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).

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.

Why? 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.” 

Fox’s new thought teachings likely strengthened what [AA founder] Bill Wilson already believed—the Bible was indeed a book of spiritual wisdom, although not the inerrant Holy Book of the fundamentalist Christians.

It is important to understand Fox’s book was not casually read by early A.A. According to author Mel B., Fox’s “1934 book The Sermon on the Mount became one of the society’s most useful guides until the publication of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939.” 

Since [another AA founder] Dr. Bob Smith has been portrayed for years as a Bible believing Christian, just how strongly, then, did Dr. Bob oppose Fox’s heretical book? He didn’t. He recommended it!

According to a woman quoted in A.A’.s official biography of Dr. Bob, “The first thing [Dr. Bob] did was get me Emmet Fox’s The Sermon on the Mount.” What else was in this book Dr. Bob was so eager to share? This book that Bill Wilson claimed was so important to A.A.? Well, as it turns out, more heretical stuff.

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)

“Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden “was never intended by its author to be taken as history, but literal-minded people did so take it, with all sorts of absurd consequences.” (p.13)

Fox felt “helpful teaching” was fine wherever one got it, but “You do not owe an atom of loyalty to anyone or anything in the universe except your own Indwelling Christ, your own personal integrity."

There is simply no way to justify promotion of this Christ-denying book. It means thousands of alcoholics were encouraged to read a new thought teaching that states there is no Plan of Salvation and that  Christ is not Savior.

“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all…” (1 Timothy 2:5)

Okay, you sigh, so what is the big whopping deal over ancient history? Well, with people churning out books that portray the origin of A.A. as this wonderful Biblical occurrence, and Christians being deceived by these books, it is time to get the record straight.

Source Notes: See