Should Fundamentalists Get Involved?
Compiled by Miguel Betancourt II
the summer of 1990, while traveling in a car from Denver to Pueblo, Colorado,
for a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting, University of Colorado
football coach Bill McCartney spoke with a friend, Dave Wardell, about
the need for a men's ministry (David Halbrook, "Promise Keepers Looks
Ahead," Ministries Today, March-April 1995, p. 61). After a brainstorming
session in July with several invited friends, Promise Keepers (PK) was
born. Although credited with the founding of the movement, Bill McCartney
is only a figurehead. The administrative duties fall upon the president
of the organization, Randy Phillips. Approximately eighty people are employed
movement has seen explosive growth since its beginning. A crowd of 4,200
men attended the first convention at the Coors' Event Center in Boulder
in 1991. In 1992, 22,000 men gathered together for a convention. A 1993
National Men's Conference at the Univ. of Colorado's Folsom Stadium drew
a capacity crowd of 50,000 ministers, priests, and laymen. Seven conventions
held in 1994 had around 300,000 in attendance. Some estimate that nearly
3/4 million men will attend the conventions this year. A national conference
is scheduled for June 30-July 1 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Plans
also include the production of daily radio broadcasts and occasional TV
programs. Promise Keepers plans to have one million men in attendance
for a rally in Washington, DC in 1996.
of the success, humanly speaking, seems to be attributed to a few prominent
individuals such as Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ), and psychologists
Dr. Gary Smalley and Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family) who have given
their whole-hearted endorsement. Those who actually take the Promise Keepers
program into the churches are called Point Men and Ambassadors. Point
Men are the primary contacts with the churches that inform the congregations
of upcoming conferences, training seminars and resources, and organize
the promotion of PK conferences. Ambassadors introduce Promise Keepers
to the churches in the community and recruit Point Men (Albert Dager,
Media Spotlight Special Report, "Promise Keepers: Is What You See What
You Get?", p. 2).
Keepers operates on the basis that God wants men to be responsible leaders
in the church, home, and community. McCartney says that men must commit
to what he describes as "the three non-negotiables of manhood: integrity,
commitment and action" (Bill McCartney, What Makes A Man? Twelve Promises
that Will Change Your Life, Colorado Springs: NavPress Publishing, 1992,
p. 11). He goes on to state,
you were to take the word integrity and reduce it to its simplest terms,
you'd conclude that a man of integrity is a promise keeper. He's a guy
who, when he says something, can be trusted. When he gives his word,
you can take it to the bank" (Ibid., p. 12).
philosophy of PK can be found in the "Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper":
#1. A Man and His God: A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus
Christ through worship, prayer, and obedience to God's Word in the power
of the Holy Spirit.
#2: A Man and His Mentors: A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing
vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs
brothers to help him keep his promises.
#3: A Man and His Integrity: A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing
spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.
#4: A Man and His Family: A Promise Keeper is committed to building
strong marriages and families through love, protection, and biblical
#5: A Man and His Church: A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting
the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor and
by actively giving his time and resources.
#6: A Man and His Brothers: A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching
beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power
of biblical unity.
Promise #7: A Man and His World: A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing
his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
and rallies will give little more than a cursory explanation of the seven
promises and challenge men to commit to them. To get to the heart of PK,
one has to review their literature.
there is no official PK publishing house yet, their books are published
by others--primarily Focus on the Family and NavPress. However, other
publishing houses have begun to produce titles also. For example, Multnomah
published Stu Weber's Tender Warrior, and Word Publishing produced Archibald
Harts' The Sexual Man. PK's bimonthly magazine, A New Man: For Men of
Integrity, is published by Strang Communications, publishers of Charisma,
a magazine that is the official voice of the Charismatic movement. These
publishers represent some of the strongest promoters of "Christian" psychology
and errant doctrine. The following books are officially endorsed by PK
and used by them:
Makes A Man? Twelve Promises That Will Change Your Life, NavPress, 1992
Promises of a Promise Keeper, Focus on the Family Publishing Co., 1994
Masculine Journey: Understanding the Six Stages of Manhood, NavPress,
Calling Men Into Vital Relationships, Promise Keepers manual, 1993
Disciplines for the Godly Man: Practical Steps to an Empowered Spiritual
Life, NavPress, 1993
DR. E.V. HILL
Pastor of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist, in the Watts section of Los Angeles,
Church affiliated with the National Baptist Convention & member of
the National Council of Churches (which rejects orthodox doctrine; they
are fully apostate.)
