Listening In: Ken Harrison

WARREN SMITH, HOST: I’m Warren Smith and today you’ll be listening in on my conversation with the new president of Promise Keepers, Ken Harrison.

When you mention the men’s ministry Promise Keepers to evangelical Christians today, you’re not likely to get a single response. Of course, a lot of people will say, “What’s Promise Keepers? I thought they went away a long time ago.” Some others who attended those rallies in the 1990s might say, “Promise Keepers changed my life” or “changed my father’s life.” In fact, the Promise Keepers ministry never really went away. It’s perhaps best known for its large rallies, including the 1997 event called Stand In The Gap, that attracted one million men to the National Mall in Washington DC.

But Ken Harrison, the new president of Promise Keepers believes it’s time for Promise Keepers 2.0. He believes a biblical view of manhood is needed now more than ever and he hopes to bring Promise Keepers back to a position of relevance both in the church and in the culture.

Ken Harrison is an interesting choice to lead the group. He began his career as a police officer who served in the infamous 77th division in south central Los Angeles. A career in business followed, mostly in the commercial real estate business. And now he leads Waterstone, a Christian community foundation that helps Christian philanthropists convert non liquid assets—such as businesses and commodities—into charitable contributions. He’s also the author of a new book out this week called Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man. I had this conversation with Ken Harrison at the offices of Waterstone in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Ken, welcome to the program. There’s a whole lot of things I want to talk to you about: your work here at Waterstone, your work with Promise Keepers, but I’m going to start with your book, your new book, Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man. And, you know, that’s a kind of a loaded topic these days. People, you know, we as Christians, sometimes we’ll talk about biblical manhood or biblical masculinity and what the Bible says about it. And then the world talks about toxic masculinity and sometimes they talk about them in the same sentence as if biblical masculinity is toxic masculinity. That’s not your take, of course.

KEN HARRISON, GUEST: No, I mean I had an English lit degree and so I learned early on that words matter and we see the godless trying to change words all the time. And masculinity is an all-positive thing. It is what it means to be a man in every positive way. Just like femininity is what it is to be a woman. So how absurd would it be if we said toxic femininity? So, by taking toxic masculinity, what they’re really trying to do is take away from God his own image, man and woman, male and female together create the image of God. So, if you can destroy one of those sides—masculinity—you’ve literally destroyed the image of God in the minds of the people.

SMITH: Well, you then a chapter by chapter talk about the qualities of biblical masculinity. And I want to get to some of those in a minute. But before we do that, I want to talk a little about your biography. One of the things that for me made the book kind of compelling, and of course I’ve known you for a couple of years now and know some of your biography, but you were an LA cop for years and not some guy that sat in the 12th floor of an office building somewhere. I mean, you were a beat cop. You were on the streets.

HARRISON: I’ve seen what it means to be a man. And I seen what it is to be toxic, not toxic masculine, but just toxic. I’ve seen what it is to have fatherless boys roaming the streets, wanting affirmation because nobody ever told them that they were a man. But that has to be met with real masculinity. I mean, police officers in south central Los Angeles where I was a policeman, that is a tough, tough area with well trained men who are strong but yet gentle and humble to enforce the law. So I’ve seen both sides. You’ve got to be a masculine guy to be a really an effective cop in a really high crime area. And then you’re fighting guys that are rapists and robbers and everything else.

SMITH: You know, Ken, you told a couple of stories from your days as a cop that I’d like for you to re-tell here, at least in part, because I think they were pretty instructive on some of these points that you’ve mentioned. One of the things that you said just now was that these, a lot of times these boys there, fatherless boys and young men act out because they’re looking for affirmation and you’ve got cops on the other hand who are, you know, have to be strong figures, strong authority figures in that environment and sometimes that creates weird circumstances. You mention, for example, a friend of yours, I think an early partner in your career that had gotten involved in this altercation with a guy, but whenever he was booking him, they actually almost bonded with each other.

HARRISON: All the time.

SMITH: Tell that story.

