Promise Keepers is radically ecumenical, bringing together Protestants, Baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Roman Catholics into one big happy family that ignores doctrinal purity for the sake of unity. Promise Keepers is a bold statement against biblical separation and fundamentalism, and the Southern Baptist Convention is right in the middle of it.
Southern Baptist churches have been among the chief supporters of Promise Keepers since its inception. For example, about 1,800 men from Adrian Rogers’ church attended the Promise Keepers conference in Memphis in 1996. Ronnie Floyd, immediate past president of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference and immediate past chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, was one of the principal speakers at the Promise Keepers rally in Washington D.C. that year.
In March of this year (2006) it was announced that Bob Reccord, the president of the SBC’s North American Mission Board, will be the opening speaker at all 19 Promise Keepers events in 2006. Even though he resigned his job this month, Reccord remains “the liaison between the mission board and Promise Keepers” (“Baptist Missions Leader Quits,” Ashville Citizen-Times, April 18).
Also in March the Southern Baptist Convention and Promise Keepers announced a joint project called NOAH (New Orleans Area Hope) to rebuild houses and churches destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
There have been many attempts to soft peddle Promise Keepers’ ecumenism, but there can be no doubt that it is ecumenical by any definition.
Roman Catholic priests have spoken at Promise Keepers events; Promise Keepers has conducted conferences at Roman Catholic universities; and a Roman Catholic has sat on the Promise Keepers board of directors.
Catholic priest John Salazar spoke at a Promise Keepers meeting in Plainview, Texas, in December 1995 (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Lubbock, Texas, December 3, 1995).
Steve Jenkins, the Promise Keepers field representative for the upper Midwest in the 1990s, was a Roman Catholic.
A Promise Keepers Wake Up Call brochure distributed in San Luis, Obispo, California, in 1996 stated that a Promise Keepers rally was held at the St. Rose Catholic Church in Paso Robles, California (Foundation magazine, March-April 1996).
In 1997 Promise Keepers appointed a Roman Catholic, Mike Timmis, to its Board of Directors.
Roman Catholic priest Jim Berlucchi spoke at several of 1997 PK rallies (“Making New Catholic Men?” Our Sunday Visitor, July 20, 1997, p. 10).
In June 1997 Promise Keepers hosted a Catholic Summit at its headquarters in Denver, “sounding out Catholic volunteers and leaders from around the world” (Our Sunday Visitor, July 20, 1997).
In January 1998 Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver gave a “thumbs-up” to Catholic men who want to participate in Promise Keepers (The Catholic Register, quoted in Religious News Service, Jan. 19, 1998). Chaput’s remarks followed a lunch meeting with Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney. Chaput stated that though Catholics have legitimate concerns about the PK movement, they are obligated to “joyfully embrace groups like Promise Keepers.” The Catholic Archbishop said a chief concern was Promise Keepers failure to understand that the Bible alone is not the Christian authority. He said that Catholics also believe in “sacred tradition” and noted that “the church preceded Scripture.” He said that the Catholic Church has been given the authority “to interpret, teach and safeguard the Scripture.” He said that task resides with the Catholic bishops. According to this false and blasphemous Catholic dogma, the Bible does not rule the church, the “church” rules the Bible. The Catholic Church claims that no one can understand the Bible properly apart from its authority. Chaput said that in early March he will conduct a Catholic mass for Catholic members of Promise Keepers.
Roman Catholic Ralph Martin was a speaker at a Promise Keepers conference in western Michigan in August 1998. Fundamentalist Digest Editor Don Jasmin attended the meeting with press credentials and noted: “The PK emphasis is more dangerously ecumenical than ever, with Roman Catholics now occupying strategic places of prominence in administration and operation...” (Calvary Contender, February 15, 1999).
In an interview with the Catholic publication Our Sunday Visitor, Bill McCartney, founder of Promise Keepers, said that full Catholic participation was his intention from the beginning. “Back in 1992, at our first stadium event, we very clearly stated from the podium that we eagerly welcomed the participation of Roman Catholics, and we’ve had scores of Roman Catholics attend and go back to their churches excited” (Our Sunday Visitor, July 20, 1997, p. 10).
In a telephone interview Richard Scheinin of Knight Ridder News Service asked McCartney, “Do you consider the Catholic Church to be a legitimate Christian church?” and he replied, “Of course” (“Men’s faith group founder keeping his Promise,” The Daily Oklahoman, Sept. 15, 2001, p. 6B).
We agree with Jerry Huffman, editor of Calvary Contender, who after attending the Promise Keepers Men’s Conference in October 1996, observed: “This writer strongly believes that Promise Keepers is a massive and deceptive tool of Satan in his ploy to mix truth and error. An ecumenical organization cannot strengthen a fundamental Bible-believing church. PK has a kernel of truth, but it’s encased in a toxic shell. Be warned, be wise, beware!”
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