Down the Doctrinal Walls - Forget Doctrinal Differences - Make Us All
One - Protestants - Roman Catholics - Charismatics - Everybody!
The Promise Keepers' Objective
Adventists, in increasing numbers, are attending Promise Keepers'
stadium meetings. Now, at last, we are learning the basic objective of
this organization. Here it is:
Share this information with every Seventh-day Adventist member and pastor you know!
1 An Earlier (Spring 1996) Report on Promise Keepers.
A MUST READ FOR ALL WHO VALUE TRUTH AND PURITY!
2 Modern Revivals (excerpt from Great Controversy)
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." Great Controversy, 463
Keepers (PK) is the new religious movement that is sweeping the nation
like wildfire. But there are a number of facts you should know about
author and radio pastor Tony Evans gave his best Burgess Meredith
impersonation, 'Get up, you bum! Get up, you bum!' in mimicking the
key scene from Rocky V in which the trainer Mick convinces his boxer to
pull himself together and defeat a seemingly unassailable foe. "As
Evans' words echoed down the National Mall in Washington, D.C., an epic
roar issued from the throng of men, who deeply responded to the parallel
between Rocky and the American evangelical male. Evans likened 'Get up,
you bum!' to the cry of Christ for men to live for God. The crowd rose
and let loose a deafening shout." Christianity Today. November
March 20,1990, University of Colorado head football coach. Bill
McCartney, and his friend, Dave Wardell, were on a three-hour car ride
to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting in Pueblo, CO. when the
idea of filling a stadium with Christian men first came up. Later that
year, 72 men began laying plans for such a project.
1991, 4,200 men gathered at the University of Colorado Events Center.
In 1992, 22,000 men met at Colorado University's Folsom Stadium. In
1993, 50,000 filled Folsom Stadium to capacity. In 1994, seven sites
nationwide totaled 278,600 men in attendance. In 1995, 13 gatherings
were held with 750,000 in attendance. Each year since then has brought
millions of men together to make Promise Keepers commitments. Huge
rallies for both pastors and church members have occurred.
six years, rally attendance has grown from 4,200 a year to 1.1 million a
year. Last year's (1996) revenue reached $87 million.
with the passing of time, the objectives of Promise Keepers have become
clearer. What kind of commitments are being made at these meetings?
Where is Promise Keepers taking those men? What is the instruction
being given? How does this religious movement relate to concepts
outlined in Great Controversy?
are several problems we find in Promise Keepers:
of an un-Scriptural religious unity at the expense of sound doctrine and
and promotion of un-Biblical Charismatic teachings.
and use of psychological techniques and approaches.
and promotion of corrupted modern versions of the Bible.
twisting, and misinterpreting key passages of Scripture.
at the expense of maintaining the purity of the faith.
inroads into a remarkably broad number of denominations and churches.
will expand on several of these points later in this report.
book, Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, was published in 1994 by Focus
on the Family, with articles by leading Protestant Ecumenical preachers
(including Bill Bright, James Dobson. Tony Evans, Gary Smalley, and Luis
Palau). The subtitle is "seven solid promises that will change a
man's life forever."
example of what will be found in it is Jack Hayford's comment on page 19
of the first chapter (which discusses 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
worship centers on the Lord's Table. Whether your tradition celebrates
it as Communion, Eucharist, the Mass, or the Lord's Supper, we are all
called to this centerpiece of Christian worship."
there any difference between the Lord's Supper and the Roman Catholic
sacrifice of the Mass? Indeed, there is an incredible difference! How
could anyone promise to obey God's Word, and yet stoop to such a compromise?
Keepers teaches those who attend it that all men are going to be saved,
regardless of what church they belong to.
is how Coach Bill McCartney, founder of PK, described it on pages
160-161 of the same book:
I don't mean to suggest that all cultural differences and denominational
distinctives are going to disappear. But what I know is that God wants
to bring Christian men together regardless of their ethnic origin,
denominational background, or style of worship.
only one criterion for this kind of unity: to love Jesus and be born of
the Spirit of God. Can we look one another in the eye-black, red, brown,
yellow, Baptist, Presbyterian, Assemblies of God, Catholic, and so
on-and get together on this common ground: 'We believe in salvation
though Christ alone, and we have made Him the Lord of our lives'?
that not the central, unifying reality of our existence? And if it is,
can we not focus on that and call each other brothers instead of always
emphasizing our differences? Men, we have to get together on this!"
several other denominations question the rise of Promise Keepers, ironically,
only the fundamentalist Baptists and other lesser-known denominations,
such as the Mennonites, are deeply upset about the doctrinal void that
it urges. Nearly all the other denominations --including our own -see
this as a great opportunity for strengthening the ranks of their own
will let the Baptists explain the problem to us:
1996 and 1997, the Southwide Baptist Fellowship, the Fundamentalist
Baptist Fellowship, and General Association of Regular Baptists
enacted resolutions warning their member churches against attending
Promise Keepers' meetings or having anything to do with them. Here is
one of them:
the para-church organization known as Promise Keepers advocates an unscriptural
religious unity at the expense of sound doctrine and practice, accepts.
and promotes unscriptural charismatic teachings and the inclusion of
Roman Catholicism, approves and uses psychological approaches that mix
truth and error, uses unholy music and highly questionable speakers,
and whereas they are aggressive in the pursuit of new members, a
definite threat to Bible-believing Baptist churches who hold to
doctrinal purity; therefore, be it resolved that the Southwide Baptist
Fellowship stands firmly against it and its ecumenical bent."