HARRISON: We were actually in—I’ll give you a better story on that. There was a shooting and I was on my day off, my partner and another guy were working. They got in a pursuit. The guy jumped out of the car and we knew the guy. He was a really well known drug dealer. They shot him in the shoulder. He went down. And two weeks later we saw the guy again. He was driving a car. He wasn’t killed or anything. He didn’t have a driver’s license. So I pulled him over and as we got out, he walked up to my partner, he goes, “Man, that was a good shot.” And he said, “Look, they couldn’t take the bullet out.” He’s like, “You guys check this out.” And we were feeling the bullet in his shoulder and we were all just friends while we booked him for driving without a driver’s license.

SMITH: Well that’s weird. I mean there’s a part of that that just kind of surreal and weird, but I think there’s another part of that in which sort of the masculine in the one is sort of bonding and affirming and recognizing the masculine in the other. Is it fair to say that?

HARRISON: Absolutely. And, you know, when I was a young police officer right out of the academy, I worked with a guy who, he had killed eight guys on the job. He was a very violent police officer. And we’ve got somebody called, not 911, but they called the station and they asked us to come over to their house. And so I didn’t know what was going on. We walked in and the mother said he’s in the bedroom, so I’m thinking, what the heck? And so we walk into the bedroom and there’s this boy, he’s probably 12 or 13 with his head down and my partner, Jim, says, “Did you skip school today?” “Yes sir.” “Well, you know the drill.” And so the kid stands up and Jim takes off his gun belt and takes off his belt and gives the kid a spanking. And I’m standing there with my jaw dropped. This is 1989. We didn’t learn this in the police academy, how to spank kids. Then he sits down, puts his arm around the kid and tells him, you know, you got to work hard for your mom. She doesn’t have a man to help her out and you know I love you and everything else. Then we got in the car and I said, “What in the world was that?” And he said, “Well, we used to do it all the time back in the 60s and 70s, and you notice how good the kids were. I mean, look at all the gangs are roaming the streets nowadays.” The police officers used to know these kids, helped to raise them, help their moms, and he goes, “I know I’d get in huge trouble for it, but the kid needs discipline and the heck with it, I’m ready for my pension anyway.” So, you know, I mean, that was how it was back then.

SMITH: Well, and there was another story that you told that I think sort of revealed a different side of a cop and that is that you held a girl that was involved in a motorcycle accident as she was dying. Can you tell that story?

HARRISON: Yeah. My partner and I drove up from south central Los Angeles, up to north just to get some dinner at Denny’s in the middle of the night. And while we were there eating dinner, somebody came running into the restaurant screaming there’d been a traffic accident. And, you know, you see so much death and destruction down there that, I hate to say it, but we’re like, “Oh brother, you know, we’re just trying to get something to eat.” So we went walking outside and we saw a motorcycle trapped underneath the truck. And a boy on the ground, probably 19 or 20. And then a girl. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. He wasn’t really moving, but she was wearing a helmet. And I remember her—you could see her eyes all glassed over and then she started to do convulsions. You can tell when someone’s dying. It has that look to it.

And she just reached her arms out and want me to hold her and we’re not supposed to hold, you’re not supposed to grab somebody in that kind of trauma. But I could tell she was dying. So I picked her head up and put it in my lap and she just stared into my eyes, reached out for my badge and held onto my badge while she died. And it has a profound effect when you look in the eyes of someone like that. So full of life, a 20 year old girl and see their soul literally pass from their eyes. And as I put her down, I covered up her face. I never knew when I was young, why they always covered up someone’s face in movies. And when you see it for real, you understand it. It just seems wrong to let them stare blankly into the air.

Two motor cops were walking up who would handle a lot of our traffic accidents. And I said, “Man, you guys aren’t going to believe this.” The kid had told me that he was taking her to Hollywood Presbyterian hospital because her brother had just been in an accident on a motorcycle. I said, “You guys aren’t going to believe this,” and I told them what was going on. And they said, “Hollywood Presbyterian?” I said, “Yeah.” They said, “Man, oh man, her brother just died. We just came from handling that accident.” And the other guy told me, “Yeah, you know, the thing of it is they were their only two kids and their parents were on vacation.” So those parents were going to get a phone call that night that both of their kids had been killed in separate motorcycle accidents on the same night.

