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PROMISE KEEPERS
Joel's Army in Formation?
A men's movement that is proving to be hugely powerful and popular in the States seems set to arrive here in the UK and Europe at any moment. Already, in preparation, the national media has reported on the phenomenon of thousands of men gathering in public stadia to listen to rousing sermons about male bonding and the need for unity. (We might make something of the fact that the normally anti-Christian media of this country seems to suspend its judgement when it comes to Promise Keepers.)

The magazine of the movement, "New Men" is already available for sale in some outlets, containing articles and advertisements that preach the Word-of-Faith ideology of "success in everything". Audio tapes are beginning to circulate aggressively promoting Promise Keepers and a few news reports have appeared in the Christian Press. These are the first few puffs of the hurricane to come!



WHAT IS PROMISE KEEPERS?

This massive movement sprang from a desire in 1990 to "raise up a generation of promise keepers" - men who would be honest in their religious, social, family and business lives.

It was the idea of Bill McCartney, a former Roman Catholic now associated with the Vineyard churches. Promise Keepers has Bill McCartney's pastor, James Ryle, on its Board of Directors. This man was part of the prophetic move centred on the Kansas City Prophets in the late '80s. So was Vineyard pastor, Randy Phillips, (another former Catholic) who is now Promise Keeper's President.

The first PK event in Colorado in 1991 was attended by 4,200 men. Since then it has ballooned enormously. The goal for 1996 is a million men marching on Washington DC as a witness to the nation and to ask God to restore America.

Much of this success can be attributed to PK's promotion through such men as James Dobson (Focus On The Family), Bill Bright (Campus Crusade) and Gary Smalley (Today's Family).

Speakers include Chuck Swindoll, Luis Palau, Jack Hayford, Gary Oliver, and Bill Hybels.

Organisation is tight at PK, with promotion carried on through Ambassadors (travelling salesmen?) who introduce PK to local churches. Ambassadors also recruit Point Men in each church to keep the members informed of seminars, resources and events. Men who join the movement give their allegiance to a small "accountability group" overseen by the Point Man, who in turn answers to the Ambassador. The Ambassador is in submission to the PK leadership. Thus a pyramid structure of command and control is established which removes individual men from the oversight of their own Pastors and places them in "mentoring" roles with other PK men.

There are several reasons for being wary of Promise Keepers:


1. It mimics new-age male bonding and self-discovery therapies, and was sympathetically reported in a new age magazine. It also endorses a book called "The Masculine Journey" by Robert Hicks which suggests levels of initiation to manhood and other new age ideas.

2. There is an undue emphasis on phallic symbolism, and Jesus is presented as a sexual male, as a role model. Hick's book does not clearly condemn homosexuality.

3. It is ecumenical. Leaders have no difficulties accepting Roman Catholics and Mormons as members, and denominational barriers are not recognised.

4. It uses "shepherding" techniques to disciple its members. It requires submission to leaders and employs a pyramid structure in its organisation.

5. It involves an intrusion into the privacy of a man's family life and sexual habits, with groups members obliged to share intimate family matters with eachother.

6. It promotes Christian psychologists, and uses psychological methods for counselling. The Hicks book draws heavily from Jungian "archetypes".

7. It encourages male domination of women. Women are honoured but only as "Suitable Helpers" - which is the female version of PK.

8. It compromises biblical doctrine by suggesting that men cannot live effective Christian lives, nor grow as Christians, without male friends to help them.

9. With the use of loud music, emotional worship and chanting, and other such techniques, it encourages a group mentality where acceptance of false doctrine becomes easier.

10. It is rooted in the Vineyard ministry and has strong links with the Kansas City Prophets. PK is claimed to be the fulfilment of prophecies relating to the formation of a massive "Joel's army" that will be raised up to take the nations for God. Furthermore, it is being called one of the "many streams that feed into the River of God" now flowing as a result of the Toronto experience.

SEVEN PROMISES OF A PROMISE KEEPER
(Extract From An Official PK Booklet)

A Promise Keeper seizes the moment for Jesus by making commitments. There is no affecting the future without committing to change. A Promise Keeper makes promises and commits to carrying them through. These promises... are meant to guide us toward the life of Christ so that He might transform us from the inside out. The fact is that we are all in process until our physical death. Yet, Scripture clearly calls to enter the process of sanctification, to become who we are in Christ Jesus. Only then will we be godly influences in our relationships and in our world. We are seeking men who - in conviction, courage and humility - will commit themselves to the following seven promises.


