heavy on "Christian psychology"
and "counseling techniques.
key problem with Promise Keepers is that it is so eclectic that it
recommends a variety of teachings, many of which are very unusual.
to date, not once has Promise Keepers decided to back down from a
previously recommended doctrine or publication. As far as the Promise
Keepers' leadership is concerned, many different things can be taught and
officially sponsored by the organization.
by Robert Hicks are especially valued by Promise Keepers. He is
co-founder of Life Counseling Services, in the suburbs of Philadelphia,
and is professor of pastoral theology at the Seminary in the East. He is
a counselor and frequent speaker on traumatic stress, inner healing, and
similar psychological issues. Although highly recommended by Promise
Keepers, his books contain very strange teachings.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THESE TEACHINGS?
will be amazed when you learn some of the teachings and practices of
Promise Keepers. Here is a brief overview:
key factor to the success of Promise Keepers is its ecumenical spirit.
Everyone is regarded as a fellow Christian, regardless of beliefs or
practices. All they have to do is declare that they are Christians, and
that is enough for Promise Keepers.
one is to be reproved; no type of perversion is to be rejected as
unchristian. This theme runs through much of what you will read below.
OBEY THE PASTOR AND UNITE THE CHURCHES
that comes to Promise Keepers is told to go back to his own church. obey
his pastor, and do all he can to build up his church. It matters not that
the pastor may be teaching error. If all concerned declare themselves as
followers of Jesus, that is all that counts.
of the core values of Promise Keepers is honoring the pastors and priests
of our local congregations." -Geoff Gorsuch with Dan Schaffer,
Brothers! Calling Men into Vital Relationships, Promise Keepers. p. 10.
Keepers doesn't care if you're Pentecostal. Do you love Jesus; are you
born of the Spirit of God? Promise Keepers doesn't care if you are
Catholic. Do you love Jesus; are you born of the Spirit of
words were shouted out by founder Bill McCartney at one of the
conferences. After running through a list of white, black, etc., when he
got down to Catholic, there was great applause. Many Catholics are now
attending Promise Keepers.
will say that this is good. It is good -if Promise Keepers tries to bring
those Catholics into the truth of Christianity. But instead, they are
being sent back to "obey their pastor, energize their church, and
make Point Men and Ambassadors."
you know that the Roman Catholic Church, through its bishops, has given
its approval to Promise Keepers? Surely, if the pope and the priests are
not afraid to send Catholic men to a Promise Keepers' meeting, then why
would you want to go there? Promise Keepers makes sure that nothing will
be taught there which will violate Catholic doctrine or practice.
Keepers place a very strong emphasis on returning to your own church
congregation or parish and becoming an active layman." Priest Van
Liefde, of St. Hilary Catholic Church,
Rivera, California, quoted in Los Angeles Times, May 6, 1995.
statement followed a careful investigation of Promise Keepers and its
conferences by Van Liefde, who did so on behalf of the Catholic hierarchy
in southern California. He was assigned to this task by Cardinal Roger
Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles.
are already instances in which Catholic parishes are holding Promise Keepers'
meetings for churches in their area. Attended by men and pastors from
various denominations, the speakers are Catholic priests! Promise Keepers
is doing its part to bring the churches together! It is working feverously
to this end.
to the May 5-6, 1995, Promise Keepers' conference at the Los Angeles
Coliseum, the official newspaper of the Los Angeles Archdiocese printed
a full-page article urging its people to send their men to the conference.
this statement from that article: "Promise Keepers is a basic program
of evangelization for men of faith, begun among more fundamentalist and
evangelical Christian communities, but now being expanded to include
Catholic congregations." -Mike Nelson, "Promise Keepers
Promises Spiritual Renewal for Men," The Tidings, March 31.1995, p.
that same article, Van Liefde was quoted as saying: "There is no
attempt at proselytizing or drawing men away from their faith to another
Liefde comments on how successfully this helps bring more money into
Catholic Church coffers. "One of the primary promises of the program
is to return to one's local church and become a force for good in the
local community. Another is the commitment in financial support of one's
local church. The men are challenged to give generously of their time,
treasure and talent to their local church." -Ibid.
faithful Catholic layman, who attended the Promise Keepers' conference in
Anaheim in 1994, was quoted as saying that it produced a strong sense of
unity among all the denominations in attendance.
this weekend, something happened there of great importance-54,000 men,
gathered to lift up their voices in a spirit of unity and began to glorify
these conferences, Catholic laymen are being encouraged to sponsor
regional Promise Keepers' meetings in Catholic churches. Men from a
variety of denominations are urged by their own Point Men and Ambassadors
to attend them. The get-together spirit is overwhelming normal cautions.
