Promise Keepers - Is It Scriptural?

Jesus makes and keeps His Promises!

For He Himself has said: "I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So we may boldly say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear, What can man do to me? Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the Word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." Hebrews 5-8

"Behold I send the Promise of My Father upon you." Luke 24:49a

"And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers." Acts 26:6

"Thus I establish my covenant with you: Never again shall flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." Genesis 9:11


Promiscuity: primary definition (A miscellaneous mixture of persons or things; Webster 1849)

The Seven Promiscuities of the Promisekeepers:

1. Catholicism
2. Mormonism
3. Charismaticism
4. Psychology
5. Merchandising
6. False Doctrine
7. Blasphemy

Once a man is accepted to be an a Promise Keepers Ambassador, the cautions against standing for sound doctrine are very specific. The Ambassador's Instructional booklet warns the Ambassador that he no longer represents himself and his personal stands on a doctrinal issue, but instead represents Promise Keepers unique mission and is participating in the task of uniting men. The booklet gives some of the [doctrinal] issues that should not be addressed: Eternal security; The gifts of the Spirit; Baptism; Pre-tribulation or post-tribulation; Sacraments or ordinances (p. 10). The Ambassador is told that the PK's Purpose Statement and Statement of Faith had been carefully worded in order to avoid doctrinal conflict. Of course, how else could it be accepted by Mormons and Catholics alike?

A Promise Keeper is committed to pursue vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs his brothers to help keep his promises. [Where is this in the Bible?] He agrees to meet with a small group of men 2-4 times each month. ...Each man willingly grants the others the right to inquire about his relationship to God, his commitment to his family, his sexuality, and financial affairs. This is a kind of covenant relationship not found anywhere in Scripture. In fact, to the contrary, God takes such covenants far more seriously than does Promise Keepers (cf Num.30:2).

A Promise Keeper can evidently be a committed abortionist also! An interview with Bill McCartney published in the 6/18/95 Houston Chronicle quotes McCartney as saying that a Promise Keeper can be pro-choice because, "That's an individual preference. We would not try to direct or influence that. ... We welcome everyone; no one is excluded."

Robert Hicks, in his book heavily promoted by Promise Keepers, espoused a similar sensitive approach to the sin of homosexuality (The Masculine Journey, pp. 133-134). This tolerant position on homosexuality is found in many of the materials sponsored by Promise Keepers. While calling for strong male leadership in the churches, Promise Keepers has whimped-out on an issue 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 and judgmental.

Who are the speakers at Promisekeepers?

Bill McCartney (1991-1997) -Founder and board member of Promise Keepers, and 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 hypercharismatic, signs and 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. (See later in this report for more on Ryle and McCartney.) In his book, From Ashes to Glory, McCartney speaks glowingly of his Roman Catholic background, and asserts that he still believes much like a Roman Catholic. He states that he did not leave Roman Catholicism as much as he joined James Ryle's Vineyard Fellowship because it was meeting his needs at the time.

Chuck Swindoll (1994-1995) -- Swindoll is the former senior pastor of First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, California (for 24 years); he resigned in mid-1994 to become president of neoevangelical Dallas Theological Seminary. Swindoll's resume of heresy is seemingly endless--he recommends the books of many of the worst psychologizers, New Agers, and occultists imaginable, all under the banner of all truth is God's truth; he teaches a psychological self-love/self-esteem gospel that is virtually indistinguishable from that of the atheistic psychologists, in effect, denying the doctrines of grace and redemption; he openly supports ecumenical cooperation with Catholics and charismatics, all under the guise of grace and non-judgmental acceptance; he endorses the occultic practices of visualization and inner healing/victimization therapy; and he teaches that believers can be demon possessed. [At the 7/94 PK Boulder, Colorado conference, Swindoll, clad in faded denim, roared onto the stage astride a motorcycle to the band playing Born to Be Wild, and then delivered a sermon on avoiding temptation.

Luis Palau (1992; 1995-1997) -- internationally known Argentinian evangelist Luis Palau (the Billy Graham of South America) is a Catholic sympathizer whose ecumenical message is heavily diluted with pop psychology and Arminian easy-believism. He regularly cooperates with apostate Methodism and the radical fringe of Charismaticism (e.g., Oral Roberts).