Board member of Los Angeles NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
(which sponsored the Gay Rights march on Washington in the summer of 1993),
Los Angeles Urban League, and Billy Graham Association Endorsed 1984 candidacy
of Jesse Jackson for Democratic nomination for the presidency.
Guest speaker on various charismatic and new-evangelical platforms --
May 1991 commencement speaker at charismatic Kenneth Hagin's Rhema Center,
speaker for Billy Graham 1992 School of Evangelism, 1991 Moody Bible Institute,
EVANGELIST LUIS PALAU
Native of Argentina; internationally known as "the Billy Graham of South
Cooperates with new-evangelicals, liberals, charismatics, and Roman Catholics
in crusades and conferences.
Participated in "Methodist Congress on Evangelism" held at Oral Roberts
University. Also featured was Dr. Charles Allen, First United Methodist
Church of Houston, along with other Methodist bishops. This demonstrates
his willingness to cooperate with apostate Methodism or the radical fringe
His ecumenical message is filled with Arminian easy-believism and pop
Hyper-charismatic pastor of the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, CA.
Senior editorial adviser for Ministries Today, a pro-charismatic magazine
published by Strang Communications.
Professor at the Seminary of the East; teaches pastoral theology.
Author of The Masculine Journey.
And many others such as James Dobson, Chuck Swindoll, Gary Smalley, etc.
CONTRADICTORY OR HERETICAL STATEMENTS IN THEIR PUBLICATIONS ON VARIOUS
ISSUES OR DOCTRINES
ISSUE OF SELF-LOVE
One analyst who has read PK's writings found "a preponderance of advocacy
favoring self-love over self-denial, the latter of which is the biblical
admonition" (Al Dager, Media Spotlight Report, p. 3). Oddly enough, both
sides of the issue can be found in the same book without any comment as
to which is correct. For example, Don Osgood's statement in What Makes
A Man? reflects the biblical side of the issue (p. 97), but psychologists
Gary Smalley and John Trent offer advice (which amounts to self-love)
which is drawn from humanistic psychology (pp. 44-45).
FEMINIZATION OF THE CHURCHES
Dr. Tony Evans in Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, challenges men to
be men and to take back leadership roles in churches and homes. He also
laments the fact that our nation is full of "sissified men who abdicate
their role as spiritually pure leaders, thus forcing women to fill the
vacuum" (p. 73). Evans' sound advice to men is offset by the unsound advice
of Gary Smalley (given in the same book, pp. 105-106) whose ideal of a
man is one pictured in a family scenario where the father overcomes the
"dysfunctional elements" of his own background to raise "three emotionally-
healthy children." Smalley's mindset seems to be more towards rearing
"emotionally healthy children" with "unconditional acceptance" and "sensitivity"
than instilling biblical principles through genuinely loving confrontation
and discipline. Instead of of condoning his son's rebellion, a biblically
oriented father would teach his son the necessity of honoring parents,
standing his ground for godly values, and correcting his son in a Scriptural
the diverse approach PK uses confuses people who try to discern truth
from error. On the one hand, men are challenged to be men while on the
other, they are presented with "truths" that are lies based upon a "feminizing
requirement for unconditional acceptance and sensitivity" (Ibid., p. 5).
With all the talk one hears about the need for being men of integrity,
Promise Keepers allow teachings that lack the integrity they desire men
to have. Note Albert Dager's discerning insights:
leadership in and of itself is insufficient for adherence to the biblical
mandate that demands doctrinal purity and unity in the bond of love.
