Part of How and Why I started examining the Promise Keeper Movement:
Dear Promise Keepers,
I am compelled to write you in regards to the book "The Masculine Journey", protests of it and your response in a seven page letter from Pete Richardson, Vice-President Communications Services.
I was one of the first to raise questions about the book and workbook of "The Masculine Journey." I brought my questions to the leaders of the men's class and then to church leadership. I was told they would try to get some answers to me but I waited a month with no response. Then I wrote to Martin and Deidre Bobgan (whose books Psychoheresy I & II I learned of through a friend) who at that time knew little or nothing about Promise Keepers, they referred me to Biblical Discernment Ministries.
What brought this all about? I asked questions regarding "The Masculine Journey" workbook pages 32-33 concerning initiation rites. Frankly, I was appalled at the content! The leaders of the class suggested I was "misunderstanding" the material and suggested I read the book.
To my own demise I did just that!!! I am not able to reconcile Hick's approach of male sexuality to that presented in the Bible, nor were many other men who dropped the men's class. I adamantly disagree and contend with your statement that this book is "Biblically-centered."
Needless to say the men and the women of what was our local church began to ostracize us and start slanderous gossip that I am a "worker of Satan," "a self appointed prophet," "a heresy head-hunter," plus a few other choice adjectives. --- All because I dared to question the Promise Keepers.
Now I want to thank you for inadvertently stirring my soul to action--- to expose "Promise Keepers" as the farce it is!
Your response to questions about "The Masculine Journey" was to rationalize God's holy truths. I gave up trying to rationalize sin when I was a babe in Christ! I seriously question the sincerity of Promise Keepers leadership when you willingly endorse books like "The Masculine Journey."
I can not believe your arrogance when you announce Promise Keepers is bringing about revival throughout our nation! Your ministry is nothing but a placebo for God's truth! A sugar pill is easy to swallow, rather than recognizing sin, confessing with a sorrowful heart and truly repenting of sin!
McCartney had a good idea to bring men together in Christ but what you now have is a "Christianized Secular Men's Movement" and anyone outside looking objectively will see that and ask "What's the difference?"
It is easy for you to run rough-shod over individuals like me, you pass us off because you "feel" you are running strong for the Lord.
But you are wrong! You have been swept away by your emotions and have lost your sense to reason, especially when it comes to holding to and testing your teachings to the light of God's word. Your intent was noble, but your promises are flawed and your leaders are corrupt with the wisdom of this world.
For what it is worth, REPENT!
You have left your first love as did the Church of Ephesus Rev. 2:4-5. Your infatuation with sexuality will eventually destroy your ministry. I can easily expose the error you endorse as "God's Truth" and among my local Bible-believing churches I have already through an anonymous mailing of the Biblical Discernment Ministries newsletter. I will continue this campaign along with help from other churches and ministries who protest this book and other unbiblical facets of your ministry. Just as you feel obligated to recruit more churches with your ambassadors, I will reach out to inform them of your teachings. I know of two churches already which will have nothing to do with "Promise Keepers." This number will grow here and abroad as they begin to discern what you call "truth."
I find it utterly disgusting what you are calling "understanding masculinity" is nothing more than a form of group therapy with men telling each other about their sexual problems and regrets! True masculine leadership does not come from this kind of gossip.
Real leadership and revival throughout church history has come from men getting back into God's Word and through earnest prayer. Repentance from, not "talking about" their sins, and the work of winning souls is what men need to be doing!
You need to take your "stories" of sexuality out of the church and put them back in the trash!
The day a man shares with someone other than his wife things about his penis is a bad day indeed, and your workbook asks men to do just that! What could Hick's possibly be thinking when he asks: page 33 in the workbook, (bold emphasis mine)
"3. Our culture has presented many initiation rites, or passages to manhood, that are associated with the phallus [penis]. Which ones have you experienced? Do you have a story to share with other men about one such event?
- When I was potty trained and stopped wetting my bed - Pubic hair and growth - An unfortunate experience with pornography - My first dating experience - My first really embarrassing moment with a girl - The wedding night - Conceiving my first child - other:
4. If only the church had alternative initiation rites to the ones offered above. What creative alternative celebrations can you think of?"
On pages 176-177 of "The Masculine Journey" book, Dr. Hicks discusses further the matter of initiation as follows:
"I'm sure many would balk at my thought of celebrating the experience of sin. I'm not sure how we could do it. But I do know we need to do it. "
To defend (rationalize) his points he talks about how we condemn our teens when:
"... they have their first experience with the police, or their first drunk, or their first experience with sex or drugs we could look upon this as a teachable moment and a rite of passage."
Then Hicks says:
"...but perhaps at this point the true elders could come forward and confess their own adolescent sins and congratulate the next generation for being human."
Show me confess and congratulate in the Bible in regards to sin !!! The Bible I read and you quote in your response would not agree with Hicks!
Hicks closes the paragraph saying:
"Then they could move on to the all-important issues of forgiveness and restoration..."
At the beginning of Chapter 2 Hicks quotes Darwin: "Man with all his noble qualities still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin."
Does he really believe that statement!? The image of God is NOT a "lowly origin"! Then on page 181 Hicks compares the real Jesus to the Jesus in the movie "The Last Temptation of Christ" (a blasphemous movie I was warned about in most all Christian publications). Hicks even has the gall to say Jesus suffered homosexual temptation! No!, Hicks is dead wrong on that one, the way the Bible spells it out its the person with the reprobate mind (from continually sinning) would be given to this sort of temptation and action, not our sinless Lord!!! I must take strong exception to this comparison!!! (Hicks needs to study Romans Chapter 1 much more closely) "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." Romans 1:21-27 KJV
How can a spirit-filled Christian make such statements? They would not! Using your argument to use "the basis of scripture," when falsehood is spoken the only way we know it is false, is again the basis of Scripture!
Where do these insane ideas come from? From Freud obviously since Hicks champions men like him through the book. I heard enough of this kind of nonsense in College and those saved and unsaved would concur!
As long as you continue to endorse books and materials like "The Masculine Journey", you will get an increasing amount of resistance and criticism from discerning churches. Any serious Bible believing Christian will reject your ideas, and I hope they have the courage to tell you as I have!
John A. Beardsley III, A Servant of Christ Jesus