1) A Promise Keeper is committed to honor Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to His Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

2) A Promise Keeper is committed to pursue vital relationships with other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

3) A Promise Keeper is committed to practice spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

4) A Promise Keeper is committed to build strong marriages and families through love, protection, and biblical values.

5) A Promise Keeper is committed to support the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor and by actively giving his time and resources.

6) A Promise Keeper is committed to develop meaningful relationships that reach beyond racial and denominational barriers to the demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

7) A Promise Keeper is committed to influence his world, being obedient to the great commandment (Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

Full details from: Promise Keepers PO Box 18376 Boulder, CO 80308 USA

There are now many privately-circulated reports and small newsletters exploring PK and examining the implications. All these seem to be in the States, so far, but some will be listed at the end of this article, so that further information can be found if necessary.

Two of these reports will now follow.

The first is by Jewel Van Der Merwe, and it appeared in her newsletter "Discernment", for May/June 1995, available from PO Box 129, Lapeer, MI 48446-0129.

The second piece is an open letter written to Bill McCartney by Pastor Bill Randles. It can be obtained by USA supporters as a tract from Believers In Grace Church, 3336 Prairie Drive NE, Cedar Rapids Iowa.



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MEN WITH A MISSION
An Overview of Promise Keepers
By Jewel Van Der Merwe
Promise Keepers is a parachurch structure that unites men from every denomination for the purpose of inter-accountability, beyond what the local church may accomplish. It does not seek to exclude pastoral leadership, but desires that pastors become part of its framework. Often, the pastor's contact with Promise Keepers is initiated when a bright-eyed fired-up recruit (newly changed from a Promise Keeper rally) says, "Pastor, I'm praying for you. I want to be supportive in any way possible." What pastor would not be touched when hearing this from a member of his congregation?

Indeed, it is an awesome experience to be part of thousands of men lifting their voices in one accord, as in the Promise Keepers rallies. Men are suddenly becoming not only supportive of their pastors and churches, but are working to become the leaders of their homes as well.

Many testify of changed lives as a result of their contact with Promise Keepers. If the Gospel is preached, and even one soul is truly saved, then the efforts are worthwhile.

Should we not, then, examine Promise Keepers to understand its success? It is drawing very large crowds. Men are looking beyond their own limited spheres to something much more vast in scope. Just what is Promise Keepers? What makes it work? Where did it start?

GROUPING FOR GROWTH

From the large rallies that are filling stadiums across the country, men migrate into small, intimate groups of 4 or 5. In these groups, men find that they begin to gain control of their lives by establishing bonds of accountability with other men. Approved Promise Keeper literature, videos and study guides assist men in seeing themselves more clearly through the eyes of others. They find other men who understand them. They see their struggles and responsibilities as not merely personal burdens to be borne alone, but as common experiences among men. Sharing and discussion moves a man from feeling that he is 'all alone' to identification with other men as a group.

The impact Promise Keepers is making is apparently a good one. But, aren't appearances often deceiving? What is the end to be accomplished? It is as hard to answer this as it is to define the doctrinal position of the group. Discussions relating to doctrine are carefully and markedly avoided, and only a positive image is to be projected.

The NEW AGE JOURNAL, April 1995 ran an article favourable to Promise Keepers:

"Writer Jeff Wagenheim noted the odd combination of New Age men's movement ideology (Robert BIy's pantheism) combined with the political evangelicalism of Pat Robertson:

...despite the group's assertions to the contrary, Promise Keepers is an organization with vast political influence. The fact that hundreds of thousands of men are being actively encouraged to adhere to a highly conservative set of values and to work to instil those values in their communities and nation should not just be a matter of theological interest.'"

An historical precedent for a political/religious movement such as Promise Keepers can be found in Germany during the 30's. According to author Richard Terrell in his provocative book, RESURRECTING THE REICH (Huntington House, 1994), orthodox Christianity was supplanted by the German Volkish faith:

"What was to take possession of the German consciousness was a militant romanticism. According to this way of thinking, the Divine Spirit is manifested in the people, in their collective genius and total culture or Volkgeist. ...Germany developed a kind of communal mysticism which contained its own Teutonic concept of a chosen people, called to redeem civilization from its decadence." (p.44)

Terrell describes the advent of this full-blown religion:

