Nothing could be more clearly and specifically documented as we complete 20 years of research, investigaton, study, and visits to A.A. historical locations and archives than this simple statement: Alcoholics Anonymous had its origins in Christianity. Even clear, its basic ideas came from their study and efforts in the Bible.
In fact, the early A.A. Christian Fellowship was very much shaped by and developed from such well-known Christian organizations of the 1850's as the Vermont Congregational Churches, Young People's Christian Endeavor Society, Evangelists and revivalists (such as Dwight L. Moody, F. B. Meyer, Ira Sankey, Bill Sunday, and John Gough), the YMCA lay workers of that period, the rescue missions, and the Salvation Army. For reasons not much understood, A.A., its historians, and its non-AA writers have steered clear of this history--even repudiated it. But see www.dickb.com/drbobofaa.shtml and www.dickb.com/conversion.shtml
The Alcoholics Anonymous Christian roots begin as described. But they had a specific impact and training when it came to A.A.'s two co-founders to be, Robert H. Smith and William G. Wilson. These men were born and raised by practicing Christian femilies. They attended Congregational Churches and Sunday Schools. They were much involved in the YMCA. At their Academies (St. Johnsbury and Burr and Burton), each co-founder-to-be attended required daily chapel, weekly church services and Bible studies. Dr. Bob was active in Christian Endeavor founded in 1881, and Bill Wilson not only studied Bible with his grandfather Griffith and friend Mark Whalon but took a four year Bible study course at Burr and Burton Academy. We have examined the Sunday school and church sermons and literature at the Congregational Churches where Bill and Bob were raised and attended. And it is clear that salvation and the Word of God were paramount in the teachings.
Later, of course, Bill Wilson went to the altar at Calvary Rescue Mission in New York and made a decision for Jesus Christ--just as his sponsor Ebby Thacher had done, and just as his psychiatrist William D. Silkworth had recommended, in telling Bill that Jesus Christ could cure him of his alcoholism.
But two or three insignificant Christian writers of today (seemingly well financed in their anti-A.A. diatribes) persistently publish material such as the following on their websites. And here is the nature of their problem and misrepresentations:
A typical anti-AA piece of nosense that disturbs Christian AAs and historians is the following statement by two authors:
"The authors suggest that AA did not originate in Christianity since it has never required members to believe in Christ crucified."
Misleading and erroneous on its face, the statement ignores the well documented origins of A.A. in the rescue missions, YMCA, evangelists, Salvation Army, and Christian Endeavor. Also the "requirement" in early A.A. that one accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior--just as both co-founders had done.
Are these gross fabrications worthy of comment and repudiation? The answer is "yes." And the reasons are that there is an abundance of anti-AA writing today ranging from the charges of atheists, the objections of humanists, the detours of New Thought and New Age proponents, the resentments of founders of large organizations like Celebrate Recovery, and A.A. lambasters like Agent Orange and Stinkin Thinkin websites.
Only God knows who and who is not a Christian--certainly not this diverse, minority of naysayers who cannot and do not document their charges leveled seemingly at anyone and everyone who sets foot in an A.A. room and timidly peeps that he or she is a Christian, a follower of Jesus, a believer in God, or a student of the Bible.
The Bible lays down some basic principles such as those found in John 3:16, John 14:6,Acts 4:12, and Romans 10:9. In fact, the Book of Acts is filled with accounts of how people became born again of the spirit of God upon hearing and believing the words spoken by the Apostles Paul, Peter, James, and John.
For a good study of the real facts about A.A.'s Christian origins, see Dick B. and Ken B. "The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide," 3rd ed., 2010 www.dickb.com/Christian-Recover-Guide.shtml; and our class "Introductory Foundations for Christian Recovery" www.dickb.com/IFCR-Class.shtml.