Consider The Score Before You Jump On The Promise Keepers' Bandwagon
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
How many of you are familiar with these words -- "Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match..." That's all the song I knew. I thought it was a song from Oliver Twist and referred to someone who made sulfur matches...until last year. Well, it turns out I was mistaken. My girls went to see the play Fiddler On The Roof. I discovered the song "Match-Maker" refers to a Jewish person whose job it was to arrange the marriage of a Jewish young lady. In our culture we do not have arranged marriages.
That brings me to our passage of scripture. Paul portrays himself as the concerned matchmaker. He had introduced the Corinthians to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:2-4 & 13-15 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
I remind you that in the New Testament, the bride imagery is used often of the church (people who know Christ as Savior) and her relationship to Christ. The bride belongs to Christ, who is the Bridegroom (John 3:29). In Revelation, the church, as the bride of the Lamb, has prepared herself for marriage (19:7-8). In Revelation 21, the great wedding is portrayed with the church prepared for her bridegroom (21:2,9). Finally, the bride and the Spirit issue an invitation "to come" (22:17). Paul used the metaphor of the bride to indicate his feelings toward the churches he had founded. He was the "matchmaker" because he introduced them to Christ and further, he wanted to present the church (believers) as a pure bride to Christ. In light of his position as "matchmaker," responsible for the Corinthians believers engagement to Christ, he shares his concerns with them.
I. Paul's Request -- (v.1) Paul urges the believers to take the time to listen to him. He has a legitimate concern.
II. Paul's Jealousy -- (v.2) Jealousy here is used in the good sense. Paul expresses his concern that the Corinthians are near to committing spiritual adultery. He is urging, don't let it happen.
III. Paul's Fear --(v. 3-4) He is fearful they are being deceived about the Biblical Christ & their loyalty to the biblical Christ is being undermined because they were not discerning.
1. They readily listened to those who proclaimed "another" Jesus.
These people were gullible. They were too trusting. They were believing anything anyone said about Jesus.
BEWARE! Not everyone who talks about Jesus or uses biblical terminology is saved or teaches biblical doctrine. Matthew 7:21-23 makes that clear. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
2. They mistakenly attributed all spiritual phenomenon to the Holy Spirit.
The Corinthians were not being discerning at all they were attributing the teachings and works of unholy spirits to the Holy Spirit. Attributing all spiritual phenomenon to the Holy Spirit is a foolish thing to do because the Bible shows that Satan has power to perform the supernatural, though he is not omnipotent. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders... Historically Satan has counterfeited many of the wonders of God (i.e. the plagues of Egypt).
3. They tolerated, without protest, "another" Gospel.
There is only one Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). There is only one way to Salvation and that is by grace, through faith in Christ (1 John 4:14; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The preaching of any other gospel must not be tolerated (Galatians 1:6-9).
Let me restate these three points plainly and apply them to today.
Christians are headed for trouble when they...
1. Cannot differentiate between the biblical Jesus and a bogus Jesus
2. Attribute all spiritual phenomena to the Holy Spirit
3. Tolerate, without protest, a way of Salvation other then through Christ alone
I believe that thousands of Christians are headed for trouble because they are making the same three mistakes Paul warned about when it comes to their involvement in Promise Keepers.
A Brief Overview Of Promise Keepers
Not since the days of the Jesus People has an American religious movement sprung into national prominence so quickly. Promise Keepers has grown phenomenally in only a few short years. In 1991, 4200 men attended the first gathering in Boulder Colorado. In 1992 there were 22,000. In 93, 55,000. 1994 a total attendance of 250,000 men gathering in six locations across the country . This year, perhaps 500,000 plus attended, although I do not know the exact figures.
To keep up with this phenomenal growth, Promise Keepers has 150 full-time staffers, up from 29 employees in 1993, and an annual budget of $22 million, up from $4 million in 1993. (Revenues are derived from a combination of conference fees, donations, and sales of books, tapes, and clothing with the PK logo.) Its offices receive about 10,000 telephone calls a day (over 20,000 per day during the 2/1-7/1 conference reservation period), and more than 5,000 pieces of mail. They have also opened regional offices in Texas, California, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington state, and Washington, D.C.