"rallies were glorious pageants that stirred the emotions, which depended not on any revelation of Scripture, but on pure feeling.. The Volkish concept of the social organism was effectively symbolized in mass meetings that expressed a sense of eternity, awe, and mystery, effects stimulated by a 'cathedral of light' night-time mass meetings in which anti-aircraft lights sent brilliant shafts of illumination in the darkened sky." (p.59)

Is Promise Keepers creating a new 'folk' religion? The large mass rallies, the exaltation of emotion over reason, the lack of doctrinal integrity, the taking of oaths (the 7 promises), the focus on fatherland and fatherhood, and the ecumenical inclusion of aberrant esoteric doctrines bears a disconcerting similarity to an era which gave rise to one of the most dreadful armies in history.

The infiltration of Manifest Sons of God doctrines into Promise Keepers (via Vineyard) combined with New Age ideologies (via Robert Bly and Robert Hicks) appears to create a new American folk theology: pantheism, the idolatry of self, the belief in a divine mandate to take the land, the superiority of a group, and the necessity of group hysteria.

While many in the church are jumping wholeheartedly into the Laughing Phenomenon and Promise Keepers, it behoves the rest of the Church to take a sober, steady look at the historical, theological and philosophical underpinnings of these popular movements of our times". (CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE, Iowa Research Group, Inc. P0 Box 17346, Des Moines, Iowa 50317~346, April, 1995).

Yes, it all appears so "right" -- but didn't even the folk movement in Germany "feel good" to the masses that gathered under the banner of "a great cause".. What better cause than "family" for men to rally to?

The Promise Keepers are dedicated to uniting men through vital relationships.

"Biblical unity spawns vital relationships: life changing, interdependent, living dynamic, face to face covenant relationship. Through vital relationships we can embrace one another's pains and triumphs. By this we express our honor for one another as equals while respecting our diverse heritages. We believe that vital relationships among men are the foundation for helping one another become promise keepers. We contend that this is best accomplished when a small group of men agree to pursue God face to face shoulder to shoulder and back-to-back and establish covenant relationships with one another to affirm, to be available for, and to pray for each other; to be honest with, to preserve confidentiality with, and to be accountable to each other.

"In context of covenant relationships, a man willingly grants other men the right to inquire about his relationship with God, his commitment to his family, his sexuality, his financial deals. Together they form a team that is committed to advance God's kingdom." (THE PROMISE KEEPERS Ambassador Training Manual).

It is imperative to look at the foundation and structure of the Promise Keepers. An honest appraisal is warranted, in lieu of a "follow the crowd" mindset.

The Foundation - THE VINEYARD AND KANSAS CITY CONNECTION.

Several years ago, emerging on the national charismatic scene were a group of men referred to as the Kansas City Prophets. This group became part of the Vineyard Fellowship (Anaheim, CA). Their emphasis was on visions and revelations with particular attention given to personal prophecy and prophetic "words from the Lord". There were prophecies given at this time regarding the fact that stadiums would be filled with people worshipping God. It was also prophesied that the evening news would have reports on these tremendous events.

One of the "prophets", Paul Cain, said in 1989 that God was raising a new standard, and the understanding of Christianity would be radically changed in our generation. He believed that God had invited him to have a role in establishing this New Order of Christianity. He believed that God was offering something to this generation that he had never offered before.

"The 'prophets' promoted at that time a NEW THING that would soon happen. This NEW THING would be based on signs, wonders and miracles. A very clear warning went out to "beware the Old Order Brethren". The ones considered to be Old Order were obviously not part of the flow. Signs and wonders were to be seen as "God's endorsement of the right message and the right Messenger". (Paul Cain, School for Prophecy 1989).

James Ryle, Bill McCartney's pastor from the Boulder, Colorado Vineyard was, and is, part of the "prophetic" scene. (Bill McCartney is the founder of Promise Keepers.) Ryle ministers in "Dreams and Visions" conferences. One of his dreams involved the Beatles. Ryle interpreted it as the Beatles having the anointing for a new music. His interpretation of this dream was this:

"The Lord spoke to me and said, 'What you saw in the Beatles - the gifting and that sound they had - was from me... It was my purpose to bring forth through music a world-wide revival that would usher in the move of my spirit in bringing men and women to Christ.' And I want to tell you those four lads aborted something. They took what did not belong to them and used it in a way that was not intended by God to be used. It did bring a revival of music - but it brought it on the other side of the fence. And the Lord spoke to me and He said, 'In 1970 I lifted that anointing off of them. And it has been held in my hand ever since.' And the Lord said, 'The reason you saw it in the equipment room in that church [part of his dream] is because that anointing belongs to the church... Now I'm looking for those who I can place that anointing back upon. And as surely as I place it upon them, they will come forth with a sound that is distinctive... that will turn the hearts of men and women and capture their heart.'"

