Monday, September 15, 2014


God’s very simple answer and solution for
Christians who are suffering with addictions.

John 8:31-36

“If you hold to my” teaching”…

 Not mans!...

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching,you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. ”33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free? ”34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

I know no more than the next person. All I know I've learned from personal experience. I learned long ago that there is but one Truth, God’s Truth. Other than our own experiences in life, mixed with, and based upon God’s Truth, all other experience is irrelevant and is not worthy to be considered knowledge. The only worthy knowledge we have is that which God has allowed us to receive.

I spent almost 30 of the first 40 years of my life a reckless, selfish, hateful, useless drunk and addict! I’ve now spent every minute of the past 30 years since I became Saved and Sober, consciously seeking God’s Truth, and how it applied to my past, how it applies to the present, and how I might use that knowledge to share with others that it may benefit their future! I expect no one to read, listen, or agree with anything I say or write, except for those few who God directs to do so.

While satan is busy doing his job destroying lives by turning innocent victims into alcoholics and addicts, I’m busy serving God by sharing His Truth and exposing the enemies lies regarding addictions and God’s plan for recovery, which in His Kingdom is known and understood as Salvation, not recovery! Neither the word addiction nor recovery is a word found anywhere’s in God’s Word! That’s because addiction is sin, and recovery from it requires Salvation, not 12 steps!

A simple but very deadly fact about addictions, recovery, and relapse! Alcoholics and addicts will continue to live their daily lives in their recklessly dysfunctional and disoriented state of mind long after their last physical use of the drugs and alcohol of their choice. The hangovers and consequences last long after the headaches go away! There must be an extended and extensive period of time in complete sobriety before the dysfunctional, disoriented, state of mind, and thinking, and behavior begins to improve and change. Every individual requires more or less time than the next, and quite often relapse happens before there’s been enough time to fully recover. Sadly millions spend their lives in recovery, one relapse after another, never completely “recovered”! The AA, and other secular 12-step programs are a big reason for this dilemma, with its cliché, “keep coming back, it works,” and its myth that addiction is a disease; the truth is that if it worked, you wouldn’t need to keep going back! A person can “recover” from pneumonia, or a heart attack, or a broken arm, but you can’t “recover” from sin! We must repent, and ask God for forgiveness, and turn to Him and follow Him! Then, and not until then, can we be Saved and Sober!  

Sunday, August 24, 2014


There can be no greater display or example of ignorance on this planet than that of two or more alcoholics and or addicts attempting to carry on a conversation amongst themselves or with others, while in the midst of their drunken stupor! It is impossible for a sober person to intelligently communicate with an alcoholic or addict while they’re in their unconscious state of drunkenness, or even during their rare and brief moments of hung-over sobriety. A few hours in a hangover does not constitute sobriety. Your “hangover” can last years, depending on the degree and duration of your intoxication. It takes a great deal of time well beyond “the hangover,” in recovery, and in a sober state of mind to begin to regain some resemblance of intelligence and intellect, and to see the regrowth of old dead brain cells, and the development and growth of new ones. The human being cannot grow or mature while in the unconscious state of drunkenness. If we started the use of persistent drug and alcohol use and abuse when we were 12 or 14 years old, and continue to do so for 20 years, we will end up being a 34 year old imbecile with the mental capacity of a 14 year old! I’ve personally witnessed many, and know that there are millions of alcoholics and addicts who spend their lives in “recovery”, relapsing over and over again, generally every time they’re confronted with a trial of any sort. Typically the longer a person continues in their drunkenness, the more trials they find themselves in, because their weakness and immaturity turns a common cold in their mind into what they perceive to be pneumonia or worse. In other words, a headache or flat tire, or someone cutting you off in the traffic, and a million other trivial daily events are seen by the alcoholic or addict as an excuse to get wasted, rather than face the situation intelligently. This is routine, common behavior for the alcoholic or addict who lives in constant denial and refuses to make the decision to change. Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that our society has created an environment of recovery programs that have millions of lost souls believing that “drunkenness” somehow has been redefined as an incurable disease, rather than the “sin” that it is defined as in the Bible! The world has convinced millions of alcoholics and addicts that there is no hope for them other than a lifetime commitment to their 12-step programs! And an even greater tragedy is that many of our churches today are following these programs instead of using The Gospel of Jesus Christ to teach The Truth and reveal the lies that keep so many in bondage to the sin of addictions to drugs and alcohol, as well as many of today’s other debilitating sins that are destroying the core of our country, our families!  
There can be no greater tragedy on this planet since the flood that Noah survived, than that of drunkenness amongst mankind! We’ve had our World Wars and many others, we’ve had plagues of all kinds, and we still have cancer and many other diseases we can't cure, we’ve had many tragedies like 9-11, we have many natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, etc., all which take thousands of lives in the blink of an eye, but none of these compare with the tragedy of drunkenness, and the death toll it’s produced since it was first mentioned in The Old Testament. While there are very few survivors of drunkenness, there are millions of innocent victims who are dragged into the pit of their hell and consequences, to suffer right along beside them as they slowly destroy their lives. Drunkenness has become the new “Great Flood”!

Yet the world is in complete denial, and not only tolerates it, but encourages and promotes it by ignoring and turning a blind eye to it! We promote and encourage it through the dereliction of a corrupt government fed by greed and the ignorance that greed creates. In spite of the millions of victims of this tragic epidemic, our governments are in the early stages of legalizing, even promoting the sale and distribution of dangerous and addictive drugs. Here in Colorado it’s become quite clear that the state’s primary interest is in boosting their income! With little or no concern out of sheer ignorance for the long term affects on our children, and the eventual millions of innocent victims it will have! Common sense and history will show any intelligent human being that “experimenting” with marijuana usually leads to “experimenting” with and addiction to other more deadly drugs. Out of denial, those doing the “experimenting” will always disagree and refuse to acknowledge the truth as they slowly, and gradually slip into the grip of, and addiction to, any of the drugs that they’re “experimenting” with! This is nothing more than a form of the same denial that alcoholics have been dealing with since the beginning of time!  
The common, average person who’s grown up into adulthood without the need or use of drugs and alcohol to escape reality and suppress any emotional duress that reality might bring, will never be able to comprehend the sheer ignorance that accompanies addictions. Denial could very well be the leading example of that ignorance. An alcoholic might best be defined as someone who can’t live without alcohol, yet every single alcoholic I’ve ever encountered, will quickly proclaim in defense of their behavior, and out of total denial, “I can quit anytime”! Many will show up for their 10 thousandth AA meeting after 30 years of constant relapse, telling the group that “I can quit anytime”! Still others after 30 years of constant relapse, will tell the doctor who’s just informed him that he has incurable liver cancer, “I can quit anytime”! The Gospel Truth is that we can’t quit anytime without accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior who will set us free once we've repented and turned from our sin to follow Him! Once you've accepted His offer of Salvation, you can be Saved and Sober!           