It is easy to see that Promise Keepers possesses unusual organizational momentum and emotional appeal, but before you jump on the Promise Keepers' bandwagon you should know the score.
It's no secret that American Culture, particularly American families are in trouble. The Census Bureau tells us that 40% of the children in this country live in a home where the father is absent. A researcher at the University of Pennsylvania found that among divorced parents, 40% haven't seen their fathers for the past year. A researcher at American University tells us that 80% of unwed fathers will cease frequent contact with their kids after the first two years. The founders of Promise Keepers picked up on this dearth and have developed a spiritual program whose goal is to point men back to leadership in the home and the church.
What Are The Seven Promises?
Promise one...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 two...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 three...a man and his integrity: A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.
Promise four... a man and his family: A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection, and biblical values.
Promise five...a man and his church: A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of the church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving of his time and resources.
Promise six...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 seven...a man and his world: A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (see Mark 12:30,31) and the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19, 20).
Major Problems With Promise Keepers Revealed
Now, you might be saying to yourself, "What's wrong with that, preacher?" My answer is, that's a noble goal, but the problem comes in the way they are trying to accomplish this task. I like the way a friend of mine put it -- "The organization possesses a morally good goal, but it is based on a doctrinally flawed foundation. Truth is minimized and experienced is maximized." (Dr. Douglas R. McLachlan; Central Baptist Seminary Testimony; Vol. 37 No.2; Summer 1995)
Dr. McLachlan hit the nail on the head. The reason I cannot jump on the Promise Keepers Band wagon is because, Promise Keepers Is Based On A Doctrinally Flawed Foundation.
The Bible is to be our standard and our yardstick of truth. There are many passages of scripture that point out that fact. The classic passage that points this out is...
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
We are to build our lives on Biblical truth. 1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. To build our lives or an organization on any other foundation than Biblical Truth is wrong.
Let's look at Promise Keepers Doctrinally Flawed Foundation.
The Hyper-Charismatic Theological Base of The Organization
The founder of Promise Keepers is Bill McCartney, head football coach at the University of Colorado until his recent resignation (1/3/95). A former Roman Catholic, McCartney's theology is now charismatic as evidenced by his membership in a local church affiliated with the Vineyard Christian Fellowship - a denomination founded by hyper-charismatic, signs & wonders "healer" John Wimber. Promise Keepers also has McCartney's Vineyard pastor, James Ryle, on its Board of Directors, and Vineyard member Randy Phillips is its president. That's not all, Both James Ryle and Bill McCartney claim to have received direct, special revelation from God for the body of Christ--some of it having to do with Promise Keepers. I want you to take a look at some of the "revelations" from God that Pastor James Ryle claims to have received by "divine revelation." In November of 1990 at a Vineyard Harvest Conference in Denver Promise Keeper board member received this ludicrous "divine revelation" --
"The Lord has appointed me as a lookout and shown me some things that I want to show you. The Lord spoke to me and said, 'What you saw in the Beatles - the gifting and sound that they had - was from me. It was my purpose to bring forth through music a worldwide revival that would usher in the move of my Spirit in bringing men and women to Christ." (Promise Keepers and The Rising Tide of Ecumenism; by Gil Rugh; p.22)
Do you understand what James Ryle was saying? God sent the Beatles with their music to bring revival and bring men and woman to Christ! YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING. The man's a false prophet. He's a wolf decked out in a sheep skin suit (Matthew 7:15).
There's still more. The Vineyard fellowship witnessed the so-called "Toronto Blessing" or "Holy Laughter" 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. As this "revival" has spread there have been other manifestations of the "spirit." People are barking like dogs, growling like lions, clucking like chickens and more! At Oral Roberts University, Oral Roberts heralded the "laughing revivals" and Rodney Browne'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. People, I have no doubt that these incidents are "spiritual" in nature, but they are not of the Holy Spirit! I will address this more in depth in another message. But, I will say this, I cannot jump on the Promise Keepers' bandwagon because of the hyper-charismatic foundation of the organization.
