What is the Promise Keepers Movement?

by: David A. Beck

Promise Keepers is a movement that began as a means to fight the destruction of the family. It's goals seemed to be simple. Teach men to be what they ought to be in the home and in all other aspects of their life. Sounds good, doesn't it? Aren't we all for that? Haven't we all seen the nuclear family destroyed? So, who should be against such a movement? Should we allow the "good" that may be done to overshadow any problems that it may create? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

Promise Keepers is spreading across our nation like a plague. I believe it is a genuine threat to the Lord's church (Matthew 16:18). Not that His church can ever be destroyed, but that doesn't mean it can't be damaged.

Will it solve the problems of those who have embraced its principles and teachings, or will it only complicate and compound these problems?

Can Christians involve themselves in this movement and be pleasing to God?

Obviously, some very conflicting views already exist as to the basis, programs, benefits and goals of the Promise Keepers movement.

This movement is very well organized and has huge financial resources at its disposal. It was started on March 20, 1990, by University of Colorado Head Football Coach Bill McCartney. He tells that he and his friend Dave Wardell, Ph.D., were on a three hour car ride to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting in Pueblo, Colorado, when the idea of filling a stadium with Christian men first came up. But their fact sheet shows how this movement grew from there.

1991- 4,200 men met at the Univ. of Colorado Events Center.....1992 - 22,000 men met at Folsom Stadium.....1993 - 50,000 men filled Folsom Stadium to capacity.....1994 - Seven sites nationwide totaling 278,600 men......Their plans for 1995 included 13 conferences expecting a half of a million men to attend.

This tract is based upon the actual words of its leaders or those statements made on their behalf via articles, press releases, etc.

The fact that many "conservative" religions are zealous for this movement is no guarantee that its principles, practices and goals are in accord with our Lord's will.

This movement is probably the greatest effort by Satan that I have ever known about in modern times to mix truth and error in some very deceptive ways. I believe that those who love and appreciate God's word and His ways must not hesitate to give the strongest possible warnings concerning the dangers of the Promise Keepers movement. The reasons will be clearly stated and properly documented so that Christians, and all others who are interested, may be able to see for themselves how the truth is mixed with error.

If for no other reason, the Promise Keepers movement is dangerous because it promotes ecumenism and encourages men to seek answers through this organization instead of the scriptures. They give "lip service" to following the scriptures; and they even quote from the scriptures. But they are a far cry from following scriptural precepts as they turn to "pop" psychology and the wisdom of men. Many times, while claiming to be following God, they turn their followers in the opposite direction.

Its founder and many of its leaders are part of the charismatic movement. The movement's teachings are tainted heavily by that agenda. Also, there is a great effort to bring about fellowship and eventual union with the Roman Catholic Church. It should be of great concern to every believer to know that the Promise Keepers movement is taught and led by men who blindly praise the Pope and are giving Roman Catholicism an undeserved and unwarranted vote of confidence and even appreciation instead of sounding the warnings God's Word commands.

The Promise Keepers movement, with its leadership, totally rejects the many plain commands of Scripture to separate from and warn about false teachers, the world, and those who would pervert the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 2 Thess. 3:6,14-15; 1 John 2:15-17; and 2 John 9-11. By refusing to heed the warning God gives in Galatians 1:6-10 concerning all who preach "any other Gospel," they have become "blind leaders of the blind." (Matt. 15:10-14) with the inevitable result that "both shall fall into the pit."

Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper is the title of a book published in 1994 by "Focus on the Family," Colorado Springs, CO. This is their "Bible." This is the book that you must read if you want to know what they are trying to do.

Another book that is highly endorsed by the Promise Keepers is, The Masculine Journey: Understanding the Six Stages of Manhood by psychotherapist Robert Hicks. They feel so strongly about its merit they passed out the book for free at a massive Promise Keepers Conference. 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 man-hood 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. Keen's books feature vicious diatribes against biblical Christianity. The author of The Masculine Journey, who is also a pastor (his word-dab) and seminary professor of pastoral theology, demonstrates what a perverting influence a psychospiritual bias can have. Consider the following small sampling of quotes related to just two of man's stages. 'THE PHALLIC STAGE: Possessing a [male sexual part] places unique requirements upon men before God in how they are to worship Him. We are called to worship God as phallic kinds of guys, not as some sort of androgynous, neutered non-males, or feminized males so popular in many feminist-enlightened churches.' 'I believe Jesus was phallic with all the inherent phallic passions we experience as men.' Regarding man's (emotionally) WOUNDED STAGE: 'In order for men to discover what manhood is all about, they must descend into the deep places of their own souls and find their accumulated grief.' 'I am convinced many men in our society today are lashing out at women, at society, at bosses, even at God---all because they do not understand the wounding experience.' 'The story of Jacob ...... illustrates a young man having been severely wounded by a dysfunctional family system....." This is the product of psycho (Freudian) mumbo-jumbo and not the Bible.