It troubles me greatly, and has so since the day 20 some odd years ago, I first started ministering to and mentoring alcoholics and addicts, that our government and educational systems believe a person can learn how to counsel alcoholics and addicts through books and classrooms, and be qualified because of a degree or certificate on their wall! Until someone has felt and experienced the pain and suffering and many consequences that accompany addictions, they will never be qualified to counsel someone who might be minutes or hours or days away from the last drink or drug that will kill them! The only book needed to counsel any human being struggling with a sin issue is The Bible, God’s Holy Word and The Truth! Scripture has been telling us for centuries that drunkenness is sin. Yet man, in just the past century, through lies, heresy, and false teaching, has convinced millions to believe that sin is a disease that somehow miraculously can be healed simply by spending the rest of your life in a 12-step program, worshipping any god you can conceive! The world has been producing an infinite number of counselors who believe and teach this rubbish, and convince millions of hurting and vulnerable alcoholics and addicts that it is the truth! This blasphemous teaching can also be found in most of our churches today! Addictions are a very tragic and potentially deadly epidemic that possesses millions of people around the world every day, and requires serious and experienced intervention that can lead someone to the only true God, Jesus Christ, which in the final analysis is the only permanent solution to eliminating drunkenness from a person’s life! Once a person has committed his or her life to Christ, they can turn to Him any time of day or night, in any circumstance, and directly and personally seek HIS counseling rather than the fallible advice of another man.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Today’s Leper...
Leper; According to Merriam-Webster  
 noun \ˈle-pər\
: a person who has leprosy
: someone who is disliked and avoided by other people
Full Definition of LEPER
:  a person affected with leprosy
:  a person shunned for moral or social reasons

I believe it’s safe to say that the world today is filled with many lepers. If we compare today’s alcoholics and addicts, drug dealers, child molesters, homosexuals, and other deviant sinners by the above definitions with the lepers mentioned throughout The Bible, I suspect there is little difference. I believe that Luke 17: 11-19  can be interpreted as telling us that for every 10 “lepers” who ask God for forgiveness and deliverance, 9 will stay on the same road they’ve been traveling on, and only one will turn back and praise, worship, glorify, and follow Him! When Jesus travels through our villages today…. In the form of a Holy Spirit filled Christian serving Him by sharing His Gospel Truth with the many “lepers” in the world today, a few of them will come out of their closets and ask to be set free from the bondage of their sin.
Whether we find them in our Churches, hospitals, mental institutions, addiction recovery programs, prisons and jails, homeless shelters, or in the streets and alleys, many will reach out to God for deliverance from the pain and suffering that their sinful behavior is causing them. And many also, because of today’s false teachings and consequent misbelief and misunderstanding of God’s Truth, will believe that they’ve been Saved simply for asking, not realizing the need to repent and turn from their sinful behavior, and to turn to Jesus Christ and follow Him! They believe God’s Grace is a license to sin! The one who recognized the miracle of Jesus’ deliverance, turned back to praise and glorify Him, and Jesus’ words to him were, 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.  Our salvation is based on repentance and determination to change and live a new life worthy of God’s Grace which we will need when we do fall short. The other 9 above never turned back to praise God and accept His Grace, and hear His words,  19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

All of the unsaved world today needs to hear God’s Gospel Truth! They need to search it as the Bereans did in Acts 17:11 until they understand it. Not until then will we know if we’re Saved or lost!    

Saturday, July 12, 2014



The answer lies quite simply in, Luke 17: 11-19

Only one in ten will listen, believe, and be Saved! The other nine will wander off dazed and confused and be known as “Ye of little Faith”!

It’s taken me these past 14 years to come to the above conclusion. After starting the Addiction Crucifixion Fellowship ministry in the year 2000 at the prompting of God to share His truth about addiction recovery according to His Word amongst fellow Christians, it’s become quite clear that the majority of the human race has no desire or interest in The Truth. Most of the world has created its own many forms of truth to fulfill the lusts of their sinful nature. Since Christ’s journey here amongst us 2000 years ago, man has ignored and rejected anyone who’s attempted to “rock their boat”! It is no different in the addiction recovery ministry, whether in worldly secular 12 step programs such as AA, or trying to share God’s Truth in our Churches, 9 out of 10 are like those mentioned in the parable in Luke 17:11-19, unwilling to “give glory to God”!   
When I started this ministry, many Christians were being misled by the lies of secular 12 step programs such as AA that had infiltrated into our Churches. It’s taken me these past 14 years to come to the above conclusion. I began writing my book, Saved and Sober about 5 years ago, long before I started using Facebook. I finished and published it about 1 year ago, and now after 3 years on Facebook I’ve come to the conclusion that only one in ten are listening to, reading, or paying any attention to anything I say or write regarding The Truth, or they just don’t care! Am I surprised? Not at all, few are reading or paying any attention to God’s Word in the Bible either. They never have! Few would listen to, or follow Jesus. They still aren’t!

Man has not changed, only given more chances to do so. Eventually his time will run out and he will be forced to suffer the consequences he has been promised since he was Created!       Amen!  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Is God Blessing America,…or is satan destroying us?
Somehow since 1776 Americans have lost sight of the true meaning of “God Bless America”! Today 90 % of Americans think God is blessing us because of our health, wealth, and welfare. Millions are celebrating today what they think is freedom and blessings from God, because they’re working to make payments on a big beautiful house filled with leather furniture and electronic gadgets, with a driveway and garage filled with fancy vehicles filled with leather upholstery and electronic gadgets, when in reality all this junk is from satan to entrap us into believing we are blessed, and some even believe it means they’re saved! None of it could be further from the Truth, which is that God Blesses those who surrender their lives to, and follow His Son, and live by His Word! America couldn't be further away from that simple premise! I’m a Veteran who proudly served my country in the 60’s in spite of witnessing my commander-in-chief being assassinated by the next in his succession! Then that commander-in-chief sending us to war with a country that was no more of a threat to us than a mosquito with the West Nile Virus! All for the sake of financial gains! Since that fateful day in November 1963 I've regretfully watched this country snuggle up closer and closer to satan as its citizens bury their heads deeper and deeper into the sand! Instead of fireworks, parades, and barbecues, Americans should be at The Cross of Jesus, on their knees, asking for forgiveness for their sin and the sin of a country that’s been following satan for far too long! Then maybe “God will Bless America”!  


July 4th 2014 as posted on Facebook ; Today is a special day for me to celebrate freedom! Not the same freedom that all Americans are celebrating today, but a freedom that very few drunkards and drug addicts get to celebrate. And I do so only because of the Love and Grace of Jesus Christ ! Certainly NOT because of any false teachings found in any of our popular 12-step addiction recovery programs that typically keep addicts in the bondage of relapse for the rest of their lives or in the fear of relapse! READ MORE.....


