Again, we are doing things a bit differently today. I have gone to my correspondence files to find some feed back people have sent me over the years regarding twelve steps and AA or Alcoholic Anonymous. The first one comes from a person long involved in AA who challenges the validity of my being able to bring any really helpful insights to the problems alcoholics have, primarily because I have never been an alcoholic. He says that I and most pastors and other church people can’t really relate to the experiences alcoholics go through. What about that, Martin and Deidre? I don’t know that you were ever alcoholics.
No, we have not had that experience. What we have looked at is the research, the writings of other people, but primarily, scripture. Now, Jesus could speak to sin, but he had never sinned. Now, we have sinned in other areas, and because we are sinners we are able to speak to the problem of sin. Because we know that Jesus has saved us from our sins, he died in our place for our place for our sins; we believe that he, indeed, has died in the place for the sins of other people. They don’t have to be the same sin; it can be a different sin. And, what we have is the apostle Paul—I don’t believe he was ever an alcoholic and yet he spoke to alcoholics, drunkards and, as a matter of fact, one of the scriptures from I Cor.6:9-11, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” This Bible speaks to all of sin and that is why we urge people to turn to the Word of God, to the Lord of the scriptures Jesus Christ and he will bring the answer, the true answer to the person who is struggling with the problem of drinking, struggling with the problem of life, because so many people who are involved in heavy drinking have many, many other problems that need to be addressed. This is a very, very serious problem that needs more than a twelve step program.
Yeah, but we have a lot of testimonies from individuals who have been drunkards and have been delivered from their drunkenness and they have committed their life to Christ and have been able to deal with this issue in their lives and they are not alcoholics all their lives, they are former alcoholics, ex-alcoholics. We have an individual who wrote a paper having to do with this whole business of the twelve steps in the church and the conclusion here is, gives a number of conclusions, but says, “My conclusions are not made in haste but only after attending countless twelve step meetings over a period of approximately twenty years, I have found their philosophy and practices to be incompatible with the Christian faith. Counterfeits are always designed to look very similar to the real thing; otherwise, they would be all too readily recognized as fake. The twelve steps offer counterfeit salvation, counterfeit sanctification, counterfeit forgiveness, counterfeit fellowship, counterfeit discipleship, counterfeit evangelism, and ‘counterfeit scripture’ in their regularly read literature such as The Big Book, which is an AA produced book. The resemblance between the twelve steps and scripture is merely superficial; it is a dangerous illusion.” This from a person of twenty years in twelve step meetings.
Now, we are not denying that somebody who has been an alcoholic, who went through those experiences and then was delivered by the power of Christ and really understands the basis for his deliverance through the scriptures, we’re not saying that experience is of no value. Certainly empathy, certainly, you know, a person who says, been there, done that, been through that, may have more empathy with regard to a person’s situation than somebody that hasn’t, but you can’t exclude—what we are saying here is, it’s God’s Word, God’s truth that sets free. Somebody who really knows God’s Word, understands and, as you mentioned, Deidre, there are all kinds of sins. We all sin, we have been through things, maybe not the same as another person but we can certainly draw from the experience that we have had with regard to empathy, with regard to maybe some understanding, but you just can’t say that just because I have never had AIDs that I can’t minister to somebody with AIDs. It’s not the way to go about things.
Well, we are asked to draw alongside and help bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. And so, it’s understandable when somebody is in need that individual may need someone to draw alongside. If we are being biblical and scriptural what we want to do is to find those people or have them find us who have a need whether they say that they are involved in drunkenness or pornography or whatever it is, we want to draw alongside, recognize it as sin as scripture does and deal with sin as scripture prescribes and that’s really the best solution. And, as a matter of fact, the AA meetings go on endlessly and forever because what? The person is always an alcoholic instead of being an ex-alcoholic.
And, what about sponsorship? My understanding of AA is somebody really that would be the come alongside. Now Martin, before the program went on we talked about there are some elements within AA, and we are just about out of time, but that are just common sense things, that are things that do have some value but the problem is that the stream, or the pond is so polluted with other things that it would be hard for somebody to come to truth.
Well, what happens in AA is worldly. Worldly things appeal to the flesh. What we have in the Bible is spiritual and the spiritual deals with the deepest level of man and if you want to do something superficial you do it according to the ways of the world. If you want to do something that’s not only deep but eternal, you do it via the means of scripture and that’s why you do these superficial things in AA and people are perpetually AA members for the rest of their lives. Whereas if you do it deep and incisively—and we have known individuals who through the process of being confronted by Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have given their hearts to him and have in a moment of time stopped their drinking. It doesn’t always happen that way, but many times it does and instead of having to be saying, I am an alcoholic, you are then at that point having stopped and cleaned up your life. You are now a person born again and you are the person that God wants you to be and you are an ex rather than a continual one.