There is a second reason I cannot jump on the Promise Keepers' Bandwagon. That is because of...
Let me turn your attention back to Promise six...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. Doesn't that sound great? The problem is that Baptists, Catholics, Charismatics, Episcopals, Lutherans, Methodists, Mormons and more are being encouraged to put aside their doctrinal differences and come together. But there is a BIG PROBLEM! It's not scriptural. There can be no true Biblical unity apart from doctrinal purity. Or there can be no true Biblical unity apart from a solid Biblical foundation. Unity Is To Be Rooted In Biblical Truth -- Biblical unity neither compromises truth nor ignores truth but is rooted and grounded in truth. Jesus makes that clear in John 17:17-21 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The unity Christ prayer for is preceded by sanctification in the truth.
Throughout the centuries, the Roman Catholic Church has been an enemy of all true believers and the blood of hundreds of thousands of martyrs is upon its hands. However, for the past few decades, the Roman Catholic Church has changed its outward appearance and approaches. It has a new face of tolerance and a kindlier public image but the damnable heresies it proclaims remain as dangerous as ever. Furthermore, those who are only familiar with Roman Catholicism, as practiced in this country, would not believe the raw heathenism which is part of their worship in countries where they have been in control for centuries.
We must remember the Roman Catholic Church still preaches "another gospel." Consider what John Paul II wrote in Crossing The Threshold of Hope. "On this universal level, if victory comes, it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her, because He wants the church's victories now and in the future linked to her." No! NO!! A thousand times NO!!! Victory comes through receiving Christ as your personal Savior -- 1 John 5:1-5 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Let me give yet one other illustration of the false Gospel being promoted by Rome --"The Word became flesh to make us partakers of the divine nature...For the Son of God became man so that we might become God. The only begotten Son of God, wanting to make us shareres in His divinity, assumed our nature so that He, made man, might make men Gods." (1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church; p. 128, section 460)
It should be of great concern to every believer to know that the Promise Keepers movement is taught and led by men who blindly praise the Pope and are giving Roman Catholicism an undeserved and unwarranted vote of confidence. God's Word sounds a word of warning -- Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
It is interesting to note that church leaders are told -- 1) PK will not violate your doctrines 2) PK will not proselytize your men 3) PK will send men back to their own churches (Sept-Oct 95 PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter). Many of these "churches" preach another Jesus and another Gospel therefore I may not have fellowship with them (2 Cor. 6:14-17; Rom. 16:17-18; Eph. 4:14-15).
In case you doubt the above information, let me share support from a letter published in New Covenant magazine December of 1995. This magazine is a Roman Catholic publication. The letter states that a Promise Keepers chapter was being formed in the Catholic Parish in Tallahassee, Florida. The letter says, "I don't think the leaders of Promise Keepers have it in their heart or mind to exclude Catholic men from participating, or to encourage them to leave the Catholic Church." Therefore, "the Catholic Church should get involved with Promise Keepers and encourage Catholic men to participate."
NOTE THIS PLEASE -- sound doctrine is always the basis of biblical unity. Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
I cannot jump on the Promise Keepers' bandwagon because they are promoting unbiblical unity and dangerous ecumenism.
Promise Keepers Mixes Freudian Fables, Jungian Myths, & Other Self-Serving, Man-Made Psychologies & Philosophies With Biblical Truth
The most dangerous lies are those that are stuffed in the skin of truth. That's what's happening in the PK movement. Many of the preachers and teachers are teaching a psychological self-love/ self-esteem gospel that is based on the humanistic psychological principles of Carl Rogers not the Bible. Then there are those who promote the Freudian Fables and the Junian Myths. By the way, Carl Jung admits that he got his teachings from spirit guides (demons) one of whom was called Philemon (not the New Testament letter). Their gospel message is connected to dealing with the "unconscious" needs and "repressed memories" we "all" have. Other speakers endorse the occult practices of visualization and inner healing and victimization therapy.
