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Promise Keepers: Part 1


The following interview was conducted in June/July of 1997. The list of questions came after about five months of intensive research into the whole Promise Keepers issue and were the culmination of reviewing many articles and critiques of the organization. As well, many personal interviews and discussions were conducted with individuals and organizations that either were directly involved with Promise Keepers, or who chose not to become involved and had explained their reasons for refusing to do so. 

What became apparent over time, was that although many of the critiques of Promise Keepers may have come from various backgrounds, there was an underlying thread of agreement about the basic problems with Promise Keepers. Some of the questions may be similar to what others may have asked--but it became a matter of asking those same questions myself---to verify the answers--and also to see the consistency of the answers or the changes that did take place from the answers given to others.

Since this interview many things have taken place with Promise Keepers and Updates have been added where relevant.

From a personal perspective, those that wanted to uphold Promise Keepers and not have any questions asked made it very clear to me that they would not accept information from resources that critiqued Promise Keepers--stating that theses sources were biased in some way. 

To that end, I chose to ask and use questions and information that those same "biased" sources had used. In most cases those same people that had objections to viewing those "biased" reports, have also not wished to view my information. Those same people are also those claiming to be "upholding truth".

What became obvious to me through my interviews with Promise Keepers is that, although the questions were answered in some way, there were many times when the answer provided did not directly answer the question, in many cases sidestepping the issue. Avoidance of this nature indicates a compromise to providing accurate information. This is not a Biblical attribute, coming from an organization that claims to be of God.

Matthew 12:37

"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

John 3:20,21

"For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."


To Promise Keepers: June/97

...I am requesting an "interview", and that the following questions be answered by an appropriate official, perhaps Mr. McCartney or Randy Phillips. Due to distance I am looking to these questions and their answers as the formal interview. The questions and answers may be published in my "Report". I have a waiting list of individuals from various denominations in various provinces in Canada, so am looking to publish my "Report" shortly.

I sincerely appreciate your co-operation in this matter.

When referring questions to "you", it is meant as Promise Keepers Leadership or Founders.

What is the name and position of the person responding to the questions? How long have you been involved in Promise Keepers?

Steve Chavis, Promise Keepers National Spokesperson, (and Eric Wardell, Correspondence Services, although he isn’t listed).

1. Bill McCartney is founder of Promise Keepers. He comes from a Catholic background, but now attends James Ryle's Vineyard Church.

Has Bill McCartney renounced Catholicism in order to become a member of the Vineyard?

Response: Mr. McCartney was a part of a Catholic parish in Ann Arbor before moving to Boulder as head football coach at the University of Colorado. Unable to find an appropriate church for his family, he began attending the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, where he has been a member ever since.

 *Did not answer the question

2.According to Christianity Today, Feb.1995, Promise Keepers began as a local fellowship of men joining for prayer, fasting and mutual encouragement "Though the original group was led by McCartney and other members of the charismatic Vineyard church, the men promptly sought to take the group across denominational borders."

Is this a true statement with regards to the founding faith of Promise Keepers?

Response: On March 20,1990 Bill McCartney (at the time, University of Colorado Head Football Coach) and his friend Dave Wardell, Ph.D. were on a three hour car ride to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting in Pueblo, CO. when the idea of filling a stadium with Christian men first came up. Joining for prayer, fasting and mutual encouragement, Bill McCartney, Dan Schaffer, Dave Wardell and Chuck Lane founded Promise Keepers. Of the four co-founders, Bill McCartney is the only one who attends the Vineyard church.

3.Does Promise Keepers leadership believe in the inerrancy of the Word of God? That it is a closed Canon? That it was given by God to be the channel of His revelation to man?

Response: Statement #2 of the Promise Keepers Statement of Faith states, "We believe that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man and that it is verbally inspired, authoritative and without error in the original manuscripts (see enclosed Statement of Faith).

*Does not answer the question completely

4.Do you believe that Christians should have as their only absolute authority in faith and practice the Word of God?

Response: Refer to Statement #2 of the Promise Keepers Statement of Faith.

*Does not answer question

5. I have been trying since January to obtain a transcript of Bill McCartney's impromptu speech regarding the clergy conference in Atlanta. It was held at Detroit on April 29,1995. So far, it has been made unavailable to me. I have read quotes about it and will assume they are correct as suggested to me by Eric Wardell. That is, Mr. McCartney is quoted as saying the following; " We 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...There's no unity of command...."

Are all that attend Promise Keepers rallies and accept the "Promises", viewed as the army of Christian men?

Response: Promise Keepers is not membership driven. We ask all men who attend any Promise Keepers event to seriously consider our Statement of Faith, our core beliefs as a ministry.

Promise Keepers realizes that salvation can not be found through any law, but only in Jesus Christ. To rely on the efforts of man is not only ineffective, it is sin. In no way do we view the Seven Promises as a new set of laws, or as having anything to do with our salvation. This is an issue that is addressed in our Statement of Faith (see enclosure). Please be aware that the theological foundation of Promise Keepers is found in our Statement of Faith, while our Mission Statement and the Seven Promises serve as guiding objectives for our ministry.

After much prayer and deliberation, the leadership of Promise Keepers developed the Seven Promises as a way to help men focus on the specific areas of concern for Christian men. We believe that the Seven Promises are commitments to grow, rather than a new set of laws, and we recognize that this process of change can only come from the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in a man’s heart. Promise Keepers desire is not, in any way, to replace the church but to see men become more involved in their local Bible believing church. And army of men will come about when we repent of our sins, pray, fast and obey Jesus Christ.