Southwide Baptist Fellowship, meeting at Trinity Baptist Church,
Jacksonville, Florida, October 7-9, 1996.
is a second:
express our opposition to the inclusive character of Promise Keepers,
which minimizes doctrine and denominational distinctions in an attempt
to achieve unity and fellowship. We voice our concern over the practice
of using some speakers who are identified with denominations that are
apostate or charismatic."-General Association of Regular
Baptists, June 25, 1997.
here is a third:
FBF [Fundamentalist Baptist Fellowship] continues to oppose the
burgeoning movement known as Promise Keepers, and see in this
'grassroots ecumenism' one of the gravest dangers to the cause of true
Biblical separation in this generation. A recent example of this ecumenism
occurred at the 1996 Clergy Conference for Men held in Atlanta, Georgia,
February 13-15, where Bill McCartney, leader of Promise Keepers, said:
'It is exciting to see the denominational barriers come down as we
have Protestants and Roman Catholics together. The purpose of this
meeting is to have the unity of the church.'
giving lip service to Jesus Christ, Promise Keepers, in its attempt to
break down denominational walls, sends out a confusing message
concerning doctrinal walls that God sets up in His Word as essential to
Biblical Christianity." -Fundamentalist Baptist Fellowship,
meeting at Bethel Baptist Church, Schaumburg, Illinois, June 11-13.
its annual conference on June 20-22, 1995, the Independent Baptist
Fellowship of North America passed a lengthy statement about Promise
Keepers. of which this is a portion:
Keepers' official sounding Doctrinal Statement is crafted so those with
theological and ecclesiastical persuasions of belief and nonbelief
including Catholic, Mormon, Charismatic and New Evangelical may and do
participate. . One of Promise Keepers' goals is to have representative
involvement in local churches throughout North America. . Promise
Keepers' leaders, speakers and participants hold a multitude of
unbiblical doctrines such as sign gifts, psycho-Heresy, and participants
are strongly encouraged to ignore Bible doctrine and propound methods
that undermine church autonomy and pastoral authority. We therefore
resolve and do hereby encourage pastors and laymen to take a clear stand
and reject any participation with Promise Keepers lest God's command
against compromise be dishonored and churches succumb to ecumenism. .
[and we should] teach our congregations the lessons of Scripture and
experience which clearly warn against cooperation in spiritual
efforts, though noble-sounding, which such are undertaken in ways which
conflict with God's Word." -Independent Baptist Fellowship of North
America, June 20-22, 1995.
fifth Baptist association, in its June 21- 25, 1997, annual meeting, has
gone on record against participation in Promise Keepers:
are) urging our people and our churches to avoid Promise Keepers and
instructing denominational departments and employees not to promote
nor participate in the movement." General Association of Regular
Baptists, June 25, 1997.
is a partial list of other religious groups, organizations, religious
publications, and schools which have taken a stand against Promise
Council of Christian Churches. Fundamental Evangelistic Association. Baptist
World Mission, Oblo Bible Fellowship, Independent Baptist Fellowship of
North America, Mission to Catholics, Media Spotlight, PsychoHeresy
Awareness Ministries, Bob Jones University, The Berean Call Ministry.
addition, all black denominational headquarters, as well as Reformed
Church leaders, have refused to approve it. There are reasons. Most
are given in this report.
books have been written on the subject, including, Promise Keepers:
Beware! Vols. 1-2, by D. W. Cloud and Mike Betancourt. Promise Keepers
in the Light of Scripture, by Douglas Comin; Beyond Promises: A Biblical
Challenge to Promise Keepers, by Douglas Wilson and David Hagopian;
and Promise Keepers: Another Trojan Horse, by Phillip Arms.
prominent church speakers as John MacArthur Jr.; John Armstrong; RC.
Sproul, Jr.; and Don Matzat have spoken against participating in
Promise Keepers' meetings.
readers have been reading our ongoing tract series entitled The
Concordia Crisis. We are happy to report that the current president of
the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has spoken out publicly against contacts
with Promise Keepers. Such a statement as the following one indicates
that over 20 years after the crisis at Concordia Seminary, which shook
that denomination, it is still fairly conservative:
have watched the Promise Keepers' movement develop. The background of
the movement is important for us to understand. It traces its
theological roots to the Pentecostal movement. For instance, the
magazine of the Promise Keepers' movement features many advertisements
from charismatic and Pentecostal organizations. The magazine itself is
published by individuals who have been associated with a popular charismatic
magazine called Charisma. So, we need to be cautious as we hear the
Promise Keepers movement's doctrinal assertions.
Promise Keepers' movement very purposefully de-emphasizes the
importance of complete faithfulness to the Word of God. They tend to
overlook differences between denominations as not all that important.
The Holy Scriptures, time and again, urges us to be completely faithful
to all that Jesus has given us . .
Promise Keepers' movement tends to view specific doctrinal points of
disagreement as non-essential, unimportant and thus able to be
overlooked. This would explain why the Promise Keepers' movement
offered Holy Communion to a very diverse crowd of people at the Promise
Keepers' clergy conference recently held in Atlanta [February 1996].
Differences must be ignored in order to facilitate this sort of ecumenical
gathering, which we would describe as unionistic.
God commands us to be faithful to the whole counsel of His Word it is
both dishonest and insincere for us to pretend that differences do
not 'matter' or are 'insignificant' and thus join in fellowship with
those who do not accept the teachings of the Word or whatever the
subject might be, the sacraments or the doctrine of regeneration, or
justification, faith, sanctification, and all the rest.
Promise Keepers' movement downplays differences in these key areas and
tries to reduce everything to a very simplistic formulaic approach to
the Faith. The Promise Keepers' movement tends to accept the notion that
there is a 'generic' sort of Christianity to which the various
denominations add their particular emphases, sort of like a 'base' of
paint to which various colors are added to give the paint the particular
color desired. .
differences is not an option for the faithful of God. Recognizing them
and realizing that in this life we may have to separate over them is a
responsible choice, as opposed to simply 'agreeing to disagree' and then
neglecting these divisive issues." -A.L. Barry. president,
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Christian News, June 10,1996.
the summer of 1996, a well-known fundamentalist editor and writer.
Shelton Smith, made the following comments in a question and answer
interview. Can you imagine the editor of Sword of the Lord magazine
having more common Biblical sense than many of our own people?
Promise Keepers is a new phenomenon on the scene today. What can you
tell us about it?
It's the latest major attempt to ecumenize the face of Christianity in
America. Ecumenism is an attempt to 'homogenize' the religious scene so
everyone will walk the same, talk the same, do the same-and in the same
place at the same time-without attention to distinctions or details. .
