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(Last Updated: 24 May 1999 )
PKs has taken a lot of criticism from the Fundamentalist crowd for being open to Catholics. I have seen some vitriolic attacks against PKs on the Internet for this. So I don't think PKs is anti-Catholic in any sense. The PK Statement of Faith was recently revised to say that God's gift of salvation is accepted through faith (it used to say "faith alone"), so that certainly makes it more acceptable to Catholics. I can't find anything to dispute in the rest of the Statement of Faith or the Seven Promises. The words seem to have been chosen very carefully (reminiscent of the ECT statement).
The only thing I have seen in three conferences that I noticed as contrary to Catholic teaching was one speaker who mentioned that the Bible was the "only rule of faith and practice". Other than that one incident, the ecumenism has been faultless, as far as I and a number of Catholic friends who have also participated have seen.
One of the short video bumpers that they played at one conference I attended was about the effectiveness of small men's groups for maintaining accountability and helping each other grow in faith. It had a guy saying "I think I'm the only Catholic in my small group...". I had to laugh, because that was the same as my situation at the time!
For what it's worth, I think PKs is OK.
I am a cradle Catholic whose walk with Christ has been strengthened by
Promisekeepers. And it has never influenced me to turn from Catholicism.
[And the dialogue begins…]
>>Well it's really more a case of what they [Promise Keepers] leave out than what they put in. 'A promise keeper will......' - as a seperate thing from the Church, or in any church believing anything. If Promise keepers set itself up just as a self-help group for people who had a problem with keeping promises, as AA sets itself up as a group for people who have a problem with drinking then perhaps it wouldn't be a problem imo. ( Though, even then, surely a lack of ability to keep promises should be dealt with within the Church too?)<<
Actually, that is what Promise Keepers aims to help with: encouraging men to be better Christians within their church.
>>Yes. But with an innate lack of concern for their Church nonetheless, shown by it's utter lack of concern for which Church they go to.<<
As long as it's Christian. Which, for their purposes, is sufficient. And "Christian" is presumably defined in the same manner as for this list, regarding "all trinitarian, Nicene followers of Jesus Christ as 'Christians' ".
>>Yet, it sets itself up as a 'Christian' organisation. Isn't such a group really saying that the 'Church' (whatever that may be..) is insufficient for these things??<<
Maybe they are saying that. Or maybe they are just trying to help. I see Promise Keepers as a Christian resource. Surely you have gained something that has helped in your walk with the Lord from a source other than the Church (whether it be Catholic or Orthodox)?
Oops... Pardon the faux pas.
>>I'm sure I have somewhere. Maybe I'm falsely dividing things into Christian and secular here, but I don't necessarily see that just because a group is run by 'Christians' that it makes the organisation Christian.<<
Perhaps you are right. But one approach is to charitably assume the best until proven otherwise (while of course at the same time, checking the fruit and "testing the spirits"). Certainly it has been my experience that PKs is a Christian organisation.
Promise Keepers seems to me to be an organisation that performs a role analogous to CS Lewis' Mere Christianity.
>>A good book :) <<
In that book, Lewis treated only the central core of Christianity that all Christians agree with, and because that is all he was attempting to do, the book achieved its purpose. He said that the book, and the mere Christianity it described, was only an entrance, or a hallway, and that to get to the warmth and companionship and love that was Christianity in it fullness, one had to go through one of the doors leading off that hallway. However he didn't say which door was the right one. Neither does Promise Keepers.
>>I thought that was where Catholics thought he had gone wrong though?<<
Well, this Catholic thinks he did a great job. He hit where he was aiming, and he did so with tremendous tact and charity.
>>And as a Catholic you have no problem with a group that encourages you to be a good Catholic and someone else to be a good Baptist?<<
Some of my best friends are Baptists.
>>Ok. But do you want them to remain Baptists?<<
Nope, because our Lord prayed for unity.
The approach of PKs to this dilemma is to reach "beyond denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity." To me that sounds like concentrating on ecumenism, and leaving the apologetics to the individual. It is not an approach that will solve anything, but it certainly contributes to mutual understanding. And it seems to me that this is all they are trying to achieve in this area (or, indeed, can achieve).
And I'd take a good Baptist over a liberalised, secularised, politically-correct, anti-supernatural nominal Catholic any day. :-)
>> :) <<
I have a Catholic friend whose attendance at a PK Conference was an important step in a journey that has led to him living now in a religious community and contemplating the Priesthood. And PKs has provided a way to bring Christians together so that I have been able to share some of the richness of Catholicism with Evangelical friends who otherwise have heard only a hostile testimony of it.
>>Well PKs are certainly trying to be all things to all people that's for sure.<<
Not everybody. I didn't notice any Zoroastrians at any of the conferences I attended.
In the same way it has helped me to grow in my love for Scripture. And there is something uplifting about 1000+ men worshipping God at the top of their lungs.
> >Emotion maybe? ;)<<
Yeah, maybe a little. But don't forget that love, joy and awe are emotions.
>>I thought Catholics believed the liturgy was the correct way to worship?<<
There's more than one way to worship. But the liturgy's pretty good... :-)
To respond more directly to your earlier point, I as a Catholic Christian have no problem with a group that encourages someone to be a better Christian. PKs, by studiously avoiding any denigration or praise of a particular church or denomination, have in my experience so far, succeeded in doing that.
Having said all that, there is obviously a limit to how far a para-church organisation can go. Remember that one of the Promises of a PK is to support the mission of his church. That means that among other things I promise to share the good news of the "Catholic Gospel" (to coin a phrase) to my separated brethren. And I have discovered as I have grown in my Catholic faith over the last few years that what PKs offers is already there in my Church!
>>So if PK does it's job in regards to Catholics it makes itself redundant eh :) <<
I would suggest that it is the goal of every para-Church organisation to make itself redundant. If it performed so well that there was no longer a need for it, then that would be a success, and it would be time to focus the energy somewhere else.
Anyway, my conclusion is that PKs is much
more of a good thing than a bad thing.
- Dean Mischewski (and friendly Protestant correspondent), March 1999.
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