6. Are you suggesting that Christ is inadequate to command or unite the Church or Body? What scripture supports your statement?

Response: No. Jesus Christ is our Commander and Chief. He alone can unite His church. We do understand that He uses people to accomplish His goals and desire to see men broken and contrite before him, ready to be used. (Psalm 51:17).

7. Do you perceive that Promise Keepers has a scriptural mandate over the clergy of all denominations to unite them as one?

Response: No. Promise Keepers believes that God has called us to encourage true biblical unity that comes from doctrinal truths (see Statement of Faith).

8. He goes on.." 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 passing 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? ....You need to go back and tell them: Promise Keepers wants to come alongside you and be everything you need by encouraging (your) men and giving resources."

If a clergy did not attend that clergy conference or any other Promise Keepers rally, will he be disobeying God's call?

Response: As a brother in Christ Jesus, Bill McCartney was personally challenging all men that name the Name of Jesus Christ to follow Christ’s desire for unity. If God’s spirit is moving among the men of Promise Keepers, Bill challenged all men to be a part of God’s plan for the men of this country.

9. This army of which all clergy are to be leaders, are to "lead us out of here''. What is meant by that statement?

Response: Realizing that our Clergy have been called by God to lead their congregations, Bill asked them to lead as God has called them to.

 10. If the clergy and church have failed in their God-given duties, according to many of Promise Keepers statements, then are they actually God’s hand-picked people, or does Promise Keepers have a mandate to commission any and all leaders? Scripture?

Response: In light of scripture, if a pastor or a man has failed in their God-given responsibilities, that man must repent, and seek God’s intended direction for his life. Promise Keepers can encourage as well as rebuke these men, but God alone can give a man his calling in life.

11. Please list all resources that Promise Keepers has given freely to churches and clergy other than The Masculine Journey.

Response: What Makes a Man, the Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, Brothers-Calling Men into Vital Relationships, Strategies for a Successful Marriage, Power of a Promise Kept, Go the Distance, Break Down the Walls workbook, Support Your Local Pastor, Promise Builders Study Series, to name a few. Thousands of these books have been given away to churches and ministers.

12. How does Promise Keepers plan to "be everything you need" when Christ is already supplying all their needs, if they are living in faith, according to Christian belief?

Response: This question reads into the meaning of Bill McCartney’s comment "be everything you need." Another function of the Promise Keepers ministry is to unite men to become godly influences in their world. "To be everything you need," is to offer our ministry services and gifts to the pastors and layleaders to see men become Godly influences in their world. More importantly, it is an encouragement to brothers in Christ to begin to serve more actively in their local church in "helps" ministries, thereby freeing already overworked clergy to attend the conference or otherwise get away.

*If the congregational needs are that heavy, then that pastor who belongs to Christ, should be looking to Him for the strength and guidance to go on. Christ will never let us down.

2 Corinthians 12: 9,10

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong."

13. He goes on to say...." I think Almighty God is going to rip open the hearts of our leaders....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"

If the clergy become "one leadership" who then is their on-earth leader?

Response: In the true context of the quote, it states, "one leadership" not one leader. One leadership will come when Jesus Christ is lifted up, Jesus promises to draw all men unto Him that will confess with their mouths and believe in their hearts that He is Lord.

14. Do you see Promise Keepers as the light or example necessary for all to follow in order to be united under one leadership?

Response: Promise Keepers, we believe, is one part of many ministries that God could use to bring revival to our nation. To the best of our ability Promise Keepers promotes Jesus Christ, His deity, virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, death on the cross to provide for our redemption, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, present ministry of intercession for us, and His return to earth in power and glory.

15. Mr. McCartney went on to say.." if we are in control, if we come together, if our unity of command responds...we can accomplish things like "pay the national debt, and feed the poor...we can dissolve gangs... and be an impact in the inner city."

Do you see Promise Keepers as launching a strong political front or army as you call it, to take back society from the moral decline in our nations, as well as ushering in the return of Christ to a moral society?

Response: Promise Keepers has no political motivation, no candidates to endorse, no legislation to advance, and no political agenda. In the context of Mr. McCartney’s speech he is referring to and addressing the men in the crowd that are members of the Body of Christ -- Christ’s church.

16. A) Are Christians incapable of dealing with social issues, without the commitment to Promise Keepers and the "in control" attitude expressed in this statement? B.) If not, what is the difference between Promise Keepers and the men and leadership in the church today? C.) Where do women fit into this program? Scripture?

Response: A) No, Christians are capable of dealing with social issues from the example of Jesus Christ in the Bible.

B) Promise Keepers was founded to encourage the pastors, layleaders and men in the local, Bible believing church. Promise Keepers is a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to uniting men through vital relationships to become godly influences in their world. We believe that God is using Promise Keepers to call men to reconciliation, discipleship, and godliness. Promise Keepers believes this process begins as men acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives and pursue holy, accountable lifestyles in relationship with other Christian men.

C) Promise Keepers has addressed the question of women’s roles in Promise Keepers in Promise #4, " A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection, and biblical values." Promise Keepers seeks to teach men to honor and serve their wives, certainly not to twist biblical authority in order to subjugate women.

