May 30, 2012

Promise Keepers... They're BAAAACK!

http://www.promisekeepers.org/
This is the video that is linked on their site's main page:
Promise Keepers is Back -- Looking Forward



1:50 "The frequently asked question, what happened to Promise Keepers, what happened to the stadiums that were bristling with men? I really don't believe that Promise Keepers got off track. I believe that Promise Keepers has always done what it was called to do. However, when Coach and I came back to Promise Keepers in 2008, we said we've got to expand our audience, we've got to go after women, we've got to go after young adults, and we did that... only to discover that was a mistake. The Promise Keepers brand, the Promise Keepers anointing is for ministry to men. That's what God's called Promise Keepers to do. We've now recognized that was not the right thing to do. So when I say we're back, we're back to focusing on Ministry to MEN. That's what Promise Keepers has been, that's what Promise Keepers is gonna be about."
Really? THAT is what you did wrong? Here I thought it was the sinfully ecumenical unsound doctrine you were promoting and partnering with, and the constant hammering of law law law with no real gospel. Silly me.

This ties in very closely to the problems with the movie (moving though it was, I admit myself...) of Courageous, which was written about quite well here (emphases mine):

Courageous Christianity? On the White Horse Inn blog

I’m less concerned with how individual Christians personally choose to interact with the film and more with the troubling trends of American evangelicalism it illustrates. Is Courageous really something to be whole-heartedly embraced? Art being reduced as a vehicle for sermonizing is problematic enough, but even more so is the type of sermon being preached. The emphasis on personal morality and simplistic transformation turn this film into a superficial lecture rather than a robust exploration of life as a Christian father. Our personal piety, our self-improvement, and our “courage” forms the fabric of the story. Christ and his gospel, along with church life and God’s established means of grace, are marginalized.
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The film closes and we smash cut to a 3D fly-in of the title “Courageous” as contemporary Christian rock drives it home with anthemic force. “We were made to be courageous / We were made to lead the way / We could be the generation / That finally breaks the chains.” Watching this inspirational ending, one can’t help but hear an echo of the Israelites at the foot of Mt. Sinai, where all of the people swear an oath to keep the law and be faithful to the Mosaic covenant. The credits even display Joshua 24:15, taken from a passage where Joshua leads the people of Israel in covenant renewal at Shechem as they again promise to fulfill their vows. In the context of redemptive history, this story illustrates how Israel’s failure to be faithful and inherit the Promised Land ultimately pointed forward to Christ, who would earn the true Promised Land for his people in spite of their sin.
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The importance of fathers in family life and their responsibilities is always an area in need of our attention. Yet it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm when the film fails to engage or embody any of these areas well.
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Courageous rejects nuance and the cross-bearing pilgrimage of the Christian life for artificially neat resolutions to the prayers of its one-dimensional characters. Sherwood continues to make films with God functioning primarily as a tool for our lives—whether he’s helping us win football games, repair our struggling marriages, or helping us find a job within seconds of a cry to the heavens. Brief, passing references to the gospel are only seen useful to convert a skeptic, who in a few tearful seconds somehow embraces the faith. Despite all the sermonizing dialogue—the story’s form and emphatic message has all of its focus on us and our accomplishments, not Christ and his work for us. In what could be page out of a John Elridge book, the “manly” vocation of police officer is used as the icon of fatherhood. Violent shootouts and car chase stunts ensure being a godly dad also looks as glorious as possible. Even the poster image calls to mind the slow-motion hero shot popularized by Michael Bay. As for the women, they are given little to do than look on approvingly.

The result is that Christians and their “good works” become the message, overshadowing Christ and the gospel. ...