The distlnctives of the Bible must never be diluted, compromised or set
aside. If you hold the Bible precious to your soul, lf the Bible is the
Word of God, then certain distinctives will be held. . The Promise
Keepers' success reflects gullibility, and lots of it. There is so much
ignorance of the Bible today; it's tragic. People are grasping in their
desperation at all kinds of straws. So many do not check it out by the
standards of the Bible; they just grab it and go with it.
But Promise Keepers has its own distinctives, doesn't it? . Answer:
Yes, they do! Their first distinctive is to require you to set aside
What are you saying?
The Promise Keepers have their own agenda, and a part of their stated
objective requires you to submit to their pre-set program.
Specifically, you can't talk about things like eternal security at
Promise Keepers. It's forbidden. Of course they wouldn't want you to say
anything about standards for music, since they have chosen to use the
rock culture, charismatic style of music for their rallies. An observer
at the rally for clergy in Atlanta [February 1996] said, "The
big-beat contemporary music brought the ministers to their feet,
followed by giving a 'high five' to all those around them. .
Do you not find some good things which you can commend with Promise
That's not the issue! You can usually find a few good things in almost
anything. But when they are violations of clear Bible commands (which
are not only ignored but encouraged) in order to achieve the goals,
it's time to say no. When there are too many flies in the soup, you
don't eat the soup.
But it's all voluntary participation, is it not?
I'm hearing stories about people being pressured pretty hard. The
football couch [Promise Keepers' Bill McCartney] made a significantly
disrespectful statement toward pastors who weren't lining up:
McCartney said. 'Our clergy are divided. . There is no unity of command
. . There is tremendous division in our clergy. . If a guy [a pastor]
says that he doesn't want to go [to the Promise Keepers' Clergy Conference
held in Atlanta], he needs to be able to tell us why. . We've got to
have one leadership, one leadership only.' This incredible summons is
way out of line; it's off-base. Pastors who cave in to the Promise
Keepers' 'leadership' are going to be hearing more such demands made
upon them. I think his statement is reflective of what may be expected
from Promise Keepers. They want everybody-Baptists, Catholics, everybody-to
do the Promise Keepers' thing, no matter what. That's untenable,
uncomfortable, unwarranted, totally unacceptable. .
clear of Promise Keepers! Do not get into Promise Keepers. Give your
loyalty to Bible truth, not a superficial unity. Follow Christ based on
Bible truths. Don't get ensnared by this newest ecumenical craze
called Promise Keepers." "Dr. Smith Talks about the Promise
Keepers, " Sword of the Lord. May 31, 1996.
who have attended Promise Keepers' meetings are convinced that that
high-tech psychology is used to sway the vast crowd into accepting
concepts they would not otherwise consider.
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 rallies with 'mob psychology' or in groups using
encounter group techniques and undermining important doctrinal
distinctives."-Martin and Deidre Bobgan, Promise Keepers and
are in the ministry men who gain apparent success by swaying minds
through human influence. They play upon the feelings at will, making
their hearers weep, and in a few minutes laugh. Under labor of this
kind, many are moved by impulse to profess Christ, and there is thought
to be a wonderful revival; but when the test comes, the work does not
endure. Feelings are stirred, and many are borne along by the tide that
seems to be setting heavenward; but in the strong current of temptation
they quickly float back as driftwood. " - Gospel Workers, 382
April 29, 1995, at a Detroit Silver Dome Promise Keepers' meeting, Bill
McCartney demanded that all pastors participate in the forthcoming
1996 Clergy Conference.
I think many of you are in touch with the fact that we're having a
pastor's gathering in Atlanta in February. This gathering in Atlanta
should exceed 100,000 clergymen. Why? Because we have many more than
that, and every single one of them ought to be there. We can't have
anybody pass up that meeting. If a guy [pastor] says that he doesn't
want to go, he needs to be able to tell us why he doesn't want to go!
Tell them, 'Why wouldn't you want to be a part of what God wants to do
with His hand-picked leaders?'. .
listen to me, men; that February meeting to me is not a coincidence
that it comes over Valentine's Day. I think we're going to have another
St. Valentine's Day massacre. I think Almighty God is going to rip open
the hearts of our leaders. I think He's going to tear them open. And I
think He's going to put them back together again as one. One leadership!
We've got to have one leadership, one leadership only!"
1996 Clergy Conference for Men in Atlanta, Georgia, which convened on
February 13-15 of that year, provides us with a typical example of a
primary objective of Promise Keepers, which is, bring all the churches
together into one vast, non-doctrinal, mega-church!
This is a historic event never before matched anywhere in this nation'
is the way Promise Keepers' leaders described the gathering of 39,024
clergy in Atlanta, Georgia's Dome Clergymen came from all 50 states, 11
Canadian Provinces, as well as 16 other nations. Texas was the state
with the highest number registered-2,657. Participants ranged from
retirement age to young men fresh out of seminary, but no women were
permitted to attend -even though some have attempted to do so as members
of the clergy." ACCC Challenge, April 1996 issue [published by
the American Council of Christian Churches]. Ralph G. Colas, in his
article, An Eyewitness Report on the 1996 Clergy Conference for Men,
described the gathering this way:
the registration fee brought in $3-$4 million, it is the sale of Promise
Keepers' products that is the money producer: polo shirts, $28;
windbreakers, $35; sweatshirts, $45; caps, $10-$16; coffee mugs, $5.
These are just a few of the items marketed by Promise Keepers. Tapes,
videos, books, and other Promise Keepers' materials also provide
substantial income for Promise Keepers. Their yearly income is reported
as more than $110 million! . .