According to Ephesians 5:23, "the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church." Verse 25 commands men to "love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church." However one interprets these verses, it is clear that they can be misconstrued in some destructive ways. Men can abuse their authority selfishly, or men can forfeit leadership altogether. Promise Keepers believes that it is time for men to be the men God has created them to be. Men are called to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Although Christ was in very nature God, he became a servant and humbled Himself. If men are to become like Christ, they must be servants. Loving your wife means honoring her and serving her.

Promise Keepers also points out to men the call for mutual submission (Ephesians 5:21, I Corinthians 7:4). It has been a challenge and our honor to redefine the term "leadership" to a more biblical concept of "servant leadership." The relationships we promote are not based on power. Rather, they are based upon responsibility and service as expressions of love.

17. Do you see all denominations united under one leadership and moving towards one church that honors or keeps the seven promises and more specifically built on fellowship with and commitment to Christ? Scripture?

Response: Please refer to the pamphlet "Biblical Unity and Biblical Truth: A Necessary Tension."

*Update: Financial Crisis of PK and the calling of all churches--

* Feb/19/98 Washington (Reuters) "During the financial crisis McCartney said the group was still planning 19 stadium events this year and called on church leaders to donate funds that would allow the organization to continue. "We have seen how God has used this ministry to change men's lives and lead them back to the church. Now ... it is time for those churches to assist us in our mission," he said.

18. Randy Phillips wrote..."We believe the Lord is extending His Kairos.... But His sons must respond and make the commitments that we believe will seize the moment: the seven promises of Promise Keepers."

What scripture is it that talks of God extending His Kairos for this revival that only men are partakers of, especially as many apparently view this as the Last days?

Response: Mr. Phillips never said "only" men are to be partakers of this Kairos moment, but certainly men are called by God to return to their homes, families, and God-ordained responsibilities. Further, Promise Keepers holds no position on specific applications of any particular end-time eschatology.

19. What scriptures offer the support that committing to the seven promises will or can make a man more godly? What scriptures do you use that say that the promises are necessary to become more godly? I understand you do not view the promises as more commandments.

Response: The Seven Promises themselves hold no power in themselves to bring about godliness in any man. Rather, it is the pursuit of Christlikeness that all men should undertake (see enclosed, The Seven Promises).'

20. What will happen to men who do not "seize the moment" with the seven promises? What about women?

Response: Each man and woman is responsible to God for their own actions. We cannot predict what will happen to them.

21. What scripture is it you use that says man can become "holy" by being held accountable to other men?

Response: Proverbs 27:17. Ecclesiastes 4:9,10,12. I John 1:9. James 5:16. Hebrews 10: 24.

Promise Keepers feels that for too long men have shunned the work of relating to one another simply because of denominational labels. A given man may or may not be in agreement with, or even aware of, every doctrine held by his church as a whole. What we are espousing is a commitment to seek unity with one another, regardless of denomination, based on the common ground of faith in Christ alone.

Jesus said to his disciples, "A new command I give you. Love one another. As I have loved you, so must you love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." Our hope is that the Church will experience healing, restoration, and biblical reconciliation so that the world might believe we truly are His disciples.

22. Promise 6 speaks about reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity. On March 4-6,1997, at the National Association of Evangelicals, Orlando, Florida, Dr. Daniel Erickson spoke. He is quoted as saying…" Promise Keepers is shifting to the local church... Promise Keepers is a bridge and whether there is a denominational label it doesn't matter, for we will have relations with any denominations."

Do you agree with his statements?

Response: Yes. Promise Keepers position is to serve the Church of Jesus Christ regardless of label. In all our communications we labor to make our message scripturally sound and consistent with our statement of faith.

23. If yes, if a person can commit to the "promises" and attends your meetings, you will include and accept them then as "brothers in Christ"?

Response: All men are encouraged to be included in our events, not all men are considered brothers in Christ. See Statement of Faith.

24. If yes, does that mean you will include and accept the following "brothers in Christ" from, (check if only some) the following denominations:

Roman Catholics

Metropolitan Community Church


Unity Church


Church of Christian Science


Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church

The Toronto Blessing (now called "Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship")

United Pentecostal Church

United Church of Christ

All Saints Episcopal (ex. Pasadena, CA)


Members of the World Council of Churches

Members of "Evangelical" Churches


Response: Again, all men are included and encouraged to attend our events. Apart from a man’s label (as you have listed) does he love Jesus? Is he born of the Spirit of God? Please be aware that Promise Keepers is deeply concerned about what each man believes concerning the fundamental truths of God’s Word, and for this reason we developed our Statement of Faith.

It is a common misunderstanding that our ministry seeks to break down all denominational walls, regardless of doctrine. This is simply not the case. The doctrinal content of our Statement of Faith precedes the Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper (i.e. Promise #6: "A Promise Keeper is committed to reach beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity."). Promise Keepers desires to see all men come together in unity, but based on a core non-negotiable statement of faith.

At our 1996 Clergy Conference for Men, Dr. Glenn Wagner delivered a 12-minute presentation on Promise Keepers’ core theological beliefs. This presentation included the following comments:

"In our society, in this age of relativism, some say, "Well just have men come together and worship God." My question is ‘Which God?’

Are we worshipping the experiences of worship, or are we worshipping the One true God who eternally exists in three persons? That’s the God we want to meet -- that’s the One we want men to know and to come into relationship with.