Covenant is the name of a leading Roman Catholic charismatic magazine.
These people believe in both Catholicism and tongues! Yet, in its April
1995 issue (in the article, "Bands of Brothers"), Bob Harvey
says Promise Keepers is the great hope of Christians everywhere for
bringing men back into the churches.
basic charter document of Promise Keepers is the "Seven Promises of
Promise Keepers. .. There is nothing about obeying the Ten Commandments
there; but, instead, each man is required to take an oath accepting this
list of rules.
is Promise #6:
Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and
denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity."
ecumenism and tolerance toward, and acceptance of, all other religious
organizations is an integral part of belonging to Promise Keepers.
FOUNDED BY FORMER CATHOLICS
is an intriguing fact that the top leaders of Promise Keepers are former
Roman Catholics. This includes Bill McCartney (founder) and Randy
Phillips (president). Some have wondered whether Promise Keepers is a
fifth column organization, intended to bring the churches back to Rome.
Whether or not that is true, Rome seems to be very pleased with the
progress of the organization.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is beginning to accept Promise
Keepers as an organization to which they can send their men.
movement's 'Seven Promises' are like something straight out of the men's
priesthood manual for the church,' states Mormon attorney Chip Rawlings,
who indicated that several Mormon leaders would be attending the Los
Angeles Promise Keepers' conference."-John Dart, "Promise
Keepers. a Message to L.A. Men, " Los Angeles Times, May 6, 1995, p.
can the leaders of Promise Keepers give the right hand of fellowship to
people who believe that Jesus is (1) Satan's brother, (2) the offspring of
literal intercourse by God with Mary, and (3) a man who, like His Father,
happened to attain godhood.
understand, gays are not welcomed in order to convert them to Christianity
and take them out of their sins. They are welcomed to the conferences as
brothers; no questions asked, other than whether they accept Jesus. Yet it
is well-known that hardened gays believe God approves of their conduct.
Those who attend the conferences are told to go back to their gay churches
and obey their pastors! A leading book promoted by Promise Keepers is
The Masculine Journey, by Robert Hicks. After mentioning that Catholic
priests are all truly converted, he makes this comment about gays,
Communists, New Agers, etc.:
don't get me wrong, I haven't become Catholic, or a Marxist, or gay. I
don't condone Marxist politics or homosexual behavior. But I have learned
that the way to look at God or the world is not necessarily through the
lens or categories I currently believe are the correct ones. The labels
don't matter all that much, whether they be Communist, Democrat, New Age,
feminist, fundamentalist, or hookers-married -to cross dressing
think I now see the world and people differently because I try to look
beyond the labels to the person, his unique situation, station, and needs.
I fail often and get hooked back into my old responses, but now I
consciously recognize that pattern for what it is. I believe this is the
way Jesus related to people."-Robert Hlcks, The Masculine Journey:
Understanding the Six Stages of Manhood, NavPress, pp. 133-134.
is astonishing that such anti-Christian sentiments could be recommended
and sold by Promise Keepers. Hicks relegates the teachings of the Bible
to merely "the lens or categories I currently believe are the
correct ones." Then he goes on to say that those views have since
changed to far more liberal ones, which condone sin of all kinds.
another book, Hicks recommends a New Age statement to the men as a motto
to live by:
the journey inwards
him who has chosen his Destiny."-Dag Hammarskjold, UN. Secretary
General, quoted in Robert Hicks, Masculine Journey, p. 13.
PASTORS, THE ONLY TEACHERS
cannot rightly divide the Word of truth. We need you to teach
us."-1993 Portland Conference. In front of the assembled thousands
of men, this is what the pastors are told as they come up front for
dedication to the principles of Promise Keepers.
men are told not to try to figure out the meaning of the Bible; they are
to trust and obey their pastors.
related concept is that of "male bond mg." Every promise
keeper must have another man to emotionally attach to, or he cannot
succeed in his spiritual1lfe.
ACCOUNTABILITY TO MEN
basic assumption of Promise Keepers is that only human beings can help us
live better lives. Promise Keepers calls this "Covenantalism."