Addiction recovery meetings in churches, no matter how many, or for how long you attend them, will never be successful without the Truth and presence of God, and God’s presence cannot be found in the midst of false teachings and unrepentant and disobedient hearts. God has provided us with all we need to live a clean and sober life. He’s given us His Word, The Bible and The Truth, He’s sacrificed His Son on The Cross for the forgiveness of our sinful nature and drunkenness, and he’s given each of us the free choice to choose Eternal Life with Him, or death and destruction with satan. After 30 years of sobriety, and 28 years of freedom in the arms of my Savior Jesus Christ, I know that I cannot make that decision for anyone, but can only share His truth with those who will listen! My prayer is that you are one of them!     
30 years ago today I had my last drink! After having spent most of the previous 40 years drunk or high or both, I had had enough! God had a different plan for my life. Soon afterwards I began attending AA meetings to share God’s Good News with others who needed to hear it. It took several years of hostility and rejection to realize that very few in AA wanted anything to do with God’s Truth, so I turned my focus towards other Christians in Churches around the area. Little did I know that I would encounter much of the same hostility and rejection of God’s Truth in His own church! By many men and women who claimed to know Him, but refused to trust and obey Him! They had already been poisoned by a church that had been poisoned by centuries of false teachings by false teachers that had created a new age false church. A church that believes and teaches that one can be Saved without repentance, through a false Grace message! If you are one of these millions of lost souls on the “wide road” to destruction, who have been mislead into believing that “it’s OK to sin,” because of this, that, or the other foolish excuse, you need to re-evaluate your relationship with God! Grace is a gift from God to an undeserving person who is willing to repent, and turn from following the world, to following God and His Word!  Repentance is not a form of works, but a condition of Salvation. To continue in any sin, including that of “drunkenness,” and make excuses for it, is not a sign of repentance, but of disobedience! To disobey God, is to reject Him. Yes, we are all sinners for which the penalty is death. Each of us however, has been given the choice of a pardon by accepting Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as a payment for our sins “IF” we accept Him as our Lord and Savior! To accept Him we must change, and to change is to repent! There are many IF’S” scattered throughout the Bible that tell us that “IF” we’re obedient, we will be Saved and blessed in a number of ways. And that “IF” we’re disobedient, we will suffer the consequences! “IF” we believe and profess our Faith, we will be Saved. God’s Word is perfectly clear! Man’s interpretation of it can be completely misunderstood! Man’s sinful nature completely twists what is right, into what is wrong, what is wrong, into something right, Truth into lies, and lies into truth! After centuries of this phenomenon, we must be very near the end as prophesied thousands of years ago.        
During the past 30 years I’ve attended thousands of addiction recovery meetings in dozens of churches and other facilities and listened to thousands of professing Christians claim to know and Love Jesus, yet refuse to show a mustard seed of Faith, and trust Him and His Promise to “set them free” from their addictions. Instead they will spend years in ignorance of God’s Word, rather listening to false teachings and man’s ideas on how to recover and be “healed” from a disease they don’t have, through 12 steps of futile, meaningless, and fruitless endeavors, that will only, and consequently lead to the suffering of continuous relapse.
To consider oneself a Christian, and then follow man’s blind advice and ignorance in a matter as important and deadly as drug and alcohol use and abuse and addiction, is suicidal! Yet during the past 30 years I’ve witnessed thousands who put more Faith and trust in the AA 12-step program, than in God’s Holy Word, The Truth! I’ve listened to thousands of people share their testimonies of misfortune and shattered lives as a result of drug and alcohol addictions, yet refuse to recognize and accept the blatant misconceptions and false teachings of the AA 12 step programs. Instead, defending them and continuing to participate in them, rather than surrendering fully to God’s Word and the Ministry of Jesus Christ!         

Saturday, June 14, 2014



Any and All child abuse is the most heinous form of sinful behavior on earth! Satan uses it every day to destroy generation after generation! Perhaps the most common form of child abuse in the world today is the least obvious or noticed and acknowledged form of abuse there is today. It certainly never makes the news, yet can be every bit as damaging to the innocent and vulnerable child! The real problem is that it never will make the news because millions of parents are guilty of it every day! The abuse I’m referring to is child abandonment, which every parent is guilty of the minute they get drunk or high! It can’t be avoided or denied!    

“Every child of an alcoholic or addicted parent is an abandoned child! An abused child! It can't be avoided!” I began writing this a few days ago, right after another school shooting, and have been posting it on FB. I’ve decided it needs more explanation. 90% of the clean and sober general public has no idea how widespread and problematic drunkenness and drug addictions are in the world today! That should be obvious since our country is in the midst of legalizing drugs one state at a time! Our future is in the toilet! And about to be flushed! 

The definition of an alcoholic or addict should need no explanation, but it does! Since 90% of alcoholics and addicts are in total denial of their addictions, and defending their ignorant, dangerous, destructive, reckless, selfish, and unhealthy behavior, first by claiming it’s “not a problem,” or, “I have a right,” or, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself,” or a hundred other commonly heard excuses! The very simple truth is, that any of these millions of lost souls who happen to be parents, are guilty of child abuse! (Abandonment is most certainly a form of abuse) A drunk or stoned parent is incapable of providing the Love, and attention every child needs and is entitled to!

The deplorable conditions we see in the world today, the heinous news headlines that have become daily events, the overcrowded prisons, and homelessness, poverty, and blight, the sex crimes and child abuse, are all a direct result of a society with their heads in the sand, in complete and total denial of the selfish and uncaring behavior of the millions of parents who put themselves and their addictions first, before their children’s welfare!    

About the author; Every word I’ve written in the past 5 years, I’ve learned not from books and educational institutions, but from 100% hands-on experience, (been there, done that, the bottle, the joint, the needle, the pill). I should have been dead a long time ago, but God clearly wanted me to share this with you!


The typical parent, who is in denial of their own addictions, will most certainly be in denial of other obviously related deficiencies and shortcomings. Rejection and abandonment of an innocent and defenseless child is just as abusive as physical or sexual abuse! Denial is the foundation of all addictions! All parents suffering with addictions are in denial, not only of their addictions, but subsequently of the accompanying deficiencies, shortcomings, and character flaws. In plain and simple English, the hard fact is that an alcoholic or a drug addict has NO business raising a child! An alcoholic or addict is, by the very nature of their addictions, deemed incapable of the most fundamental responsibilities of parenting! Alcoholics and addicts can’t take care of themselves, and are totally irresponsible over their own lives and welfare; why suspect they could raise a child to be a responsible adult? These are the parents who will quickly say in defense of their obviously troubled child’s bad behavior, “He or she wouldn’t do that,” or, “maybe they had a beer or two, or a joint or two, or a pill or two, BUT they don’t have a problem”! I’ve heard on a number of occasions, especially in aa type meetings, parents say something to the effect of, “kids will be kids,” or “we need to let our children experiment”! The parent who believes that, needs to have their “parenting license” pulled, just as a drunken driver “experimenting” with speed and alcohol needs to be taken off the road before they crash and kill innocent victims!

I find it interesting, but troubling, that as I’ve been writing more and more on this subject during the past year or two, I get very little feedback. I’m sure I’m touching a very sensitive nerve, but one that really needs to be shocked! I’m perfectly aware that no parent reading this, who might be guilty of this heinous accusation, either past or present, will admit to it. I wouldn’t have myself 30 years ago when I was raising my family. I was a “functioning” drunk, who got up and went to work every day, and thought I was doing all the right things as a parent, and have been blessed with 2 children who chose not to follow in either parent’s footsteps. Every sober day for the past 30 years has shown me just how blessed I am, not only to have survived myself, but to have 2 sober, successful, children, capably raising my grandchildren.    
The phrase “functioning drunk,” is a misnomer! One created by a drunk a long time ago to excuse their “disfunctional” behavior! One I’ve heard a million times in addiction recovery program meetings! There is no such thing as a functional addict! Getting up to work and pay bills to survive is not an example of life as God intended us to experience, but of survival as an animal in a jungle! The term “functioning drunk,” is a big part of denial! A person will stay in denial until they consciously realize that their lives are a “dysfunctional” disaster! And the many definitions of “disaster” are more perfect ways of describing the lives of alcoholics and addicts, and sadly in most cases, their families! The innocent victims of addictions! Words like, tragedy, disaster, catastrophe, calamity, ruin, failure, all describe disaster, which are the exact definitions of the results of addictions!

For anyone struggling with drug or alcohol addictions to think that they can “function” adequately enough to sufficiently and successfully raise a child in this world, they are in total and complete denial! For anyone to read this and disagree, you are in total and complete denial. Some may read this and just not know the truth because you’ve been blessed to have not “been there, done that”! Most of the world’s population has never been exposed to the absolute tragedy of “drunkenness,” as it has been known and explained throughout God’s Word! I consider myself Blessed, to have not only experienced it, but to have survived it, and to now know that the only reason to have survived, is to share it with anyone who will listen! Unless we’ve personally experienced “anything,” our advice and consolation can only be based on hearsay. We can only “imagine” what a broken arm feels like, unless we’ve personally experienced it!           

Tuesday, June 3, 2014



99 out of 100 alcoholics and addicts take their first drink or use their first drug for exactly the same reason. To escape from what’s usually a very simple, normal, and common daily event in all of our lives, but too painful for some to tolerate. We can’t face reality, and seek ways to hide from it. When addictions start early with teens, it’s often because of perceived rejection of peers, or perhaps perceived unjust discipline by parents or other authority. Whatever the perceived reasoning, hiding from it will never allow someone to discover reality! Those who turn to drugs and alcohol to escape, will continue to live in a cloud of fantasy until the day they decide to accept their state of denial, and turn from it! While there are many very painful realities in today’s world, accepting, and learning to cope with, and overcome them is vital to growing and maturing.      