John tells us in the words of Jesus that we’re to worship in spirit and truth. Truth! Some say, ‘Just lift up Jesus -- if you lift up Jesus, He said He will call all men unto Himself.’ In some of our stadiums you hear this great antiphonal phrase, ‘We love Jesus, yes we do, we love Jesus, how ‘bout you?’ But my heart says, ‘Which Jesus are they lifting up?

Is it the Jesus who is God of very God, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, was crucified to make atonement for my sin, was buried, rose again on the third day, was seen of many witnesses, has ascended to the right hand of the Father, ever making intercession for us, and will one day return in power and great glory -- is it that Jesus that they are lifting up?" He is the only God!"


"The word of God is so clear that salvation is not by works, but through faith in Jesus -- that it’s by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone -- my hope is in Him!

These are the core beliefs upon which Promise Keepers is founded and seeks to stay firmly rooted upon, with the prayer of Jesus in John 17 that we might be brought to complete unity. It’s a unity based upon the truth of God’s Word."

Although our conferences are not intended to be an open forum for addressing specific disagreements with the beliefs of any one group, we will not compromise our own core beliefs. We feel that this is evident in our messages to men, as the above comments reflect.

Promise Keepers Statement of Faith is on record, therefore we will not stand in any man’s way who is willing to declare an agreement with this theological statement and desires to be a committed promise keeper. Obviously any man has the individual choice whether or not to embrace our ministry’s belief, as clearly stated above, that salvation is not gained through works, but by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We realize that our commitment to this core truth will likely exclude some men.

Promise Keepers has had no involvement in the "laughing revival," "signs and wonders," or the "Toronto Blessing." The issues of the charismatic gifts -- speaking in tongues, the laughing revival, etc. are topics which Promise Keepers does not address in our conference programs nor in any of our resource materials.

You may wish to note as well, that the church involved with the "Toronto Blessing"-- the Toronto Airport Vineyard -- had it’s official endorsement withdrawn from the Association of Vineyard Churches. They have subsequently changed their church title to "Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship" to reflect this.

25. Dr. Erickson also stated, "we may need to let go of some of our denominations in order to reach men. Pastors on the right and left do not like Promise Keepers."

Do you agree with his statement?

Response: Please be assured that it has never been the intention of Promise Keepers to dissolve denominations or to create a one world religion. Rather, it is our desire to discourage the un-Christ-like attitudes that often accompany the divisive sectarianism in the body of Christ which negatively affects the Church’s witness to a watching world. There are issues with which we as Christians will always have differences; however, we desire to come together on what we believe to be the fundamentals of the faith (see enclosure). As Dr. E. Glenn Wagner, Promise Keepers’ Vice President for Ministry Advancement, states in his book, The Awesome Power of Shared Beliefs.."(Biblical) unity is not a oneness at the expense of truth."

Answer 25. Yes, in reaching men for Christ, discouraging the un-Christ-like attitudes that often accompany the divisive sectarianism in the body of Christ which negatively affects the Church’s witness to a watching world. See the Gospel of St. John 13:35

26. Does he suggest that unless those in the National Association of Evangelicals (US) agree with Promise Keepers, they will no longer be an accepted part of that association, and would you agree with what Dr. Erickson is suggesting?

Response: Dr. Erickson makes no suggestion.

27. Does this put Promise Keepers in as a "church" over all other churches?

Response: No. We exist to support and encourage men to return to their local Bible believing church.

28. Does Promise Keepers have a scriptural authority that requires recognition, approval, acceptance, endorsement and participation in Promise Keepers in order for a church, or the people in it, to be viewed as "godly" or acceptable?

Response: No.

29. What denominations or theology would have to be expelled, or have been identified as possibly needing to be omitted, according to Dr. Erickson’s statements?

Response: In the context of Mr. Erickson’s statement letting go of a "denomination or theology" (the mention of letting go of theology is a misinterpretation of Mr. Erickson’s speech and doesn’t apply to it’s context) can be explained. Promise Keepers is not membership driven. Our Statement of Faith are core values in which we ask all men to consider. These values we will not compromise as a ministry.

30. Dr. Erickson was also quoted as saying the following…"When Bill McCartney tries to preach it is not good, for he is not a theologian. Instead he is the prophetic word."

Does Promise Keepers leadership agree with this statement?

What does it mean, "he is the prophetic word".

Response: Dr. Erickson sought to clarify that Promise Keepers recognizes Mr. McCartney’s role as a layman who speaks as a visionary. Theologically, Promise Keepers does not rely on one man to resolve theological issues specifically. Bill’s role as CEO is to direct the vision of this ministry.

31. Randy Phillips has stated that "Promise Keepers is determinedto provide everything necessary for men to be men of God.."

Why then, did Promise Keepers give out 50,000 copies of The Masculine Journey instead of Bibles?

Response: Promise Keepers in 1993 offered both Bibles and The Masculine Journey at the 1993 conference. in 1996 Promise Keepers distributed 1.1 million New Testaments at our conferences. Please consider that The Masculine Journey is only one of the resources available from Promise Keepers and was only offered during our 1993 conference season. If you agree with the Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper and our Statement of Faith (see enclosed), we encourage you to look past any disagreement you may still have with The Masculine Journey and consider reading some of Promise Keepers’ other resources such as Go the Distance, The Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, The Awesome Power of Shared Beliefs, or The Power of a Promise Kept. Promise Keepers’ goal is to strive for biblical unity; however, we recognize that we will not always agree on every issue.

32. In an article in Christianity Today, February 1995, Randy Phillips is quoted as saying…"we want to create an environment where men can let down and be real."