Men must have emotional attachments to men in order to successfully meet
the challenges of life.
man must be accountable to some other man for his thoughts and actions.
Sounds like the Roman Catholic confessional! More on this just below.
is Promise #2 of the Seven Promises of Promise Keepers:
Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few
other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his
is the idea that a man cannot remain a Christian unless he has placed
himself under the direction and rule of another man. Every man must have
an older "mentor" which he must submit to as his spiritual
concept is essentially the same as the Jesuit concept of "Spiritual
Formation, " which the present author wrote about recently. The
concept, spreading from Catholicism into Protestantism, teaches that
every Christian needs another Christian he can regularly visit, confess
to, and receive spiritual directions from. In Promise Keepers literature,
"mentoring" is also called "discipline" and
to this teaching, every man must be accountable to his mentor for his
finances, his sexual life, and his relationship with God. Can you see an
oddity here? Wives send their husbands to Promise Keepers' conferences,
so they will return home more attached to them. Yet Promise Keepers
teaches the men, instead, to form emotionally dependent attachments to
the context of covenant relationships, a man willingly grants other men
the right to inquire about his relationship to God, his commitment to
his family, his sexuality, and his financial dealings. Together they
form a team that is committed to advance God's kingdom." Promise
Keepers Workbook: Seize the Moment.
the wife thought her husband would better handle money when he returned
home or that he would be more cooperative with her more sensible monthly
budgeting. But no, instead he is taught to turn over his family budget
to some other man she hardly knows!
is not a topic to be discussed publicly, but the Promise Keepers men's
study groups in the local churches are doing it all the time. So their
wives ought to know what is going on.
the warning will help some others avoid Promise Keepers before they get
caught in something like this.
Keepers wants each man to tell his past sins to a group of other men while
no one reproves or corrects anything that is said. Also, no one is to say,
"We've gone far enough with this thing: lets change the
subject!" This is voyeurism: Everyone is enjoying the retelling of
sexual tales, yet nothing worthwhile results. Indeed, in such a setting,
nothing good can result.
can understand that there might be times when a person needs to pray with
a Christian friend. But why would he want to unfold his past life to a
bunch of men? Is this some kind of cheap thrill?
is what it says in the Promise Keepers' manual:
first job of men's small groups is to learn complete acceptance: no
judgment, no 'I told you so' or 'you should have known better.' No hidden
agendas! I'm not out to change you and you're not out to change me."
--Geoff Gorsuch with Dan Schaffer, Calling Men into Vital Relationships,
are some of the things that men, obedient to Promise Keepers, are told
to talk about?
order to get the sordid conversations started, the Promise Keepers mens
groups are instructed to playa game, called "People Bingo. "
Each square on the bingo board contains a certain trait or type of
experience. The conversation goes around the circle, and each man is asked
to tell something about this trait in their own lives.
draw them out, questions such as these may be asked: "Have you been
arrested at least once?"
you wearing boxer shorts or bikini briefs?"
a recent quarrel with your wife hurt you emotionally?"
you abused or neglected by your father?"
you have a circumcision, vasectomy, or prostate operation ?"
what value are such questions to a person in becoming a dedicated, pure,
follower of Christ Jesus? There is nothing Biblical about such meetings!
They are an offense to God and detrimental to the souls of men who take
part. Frankly, they are not Christian gatherings! A morbid desire to
think about the sex organs seems to prevail. What a pattern of thinking to
fall into! This is not a Christian meeting!
other recommended books, the "phallic male" is discussed as the
ideal male Christian. In the "phallic male" chapter of one
such book (a Promise Keepers' group study guide), the group leader is told
how to get the men to open up and tell their deepest sexual experiences,
including their sexual fantasies:
to the leader: If the men in your group are likely to have difficulty
talking vulnerably and emphatically with each other about their sex lives,
then stop and talk about why you are having that difficulty."
-Robert Hicks and Dietrich Gruen, Study Guide to the Masculine Journey,
other words, if some of the men attending a night's meeting are still
Christians when they arrive, the group leader must try to break down their
resolves, so they will also start reveling in sex stories.
the next page of the study guide, under the title, "Exploring the
Issues with Other Men," several check-off questions are listed, to
get the men talking about many things which they should not discuss in
culture has presented many initiation rites, or passages to manhood, that
are associated with the phallus. Which ones have you experienced?
you have a story to share with other men about one such event?" -Op.
cit., p. 33.
eight "experiences" are mentioned, for the men to savor as they
are discussed among themselves. The ears of their wives would burn, if
they knew what Promise Keepers had led their husbands into:
- When I was potty trained and stopped wetting the bed.