Men who teach error within the Church lead it nowhere closer to obedience
to the Lord than women who teach, whether truth or error. Both operate
outside the biblical mandate" (Ibid.).
answer to the problem of the feminization of the church does not lie in
just putting any man into a leadership position. Many more problems could
come as a result. Male leadership must be doctrinally sound and biblically
grounded if they are to effectively direct the church and home along God's
VIEWS ON HOMOSEXUALITY
In a fax dated 12/8/93 to Greg Dixon, pastor of Indianapolis Baptist Temple,
Promise Keepers stated that it "shares the same historic and biblical
stance taken by Evangelicals and Catholics." But then PK takes a soft,
worldly stance on the issue by recognizing it to be "a complex and potentially
polarizing issue" to be understood in the context of psychology and genetic
research. Robert Hicks seems to reinforce PK's tolerant attitude:
of my early `counselees' were individuals who I once thought were logical
contradictions. God brought me to Christians who were homosexuals and
Marxists. I listened, tried to understand, debated back and forth, but
was left with the conviction that they were sincere about both their
faith in Christ and their views on sexuality and politics, though these
differed from mine....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-crossdressing codependents" (Robert Hicks, The
Masculine Journey: Understanding the Six Stages of Manhood, Colorado
Springs: NavPress Publishing Group, 1993, pp. 133,34).
things need to be pointed out about the fax sent to Greg Dixon and this
statement from Hicks' book. (A copy of the fax to Greg Dixon as well as
a fuller analysis of Hick's position can be found in the Media Spotlight
Special Report, pp. 5-6.)
Seemingly, Hicks and others are convinced that a person can be content
to remain an unrepentant homosexual and still be a genuine child of God.
When one ceases to look at a particular sin from a scriptural perspective,
he is left with only the darkness of human reasoning. God's word is clear:
no unrepentant homosexual will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
Further, Paul commands that those who profess Christ and yet openly practice
sin should be removed from fellowship ("with such an one, no, not to eat"
Cf. 1 Cor. 5:9- 11).
Biblical truth is timeless; it is not dependent upon the circumstances
or cultures of the day. If one looks at God or the world through the eyes
of his religious tradition or experience, then views can easily change.
But if one's vision of God and the world comes from explicit Scriptural
teaching, then those views cannot change without first rejecting divine
revelation. (Hicks should have said that his counselees' views differed
from God's word rather than his own.)
Labels ARE important. A person cannot identify himself with an anti- Christian
philosophy (Communism, feminism, New Age-ism, homosexuality, etc.,) and
still genuinely identify with Christ and true biblical faith.
Albert Dager summarizes the situation as follows: "While calling for strong
male leadership in the churches, Promise Keepers has wimped out on an
`issue' (read `sin') that strikes at the very heart of masculinity and
presents an affront to God by its militant in-your-face challenge to accept
sexual perversion or risk being called `unloving'" (Ibid., p. 6).
HERETICAL VIEW OF CHRIST
1. Jesus: a man personally tempted with homosexuality?
Even more shocking (and perhaps the explanation for his compromising stance)
is Hicks' belief that Jesus was personally tempted with homosexuality.
The following is taken from his book, The Masculine Journey, p. 181, which
has been officially sanctioned by Promise Keepers as being "biblically-centered,
frank, and honest." Promise Keepers issued a seven- page defense of Robert
Hicks' book, The Masculine Journey, in which they responded to various
concerns that were raised regarding its distribution, endorsement, and
the ideas presented in it. It can be obtained by writing to Promise Keepers
at P.O. Box 18376, Boulder, Colorado 80308. Martin and Deidre Bobgan have
also written a rebuttal to this statement in their book Promise Keepers
& PsychoHeresy, pp. 31-44. The Bobgan's Promise Keepers & PsychoHeresy
is a scholarly analysis of Hicks' work in which the meanings of six Hebrew
words are distorted to support his psychological presuppositions.
book and its accompanying study guide were distributed to each man who
attended the 1993 convention in Colorado.
believe Jesus was phallic with all the inherent phallic passions we
experience as men. But it was never recorded that Jesus had sexual relations
with a woman. He may have thought about it as the movie The Last Temptation
of Christ portrays, but even in this movie He did not give in to the
temptation and remained true to his messianic course. If temptation
means anything, it means Christ was tempted in every way as we are.