Garlington. . asked the ministers to turn to one another and say, 'The
Lord is calling.' The next 'chant' shared with one another was 'There
is room for you in the body of Christ. ' This was the beginning tactic
to work the crowd' and to break down any reservations a clergyman
might have toward those of a different religious group. The clergy
eagerly followed the leaders' suggestions. .
big beat, contemporary music brought the ministers to their feet,
followed by giving a 'high five' to all those around them."
the podium, Dale Schlafer cried out to the massive crowd of clergymen:
churches represented have ten members while others have 20,000. There
are priests, bishops, and ministers from every denomination in our
added that some had been fasting for 30-40 days, that God would
"reunite us" at this gathering.
the gathering, Bill McCartney told the crowd that denominational
barriers had been removed, and every Protestant group, as well as Roman
Catholics, were welcome to participate. He said one of the purposes of
Promise Keepers was to break down denominational walls, and added:
church is in bondage to the giant of denominational restrictions and
another giant of racial and ethnic boundaries. PK is dedicated to
uniting men through vital relationships."
is a dream come true. Our Father in Heaven has sent out the invitation
for Biblical unity. Biblical unity is the only way we will survive in
the days ahead. . Contention between denominations has gone on long
enough. If the Church ever stood together, God would have His way!"
the meeting, McCartney declared war on "denominationalism":
Church has never stood together to declare to the giant of
denominationalism, 'We will no longer be in bondage to you!' "
he quoted Paul, "Who are you to judge another man's servant?"
another session of the two-day gathering. Max Lucado continued on the
same theme, beating, beating it into the minds of the ministers and
priests in attendance. His sermon, entitled "From Bondage to
Freedom, "was about breaking down the walls of the denominations
which separate us from one another.
made the provocative statement, "In essentials unity, in
non-essentials charity." Apparently the only "essentials"
is unity itself. Such things as doctrines are non-essentials.
this juncture, Lucado asked the men to call out, all at one time, their
denominational name. The result was a babel of sounds. Then he told them
to callout the name of Jesus, and that, of course, was more easily
then cried out to the thousands of listening pastors and priests from
sin of disunity causes people to go to hell! The step to unity is
acceptance and no longer to speak evil of one another. Would it not be
wonderful not to be known as either Protestant or Catholic? This is a
God-sized dream and no one in our generation has ever seen the Church
Lucado ordered the ministers to apologize to every minister
representing a denomination they had ever spoken negatively of, Steve
Green, the singer, strode forward and sang repeatedly the phrase,
"Let the walls come down!" the 40,000 ministers shouted,
whistled, clapped, and cheered.
this time, they had been worked up into a high level of emotional
feeling. Then a message was read from Billy Graham, who told the
assembled clergy to "tear down the walls that separate us"
This was immediately followed by a powerful act of symbolic unity: A
communion service was held for everyone present. Obviously, there are
so many variations of this service in the several denominations, that
even holding one together was astounding! There is the Eucharist, Holy
Communion, the Lord's Supper, and the Sacrifice of the Mass. Yet,
somehow, they managed to all get through it together.
a press conference soon after, a leading church official (Henry Blackaby
of the Southern Baptist Convention) replied:
don't try to evaluate that, and neither do we take a position regarding
women serving as pastors."
this juncture, Joseph Stowell, president of Moody Bible Institute, also
spoke up in defense of the no-doctrine unity.
God does not ever wear an angry face. He deals with compassion!".
neither doctrinal purity nor heretical practices matter anymore. As
the Atlanta stadium rally drew to a close, Randy Phillips, Promise
Keepers' president, announced that the twenty-two Men's Conferences
scheduled for 1996 would have as their theme, "Break Down the
Walls." Phillips said, "Isolation is the breeding ground for
walls-walls of separation. Men, we are coming together in 22 stadiums in
1996 to break down the walls!"
only such men as Billy Graham and Joseph Stowell are backing the
one-denomination objective of Promise Keepers, but also is Campus
Crusade for Christ. This is one of the largest Christian collegiate
organizations in America.
its Alumni Newsletter of January 1995, ACCC printed an article which
describes the purpose of "Strategic Alliance, " the name they
have given to the Promise Keepers/Campus Crusade organizational link.
Alliance-Have you attended Promise Keepers and want to receive further
training? 'Man to Man' seminars are part of a Strategic Alliance
between Campus Crusade for Christ and Promise Keepers to help men (1)
personalize issues that concern men; (2) provide basic leadership
training; and (3) give information on small-group Bible studies
especially for men."
at Promise Keepers' rallies include the leading Protestant
interdenominational speakers of our time:
Blue, Bill Bright, Chuck Colson, Tony Egantgs, Bill Glass, Franklin
Graham (Billy's son), Jack Hayford, Howard Hendricks, Bill Hybels, Bob
Moorhead, Luis Palau, Randy Phillips, Raul IDes, James Ryle, Gary
Smalley, Joe Stowell, Chuck Swindoll, John Trent, Glenn Wagner, John
Wesley-White, Bruce Wilkinson, and Ravi Zacharias.
has developed a team of male kindred spirits who round out the roster
of speakers at PK stadium events, including Christian therapist Gary
Smalley, popular author Max Lucado, media preacher Tony Evans, and Foursquare
Gospel pastor Jack Hayford."-Christianity Today, November 17,
Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, has given Promise Keepers
extensive publicity on his radio program; has spoken at a 1993 Promise
Keepers' rally in Boulder, Colorado; and has written a chapter in the
group's guidebook. In addition, Dobson's organization has published
Promises Keepers' books and materials.
early as 1992, when the group was without a constituency or a mailing
list, it received $10,000 in critical assistance from James Dobson, a
psychologist and Christian activist who produces the most widely heard
Christian daily radio program."-Time, October 6, 1997.
Robertson, former presidential candidate and Christian Coalition head,
has long been a Promise Keepers' supporter.
1997, about 20,000 small, regularly held, PK fellowship groups around
the country were meeting in local churches and homes.
1996, an average of 50,000 men gathered at each of 22 sites for a total
of 1.1 million. "Promise Keepers' surveys show that 62% of
stadium-goers struggle with sexual sin in their lives,"-Time,
October 6, 1997.
Keepers has announced that it wants to "get into every church"
in America! On February 4, 1997, leaders of Promise Keepers held a
press conference in Washington, D.C., in preparation for their
million-man 1997 rally, "Stand in the Gap. "
You obviously have a vision for America, and I'd like to just get an
idea of what that is.
