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Promise Keepers

By L. Toreador, the Bullfighter

religion, articles, christianity

It is hard to imagine anything as silly as grown men enthusiastically promoting the Promise Keepers fad. It is sensible to take a long, hard, careful look at the bandwagon before jumping on or staying off. Those who loudly and jubilantly have leaped into the PK craze and are going for a wild ride, coattails flapping in the breeze, cannot possibly have looked at the strange and weird ideas of the molders, movers, and shakers of the program.

Bill McCartney, Randy Phillips, and James Ryle are the wild-eyed, charismatic front men for the PK delusion, but also standing in the van are such loose canons as Jack Hayford and Robert Hicks. There are other Jimmy Swaggart types in the front ranks of the movement, but let's just look at Hayford and Hicks for a moment.

Hayford has spoken on many (more than 5) PK programs that makes him a featured and popular speaker for the group. At the May 1994 Promise Keepers regional conference in Anaheim, Calif., Hayford gave three reasons why God required circumcision in the Old Testament:

(1) God wants to touch your very identity as a man; (2) He wants to reach out and touch your secret and private parts. This enables him to better perform surgery on the heart; (3) God wants to touch man's creative parts.

Hayford admits that the command to circumcise boy babies was confined to the Old Testament. Does God no longer care about touching your secret and private parts so he will know how to operate on your heart? What about women? How can God know better how to operate on a female heart?

Another man of tremendous influence in the PK party is Robert Hicks, author of the official handbook for the movement (Masculine Journey, NavPress Publishing Company, P.O. Box 35001, Colorado Springs, CO 80935). Hicks' book (subtitled: Understanding the Six Stages of Manhood) is touted at every PK gathering. It is a big money-maker for PK. Here is an excerpt from his book:

I believe Jesus was Phallic with all inherent phallic passions we experience as men. But it was never recorded that Jesus had sexual relations with a woman. He may have thought about it as the movie The Last Temptation of Christ portrays, but even in the movie He did not give in to the temptation and remained true to his messianic course. If temptation means anything, it means Christ was tempted in every way as we are. That would mean not only heterosexual temptation but also homosexual temptation! I have found this insight to be very helpful for gay men struggling with their sexuality (p. 181).

This PK mentor thinks Jesus' inner thoughts and desires were as portrayed in the blasphemous movie The Last Temptation. The movie, I am told, represents Jesus as lusting after Mary Magdalene, which is a sin (Matt. 5:28). He also thinks Jesus had homosexual thoughts and temptations. His unfounded, implied accusation of Jesus is glaringly disgusting.

It boggles my mind that men professing godliness would countenance such blatantly false charges against the Son of God. Still, there are congregations of the churches of Christ and individual members of the body of Jesus who join themselves to such infamy and encourage others to follow their example. Those who are more devoted to McCartney, Phillips, Ryle, Hayford and Hicks than they are to the Lord of Glory will get in your face with sarcastic and bitter condemnation if you say anything that seems critical of PK.

"How long, O Lord ..."

Published September 1996