Accepting the many hard truths that come with accepting the biggest hard truth, which is that "I'm a drunk, or an addict," can be just as hard as the first! But it's all part of the very long road of recovery which doesn't begin until we completely acknowledge our denial, and begin accepting those many hard truths about who and why we are who we are! The drunk and addict who has been so for a significant period of time needs to realize that they are quite different than their peers, and that it will take some time to “catch up” and “fit in” with others, if they choose to do so.

During the past 15 years working in addiction recovery, I've discovered that reclusiveness is a very common characteristic of most of the people I've worked with.
Whenever an alcoholic or addict makes the choice to use their drug of choice to numb the pain, and silence the harsh realities of life, they are traveling backwards, not forwards. They are not growing, maturing, learning, or moving forwards! They are mired in the present muck that they’ve created. One cannot learn their simple abc’s while inebriated into a state of unconsciousness! The longer a person chooses to stay in their state of drunkenness, the more retarded they become. A thirty year old person, who started using drugs and alcohol to escape reality at 15 years old, has the intelligence of a 15 year old.

Anyone who has experimented with drugs or alcohol just one time, and allowed themselves to get drunk or high, knows that they can’t remember anything from the night before! It only stands to reason that anyone who indulges in drugs and alcohol on a daily basis will experience the same aftermath. They can’t remember anything from the time they spend wasted! The only learning and remembering accomplished by alcoholics and addicts is done so during the occasional moment, hour, or day, when one might experience a short glimpse of sobriety in between their drunken stupors! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014



As I journey forward, I see the need on occasion to pause and at least take a quick peek over my shoulder. An occasional reminder of where we’ve been can help us see where we are, and more importantly, where we’re headed! We cannot dwell or ponder on the past, or we may stumble! Do not give satan a moment to enlighten a memory he created! It is human nature to cherish memories, but for many of us, far too many of those memories are based on times when we were following satan! We don’t need to go back there even for a brief visit, nor can we afford to! Our pasts are one of satan’s most productive tools to keep us from moving forward! In fact our pasts can easily paralyze us! It has certainly been an anchor in my own life! Even today as I write this, I can see how it has affected my journey. Our memories should jolt us forward, not lull us backwards. Christ did not rescue us from the past so that we should journey back on vacation! We were Born Again to start, and live a new life, and any time we spend in the old one is hindering our growth in our new one. The mature Christian is the one who leaves the past in the rearview mirror, and is constantly seeking God’s direction for the future. Also known as repenting as in Acts 26:20. Being Born Again is not rocket science. It is simply leaving the past behind, and moving forward following Jesus Christ. Seeking His advice at each and every junction! In each and every breath we take. It means taking on a whole new identity, and having nothing to do with any of the old one. God is perfectly clear in 2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Lingering in the past where we once lived, will hinder our growth. And we have His help along the way! We have His Word and The Holy Spirit as a translator to guide us through life, and its many road blocks that the devil will constantly be setting in our path. We will get lost if we don’t follow His simple instructions, and allow satan to lead us astray!    
That’s why visiting the past for a moment or two, to jog our memory and remind us of where we’ve been is often needed to reset our bearings on our present journey. We must be very careful not to dwell there or the devil will try to convince us that it won’t hurt to go back for an extended visit! The Truth is that if God wanted us there, He would have left us there to begin with! God has Saved no one to walk backwards! Or to sit in a recliner relaxing and sipping margaritas! He has called each and every one of us to serve Him! And we can’t serve Him if we’re living in the past. We’ll only be serving ourselves and the devil!
Christians in addiction recovery struggle with this dilemma because most of the addiction recovery programs keep addicts centered and focused on their pasts! One of AA's most famous messages is, “once a drunk, always a drunk”! Perhaps the most hopeless statement a person needing hope could hear! AA's first step tells Christians who are participating in their meetings that they are “powerless”! Something that they were before they became Born Again, but pure blasphemy to the Christian according to Acts 1:8! “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The Christian struggling with addictions, or any other sin, must learn to quit living in the past. That they have become “brand new creatures in Christ,” and that they need to journey forwards, not backwards! The first and only step a Christian struggling with addictions needs to take, is to escape the walls of bondage that 12-step programs like AA use to keep them living in the past! Because there is no future in the past!            

A Reformed Critique of Alcoholics Anonymous

A Reformed Critique of Alcoholics Anonymous

R. Scott Clark, D.Phil*
Associate Professor of Church History and Academic Dean
Westminster Theological Seminary in California
The Twelve-step movement and the language of co-dependency has become an accepted part of evangelical church life. It has not always been so nor is the status quo necessarily right and good for the church. This essay is a plea for reconsideration of this trend in the light of Biblical teaching and Christian doctrine.

The Program
Alcoholics Anonymous was born in the midst of the religious turmoil in the 1930's, in the midst of a great ecumenical fervor, growing anticipation of a war in Europe, and a fight between Fundamentalists and Modernists for the religious and theological soul of the nation's Christians.1
In 1935 in Akron, Ohio, a "sudden spiritual experience" relieved one stockbroker of his obsession with alcohol.

Following a meeting with an alcoholic friend who had been in contact with the Oxford Groups of that day....Though he could not accept all the tenets of the Oxford Groups, he was convinced of the need for moral inventory, confession of personality defects, restitution to those harmed helpfulness to others, and the necessity of belief in and dependence upon God.2That broker and his physician friend armed with a description of "alcoholism and its hopelessness" created their own synthetic spiritual remedy for their malady. What followed was an explosion in popularity any church growth program would envy. By 1939 membership had reached 800, with the support of Harry Emerson Fosdick, and the Episcopalian magazine Liberty. In 1940 John D. Rockefeller declared his support for AA By 1941 AA had 2000 members and the support of Jack Alexander in the Saturday Evening Post "The mushrooming process was in full swing. AA had become a national institution."3

In this same time period the group began to formulate its creeds and confessions known as the Twelve Steps and Traditions.4 In 1939 they produced their authoritative book: Alcoholics Anonymous called by the group the Big Book.5

Some forty years after its seminal meetings the group has blossomed to 50,000 groups world wide in 110 countries and membership is conservatively estimated at well over 1,000,000. Its strength lies not only in numbers but in the attractiveness of its program, i.e., its anonymity, and its eclecticism. There are very few alcoholism treatment centers not wholly controlled intellectually by the theology and methodology of AA.

It will be useful to know a little bit more about the Oxford Groups from which AA has borrowed its methods. The Oxford Groups were founded by a Lutheran minister, Frank Buchman, in the early twenties. They gained their nickname from informal house parties around Oxford University. They called themselves the "First Century Christian Fellowship." Their emphasis was upon mystical guidance, akin to the Pentecostal Word of Knowledge, if not as dramatic, surely as subjectivist.6

Focus was not upon the Bible as the revealed Word of God, but upon personal experience. The movement later became known as "Moral Rearmament" when Buchman declared that the nation could not save itself (1938) with guns but with guidance from God.7

Much of his evangelism in the USA was centered around Park Avenue and had its headquarters in a local New York City Episcopal parish. There is also an intellectual connection with modern positive thinking movements such as that led by Norman Vincent Peale and later Robert Schuller. There were four absolutes upon which he insisted:
1.Perfect Honesty
"Five C's" for which the group is known are:
It was a relatively simple matter to adapt the nine points listed above to the self-help methodology of AA.9 It has also been a regular practice of AA to borrow liberally from the Bible and the Christian tradition while denying their substance and meaning.10

One cannot doubt that AA considers itself a religion. The very words of the founder, Bill W., are quite clear in this respect.