NEW AGE SIMILARITIES

James Ryle believes that God is going to raise up a new music again, and when people hear this new sound they will fall on their faces. [For more information on dreams and visions see "Hearing God's Voice in the Night" by James Ryle, CHARISMA, May 1995]. In listening to a tape by James Ryle I found the simplicity of his style of ministry enjoyable and very effective. At the end of the message he prayed, "Lord, help us to graduate in our self-esteem".

Nothing is off-limits. Your family does not even have a right to family privacy. Here, in our area, on Woodward Avenue there is a SELF-ESTEEM book store. The store gives one the sense that it's a "cross-over" pulling together psychology and the New Age. On the shelf for Men's Movements, two books were together: "MASCULINE JOURNEY" (endorsed by the Promise Keepers) and "A CIRCLE OF MEN: The Original Manual for Men's Support Groups" by Bill Kaught (Co-founder of THE NEW WARRIOR TRAINING ADVENTURE). It was interesting to note the similarity of the two books; only one was dressed up with scriptural references to make it palatable for Christians. Robert Bly, the New Age guru for the men's movement, is referenced throughout both books and both books speak of small accountability groups set up on an encounter group format.

The thought of Joel's Army came to mind when reading the following:

"Therefore, the only true warrior for God is the Messiah - El Gibbor, or the mighty warrior God. This waging of war by Christ is as redemptive as His dying on the cross. The warrior must be willing to shed blood, either his own or anothers', in order to accomplish anything worthy of redemption.. God the Father and Christ are examples of what it is to be a warrior. We must embrace the latent or rejected warrior within ourselves, not only for our own development but also for the sake of our society and the church..." (MASCULINE JOURNEY, study guide pg. 40).

"Prophets" also teach that Joel's Army is being raised up today. They base this army on a spiritualizing of Joel chapter 2. This is why James Ryle could answer in the affirmative that Promise Keepers was indeed "Joel's Army" that God was raising up. It is also important to note how often the term "warrior" is used in their materials.

The underpinnings to this mighty conquering army can be found in Kingdom Now/Dominion theology. Those who hold to Kingdom Now teachings believe that true revival is a Christian Parallel society. They believe we should have a political system totally controlled by Christians as the government is to be on His shoulders (the Church).

There seems to be a concerted effort on the parts of many parachurch ministries to swallow up all churches and denominations. "Discipleship Training" is part of a larger strategy. When all of the local groups are linked together they will form a very large mobilizable spiritual army ready to die for a cause.

SHEPHERDING-DISCIPLESHIP CONNECTION

Bill McCartney didn't just "happen" into a Vineyard church in Boulder, Colorado. He came from the Catholic Charismatic Word of God community in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Much has been written about this group and as early as 1972 outside observers were alarmed at the degree of control that was being exercised over individuals. In spite of many excesses, Pope Paul VI endorsed this renewal movement during a massive rally in Rome in 1975.

The leaders in the Ann Arbor community believed that their system of training would radically reshape the follower's lives. Training manuals were developed to:

"...train a Christian guerrilla force to combat four movements the Word of God considered mortal enemies of Christianity: feminism, Marxism, secular humanism, and Islam. The course ended with a special secret oath that graduates were never supposed to reveal... 'we pledge our loyalty to all who fight with us. We are ready for every sacrifice, even death.. .we will be loyal to our commanders.. .we will keep our plans and movements hidden from the enemy and his agent'". (DETROIT FREE PRESS, September 20,1992).

There occurred a tremendous growth, within the community as well as a growing list of teachings. The levels of authority kept increasing. It mushroomed out of Ann Arbor to sweep around the world. Two things, though, remained constant: the same handful of men remained on top, and hundreds of married women were relegated to the bottom rung.

"The doctrine of wifely submission was no brief experiment; it was the bedrock of the community's way of life for nearly two decades." (Ibid.)

