Monday, August 02, 2010

Missing the Boat on Truth Based on Hostility Toward Christians in Alcoholics Anonymous

What is truth? That's what Pontius Pilate asked.

The devil is a liar and the father of it, Jesus pointed out elsewhere, and He said of God's Word that it was truth.

Sometimes, a few Christians who oppose A.A. have become so angry, confused, frustrated, and animarted that they mount continuous web statements charging that no Christian should attend A.A., that A.A. was never Christian, that nobody can be a Christian and belong to A.A., that A.A. did not originate with Christian organizations, that the two A.A. cofounders were not given a Christian upbringing, and that the fruits of their labors in 1935 were not "of the Lord."

Sounds good to those who hate A.A., but there aren't that many. Sounds worthy of investigation to those who have never heard of, looked into, or read about real A.A. history ( Sounds pretty Christian to those who don't know their Bible. And sounds like sound advice to those who believe what they hear instead of requiring documentation for what they conclude. The hatred lingo is false and needs to be seen as such.

That's the problem. Sure, A.A. has its detractors--particularly those who gave it a lick and a promise, went back to drinking, and used A.A. as the scapegoat and excuse. Some few are Christians who quote the Bible out of context, misrepresent history, and try to frighten Christians away from or out of Alcoholics Anonymous by libeling the founders, mischaracterizing the beliefs and unbeliefs of two million members, and trying to throw modern-day AAs into a common pot--a pot that actually has tens of thousands of Jews, Protestants, Roman Catholics, folks of other Christian beliefs, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics, and hordes who are told they don't need to believe in anything all. Then, as part of the pot, there are those poor newcomers who hear that their higher power can be a rainbow, a chair, a light bulb, a rock, Somebody, Something, it, or "not-god." That's not A.A. That's nonsense!

What's the truth. Early A.A. had its origins, history, founding, original program, and astonishing successes grounded in Christian organizations and leaders of the 1800's--revivalists and evangelists, Christian Rescue Missions, YMCA lay workers, the Salvation Army, and the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. Its sucesses were grounded in the Christian upbringing of cofounders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith when they were youngsters in Vermont--attended Congregational churches and Sunday schools, were steeped in conversions and salvation, had extensive training in the Bible, and heard their share of prayer meetings, temperance meetings, conversions, and revivals. Its successes were grounded in the view of Dr. William D. Silkworth that Jesus Christ was the answer to alcoholism; the decisions of its predecessor folks like Rowland Hazard and Ebby Thacher who made decisions for Christ and its cofounder Bill Wilson who made a decision for Christ at Calvary Rescue Mission. Its successes were also grounded in the Christian and biblical teachings of the Episcopal priest, Rev. Samuel M. Shoemaker, Jr. All of these--plus the early A.A. decisions for Christ, old-fashioned prayer meetings, Bible studies, Christian devotionals, and Christian literature they read--factored in to the simple program that was founded and developed in the summer of 1935 as a Christian Fellowship. A.A.'s first three members--Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob Smith, and Bill Dotson--all believed in God, all were Christians, all had studied the Bible extensively, and all had attended Christian churches. They founded a Christian Fellowship that--in two and a half years--achieved a documented 75% success rate among the seemingly hopeless medically incurable real alcoholics who went to any lengths to be cured by the power of God.

Where does the limited, present-day hostility of a few Christian writers, and a substantial number of unbelievers, come from? If one does not know how the Adversary operates, he will never know the answer to the question. But see John 10:10. If one does not recognize the present-day drift away from God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, Christian churches, and Christian religion, he will not see that A.A. as it exists today is little different.

But the truth has been laid out above. The Christian religion espouses love of God and love of neighbor. So did early A.A., its founders, and pioneer members. When, in 1939, the doors were opened to atheists and agnostics and those of all religions and those of non-religious persuasions, the change began. But that change did not call for the hatred, the intolerance, and the fabrication of the truth that have flooded the recovery community today. In fact, two of the most important A.A. slogans have persisted today--"Love and Service" and "Love and Tolerance."

To the reader, I suggest: Don't miss the boat on truth and substitute hatred toward Christians for the real mission of both early A.A. and today's A.A.--to help the newcomer who still suffers.

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