Well, what we envision happening over the next four years is we want
to develop a relationship with every church in the United States that
names the name of Jesus
as Lord and Saviour. And make sure that the church has every opportunity
to develop a vibrant men's ministry, where the men of God in that church
would stand up and be called upon and. be counted upon. . And so we
envision getting into every church and partnering with them in
ministry and in prayer."
October 23, 1997, Promise Keepers held a massive "Stand in the Gap
Sacred Assembly" in Washington, D.C.
that rally over a million were assembled, and told to stand in the gap
for their families and their churches-and break down the walls of
division between denominations.
individual who attended took notes on what the speakers told the
assembled men: "The Promise Keepers at the sacred assembly were
asked to repent of denominationalism, They were invited to shout out the
names of their denomination. When they did, obviously it was just a
confused roar. This was in sharp contrast to when they were asked to
shout that they were Christians or that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
The men were asked to pray for a 'United Church, the miracle of the
Millennium: The unity for which Christ prayed in His high priestly
prayer in John 17 was stressed. The watching world should see that the
Christians are all one. The 'sin of sectarianism' was deplored. Those
who think they know all the truth and that their denomination is more
faithful to God's Word than another are guilty of sin. 'The world has
never seen a united church. May it now see it: We have seen a divided
small church in communities from which we have come. Today we see a
united 'Great Church: 'We are men of integrity. We are Promise Keepers,'
those at the sacred assembly were told. 'We are brothers of Jesus
Christ from every denomination. . We are people of Jesus Christ.'
'Let the walls' of denominationalism 'come down' was constantly
emphasized. The body of Christ was being weakened by division and by
brother fighting against brother. It was time to end this foolishness.
McCartney emphasized that God is a God of oneness. He mentioned the
unity stressed in Ephesians 4: 16 and Colossians I: 1, 2, that every
church should be connected to each other..
urged each Promise Keeper to submit to his pastor. 'Obey your leaders.
Submit to their authority.' Go back to your church and give away your
time, talents and treasures. Promise Keepers were urged to tell their
pastors that 'I put my faith in you as leader.' Nothing was said
about the fact that many pastors are religious liberals who deny the
fundamental truths of historic Christianity or that many major
denominations have women pastors and have officially gone on record as
supporting the murder of unborn infants and allow practicing homosexuals
and lesbians to serve as pastors." Christian News, October 13,
then is the position of Promise Keepers on homosexuals? "Some
homosexual activists charge that PK is exclusive and promotes
homophobia. But in television interviews, McCartney clearly said homosexuals
would be welcome in the movement."-Christianity Today, November
God's Word we are told to "earnestly contend for the faith once
delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). That faith is found in the
Written Word, as given to us by Divine inspiration. We are not to
trade it for fellowship with all the liberal and apostate religious organizations
in the land.
far does Promise Keepers go in uniting with apostate teachings? Step
by step, it continues in the downward track.
to an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch for July 13, 1996,
Promise Keepers has announced it has reversed its former position-and
now welcomes women pastors to its meetings!
is the news clip:
Center will be rocking with the sound of men singing hymns and renewing
promises of fidelity to their families on a Saturday afternoon in
August. Promise Keepers, a male Christian fellowship group, is planning
its first large St. Louis Assembly August 24. They hope to sell 10,000
to 12,000 seats at $15 each. .
Keepers is a nondenominational group. Initially most participants were
members of evangelical churches or had no churches. Now it attracts
mainline Protestants and Catholics. .
Keepers welcomes female pastors and leading male members, [Louis] Monroe
said." -"Promise Keepers to Rally at Kiel, " St. Louis
Post-Dispatch, July 13, 1996 [Monroe is a Promise Keepers' rally
spite of these doctrinal problems, it seems as if every leading
Protestant speaker is jumping on the PK bandwagon.
Falwell, who claims to be a fundamental Baptist, hosted a Promise
Keepers' rally at Ws Liberty University in Virginia in 1996. A sizeable
number of leading Baptist leaders participated in that event.
there is the National Religious Broadcasters Association. It now
numbers some 800 broadcasters throughout America and overseas, and
represents a wide array of diverse theological positions. The NRB is a
subsidiary of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) which,
since its founding in 1942, has tried to hold to a compromised position
between conservatives and liberals, fundamentals and ecumenicals.
years ago, the NAE took the position that Roman Catholicism was a false
religious system. But it has since changed its stance, and now advocates
cooperation with Roman Catholicism, as though it could be considered a
part of the body of Christ.
we now to unite with Rome? Read on!
Keepers has seven pledges which it wants all Christian men in the nation
to sign. Number six is a promise to promote unity between all
denominations. Promise Keepers' leadership has stated plainly that the
unity 'they seek includes Roman Catholicism.
at one of the early rallies, Founder Bill McCartney said, "Hear me;
Promise Keepers doesn't care if you're Catholic." A writer for
the liberal magazine, Christian Century, gave this analysis of Promise
is little if any political labeling. 'Liberals,' either political or
theological, are not paraded for ridicule. There is scant evidence of
the fundamentalists' non-negotiable principles of faith. Descriptions of
Christian belief are framed in broad rather than narrow
terms."-David Halbrook, Ministries Today, March-April 1995. Samson
gave up his power when he gave up his separation. The Apostle Paul
declared: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause
divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned;
and avoid them. For they are such [that) serve not our Lord Jesus
Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive
the hearts of the simple."-Romans 16:17-18.
the Memphis stadium gathering, on October 11-12, 1996, Chuck Colson's
topic was "The Unity of the Body: Brothers United in Christ.
"You will recall that it was Colson who, with a Catholic priest,
co-authored the notorious "Evangelicals and Catholics
Together" document a couple years earlier.
told the gathered men that division is our sin today and that, when we
are not one, we are working against God and His plan for our lives.
Colson said evangelism is impossible when the denominations are not
united. He called out that we need to reach across denominational lines,
since, whatever your denomination, you already belong to Jesus. Whether
Catholic, Methodist, Orthodox, Assemblies, or Baptist-we all belong to
one another and to God, he declared. "I'm proud Mother Teresa's my
sister in Christ!"
understand that Colson is a Southern Baptist, but that his wife is a
Catholic. As he united with a Catholic in marriage, so he wants us to
unite with them in worship.