- Pubic hair and growth.
- An unfortunate experience with pornography.
- My first dating experience.
- My first really embarrassing moment with a girl.
- The wedding night.
- Conceiving my first child.
guarantee that if any Christian woman would read the above lines, she
would make sure her husband did not become involved with Promise Keepers!
many wives would want their husbands talking about such things to the
other men who attend their local church-or to any men anywhere?
THE PHALLIC MAN
another recommended book about the "phallic male," Masculine
Journey, Hicks says that men must be "phallic men" in order to
properly serve Christ! This is incredible! Men must be preoccupied with
their private parts in order to be good Christians. What trash!
Promise Keepers has repeatedly defended this book by Hicks and refuses
to stop recommending and selling it, encouraging group leaders to use it,
and requiring Point Men and Ambassadors to promote its reading.
says Jesus was a phallic man, and that He battled with -temptations to
adultery and homosexuality (Masculine Journey, p. 181).
peculiar book is the basis for one of the Promise Keepers' study
guidebooks for groups! Men in Promise Keepers are supposed to carefully
read through that book together!
RESTORING MEN -THE WARRIOR CLASS
ridiculous idea is part of the Promise Keepers' diet that is fed to those
who attend its meetings. The men are told that "male bonding" is
needed to restore them to the warrior class.
the Charismatic Catholic article, quoted earlier, Bob Harvey said that
Promise Keepers was helping to successfully restore men's identities as
members of the warrior class.
this is supposed to make men better Christians. But it sounds like
something designed to appeal to their vanity.
writings of Promise Keepers is heavily into psychological concepts and
practices. Emphasis is placed on coming to Jesus for comfort-not
forgiveness of sin. Obedience to the Bible is downplayed; obedience to
fellow human beings is urged. Psychological counseling is recommended.
is an example of this thinking, which teaches that it is after we
"feel better about ourselves as men" that we are ready to accept
and love God: "We men who struggle with guilt, pride, or apathy are
prodigal sons. The father is God. We need to experience the same kind of
fatherly love and forgiveness in order to feel better about ourselves as
men. When we do, we'll want to commit ourselves to love God and to share
His love with others. "-William Gaultiere, What Makes a Man?" in
Twelve Promises that Will Change Your Life, p. 31. [Like several other
recommended books, different authors wrote the chapters.]
Keepers encourages its men to go for psychological counseling: "Do
you have problems that are ruining your relationships? I strongly urge you
to consider taking counseling. . If you had a painful childhood and it
controls your life each and every day, get help! "-Don Osgood, in
Twelve Promises that Will Change Your Life, p. 97.
Keepers' books, which consist of a variety of psychological concepts,
include those by Robert Hicks, Gary Smalley, John Trent, James Dobson, Bob
Beltz, and others.
to current psychological theory, everyone has a "little child"
within himself. By regressive therapy and similar devices, we must return
and find him. Hicks says we must also talk to him regularly! But, in
trying to make contact with this so-called "inner child," you
might be communicating with a demon.
search for the "inner child" forms the basis for both Freudian
and Ericksonian psychology and hypnosis. Here is a passage from one of
the Promise Keepers' recommended books:
concept of the inner child is not new, but it has become increasingly
popular. From Freud to Erickson, Homey and Sullivan, all have talked much
about the child within. The child within is the real or true self who has
never had the freedom to develop properly. It is the part of us that is
ultimately alive, energetic, creative, and fulfilled but that has been put
down by parents, institutions, education, religion, politics, the media,
or significant early-childhood trauma. The theoretical aspects of the
concept are sound. .
therapeutic techniques that have been found to be helpful are those John
Bradshaw has popularized. In order to 'heal the shame that binds,' he
encourages the victim to heal the memories by reestablishing contact with
the child within, even talking to it." -Robert Hicks, Failure to
Scream. pp. 155-156.
foolishness! This imagined "little child within" is said to be
weak and frail from being "put down," yet at the same time it is
supposed to be the only energetic, creative, part of the person. Yet this
myth is used as the reason for making contact with spirits.
is positively dangerous to read Promise Keepers' books.
earlier noted a statement by Gaultiere, in which he said that we could not
accept and love God, until we first "feel better about ourselves as
men." Smalley and Trent, writing in the Promise Keepers' book, What
Makes a Man? said this: "The degree of self-control you have in your
life is in direct proportion to the degree of acceptance you have for
yourself. Put another way, if you don't value yourself, you won't 'pull in
the reins' on actions and attitudes that will affect you for the
worse."-Gary Smalley and John Trent, in What Makes a Man? pp. 44-45.
