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Text Sermons : ~Other Speakers A-F : Discernment Reasearch Articles : "Mainstream" Spring 1996 Part 3 - Promise Keepers in the UK

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It's Coming Our Way!
The Promise Keepers Men's Movement that has taken America by storm is about to be launched in the UK, if East Anglican Minister Tom Chipper fulfills his vision.

He says that God "led him on a journey", each part of which "pointed directly to Promise Keepers". At the end of that journey, Chipper contacted the American leaders of PK with regard to introducing the Movement over here.

Tom Chipper, of High Street Baptist Church, Isleham, Ely, is an influential leader who networks with many churches in his area. He says that he is "at present contacting national leaders from across the board, out of which a team will be gathered together" to float the start of PK. He adds that EA and CARE are "very much in the front line" with the launch of PK in this country.

Anyone unfamiliar with Promise Keepers should read the Autumn/Winter edition of "Mainstream" which exposed the Movement's connections to the Kansas City Prophets and its use of "mentoring" and initiation rituals, amongst other things.

However, as so often with powerful new movements, proponents will ignore the problems and point only to the "good" achieved as men attempt to become better husbands and church members by making seven vows before their peers.

No matter how innocent are the aims of those who join PK, it cannot be doubted that the Movement brings under the control of a few leaders the aspirations and energies of thousands of needy and compliant men. We have to wait and see what is moulded from this material and whether this gigantic pool of testosterone is really used for God.

The PK rallies themselves are not the real problem; these stay pretty free from anything that would trigger dispute. It is the follow-up, mentoring, and the Ambassador levels of discipleship that are alarming. The stated purpose is to have a Promise Keepers "Point Man" in every congregation in America in the next two years. This will enable them to disseminate their training materials, methods and philosophy into the entire church family. Under the guise of "coming alongside" the churches and pastors to "help" formulate men's ministry, they are actually planning to infiltrate the churches in order to recruit men to PK, and to involve them in what is called "shepherding", or as they call it, "mentoring". (See footnote)

["Point Men" are the primary contacts with the churches and are responsible for training and organising promotions of PK conferences . "Ambassadors" introduce PK to the community churches, and recruit the Point Men.]

Many of us are completely committed to the Bible's teaching on the priesthood of all believers. The artificial division between "clergy" and "lay-people" so beloved of the Roman church and its offshoots is just not found in scripture. If the concept of priesthood were to be injected into the main artery of the Body of Christ, then the old sickness of servile obedience to a remote and elitist priestclass would be re-established very quickly.

It would bring with it a renaissance of gnostic thought, in which understanding is restricted to an elite band of illuminati who have proved their loyalty through initiation, while the masses of unlearned peasantry sit at their feet snatching at the crumbs of their wisdom.

Unfortunately, there is a distinct undercurrent of this thinking in PK circles.

Bill McCartney [PK Founder] has said that a pastor "rightly divides the word of God and only our clergy are gifted by God to do that." ["The Grant Connection" radio broadcast, Denver, Jan 11, 1996.]

In a magazine interview, Bill McCartney was asked: "Why have you made support for pastors one of the seven promises of Promise Keepers? 'Support your pastor' doesn't seem like an obvious part of a movement for men".He replied:

"We believe in the vehicle that God is going to use to restore our land and to bring our people together: the church. The pastor is the shepherd that God has invested in. Pastors are the men of learning, the men of understanding. They have greater gifts."
Interviewer: "Have you sensed among lay people, men in particular, a dis-respect for pastors?"

McCartney: "It's more of an indifference... It's because our men are uneducated, and our minds are dulled. They don't understand that when they meet a pastor, they've come into the presence of royalty."

"What has started [in Promise Keepers] is a process to educate men how to come alongside their pastors... This is going to accelerate, to gain momentum to the point where pastors regain their rightful stature in the church, in the community, in the marketplace." [1995 Leadership Journal, Christianity Today, Inc.]

