Stafford and CT are pleased with AA to the point of suggesting that Sam Shoemaker “may have made his greatest contribution through Wilson.” Yet Stafford also writes, “AA is pluralistic, recognizing as many gods as there may be religions, any of which can work.” How can such a destructive concept be considered a great contribution to mankind? Moreover, how can Stafford say that “nothing is compromised in using them [12-Step programs]”? Such comments are typical of CT’s long-standing record of theological ambivalence, ecumenism, compromise, and outright support of error.
Stafford also approves of 12-Step programs patterned after AA which have come into the church. He attempts to justify this posture by suggesting that the church’s adaptation of AA’s methodologies involved “re-Christianizing the 12 Steps.”
If the 12 Steps, as Stafford says, are Christian, what need could there be to “re-Christianize” them? If, as is the case, they embody concepts designed to be acceptable to anyone, including atheists, then to speak of “re-Christianizing” them is a delusion. The truth is that AA’s 12 Steps are anti-God and anti-Christian. To adapt them into the church is wicked.
The embrace of any form of the 12 Steps within the church implies that God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ offer no solution (or at least an inadequate one) for the sins of drunkenness and other “addictions” and that AA has at last filled that void. Yet thousands of churches across America are doing precisely that. The Willow Creek Community Church of South Barrington, Illinois, pastored by Bill Hybels, is a particularly instructive case inasmuch as it has been called “the most influential church in North America” and a model of the church for the next century. In an exhaustive study of “the Willow Creek phenomenon” for his Ph.D. dissertation, G. A. Pritchard writes:
“One of the first staff members I spoke with proudly told me how more than five hundred individuals met at the church each week in various self-help groups (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, Sexual Anonymous). Upon investigation I discovered that these programs were not actually the church’s. Although many church attendees were participating in the programs, the actual meetings were being run according to outside organization’s policies. One of the requirements of these organizations was that individuals could not evangelize or otherwise teach other participants about God.”