AN OPEN LETTER TO BILL McCARTNEY
From Pastor Bill Randles,
Believers In Grace Fellowship Church
August 22, 1995
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 Promise Keepers.
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
McCartney, this is my response to your brotherly challenge. I welcome
the opportunity to tell you what my reservations and concerns about P.K.
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:
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 cho-sen 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. . . .
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.
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).
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."
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)
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.
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?
have a threefold problem with a humanly centralized church leadership,
and unity of command:
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;
it concentrates a tremendous amount of influence into the hands of well
meaning but sinful men;
finally, where there is a centralized, carnally unified command, it
makes it easier for deception and manipulation of the Church by Satan.
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
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
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.
McCartney, do you believe the following statement made by the Pope?
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").
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.
example would be this statement from the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic
Church, page 128, section 460:
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."
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.
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.
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 U.N.
and well known New Age author, Robert Muller, who wrote "New Genesis:
Shaping a Global Spirituality". This book amounts to a call to all religions
to find common ground and work together for a one-world religion.
S.C.P. article, which I am enclosing, 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:
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
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?
HICKS' "MASCULINE JOURNEY"
I would like to know why, Mr. McCartney, 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 concept 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).
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."
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.
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":
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?"
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 drunk
or sexual experience (p. 177):
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!"
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'?
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.
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).
need to tell you I have great reservations about the Vineyard movement.
Your Pastor and mentor is one example, with his unscriptural prophecies.
It is not my intention to paint every Vineyard Church with a broad brush.
I believe 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.
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?
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.
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.
LIKE A BROAD WAY
"Broad is the road that leads to destruction."
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."
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 telltale
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.
are just a few of my concerns about P.K.
the Lord inspire a healthy dialogue on this subject,