AA in the Curch?


 

 

AA In the Church?


I am not writing this to bash the AA program in the secular community.  There are pros and cons with any program.  People who believe in the AA program continue to see it as helpful to them, and those who do not find it useful are very likely still looking for help.  So as we say, “to each his own way.”

I do, however, have some questions about their “perceived success” and more serious questions about AA programs run in conjunction with the church.

I am not going to go much into the origin and history of AA other than to say that there are legitimate questions about the AA founders that many have found to be problematic.  Anyone interested in this background can find it on the internet by looking up on Google:

Religious Roots: Bill and Dr. Bob start AA

My primary concern is with AA programs in or associated with the church.  Now, those churches that are heavily focused on “social programs” will not likely agree with my major concern here.  On the other hand, those churches that claim to be Bible believing, Spirit filled churches should perhaps take a closer look at the questions I am raising here.

What we are addressing here is “addiction”; and more specifically, “alcohol and drug addiction”.  There is a serious debate as to whether or not these conditions are or are not considered to be a “disease” as AA claims. 

Another issue that a Christian must encounter is the AA belief that “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic”. 

Let me start with the “disease” question.  If it is a disease, what is the medical protocol to address the disease?  They may prescribe methadone or some other drug to assist one who has overdosed or to help detoxify the body and relieve them of their medical symptoms—but that is not a cure for the “disease”.  Once the person is stabilized, he or she must still address the addictive behavior.

Behavior it turns out has to do with ones choice in conjunction with their will.  There is no medical solution to address or change anybody’s “will” and/or “choice”.  So it stands to reason from my vantage point that we are not dealing with disease.  In Step IV of the Twelve Step Program they refer to taking a “moral inventory”.  If it was a disease as they claim why take a “moral inventory” as opposed to a “medical inventory’.

Disease or not, a Biblical Christian certainly cannot embrace a flawed concept of “once an alcoholic always an alcoholic”.  We don’t even say that about cancer—“once with cancer always with cancer”.  One might risk saying, “once a schizophrenic always a schizophrenic”, but as a Christian we don’t even believe that!  There is no type of sickness, disease, or “condition” that cannot be healed in Jesus name.

The AA Step I requires one to say that “we are powerless”.  The “True Believer” would never agree or admit to such an untruth.  Step II refers to “a power greater than ourselves” and the AA process allows for that to be whatever and whoever you want it to be.  This is a great deception to say the least.  Can that “greater power” be my fortune teller?  How about my drug dealer?  For sure, it can’t be a tree.

Step III takes this deception to a whole new level.  Here the addict makes a decision to turn their will and their lives over to the care of God “as we understood Him”.  This allows the person to have any “god of their choosing” (or understanding” as they say).  This is definitely unacceptable to a true believer in Jesus Christ.

Step IV is the step when the addict makes a “moral inventory” of themselves.  I covered that previously.  All the rest of the steps 5-12 seem reasonable but all focus on character, humility and a form of confession.  Is repentance ever considered?

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that there is a wide range of Christian believers.  At one extreme are the most “liberal believers”.  They believe in Jesus Christ but do not consider the Bible to be “God’s Word” literally.  Then we range to the other extreme which includes those who hold that the Bible is literally God’s Word.  It is very likely only those who tend toward this latter group that will be able to come into much, if any agreement, with the point of view that many of us in a “literal Word” church hold on the subject at hand.

Many times we have heard people refer to psychological problems (including alcohol and drugs) as his or her personal demons.  For these people it is a “figure of speech”.  In contrast, for those of us who claim to be “literal Word” believers, we see that the Bible calls the source of these problems “evil” and gives alcoholism a name—we call it the demon “Spirit of Alcoholism.”  This is our truth and how we must approach the problem.

We perceive an AA group as admitting to a scenario that will never change, and that one’s only hope is to stay in contact with a “group” and preferably a “sponsor”.  It appears to be trading one dependency for another with long term affects.  The addict may very well stop drinking but is then dependent on their “group” to stay that way.

So for the Bible believer, being “delivered” from the demon power that has “seemingly overpowered” the alcoholic or drug user is the scriptural goal.  I used the term “seemingly”, as the only real hold any demon has on anyone  is through an “embedded lie”.  Once the lie is exposed and renounced, and replaced by the “truth”, the person who accepts the truth by faith and does not doubt in his heart will be set free.

What we are talking about here is “sin”.  Substance abuse like any other addiction is sin.  The answer is to stop ingesting the alcohol or drug.  The necessary behavior is to STOP!  Quit!  That has to be the goal of any program or plan.  It is the only plan that can successfully change the addictive behavior. 

The research says that the AA program has about a 5% success rate.  Drug rehab centers have a similar rate of success.  I believe Teen Challenge has the highest rate of success with well over 50%.  Regardless of the percentages, stopping is always the only answer.

A person cannot change their behavior unless they change their perception of the real world (reality).  Most every program focuses on changing the behavior.  Few if any, realize that the focus must be on changing one’s perception.  A person’s “perception system” is their way of “seeing” the world around them.  Another way of saying it is that it’s their way of filtering reality.

So the million dollar question is: How do any of us change our perception?  We all either think we are right or at least want to think we are right.  So if we think we are right about an issue—but in fact it turns out that we are wrong, are we in deception?  There is “The Truth” about every issue.  Then there is “our truth” about the same issue.  Unless our truth matches up with God’s Truth we are deceived to whatever degree.  If we do not have the mind of Christ, we need to change our mind!

God has a plan for each person, and He wants the best for each of us.  When your will is not God’s will for you, your choices will not be the best choices you can make.  Choices that you make outside the will of God for your life will always produce consequences.  Satan’s kingdom of darkness revels in you paying the consequences for your wrong choices (sin).  The demons and workers of iniquity must depend on getting people to believe lies in order to deceive them.  For example, “I can’t quit using” is a lie.  The truth that must replace the lie is that “with my faith in Jesus Christ I will quit.  But you must believe in your heart, not wavering.  God’s plan for you does not include any form of addiction.  There is no manmade plan that can rival God’s plan for each of us.  If we renew our mind and submit our “will” to God, we will overcome the demons that try to rule us.

 




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