But what, according to the Bible, really is the "rightful place" of the elders of the Church of Christ? Should they be like the Jewish elders -"which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the upper-most rooms at feasts: Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers" (Mark 12:38-40)

Or should they be humble servants of the Church as Jesus Christ said:

"Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many". (Mark 10:42-45)
PK seems to be educating pastors to make much of themselves, to seek honour from their congregations and to believe that they are a cut above the common herd.

Now a massive meeting just for male clergy is being planned in Atlanta by the PK leadership. They hope to fill the Georgia Dome with 70,000 pastors on February 13-15, 1996, making the "the largest gathering of ministers in the history of Christianity".

When interviewed by "Leadership" magazine, Dale Schlafer, Vice-President of pastoral ministries for Promise Keepers was asked "Why are you planning a conference for male clergy?"

Schlafer replied that:

"History has shown that clergy-led revivals have a longer impact than lay-led revivals. Understanding that, we hope the Holy Spirit will move at the clergy conference--across denominational traditions and ethnic traditions--and bring 70,000 ministers together. We hope to see pastors go back to their churches revived and praying that God will revive their churches and bring the lost in their communities to Christ."
"If this event in Atlanta is catalytic, if we look back years from now and say this event was a major turning point in the Church of Jesus Christ to bring revival, it will have been worth it."

On the subject of follow-up to the conference, Schlafer said

"One of our aims is to have hundreds of pastors' groups around the country within months after this event. We see men coming together out of this common experience and giving each other support. God wants men from churches praying together across ethnic and denominational lines".
Bill McCartney is reported as saying,

"We have a great army that we're assembling. They're the Christian men of this nation. However, our leadership, our clergy, are not uniform. Our clergy are divided... There's no unity of command... there is tremendous division in our clergy... One leadership. We've got to have one leadership, one leadership only. We've got to have everybody hitting on all cylinders.
What is this "great army" that Bill McCartney is assembling under its "one leadership"? Could it be the "Joel's Army" prophesied by the Kansas City Prophets and others - the invincible army that will bring world wide revival in the endtimes?

Recently Paul Cain shared a dream he'd received when he was 19 years old:

"I had a dream that became a recurring dream, and it was about all the stadiums... and I saw these stadiums and football fields, soccer fields and sports arenas, all of them filled with thousands of people, sometimes over 100,000 in each place" [Paul Cain, at Christ Chapel, Florence, Alabama, August 30, 1995]
Now Cain is definitely connecting his prediction to Promise Keepers, who regularly meet in sports arenas:

"I want to just stand up somewhere in one of these stadiums and say, 'See, I told you so... And I know the Lord is coming to His Church and he's going to prepare us... I don't make any apologies for believing such an outlandish thing. I really don't, and I'm not embarrassed by it... Who would think that there would be a group like Promise Keepers who'd already be setting the stage and filling stadiums with tens of thousands of people - they'll be over 100,000 in no time... So, what if God shows up at just one of those meetings? That could just be the kick-off for 'last day ministry'. Think about that. If 150,000 people get together in one place, like on the day of Pentecost.... What if 120,000 get together and then the fire comes from heaven and the glory of God..." [Paul Cain, at Christ Chapel, Florence, Alabama, August 30, 1995]
Cain was possibly referring to the 100,000 pastors expected at the February Promise Keepers meeting in Atlanta, or possibly to the PK goal of a stadium-full in each of the fifty states in the year 2000. Notice that Cain believes the Church will be dramatically filled with the Glory of God before Jesus returns.