I had always believed in a Power greater than myself. I had often pondered these things, I was not an atheist...I had little doubt that a mighty power and rhythm underlay all. How could there be so much of precise and immutable law, and no intelligence? I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation....With ministers and the world's Religions I parted right there....To Christ I conceded the certainty of a great man, not too closely followed by those who claimed Him...My friend suggested what seemed a novel idea. He said, Why don't you choose your own conception of God? That statement hit me hard...I stood in the sunlight at last. It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make a beginning ...There I humbly offered myself to God, as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would. (italics original).11The Big Book is a combination of the Bible and Augustine's Confessions for Alcoholics Anonymous. Just as the Christian turns to the heart warming story of Augustine's conversion after that great intellectual struggle with the foolishness of the Gospel, so this collection of stories stands as an even more authoritative account of the spiritual journey of the Founding Fathers and authors of the Big Book.12 The Big Book is, authoritative for AA because it was written by alcoholics for alcoholics and most of all because, in their words, "it works."13

The Disease?
How should Christians understand the behavior of the alcoholic? Is alcoholism the result of an allergy (their early explanation) or a disease (their more recent explanation) which makes the drinker not responsible for his abuse, or is it sin? Alcoholics Anonymous interprets Bill's problem as a disease. Modern medicine has never been able to find any solid evidence of a viral or bio-chemical cause for alcoholism.14

Whatever the cause, they assert that only certain people who can treat the alcoholic's problem: other alcoholics. In AA this is accepted dogma. The first thing an AA member learns is that his problem is unique, that he has a disease, and that no one else understands him but other alcoholics. These are the cornerstones of the first tradition and the first step.15

Biblical Data
What does the Lord say? Drunkenness as we all well know is condemned universally in the Bible. Not drinking. We think immediately of the injunction: Be not drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5.18) In fact there are at least thirty separate passages dealing with drunkenness and drinking in some way. Scripture is very realistic in its portrayal of drunkenness. It describes what behaviors accompany it, what it leads to, what a drunkard is like and how he will be punished.

Proverbs 23.29-35 warns vividly of the folly of drunkenness. Earlier in the chapter we are warned of the consequences of excess. These are not ivory tower descriptions. The writer speaks of the attraction of the wine, how it sparkles, and the morning after red eyes, bed spins, hang over and the repetition of such behavior. The prophet Isaiah describes the filth of vomit such that there is no clean place, and drunkenness such that no one wishes to do the work of the Lord (Isaiah 5.11; 24.2; 28.1-7). One of the marks of a rebellious son is drunkenness (Deuteronomy 21.20). Israel's sin is described in terms of drunkenness (Ezekiel 23.42; Joel 1.5).

Paul, in warning the Thessalonians to watch for the advent of Christ, reminds them graphically of the nocturnal life of the alcohol abuser(1 Thess.5.7).16 He warns the Corinthians that they ought to neither associate with drunkards nor should they expect drunkards to inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 5.11;6.10)

These are not isolated patterns. This is the Bible's description of "addiction" to alcohol. There is a clear acceptance of the fact that if abused, alcohol can have devastating spiritual, social, and physical effects. The biblical writers, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were fully aware of the behavior which is now called alcoholism. Yet it is never once treated remotely like a disease. It is always classed with other sins: fornication, adultery, over-eating, homosexuality, murder, stealing etc. By implication, alcoholism does not appear to be considered a disease any more than the other sins mentioned along side it.

There are no Biblical grounds for distinguishing between alcoholism and what God's Word calls drunkenness and addiction to alcohol. It is true that we don't usually consider the high school senior who gets drunk for the first time on prom night an alcoholic. The Bible however doesn't distinguish between the professional drunk and the amateur. Is a sin any less a sin if it is committed once instead of a hundred times?

A given sin does take on a different character once it becomes habitual. The effects of one type of sin may be more devastating than the other. Still, there is no Biblical warrant for calling any transgression of the Word of God a disease simply because it becomes habitual and life dominating. As we will see, nearly any sin can take on that character. At the suggestion of John Murray and Jay Adams, we will take Ephesians 5.15-20 as our guide for the Biblical solution to the problem of excessive drinking.

Be very careful then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (NIV).Paul's words are the revealed will of God, our rule and the rule for the alcohol abuser as well. Paul says to put off one behavior/lifestyle to put on another. It is not implied that it is a short or simple process, but only that, by the grace and Spirit of Christ, it must and can be done.

This is the consistent message of the New Testament. Colossians 3.10 says the same thing, put off the old and put on the new. There is a new creation, in Christ. There is growth in grace by the power of the Holy Spirit. All of Paul's commands assume the life giving work of the Spirit described in Ephesians chapter one. These are evidences of the sanctifying work of the Spirit.

Personal Responsibility and Religious Authority
AA's second tradition explains their view of religious authority. For AA, God's will is discovered either privately, or through the collective conscience of the local meeting. In this, AA substitutes its own rules for God's Word. AA's fourth step speaks of a "fearless moral inventory". Without God's Word, how can one make such an inventory? By the experience of others? By one's pre-alcoholic experience? There is no way to determine certainly what man is, or what life is, once one forfeits the biblical doctrine of man. The absence of an absolute standard against which to judge behavior results in moral and spiritual confusion.

The Doctrine of God
The reader will note an abundant use of the word "God" in the Twelve Steps and Traditions. A God concept is crucial to their system, as a regulative notion, or a useful idea. He is, however, quite unlike the God of the Bible, not a God who speaks. So when the second step says, "came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves..." AA does not mean the self-existent, Triune God of the Bible.

It is inescapably true that the very language of the second step, "a power greater than..." refers to an impersonal force. The anonymous god of AA is also mute. The god of AA cannot speak to humans because their god is an "it". In the nature of things, however, one can not have personal relations with an impersonal entity. Therefore to camouflage their implicit agnosticism, AA speaks of the god of AA as a "Him".

To any Christian who has ever said, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth", AA's agnosticism should be most obvious and disturbing.17 The Christian God is Triune. That is, he is one God in three persons, therefore he is the beginning of personality. Because he is personal, he speaks to us, he knows us and can be known by us. The God of the Bible is "...a Spirit, (John 4:24) infinite, (Job 11:7-9) eternal, (Ps. 90:2) and unchangeable, (James 1:17) in his being, (Exod. 3:14)wisdom, (Ps. 147:5) power, (Rev. 4:8) holiness, (Rev. 15:4) justice, goodness, and truth. (Exod. 34:6-7)"18

AA tells the Alcoholic to worship God "as we conceive of Him". This is the very thing the Bible does not want us to do. God's Word says, "I am the LORD your God...You shall have no other gods before me" (Deut. 5.6-7).19 What AA calls god, the Bible calls an idol. We are precisely called not to make up our own gods, but to turn away from them to the true and living God who made and redeems us.

The Doctrine of Man
Because God is personal, and we have been made in his image, we are persons. Hence one of the reasons AA is so harmful is that it ignores the Bible's teaching that man is created in the image of God. Ephesians 4.24 says that we were created in the image of God in knowledge, righteousness and holiness of truth.
The Christian faith is that he was crucified to restore us as the image of God, which image will be consummated at the last day. Man as the image of God is essential to Christianity, but not to AA. If, with AA, we deny this doctrine, Christ died for nothing. For Christians such an idea is blasphemous (Gal 2.21).