SMITH: Yeah. Wow. Well, I can imagine how being involved in those kinds of situations can have a profound impact on you and I wanted you to tell those stories, Ken, not only because they were just powerful, compelling stories in and of themselves, but they in some ways, many ways, shaped the kind of man you are, didn’t they?

HARRISON: I think what a young person goes through, I can’t say for sure for a young woman, but I know for young man, the experiences that we have as young adults really affect who we become. Like you look at the Vietnam vets, right? That they went to Vietnam at 18 or 19. They’re only there for a year, but that shapes who they are for their whole life. And I think being a police officer in such a high crime area, having to see life in such an intense way at a very early age. I got on the department when I was 21. It does really shape your perspective on life. You just get so used to seeing death and destruction and you really, as you get older, now I’m 52, you put things into perspective through Scripture. And you realize the fall of man. Sin, I think to a lot of us who live in the suburbs and life is kind and nice, we’re complacent about our sin. But I can tell you I’ve seen things. Sin is no joke and there are consequences to sin. It’s one of the things I write about in the book that men need to understand. We say, well, I’ve got a problem with pornography. And I’ve learned that people who say I’ve got a problem, it really means I’m sinning and I don’t want to give it up. But, you know, it’s a problem. Man, I can tell you I’ve seen the destruction that comes from sexual perversion. And I’ve observed that people are in sexual perversion and pornography absolutely is. They always seem to go into a very violent temper issue or they become effeminate. And I think that’s what we’re seeing in our society today. We see men who are angry. They feel like they don’t have a purpose or we see them just very effeminate, cowardly, unwilling to take a stand. And I believe a driving factor that is pornography.

SMITH: So Ken, one of the things I’m picking up from those stories is that you’re coming at this topic and you’re coming to the presidency of Promise Keepers not as a guy who spent, you know, 40 years in ministry with 10 seminary degrees and that sort of thing. 

HARRISON: That’s for sure.

SMITH: I mean, you’re coming out of a—you were a beat cop. You talk about the fall, which is one of the early chapters in your book. I mean, you’re coming at this as somebody who has a pretty clear-eyed understanding of the depravity of man and how, you know, human beings can behave in toxic ways. It’s not toxic masculinity. It’s toxic because we’re poisoned by the fall, we’re poisoned by our rebellion against God. And then you go on, though, to talk about qualities, biblical qualities of masculinity and I’d like to pivot in our conversation and say a little bit more about that. You talk, for example, about holiness, about humility, about courage, about generosity in the book as well. But one of the things that I’d like to focus on, if you don’t mind, because we’ll just stipulate for the record, people can grab the book and read the book if they want to learn all of that stuff. But you talk about the hurt. Would you say something about that chapter and what that means, why you included a chapter on hurting in a book about masculinity?

HARRISON: Because one of the biggest holes I see in souls of men is the hurt that’s come from bad fathers, absent fathers, or bad churches. And, you know, I went through that on the bad church side. I was raised in an extremely legalistic, you know, everything was bad, right? Movies, cards, rock and roll, whatever. It was bad. And I remember as a young man thinking I can’t wait to be an adult so I just don’t have to be in trouble anymore even though I was a good kid. And I went the opposite direction than most. Most people flee the church in those circumstances. But I was really filled with the spirit at a young age. I would run around witnessing to people when I was six, seven years old. I mean my teachers would just go crazy cause I was handing out tracts to kids and it was back when you had The Four Spiritual Laws was popular. And I was always witnessing to my friends.

But the church was just a brutal burden that I carried around. So I actually started reading the Bible at the age of 12, three chapters every day, which got inconvenient when you got to Psalm 119. It was like, oh man, this is only one chapter?

