What could be wrong with Christian men uniting to become more godly? What could be wrong with men assuming leadership in marriage? What could be wrong with promoting the virtues of sexual integrity, parental responsibility and church devotion?
Well, of course, there is everything right and nothing wrong with becoming more godly, assuming leadership, sexual integrity, etc.
There is a fundamental problem, however, with the Promise Keepers ecumenical approach to the Gospel and to the way godliness is achieved in the life of a believer.
Promise Keepers is committed to reaching across denominational barriers in an effort to unite men. And they have been successful in doing that. Promise Keepers supporters and sponsors include Evangelicals, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Charismatics, Catholics, Mormons and others. These groups have been divided by major doctrinal differences for many years. But now these differences are being dropped for the sake of unity. The very fact that both the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches have officially declared that they find no conflict between PK teaching and their own doctrines ought to tell you that something is seriously wrong. This seems to be an ecumenicalism of proportions never experienced since the Reformation.
There have been single issues, such as abortion, pornography, and prohibition, that have drawn a spectrum of churches together, but none have reached the popularity and ecumenicalism of the Promise Keepers. Promise Keepers is a burgeoning force in American Christianity. With the goal of Point Men in every church, one cannot ignore its influence. Beneath the emotional hype, camaraderie, enthusiastic speakers, songs, and cheers, Promise Keepers champions a psycho-spiritual, ecumenical and political agenda.
Those who get involved with Promise Keepers are trained in a mixture of humanistic psychology and corrupt Christianity. Men attending a massive 1993 Promise Keepers conference were given complimentary copies of The Masculine Journey: Understanding the Six Stages of Manhood by psychotherapist Robert Hicks. In a review of this book, T.A. McMahon notes:
“The book, written to help ‘provide directions for a man’s life so that he doesn’t get lost along the way,’ is mainly psychologically biased conjecture centering around six Hebrew words. In chapter after chapter, subjective insights into manhood are offered through quotes by a host of secular authors with a psychological bent, including Carl Jung, inner-healing therapist Leanne Payne, transpersonal psychiatrist/spiritualist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and Sam Keen, former theologian in residence at Esalen, the New Age/Eastern mystical therapeutic center south of San Francisco.
The Promise Keepers’ movement is part of an ecumenical trend of down-playing doctrine for unity that puts aside essential theological issues in order to promote a unity which is not biblical unity. Are false doctrines being addressed? Are the people in these churches challenged to flee their false religious systems? The answer is “No.” Key foundational issues have been dropped, all for the sake of supposed unity.
The men who are reached through this ministry are not necessarily brought into sound New Testament churches and grounded in the truth. They are not being taught to keep themselves pure from apostasy and heresy. They are not being trained in discerning false gospels from the true. Rather they will be instructed in unscriptural ecumenism as they are sent back to their church congregation or parish to become active laymen. They are being taught that doctrine is not crucial, that to fight for the truth is unspiritual. They are even being encouraged to accept apostate denominations as genuine expressions of Christianity. There is so much theological diversity among those involved with Promise Keepers that no in-depth discussion of Scripture or what it means to be a Christian could take place without tearing the movement apart. If one followed the doctrines of some of the groups involved in this movement, one could not even be a Christian. And if one is not a Christian, nothing that person does will enable him or her to be godly.
Though we can rejoice that men may get saved and their lives turn around for the good, yet results in and of themselves do not necessarily mean the movement has God’s approval or that the methods Promise Keepers uses are right and in conformity to the will of God. Numbers 20 provides a classic example of this. Moses was commanded by God to strike the rock (Ex. 17:5) and speak to it (Num. 20:8) and water would come forth miraculously to supply the needs of the Israelites and their animals. In a fit of rage and frustration over the rebellious attitudes and complaints of Israel, Moses angrily struck the rock twice and water came out of the rock in abundance to quench the thirst of millions of people and animals. God graciously displayed His supernatural power and performed a miracle in the presence of the entire assembly. Yet, did God approve of Moses’ methods? Did the visible result of water coming out in abundance demonstrate God’s hand of blessing was upon Moses’ work? No, his disobedience was noted and as punishment, he was forbidden to enter the Promised Land. “The good results that were publicly displayed did not justify the wrong way in which God’s will was carried out” (Axioms of Separation, p. 14). The same is true about Promise Keepers.
Modern Christian Ecumenical Movements
Even a cursory review of what has taken place in the Church during the last 25 years will reveal a fierce undermining of the faith. Precisely as the Bible warns, today’s most effective enemies of Christ are those who claim to be Christians and call mankind not just to any old false religion but to a counterfeit Christianity.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Modern Non-Christian Ecumenical Movements
Growing alongside the Christian ecumenical movement are those non-Christian movements with basically the same message: uniting the world into a one world religion that is inclusive of all beliefs.