AA says that alcoholism is not sinful pattern of behavior, but a loss of sanity. There are grave consequences to describing sin as sickness. P. E. Hughes said, Sickness is not penalized: it is treated. ...Being sick and the victims of forces beyond their control, they must be sent off for "treatment." ...There is ample evidence of the way in which this therapeutic benevolence may be tyrannically extended beyond corrupt and violent persons to those who are politically or religiously out of line in the eyes of officialdom and who are consequently placed behind prison walls or in the wards of "mental" hospitals ostensibly for the purpose of being "treated" and "cured".20

The spiritual consequences of describing sin as sickness are even worse. To refuse to describe alcohol abuse as sin is to implicitly deny humanity to the sinner by robbing him of moral responsibility before God. We hold sinner accountable for their actions to because the responsible moral agents with a mind, and a will. To categorize sinners as victims is to rob them of their moral agency and hence their personality.
To refuse to describe alcohol abuse as sin is also to deny hope for the patient. A disease may be hopeless, but there is a Savior for sinners.
For these reasons God's Word pushes us away from thinking of any sin in terms of personal irresponsibility to personal responsibility. How can we ask of the person struggling with the sin of alcohol abuse any less than that which God demands of him?
To deny that one drink led to another, and for whatever sinful motivation, the sin became habitual and life dominating, leading to other sins and disastrous consequences of all sorts, is not to deny the greatness of the sin, but rather it is to put that sin in its biblical perspective. If we neglect to put the problem of alcohol abuse in its proper terms, sin and redemption, then we deny needy sinners the help they so need and can find only in Christ.

Christ and Redemption
Christianity is centered in the incarnation (taking on our humanity), obedient life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, the second person of the Trinity.21 Because Christianity is so Christ-centered, it is necessarily exclusivist and intolerant of other religions. Jesus taught us to think this way when he said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me" (John 14.6).22

AA, in contrast, is simultaneously universalist (embracing all world religions) and exclusivist (rejecting all other world religions except their own). On the one hand they speak as if there is no one true faith. On the other hand, they also say that they alone have the true way of deliverance from addiction to alcohol. This makes them effectively the one true religion.23 Either claim (universalism or AA's exclusivism) is patently incompatible with Christianity.

AA also never describes the human condition in terms of sin and therefore never speaks of redemption in Christian terms. In contrast, the Christian religion begins with Adam and our fall in him. It finds salvation for sinners in Christ and his righteousness for us, received by faith (trusting Christ) alone.
If there was no first Adam, whose fall and sin is imputed to us, there is no need for a second Adam, Christ, whose obedience and righteousness is imputed to us. AA's apparent rejection of the heart of Christianity is the most serious (and most disheartening) consequence of their teaching.

Christians and AA
Many Christians, including Evangelical and even Reformed Christians, have said that the disease model is sufficient to explain the success of AA and its offspring. Several writers have even tried to justify the synthesis of the pragmatism of AA with various Christian forms. One notable attempt was the late G. A. Taylor's A Sober Faith (1953). Taylor is remembered in Reformed and Presbyterian circles as the editor of the Presbyterian Journal.

In the preface, Russell Dicks called Taylor a friend of both the Church and AA.24 This is only half true. Taylor wished to be a friend to both, but such is impossible. One cannot have two masters. He must love the one and hate the other.25 Taylor fails to make necessary and biblical distinctions between AA and Christianity. Christianity is God's covenant relation to and redemption of his people from their sins, but AA is not.
Taylor says,

In its own unique way it [AA] goes about leading men and women to God who never before gave Him much thought. I hope the more conservative of my brethren who may feel inclined to question AA's theology at this point will withhold their judgment for the moment. AA's success constitutes a powerful recommendation for its methods.26.With all due respect, Christians cannot withhold theological or moral judgment upon a vaguely utilitarian basis. Other sects, e.g., Jehovah's Witnesses, also claim to lead one to god, but it is clearly not the God of the Bible. Isaiah complains about hand made idols, Paul complains about those whose god is their belly. If the god to whom one is brought is not the Lord Jesus Christ then it is vanity. There are no intermediate steps to God.

In fact, AA is not the worship of the true and living God but is specifically applied peer pressure to alter a particular behavior pattern, often by replacing one addiction for another, in the nature of the case, bottle support for group support.27

Taylor's claim that, at some point, every serious member of AA is confronted by necessity with Christianity is simply not true.28 In fact the leading currents of thought are moving away from the more overtly religious emphasis of years past to a more mechanistic and secular faith. The authority of Bill and the other founders of AA is also waning. After all isn't one persons experience just as normative as anyone else's? Agnosticism reigns in AA. "God as we conceive of Him" and the authority of God "as He is expressed in our group conscience", has taken its natural course. If someone became sober without any god, then god isn't strictly necessary. Of a course the god which began as a useful idea gives way to bare agnosticism.

Taylor admitted the parallels between Christianity and AA. Rather than chalking these apparent similarities up to plagiarism, Taylor says that there is just the right amount of religion in AA to make it effective without scaring this diseased person away from Christianity. After all, he says, alcoholics are notorious for their bad feelings about religion. Taylor thinks AA is a good introduction for Alcoholics to Christianity.29

Taylor's biggest error was to deny the biblical teaching regarding human responsibility for sin. By saying as he does, with AA, that alcoholism (or any other excessive behavior for that matter) is a matter of treating a disease then one has removed the problem from the proper sphere of reference (sin and redemption) and conceded that biblical revelation, the work of Christ and the means of grace (preaching of the Word and sacraments) are insufficient for redemption and the Christian life.

God's Word consistently describes our lot differently. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3.23). All hold down the knowledge of God in unbelief (Romans 1.18). All are prone, by nature, to hate God and their neighbor. The Christian view of the matter is that the alcoholic, no matter how tragic his case, has no advantage over the average son of Adam in that respect. The answer does not lie with a synthesis of obvious Christian behaviors and doctrines (or facsimiles thereof) with modern disease models.
The answer lies in real repentance and faith in the living God, the second person of the Trinity, the Jesus who died for sinners and was raised again for our justification and who through the Holy Spirit effectively calls us to faith and who gives us new life and who makes us holy in himself.

What is the real difference between addictive sexual behavior and alcoholism? Once one becomes addicted to the sensations of orgasm he does not want to quit and will order his life around it. The question is not how much, but why, the inappropriate and damaging behavior continues? The "why" of the behavior is the same. All human beings are addicted to sin. Who of us in our old life was not? This is not to deny that alcoholism is not damaging, but to assert that all sin has its own form of fallout. The affects are different in some regard, but the progressive nature of the addiction begins with the will to sin. The effects of sin do not justify calling a sin a disease. In which case habitual drunkenness is no more a disease than habitual use of pornography. Neither sin is excusable no matter what the cause.

A 1982 book by A. C. DeJong, Help and Hope for the Alcoholic, is little improvement over Taylor. DeJong takes the middle road. DeJong's approach is very similar to Taylor's because his belief is that the Bible does not speak about the abuse of alcohol, (or that what it says is outdated), that Alcoholics Anonymous is a useful adjunct to the Church, and most importantly that alcoholism is not sin, but a disease.30

DeJong says that he once thought that alcoholism is sin, but since his own recovery (from alcoholism) he has come to see the error of that position.31 The reason for the change in his position was not exegetical (determined by detailed study of the Word of God) but experiential. DeJong, on the strength of his experience and assumptions, recommends all his alcoholic parishioners to AA and to all its subsidiary organizations.32

Like Taylor, DeJong argues that to call alcoholism a sin is not helpful. DeJong says that if the effects are this devastating, and no rational person would inflict this much damage upon himself and loved ones, not even a sinful one, then the cause must be disease over which the alcoholic had no control. DeJong admits that there is no known cause of the disease and that the origin of the disease is a mystery.33 DeJong still claims that for a non-alcoholic to call alcoholism sin is prideful.34

DeJong wants us to believe that AA is Biblical. He uses Scripture to support each of the Twelve Steps.35 DeJong admits that the alcoholic starts out in sin but he says that, in the end, the alcoholic is really a victim and not a sinner.36

Where Scripture and AA part ways, DeJong consistently follows the AA program. He makes the astonishing claim that alcoholism is not self inflicted. How then, one asks, did this catastrophe take place? He has already admitted that there is no known cause of the disease, nor any substantial medical support for the disease claim, so who or what secret and dark force foisted this disease upon him?37

In each chapter DeJong gives a summary of the meaning of one or more of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Chapter four deals with "unconditional surrender". The third of the Twelve Steps.38 He compares this surrender to the biblical descriptions of contriteness, repentance and brokeness of heart.39
On the surface this seems appropriate, but in fact it is distinctly unchristian. How? Even when the later steps speak of "our wrongs" and "character defects" they are not gauged against the Word of God which is the only standard against which sin can be judged (1 John 3.4; Romans 7.7). In the Bible, to repent of one's sins, to acknowledge the depth of one's sin and misery, entails fleeing to Jesus who lifts our burden and replaces it with His light yoke.