SMITH: That’s a long chapter!

HARRISON: But that really made a profound effect on me. I learned that the Jesus that I knew filled my heart was not the Jesus they were talking about. So I wanted to let people know if you’ve been hurt, let that go. Man, and I’ll tell you, that’s the church side. The number one thing I talked to with men is they never felt affirmed by their fathers for one reason or another. And for the guys out there listening to this, I would say affirm your kids. Affirm your kids. Build them up. Let them know you love them. Pull them into your lap and hug them. And at some point make sure there is a point at which you can tell your son, you’re a man. Your daughter, you’re a woman. So that was why I wanted to go into that because so many guys, they don’t even realize how held back they are by hurts that happened when they were young. Let them go. Look at who Jesus says you are and be that man now.

SMITH: Well, what you just said, Ken, may give us an opportunity to pivot a little bit into some of the work you’re doing now with Promise Keepers. I mean, I think a lot of our listeners will know Promise Keepers from the 90s and early 2000s. I mean, it was, you know, filling stadiums, the Million Man March in Washington, D.C. I mean, it was truly a cultural phenomenon. And it was talking then about a lot of the ideas that you’re talking about, that we’ve been talking about here today. But Promise Keepers, shall we say, fell on hard times or went silent for awhile. I don’t know how you would characterize that. But certainly it stopped having the kind of impact and place in the news and cultural imagination that it did at one time. Why is it so important for you, as the new president of Promise Keepers, to bring it back? Do we still need Promise Keepers today, or an organization like that today? Have the times changed? Maybe we need something else, something different, something new?

HARRISON: We need Promise Keepers more than ever, but we need it to be a little bit more involved. So what I’ve seen, I mean, the biggest thing I hear—there’s two things. The first is young men in their late 30s, early 40s, will run up to me and say, man, I went with my dad when I was 12, 13, 14 years old and it was the best weekend of my life. Because for so many of those guys it was the one time they saw their dad cry and saw him repent. They saw him hug his son. So hat segment. The second segment is everyone I talked to says there’s nothing like hearing 70,000 men singing Amazing Grace. And guys will be in tears recalling what that’s like. And they’ll say, I remembered I wasn’t an island. I realized that there’s 70,000 guys here just like me who are seeking the Lord, who are sinners, who are fallen. But are loved by the Lord.

I had a talk two weeks ago. Two African American men called me. It  was very interesting because this is the other side of this. One of them told me, you know, I was raised in the ghetto. I never really knew a white man. I went to Promise Keepers and guys were in tears, repenting their sins, and hugging me. And he says, the first time in my life I ever had a white man look me in the eye like I was an equal. A couple of hours later I get a call from someone with a very similar story, but he said I kept going to Promise Keepers events after that and there was no change and I realized after that event, the white guys just went back to the suburbs. I went back to the inner city and nothing really changed.

So Promise Keepers is going to come back to an NFL stadium. Dallas Cowboy Stadium, July 31st and August 1st of 2020. Tickets are going to go on sale this June, so a year in advance. But this time we’re only going to do one a year. Usually it will be the last weekend in July. Always in a different stadium with different speakers and different theme. And the reason is number one, so that we can immerse ourselves into the city to which we go a year in advance and get to know the churches and come in with their permission and support. And, secondly, so that there’s serious follow-up. We don’t want guys just coming and having a mountain top experience and then going back to the suburbs and being white again. We want them really involved in their lives because men need action and the problem with their church today is men are told to sit down, shut up. The pastor will tell you what you’re supposed to think and we’ll see you next week. That is not how men operate. That is not how Jesus said the church is supposed to be. We have got to get involved in the lives of the people around us. Imagine if all the Christians, they say there’s 60 million evangelical Christians, true evangelical Christians in the country. Imagine if every one of us was responsible for five houses on our street. We prayed for those people. We served those people. We helped him out when they needed something. We witnessed to them. Imagine the impact that would cover pretty much the whole country if we just did that.