"I want you to know he's coming TO the Church BEFORE he comes FOR the Church. He's gonna perfect the Church so the Church can be the Image, BE HIM, and be his representation." [Grace Ministries tape, Nov 1988 "My Father's House" by Paul Cain]
Paul Cain has taught that this Army now in formation is the Manchild of Revelation 12:5, as well as: "The overcomers, (Rev. 2 and 3). The 144,000 servants, (Rev 7:3), the revelation of the Lamb's wife, (Rev 19:7 and 21:9), the white horse, (Rev 6:2), the first-fruits, (Rev 14:4), the precious fruits, (James 5:7), the wise virgins, (Matt 25:1-13), and the manifested sons of God, (Rom 8:19-23)".

Along with Bill McCartney, Pastor James Ryle founded PK in 1990, and presently sits on its Board of Directors. He also pastors the Boulder Valley Vineyard in Colorado, and has ministered with John Wimber and Paul Cain. James Ryle answered in the affirmative when asked whether Promise Keepers could be fulfilling the prophecy in Joel of raising an army. Ryle's reply was, "Yes, 300,000 men have come together so far this year under Promise Keepers... Never in history have 300,000 men come together except to go to war. These men are gathered for war." [As reported in "Discernment" newsletter, Jewel van der Merwe, September/October 1994, p. 7]

Talk of armies and war suggests an aggressive methodology that sits ill with the biblical Gospel. And just who is the enemy? Clues can be found in statements by Ryle and others, including the Toronto leadership. Predictions of a bloody civil war within the Church have been made as early as 1984. One such prophecy concerned a division or civil war within the Body of Christ between the "Blues" and the "Greys", and this was repeated and emphasised by Wes Campbell at Toronto. He said:

"In 1984 [Bob Jones had a vision] about the Church. And the Church was gathered in a large civil war-type big stately mansion, a big ballroom, and they were dancing. And they were dressed in colorful clothes and happy, and they were moving and they were laughing and they were dancing and they were just having the wonderful party of their life. And he looked at that and Bob began to laugh and he said 'Look at them dance, look at them have fun'.
"And an angel came and said, 'Wait. Not yet.' And then what happened is that strangely in the ballroom, the crowd began to change, and they began to take sides, and they began to have blue coats and gray coats, and in a moment civil war broke out. A bloody civil war broke out.

"James Ryle has had a similar vision. The Lord even showed him how the blue coats stand for the revelatory, the revelation, and the gray for gray matter, man's wisdom.

"And in this context the North [blue coats] fought the South [grey coats] and the South fought the North, and the South wanted to keep the people enslaved. They wanted their money. They wanted their bodies. They wanted their personhood to keep the system going. And the North said No! Freedom! Freedom! And they went into a terrible fight, and it was father against son, brother against brother, and a man's enemies were in his own house".[Excerpts from audiotape, Airport Vineyard, Toronto Friday, October 14, 1994 Speaker: Wes Campbell]

Rick Joyner also predicted, in 1992, an intense spiritual battle that would defeat the South as in the American civil war. He added two details - the time and the place! He said that "Atlanta in 1996 will be one of the greatest opportunities the church has had to engage and breakthrough some of the enemy's most powerful strongholds." He wrote:

"During the American Civil War it was prophetically spoken that 'the battle for Atlanta will decide the fate of the South.' This prophecy proved to be true. There were many more spectacular battles during the war, but possibly none that proved more strategic in deciding the war... The spiritual battle for Atlanta will be of the same kind of strategic significance."
"It is no accident that the Olympics are coming to Atlanta in 1996. Just as the Olympics represent the contest of the best athletes, or physical forces from all nations, cultures and races, what will be taking place in the physical will just be a reflection of what will be happening in the spiritual realm. The cultural and spiritual forces of the world are being assembled in Atlanta for one of the ultimate spiritual conflicts." [Rick Joyner, "Battlefields Of The Nineties" in Morning Star Prophetic Bulletin of September 1st 1992]

Although Rick Joyner when he wrote these words presumably did not know of the Promise Keepers' clergy gathering, his predictions will have added to the conviction of the PK leadership that 1996 in Atlanta was the right choice for their venue.