That would mean not only heterosexual temptation but also homosexual
temptation! I have found this insight to be very helpful for gay men
struggling with their sexuality" (Hicks, p. 181).
several things should be noted [the following observations come from Bobgan
and Bobgan, pp. 12-13]:
To refer to The Last Temptation of Christ as evidence that Jesus may have
been tempted with lust for Mary Magdalene is as blasphemous as that movie
was. It portrayed graphic sexual desire (lusting in the heart) which Christ
identified as sin (Matt. 5:28). Hick's statement embraces the movie's
Hick's concept of a "phallic Jesus" is offensive when offered in the context
(in his book) of the various seasons of a man' s life. The "phallic stage"
of a man's life is one season during which his sexual energy is the dominant
force. No where in Scripture are we presented with the concept of a "phallic
Jesus." The idea is not only insulting but also absurd.
Hicks reveals a faulty grasp of the nature of temptation and a total misunderstanding
of Heb. 4:15 with his statement that Jesus was tempted in every way (with
every possible temptation??) as men are. To say that He was sexually tempted
as men implies that the experience of temptation was identical--that Jesus
had the same inward inclination to lust as men do. Jn. 14:30 makes it
clear that nothing inside of Christ responded to sin or a solicitation
to do evil. It was absolutely impossible for Him to have sinned.
These and many other statements in The Masculine Journey, afford a prime
example of humanistic psychology being used to strait-jacket Scripture
into supporting "Christian" psychological theory. In reality, his position
is nothing more than an heretical view of Christ. [Compiler's Note: Hicks'
"Christianized" psychological theories find their source in two influential
psychiatrists--Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Both of these men rejected
Christianity. Freud was a sex pervert; Jung (who broke ties with Freud)
dealt heavily in the occult. Quoting from Jung's autobiography, Memories,
Dreams, and Reflections (1961), the Bobgans reveal Jung's involvement
with necromancy. Jung claimed to have daily contacts by a familiar spirit
he called "Philemon" which he credits for some of his psychological theories.
Hicks' use of the term "archetypes" is borrowed from Jung who used it
to refer to disembodied spirits with which he also claimed to have daily
Under "Exploring the Issues with Other Men," (p. 21) the following question
is asked in the Study Guide to The Masculine Journey: "What were your
male models like as you were growing up, and how did Jesus compare as
of the suggested points of discussion is: "Both were regular guys
sexually tempted as men are."
statement infers that Jesus was a "regular guy" and that He was "sexually
tempted as men are." Use of the slang expression "guy" is hardly fitting
for the God-man. It's disrespectful and contemptuous. As one writer put
it, "Using the words `regular guy' in relation to sexual temptation reduces
Christ to the lowest common denominator of masculinity (Bobgan, p. 13).
Jesus: the non-confrontive encourager as a pattern for Promise Keepers
Geoff Gorsuch, in the PK manual, Brothers! Calling Men into Vital Relationships,
presents a distorted view of Christ. For example, note the following quotations:
didn't view men as losers. He saw them as lost" (p. 49).
always asked those who came to Him what he [sic] could do for them"
With regard to the first statement Gorsuch makes, Christ seems to prefer
looking at men in an unoffensive and positive manner. Mankind is not to
be thought of in a demeaning term such as "loser," but as individuals
who just need a little help to find their way. The truth is that all men
are losers AND lost. A loser is one who does not triumph. Since no man
can by himself overcome sin much less its penalty, he cannot be said to
be just neutrally "lost": He is a loser as well. Apart from God's grace
we will all remain desperate losers condemned and under the curse of sin.
In man-to-man associations, some are winners and some are losers. But
in man-to-God relationships, every man is a loser of the worst sort. Our
victory can only come through the Holy Spirit as the merits of Christ's
finished work on the cross are applied.
With regards to the second quotation above, Jesus did ask blind Bartimaeus
what he wanted, and possibly there may have been other similar instances
that the Scriptures do not record, but the fact is Jesus did NOT always
go around asking what He could do to help people. Jesus was most concerned
about their deepest need (deliverance from sin) rather than mere material
or physical needs.