There was radical reform in 1992. Many lives of those involved were devastated and trying to find their way out of the community. Interesting enough, the Kansas City Prophets visited Ann Arbor and were conference speakers. The "prophet", Paul Cain, was acclaimed at this conference by those eager for the latest word from God. Now we find that in the Promise Keepers, men are strongly urged to get into accountability groups. "All of our success here is contingent upon men taking part in small groups when they return home." CHRISTIANITY TODAY February 6,1995, pg. 28.

What is a model of this group? Four or five men come together as equals. They are to build up trust relationships. In other words, every aspect of your life must be laid bare, whether it is your marriage, personal finances, business activities and sexual matters (past or present). Nothing is off-limits. Your family does not even have a right to family privacy. They cannot object to what you divulge as they are "submitted" to you. If this submission is inculcated within the family, then there are five families in one group submitted to the Promise Keepers.

Yes, submitted to PROMISE KEEPERS, not the local Church. This small group of four or five is submitted to a POINT MAN. The POINT MAN links his church with the Promise Keepers.

It is important to note that while this network may be in the local church, it is networked from without. In this way it runs parallel to the vision and purpose of the local church (in spite of what you may be told). It is parallel because the men are encouraged not to address doctrinal issues. According to their manual, "we expect you to be committed to your denominational heritage, but this is not the time to proudly wear your colors."

Notably the mission is to unify men. Yet the Promise Keepers will swallow up men's ministries first in the local church, then within the regional structures, then ultimately on a national level.

NETWORKING AND SUBMISSION

According to the order in which the NETWORK works, all decisions would be made in Colorado Promise Keepers headquarters) then relayed to the AMBASSADORS which in turn relay them to the POINT MEN.

The foundation for Promise Keepers is firmly in place. Big names lend their support. Some of these already are involved with political action groups. If a pastor does not support the Promise Keepers there are several methods taught to win that support. Promise Keepers are admonished to be "positive" in order to draw in others. It all looks and feels good. Your family "will be restored". The commonality is the sharing of ecstatic emotional experiences that actually leaves one feeling drained at the end of a rally. Remember, however, the rallies are to psyche you up as a good pep rally does before that big game.

Psychologists who have their own following have found a new venue to sell their wares promoting a new brand of popular spirituality.

There are good men who do preach the gospel but they are also lending their names.

All caution seems to have been thrown to the wind. Across denominational lines, men are marching in step. Those with political motivations will not be far behind in setting up their strategies using this broad base of support. Already, James Dobson of FOCUS ON THE FAMILY fame has been one of the staunchest supporters of Promise Keepers. It is certainly no secret that he heads up a strong political action group vis-a-vis the Community Impact Committees which are active in over 1,000 churches in Michigan alone.

Promise Keepers is working towards taking a million men to Washington DC in 1997. One junior legislator at a press conference recently regaling the CONTRACT WITH AMERICA, made note of the fact that he was a Promise Keeper. Contract! Promises! To say Promise Keepers is not political is as naive as sending your teenagers to a co-ed slumber party. If these tremendous rallies were preaching repentance from sin, trusting in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and faith toward God ALONE -- AMEN! Men would go back to their church and be discipled by the leadership God has raised up in the local church. They would get into the Word and become a light in their community. It would be tremendous to hear messages from these meetings where the GOSPEL truly is preached. However, there seems to be something else at work here, a leaven that will eventually affect the whole loaf if there is not a warning (to the pastors, especially). Leaders! Mind the flock which the Lord has set you over!



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AN OPEN LETTER TO BILL McCARTNEY
Dear Mr McCartney,

My name is Bill Randles and I am the pastor of Believers in Grace Fellowship Church that I founded in 1982. I am writing to express certain reservations and concerns I have about PK.

The reason this is an open letter is because there are probably thousands of other pastors who have similar reservations. You know this also because you referred to this at a meeting in Detroit on April 29, 1995. In fact, I have listened to that message carefully, and heard you make some very emphatic statements about the reluctance on the part of pastors to ally themselves with Promise Keepers. You actually went so far as to say that any clergyman who isn't planning to go to your February 1996 Pastors' Gathering in Atlanta "needs to be able to tell us why he doesn't want to go." Mr. McCartney, this is my response to your brotherly challenge. I welcome the opportunity to tell you what my reservations and concerns about Promise Keepers actually are. First of all, however, in the interest of clarity, let me transcribe for you that portion of your speech which prompted the writing of this letter. You said in Detroit:

