Sunday, June 06, 2010

Studying the Christian Origins of the Recovery Movements

There is a new class designed to introduce all recovering Christians and Christian leaders to a fact they barely seem to know today. This class is "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery." The class consists of 4 DVD's, an instructor guide, a student guide, and "The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide," 3rd ed., 2010. It is described on my main website And it is described on the International Christian Recovery Coalition website It is available now. It can be obtained now. And you can have your questions answered by Ken B. at 808 276 4945.

Why study the Christian roots of the recovery movement? Isn't it enough to study A.A.'s Big Book, "take" A.A.'s Twelve Steps, participate in a 12 Step Fellowship and go to church of your choice? Isn't it enough to get one of the four "recovery" Bibles and either read through them or have them taught by your counselor, treatment program, therapist, Christ-centered group? Isn't it enough just to list the Twelve Steps and then list next to each Step the Bible verse or verses which seem relevant to the Steps? These things may have value for a Christian seeking recovery. But, unless he or she learns the depths of God's love, promises, and salvation, and the tools He provides for revelation, the abundant life, and eternal life, and the obedience, believing, and renewed mind walk by the spirit that go with Christian victory, the alcoholic or addict is being short-changed even though he is espousing "Christian" treatment or recovery .

Answer: The Bible states that God wants all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. In early Akron A.A., every member was required to profess belief in God; and Hebrews 11:6 provided a good reason and instruction for that. Every member was required to become born again of God's spirit by confessing Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. And Romans 10:9 provided good reason and instruction for that. Every member was "qualified" to make sure he was serious and determined to quit forever. Almost every member was initially hospitalized for a few days to prevent seizures, DT's, and other withdrawal dangers. Every member surrendered to God, accepted Christ, and received a Bible as an instruction guide. Every member heard, studied, and learned the portions of the Bible considered "absolutely essential"--the Book of James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians 13. Every member observed a quiet time with God that involved prayer, Bible reading, seeking God's guidance, and often listening to Dr. Bob's wife Anne Smith's sharing from her spiritual journal. And, of course, every member was urged to get busy and help others get well by the same means. There were fourteen practices. They were summarized in seven points. And they produced a documented 75% success rate by November, 1937. Reliance on God for help was the vital component because all newcomers had admitted they couldn't manage their own lives or be relieved of their alcoholism by themselves. All had concluded that they were "medically incurable" and couldn't be helped by any human power. And all decided to seek God's help because there was no other effective alternative.

Why did this work? It worked because the ingredients of recovery had been in the works and succeeding long before there was an A.A., a Big Book, Twelve Steps, drunkalogs, or meetings. And A.A.'s earliest members had been exposed to those ingredients and needed to pick up the spiritual tools necessary to apply them. But without this knowledge, A.A. today, as well as other Christian and secular approaches, have become an easy target of the devil, of a well-intentioned few Christians who have no knowledge of the A.A. program in Akron or of the religious background of the first three AAs, and AAs themselves who have allowed the publication of materials today that tell them they need not believe anything at all in order to be in A.A. And recover?????

Here's what the "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" Class adds to the foregoing included, documented details. It lays out the century of Christian recovery success before A.A. began. It introduces the nature and successes of seven different Christian organizations or people who heavily influenced recovery.

In the next few days, we will discuss each of the seven organizations--one by one. We will summarize what each brought to the Christian recovery table. We will provide you with the excellent books and materials which can be purchased or found in any library or bookstore and that were written by people who were there.

The seven organizations or people to be discussed are: (1) The Evangelists and Revivalists like Dwight L. Moody and Alan Folger. (2) The rescue missions like those run by Jerry McAuley at the Water Street Mission, by S.H. Hadley (his successor), and by the Episcopal Church at Calvary Mission where Bill Wilson himself was converted to Christ and shortly healed by the power of God. (3) The YMCA which spurred the Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury and brought salvation and the truth of the Word to the fore in Vermont and among its people. (4) The Salvation Army which was founded to bring people to Christ, teach them the Word, and then encourage them to join "God's Army" and help other derelicts and drunkards be saved and made whole. (5) The Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor which rose to a membership of over 4 million and laid out a practical program of confession of Christ, prayer meetings, conversion meetings, Bible study meetings, the Quiet Hour, and love and service that were seemingly translated to Dr. Bob and to form the original Akron program. (6) The Oxford Group founded as "A First Century Christian Fellowship" which stressed its view of life changing: Sin is the problem. Jesus Christ is the cure. And the result is a miracle. Bible study, prayer, quiet time, restitution, and many of the ideas that Bill Wilson was to incorporate in his steps and Big Book were adopted from this group. (7) Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. His Calvary Episcopal Church ran the Calvary Mission where Bill Wilson and his "sponsor" Ebby Thacher were converted to Christ. And then Sam Shoemaker befriended Bill, taught him the Oxford Group ideas, and helped him write the Twelve Steps and Big Book ideas published in 1939. Bill called Shoemaker a "Cofounder of A.A."

All seven of these elements brought enormous change to the previously "medically incurable" alcoholic; brought thousands to Christ; taught them the Bible; inspired their prayer meetingss; observed Quiet Time to obtain God's guidance; read Christian literature; and emphasized the vital importance of serving God and others by witnessing.

We will give you a taste of each organization, the place to look for accurate details, the work we have done on each, and how a knowledge of that organization's successful recovery work by Christian means wrought a change in man's view of what he couldn't do, others couldn't do, but God could and did do for the drunkard, the derelict, and the truly "lost" souls. And we believe you will want to acquire, utilize, and pass on to others the materials in our "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" Class.; to learn and pass along these treasures of recovery.

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