So we have come to the point where evangelical churches are sponsoring and recommending to their members programs for overcoming sin in their lives by techniques and a higher power which replace (or at the very least supplement) God and the power of the Holy Spirit! Stafford commends 12-Step groups for allegedly being “tolerant.” Should we commend tolerance regarding the identity of God and the difference between God’s truth and Satan’s lie? As for the alleged “tolerance,” consider the rules of 12-Step programs at Willow Creek:
“One official code of instructions explains: The Steps suggest a belief in a Power greater than ourselves, ‘God as we understand Him.’ The program does not attempt to tell us what our Higher Power must be. It can be whatever we choose, for example, human love, a force for good, the group itself, nature, the universe, or the traditional God (Deity). The code instructs, ‘We never discuss religion.’”
In Scripture we are commanded to “earnestly contend for the faith…once [for all time] delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). How then can we be tolerant of promoting higher powers that take the place of God? In support of the tolerance he commends, Stafford says, “Christians [in AA groups] can express their convictions.” What convictions? That Jesus is the Higher Power? That is neither allowed nor is it biblical.
AA’s concept of a higher power is pagan. It would therefore be an insult to Christ to associate Him with it in any way. Christ is not a power but a person. Stafford notes that Christians may not say anything that would “undermine the pluralistic assumptions of the group by suggesting that others’ views of God are misguided.” So this commended “tolerance” has its limits and is in actual fact intolerant of the gospel!
What Stafford really means—and this is all that AA allows—is that a Christian (like a Mason) is free to say that Jesus is a or his Higher Power, but not the Higher Power. Why then commend this intolerant tolerance?
Moreover, how could anyone express the gospel truth about Jesus (“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me”—John:14:6; “There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved”—Acts:4:12, etc.) without thereby declaring that all other views are false? The truth, then is that the false gospel of AA suppresses the true gospel of Jesus Christ; and the tolerance it professes is only of error, while it remains intolerant of truth. Pritchard comments on the Willow Creek 12-Step programs:
“Even church members could not talk about Christian truth in these meetings at Willow Creek. Although the programs give lip service to a “Higher Power,” they function as practical atheism, teaching the categories of the contemporary psychological worldview. Yet the lack of theological content did not stop the church from advertising these programs each week during…services. That Willow Creek would sponsor and advertise these programs illustrates the church’s lack of priority for Christian truth.”