"We have a great army that we are assembling. They're the Christian men of this nation. However, our leadership, our clergy are not uniform. Our clergy are divided. Division is many visions. There's no unity of command...there is tremendous division in our clergy. We have to assume that responsibility. We have to say, 'Are we impacting our clergy in a way that's going to take them and make them all that they have to be in order to lead this army because the shepherds are the ones God's chosen to lead us out of here.' We are not to go out of here and lead ourselves. We're to go out of here and to go back to our bodies, our church bodies, and be led by our shepherd. God has hand-picked them, He's gifted them, He's trained them, He's invested in them, He's nurtured them. Now, I think many of you are in touch with the fact that we're having a pastors' gathering in Atlanta on February 12th, 13th and 14th. 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 says that he doesn't want to go, he needs to be able to tell us why he doesn't want to go. Why wouldn't you want to be a part of what God wants to do with His hand-picked leaders? We need to understand that our clergymen, many of them, are reluctant to go. Many of you come from churches and your clergymen have never been to a Promise Keepers gathering because they're keeping a distance from us. You need to go back and tell them: Promise Keepers wants to come along side you and be everything you need by encouraging [your] men and giving resources. Now listen to me, men. February 12th, 13th and 14th 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" (Promise Keepers, Detroit Silver Dome, April 29, 1995).


ONE LEADERSHIP
Mr. McCartney, my response to that is a simple question. What do you mean when you call for the clergy to become one leadership? In fact, minutes after, you made another statement about the things that we could do "if we are in control, if we come together, if our unity of command responds." You said we can accomplish things like "pay off the national debt, and feed the poor,...we can dissolve gangs,... and be an impact in the inner city."

These kinds of statements underscore my initial reservations. I am very cautious when the call is made for "One Leadership" and "Unity of Command." On the one hand, I am troubled by this because in actual reality, the church already is under one leadership. Jesus Christ is Himself the Head of the Church! If you and I each submit to His headship through obedience to His Word, we are already in unity and don't need to manufacture it. Evidently, what you are calling for is one (human) leadership and one unity of (human) command. Mr. McCartney, there already is an organization claiming that kind of leadership: the Roman Catholic Church under the headship of the Pope. Because of this "One human leadership and command," almost a billion people are locked in spiritual bondage.

The call for clergy to become one leadership and unity of command reminds me of the shepherding movement of the 1970s and 80s, which sprang out of the Word of God charismatic community in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was nurtured by the Fort Lauderdale five: Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Don Basham, Charles Simpson and Ernie Baxter.

You mention in "Ashes to Glory", that you enjoyed fellowship with the Word of God Community. Have you perhaps been influenced by that particular vision of church government? I have a threefold problem with a humanly centralized church leadership, and unity of command:

(1) it has to be a man-made unity, and it denies the reality of the unity of the Spirit that all Christians currently partake of;

(2) it concentrates a tremendous amount of influence into the hands of well meaning but sinful men;

(3) finally, where there is a centralized, carnally unified command, it makes it easier for deception and manipulation of the Church by Satan.

Look at the dark ages under the Papacy! I am glad that the church doesn't have that kind of unity today (yet). Ours is a spiritual unity based on devotion to Jesus, not a political unity based on "Shepherding" principles. The way things are now, Satan has to deceive the Christians one church at a time, but under a "unified command," all he has to do is deceive the leadership.


ECUMENISM
Mr. McCartney, a second but closely related concern I have is with the ecumenical unity promoted by P.K. Of course, I believe in the true ecumenism: the communion of all true saints everywhere on earth, based on the truth of the gospel. But I am extremely wary of the "unity-at-the-expense-of-truth" movement. People are being encouraged to de-emphasize doctrines so they can come together as though doctrine is a meaningless detail. What is doctrine, but the body of the truth entrusted to the saints once and for all? Doctrine divides because truth divides. There are many denominational barriers that should be kept in place. The whole basis for unity is the unity of the faith (truth), a faith which has a content and makes specific demands of people. Any other basis for unity, such as maleness, politics, social concerns, etc, will only prove to be a house built on sand.

Mr. McCartney, do you believe the following statement made by the Pope? "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, to be linked to her" (John Paul II, from "Crossing the Threshold of Hope"). How am I to find common ground with anyone who believes this way? What basis for fellowship is there? Scripture commands us not to fellowship or even wish Godspeed to those who deny the doctrine of Christ. Another example would be this statement from the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, page 128, section 460: "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 sharers in His divinity, assumed our nature so that He, made man, might make men Gods."