No women are allowed for that apparent reason. Would you please supply the scripture that states that men cannot be or are not "real" around their wives?

Response: This question has nothing to do with the context of Randy Phillips quote. Women are welcome to attend Promise Keepers events. Since its inception in 1990, Promise Keepers has had a very specific call to men’s ministry. Our mission statement is as follows: "Promise Keepers is a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to uniting men through vital relationships to become godly influences in their world."

All of our conferences, seminars, books, videos, and other materials are designed to address specific men’s issues. In the same manner, there are numerous Christian organizations that specifically address issues of importance to females.

We have discovered that men are more apt to hear and receive the full instruction of the teachings at the conference when they are not inhibited by concern for a woman’s response. One of the greatest goals of these sessions is to deepen the commitment of men to respect and honor women. Many women choose to volunteer at our conference events.

33. The article went on to say…"Being real, for these men means unabashedly shedding tears, embracing one another during prayer and singing, huddling to confess their hidden sins and fears, and, very simply, being free to play."

Please provide the scriptures that upholds the separation of the unity between a husband and wife in a marriage and the encouragement for the sharing of these things with another man instead of with the wife?

Response: The quote you refer to comes from the author of the article, Mr. Ed Gilbraith, not a Promise Keepers spokesperson.

34. What is meant by being free to play?

Response: Again a Gilbreath quote.

35. The Promise Keepers Purpose Statement says…"dedicated to uniting men through vital relationships to become godly influences in their world." In other words, your goal would be to unite and help teach men to become more godly in what they say or do, or portray to others. Would that be correct? Scripture?

Response: Yes. Matthew 28:19-20, Romans 12:10.

36. Please explain the godly attributes, or reflection of Christ that was exhibited by Charles Swindoll when, wearing faded denims, he rode into the arena on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to the music of "Born to Be Wild"? What godly attributes was Pastor Swindoll trying to portray to the men in the stadium, many whom it could be assumed were "Christians"? Scripture?

Response: The attributes that Pastor Charles Swindoll was displaying was his freedom in Christ. We can find no scripture prohibiting the wearing of faded denims or riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Further, compared to the mores of the 1990’s, the Christian walk could certainly be considered "wild."

37. It’s been said that Promise Keepers has speakers from many denominations in order to keep within the unity objectives and that speakers are not allowed to put forward their own denominational beliefs. You will include any that can agree with the Promise Keepers statement of faith and promises, is that correct?

Response: Promise Keepers speakers are asked not to address doctrinal issues at any of our conferences. Other than issues that directly relate to our statement of faith and seven promises, specific doctrines are best applied at the local church level, using the Bible as the source of truth.

See also question 51, and Promise Keepers Part 2 regarding James Ryle and Steve Chavis thoughts on his influence.

38. Many critics believe that allows for people with very liberal views to influence men of all denominations. For example, Dr. E.V. Hill  is a frequent speaker at Promise Keepers rallies. He is on the National Council of Churches as well as being a Board member of Los Angeles NAACP, which sponsored the Gay Rights march on Washington in 1993. Do you believe his acceptance and promotion of homosexual rights is based on scripture, and is a model of what other Christian men should do and be?

Response: Reverend E.V. Hill has signed and adhered to our Statement of Faith. You may wish to contact Reverend Hill directly at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 1308 E. 50th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90011,USA. Interestingly, Rev. Hill has also been criticized for participating in the Inauguration of President Reagan, a Republican. Enclosed is the Promise Keepers Homosexuality statement for your reference.

*Does not answer the question. Also--if all a person has to do is sign and say they adhere to the Statement of Faith at the PK events, and yet enters into activities outside of those events, and which would be considered by many contrary to what that Statement means---what then?

39. Does Promise Keepers endorse and promote acceptance of the homosexual movement?

Response: Please see the enclosed Homosexuality Statement. (Please, when referring to the statement, do so in its entirety..)

*Reference is being made to a different Homosexuality statement than what I was quoting from. That statement has been changed several times. None of the statements address the questions directly.

40. It’s been stated that…".Promise Keepers shares the same historic and biblical stance taken by Evangelicals and Catholics….Promise Keepers also recognizes that homosexuality is a complex and polarizing issue. There is a great debate surrounding its environmental and genetic origins…We therefore support their being included and welcomed in all our events."

Evangelicals believe that homosexuality is a sexual sin/immorality and believe that the scriptures are clear when it says: Galatians 5: 19-21. Have Promise Keepers leadership ever put forward to audiences that homosexuality is sexual sin and practitioners must repent and change their lifestyle or they cannot be saved? (Quotes are from the Homosexuality statement.)

Response: Please see the enclosed Homosexuality Statement.

*Does not answer the question

41. Do you believe that there is anything in science or in scripture, that upholds the idea that homosexuals are born that way and that the lifestyle is not a choice? What would be the "polarizing issues" if you believe the inerrancy of the Bible on this matter?

Response: Please see the enclosed Homosexuality Statement

*Does not answer the question

42. Understanding that The Masculine Journey is no longer distributed through Promise Keepers, I would like to ask a few questions regarding it.

Did Promise Keepers help provide the funding, along with NavPress for the writing and publishing of this book and the Study guide?

Response: No.

43. Promise Keepers gave away 50,000 copies of The Masculine Journey, along with the workbooks to go with it at a rally in 1993, is that correct?

