UNDERSTANDING THE SCRIPTURES
We are focusing this week on the sufficiency of God’s Word to resolve drunkenness and other dependencies. Once again, along with Martin and Deidre Bobgan here is Tom McMahon.
This part of our program where we normally, Dave and I discuss the scriptures and many of our listeners know who have been following the program, we’ve been in the Gospel of John. Well, Dave is not here so I want to take this time and really go over—we’ve been talking about Twelve Steps, we’ve been talking about our concern that the Twelve Steps program has come into the church, it has displaced God’s Word. It is through processes of mixing a methodology with some biblical principles. It has really taken over and I think—I know, it’s had an adverse affect on, not only solving the problems with living our lives for Christ but it has turned us away from, in many cases, our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Why is that? We’ve talked about many reasons, but I think the most is that people are not convinced of the sufficiency of the scriptures, are not convinced that our relationship with Jesus Christ, empowerment of the Holy Spirit within our lives, who we as believers have ready there to enable us to live a life that is pleasing to God. All that is being diminished because of these psychological, psychotherapeutic treatments that just really don’t work, as we’ve said, right Martin?
Yes, the whole issue here that we are dealing with is, one in essence is Christianity versus another means of dealing with a very serious sin problem. Are we going to use what the church has used right up until 1935, which is the beginning of Alcoholics Anonymous? Or are we going to resort to using this particular system which was devised in a particular way out of an occult caldron, as I always say, and use this instead of using what the church has used right along? Are we going to use a system that has become internationally famous because people talk about it, they get testimonies to it contrary to the research that shows that the effectiveness that they claim just doesn’t, is not there? It’s absolutely not there based upon testimonials and person to person conversations and so on and a system in which you are, in effect, this individual, an alcoholic, all your life instead of the biblical way which always the way of an individual who was sinning, turning to God in desperation, wanting to have the Holy Spirit work in his life and having the motivation to change and a desire to change and then being an ex rather than a continual alcoholic. And it’s just an international problem, not only in the world, it’s an international problem in the church because the church has adopted, not only the Twelve Step programs and the AA methodology for alcoholism, but it’s done it for narcotics, it’s done it for pornography, it’s done it for sexuality, it’s done it for all kinds of other problems the Bible should take care of.
Exactly, and, Martin, I know of numerous cases, and I am sure people are aware, maybe in their own churches, they have some form of Twelve Steps program. But, I want to give a scenario of what I have seen of how this leads to an incredibly difficult situation. First of all, the churches which may be evangelical, they say somebody convinces them that this methodology of twelve steps is the way to go. That it has been effective in AA, and by just tweaking it here and there we can make it a methodology that we can use in our church and it can be Christ-centered. Now, for two weeks now we have shown where that’s a problem, but they are sincere and they want to help people and, as we mentioned before, the church is really, not just turned things over, they don’t want to address these issues, they don’t want to get involved in ministering the way, not all churches but many, don’t want to get involved in the lives of people and minister as God Word tells them. But nevertheless, so a church will begin a twelve-steps program and they will bring in people who have, maybe, had some experience, dealt with their problems, but what we find is that when they begin twelve-steps for whether overeating or, you know, you gave a list of things in which the twelve steps is being implemented, you find that they now need materials and the materials that are out there are at best they integrate, even if they are written by Christians, they integrate the psychological way with some biblical ideas and biblical principles. And then, when you have a large program and different twelve steps programs, now you have to begin to bring in people who have to teach it. If they don’t have a background in which they have been psychologically trained, then what they have to do is get somebody that does or get the materials. So, even though a church began with a right and sincere heart to solve the problems by applying twelve steps and then having to implement the program, they get as far away from scripture as you can imagine.
In Ephesians, when Paul was writing his letters he was writing to a world, well, he was writing to the churches, but the churches in a world where sin abounded and drunkenness was a big problem. And, what he wrote was this. In Ephesians 4, beginning at verse 17-24: “That I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Here we have a total complete transformation of the individual and what happens in programs when you bring in programs that have been contaminated by the world, you are bringing in the vanity of their mind, you are bringing in understanding that is darkened as far as the understanding of scripture. You are certainly bringing in ideas from those who are alienated from the life of God and who do not have the life of Christ in them. And so to combine them, Paul would have stood against AA. No matter how many testimonies, he would have stood against it because he clearly knew the difference between the old man of the flesh and the new man in Christ Jesus.
Now, Deidre and Martin, this new man that we are in Christ, we are not saying that from the get go all of his problems are going to be solved. And, there is an aspect to this—that isn’t even why we are in Christ, to have our problems solved, whereas many twelve-steps programs, that becomes the goal in itself, just get your problems solved. We want a life in Christ that is pleasing to him and we are not saying that it’s going to happen overnight. It has to do with a relationship with him, right?
Yes, and it is a process and I think that, for some people—Martin mentioned those who are delivered overnight from a particular sin. Some people are not going to be delivered overnight, it’s going to be a long process, and it’s going to be a painful process. But if a person is truly crying out to God and looking for answers in Christ and waiting on him and learning him, no matter how much—and I hate to say this, but how much agony he may have to go through. The final goal is greater than sobriety. The final goal is glory, it is becoming like Christ because of that time when we will see him as he is because we will be like him. And so you see the goal is so much greater in the Christian walk and when a person gets involved in any form of the twelve-steps he may be satisfying things in the flesh, he may be, you know, certain things are going along, maybe better, but he really is on a side track, he is not going the way that the Bible shows that we should go.
Right. You know, again, solving our problems in life, that’s a by product of living for Christ, seeking him. I am reminded of the verse in Hebrews:11:6 that says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” When we put the problems before, really our relationship with God, that’s wrong, but if we will seek him, our problems, because in most cases they are sin problems, God will deliver us from them. But again, it’s a by product of wanting his will, wanting to do things his way, the way he has laid it out for us in the scriptures, but twelve steps, trying to implement that and make it consistent with the scriptures, it’s just impossible and it’s not going to lead to the result that God wants in our lives.
Well, it has to be Christ and seeking him rather than seeking something that we want for ourselves. Seeking sobriety is good but it pales in comparison to what God wants us to seek. He wants us to seek him. He wants to meet us. He wants to work in us and as he works in us he will deliver us from sin.
Martin and Deidre Bobgan, thanks very much for being our guests here and we just pray that our listeners out there will just take to heart some of the things that we have said. Again, search the scriptures; check us out, all the things that we have said. We want you to do things true to God’s Word.