Over the past year and a half, we have conducted conferences, seminars, and individual meetings in the Southern California area, the Northern California area, and the entire Island of Oahu in Hawaii. The purpose was to reach out to a diversity of Christians in the recovery movement; to see if they had experienced intimidation for their expressions and stands for the role of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in their particular ministries; and to find out if they were hungry for more information about the Christian roots of successful recovery. The upshot was this: There are folks in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Teen Challenge, Celebrate Recovery, Overcomers Outreach, Inc., Alcoholics Victorious, Alcoholics for Christ, Overcomers, and a great many new ministries like Rock Recovery, Came to Believe Retreats, Christian treatment programs, sober living houses, Cornerstone Fellowship, His Place Fellowship, Association of Christian Drug and Alcohol Counselors, CityTeam, Hope Chapels, and hundreds more who face two dilemmas: (1)Can they stand up for God in Twelve Step fellowships, church recovery groups, treatment programs, prisons, homeless shelters, government agencies, non-profit agencies, and recovery efforts. (2)Must they be at odds with one another over doctrinal concerns; criticism by atheists and agnostics and humanists; over whether Jesus is or is not mentioned in their programs and efforts; and emerging criticisms by a limited few Christian commentators who believe someone else's brand of Christianity is cult-like, heretical, or contrary to Scripture. And we believe the answer is Yes to the first point and No to the second. The love and power and forgiveness and healing and guidance that come from God, His Son, and the verses of the Bible are strong enough and important enough to overcome the power of darkness, however it is wielded or lying in wait. Sick folks in recovery need help. Sinners in recovery need help. Christians in recovery need help. So do those who are in prisons, are homeless, are having mental problems, or are simply in despair. Now let's conclude with where the recovery movement has had by far the greatest success: (1) Evangelists who offered salvation and Bible to those who suffered. (2) Rescue missions which also did this. (3)The YMCA in its earlier days of personal work by lay nondeonominational members. (4) The Salvation Army in its earlier days when its folks reached into the slums with Christian love and Bible words. (5) The Young People's Christian Endeavor Society which endeavored to bring young folks back into the church fold with confessions of Christ, conversions, Bible study, Prayer Meetings, Quiet Hour, and love and service.
These were effective in the 1800's. They laid the foundation for the founding of the Original Christian Fellowship known as Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. And the successes of all these movements far exceeded anything that medicine, churches, hospitals, or relief agencies had seen. They stood up for God, for coming to Him through Jesus Christ, and for learning about both either by revelation or by God's revealed Word.
Today, there is a strong need for reporting the facts to a community which stresses nonsense gods, higher powers, pseudo spirituality, and unbelief. Unity of purpose in serving God should not be defeated by the reluctance of the timid, the opinions of naysayers, or the differences in organizational approach. Doctrines will differ until the day Jesus Christ returns for believers. But the love of God is available now, and it should be presented to those in recovery now. And you may wish to help with the effort by looking at the new, rapidly growing International Christian Recovery Fellowship (www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com); and please do not hesitate to contact us for information and the opportunity to love and serve. In His Service, Dick B. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.dickb.com