You obviously believed that this resource would help men become more godly, so much so that you endorsed and defended that endorsement and distribution until April or May 1996, is that correct information?

Response: Yes. We offered The Masculine Journey to the men of our 1993 stadium conference in Boulder. Please see the enclosed Statement on The Masculine Journey..

44. Many Promise Keepers speakers have used the information, and continue to do so, even though you no longer sell the book directly. It has influenced a phenomenal number of men and their families. You endorsed the book as a "valid resource for men to grow in Christ, but it does not encompass all the values and distinctives of PK"

If it was scriptural, that is, it could be tested and weighed against the scriptures as being biblically sound, why did you stop distributing it?

Response: Please see the enclosed statement on The Masculine Journey.

*Does not answer the question

45. Many believe that because you no longer distribute it that you no longer endorse it. Not distributing it is not the same as not endorsing it. Do you still endorse it as a valid resource for becoming more godly?

Response: Please see the enclosed statement on The Masculine Journey.

*Does not answer the question

46. The Masculine Journey has page 203 dedicated to Promise Keepers and it’s endorsement of this book…."to emphasize the godly conviction, integrity, and action each needs." In other words, any person purchasing The Masculine Journey sees Promise Keepers full endorsement and promotion. Do you have any plans to have page 203 removed from the book if it goes into another printing or do you stand behind that endorsement?

Response: Please see the enclosed statement on The Masculine Journey.

*Does not answer the question

47. Do you still use the ice breaker game called "People Bingo", with or without the actual "study guide"?

Response: Please see the enclosed statement on The Masculine Journey..

*Does not answer the question

48. Hicks suggests that children’s sins might be celebrated as rites of passage. …".teenagers…Instead of jumping all over them when they have their first experience with the police, or their first drunk, or their first experience with sex or drugs, we could look upon this as a teachable moment and a rite of passage… the true elders could come forward and confess their own adolescent sins and congratulate the next generation for being human…"

What scripture helped you support this philosophy as valid?

Response: Please see the enclosed statement on The Masculine Journey..

*Does not answer the question

49. Assuming that Hicks is speaking about "Christian" men and "Christian Families" do you anticipate the "first drunk, sex, experience with the police," to be one that is going to recur as being part of "being more Human"? Scripture? More godly?

Response: Please see the enclosed statement on The Masculine Journey..

*Does not answer the question

50. On page 127, Hicks states that…" I am learning to feel new things. My wounding experiences in the ministry have brought me into contact with a part of me that has been denied for years- my anger. I have realized I can slip into rage at the drop of a hat. My wife for the most part has been very supportive of my getting in touch with my feelings. I desire much more, though."

Promise Keepers is "an organization dedicated to motivating men toward greater strength and Christ-like masculinity." MJ, page 203.

Would you please share the scripture/s that equate Hicks’ godliness or Christ-likeness in this passage to the Character of Christ or what scriptures say a Christian should demonstrate with regard to anger, rage, and "getting in touch with my feelings" and that helped you support this resource and this philosophy?

Response: Please see the enclosed statement on The Masculine Journey.

*Does not answer the question

51. James Ryle is pastor to Bill McCartney and Randy Phillips, in Boulder Valley Vineyard Fellowship, as well as a frequent speaker at Promise Keepers and a Board member.. A letter from Mr. McCartney regarding Pastor Ryle states the following. "Furthermore, we request that all of our conference speakers deliver their messages in such a way that no one can tell what their church affiliation is…. In other words, what you are saying is that what a person believes will not necessarily be allowed to come forward at a Promise Keepers rally, correct?

Response: Incorrect. Extra-essential doctrines (that is, doctrines that do not determine one’s salvation or eternal status with God) will not be at the core of any Promise Keepers presentation. No doubt these issues will come up, but they will not be "foundational" to the message.

*Update: 8/1/98 James Ryle, Vineyard church pastor to Bill McCartney, changed the name of his church to "Vinelife Community Church" according to the PK Web page. Ryle has served as a PK Board member and is a frequent speaker at PK events. Randy Phillips, who had also attended a Vineyard church, is now identified as a member of Faith Bible Chapel in Denver, CO, the same church as George Morrison who is on the PK Board of Directors. This "officially" severs the Vineyard connection.

 52. On the back cover of James Ryle’s book Hippo in the Garden, a short biography is given part of which is this…"….and helps provide biblical direction for men through Promise Keepers." In other words what he believes about God, the scriptures, gifts, and so on will be conveyed in some way. Correct?

Response: Correct, in the context of Board of Directors meetings, which are all attended by a range of accomplished and credible men who each weigh in the direction of the ministry. See attached list of Board members.

53. In fact, according to Promise 7, "A Promise Keeper is committed to influence his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (Mark12: 30-31) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Matthew 28:20 says …and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." NIV. In other words, in order to obey this "Promise" and Christ’s command, would a pastor not be required to teach the whole counsel of God, including what he believes is Biblical truth?

Response: Yes.

54. Would that also then uphold Promise 6, because if the beliefs are Biblical, everyone should be able to agree with what is said, correct?

Response: Incorrect. Not all that is "said" between brothers is agreeable, for very valid reasons. At the core of Promise Keepers’ perspective on this matter is the dual pursuit of both truth and unity. See the "Unity and Truth" brochure.

