Are You Really a Promise Keeper?
Dear Promise Keeper,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6
Greetings from a man who has walked in your shoes. I attended the Boulder '93 PK Conference. I was a counselor at the conference in Denton, Texas and then attended the conference at Texas Stadium. I have been to several Leadership Seminars and rallies. I will not hesitate to say that I had a blast. There were many things that troubled me about the whole movement, but I was on such an emotional high that I refused to investigate those stirrings. I did not want to believe that there could be anything wrong. These conferences were like a football game, a motivational seminar, and a great sermon all rolled into one. I did not care to hear anything that would put a damper on that. It finally became so obvious to me and those I knew that there were some real contradictions to God's Word, that I just couldn't ignore it any longer.
Let me explain to you before I go any further that I desire nothing from you. I do not want you to believe anything I say, just because I say it. I will not even attempt to answer every question I ask. My heart's desire is that you question and prove everything I say and that you question and prove everything anyone ever has or ever will say to you. Please do not let the title Preacher, Pastor, Minister, etc. numb your senses. Please do not let the fact that scriptures are quoted, keep you from proving everything for yourself. Remember that the Devil quoted scriptures to the Savior. The Word of God was given to us for a reason. The answers are all there.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, "Test all things; hold fast what is good." I started doing that as I took a good hard look at this rapidly growing ministry. The first thing I did was to consider the things that troubled me from the start. Why were men, who ten years ago would have called each others' doctrine and theology either dead or heresy, so willing to share the stage with one another? Why all the promises of a better life and rewards on this earth by keeping 7 promises? What is all this talk of a great revival that can turn this country around then turn this world around? I could list many more questions, but my intention is not to write a book. My intention is to inspire you to "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." as 2 Timothy 2:15 states.
Who are the preachers who speak at Promise Keeper events? Do you really know who you are listening to and following? What motivates them? Do they agree with and support each other and if not why are they so willing to link arms in this movement?
I think many of you would be amazed just how different the beliefs of many of these preachers are from your own beliefs. There are Baptist, Charismatic, Bible Church, the Inter-Denominational and the Non Denominational denomination, etc. Let me first say that there is only one Faith and one Church whose membership is added to, by and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Read chapters 4 & 5 of Ephesians and the prayer of the Lord in John 17:20-26 and try to defend denominations or sectarian churches. Unity is not common these days among those who profess to be Christians. Even the counselors who work at PK conferences can give different advice. If a man came to the front because he was struggling in his relationship with God, he might be given one of several answers. One counselor might say, "You need to pray more and read your Bible more." And another might tell him, "Hey buddy, you need to get the Holy Ghost!" Why do the preachers of PK package themselves in a way that is acceptable to all who attend? Why do some not speak the same things at conferences that they speak from their own pulpit? I cannot judge the hearts of these men but I can sure see many things that concern me. Write down the names of every preacher you know who have spoken at a PK conference and then take a trip to the local religious book store. How many of them have books for sale? How many have calendars, videos, tapes, etc. for sale? How much of this merchandise do you think they sell per year? What kind of money are they making? If you knew something from the scriptures or from your personal life that would help me as a Christian brother or lead me to the Savior and Salvation if was not a Christian, would you charge me for it? You may say, "They have to make a living." We all have to make a living. What kind of living are we making? All the answers we need are in the Bible, not in libraries of books these men are marketing. What would Christ think of these "Merchants of the Gospel"? Just as Christ cleared out the temple in Mark 11:15-17 of those who were there for personal profit should we not clean out the temple of the Holy Spirit which is our body as 1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20 explain. Will you walk as the disobedient Israelites did in Jeremiah 2:25 and follow strangers? These speakers are entertaining and they motivate just like all the great salesmen in the world. But, what is their life out the spotlight about? How much do you know about them besides the person they display on stage, radio, or TV? Titillating entertainment and self-motivation are of this world. I shudder to think that just a few years ago I fell head first into the hype and screamed at the top of my lungs along with the speaker in Boulder, "COME ON DEVIL! HIT EM! HIT EM! HIT EM!"
Do we dare to contend with the Devil? Do we dare to compromise with him?
Did God promise us success or riches in our life on this earth? Did he promise that friends, family and those we work with and for would all love us because we are such good men if we keep 7 promises or even 777 promises?