Promise Keepers' connection with Rome goes back to its founder, Bill
McCartney. Bill was a lifetime devout Roman Catholic who attended Mass
daily until he visited the Boulder, Colorado, Vineyard Fellowship.
Liking the pastor's preaching, he began attending there, but there is no
record that he ever broke with Rome. '
who truly come out of the Catholic communion are concerned to rescue
others from its errors. But not Bill. Doctrines never have meant much to
him. It is the "spirit' that counts. McCartney accepts Catholics as
Christians and sees no reason to evangelize them.
own biography-as a cradle Catholic who became born again and then found
his way into a lay-led para-church ministry offers one possible
scenario for PK's growing role as an agent of change within American
Christianity."-Christianity Today, November 17, 1997.
his autobiography, From Ashes to Glory, McCartney admitted that he had
been a "daily communicant in the Catholic Church," but through
a new dedication, he "got saved." He adds, "Making a
profession of faith like I did may not be expected and may not even be
important in the Catholic Church." In other words, he had tacked
on something new, yet no life-changing break had been made.
in mind that the Catholic Church today says it teaches salvation by
grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. But that is not true!
when the various religious persuasions attend a Promise Keepers' meeting
and hear that, they can go home believing it is what they already
believe -even new theology Adventists. It is not enough to preach part
of the truth, without preaching against error. It is not enough to
preach grace without preaching obedience by faith.
Catholic and Mormon "converts" who attend Promise Keepers'
rallies, are sent back to their own churches for PK small group meetings
conducted by their own pastors. The very fact that both the Roman
Catholic and Mormon denominations have officially declared that they
find no conflict between PK teaching and their own doctrines is
McCartney has repeatedly said that there are only two criteria for
attending his conferences: "Do you love Jesus and have you been
born of the Spirit of Jesus Christ?"
Catholics are taught to show their "love for Jesus" by
partaking of the Mass (New Catholic Catechism, 1367ff).
you know that the Roman Catholic Church believes in the "new
birth"? They do, but not the kind you believe in. For them it is
equivalent to the act of baptism, which most of them received as infants
when three moistened fingers were touched to their foreheads.
Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry
into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the
mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be
baptized are 'reborn of water and the Spirit.' God has bound salvation
to the sacrament of Baptism."-New Catholic Catechism, 1257.
the National Organization for Women (NOW) passed a resolution denouncing
Promise Keepers as "the greatest danger to women's rights,"
they announced that it was planning a counter-demonstration in
Washington, D.C. when the. October 1997 "Stand in the Gap"
Promise Keepers gathering occurred;-at a September 16 press conference,
a group of conservative women from mainline Protestant, Orthodox-and
Roman Catholic-churches denounced NOW for its attack on the Promise
Tidings, the official voice of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los
Angeles, had an article explaining the close relationship between the
Catholic Church in America and Promise Keepers. It appears they have
worked out a very close agreement.
Keepers is a basic program of evangelization for men, begun among more
fundamentalist and evangelical Christian communities, but now being
expanded to include Catholic congregations. .
'The fundamental theme of the weekend is to be a man of faith, a man
committed to the Lord Jesus Christ,' explains Father Christian Van
Liefde, pastor of St. Hillary Church in Pico Rivera who, at the urging
of Cardinal Robert Mahony, has studied the feasibility and
appropriateness of utilizing Promise Keepers at the Catholic parish
noting the evangelical roots of the program, Father Van Liefde says
there is no 'doctrinal' issue which should cause concern to the
Keepers places a very strong emphasis on returning to your own church
congregation or parish and becoming active laymen, Father Van Liefde
points out. 'There is no attempt at proselytizing or drawing men away
from their faith to another church' . .
Van Liefde is optimistic that Promise Keepers can grow at the parish
level as well- and without adversely impacting existing parish
programs or finances." -The Tidings, March 31, 1995.
now, we come to the 1997 changeover in Promise Keepers' beliefs and
practices, made to satisfy the Catholic hierarchy and the events at
the Franciscan University, in Steubenville, Ohio, which led up to them.
New York Buffalo News, for May 17, 1997, contained a report on the
upcoming Promise Keepers' meeting in that area. This newspaper report
contained very significant information.
Roman Catholic bishops support Promise Keepers, through their National
Conference of Catholic Bishops organization.
A Roman Catholic is on the Promise Keepers board of directors.
In the city where the stadium rally is held, a Roman Catholic Mass is
said on the preceding Sunday, in order to sanctify the gathering of
the attending Catholic men.
first two points will be amplified upon later in this report. Here is
more from this important newspaper article. Read it carefully; it is
packed! "Although the movement is perceived to be largely
Protestant, [Bill) McCartney [Promise keepers' founder and chief
executive officer] said during a news conference in the Buffalo Christian
Center that Promise Keepers has the approval of the National
Conference of Catholic Bishops, uses some Catholic speakers and welcomes
Catholic men, including priests.
organization's national board of Directors also includes a Catholic,
Michael Timmis of Grosse Point, Michigan, McCartney pointed out.
bishops' position, contained in a 1996 position paper prepared by its
Committee on Marriage and Family, indicates that Catholics may
participate in Promise Keepers' events. The conferences, the paper
suggests, may 'be filling a spiritual and pastoral vacuum' in the lives
of some Catholic men and challenged church leaders to develop programs
to meet those needs. Bishop Henry J. Mansell, of the Buffalo Catholic
Diocese, said Friday that "Catholics are free to attend the Promise
'It is his hope that after the conference there will be follow-up
experiences in their home parishes,' said Monsignor David M. Lee,
diocesan director of communications.
said for Catholic men and other Christians, there are only two criteria
for attending the conference: Do you love Jesus and have you been born
of the Spirit of Jesus Christ?