CONTACTING THE SPIRITS
earlier mentioned the quoted recommendation that each man should
regularly talk to his "inner child." Hicks also says frankly
that we must talk to inner spirits as well-before we can have healing from
our problems. According to this Promise Keepers' recommended book, you
need to talk to the spirits if you ever want to improve your way of life.
am convinced more than ever that when we talk about healing, we are
talking about something that is very mysterious, if not mystical. It is
the human spirit that has been wounded in trauma. To facilitate healing in
the deepest parts of the unconscious as well as the conscious, we must
make contact with this spirit. It takes a spirit to make contact with a
spirit." -Robert Hicks, Failure to Scream, p. 166.
is not contacting inner spirits that is needed in order to get rid of sin;
it is coming to Christ in forgiveness, and, in His strength, obeying the
Word of God.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS' METHODS
methods used by Alcoholics Anonymous to solve problems -do not even acknowledge
that the God of Christians even exists, much less naming the name of
Christ or calling on Him for forgiveness and help. The AA simply uses
group friendship and belief in some kind of "higher power." In
the Promise Keepers' book, Daily Disciplines for the Christian Man, Bob
Beltz says that promise-keeping men should use AA methods to solve their
page 9 of that book, he explains that a man cannot conquer his problem
until he calls it a "disease:' But sin is not a disease; it is
disobedience to the Ten Commandments.
THE PROMISE KEEPERS' CONFESSIONAL
explains that it is telling our problems to other people that enables us
to get rid of them. This is worldly psychology in the extreme. Frankly,
it is equivalent to the Roman Catholic confessional. Hicks agrees:
recovery movement, beginning with Alcoholics Anonymous, has created a
climate that is needed for healing to take place. Support groups have been
successful because they create a climate in which any emotion or
statement can be aired without critical evaluation. What is created is an
atmosphere of gracious acceptance. What the Catholic Church. . has known
for centuries is now being used by almost all therapists in their
support groups. Healing takes place when we hear others reveal their
hurts, sins, and struggles and when we reveal our own in a context of
acceptance and affirmation." -Robert Hicks, Failure to Scream, pp.
the above statement, Hicks says that it is when we accept our faults that
we have conquered them. He says that then we have healing.
there is no mention of eliminating the problem or no longer indulging in
it. He does not even call it "sin."
PERMISSIVENESS OF SIN
one of the chapters of the book, Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, Gary
Smalley writes about a 19-year-old boy who returns on vacation from
college, with an earring in one ear. His mother is horrified, but he tells
her he could not get on the swim team without piercing his ear and
putting one on. Recognizing the symbol as the homosexual badge inviting
contacts, she fears what the father may say when he arrives home from
as Smalley continues on with his little story, the father enters and is
not upset in the least. He says the boy can do as he pleases, and that he,
the father, when he was younger did not always do right; so that makes it
okay for his son to err.
concludes by praising the father for his toleration, and he says that all
fathers reading this book should do the same thing when they find their
children are doing wrong (pp. l05-l06).
Keepers calls this "sensitivity training," not sensitivity to
discern sin and put it away, but sensitivity to make light of it, in order
to soothe feelings. "Conflict resolution" is considered more
important than defending moral principles. This is to be done, not be
adhering to Scripture, but by "sensitive intuitiveness, "
"listening skills, " and being alert to "unconscious
signs" and "dysfunctional problems, " in order to enhance
"meaningful relationships." The men are to be "non-confrontive,
" and they are told that Jesus was non-confrontive also.
is reduced to modern psychology. Sin is no longer sinful; it is just a
"rite of passage" to more sins, which should also be tolerated.
of jumping all over teenagers when they have their first experience with
the police, alcohol, sex, or drugs, we could look on this as a teachable
moment and a rite of passage. Perhaps the true elders could come forward
and confess their own adolescent sins, and congratulate the next
generation for being human. Then they could move on to the all-important
issues of forgiveness and restoration, but on common ground with the young
person, as a fellow sinner!" -Robert Hicks with Dietrich Gruen,
Study Guide to the Masculine Journey, p. 32.