55. If doctrinal issues are to be viewed as inconsequential, other than what you have put forward, that means that issues that are the foundation of many faiths are not to be considered relevant. For example the sacraments or communion must become a non-issue, although Evangelicals believe that the Lord’s Supper are a symbol of Christ dying once and for all, but Catholics believe that the sacraments are the real body and blood of Christ. That also means that Mass, the Eucharist and such are not valid reasons to remain apart.

You speak of the Reformation in your pamphlet on Unity. However, the very issues that tore the Catholic church apart, and Protestants such as Luther, Knox and Wesley stood against it, are to be ignored as inconsequential or unnecessary conflict, correct?

Response: See the "Unity and Truth" pamphlet.

*Does not specifically answer the question--see my note on question 57

56. Pastor Jack Hayford addresses this issue in the Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, page 19. …"Redeeming worship centers on the Lord’s table. Whether your tradition celebrates it as communion, the Eucharist, the Mass or the Lord’s Supper, we are all called to this centerpiece of Christian worship."

What Promise Keepers is saying is that all forms of the Lord’s table are Biblically sound and acceptable, correct? None of the above should form a barrier that keeps men from uniting as "brothers in Christ"? Scripture?

Response: See the "Unity and Truth" pamphlet.

*Does not answer the question

57. This also means that the Catholic teachings on "Maryology" are not a reason to remain separate, correct?

Response: See the "Unity and Truth" pamphlet.

**According to the PK pamphlet "Biblical Unity & Biblical Truth: a Necessary Tension", we find the split of the Christian church discussed. "...for the first thousand years, there was but one recognized Church....the first major division...resulting in the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches...another fracture occurred leading to the creation of the Protestant Church. Protestanism...the formation of a myriad of denominations and sects, each intending in its own way to maintain the purity of the Gospel and uphold Biblical Christianity...the Ecumenical Movement. Intending a broad-based reunification,...In view of history, and in spite of the difficulties involved, Promise Keepers believes the Lord is calling Christian men to denominational reconciliation... sought to find the common ground upon which all Christians can unite....Therefore, while Promise Keepers desires to call men of all Christian denominations together in Biblical unity, that unity must be based on the historically essential truths of Christianity..."

Going by the historical presentation in their document, Promise Keepers believes that each denominational split from the original Church are to be considered part of the denominational reconciliation and unity. Finding common ground in this way, and claiming to be based on the Biblical truth of Christ, is similar to the secular concept of "unity in diversity". Unity on the things we can agree on, expected tolerance and respect for the things we disagree with, and those issues are to be considered secondary. In other words, nothing important enough to remain divided over.

58. Since Mormons are attending and endorsing Promise Keepers rallies, and find that the Seven Promises are similar to their teachings, their view of Jesus- that he is the brother of Satan, - cannot be viewed as a reason to not embrace Mormons as "brothers in Christ," correct? Scripture?

Response: Incorrect. See the "Statement of Faith point #3, with supporting scripture.

59. In the manual Brothers! Calling Men into Vital Relationships page 10, the author states .." The first job of men’s small groups is to learn complete acceptance: no judgment, no "I told you so" or "you should have known better". No hidden agendas! I’m not out to change you and you’re not out to change me." If no one is there to be changed, isn’t your mission statement and reason for Promise Keepers invalid? You said men needed to become more godly. Does that not mean changing, and does that also mean that Promise Keepers leadership are the only ones able to identify the needed changes?

Response: In the context of the small group, it is the Spirit of God, and the unified pursuit of answers from the Holy Bible that brings changes in one’s life.

60. Page 28 deals with handling small group discussions and possible friction…"we’ll need skills in two areas: discussion and conflict resolution. …… If the men are not yet comfortable with the Bible, we can recommend many books…." Another quote on this same issue is in a Promise Keeper fax, "Promise Keepers desires to lead men into God’s Word and to lift Jesus Christ up as our model through the resources that we develop or sponsor."

Promise Keepers is dedicated to helping men become more godly. It’s assumed that most in attendance are people of faith. Why would you disqualify the Bible if your purpose is to help men to become more godly and lead men into God’s Word? What godly men are not comfortable with the Bible, the source of God-given insight? Do you believe man’s wisdom is superior or more comprehensible or acceptable than the Word of God?

Response: A) Promise Keepers in no way disqualifies the Bible. All PK resources point back to the Bible. On occasion extra-biblical publications (newsletters, special reports, books, commentaries) can be helpful in understanding specific circumstances and modern-day applications.

B) The Bible, honestly read, will convict, correct and counsel. See II Timothy 3:16.

C) No.

61. Promise Keepers goes into dealing with an offensive brother on page 35, quoting Matthew 18:15-20…."If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over…. For, where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them."

If Promise Keepers believes in the inerrancy of the scriptures, and you are dedicated to teaching godliness and God’s Word, why were four verses omitted from this passage quote in dealing with an offensive brother?

Those missing verses are of course…"But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church: and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven," " NIV

Response: Matthew 18, verses 16-19 were omitted for editing purposes. The omission was indicated with ellipsis points, standard editing procedure according to the Merriam - Webster Concise Handbook for Writers (1991).

62. According to Dr. Erickson, Promise Keepers has about two million men on its data base. It costs about $1,000,000.00 to do a mail-out. Other information states that Promise Keepers takes in approximately $110 million. What is done with the profit, and what is your profit margin? Where does the $110 million annually come from?

