Yesterday, I noticed the Turkey Vultures were back. There were dozens of them circling low overhead. The temperatures are starting to get above freezing again. Spring is in the air now, except that we may get more snow this weekend. God keeps us on our toes!
I had a response to my post yesterday that is worth expanding on. I’m not surprised because I understand. You see, all this isn’t easy for me. In a nutshell, my friend said he was grateful that God used the people in AA to “reach his heart.” He went on “I am nothing without him…but I didn’t know this for a long time. I have gained much from meetings…take what you need…and leave the rest.”
That makes a lot of sense. As do many of the slogans of AA. Here are a few:
One Day at a Time
Easy Does It
Let Go and Let God
Spirituality vs. Religion
Keep It Simple, Stupid
Progress, Not Perfection
Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes
First Things First
Faith Without Works Is Dead
I Am An Alcoholic
All this is tough, because I have the same feelings as my friend. I grew tremendously through the tables of AA and the friends I made there. Even so, I have come to the point that I have difficulty reconciling through the most important of commandments.
Deuteronomy 5:6-7 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.
6:5-7 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these works that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Alcoholics Anonymous is straight-forward in its intention:
AA Preamble: Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
Without a doubt, AA positively contributes to the overall benefit of society. How could one possibly count the lives that have been radically changed for the better because of AA, not to mention all the family and friends that have benefitted because the alcoholic is now sober. Millions upon millions. Yet, the basic teaching is spiritual and instructs its students to create a god, a “higher power”, that is of their choosing. It is the epitome of post-modernism where there is no absolute truth.
This is far different than other “good” groups, for example, a local fire department. No doubt, they save lives and serve a public good. Yet the fire department doesn’t promote individualized worship as its foundation. AA does that. In fact, so do most churches. Heck, the Episcopal church even elects atheist bishops. The Church of England hires atheist chaplains. Most of the US mainline denominations have serious doctrinal variances to the plain reading of scripture. Increasingly, we are seeing public abandonment of the bible in churches all across the US and the world.
So, the question boils down to this. Is AA an organization blessed by God or is it not? If it is, one must figure out how God might ignore the sin of worshiping false gods. Let’s face it, any teaching apart from the gospel of Jesus is false teaching. Any other god is false. Can’t get around that. AA cannot escape that charge.
On the other hand, do not all good gifts come from heaven? Does AA fit this? James 1:7 reads, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Is AA a good and PERFECT gift? It doesn’t point to Jesus, so how can it be perfect?
Then again, maybe God did establish AA but then it was attacked by the evil one? There is definitely something to that. Bill wrote the first version of the Big Book as Christ-centered but was talked out of it by the original team of editors, the early group of AA. They felt Jesus would repel people. Could it be that healing came through Bill, and blessings continue as residual, but that it was then commandeered by the enemy to steer people to other gods. I think there is merit to this line of thought.
Still, Jesus healed those whom he chose. Not everyone he healed did he save. Perhaps a fitting biblical comparison to AA may be in this:
Luke 17:11-19 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Time prohibits me from going on except to say that I am the one who returned to praise Jesus.
Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by we must be saved.
If you are an AA member, please know I don’t mean to offend you. I am encouraging you to publically give credit to where credit is due and make it your business to point all men to Jesus. Don’t be a party of “any god works” malarkey. Make it clear to all that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). You will get pushback. Keep in mind that there are many, many people who have been delivered from alcoholism that have never been to an AA meeting yet found sobriety in church. There are also many addiction groups that are Christ-centered. Check some of those out.
Father, please guide us. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers