How Heretics Shaped Alcoholics Anonymous |

TBC Staff

When it comes to A.A’.s alleged “Christian” roots, God’s people have been—to use a technical term—snookered.

Scripture is clear. We were never meant to be part of an all-gods religion. It is not “legalism” to point out that the Lord will absolutely not be seen as one higher power among many (Isaiah:42:8, Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians:6:14-17).

AA’s murky history can seem very confusing. Throughout his writing career, pro-A.A. author Dick B. presented AA’s origin as Christian. But Alcoholics Anonymous is like a pie. One can claim it is made with lemon meringue ingredients, but if tar, rat poison, and glass shards are also in the mix, was it ever really a lemon meringue pie? A little leaven… (1 Corinthians:5:6)

A.A.’s origin must include A.A. co-founders Bill Wilson’s and Dr. Bob Smith’s biblically forbidden spiritualism, Dr. Bob’s freemasonry, the meditative Silence/spirit communication learned from the Oxford Group,[1] and the anti-biblical teachings of William James.

It doesn’t stop there. Many other influences helped give birth to A.A., including Carl Jung, Emanuel Swedenborg, and the New Thought heresy of Emmet Fox.

Those who have heard early A.A.’s “roots” were Christian might want to investigate Emmet Fox and A.A’.s use of his heretical book, The Sermon on the Mount. This text was actually used as a teaching manual in A.A. until A.A.’s own instructional Big Book was completed.

As pro-AA author Dick B. himself acknowledged, Fox’s “writings were favored by [A.A. co-founders] Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” [2] (emphasis added)

In The Sermon on the Mount, Emmet Fox teaches: “The ‘Plan of Salvation’ which figured so prominently in the evangelical sermons and divinity books of a past generation is as completely unknown to the Bible as the Koran. There never was any such an arrangement in the universe, and the Bible does not teach it at all.” [3] “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew:10:33)

Like the Gnostics, Fox was a purveyor of “secret knowledge.” He writes, “Wonderful as the ‘outer’ Bible is, it is far less than one percent of the ‘inner’ Bible—the Bible that is hidden behind the symbols. If you have been reading the Bible without the spiritual interpretation, you have not found the real message of the Bible, for that lies below the surface.” [4]

Fox’s influence should always be considered when one hears of references to the Bible in early A.A. People assume, logically enough, that if the co-founders were mentioning the Word of God, this must mean they were Christians. But the unsaved Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith viewed the Bible along the lines of Fox’s esoteric spiritual wisdom, rather than believing it to be the literal Word of God. One cannot, after all, promote anti-Biblical heresy and simultaneously believe and obey the Word of God.

According to Fox’s Sermon on the Mount: “[In] the Bible the term ‘Christ’ is not identical with Jesus, the individual. It is a technical term which may be briefly defined as the Absolute Spiritual Truth about anything.” (p.124)

“The plain fact is that Jesus taught no theology whatever.” (p.3)

“There is absolutely no system of theology found in the Bible; it simply is not there.” (p.3)

When reading about the use of the Bible in the history and development of AA, please consider the influence of Emmet Fox’s new thought heresy. Remember also that the classical liberal Protestants in early A.A. were not biblical Christians.

Source Notes:

[1] Alcoholics Anonymous and Contemplative Spirituality and Meditating Upon AA.
[2] Alcoholics Anonymous History and the Bible: Dick B.’s Early AA Resources.
[3] Emmet Fox, The Sermon on the Mount, pp.4-5.
[4] Herman Wolhorn, Emmet Fox’s Golden Keys To Successful Living, p.59.