That brings me to Dr. Robert Hicks, psychotherapist, pastor and professor of pastoral theology. PK has distributed thousands and thousands of his book The Masculine Journey and/or the accompanying Study Guide. In chapter after chapter, subjective insights into manhood are offered through quotes by a host of secular authors with a psychological or New Age bent. These include psycho-occultist Carl Jung, Inner-healing therapist Leanne Payne, transpersonal New Age psychiatrist and occultist/spiritualist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychologist Sam Keen, former theologian in residence at Esalen, the New Age/Eastern mystical therapeutic center south of San Francisco. Keen's books feature vicious diatribes against biblical Christianity. [4/94 The Berean Call]
One can also question Hicks concerning his lead-in quote to Chapter One from Former U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold: "The longest journey is the journey inwards of him who has chosen his destiny" (pure New Age); In Chapter Two there is a quote from evolutionist Charles Darwin. "Man with all his noble qualities still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin."
The book is filled with heresy and New Age psycho babble. Hicks teaches that David was a "manic-depressive" whose Psalms were the "musings" of a disordered mind (p. 114). [You have to be totally indoctrinated by inner-healing psycho babble to derive even a jot of such nonsense from the Bible (4/94 The Berean Call). This also shows Hicks' low view of Scripture.]
Hicks claims "Jesus...was the second Adam...was very much human...was also very much...phallic. ...I believe Jesus was phallic with all the inherent phallic passions we experience as men" (pp. 180-181). This seems to be either the result of Freudian brainwashing or hanging out in locker rooms. Either way, it's blasphemous (4/94 The Berean Call).
That's not all. The blasphemous movie The Last Temptation of Christ is referred to in a positive light! Claiming that Jesus is a "phallic male," Hicks says Jesus "may have thought about it as the movie...portrays" (p. 181) - referring to Jesus thinking about having sexual relations with a woman! To cite The Last Temptation of Christ as evidence that Jesus may have been tempted with lust for Mary Magdalene is as blasphemous as that movie itself (Media Spotlight, 11/94 Special Report on Promise Keepers, p. 6). Hicks even justifies gay men being Christians by claiming that Jesus was also tempted with homosexuality (p.181)!
The majority of the book keeps referring to the phallus. The first 70 pages do so clearly, and so does the last chapter, "A New Male Journey." For example, Hicks says that all men have a "deep compulsion to worship with our phallus" (p. 56). Hicks says - "Possessing a penis places unique requirements upon men before God in how they worship Him. We are called to worship God as phallic kinds of guys, not as some sort of androgynous, neutered non-males, or the feminized males so popular in many feminist-enlightened churches" (p. 51). Hicks' "phallus" phraseology is clearly Freudian and brings forth images of Greek paganism rather than biblical manhood (Jul/Aug 1994 PH Awareness Letter).
On what does Hicks base his teaching? Not the Bible! Yet PK officially endorse the book and it is used for mentoring men.
Friends, there are other reasons why I will not jump on the Promise Keepers Bandwagon but time will not allow me to deal with them. In my mind, Promise Keepers is a lot like rat poison. There are good things in rat poison you know. Corn, wheat and oats. Things that rats really need. But the good things are laced with poison.
Listen men. What you need is to get into the Word of God. Be faithful and active in a Bible believing Church more than on Sunday morning. You need to fellowship with Godly men. You must take time to get to know and cherish your wife as well as take an active role in rearing your children Biblically.
I will conclude this report by sharing two very important quotes. The first is from PsychgoHeresy Awareness Letter; Sept-Oct. 95 --
The second is from Christian View of The News by Norman Pyle 10-10-94.
Other Helpful Resource Material on Promise Keepers
PROMISE KEEPERS AND THE FORGOTTEN PROMISE; Earnest D. Pickering, Th.D., Baptist World Mission, P.O. BOX 1463, Decatur, Alabama 35602
The Promise Keepers Movement Is Dangerous; M.H. Reynolds, Fundamental Evangelistic Association, P.O. BOX 6278, Los Osos, CA 93412
Promise Keepers & PsychoHeresy; Martin & Deidre Bobgan; 4137 Primavera Road, Santa Barbara, Ca. 93110
Way of Life has an extensive section on Promise Keepers in the "Special Reports" section.