This is not what AA has in mind. One does not, when he admits that he is "powerless" over Alcohol, confess that he has held down the knowledge of the Covenant God in unbelief, sin, and rebellion. Instead what the alcoholic admits by this confession is his lack of moral responsibility for his situation. He confesses that his disease has gripped him to the point that it has begun to control him above all his other defects. Moreover he confesses these slips to a god of his own imagination--to himself ultimately! These are two fundamentally different confessions of faith.

DeJong makes another breathtaking claim, in contrast to Taylor, that AA is not a religious fellowship because it does not require subscription to a specific set of doctrines for membership. He also contradicts reality. The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions are in fact a catechism and confession. AA is a confessional religion. There is not any non-religious or neutral confession of a god. Either one confesses the God of the Bible or he is an unbeliever.40

This helps us get to the heart of DeJong's problem. At every point he allows the alcoholic to remain in charge. The Bible simply forbids such an approach. DeJong has simply ignored the Biblical data we surveyed earlier. It is clear towards the end of the book, where he quotes the AA Big Book more and more, that his position is driven by a bible but not the revealed Word of God.

Never does the Word of God allow such self sufficiency. Clearly DeJong has somehow justified to himself the sacrifice of a biblical world-view for that of Alcoholics Anonymous. At every one of the Twelve Steps, important differences can be shown between what the Bible teaches and what each Step or Tradition teaches.

Your Church and the Alcoholic
Phillip Yancey calls AA "The Midnight Church". There are ways in which AA is like a local Church. What attracts alcoholics to AA is the fellowship, mutual support and acceptance they find in AA.41 Members are bound together by a common struggle against a common problem.

Like other para-church groups, AA grew up in a vacuum left by the church. In the past Christians have encouraged the growth of AA by looking down at alcoholics as sinners of a special sort. When Christians treat the alcoholic as though his sin was worse than ours, we've reinforced the idea that only alcoholics understand other alcoholics and that the church is irrelevant to the alcoholic.

It is not as if there is no alcohol abuse in the church. The truth is that there is more alcohol abuse and addiction than many recognize. By ignoring it and giggling about drinking problems, we have sometimes pushed the alcoholic into the arms of AA. Just as we have become sensitive to the needs of those facing the crisis of abortion, divorce, or spouse abuse, the church should make an effort to become aware of the specific symptoms of alcohol abuse so that we can spot it and address it in our own congregations. We cannot expect the alcoholic struggling with alcohol addiction and abuse to trust us, if we're not willing to admit that those who confess Christ sometimes fall into the sin of alcohol abuse.

To correct the problem Christians much first realize that it is God's will for sinners of all sorts to find their fellowship, acceptance, mutual support, and strength within the bonds of the local church, the Christ confessing covenant community, composed of confessing believers, redeemed sinners, saved by grace.
No one can confront any life-dominating sin apart from the saving grace of God in Christ. The first step toward freedom from alcohol abuse is to turn away from all sin and to place one's trust in the righteous obedience of Jesus Christ as our substitute and Savior (Acts 2.28-9; 10:43; Romans 1.16-7; 10.17; Gal 2.16).

The location of our life in Christ and the source of our daily help is the grace of God administered in the congregation through the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.
In Ephesians 5.18-20 Paul gives explicit directions in this regard. Paul is assuming that in Christ we are a new creation with new life patterns and new friends. Paul suggests that part of the new life means being subject to our brothers and sisters in the visible body of Christ instead of alcohol.

Second, we Christians must make a commitment to accepting the alcohol abuser into our midst, as someone no more or less dependent upon God's grace than we. If we as the visible community of the redeemed truly see ourselves as lost sinners saved by grace, then how can we not accept other sinners into our midst? How can we distinguish between one type of pre-Christian behavior and another? We can't and neither should the alcohol (or other substance) abuser.

Notice how Peter classes alcohol abuse in 1 Peter 4.1-4.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you (NIV).The Apostle Peter frankly recognizes the difficulty of leaving the old life behind and uniting with a new group of friends, the church. Verse four, "They think it strange..." seems to indicate even that some of the believers were being persecuted by their old drinking buddies. The verse also illustrates the need for the alcoholic to replace his old associations with new ones (cf. 1 Corinthians 15.33). The church is God's agency for the helping the alcohol abuser.

Third, we must make a commitment to dealing openly with one another about our sins. Here we need to reclaim territory we have conceded to AA. In an AA meeting there is usually a remarkable degree of openness in the meeting to one another. Pretense is difficult in a room full of people who have been doing exactly what you have been doing and telling the same lies. If someone is having a difficult time of it, he is encouraged to seek help from a qualified fellow member and even from the group as a whole. This seems to fit the situation envisioned by the Lord in Matthew 18.15-19 and by Paul in Colossians 3.16. and by James 5.16.

Fourth, we must become available to serve one another. We are all sinners. Any sin could be life dominating. It is not necessary to be an alcoholic to serve the spiritual needs of the alcoholic.

Part of that ministry requires the mature, sober alcoholic to go on call (much the way a doctor is on call) for a 24 hour period. When on call one's phone might ring day or night with call from a fellow member who is about to "fall off the wagon". Strong bonds of love and mutual encouragement are formed when one spends the night holding another's hand who is shaking and vomiting under withdrawal symptoms. Do we love one another in Christ as much as AA members love each other?

Would it not make a difference in one's life, when tempted to commit some sin for the thousandth time, one knew that there was a Christian friend one might call who would show the love of Jesus by giving encouragement, praying with one, taking one out for coffee and providing some redirection? I think it would.
Fifth, there are a many Christians who attend AA, who live a dual life, because they believe the Church will scorn them because of their past alcohol abuse. This is very sad. It is the Church who has the good news for alcoholics--sin will not have dominion over believers! (Romans 6.14).

Those Christians who are leading this double life must help the Church learn to deal openly with alcohol and drug abuse. Christians with an alcoholic past must trust their brothers and sisters in Christ enough to show them how to minister to the addict.

The Church has been entrusted with the great commission to make disciples, even of alcoholics. AA constitutes a field of hurting, gospel needy people, white for the harvest. The question is, are we hungry enough to harvest?

It may be old fashioned, but we must describe to the alcoholic the depth of his sin and misery, how he can be redeemed from all his sins and misery and how he is to be thankful for such redemption.42 Obviously the presentation of the gospel must be sensitive and thoughtful and will vary from case to case, but the essentials, as we will see, cannot be compromised, even (or perhaps especially) for one as desperate as the alcoholic. We dare not throw too short a rope to a drowning man. Only the gospel rope will do.