Larry Crabb (1992; 1996) -- author, clinical psychologist, and founder and Director of the Institute of Biblical Counseling at Colorado Christian University in Morrison, Colorado. Crabb's model of counseling is primarily a psychological system of unconscious needs that supposedly motivate all behavior. This system has been derived from Freudian (the unconscious) and humanistic (a hierarchy of needs) psychology, with great emphasis on so-called emotional needs.

Bill Hybels (1994-1996) -- Author, church-growth guru, and the ecumenical, psychologically- oriented pastor of the 12,000-member Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois.

James Dobson (1993) -- pop psychologist, author, and founder and Director of Focus on the Family Ministries. According to Dobson, low self-esteem is the root cause of most societal ills. Dobson has heavily promoted Promise Keepers on his nationwide radio program, and Focus on the Family Publishing is one of Promise Keepers' publishers and produces most of its tapes. In fact, PK credits Dobson's radio program (2,300 stations nationwide) promotion of the PK '92 Convention as instrumental in PK's subsequent extraordinary growth. In PK’s early years, Promise Keepers was kept afloat by a gift from Focus on the Family.

Bill Bright (1992; 1995-1996) -- ecumenical/Catholic promoter and founder and Director of Campus Crusade for Christ. Bright was a signator to the 3/94 ecumenical accord--Evangelicals & Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium, and won the $1 million 1996 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.

The theme for Promise Keepers '95 was Raise the Standard. Each of the 13 conferences had the same eight topics, with only the 45 scheduled speakers rotating topics from conference to conference. Dallas ecumenical pastor Tony Evans spoke at 11 of the 13 conferences, while Jack Hayford (who writes about the mass as a valid form of worship) and Bill McCartney spoke at eight each, Howard Hendricks at six, E.V. Hill at five, and Gary Smalley at four. Some of the first-time Promise Keepers conference speakers included Juan Carlos Ortiz, the pastor of Hispanic Ministries at apostate Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral; Chuck Colson, co-author of the ecumenical accord Evangelicals and Catholics Together and recipient of the Progress in Religion Award; self-esteem psychologizer, Dennis Rainey; psychologizing financial guru, Ron Blue; Billy Graham's liberal son, Franklin Graham; Far East Broadcasting Company's Billy Kim, who speaks and travels with hyper-charismatic Paul (David) Yonggi Cho and is vice president of the apostate Baptist World Alliance; John Wesley-White, Evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; and charismatic Bruce Wilkinson.

Recently, Latinos have voiced opposition to formal involvement of Roman Catholics in Promisekeepers. Many church leaders in Miami have vowed not to participate in any event where Catholics are in leadership roles. Killings of evangelicals by Catholics in Mexico are a sore issue for many Latino Christians. This makes PK's recent appointment of Catholic Michael Timmins of Detroit to the PK board problematic. McCartney says Catholics are welcome if they can abide by PK's "Seven Promises" mission statement, and a statement of faith.

The Vineyard influence in Promise Keepers is most disconcerting. As mentioned earlier, McCartney, Phillips, and Ryle are all affiliated with Vineyard churches. Paul Cain, one of the original Vineyard prophets, claims that PK is the fulfillment of a divine dream he received when he was 19 years old (8/30/95 message at Christ Chapel, Florence, AL).The Vineyard movement believes that God is giving new revelation today and that the miraculous signs of the early church should be normative for today.

Charisma magazine is the official voice of the charismatic movement. (Charisma has supported the work of such leading charismatics as Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jim and Tammy Bakker. It has endorsed Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and other hyper-charismatics who have denied such fundamental doctrines as the deity of Christ and the Trinity. It has also endorsed the Holy Laughter phenomena.) Charisma 's founding editor, Stephen Strang (Strang Communications Company), entered into a partnership with PK in early 1994 to publish a bimonthly men's magazine titled New Man: For Men of Integrity. (Initial 5/94 premier issue press run was 225,000, and was distributed free to attendees at the first six 1994 PK conferences; as of 3/97, the publisher reports a paid circulation of over 320,000, more than double that of Christianity Today, the leading evangelical magazine in America.) Strang says: "This high-quality magazine will feature practical articles designed to encourage and equip its readers to become godly men. It will be a lively publication for men of the '90s, appealing to their interests, such as sports, hobbies and health. Like PK, the magazine will cross ethnic and denominational boundaries to unite men in Jesus Christ--a magazine for any man who loves Jesus and is born of the Spirit-charismatic, evangelical, Protestant or Catholic" (4/94, Charisma).