Author Bob Beltz's description of Christ also adds to an erroneous view
of Him: "Jesus Christ is challenging and exciting! He was and is the most
attractive and winsome personality in all of human history" (Bob Belz,
Daily Disciplines for the Christian Man: Practical Steps to an Empowered
Spiritual Life, Colorado Springs: NavPress Publishing Group, 1993, cited
by Dager, p. 10).
a model for the PK, the stereotype of a godly man seems to be more Mr.
Personality than one committed to holiness regardless of the cost. There
was nothing about Christ physically (personality or otherwise) that was
the secret of His popularity, and that attracted people to follow Him.
Isa. 53:2 tells us "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall
see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." Many followed
Jesus not because they were attracted to His personality, but because
of the supernatural miracles He performed. When Christ pressed them to
submit to His demands for discipleship, many stopped following Him (Cf.
is interesting to note that as our Lord came to the close of His earthly
ministry, His popularity dwindled and the very crowds that earlier praised
Him cried out for His death (Cf. Matt. 27:20-25). Does this mean He lost
whatever it was that made Him so attractive and winsome?? Albert Dager
sums up the situation accurately
are many human concepts of Jesus, but there is only one biblical truth
about Him. It is not sufficient to hold onto a close facsimile; one
must hold onto the biblical Jesus. Beltz presents an unbiblical Jesus--a
Jesus viewed through the romantic eyes of nostalgia. This is the feminized,
"sensitive" Jesus, not the true Son of God who [sic] will appear in
flames of glory to bring judgment upon an unrepentant humanity"
(Dager, p. 10).
1. Promise Keepers is a charismatic-led organization that was started
by members of John Wimber's Vineyard Fellowship. Coach McCartney, his
pastor James Ryle, and president Randy Phillips are members of the Boulder
Valley Vineyard. The Vineyard fellowship witnessed the so-called "Toronto
Blessing" on Oct. 20, 1994 during South African Evangelist Rodney Howard-
Browne's meetings. When members were "slain in the Spirit," they began
to roll on the floor and laugh hysterically. Some lay on the floor for
long periods of time giggling uncontrollably. At Oral Roberts University,
Oral Roberts heralded the "laughing revivals" and Rodney Brown's ministry
as signaling an "arrival of another level in the Holy Spirit." A September
1994 issue of Charisma magazine pointed out that John Wimber and his Vineyard
churches had been largely swept up by the strange incidents. (The "laughing
revivals" first broke out in January 1994.) (See David Cloud, The Laughing
Revival and The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement, Oak Harbor, WA: Way
of Life Literature, 1995; for further information about the Vineyard movement
and its beliefs see another Media Spotlight special report, Latter-Day
Prophets, and the book Wonders and the Word, Kindred Press, Winnipeg,
As so often is the case among charismatics and those who reject the biblical
doctrine of separation, they press for a physical expression of unity
[among Christians], regardless of doctrine. Promise Keeper's stated goal
is the unifying of all who love Jesus and claim to be born again, regardless
of denominational affiliation. In keeping with the current craze of cooperation
with Rome is the attempt to unify non-Catholics and Catholics. Albert
Dager sizes up the problem:
weakness seems to lie more in Promise Keepers' official hands-off policy.
While Promise Keepers does not overtly endorse Catholicism, they fall
short in not addressing those doctrinal issues that essentially nullify
the doctrines upon which unity for Promise Keepers is based. This coupled
with their admonition not to judge or confront per their manual for
men's groups, leaves those who wish to minister the truth to Catholics
without a leg to stand on within the Promise Keepers' format. By not
taking a stand on doctrinal issues, Promise Keepers overlooks the doctrinal
differences not so much among non-Catholic denominations but between
these and Roman Catholicism" (Dager, p. 12).
a passion for visible unity obligates them to refuse to stand up against
the heresies of Rome. Even in their literature, there seems to be a willingness
to accept the Catholic system as legitimate: "One of the core values of
Promise Keepers is honoring the pastors and priests of our local congregations"
(Dager, p. 12)
the legitimacy of Rome's priesthood is an act of treason to God and Scripture.