Mr. McCartney, we are to refute such heresies! How am I to find spiritual unity with people who worship Mary or believe they will become gods? While I can find all sorts of commonalities on the basis of being a human being, or the desire that a man be a better father, husband, have integrity, purity, etc., I would hardly mistake those things for Christian Revival. If P.K. is supposed to be a great move of God, doesn't truth and discernment count for anything? What is to stop the Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses from starting P.K. chapters in their denominations? Why not? They can make identical promises.


JAY GARY AND THE STAR OF 2000
Mr. McCartney, is Promise Keepers going to be used to mobilize worldwide support for a bimillennial celebration of Jesus' 2000th birthday and Jubilee? The reason I ask is because of the favorable review in the July/Aug 1995 New Man magazine (the official P.K. magazine) of Jay Gary's book, The Star of 2000. Gary's self-published book advocates such a celebration.

Are you aware, Mr. McCartney, that in a recent Spiritual Counterfeits Project article entitled, "Sign of the Times: Evangelicals and New Agers Together," Mr. Gary is the subject of much concern? Of particular concern is his recent association with former assistant secretary general of the UN and well known New Age author, Robert Muller, who wrote "New Genesis: Shaping a Global Spirituality".

This book amounts to a call for all religions to find common ground and work together for a one-world religion. This S.C.P. article should sober anyone who is taking Mr. Gary and his plans for a bimillennial birthday celebration for Jesus seriously. The article states that Gary invited Robert Muller to be a key adviser for his B.E.G.I.N. organization (Bimillennial Global Interactive Network).

In Gary's book, "The Star of 2000", he cites a book by Muller called "First Lady of The World" in which Muller describes how the UN could prepare for the bimillennial celebration. In a March/April 1992 publication of Gary's Bimillennial Research Report, another of Muller's books, The Birth of A Global Civilization, is recommended. Gary describes it as an "inspiring look at our emerging global system, including new global human rights, global networking, global core curriculum and global celebrations culminating in the year 2000." Just a paragraph at the end of this recommended book will give you an idea where Muller comes from:

And God saw that all nations of the earth, black and white, poor and rich, from North and South, from East and West and of all creeds were sending their emissaries to a tall glass house on the shores of the river of the rising sun on the island of Manhattan, to study together, to think together, and to care together for the world and all its people. And God said that is good. And it was the first day of the NEW AGE of the earth" (Robert Muller, The Birth of a Global Civilization, p. 134; CAPS OURS).

Mr. McCartney, all I have to go by is what P.K. actually says or does. As far as I know, when "New Man", the official voice of P.K., favorably reviews Jay Gary's book, they are indirectly promoting him and his ideas. Again I ask, is P.K. going to be used to mobilize worldwide support for a bimillennial celebration of Jesus' Birthday in the year 2000, a celebration already intertwined with the New Age movement?

I would like to know why, Mr. Mc Cartney, when you had 50,000 turned on, pumped up, spiritually hungry men, of all the books you could have chosen to offer for spiritual growth you chose "The Masculine Journey" by Robert Hicks? It is my understanding that 50,000 of these books were distributed at Boulder in 1993. The book actually has the P.K. imprimatur on it. Do you honestly subscribe to Hick's con-cept of the Phallic Male? Doesn't it bother you that Hicks quotes New Age authors Sam Keen and Robert Bly without any warning? Hicks sets off his chapter entitled "The Phallic Male" with a quote from Keen's New Age bestseller "Fire in the Belly". The quote is "The loins are the place of judgment" (p.47). Are you trying yet to implement Hick's statement on page 51: "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. We are told by God to worship Him in accordance to what we are - phallic men."

This is growth for men? When did the apostles even remotely encourage anything like this? I could give you countless other examples of this kind out of Hicks book but I don't need to. What were you thinking this book would offer when you promoted it? Was there some particular emphasis in this book that you thought would help men spiritually? Maybe you see the need for initiation rites as Hicks advocates in his accompanying workbook under the section, "Exploring the Issues with other Men":

"Our culture has presented many initiation rites or passages to manhood that are associated with the phallus. Which ones have you experienced? Do you have a story to share with other men about one such event?"

