Promise Keepers, OBE and Values Clarification
Christians are becoming aware of the
dangers of Outcome Based Education (OBE). Nevertheless many of these same parents allow
psychologically-based, values level discussions in Sunday school and Bible study. OBE
curriculum methods are safely ensconced in the very churches that teach against OBE in the
public schools. And psychologically-based values level discussion questions are central
to the four-year-old mens movement called Promise Keepers.
Brenda Fischer was concerned when she saw
the OBE methods being used in Sunday Schools and Bible studies. She says in her Christian
News article "How Do You Feel About the Bible?":
Feeling-centered Bible study uses the same
learning techniques as Outcome Based Education (OBE). . . . It is a method of teaching
that uses opinions and feelings to manipulate social change or "required
outcomes." . . . A feeling-centered Bible study does the same thing. Rather than
learning what the Word of God says (the facts), participants focus on how they feel about
particular passages of the Bible (their feelings). And just as in OBE, these Bible study
programs generally promote ideology or "outcomes" that may or may not reflect
This kind of study encourages people to
look inside themselves for answers.
Values level teaching was
specifically designed to move society away from making life decisions based on fact
(or Gods Word) and on to making decisions based on feelings (or self). This
method of teaching is accomplished by changing the way discussion questions are worded. .
. . When this method is employed in Bible study, the Word of God is only used as a tool
or a starting point for delving into the feelings of the class. Even though a
Scripture passage is read in class the foundation of the study is not the Scripture, but
the student. The solid Word of God is effectively lost once the discussion gets off what
the Bible says and onto how you feel about what the Bible says. (Emphasis in original.)
Here are some of the psychologically-based
discussion questions from Hickss study guide to The Masculine Journey:
Many men get trapped in the
"performance syndrome," which values a man for what he can produce. By contrast,
Christianity places a high value on men for no other reason than just being. What gives
you your greatest sense of worth and dignity? Be honest. (p. 22)
What word picture describes the way you
feel when you are convinced you have great worth and dignity? Draw or describe that
picture. (p. 23)
Using this story [of Solomon] as a mirror
for your own life, what do you see? At what points do you see your noble nature reflected?
Where do you see the savage? (p. 25)
[In reference to the story of Samson] In
what ways have the women in your life used the "if you really loved me" line?
What crazy thing were you once willing to do in the name of love? (p. 36)
The violent-bloody realism of battle is
found in the life of David, the gibbor who decapitated Goliath (1 Samuel 17:51), but also
loved God, wrote poetry, played stringed instruments, danced, and wept. Does this image of
a warrior surprise you? Men are taught not to show fear or tears. Do you? (p. 45)
All the classic elements of wounded male
behaviorretreat, licking wounds, self-pity, depression, giving up the causeare
evident in 1 Kings 19:3-10. What examples of each can you find? When have you felt or
acted likewise? (p. 66)
These are just a brief sampling of values
level and psychologically loaded questions from Hickss study guide.
Quite often people confuse such questions
with biblical application questions. Fischer describes the difference:
A values level question asks
how I feel about a Scripture or an issue relating to Scripture. Biblical application has
its basis in fact. Values level has its basis in feelings. (Emphasis in
Pastors and church workers, as well as all
Christians, need to start evaluating Sunday School curriculum and group Bible study
materials to see if what they are using is truly biblical or if psychoheresy has subtly
slipped in, as with Promise Keepers.
Brenda Fischers Quick
Methods to Test Curriculum
1. Look at the questions. Are there a
great deal of values level questions? Many studies will have a few fact questions, but
quickly lead into a discussion of feelings. Also, are some questions worded in such a way
that they seem to be promoting ideology outside of the intent of the study of Scripture?
2. Watch for new ideas or descriptions of
God that seem foreign or unbiblical or anything that just doesnt sound quite right.
This should be a red flag. It may suggest that the study has a motivation that goes beyond
the desire to encourage spiritual growth through a knowledge of Gods Word.
3. Dont be thrown off if you find
parts of a study that are bad and other parts that seem fine. If there isnt a
certain amount of traditional teaching most curriculums would be rejected immediately. It
is actually the more subtle curriculums that pose the greatest threat because for every
questionable point there are typically 2 or 3 very good points. The good actually serves
to camouflage the bad. This is the reason that values level teaching has gained a
foothold in many conservative churches.
(From PAL V2N4)