It not only discredits the sufficiency and untransferable nature of Christ's
priesthood, but also the scriptural truth of the priesthood of the believer.
Promise Keepers is playing right into the Vatican's hands as the "Mother
Church" seeks to accomplish its goal of incorporating all erring sheep
back into the fold (Ibid.).
Fundamentalists should not participate in the Promise Keepers movement
because of its ecumenical tendencies. This can be seen in its willingness
to broadly accept any religious denomination or system of religion that
calls itself Christian (regardless if there may be different meanings
for the terms "Christian," "saving faith," "salvation by grace," etc.).
A recent issue of Ministries Today, quotes Carl Schmidt's insightful observation
of the Promise Keepers' mindset in his article in Christian Century. [The
magazine Christian Century proudly advertises that it offers the Christian
community material that is written from the moderate to liberal perspective;
Carl Schmidt's comments about the absence of funamentalists' nonnegotiables
in Promise Keepers speaks volumes.]
is scant evidence of the fundamentalists' nonnegotiable principles of
faith. Descriptions of Christian belief are framed in broad rather than
narrow terms" (emphasis mine) (Halbrook, p. 60).
The Promise Keepers Movement violates the Bible doctrine of separation.
Ephesians 5:11 admonishes the believer to "have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." PK demonstrates
its refusal to obey God's command to reprove (expose) apostate systems
for what they really are. There is nothing Christian about Catholicism:
it is paganism in Christian garb. To showcase key speakers who are professing
believers but identify with apostate denominations, and who refuse to
take a strong stance against Romanism, is treasonous to the cause of Christ.
Catholicism nor any apostate denomination is to be accepted as a legitimate
expression of biblical Christianity. It is one thing to make an honest
mistake in one's associations, but quite another to willingly and continually
form unscriptural alliances as PK speakers and leaders do. If the men
who are known as Promise Keepers are sincere in their commitment to honor
Jesus Christ through obedience to God's Word (Promise #1), and to practice
spiritual purity (Promise #3), then let it be demonstrated by their loving
loyalty to the Scriptural mandate to separate from error and compromise.
As one author observed:
only genuine measure of any person's or group's integrity with God is
strict adherence to the purity of His Word. Promise Keepers' acceptance
of anything called `Christian'--unless it is perceived as `unloving'--neutralizes
the effects of those changed lives" (Dager, p. 15).
God commands the believer to "come out from among them and be ye separate"
(2 Cor. 6:17), yet some think it better to "stay in", "infiltrate," "accommodate,"
"dialogue with" and yoke together for a good cause in spite of error,
compromise, and infidels.
Passages such as Matt. 18:15-17, 1 Cor. 5:11, 1 Tim. 6:3-5, 2 Thess. 3:6,
and Rom. 16:17 instruct believers how to treat brothers in Christ who
willingly disobey the truths of God's word. "The person who bears the
responsibility of dividing the body of Christ (in an organizational sense)
is not the Christian who militantly and correctly insists on obeying Scriptural
precepts, but the believer who rejects the Bible doctrine of separation
and insists on fellowshipping out of bounds" (John Ashbrook, Axioms of
Separation, Mentor: OH: Here I Stand Books, pp. 12-13). [O Timothy Editor:
We don't believe the term "the body of Christ" should be applied to any
worldwide grouping of professing Christians today.]
Why not join together for a good cause? If no portion of scriptural truth
is compromised, then it may be a good thing to do. However, with Promise
Keepers, the situation is different. Biblical truth is compromised.
2 Chron. 18, the pagan king Ahab conned a righteous king, Jehoshaphat,
in a "good cause syndrome" (Ibid., p. 17). The Syrians had taken the border
town of Ramoth-Gilead and for the best interests of both Judah and Israel,
the two kings planned to join forces to fight a common enemy and regain
the town. When Jehoshaphat asked for God's will to be consulted on the
matter, Ahab's false prophets gave their counsel. Micaiah was the only
true prophet of the LORD present that gave the truth. But Jehoshaphat
listened to the voices of the majority and sided with Ahab. Upon return
from a disastrous set of circumstances, Jehoshaphat was greeted by Jehu
the prophet who delivered this message from God:
thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is
wrath upon thee from the Lord" (2 Chron. 19:2).
questioned, Jehoshaphat probably would have denied loving Ahab. But from
God's perspective, his cooperative venture (though it seemed like a good
thing to do) was seen as traitorous and worthy of chastisement from God.