Adams, J.E., The Christian Counselor's Manual, Presbyterian and Reformed: Phillipsburg, 1975.
-- Competent to Counsel, Baker: Grand Rapids, 1970.
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Alcoholics Anonymous, AA World Services: New York, 1976.
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Twelve Steps and Traditions, AA Grapevine and AA World Services: New York, 1953.
Crossman, R.H.S., Ed., Oxford and The Groups. Blackwell: Oxford, 1934.
DeJong, A.C., Help and Hope for the Alcoholic, Tyndale: Wheaton, 1982.
Henry, C.F.H., Christian Personal Ethics. Baker: Grand Rapids, 1957, repr. 1979.
Henson, H.H., The Oxford Groups. Oxford University Press: London, 1933.
Hughes, P. E., Hope for a Despairing World: The Christian Answer to the Problem of Evil. Presbyterian and Reformed: Phillipsburg, 1977.
Leon, P., The Philosophy of Courage. George Allen and Unwin: London, 1939.
Machen, J. G., The Christian View of Man. Banner of Truth Trust: Edinburgh, 1937, repr., 1984.
Shipp, T. J., Helping the Alcoholic and His Family. Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs, 1963.
Taylor, G. A., A Sober Faith: Religion and Alcoholics Anonymous. Macmillan Company, New York, 1953.
Wisdom, C., "Alcoholic's Anonymous--A Biblical Critique of AA's View of God. Man, Sin and Hope", The Journal of Pastoral Practice, 1986.
* This paper was written originally as a 1988 article for the Reformed Herald. It was subsequently revised as a class handout for the Theology of Culture course at Wheaton College, 1995. Revised December, 1998. (c)2000 R. S. Clark. All rights reserved.
1 Alcoholics Anonymous, xvii.
3 ibid. xviii, xxii.
4 The 12 Steps are:
1.We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3.Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. (emph. orig.)
4.Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5.Admitted too God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6.Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7.Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings
8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9.Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10.Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11.Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. (emph. orig.)
12.Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The 12 Traditions are, in part:
1.Our common welfare should come first; the personal recovery depends upon AA. unity. Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. AA. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.
2.For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority--a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3.The only requirement for AA. membership is a desire to stop drinking. Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought AA. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an AA., provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.
5.Each group has but one primary purpose--to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
10.Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA. name ought never be drawn into public controversy. No AA. group should ever, in such a way as to implicate AA., express an opinion on outside controversial issues--particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such groups they can express no views whatever.
12.Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities....we of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the principle of anonymity has an immense spiritual significance...It reminds us that we are to actually practice a genuine humility. This to the end that our great blessings may never spoil us; that we shall forever live in thankful contemplation of Him who presides over us all (Alcoholics Anonymous, 17; Twelve Steps, 5ff).
5 The Big Book has revised several times since its publication.
6 Pentecostal Christians teach a sort of on-going revelation and that God speaks to Christians directly and about specific things apart from the Scriptures. See W. S. Hudson, Religion in America, 378 ff., W. W. Sweet, The Story of Religion in America,423ff, H. H. Henson, The Oxford Groups, 5; P. Leon, The Philosophy of Courage, 112ff.
7 Sweet, 423
8 Hudson, 378. The historical relationship between AA and the Oxford Groups is hinted at in the quotation from the Big Book above in the phrase, "though he (Bill W.) could not accept all the tenets...."
These tenets, though attached originally to an apparently Christian para-church organization, are not distinctively Christian, if only because they do not flow from a distinctively Christian confession. That is, there is nothing about them which requires one to be a Christian to practice them. The assumption of this essay is that Christianity is a unique religion in that it is divinely revealed, its God is triune, and its doctrine of redemption and ethics are organized around the God-Man Jesus Christ, who died as a substitute for all his people. Christian ethics is nothing more or less than the grateful response by the redeemed to God's grace toward sinners in Christ.
9 ibid. xvi.
10 For example, it is a regular practice to recite the Lord's Prayer in their meetings. Jesus prayed "Hallowed by thy name", or "Your name is Holy", with the clear intent of declaring that God's name (Yahweh), indeed God Himself, is distinct morally and in his being from humanity. Yet in step three and tradition two AA rejects explicitly such a view of God. Jesus prayer is exclusivist in that it implies that there are no other gods besides the God of the Bible.
There are other hints of the Bible in the Twelve Traditions of AA Some examples of such borrowing: tradition three speaks of the gathering of "two or three" an obvious reference to Matthew 18.20, "For where two or three of you are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst". The Twelve Steps and Traditions refer to God as "Him", complete with the uppercase pronoun traditionally reserved in English for the Biblical Deity. Interestingly, the published prayers of AA are even written in a sort of 17th century English, apparently to lend them an air of tradition and authority.
11 Alcoholics Anonymous,12-3. See also, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 132ff.
12 Chapter four of the book even contains an apologetic for their doctrine of God and their view of revelation.
13 Many AA meetings close with the chant, "keep coming back, it works".
14 L. P. Jacks, Oxford and the Groups, 129; J. Alsdurf's , review of H. Fingarette's The Myth of Alcoholism As a Disease, "Alcoholism: Is It a Sin After All?", (Christianity Today, February 3, 1989). See also L. M. Thomas, "Alcoholism is Not A Disease", in Christianity Today, October 4, 1985. For a contrary view see. A. Spinkard's article in Christianity Today August 4, 1983, 26.
15 A. Spinkard, 26; T. J. Shipp, Helping the Alcoholic and His Family, 91ff.
16 See the similar exhortation in Rom.13.13.
17 The first article of the Apostles' Creed says, "I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth."
18 The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q/A 4.
19 The Revised Standard Version, (New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.) 1973, 1977.
20 P. E. Hughes, Hope For a Despairing World: The Christian Answer to the Problem of Evil,26-7.
21 The Westminster Shorter Catechism Q/A 22 says, "Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, (Heb. 2:14,16, Heb. 10:5) and a reasonable soul, (Matt. 26:38) being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, (Luke 1:27,31,35,42, Gal. 4:4) yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15, Heb. 7:26)"
22 From the New American Standard Version.
23 Alcoholics Anonymous,46-7.
24 ibid, the preface, vii.
25 Matthew 6.24.
26 A Sober Faith, 4ff;52.ff
27 ibid., 32ff., esp.42.
28 ibid., 59.
29 ibid., 35,78,87.
30 ibid., 18, 38, 41.
31 ibid.,18.
32 ibid., 14, 57.
33 Thus Jay Adams calls the use of the word disease in the context of alcoholism meaningless.
34 De Jong, Help and Hope for the Alcoholic, 18,21; Cf. J. E. Adams, Competent to Counsel, xiv.
35 Help and Hope for the Alcoholic, 31ff.
36 ibid., 22.
37 ibid., 35.
38 ibid., p.59ff.
39 ibid., 61.
40 ibid., 114.
41 Phillip Yancey, "The Midnight Church," Christianity Today, February 4, 1983, 96. Yancey gives an overly sentimental and unbiblical description of Alcoholics Anonymous. He is quite correct, however, when he calls it a "unique church". Although he does not seem to realize what this implies. He too has bought into the idea that somehow Alcoholics Anonymous reflects the true spirit of the early Church, a church without all those nasty doctrinal disputes that bother the organized Church. In so doing he confirms the connection with the Oxford Groups. He brushes over what he calls the "Christological question" i.e., how a Christian could actively take part in the worship of an unknown god or even more to the point: propagate such a faith without compromising his Christian faith; with the worst kind of defense: well the church is full a hypocrites and the alcoholic is getting his needs met, so what is the difference? The most blatant inaccuracy, however, in the article is his insistence that AA requires the alcoholic to take responsibility for his actions. This is not the case. While there is a mild formal protest that, yes, the alcoholic is responsible, the chief doctrine of the faith is that alcoholism is the result of a disease not sin, therefore, ultimately, the alcoholic cannot be fully responsible because no one can justly be held responsible for actions committed under the influence of a disease over which he had no control.

42 This language is drawn from the second question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism, a Reformed confessional document first published in 1563.