The theme of racial reconciliation continues to gather momentum among evangelical leaders nationally. At the National Black Evangelical Association (NBEA) convention in April, though not listed on the program, Promise Keepers founder Bill McCartney spoke twice. Promise Keepers, the national Christian men's organization best known for its gatherings in sports stadiums (CT, Feb. 6, 1995, p. 20), has made one of its seven "promises" that men reach across racial and denominational lines.
That resolve was questioned by some NBEA delegates following a breakfast address by McCartney at the San Mateo, California, meeting. "What is Promise Keepers going to say about the anti-affirmative action atmosphere in this country?" demanded one person. "What are the men in the stadiums this summer going to hear about that? Will Promise Keepers stand up and be counted on this issue?"
Even though Promise Keepers has a better minority hiring record than most parachurch ministries (CT, May 15, 1995, p. 43), McCartney did not directly address the issue. He acknowledged the size of the problems and said, "I have a big God."
McCartney also encouraged convention attenders to talk with Philip Porter, a bishop of the Church of God in Christ and Promise Keepers board chair. Porter, a late speaking replacement for fellow bishop George McKinney, also gave a stirring address. "It's time to put our necks on the line for racial reconciliation," Porter said. "It's time for the neck or nothing."
That evening, McCartney spoke again. "Every day, I'm on my knees asking God how racism in this country can be ended." He outlined Promise Keepers' plan to gather 100,000 pastors in Atlanta in February in an attempt to "get God's shepherds together. If reconciliation can ...1
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