SMITH: You know, Ken, I appreciate what you’re saying about, you know, a lot of times younger people, even Christians who have been raised in the church, don’t know Scripture. But in some ways, I think we do beat up on millennials a little too much. I mean, if they don’t know it, that’s not all their fault. I mean, you’re right. They do have to take responsibility for their own education. I mean, everybody’s relationship with Jesus is their own responsibility and they’ve got to take ownership of that. But in some ways we’re to blame, those of us who have—by we I mean my generation. If they don’t know it, somewhere along the line I’ve abdicated my responsibility. We abdicated our responsibility. It sounds like what you’re saying in part is we’ve got to repent and confess and reassume that mantle of responsibility. Is that what you’re saying?

HARRISON: Yeah, and I’m absolutely saying it’s our fault. That is my point is that it’s our fault. However, millennials and z’s or whatever the words are today, they need to understand that for the most part, their parents didn’t do their job. They didn’t teach them scripture. They’re going to have to take up what their dads should have done and be strong for themselves and the next generation. And it’s a burden they shouldn’t have to carry, but they do. And we know from the studies that I’ve read on this stuff, millennials actually have really good hearts. They’ve got good hearts without a lot of biblical knowledge and they’re going to have to fill that Biblical knowledge void that their dads didn’t give them. That is my point.

SMITH: Ken you mentioned that the Dallas event was going to be different from some of the past Promise Keepers events in part because you’re just going to do one a year. It’s going to be a deep dive. You’re going to spend the entire year getting to know the city and then you’re going to spend some time afterwards doing follow-up. Can you say a little bit more about what that followup will look like?

HARRISON: Yeah. So, the reason we’re doing the last weekend in July is it’s as close to the Bible study season, if you will, of September, when people start their book clubs, Bible studies, that we can get without running into the NFL pre-season. And we want to have it be the same weekend every year so that it becomes the weekend that the men of God come together. So we’re working right now on nationally simulcasting or televising the event. And we’re working with churches all over America because we know only 80,000 guys can be in AT&T Stadium in Dallas. But we want as men to come together corporately in their churches, or in retreats to watch the event live on TV. The goal is to have 5 million men watch this event live next July 31st and August 1st of 2020. Then there will be a Bible study that goes with it. So the whole, every time, every year there’ll be a different theme, different speakers. There will be a Bible study that goes with that theme. And the other thing about Promise Keepers 2 is we don’t—because I don’t come from the ministry world, I come from the business world, so I have a different way of seeing things. We don’t want to be a program. We want to be a platform for all the other men’s ministries and churches to use to promote themselves. So other people will be able to use their Bible studies there as well. So there will be a Rise of the Servant Kings Bible study, that’s based on the book. You can download for free from the website. But there will also be, you know, CRU has a Bible study for military men. We want them to be able to use that and whatnot so that it’s open handed for everybody. But the more guys that are involved together, we’re also developing an app. It’ll be a little bit like Nextdoor kind of, where you can communicate with people. But one of the things in the app will be, you can put your address in while you’re standing in that stadium and go, oh there’s 27 guys within a five mile radius of my house here. Back in the day they didn’t have that ability. So guys would have a mountain top experience, then go back to a church to get fed and realize their church wasn’t good and have no idea where to go. Now you’ll be able to opt in, start a Bible study, and I like to call it a Bible doing. Cause we don’t want to just sit around and study the Bible, we want to apply the Bible, get out, feed the homeless, take care of fatherless boys, take them to a ball game, et cetera. But we can do that now because other men who have been on that same mountain top experience, we can link in with them. And then obviously once we link in with them, the really godly men will begin to take leadership and teach. The weaker men will go, why are you so strong? And they’ll say, well, I go to Watermark Church in Dallas or whichever church. We’ll see that the stronger churches are going to get stronger and the weaker churches are either going to get better, start teaching God’s word, or they’re going to shrink. Because this is how we’re going to be able to get away from the Laodicean church and bring people to the Philadelphia church. And you can read about that in Revelation 3, if you’re wondering what I’m talking about.

