Dear brother Clem: Would you please give your views on the 'Promise Keepers' movement? Some of the men of my family went to a meeting, and were very much impressed with the commitment of those present. They were uncomfortable with the 'altar call' in which men were asked to come forward and be saved by praying 'the sinners prayer.' Others in the church attend such meetings and seem to accept this. N.K., TN".

The aims and purposes of "Promise Keepers" are fine and up- lifting, and there can be no doubt that the commitment of men to their responsibilities as husbands and fathers is a good thing. But what many overlook is that this is a religious movement, with much of the "trappings" of denominationalism. Those in charge believe in "faith only" and have men praying for salvation "at the point of faith," and assuring them that God saves them at that point. The whole meeting is structured as a worship service, with preaching, praying and singing with mechanical instruments of music. Personally, I don't see how a New Testament Christian can participate in such a gathering.

It seems that there are some in the church today who want to blur the line between the church of Christ and other religious groups. The argument for "Promise Keepers" that is often made - "Look at all the good they do!" - just won't wash. The very same argument can be made for other religious groups, such as the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, the Mormons, etc. These all do many good works, but that does not negate the fact that they are religious groups that oppose the Bible with regard to worship, teaching, salvation, etc.

There are many passages of Scripture that apply to the need for us to separate ourselves from the religious groups around us. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world...Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God: he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son. If any one cometh unto you, and bringeth not this teaching, receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting: for he that giveth him greeting partaketh in his evil works" (1 Jno. 4:1; 2 Jno. 9-11). To "give greeting" is to support, either by money, verbal assent or participation. And participation with denominational worship, teaching, etc., is certainly "giving greeting." Throughout the Old Testament, God warned His people that they must not "fraternize" with the unbelieving nations around them. That same principle is embedded in the New Testament, as the above passages show.

The apostle Paul warned: "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity ? or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath a temple of God with idols? for we are a temple of the living God; even as God said, 'I will dwell in them, and they shall be my people. Wherefore, Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate,' saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. 6: 14-18).

That passage is clear. The five examples used by the inspired apostle Paul show the contrast between the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and false religions. The principle taught here clearly applies to denominationalism, and that includes those religious groups who embrace all denominations, as "Promise Keepers" attempt to do. And when all the arguments are made about this, the language of Holy Writ still demands: "Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord." That pass- age is not at all difficult to understand is it? but it seems to be be- coming difficult for some of my brethren to accept! But it is still Bible, and God expects us to obey it.

By Clem Thurman in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 53, No. 49, Dec. 3, 2004.

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