"Seven solid promises that will change a man's life forever" is boldly printed on the back jacket of their book. And I am afraid that this claim could be true. However, are we sure that we want our lives (minds) changed by spiritualists, and psychologists that follow the worldly trends? Why not look at God's word and have your minds trained by Him who will judge us (John 12:48)?

Peter said that "God has granted unto us ALL THINGS that pertain unto LIFE AND GODLINESS." (2 Peter 1:3)

The Promise Keeper's aim to change men's lives ought to be enough for us to want to investigate, via the scriptures, whether this change would be for the good or not.


PROMISE ONE. .. a man and his God. A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God 's Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

PROMISE TWO... a man and his mentors: A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

PROMISE THREE... a man and his integrity: A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical. and sexual purity.

PROMISE FOUR.... a man and his family: A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection, and biblical values.

PROMISE FIVE...a man and his church: A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of the church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving of his time and resources.

PROMISE SIX...a man and his brothers: A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

PROMISE SEVEN...a man and his world: A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (see Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19, 20).

Doesn't that sound just like what a Christian should want to get involved in? Then why all the fuss?

(Jude 3 NASB) Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. See also Gal. 1:8-9; Eph. 4:14; 1 Tim. 4:6; 6:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1-10.

However, in EVERY case of conversion in the NT law (which came into effect after the death of Christ [Col. 2:14; Heb. 9:15-17]) baptism was the final act of the new birth. (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Rom 6:1-10)

(2 Tim 3:16-17 NASB) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. See Also Rev. 22:19; Deut. 12:32.

We have the Word of God in clear language to tell us how to live. It may not always be what we want to hear, but it is always right. (Mat 6:33 NASB) "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

See also Mat. 7:21ff

Jesus said He was "the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." John 14:6

Shouldn't we be able to live righteously (even more abundantly, John 10:10) through Jesus?

Let's look at some of the GOALS of the leaders of the movement.

Promise Keepers is not just ecumenical; it is RADICALLY ecumenical. Their founder, Bill McCartney has said there is room within Promise Keepers for Catholics. The Roman Catholic newspaper, The Tidings, ran a very favorable report on Promise Keepers, noting that "there is no attempt at proselytizing for drawing men away from their faith to another church" and "there is no doctrinal issue which should cause concern to the Catholic Church." (The Tidings, Archdiocese paper, Los Angeles, March 31, 1995)

Even Mormons are participating in Promise Keepers. Mormon leaders of Palos Verdes, California, have come out publicly in support of Promise Keepers. Most of the top leaders are members of John Wimber's Vineyard movement which has largely adopted such unscriptural and dangerous practice as "spirit slaying," "power evangelism,"and the "laughing revival." The Promise Keepers magazine, New Man, is published by Charisma magazine, an extremely radical charismatic publication.

In Amos 3:3 (NKJV) the writer asks, Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? Paul said, (2 Cor 6:14-18 NKJV) "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty." How can we link arms with the Promise Keepers and obey God in this?

God tells us 2 John 9-11 NKJV) Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. DOES THIS SOUND LIKE GOD WANTS US TO WORK HAND IN HAND WITH THOSE WHO DENY THAT DOCTRINE IS IMPORTANT?

In the book, Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, under promise six is a chapter entitled, "A Call to Unity" by Bill McCartney. The following excerpts from the chapter, and the workbook notes which follow, reveal the unscriptural agenda and the dangerous ecumenical goals of Promise Keepers. As you read this quote, remember the Lord's plea for unity based upon His word. He prayed that we all "might be one" based upon keeping the word pure. The only spiritual "truth" (Jn. 17:17) is the word of God. But they say:

"The Body of Christ comprises a wide diversity of members. There are many denominations, various styles of worship, and representatives from all walks of life.......the Bible says there is only one Body. Jesus prayed that we all might be one. As men who are Promise Keepers, we must determine to break beyond the barriers and our comfort zones and get to know other members of that Body. ....We're going to break down the walls that separate us so that we might demonstrate the power of biblical unity based on what we have in common.....be a bridge builder.....pray daily for unity among Christians in your community."

The prayer of our Lord in John 17 is abused and twisted, over and over again, to make it a prayer for ecumenical unity. Jesus was praying for the opposite of ecumenism. He was praying that we be united on the truth of God's word. "Sanctify them in the truth, THY WORD IS TRUTH." (v. 17)


Keep the promises that you made before God in your wedding vows. Promising to love and cherish your wife. Keep your promise that you will cleave only unto her and remain faithful to her and her needs.

Keep the promises you made to God when you became a Christian; to follow Him, and Him only. He is to be our Lord and Master. It's His word that "completely furnishes us to EVERY good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

In Matthew 7:21-29, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.