How many Promise Keepers are there now? That depends on who ask.
As far as the organization started in 1990 is concerned they are obviously very many, seeing that they have had rallies in various stadiums. They are still going strong in 2020 although the numbers have gone down considerably their influence continues. If you ask the Apostle Paul this question, the answer is One. That is the point of this article.
We don’t find fault with the intentions of many who go to these rallies that promise help for men to be men of character. The question is one of methodology and of underlying doctrine – or neglect of doctrine. Yes, these do matter.
For the record we should begin with this.
Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper
Promise #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.
Promise #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.
Promise #3: A Man and His Integrity: A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.
Promise #4: A Man and His Family: A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection, and biblical values.
Promise #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.
Promise #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.
The Weapons of our Warfare are not Carnal
One page that shows how Promise Keepers encourages fleshly means to overcome the flesh is this three-part article, “Promise Keepers & the Men’s Movement”, by Sarah Leslie. Here she also points out the important of myth(s), modern and ancient. This ties in to my point in referencing this movement to the “myths” of 2nd Timothy that will appeal to itching ears. Disclaimer: The article is somewhat technical and definitely graphical, but I agree with her main point – after I waded through more than I cared to:
Robert Hicks “blasphemes the Lord Jesus by declaring that He was tempted to be homosexual and that He lusted sexually” (Albert James Dager, “Promise Keepers: Is What You See What You Get?” Media Spotlight, 1994, p. 6). He speaks of man’s need for “celebrating the experience of sin” in adolescence as a “rite of passage” (Bobgan, “Promise Keepers and Psychoheresy,” p. 6).”
Hicks also wrote of homosexuality “Some 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).
By their Publishing Houses you will know them
It would be unfair to insist that the above statement is always true. Yet it is an indication and the publishers that choose to promulgate PK material each have bad track record in recent months. Consider:
Focus on the Family and NavPress both have promoted Hugh Ross’s natural revelation books. Multnomah has published PK Stu Weber’s “Tender Warrior” as well as Wilkinson’s “Prayer of Jabez”.
These are, for me at least, indications of guilt by association and a certain lack of discernment.
Uncertain Sound, Tasteless Salt & Bad Light
There has to be a question also, If a Roman Catholic can heartily endorse the movement maybe the salt content and the light level of whatever is being preached there is seriously in question.
Father Christian Van Liefde’s evaluation of PK in his archdiocese periodical, The Tidings wrote:
“… there is no ‘doctrinal issue which should cause concern to the Catholic Church.’ Promise Keepers places a very strong emphasis on returning to your own church congregation or parish and becoming an active layman…. There is no attempt at proselytizing or drawing men away from their faith to another church“
Compare also McCartney’s admission to the Apostle Paul’s admonition:
“Hear me: Promise Keepers doesn’t care if you’re Catholic” (Dager, “Promise Keepers,” p. 12).
And to that we can add Mormons, non-Trinitarians, and others.
The following is from Midwest Today, http://www.midtod.com/9603/promise.phtml
“The Promise Keepers make available a teaching manual written by Dr. Robert Hicks entitled, “The Masculine Journey: Understanding Six Stages of Manhood.” At the end of the book is a statement that reads: “Promise Keepers wants to provide men’s materials like this book.”
A close examination of the book raises serious questions about the true theology and teachings of the PK leadership.
The Rev. Dennis L. Finnan, pastor of the St. Charles Bible Church in St. Charles, Minnesota, and host of “The World, the Word and You” weekly radio broadcasts, says that “Hicks’ book is Biblically erroneous, blasphemous and centered on the exclusivity of human wisdom. For example, in chapter after chapter, subjective insights into manhood are offered by quotes of a host of secular authorities such as Carl Jung, who turned out to be a demon-possessed psychiatrist; Leanne Payne, a New Age psychiatrist; and occultist/spiritualist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.”
In the book, Dr. Hicks accuses Jesus Christ of being a sinner, of having sexual thoughts and fantasies about Mary Magdalene, and of being tempted by homosexuality. He urges men to celebrate such rites of passage as their first sexual experience or the first time they are influenced by drugs or alcohol.
And he says David’s Psalms are the musings of a manic-depressive.
“Until their endorsement of this book is withdrawn publicly, no man of God should trust any publication or statement of Promise Keepers,” says James l. Holly, M.D., a frequent critic.”
Some might say, though, Tom you are straining at a gnat. The rallies are about men overcoming addictions and being truthful men of character and integrity. They are not about preaching the Gospel per se. But here is the problem; the Bible teaches no other way to salvation and overcoming the world (because that first word, “salvation”, is so watered down today that phrase might not even seem redundant!). Paul told the Corinthians that he preached nothing else but the Cross of Christ lest their confidence be in the wisdom of men. Prohibitions of “touch not, taste not, handle not” we are told in Colossians have no effect in overcoming the flesh. More positively, we are told in Galatians “If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh”. How much of the Spirit of Christ is communicated in those meetings if, for instance, a Mormon can go and be blessed and go back then to their old churches without misgivings?
There is only One Promise Keeper
Of course, there is only One Promise Keeper – who kept every promise He made. He is also our blessed Promise-Giver. And all the promises in Him are Yes and Amen.
It may seem picky and pious to kick a movement that just tries to make changes in the lives of men behaving badly before a holy God. But I believe that they are going about it the wrong way. We already have a handbook of how to live rightly (the Bible) and a backup group of supportive help (the fellowship of believers).
“If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed” – Galatians 1:9
This is one of those issues that you have to really think about for a while. You have to think about the nature of the Gospel and the nature of salvation and ask yourself “Where does PK fit in?” Is it part of the Gospel or not? Either answer involves other fallacies, both scripturally and logically.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Tim. 3:16 – 17
It is amazing how many ways we are distracted from the simplicity of the truth that we have in Christ. Many Christians never explore the depths of God’s Word because they never move beyond that seemingly boring simplicity. Like the Israelites, their souls despise the usual miraculous Manna.