Bob Jones, Sr. used to say, "It is never right to do wrong in order to
get a chance to do right." Today, modern day Ahabs and Jehoshaphats are
joining forces to fight a common enemy in the good causes of winning souls,
moral issues, etc. God's disapproval of Judah's king is a lesson modern
day Christians need to remember.
More applicable to the majority of laymen who associate with Promise Keepers
is the lesson taught in Ezra 4:1-4. The people of the land that had been
transplanted there by an Assyrian king had approached Zerubbabel and the
Jewish leaders about cooperating together in the good cause of rebuilding
the temple. They claimed to worship the same God the Jews did and professed
to serve Him faithfully for many years. Yet, Zerubbabel saw through their
claims and rejected their offer of cooperation. His "no" cost him a lot
of adversity (the withholding of supplies, accusations lodged with Ahasuerus
and Darius, etc.), but it kept God's blessing upon them and their endeavor.
The Jewish leaders did not "love them that hated the LORD."
Keepers is one of the latest and most subtle attempts to break down the
biblical line of demarcation between ecumenism and biblical Christianity
under the honorable purpose (the good cause) of building strong men and
families" (The Fundamentalist Digest, Vol. 3, No. 5, September-October
1994, p. 4). Like Zerubbabel we must be on guard against being drawn into
an unholy union and a false public display of unity with compromise.
WHAT ABOUT THE RESULTS THAT ARE SEEN?
Though we can rejoice that men may get saved and their lives turn around
for the good, yet results in and of themselves do not necessarily mean
the movement has God's approval or that the methods Promise Keepers uses
are right and in conformity to the will of God. Numbers 20 provides a
classic example of this. Moses was commanded by God to strike the rock
(Ex. 17:5) and speak to it (Num. 20:8) and water would come forth miraculously
to supply the needs of the Israelites and their animals. In a fit of rage
and frustration over the rebellious attitudes and complaints of Israel,
Moses angrily struck the rock twice and water came out of the rock in
abundance to quench the thirst of millions of people and animals. God
graciously displayed His supernatural power and performed a miracle in
the presence of the entire assembly. Yet, did God approve of Moses' methods?
Did the visible result of water coming out in abundance demonstrate God's
hand of blessing was upon Moses' work? No, his disobedience was noted
and as punishment, he was forbidden to enter the Promised Land. "The good
results that were publicly displayed did not justify the wrong way in
which God's will was carried out" (Axioms of Separation, p. 14). The same
is true about Promise Keepers.
Coach McCartney credits the recent phenomenal growth of the PK movement
to the fact that "we've tapped into something that is at the very heart
of God, which is why it knows no boundaries" (Halbrook, p. 61).
Scripture is unmistakably clear: the primary attribute by which God wants
to be known is holiness--He is totally separate from all that is sinful
times God refers to Himself in Scripture as the "Holy One." Fifty-nine
times He is called or described as being holy. There are only forty-three
times where God is said to love or that He Himself is love.
enough, the word "holy" (or a form of it) occurs 651 times in Scripture.
The word "love" (or a related form) whether human or divine is mentioned
only 546 times. Although no attribute of God is mentioned more frequently
in the Bible than that of holiness, there is perhaps no other characteristic
so ignored and misunderstood as this one. Many seem to view holiness and
love as being contradictory: holiness is too negative and divisive while
love seems to be positive and accepting. But contrary to God's nature
is the notion that love must tolerate or even refuse to expose error.
God's love is compatible with His holiness. As believers follow the command
to imitate their God (Eph. 5:1), they are not free to pick and choose
which characteristics to copy. The modern day definition of love largely
sets aside God's demand to His children, "Be ye holy for I am holy" (Lev.
11:44; 1 Pet. 1:15,16).
is the hub of the wheel from which all other divine attributes radiate.