- Theistic evolution is the unbiblical belief that God was involved in the evolutionary process, originally creating lower life forms, then letting them evolve by random chance (or continuing to create various species over millions of years), eventually infusing evolved man with a soul. PK's official magazine, New Man, endorses theistic evolution and argues that whether or not God used evolution to bring man into existence is of little importance (New Man, Jul-Aug, 1996, p. 54; as reported in the 3/97, The Berean Call ).

Contrary to PK's belief, the manner in which man came into existence is of critical importance! If the earth is millions or billions of years old, with death thereby occurring prior to Adam's sin, then the Biblical doctrines of sin and salvation are moot.

If death and bloodshed preceded Adam’s rebellion against God, then what are the wages of sin and how did the entrance of sin change things? And if death proceeded sin, then death is not the penalty for sin, and Christ's death on the cross accomplished nothing! Since such evolutionary and old-earth thinking is totally incompatible with the work of Christ, should it not be a requirement that a so-called Christian ministry believe in literal creationism as taught in the Bible?

Second Grand Awakening

- Charles Grandison Finney was an early - 19th century revivalist in the Northeastern part of the United States, and a kindred spirit of John Wesley. (Wesley was steeped deeply in the writings of Roman Catholic medieval mystics, claimed to have read them avidly, and was instrumental in publishing a great number of these Roman Catholic works. This false mysticism stayed with Wesley all his life. Finney doctrinalized Wesley's second experience teaching.) Finney's introduction of new methods for getting converts and the orchestrating of emotion and excitement in huge revival gatherings was clearly based on his heretical understanding of being born-again. Finney writes that he repudiated all the fundamental doctrines of God's sovereignty in salvation, including the vicarious nature of the atonement of Jesus Christ, in the interests of preaching revival. Finney's purpose was solely to convince the human will and produce decisions and commitments.

Finney's new measures in revivalism left an indelible stamp upon Evangelicalism. Evangelism crusades, revival meetings, the altar call, the decision to accept Christ, the prayer of faith, the use of excitement and emotion to facilitate decisions for Christ, and the attempt to promote the moral reformation of the culture can all be attributed to the new measures introduced by Finney in the 1830s. Many of the modem movements such as Church Growth, the magnitude and the extent of Promise Keepers, and the so-called Religious Right find their roots in Finney. Evangelicals cannot escape his influence.

The problem with Finney’s influence on modern-day evangelicalism is that Finney's methods produce results. He initiated what was called the Second Great Awakening. Great revivals were reported in towns and cities throughout the country. Lives were reportedly changed. Moral reformations reportedly occurred. But since Finney did not preach the total corruption of the human nature and rejected the truth of justification by grace through faith alone, the basis for his results could not have been the Holy Spirit. Finney's results were exactly as Finney defined them--a human dynamic.

We must therefore, also question the multitudes who have become men of integrity by sharing in the emotion and excitement of PK revivals. Is not PK also not the work of the Holy Spirit, but rather of emotions, methods, and group dynamics orchestrated to produce decisions, commitments, and modify behavior--in other words, a human dynamic? By employing Finney's methods, one gains Finney's results (Assessing the PK, 12/25/95, Christian News, pp. 1, 7-8). - PK is apparently willing to give up the true treasures given by Christ for a feel-good experience with the guys. PK and others dedicated to the Christian men's movement are unbiblically preoccupied with man himself and from man's perspective. They are at best doomed to a grace-barren, fleshly form of godliness. Instead, the emphasis should be focusing on God Himself, getting to know Him and His way through His Word (4/94, The Berean Call, and 9/19/94, Christian News).


Mormon stake president(Los Angeles) says: The PK "Seven Promises are like something straight out of the (Mormon) men's priesthood manual." He indicated that several leaders would be attending and members of their congregations.

PK, while claiming to lead men to Christ at their conferences, preaches a non-doctrinal gospel-one which finds acceptance even among Mormon leaders, whose theology and Christology are aberrant, and Roman Catholic clergy, who, while espousing belief in salvation by grace alone, insist that true salvation rests in the sacraments of the Church.