'I believe Promise Keepers is the vehicle God has created to bring down
barriers in Western New York,' said Rev. Dean Weaver, pastor of Knox
Presbyterian Church in Kenmore, during the news conference.
addition to more than a dozen ministers who appeared with McCartney at
the news conference, the Promise Keepers' gathering was endorsed
earlier Friday by Monsignor James E. Wall, vicar for priests for the
Catholic diocese and director of the St. Columban Retreat Center,
help Catholic men prepare for the conference, Monsignor Wall said he
will celebrate a mass at 2 p.m. June 13 at Our Lady of the Sacred
heart Church, S. 3148 Abbott Road, Orchard Park."-Dave Condren,
News Religion Reporter, Buffalo (New York) News, May 17, 1997.
once has the false sacramental gospel of Romanism been plainly exposed
in any Promise Keepers' conference. Promise Keepers' leaders go to
Roman Catholic churches and seminaries and speak at Catholic-sponsored
men's meetings. They never expose Rome's blasphemies at such meetings-or
anywhere else. They never warn the Catholic participants that Rome's
false gospel is cursed of God.
Timmis, the Roman Catholic, mentioned in the above-quoted Buffalo
article, spoke at the May 31-June 2, 1997, Catholic Men's Conference at
the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. This staunch Roman
Catholic institution holds annual conferences, defending the pagan
teaching that Mary is the sinless Queen of Heaven, through whom alone we
can find access to God's forgiveness. The same brochure which announced
that 1997 Steubenville conference also announced the "Mary, Mercy,
and the Eucharist Conference. " A photo accompanying the announcement
pictures a Catholic priest holding a rosary, imploring the Virgin's
aid. Another announcement in the brochure describes a planned
pilgrimage to Lourdes, a Mary-worship shrine in France.
Franciscan University is firmly committed to strong traditional
Catholic doctrinal teachings. The head of that school, priest Michael
Scanlan, is forward in promoting Catholic evangelization of Protestants
in America. He was a leading figure at the North American Congress on
the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization in New Orleans, July 1997, as
well as at its predecessor, the one held in Indianapolis in August 1990.
(They purposely scheduled the national event to occur only one month
after our General Conference Session in that city. Leading Catholic
speakers from all over the nation attended.)
Indianapolis, Scanlan told how he had been briefly jailed for taking
part in an antiabortion march and how proud he was that; while in
jail, he converted several jailed Protestants to Catholicism and gave
them their first Mass.
a Detroit businessman and the Catholic representative on the PK board,
believes the bread and wine of the Mass is turned into the body and
blood of Christ. He believes in auricular confession. He calls the pope
"holy father" and believes in papal infallibility. He prays to
leaders of Promise Keepers have objectives; they want to unite all the
churches. The Catholics working closely with the PK leaders have
objectives too; they want to take over Promise Keepers.
Steubenville, Ohio, Catholic university has been closely involved with
Promise Keepers since 1995. According to the July 23, 1995, issue of
Today's Catholic, Scanlan conducted a Mass to conclude a Promise
Keepers' Leadership Seminar held at his university that month. More than
600 Catholic men participated.
in 1996 and 1997, additional Promise Keepers' leadership rallies were
held at Steubenville. At these gatherings, amid candles and statues of
Mary and the saints, Protestants were taught how to help the men who
come to PK meetings.
the 1997 meeting, one of the speakers was PK vice-president Dale
Schlafer. Other speakers included Catholic priest Michael Scanlan and
Raphael de los Reyes, director of Radio Peace Catholic Broadcasting.
of these developments, the leading evangelical magazine of our time,
Christianity Today, declares that Promise Keepers, because of the
Catholic origins of its founder and its remarkable deference to Rome,
may well be the. popular equivalent of Chuck Colson's
movement could, for example, become a populist incarnation of the
theological call from Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT). This
group of theologians and institutional leaders seeks not only to make
common cause against rampant immorality of individuals and institutions,
but also aspires to rethink historic Christian theological
disagreements in hopes of facilitating a stronger Christian unity
independent of established ecumenical efforts." -Christianity
Today, November 17, 1997.
this juncture, it might be well to inquire why the Franciscan University
at Steubenville, Ohio, was selected as the place where the Promise
Keepers/Roman Catholic dialogue and PK compromises should be worked out.
Extensive advertising material is available, showing that the school is
solidly conservative in its support of traditional Roman beliefs,
including the adoration of Mary.
it has one added feature: It is also charismatic. Apparently, the
hierarchy decided that a charismatic Catholic center would be the best
place to try to hold the first joint PK meeting at a Roman Catholic
institution, and the place to ultimately work out joint agreements with
PK so the Vatican could grant its full approval and support to
Catholics attending regular PK meetings.
you question why a Pentecostal flavor should be considered so important
to a meeting of these diverse minds, the next chapter in this book
will provide you with a better understanding.
still more information on this changeover in PK policy is now available
Keepers has changed its Statement of Faith so it will be perfectly
acceptable to Rome! How is that for coming into line! The following
article appeared in Our Sunday Visitor on July 20, 1997:
there are no hard figures, some say that 10-20 percent of those men
[attending Promise Keepers' conferences) are Catholic. And, recently,
Promise Keepers, a largely evangelical movement, has taken steps to
attract even more Catholic men to its events and principles of discipleship.
its March meeting, Promise Keepers' board of directors welcomed Mike
Timmis as a new member. A Detroit-area lawyer and businessman, Timmis
is a longtime leader in the Catholic charismatic renewal. "At
several rallies this year, Promise Keepers has spotlighted Catholic
evangelist Jim Berlucchi as a speaker.
June, Promise Keepers hosted a 'Catholic Summit' at its headquarters In
Denver, sending out Catholic volunteers and leaders from around the
earlier this year, Promise keepers amended its statement of faith,
revising the lines that Catholics had found offensive.
Keepers' founder Bill McCartney told our Sunday visitor recently that
full Catholic participation was his intention from the start.
'Back in 1992, at our first stadium event, we very clearly stated from
the podium that we eagerly welcomed the participation of Roman
Catholics, and we've had scores of Roman Catholics attend and go back
to their churches excited'
executive director of Christian outreach at Franciscan University of
Steubenville, Ohio, [John] Sengenberger cites Promise Keepers as the
inspiration of the men's conferences his own office has sponsored since
1995 . . "Sengenberger Invited representatives from Promise Keepers
to visit the university. 'We had some frank discussions and told them we
needed to see some Catholic involvement of the leadership level.'