you go to Promise Keepers, you may be expecting one thing, but the end
result may not turn out as well as you had hoped. You would do better to
go to God, open the Bible, and pray as though your heart would break till
you find forgiveness, acceptance, and peace with Him.
this paper with others. They need to read it also. Promise Keepers was
started as a good idea. But it foundered on a concern by the leaders to
have fellowship with men of every type of belief and a willingness to send
them back home to be taught by any type of modernistic teaching.
need to be on guard, as we enter the final end of time. Every device will
be used to confuse the people of God-and keep them from fulfilling their
calls for a spiritual revival and a spiritual reformation. Unless this
takes place, those who are lukewarm will continue to grow more abhorrent
to the Lord, until He will refuse to acknowledge them as His children.
"A revival and a reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of rightousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend." - 1 Selected Messages, 128
Ryle describes for us the modem revival: Just profess Jesus and be saved.
Lord said. 'Say this to the church: Stand in the light lift up your voice
and sing in the streets. Sing the simple message of the gospel 'In the
name of Jesus Christ the Lord- be saved!' Lift up your voice as a witness
to Christ, and the Spirit of God will cause people to be converted."-James
Ryle, "Sons of Thunder, " The Morning Star Prophetic Newsletter,
Vol. 1, No. 4, Winter 1991.
there is more to coming to Christ and remaining with Christ than what Ryle
have received warnings about revivals in these last days. Here is Inspired
Counsel for our time in history.
following excerpt is taken from Great Controversy, chapter 27 (Modem
the word of God has been faithfully preached, results have followed that
attested its divine origin. The Spirit of God accompanied the message
of His servants, and the word was with power. Sinners felt their
consciences quickened. The 'light which lighteth every man that commeth
into the world' illumined the secret chambers of their souls, and the
hidden things of darkness were made manifest. Deep conviction took hold
upon their minds and hearts. They were convinced of sin and of
righteousness and of the judgment to come. They had a sense of the
righteousness of Jehovah and felt the terror of appearing, in their guilt
and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. In anguish they cry out:
'Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?' As the cross of
Calvary, with its infinite sacrifice for the sins of men, was revealed,
they saw that nothing but the merits of Christ could suffice to atone for
their transgressions: this alone could reconcile man to God. With faith
and humility they accepted the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of
the world. Through the blood of Jesus they had 'remission of sins that are
souls brought forth fruit meet for repentance. They believed and were
baptized, and rose to walk in newness of life-new creatures in Christ
Jesus: not to fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by
the faith of the Son of God to follow in His steps, to reflect His
character, and to purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they
once hated they now loved. and the things they once loved they hated. The
proud and self assertive became meek and lowly of heart. The vain and
supercilious became serious and unobtrusive. The profane reverent, the
drunken sober, and the profligate pure. The vain fashions of the world
were laid aside. Christians sought not the 'outward adorning of plaiting
the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel: but. . the
hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the
ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great
price: 1 Peter 3:3-4.
brought deep heart searching and humility. They were characterized by solemn,
earnest appeals to the sinner, by yearning compassion for the purchase
of the blood of Christ. Men and women prayed and wrestled with God for the
salvation of souls. The fruits of such revivals were seen in the souls who
shrank not at self-denial and sacrifice, but rejoiced that they were
counted worthy to suffer reproach 'and trial for the sake of Christ. Men
beheld a transformation in the lives of those who had professed the name
of Jesus. The community was benefited by their influence. They gathered
with Christ, and sowed to the Spirit, to reap life everlasting. "It
could be said of them: 'Ye sorrowed to repentance: 'For godly sorrow
worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of
the world worketh death. For behold this same thing, that ye sorrowed after
a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you. . . yea, what
indignation, yea, . . what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves
to be clear in this matter: 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.
is the result of the work of the Spirit of God. There is no evidence of
genuine repentance unless it works reformation. If he restore the
pledge, give again that he had robbed, confessed his sins, and love God
and his fellow man, the sinner may be sure that he has found peace with
God. Such were the effects that in former years followed seasons of
religious awakening. Judged by their fruits, they were known to be blessed
of God in the salvation of men and the uplifting of humanity.
many of the revivals of modern times have presented a marked contrast to
those manifestations of divine grace which in earlier days followed the
labors of God's servants. It is true that a widespread interest is
kindled. many profess conversion. and there are large accessions to the
churches; nevertheless the results are not such as to warrant the belief
that there has been a corresponding increase of real spiritual life. The
light, which flames up for a time soon dies out, leaving darkness more
dense than before.
revivals are too often carried by appeals to the imagination, by exciting
the emotions, by gratifying the love for what is new and startling.