SMITH: Ken, you obviously have articulated a powerful reason for Promise Keepers and you mentioned some of the young boys that went with their fathers and maybe, you know, some of the fathers that are, you know, 20 years farther along, they’re still young enough to still be involved. So I get all of that, but some people would say that Promise Keepers is a tarnished brand just from kind of from a business point of view. Why did you decide to keep doing what you’re doing under the Promise Keepers brand rather than just maybe do a completely fresh restart? What was the calculation? What was some of the thinking that went on there?

HARRISON: I wished it had been calculated. God just gave it to me. If there’s a long story that goes with it, basically, I was asked to come on the board. I said no. I came on the board to help a friend out who, who was working at Promise Keepers. Saw…

SMITH: And I should mention the Promise Keepers never really completely went away. I mean, it always kind of, even during these last 20 years when it hasn’t been doing big stadium rallies, there’s been a couple of permanent staff members and it’s kinda been trundling along, so to speak.

HARRISON: Yeah, that’s right. It was trundling along doing not much. And it was because of an inactive board. And so I came in only to fix the problem. And once I saw the problem, I was so upset I let the board have it and they voted me chairman.

SMITH: Be careful what you ask for, right?

HARRISON: Yeah. And I literally was going to close Promise Keepers down. Tarnished brand. I think to most people, they don’t realize it was tarnished. I think a lot of people just wonder what happened. It sort of disappeared with the Clinton administration. You know, really what happened at Promise Keepers was it lost its way. Like so many things, the egos of men got involved. Promise Keepers became all about reconciliation and some other things, instead of being what it was supposed to be, which is about men making disciples of men. So when I thought I would take it down, the Lord really—long story for a different day—really told me no, I intend to bring Promise Keepers back in supernatural ways, really showed that to be the case. And he has given us unbelievable favor. I can’t believe the doors that have been opened, the amazing men and women who have come alongside me. People that I never thought I would be talked to because they were so high up in the Christian world are now close friends.

And so it really, the Lord is behind this in an unbelievable way. And the brand of Promise Keepers is still amazingly strong. Within Christendom, those who were really involved, they kind of saw the decline. As Neil Young said, it’s better to burn out than fade away. Promise Keepers was fading away in a painful way. But to most people, it’s just, man, we need this more than ever. And the one thing I’ve heard everyone say is we just need permission to be men again. And I think that’s what they’re going to get at Promise Keepers.

SMITH: Yup. Well, I’ve left out a lot of the Promise Keepers story and a lot of your story that I feel a need at this point maybe to backfill just a little bit because if somebody who’s listening to us up until now, they would think, well here’s, you know, Ken Harrison and he was an LA cop and suddenly they’ve asked him to be the president of Promise Keepers. You’ve had a lot of history between—

HARRISON: We missed 25 years.

SMITH: Yeah, we missed 25 years there. But you left the LA Police Department and you had a successful career as an entrepreneur in the interim. Is that fair to say?

HARRISON: That’s right.

SMITH: And you now are the president of Waterstone, which is an organization that helps Christian philanthropists convert their hard assets, so to speak, businesses, I mean, even farmers that have corn, you can help them convert that into philanthropy and donations. I’m way oversimplifying what you guys do, but you’re like a foundation for Christian philanthropists and donors. Is that fair to say?

HARRISON: That’s right. Yeah. We, we give away $1 million a week. I control none of that, unfortunately. But yeah, people—so we own oil wells for instance. We just helped somebody, he was selling his business to $400 million. And there’s vast tax consequences if you tithe before you sell. So if you have a big piece of real estate or a business, you absolutely want to donate your tithe before you sell. That’s what Waterstone does. We have attorneys and CPAS, so that guy donates $40 million into a donor advice fund at Waterstone before he sells, gets the brakes. Now he has $40 million that he’s gotten the tax break in the year that he needed it. And then you can give it away at his leisure when he wants. That’s essentially what we do.

