PROMISE KEEPERS: Important Developments
How comfortable do the leaders of Promise Keepers feel with Roman Catholics?
Are they really wary and concerned for sound biblical fundamentalist doctrine?
Or are they - as we long suspected - hand in hand with Rome on a journey
towards ecumenical unity?
PK was the subject of an article in a Catholic publication, Our Sunday
Visitor. The article in question was entitled "Making New
Catholic Men: Promise Keepers 'gospel for guys': Is it just the thing
that Catholic Men need, or is it bound to loosen male bonds to the Church?"
article demonstrates just how hard the Promise Keepers leaders have been
working to accommodate Catholics in their organisation. The article suggests
that Catholic involvement is already significant:
Timmis, a longtime leader in the Catholic charismatic renewal,
was welcomed to the Board of Directors of PK in March.
Keepers has spotlighted Catholic evangelist Jim Berlucchi
as a speaker at several rallies this year.
June, Promise Keepers hosted a 'catholic summit' at
its headquarters in Denver, sounding out Catholic volunteers and
leaders from around the country.
earlier this year, Promise Keepers amended its statement
of faith, revising the lines that Catholics had found offensive.
these quotes and judge for yourself the way things are going:
Keepers founder Bill McCartney told Our Sunday Visitor recently that
full catholic participation was his intention from the start."
in 1992, at our first stadium event, we very clearly stated from the
podium that we eagerly welcomed the participation of Roman Catholics
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
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
invited representatives from Promise Keepers to visit the university.
'We had some frank discussions and told them we needed to see
some Catholic involvement on 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, a vice president."
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."
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.'
of the most disturbing aspects of the Sunday Visitor article is the news
that PK have altered their statement of belief to suit Catholics. Here
are the very quotes:
earlier this year, Promise Keepers amended its statement of
faith, revising the lines that Catholics had found offensive.
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.
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 Christ's
alone' [says this Catholic magazine] is a key doctrine of the Protestant
Reformation. Though the phrase appears nowhere in Scripture,
it was inserted by Martin Luther into his German translation of the
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.'
Edwards, Promise Keepers' vice president for advancement, explained
that the statement of faith is a 'dynamic' document, and that Promise
Keepers is open to change.
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).
changes in the above wording are so subtle that many fail to see their
deep significance. However, what has happened strikes a blow against all
that Christians hold dear - that salvation is obtained through and by
NOTHING ELSE but the work of Christ on the Cross and faith in that finished
Catholic dogma adds to that work the merits of their sacraments and good
works as well as allegiance to the Mother Church! Once something is added
to "faith alone", we are no longer obtaining slavation by faith
in the finished work of Jesus Christ, but by faith PLUS works! This important
distinction is lost on many who have never been taught the basic elements
of evangelical faith, and know little about the false doctrines of the
Roman Church. But the fact remains, that Catholics (as reported above)
cannot abide the phrase "faith alone" and have managed to substitute
the watered down version of "through Christ alone".
it is self-evident that salvation is "through Christ alone"!
Indeed, many pseudo-christian cults preach that salvation is obtained
through Christ alone. However, only the true Christian churches teach
that salvartion is not only through and by Christ alone, but also BY FAITH
ALONE, and NOT through works, liturgies, sacraments and obedience to the
priesthood of the Church!
RC Church teaches that salvation is "through faith", but not
through FAITH ALONE. The difference is absolutely crucial. It is the difference
between law and grace; the difference between faith and works!
have the boundaries been so battered, and the barriers been so flimsy!
PK, like many other organisations, seems to have adopted the policy that
"anything goes" in the name of brotherhood and unity in the
Global Church. If PK are now prepared to see their doctrine as negotiable
for the sake of unity, then where do they draw the line?
of these extraordinary events is given in the magazine "Christianity
Today" in a piece titled "CATHOLIC INVOLVEMENT QUESTIONED"
(June 16, Page 58):
Latinos also outlined opposition to formal involvement of Catholics
in Promise Keepers. Misael Castillo, pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church
in Miami, noted that Hispanic Baptist pastors in that city have vowed
not to participate in any event where Catholics are in leadership roles.
Killings of evangelicals by Catholics in Chiapas, Mexico, are a sore
issue for many Latino Protestants. This makes PK's recent appointment
of Catholic Michael Timmis of Detroit to its board problematic. McCartney,
who was raised Catholic and now attends a Vineyard church, says Catholics
are welcome if they can abide by PK's "Seven Promises," mission
statement, and statement of faith."
above statement by McCartney is laughable. We now know that the Roman
Catholics COULD NOT "abide by the PK Statement of Belief" as
it stood, and with what outcome? PK altered the Statement to suit them!