Converts thus gained have little desire to listen to Bible truth, little
interest in the testimony of prophets and apostles. Unless a religious
service has something of a sensational character, it has no attractions
for them. A message which appeals to unimpassioned reason awakens no
response. The plain warnings of God's Word, relating directly to their
eternal interests, are unheeded.
every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things
will be the great topic of life. But where, in the popular churches of
today, is the spirit of consecration to God? The converts do not
renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to
deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and lowly Jesus, than
before their conversion. Religion has become the sport of infidels and
skeptics because so many who bear its name are ignorant of its principles.
The power of godliness has well nigh departed from many of the churches.
Picnics, church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal
display, have banished thoughts of God. Lands and goods and worldly
occupations engross the mind, and things of eternal interest receive
hardly a passing notice.
the widespread declension of faith and piety, there are true followers
of Christ in these churches. Before the final visitation of God's
judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of God such a
revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic
times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children.
At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which
the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His Word. Many,
both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which
God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the
Lord's second coming. The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work;
and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to
prevent it by introducing a counterfeit. In those churches which he can
bring under his deceptive power he will make it appear that God's
special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to
be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working
marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a
religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the
many of the revivals which have occurred during the last half century, the
same influences have been at work, to a greater or less degree, that will
be manifest in the more extensive movements of the future. There is an
emotional excitement, a mingling of the true With the false, that is well
adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God's Word
it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements. Whenever
men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from those plain,
soul-testing truths which require self-denial and renunciation of the
world, there we may be sure that God's blessing is not bestowed. And by
the rule which Christ Himself has given, 'Ye shall know them by their
fruits' (Matthew 7: 16), it is evident that these movements are not the
work of the Spirit of God.
the truths of His Word, God has given to men a revelation of Himself; and
to all who accept them they are a shield against the deceptions of
Satan. It is a neglect of these truths that has opened the door to the
evils which are now becoming so Widespread in the religious world. The
nature and the importance of the law of God have been, to a great extent,
lost sight of, A wrong conception of the character, the perpetuity, and
the obligation of the divine law has led to errors in relation to
conversion and sanctification, and has resulted in lowering the standard
of piety in the church. Here is to be found the secret of the lack of the
Spirit and power of God in the revivals of our time.
are, in the various denominations, men eminent for their piety, by whom
this fact is acknowledged and deplored. Professor Edwards A. Park, in
setting forth the current religious perils, ably says: One source of
danger is the neglect of the pulpit to enforce the divine law. In former
days the pulpit was an echo of the voice of conscience. . Our most
illustrious preachers gave a wonderful majesty to their discourses by
following the example of the Master, and giving prominence to the law, its
precepts, and its threatenings. They repeated the two great maxims, that
the law is a transcript of the divine perfections, and that a man who
does not love the law does not love the gospel; for the law, as well as
the gospel, is a mirror reflecting the true character of God. This peril
leads to another, that of underrating the evil of sin, the extent of it,
the demerit of it. In proportion to the rightfulness of the commandment is
the wrongfullness of disobeying it . .
to the dangers already named-is the danger of underestimating the justice
of God. The tendency of the modern pulpit is to strain out the divine
justice from the divine Benevolence, to sink benevolence into a
sentiment rather than exalt it into a principle. The new theological
prism puts asunder what God has joined together. Is the divine law a
good or an evil? It is a good. Then justice is good; for it is a
disposition to execute the law. From the habit of underrating the divine
law and justice, the extent and sinfulness of human disobedience, men
easily slide into the habit of underestimating the grace which has
provided an atonement for sin. Thus the gospel loses its value and
importance in the minds of men, and soon they are ready, practically, to
cast aside the Bible itself.
"When the way is prepared for the Spirit of God, the blessing will come. Satan can no more hinder a shower of blessing from descending upon God's people than he can close the windows of heaven that rain cannot come upon the earth. Wicked men and devils cannot hinder the work of God, or shut out His presence from the assemblies of His people, if they will, with subdued, contrite hearts, confess and put away their sins, and in faith claim His promises." - 1 Selected Messages, 124