Anything that is genuinely at the heart of God should primarily reflect
that same characteristic of holiness. With the blatant rejection of the
Bible doctrine of separation (which finds its foundation in the holiness
of God), Promise Keepers cannot be legitimately considered "at the very
heart of God." Whenever a movement becomes engrossed in compromise with
error, it ceases to reflect that core attribute which God has chosen as
His name (Isa. 57:15).
Still some would try to ignore the wrong of compromising methods and point
out only the good that is seen. Some would even say that those who dare
criticize a movement (as PK) which has enjoyed such phenomenal success
are being nit- picky. If there can be an agreement on the "major" doctrines
of Scripture, then why not get on the bandwagon of a good cause? To this
Albert Dager makes the following remarks:
evidence of God at work is not outward results, but conformity to Scripture,
which in turn results in outward change. Outward change without conformity
to Scripture is merely human righteousness. Change of mind does not
always equate to change of heart. A genuine change of heart results
in the holding of Scripture in high esteem. Nor does it distinguish
between so called `essential doctrine' and `secondary doctrine' ...
(2 Tim. 3:14- 17)... When the Holy Spirit says that all Scripture is
given for instruction in righteousness, He isn't speaking only of the
so-called `Big Five' doctrines the ecumenists are claiming as reason
for unity. He means all of Scripture itself is the essential doctrine
of the Faith" (Media Spotlight Special Report, p. 14).
then continues with these comments:
end does not justify the means. The proper focus must be on the means
itself, as well as on the end. . . Results are not the final arbiter
of truth; one's pious demeanor is not the final arbiter of truth; one's
ability to call fire down from heaven is not the final arbiter of truth.
God's Word is the only and final arbiter of truth" (Ibid.).
Issues related to the organization itself and its impact upon men:
following concerns are taken in part from Frontline Magazine, Summer 1994,
p. 26, and from O Timothy, Vol. 11, Iss. 6, 1996, p. 24):
Why should a parachurch ministry even exist when its stated purpose (raising
up godly men) is a function that belongs to the local church?
Promise Keepers may claim to not be a threat to the local church. Church
buildings and its worshippers will continue to exist. But when one considers
that the movement and its agenda are appealing to men in sound fundamental
churches who may be led into compromise, then yes, PK becomes a threat
to the spiritual purity of the local body of believers.
The key men used in the Promise Keepers meetings are role models to the
participants on the national, state, and local level. As they habitually
engage in compromise and violate Scriptural teaching, what message are
they sending to these believers? to the lost?
Promise Keepers seems to have bought into much of the pop psychology in
Christendom today. Consider the following statement that came from a recent
meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS)
which is a group of psychologists and counselors who are professing Christians:
are often asked if we are `Christian psychologists' and find it difficult
to answer since we don't know what the question implies. We are Christians
who are psychologists, but at the present time there is no acceptable
Christian psychology that is markedly different from non- Christian psychology.
It is difficult to imply that we function in a manner that is fundamentally
distinct from our non-Christian colleagues ... as yet there is not an
acceptable theory, mode of research or treatment methodology that is distinctly
Christian" (Taken from Bobgan's rebuttal to Promise Keeper's support of
The Masculine Journey, found in Promise Keepers & PsychoHeresy, p.
being the case, "Christian" psychology can no more be trusted than secular
psychology. Modern day Christianity needs to echo the battle cry of the
Reformation: Sola Scriptura! ("The Scriptures only!"). The resources of
God's word, the Holy Spirit, and prayer are more than sufficient to meet
the needs believers have (Cf. 2 Peter 1:2-4).
The use of rock music and worldly entertainers in their meetings is troubling.
Men who are reached through this ministry will not be steered into sound
New Testament Churches or grounded in the Truth.
They will not be taught to separate themselves from apostasy and heresy,
nor will they be trained in discerning false gospels.
They will be instructed in unscriptural ecumenism, taught that doctrine
is not crucial, and that being militant for the truth is unspiritual and
They will be encouraged to accept even apostate denominations as genuine
expressions of Christianity.
Betancourt II is Assistant Pastor, Ferndale Baptist Church