If men are to come together as men, they would do well to follow what the Bible says rather than Freudian fables, Jungian myths, and other self-serving, man-made psychologies. And they would do well to gather together in the place where they are meant to grow--in the local church--not in huge techno-tent rallies with mob psychology or in groups using encounter group techniques and undermining important doctrinal distinctives. Indeed, the magnitude and the extent of Promise Keepers' aberrations from orthodoxy warrant a rejection of the entire movement (Promise Keepers PsychoHeresy, p. 29).

A telltale sign that there is something desperately wrong with the PK movement is the favorable press given to Promise Keepers by the worldly media. Why would the world be promoting Promise Keepers when Jesus said the world would hate us as it hated Him? (Pastor Bill Randles 8/22/95 open letter to Bill McCartney).

One worldly source that has not praised Promise Keepers is Scott Raab, writer-at-large for GQ magazine: There's nothing new, much less revolutionary, in what Promise Keepers is pushing, which is not really about Jesus Christ at all, but about Satan. After listening to all the speeches and the prayers [at the 9/95 Oakland, California PK conference], after reading their books and magazines, it's abundantly clear that these guys see the Archenemy everywhere, but especially in the mirror. What PK offers men finally is protection--from themselves (1/96, GQ magazine, pp. 129-130).

- Can two walk together except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3). It must be assumed that those who participate in the PK movement also agree with their kindred in that movement. It must also be assumed that pastors who attend PK rallies embrace the doctrine that God was once a man as do their Mormon brethren. It must also be assumed that those pastors who send or take their men to PK meetings agree with the Pentecostal flavor of those meetings and wouldn't mind if those men came back home from PK speaking in tongues, rolling down the aisles, and recruiting other men to do the same. Any pastors who take or send men to a PK rally is a traitor to the cause of Christ, is an unfaithful shepherd over the flock of God, and has betrayed the trust placed in him by his congregation to protect them against the wolves. (Excerpted and/or adapted from the 1/96 The Wilderness Voice, pp. 6-7).

It is highly unlikely that an organization that waffles on doctrinal integrity will inspire men to truly be men of God. Strength of leadership honors God only when it is in compliance with God's written Word. To ignore doctrinal integrity, as Promise Keepers does, nullifies any other claims to integrity. While claiming to be an instrument to draw men closer to Jesus Christ, Promise Keepers is in reality minding earthly things. Their God may not be their belly (Phil. 3:13- 21), but it certainly appears to be their loins (Media Spotlight, Vol. 16 - No. 1, Promise Keepers Update, pp. 8, 10).

The Money

In 1995, Promise Keepers held rallies in football stadiums in 13 major U.S. cities that attracted 727,000 men. Registration fees of more than $38 million were taken in (at $55 per registrant). In 1996, Promise Keepers held 22 rallies and drew 1.1 million attendees (1,098,534 to be exact); revenues exceeded $65 million (at $60 per registrant). To keep up with this phenomenal growth, Promise Keepers has more than 500 staffers (about 30% made up of minorities) (up from 22 employees in 1993, 85 in 1994, 300 in 1995, and 437 in 1996) and a 1997 annual budget of more than $107 million (down from $120 million in 1996, but up from $64 million in 1995 and only $4 million in 1993). Promise Keepers' executives are paid very well--Randy Phillips and seven other top PK executives are paid annual salaries from $60,000 to $95,000 (I 1/6/95, Time).

Revenues are derived from a combination of conference fees, donations, and sales of books, magazine subscriptions, music and teaching tapes and CDS, and a rich array of clothing and trinkets with the PK logo (such as a small bronze statute of warriors standing back-to-back-- a favorite PK theme). Promise Keepers has also established an enormous on-going fund-raising effort via direct mail through one of the largest Christian advertising and fund raising firms in the country 6/95, Dallas-Fort Worth Heritage ). Promise Keepers is big business!

The churches should take it upon themselves autonomously to concentrate on consistent, in-depth Bible Study and discipleship for the men, so that they can teach their wives and children. The elder women should teach the younger women how to be keepers of their home and how to be obedient to their husbands in everything. (Titus 2:1-5; Ephesians 5:22-24). Just to be sure that all that is done is biblical and not just Bible oriented.

For more information write to the following:

The Berean Call, Box 719, Bend OR 97708

Media Spotlight, Box 290 Redmond, WA 98073

Psychoheresy Letter, 4137 Primavera Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93110

Good News For Catholics, Box 595 Cupertino, CA 95015


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