Steubenville hosted its first men's conference in 1995, Sengenberger
invited two Promise Keepers' officials to attend: Dale Schlafer, who
was at that time chairman of the board, and Glenn Wagner, vice
'It was their first time in a Catholic evangelistic setting,'
Sengenberger said. 'They were impressed. When they were leaving, we
invited them to go through our bookstore and take out any books they
wanted. They went home with all kinds of theology books, Vatican II
teachings. . Dale took a set of the Liturgy of the Hours. The following
year, he told me he'd incorporated it into his daily prayer, so Glenn
asked for one, too.'
men returned to Steubenville for the 1996 men's conference, where
Sengenberger took them to a eucharistic holy hour.
'I took them aside and explained what we were doing, how this only makes
sense if you believe in the real presence of Jesus. That night we were
down by the stage, and I remember going down on my knees, then
prostrate, down on my face-and right next to me was Glenn Wagner, doing
the same thing.'
profound differences remained between the evangelicals of Promise
Keepers and Catholics who were sympathetic. Last Year, Promise Keepers
published a 'statement of faith with lines that seemed to be crafted to
exclude Catholics or force them to reject their Catholic faith.
"Section five of the Promise Keepers' credo read: 'We believe that
man was created in the image of God, but because of sin, was alienated
from God. That alienation can be removed only by accepting, through
faith alone, God's gift of salvation, which was made possible by
'Faith alone' is a key doctrine of the Protestant Reformation. Though
the phrase appears nowhere in Scripture, it was inserted by Martin
Luther in his German translation of the Bible.
about this development at Promise Keepers, Sengenberger had several
Catholic theologians review the statement and present their objections
to Wagner last summer,
this year, Promise Keepers revised the statement in a way that passed
theological muster with those Catholics. 'Only through faith, trusting
in Christ alone for salvation, which was made possible by His death and
resurrection, can that alienation be removed.'
Edward, Promise Keepers' vice president for advancement, explained
that the statement of faith is a 'dynamic' document, and that Promise
Keepers is open for change.
'Truth and unity are equal, but in tension,' said Edwards, who was
raised a Catholic but now attends a nondenominational church. 'We try to
present truth, not washed down, yet not truth that devolves into
denominational squabbles.'" -Mike Aquilina, Our Sunday Visitor,
July 20, 1997. pp. 10-11.
over a century, Our Sunday Visitor has been the leading Roman Catholic
weekly magazine in the United States, In the above article, you have
discovered the inside facts of what is really happening inside Promise
Keepers! Mark these points well, as noted in the above Our Sunday
In 1995 when the Franciscan University hosted its first men's
conference, two of the top PK officials were invited to attend and did
so. One was Dale Schlafer, chairman of the board; the other was Glenn
Wagner, a vice-president.
The article implies that this led to the acceptance by one or both men
to portions of the Catholic faith and practice. 1 - After being given
free Catholic doctrinal books, at least one PK official (Schlafer)
began basing his personal prayers on them. 2 - Both officials attended
the 1996 Catholic men's conference, during which they were taken to a
special Eucharistic Holy Hour which included the pagan Mass.
- One PK official (Wagner) was so impressed, he fell prostrate on his
face that night alongside Sengenberger.
In 1996, Promise Keepers published a Statement of Faith , outlining its
basic doctrinal beliefs. Catholic church officials went over it
carefully and did not like part of it.
In early 1997, top PK leaders were invited to Franciscan University
for "frank discussions" with leaders of the Roman hierarchy,
at which time the Catholics made several demands.
Shortly thereafter, the board of Promise Keepers met and agreed to each
of their requirements, if PK was to meet Vatican approval:
- The demand had been made that the PK Statement of Belief must be
changed in wording, to agree with professed (but not actual) Roman
Catholic teachings! By board action, the basic PK doctrinal statement
- At its March 1997 board meeting, the directors of Promise Keepers
voted Mike Timmis, "a long-time leader in the Catholic charismatic
renewal" onto the PK board. (Later in this present report, we shall
learn that Promise Keepers has a very close relationship with the
Protestant charismatic churches as well.)
- Jim Berlucchi, a leading Catholic evangelist, was quickly added as a
PK speaker, and has already addressed the crowds at "several
rallies" in 1997. (By definition, a "revivalist" tries
to encourage the members of his own church; an "evangelist" is
working to make converts of non-members.)
- In June, 1997, a "Catholic Summit" meeting was held at PK
headquarters in Denver, to which zealous Roman Catholics, handpicked
by the Catholic hierarchy, were brought together for discussions as to
how they could help in counseling, or otherwise, at forthcoming PK
McCartney was interviewed by the Sunday Visitor and told them that
"full Catholic participation" in the rallies was his studied
McCartney said he was careful to send Catholics who were attending his
rallies back to their own churches. No attempt is made to remove them
from that evil religious system.
Commenting on the readiness to change their doctrinal position to agree
with Catholicism, Paul Edwards, a PK vice-president, said their
doctrines are "dynamic" -and do not include "truth that
devolves into denominational squabbles." What then does PK
believe? Now add to the above points the added point quoted earlier from
the New York Buffalo News news clip for May 17, 1997. In a report on
an upcoming Promise Keepers' meeting in that city, some of the above
points were mentioned, as well as this one:
In the city where the next PK stadium rally is held, a Roman Catholic
Mass is said on the preceding Sunday. This is done in order to
sanctify the gathering for the attending Catholic men.'
trend to unite PK with the policies of Rome is disturbing to thinking
the [April 1996] Atlanta gathering, a Roman Catholic has joined the PK
board. Catholics accounted for an estimated 5 percent of those at [the
October 1997] Stand in the Gap [in Washington, D.C.]
general welcoming attitude toward Catholics caused several conservative
Protestant denominations to warn their members to beware of its
ecumenical goals." Christianity Today, November 17, 1997.