Do you lament, as Hicks does, that the church doesn't offer any alternative initiation rites, such as circumcision? In his "Masculine Journey", which P.K. promotes, Hicks teaches us that somehow or other we should celebrate the different passages of a young man's life - such as his first drug or sexual experience (p. 177):

"I'm sure many would balk at my thought of celebrating the experience of sin. I'm not sure how we could do it. But I do know we need to do it. For example, we usually give the teenagers in our churches such a massive dose of condemnation regarding their first experiences with sin that I sometimes wonder how any of them recover. Maybe we could take a different approach. Instead of jumping all over them when they have their first experience with sex or drugs, we could look upon this as a teachable moment and a rite of passage. Is this putting a benediction on sin? Of course not, but perhaps at this point the true elders could come forward and confess their own adolescent sins and congratulate the next generation for being human. Then they could move on to all the important issues of forgiveness and restoration, but this time on common ground, with the young person as a fellow sinner!"

Mr. McCartney, do you believe in this kind of celebration? If not, why promote it? At the end of "The Masculine Journey" there's a P.K. promotion that states, "P.K. wants to provide men's materials (like this book)." And you wonder why pastors are reluctant to let you 'help them'?


JAMES RYLE AND THE VINEYARD
Frankly, Mr. McCartney, another huge reservation that I am having with P.K. is the fact that James Ryle, a man who claims that God told him the Beatles were anointed to bring forth a worldwide revival and 'usher in my (God's) spirit,' is your pastor and mentor. According to Ryle, it wasn't until 1970 that God removed his anointing from the Beatles. (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was anointed by God? 1970 was the year the Beatles broke up!). I am leary of a 'prophet' who discerns the demonic as anointed. Let's face it, although P.K. is rapidly growing and attracting an increasingly diverse portion of the Church, it is primarily led by Vineyardites. The 'Prophet' Ryle is on the board of directors, Randy Phillips is the president, and you go to Ryle's church (You told us to explain why I won't attend the Saint Valentines Day Massacre). I need to tell you I have great reservations about the Vineyard movement. Your Pastor and mentor is one example, with his unscriptural prophecies.

There are, no doubt, many fine Christians in the movement who want nothing more than the fulfillment of the Great Commission. But we have to remember that it was the Vineyard movement who by and large promoted the Kansas City prophets and have kept them in circulation to this day. The mystical "Toronto Blessing" is primarily a Vineyard phenomena although there are many Vineyard congregations who don't claim it. What makes P.K. different from the other Vineyard ventures? Mr. McCartney, do you believe in the validity of this "Laughing Revival?" Can a fountain bring forth both sweet and bitter water?


WHY NOT MEN OF DISCERNMENT?
I applaud your many charges for men to become "men of integrity," "family men", "men of purity" and so forth, but I notice that there isn't that much of a call for men to be men of discernment. If you truly want to know where many of us pastors are coming from, I'll tell you. A lot of us don't see the lack of physical unity nor lack of social action, nor lack of signs and wonders, as the true challenge of the last days church. According to II Thess. 2, the ultimate issue facing us is "will we love the truth, more than the lie, in the face of a false 'revival' of lying signs and wonders?" This is why many of us are seeing truth as the ultimate issue, not tolerance.

Of course, I love all Catholics, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. All of these "name the name of Jesus"! But almost all of them worship a different Jesus. I can't claim most of the above as brothers in Christ. If a Mormon keeps all seven of your promises that could well make him a moral person, but that moral Mormon will go right to Hell. Why? Because in spite of his morality, unity, good fathering skills, marital fidelity, he's still doomed because he doesn't believe the testimony God gave of His Son. What I am saying is this: What a person believes shouldn't be downplayed as insignificant. We should rather preach the Word of God without compromise, no matter how much it divides.


SEEMS LIKE A BROAD WAY
"Broad is the road that leads to destruction."
Finally Mr. McCartney, I am wary of P.K. because it seems to be such a broad, inclusive way. Catholics, Mormons, and even homosexuals are encouraged to be "included and welcomed in all our events." There are common denominators that anyone can stress that almost every human being can admit to. But when the true God-ordained organization, the Church, upholds the Word of God, it divides people either onto the broad way that leads to destruction or the narrow way that leads to life. A tell-tale sign that there is something wrong is the press being given to Promise Keepers by the worldly media. Why is the world promoting your organization when Jesus said the world would hate us as it hated Him? God has an organism already, the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth, and the world rejects it. God's work is not based on being male or female, Jew nor Greek nor bond or free. Whosoever will, may come. These are just a few of my concerns about P.K.. May the Lord inspire a healthy dialogue on this subject.

(PS: Thank you, Mr McCartney, for speaking out for the unborn!)

Bill Randles,
Pastor





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