Although there is not (yet) any overt attempt to introduce the Toronto Blessing at PK rallies, the PK leadership is nonetheless intimately involved in the Renewal movement.
One example of the cross-over between PK and TB was found at the Mott Auditorium, (Vineyard Pasadena CA, which is on record with children seeing angels, prophesying, having visions, and more). During the five days of the "Healing & Revival Conference", James Ryle and Randy Clark (who brought the TB to the Toronto Airport) both ministered, and John Arnott visited shortly afterwards.

One report was as follows:

At the Pasadena Church, James Ryle, chaplain of the University of Colorado football team, is telling the congregation how Jesus freed him from his own demons - growing up in an orphanage and serving jail time for selling drugs.
He tells many jokes about missing his middle finger, lost to a lawn mower. There are waves of tear-wiping laughter. Ryle makes sound effects, including some animal noises. He snaps his fingers, bangs the podium, paces and tells how God will appear here in suit of fire, oil, water. "You will feel! And the glory of the Lord will put you down!" ["A Rush of Ecstasy and Alarm" by Carol McGraw, Orange County Register, Washington Post 18/11/95]


James Ryle is Bill McCartney's Pastor. When asked: "How would you describe your relationship with your pastor" McCartney replied: "He's a mentor to me. He's taken me under his wing. Every time I have a question that confuses me, I call him." [Bill McCartney interviewed in Leadership Journal.]

It will perhaps be apparent now that "mentoring", given the background, beliefs and teachings of mentors like James Ryle, is leading to the infiltration of aberrant thoughts, false prophecies and even heresies from the top downwards. There is an overlap of thinking running throughout the Toronto, Kansas City Prophets and Promise Keepers organisations [and many other similar ones] that cannot be explained otherwise.

Taken singly, each movement appears to have its good side. Taken together, we have a combination of forces and influences that are bending the worldwide Church like a tree in the wind. They are all adding their own bit of pressure, all bending in the same direction - a global "kingdom" ruled by a bunch of despots! They all use the same tactics - the carrot and the stick: fun and friendship plus shepherding to keep the troops in line. It is a formula that has worked well before, and it will continue to work very well so long as Christians exhibit a group mentality and refuse to think for themselves. Authoritarian leadership in the Church could never succeed except for Christians who want to be led! Hero worship is a snare from which few will escape.

I have no doubt that Promise Keepers, if and when it appears in the UK, will be eagerly promoted by those whose interests lie in the area of power and influence, and who value quantity more than quality. I also (sadly) predict that many fine Christian men will be drawn or pushed into supporting PK.

As always, we are called upon to sound a warning note, and to try to alert believers to the dangers before it is too late. May God give discernment to all who pray about their involvement in PK.

All Part of The Plan?
The term mentoring refers to the Greek legendary figure, Mentor who was the faithful friend and advisor of Odysseus (also called Ulysses) the hero of the Trojan wars. The conclusion of his story (The Odyssey by Homer) is interesting in the light of the aims of such organisations as Promise Keepers, AD2000 and the Restoration Movement in general.

It is an allegory of the battle for the kingdom, for the hero Odysseus returns to his own land, reveals himself to his faithful waiting Bride, and kills those who had been trying to seduce her. But it is only by the help of Mentor that peace and reconciliation finally come to the land. And not only Mentor, but by Athena, the goddess of wisdom and peace who takes the form of Mentor to bring civil war between Odysseus and his wife's suitors to an end.

On hearing of the strife, Athena asks her father Zeus whether he intends a war on earth. Zeus permits them to make a "treaty of peace to establish Odysseus as king in perpetuity...let the mutual goodwill of the old days be restored and let peace and plenty prevail". Thus encouraged, Athena takes the form of Mentor and commands an nd to war.

Is this just coincidence? Or maybe the promoters of "goodwill" and peace" have deliberately decided that Mentoring is the path to reconciliation between nations. It is all part of The Plan!

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