Response: See attached Financial Audit for calender year 1996, and the Statement on Financial Integrity

63. Does the amount you take in at Promise Keepers in any way affect the financial stability of a man’s home church? In other words, Promise 5, speaks of commitment to the local church, and giving of resources to it. Can you justify the cost of your sales items, T-shirts and other paraphernalia, in light of Promise 5?

Response: See attached Fact Sheet and other background materials.

*Update: Financial Crisis of PK and the calling of all churches--

* Feb/19/98 Washington (Reuters) "During the financial crisis McCartney said the group was still planning 19 stadium events this year and called on church leaders to donate funds that would allow the organization to continue. "We have seen how God has used this ministry to change men's lives and lead them back to the church. Now ... it is time for those churches to assist us in our mission," he said.

*It was reported in interviews and reports that Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney claims that God wants every church in America to give his financially-struggling organization $1,000. On February 18, 1997 Promise Keepers announced that it was in dire financial straits and would be required to adopt the following measures: stop paying its 345 employees in March, conduct its work strictly by volunteer labor, and begin supporting itself entirely by donations.

Speaking at a clergy conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, on February 19, 1998 which was attended by more than 3,000 pastors and church members, McCartney said that God told him to say that "every church that names the name of Jesus is supposed to give Promise Keepers $1,000" (Steve Persall, "McCartney appeals for church donations," The Denver Post, Feb. 20. 1998). Bill McCartney went on to say that big churches are "supposed to call the smaller churches and say, 'It wasn't all that hard for us, but can we help you?'" and small churches which lack the $1,000 are supposed "to call a larger church and say, 'Can you help us out here? We want to facilitate what God is doing.'"

Thank you for being willing to answer all questions. Sincerely, Vicky Dillen

End Interview.


Unfortunately the answers provided by Steve Chavis and Eric Wardell often did not answer the questions in a direct manner or they left one wanting to ask and clarify many other issues. Just some of the thoughts that need to be considered by those seeking truth are these:

Bill McCartney said, "We 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...There's no unity of command....". What is this army of men for? Why is it needed if we are already a part of the body of Christ and if we are believers in Christ?

"...redefine the term "leadership" to a more biblical concept of "servant leadership." If Promise Keepers is for Christian men and is built on Biblical doctrines as it claims, it has no need to redefine the term leadership for any Christian. Christ himself did it very well in such scriptures as Matthew 20:26,27. The definition was never undefined or incorrectly defined in the Word of God.

The goal of Promise Keepers and it's supporters, including James Dobson, Billy Graham, and many others, is to unite as "brothers", so that all might see the "unity of Christ". Quote. "For He Himself is our peace, Who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…" Eph. 2:14, (Promise Keepers pamphlet, Biblical Unity & Biblical Truth, 1997).

It should be noted that the scripture passage being quoted in this pamphlet is where Paul is speaking to the Ephesians about the relationship between the Gentiles and the Jews. He was helping them understand that in Christ, those "of the Circumcision" and those of the "Uncircumcision" were united as one. He was teaching about the relationship between Jews, Gentiles and the abolishment of the law and ordinances, through Christ. He explained how the laws etc. were no longer binding in the new life they found in Christ. Christ made the believing Jew and Gentile united as one in the Body. This passage was not about the differences within the Body itself. Ephesians 2:8-22.

Steve Chavis said...that God has called us to encourage true biblical unity that comes from doctrinal truths (see Statement of Faith). Do we not already have a Bible that gives us the Truth and statements of faith that we need to follow? Do Promise Keepers need to follow just some of the doctrinal truths encased in it or all of them? Are these issues different for Promise Keepers and "regular" Christians?

Ephesians 4:2-6

"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."

Does Biblical unity include being united with those who do not uphold the entire Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ, but can easily name the name of Jesus Christ, have their own understanding of Him and have His Spirit, according to their unBiblical understanding?

They also speak of the need for "reconciliation between denominations, cultures, races'. reach beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity. They promote this move as an organization for Bible-believing people, meaning it is for people who belong to Christ and love Him. Yet the Bible is clear about certain issues.

1John 4:20-21

"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."

1 Thessalonians 4:7-9

"For God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another."

Paul was saying that people who love God needn't be told or taught that they need to love one another. Those that hate their brothers are therefore not in the Body because they do not love God and are liars. There is no need for reconciliation within the Body of Christ. The Bible has already taught us that we are to love and respect each other in Christ. It's that simple. It's that Biblically true. However, what appears to be said by Promise Keepers is that those that belong to God have been hating one another, which goes against the Word of God.

If Promise Keepers motives are "simply there to encourage", then why did Bill McCartney say that all the pastors needed to be in attendance (Clergy conference) or needed to give account to them if they weren't? Why do men need to be united in a stadium event or under the umbrella of Promise Keepers? If they were following God already, they would know that they are already united in the Body of Christ and would already have a Godly love for one another in accordance with the Word of God. That is the love and unity that the Bible speaks of.

If men are following God, and belong to Christ, then most of the things discussed here won't be an issue for them. They will not have to go to a stadium with thousands of other men to adhere to what Promise Keepers are defining as proper attitudes and behaviors for men of God. Instead their pastors and elders will be teaching and upholding them by example. They will already be taught to look in the Word first, not after extra-Biblical resources and man's opinions are exhausted. Knowing the Word of God will show them what is expected of them by God, by seeking Gods wisdom, not mans opinion or philosophy or approval.

Galatians 1: 9,10

"As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."


All Scripture Quotes From The Authorized King James Bible

Copyright . All articles are the sole property of and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.

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