Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

The Ecumenism of Promise Keepers

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Promise Keepers is a men's movement started in 1990 by members of John Wimber's Vineyard Fellowship. University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney, a member of the Boulder Valley Vineyard, founded Promise Keepers in association with his pastor, James Ryle. The first president, Randy Phillips, also is a member of the Boulder Vineyard. The book, Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper, is a workbook being used by the Promise Keeper movement. Contributing authors include Bill Bright, James Dobson, Bill McCartney, Luis Palau, and psychologist Gary Smalley. It is published by Focus on the Family. Promise Keepers has been around now for some five years, and has become an organization of more than 175 full-time staff members and a $22 million budget (last year). Its top leaders are still affiliated with Vineyard churches, but are seeking to draw participants from all denominational backgrounds, as reported in the cover story of the May 1995 issue of "Charisma." It reports that leaders of Promise Keepers, charismatics and the Church Growth Movement, have been worshipping and working closely together.

Of late, Promise Keepers has begun to attract Catholics and Mormons as well. Local Catholic priests led a Promise Keepers' seminar for 100 men at a parish in Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Times, Cardinal Roger Mahoney is determining whether Promise Keepers' events are appropriate for other Catholic parishes. Also, Chip Rawlings and fellow Los Angeles Mormon leaders have urged members of the Latter Day Saints to participate in the movement. Promise Keepers's Seven Promises are "like something straight out of the man's priesthood manual for the church," he told the Times. (Gleaned from various articles)

Promise Keepers may have begun with good and honourable intentions, but the ecumenical aspect is worrisome, to say the least. Test the spirits!

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