SMITH: So you’ve been involved in that work for a while and that was one of the reasons why you were asked to go on the board of Promise Keepers and then ultimately now you’ve become president. And you’ve mentioned the July 2020 event that is going to take place in Dallas. What are you doing between now and then to get ready for that?

HARRISON: Building up the board. We’ve just added three amazing board members. We’ve added Alveda King, Martin Luther King’s niece who is an anti-abortion, pro-traditional marriage advocate. Fox News contributor, Todd Wagner, who is I think the best pastor in America with the best church in America. I’m biased, but Watermark Church in Dallas is a phenomenal church. He’s on our board now. And then Chad Hennings, who I call the machoist man who ever lived. He won the Iowa state high school wrestling championship as a heavyweight. Then he went to the Air Force Academy, flew 45 missions as a jet fighter pilot and then won three Super Bowl rings with the Dallas Cowboy.

SMITH: Yeah. Wow. That’s pretty remarkable. And a lot of folks don’t know Iowa State high school wrestling. That’s serious business. That’s almost more macho than air force academy and NFL in some ways.

HARRISON: I asked him his best accomplishment, the most proud moment in all sports. Was it scoring a touchdown as a defensive lineman? He said, “No, it was winning the Iowa state wrestling championship.”

SMITH: Yeah, I can believe it. That’s a pretty remarkable accomplishment. So you’re doing all of this stuff with Promise Keepers. Hopefully, Ken, it makes a real positive difference. At the end of the day, what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind personally, but also Promise Keepers. What do you want, 10, or 15, or 20 years from now, whenever we’re talking about the new iteration of Promise Keepers, what do you want people to say about it?

HARRISON: Well, I’ve got my sights set low. I just want to change the entire foundation of America. So men can do that. When men get saved, not just saved. When they become disciples and give their lives to Christ, their families change. Their kids learn what it is to be men and women of God. I just had a man really angry with me. And my son tells me all the time, you know, dad, it’s a good thing God made you so big because the things that come out of your mouth, you’d get beaten up if it, if you weren’t…

SMITH: If you weren’t big?

HARRISON: That’s why I put Chad Hennings on the board. He can protect me. He was complaining that how many young millennials today think it’s wrong to share your faith or how young millennials think homosexuality is just fine. And then I said to him, well, that’s because their dads didn’t teach them God’s word. And he was furious. And I said, that’s absolutely the problem. When you look at scripture, God gives the parents, specifically the dad, the job of teaching his children. And unfortunately we have outsourced that to public schools and some not very good churches. And this generation has not been raised to understand what is in God’s word. We need to be humble and loving with our kids and understanding, but teach them the Bible. I am appalled at how many young people don’t know God’s Word. I was just with a bunch of well-known musicians, youngsters in their mid-twenties and we started talking about scripture. And they were just enthralled with all the stuff that was in scripture. We met for the next three nights and I just taught them the Bible and they didn’t know anything. These are leaders in the church. And they said to me, and it was a great point, we need older men to teach us like you’re doing. And I said, absolutely. The Bible commands older women and teach the younger women and older men to teach the younger men. But on the same token, you’re responsible for what you know. You’re a man now. You’re 25 years old. You open your Bible and you know what’s in it. So I believe that through Promise Keepers with proper discipleship and follow up, we can get ahold of the hearts of men. They want to know the Bible, but they’re looking for someone to teach him. Get ahold of those men, train them, have them train their kids. I think we can completely change. It’s not too late to change our country. But nobody—Here’s another really good point. If you think about who in the early 80s, if I said to you who were the leaders of the church. Well, you would immediately say, well, Billy Graham and Chuck Swindoll and John Stott. I mean there would have been names that would have come right to your mind. If I asked you today to tell me who are the leaders of the church, who is it? You’d be hard-pressed to really come out with someone who was really influential in this country as a leader of evangelicalism. We’ve got to have some strong, manly teachers that will stand up and say, this is what God’s word says, without apology, but with grace and humility.

(Photo/Promise Keepers)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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