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Promise Keepers is an international conservative Christian organization for men. It originates United States and has spread worldwide. It is self-described as "a Christ-centered organization dedicated to introducing men to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, helping them to grow as Christians". Promise Keepers is a non-profit organization, not affiliated with any Christian church or denomination.
Remarkably these Christian men's movement is that it is defined by commitment and this very name expresses the movement. Larger, the contrast to the women's movement be not that usually the victim culture define and never about personal responsibility or commitment.
The core beliefs of the Promise Keeper, outlined in the Seven Promises, consist of the following:
- A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God's Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 12:1-2)
- A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
- A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
- A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values. (Ephesians 5:25; 6:4)
- A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources. (1 Timothy 5:17)
- A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity. (John 17:20-21)
- A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)
Promise Keepers was founded in 1990 by Bill McCartney[wp], according to the group's website, McCartney got the inspiration for Promise Keepers on March 20, 1990. In July 1990, 72 men met to organize what would be Promise Keepers' first event. The first official PK conference in July 1991, was attended by approximately 4200. The organization was incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Colorado in December 1990.
Promise Keepers' most notable event was its Stand in the Gap: A Sacred Assembly of Men open-air gathering at the National Mall[wp] in Washington, D.C. on October 4, 1997. It was reported at the time to be the largest gathering of men in American history, surpassing even the Million Man March[wp]. The following year, the Promise Keepers began to experience financial difficulties; there is speculation that the cause of this was related to the 1997 Washington rally. Attendance at regional rallies, admission to which cost $60 USD, dropped by 50%, as many men opted to attend the free Washington rally instead. The organization got rid of its entire U.S. staff and was a strictly volunteer organization. From 1998, the number of visitors at the Promise Keeper events were significantly smaller than before.
In January 2004, the German branch of the men's movement "Promise Keeper" ceased its work.
The Promise Keepers are thought to have their roots in the Vineyard movement[wp]. The Promise Keepers have stadiums filled with unprecedented mass of mens who cheered Jesus (1996, more than 1 million men, the 22 regional mass gatherings - and almost 3 million by the end of 1997). Such a movement is in danger of emotionalism in itself. Pastor Travers van der Merwe, one of the visitors more than 82,000 visitors to the PK-meeting 1995 in Detroit Silverdome are thinking:
- "Es war eine fein abgestimmte Gehirnwäsche-Komposition, ausgerichtet auf eine Hypnotisierung der Gefühle. Mittels Musik, Videos und laut und schnell sprechenden Rednern wurde die Menge auf einen emotionalen Tripp geführt. (...)
- Beim Besuch der Promise Keepers wurden meine Emotionen hochgeputscht, aber ich wurde nicht mit dem Wort Gottes genährt. Ich wurde nicht näher zu Gott oder seinem Wort gezogen. Das Geschehen war darauf aus, näher zu den Promise Keepers zu ziehen. Meine Emotionen waren stimuliert, aber mein Herz und mein Verstand wurden nicht angesprochen. Hinterher sagte jeder, mit dem ich sprach: 'Es war klasse.' Aber wenn ich sie fragte, was sie mitnehmen würden, konnten sie nichts antworten. Symbolik übertraf die Substanz."
- "It was a finely tuned brainwashing composition, aimed at hypnotizing the feelings. Means music, videos and loud and fast-talking speakers, the crowd led to emotional Tripp. (...)
- When you visit the Promise Keepers my emotions were high coup, but I was not nourished by the word of God. I was not drawn closer to God and His Word. The happening was out to draw closer to the Promise Keepers. My emotions were stimulated, but my heart and my mind were not addressed. Said afterwards everyone with whom I said, 'It was great.' But when I asked them what they would take, they could not answer. Symbolism exceeded the substance."
The "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" wrote about the evangelical movement in Switzerland:
- "Mit exzessiver Emotionalität wollen die Evangelikalen die Gläubigen zum Seelenheil führen. In den letzten zehn Jahren sind sie nicht weit gekommen? Die Evangelikalen insgesamt haben sich als dritte konfessionelle Kraft neben den Großkirchen etabliert. Doch die flächendeckende Erweckung ist ausgeblieben. Wer stark auf Entertainment setzt, ist schnelllebigen Moden unterworfen. Von der einst hippen Männerbewegung Promise Keepers spricht niemand mehr."
- "With excessive emotionality want Evangelicals lead the faithful to salvation. During the last ten years they have not come far? Evangelicals have a total of itself as the third confessional force major churches in addition to the well established. Yet the widespread revival has not occurred. Whoever relies heavily on entertainment, is subject to rapidly changing fashions. Of the once trendy men's movement Promise Keepers one says anything more."
- promisekeepers.org: "Promise Keepers' Core Values"
- promisekeepers.org: 7 Promises
- Cindy Loose: "Promise Keepers Headed for the Mall; Men's Christian Group Plans Oct. 4 Rally", The Washington Post on February 5, 1997
- "Promise Keepers" haben sich aufgelöst, Idea 04/2004
- Neue Zürcher Zeitung 06/2001
- Wikipedia has an article about Promise Keepers
- Wikipedia: Evangelicalism
- Website: promisekeepers.org
- Promise Keepers Stand in the Gap - 3 Million Men in DC