The Lord states in John 15:19, "If you were of the world, the world would love it's own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." and in Matthew 10:34 & 35. "do not think I came to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-n-law against her mother-in-law;" Please read 1 Peter 4:12-19 also. There are many other verses that show us the same thing and they easy to find. Did Peter, Paul or any other Christian in the Bible have an easy life? Did the world love them? Did they profit materially with a big house, promotions and worldly riches? What about Stephen in Chapter 7 of Acts? No worldly acclaim, but you would agree that he got the ultimate promotion? Were these Christians' lives better because they become Christians? I guess that depends on how you judge success. Read 1 John 2:15-17 and examine your own life. Do Christians have to live in poverty? The Bible does not say that at all. What are your priorities though? How do you judge success in your life? There are many who approach everything they do including worship of the Almighty with overriding thought always in their mind, "What's in it for me?" There are many who prey on that selfish philosophy. When anyone calling himself a "minister of God" tells you that you are guaranteed anything on this earth, you might better check up on him and get a good quick grip on your wallet.
Does the Bible tell us there will be an improving situation in this world between the time Christ came and left the first time and his second coming? Will there be a Great Revival? See if you can find in the scriptures where this is promised before Christ returns and establishes His Kingdom on earth. See how many verses call for a continued degeneration of man. Why do these preachers preach that somehow through this PK movement or any other ministry that the words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 7:13 & 14 will change and the way which leads to life will become broad? I believe I can tell you. Possible persecution, trials and infirmities do not sell. Cleanse anything that does not honor and glorify God out of your life completely by adhering to the Scriptures and changing anything that does not fit. That doesn't sell. I could go on and on. Please read Colossians 2:8.
Consider a few things. In 1994 there were 10 PK conferences across the country with 50,000 plus attendance at each conference, where $50.00 plus was charged per person at each. 10 times 50,000 times $50.00 = $25,000,000.00. There were many more than 500,000 that attended and I do not know of any conference that only cost $50.00. I am sure that there were many expenses involved. I also know that they sell millions of dollars in merchandise at the conferences, at book stores, and through the mail. They consistently mail requests for pledges and money. There are frequent Leadership Seminars being conducted across the country. They are not free. I have never witnessed anything involved with PK that was free, even for the lost and dying. I am sure there are financial statements from Boulder, but if have ever looked at a "Nonprofit Organization's" financial statement, you know that it is impossible to decipher exactly where all the money went. Salaries, expense accounts, and travel are profitable to those who receive them. I do not believe that everyone who is on the payroll of PK is a crook by any means. I do believe that there is an amazing amount of money being poured into this organization though. It is not a peculiar situation with PK though. Take a good hard look at all the Mega-Ministries in this country. They are truly money making machines, just like any large corporation.
There are several of my kin who are involved in PK. There are many of my brothers in Christ that I have never met who are involved in PK. I do not wish to hurt the feelings of anyone. I desire that they wake up and turn to the Lord. We will never be perfect in this body. Psalms 103:14 &15 says, "As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." However, we can live a life that honors God by giving him our life. 2 Corinthians 6:17 &18 says,
"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."
Do you want the Lord to be a father to you? Look very closely at those you allow to lead you. Do not judge them by your own wisdom. Know them by their fruit. We are given scripture to judge those who would be over us in 1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9. If any leader calling himself a minister, elder, bishop, deacon, etc. is not willing to answer your questions and go to the Word of God to prove everything he believes, it is time to WAKE UP! Ask yourself: "Am I following a man-made religion or am I following Christ?" Do not let anyone quote out of context and deceive you because you did not check up on them. If anyone gives you a verse or two to prove a point, even as I have in this letter, please check the context. Throw away the commentaries. Do you know the men who wrote them? Please read 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17. Read the whole Bible with an open mind for yourself. Be willing to investigate anything that challenges the things you have always believed through the direction of man. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you read The Word. I suggest you read Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon to get an accurate picture of where you should be in relation to your family, The Church, and especially The Lord. These were the last letters Paul wrote and the most applicable to our lives in these times.
Remember the story of Cain and Abel? Both offered sacrifices to the Lord. Only one was acceptable. Abel offered what was pleasing to the Lord. Cain offered what was pleasing to Cain. Please read John 15:9-17 and 1 John 1:5 thru 2:11.
Christian men can lead a successful joy-filled Christ honoring life. They can keep their promises. The Lord has spelled out very clearly in His Word how we can do that. If you want to scream and yell, hear jamming music and knock around a beach ball, go to a football game or a rock concert. If you want to live your life to honor the Lord, obey his commandments. Jesus doesn't need or want cheering. He's already won the victory on the cross. He wants obedience.
In closing, I exhort you to come down out of the stands and run the race as if to obtain the prize and please, be careful who you follow.