Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christian Recovery Movement Growing In Service

There are many Christian recovery treatment programs, Christian recovery fellowships, Christian recovery websites, Christian recovery counseling groups, Christian sober living houses, and now a new and important Christian recovery resource--the worldwide movement of International Christian Recovery Coalition to establish Christian Recovery Resource Centers throughout the world.

It is the initial contact with the newcomer that poses the problem. How do you qualify him as an alcoholic or addict? How do you make sure he wants to quit permanently rather than merely escape his current disaster? How can you persuade him that he must go to any lengths to refrain from drinking or using drugs, resist temptation, stay away from slippery places and slippery people, and establish a new kind of life that doesn't require alcohol or addictive drugs for recovery, victory, a successful life, peace, escape from shame or guilt, enable him to decide what he should do and where he should go?

In the 1800's, things got off to a good start. The rescue missions, evangelists and their revivals, YMCA lay people, and Salvation Army workers were able to deal with derelicts, drunks, despondent homeless, and criminals and lead them to Jesus Christ and salvation and a new status as a child of the living and true God. The tools were simple. There was usually a lay person who went straight to the streets or the pools of despair. There was the offer of salvation through making Jesus Christ Lord and Savior. There were endless accounts of those who accepted Christ, gave up their drinking and old lives for God, and lived useful Christian lives thereafter.

A.A.'s cofounders both grew up in Vermont. They both had a Christian upbringing. They both were exposed to the Christian revivals, conversions, victories, and healing. They both dug into the Bible for spiritual understanding and growth. And they both remembered the resources when their lives became the worst of the worst.
And they both returned to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Bible; prayed for help; and received full cures. And that was the beginning of the unique approach of the Alcoholics Anonymous they founded in 1935 as a Christian Fellowship. In fact, for a decade, perhaps, the simple Christian formula continued in the Midwest and survived--permanent abstinence, surrender to God, obedience to His will, growth through Bible and prayer and guidance, and helping others. That was a prototype of the victorious efforts they saw in their Vermont youth.

Then Alcoholics Anonymous itself changed. It opened its doors to atheists and agnostics, people who were not of the Christian faith, and later people who began to invent their own nonsense gods and call them higher powers. The Christians were still there in large numbers, but the meetings and literature began to tout the idea of choosing one's own conception of a god; becoming "spiritual, but not religious;" and reframing the Society so that even its Twelve Steps were changed to eliminate Almighty God. The Christians were still there, but there was criticism of them if they spoke of God, Jesus, the Bible, or religion. There were even attempts to ostracize them if they studied the Bible or Christian literature--even though the early AAs had done exactly that.

But perhaps a decade and a half ago, a new wind began blowing. It blew once again in the direction of God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. It was almost a grass roots movement where Alcoholics Anonymous members themselves began to regain their backbones. Some formed non-Alcoholics Anonymous Christian groups. Some formed such groups but called them "bridge groups." Some turned to Christian fellowships developed in or with their churches. "Recovery" Bibles became the rage. Churches began having recovery pastors and pastoral recovery leaders. Large organizations like YWAM, Teen Challenge, Overcomers Outreach, Inc., Alcoholics Victorious, and others attracted alcoholics and addicts to Christian recovery with or without the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps. There was a rebirth of Christian intervention, counseling, treatment programs, rehabs, fellowships, church groups, and sober living.

And that is exactly what we see today. That also is exactly what the International Christian Recovery Coalition is spawning. It encourages A.A. Friendly, Bible Friendly, Prayer Friendly, History Friendly conferences, seminars, study groups, fellowships, and meetings. And they are growing--rapidly.

This has been one of the major reasons for the establishment of the new program of Christian Recovery Resource Centers which can help the addict or alcoholic from the very beginning of his recovery effort to seek, find, and join Christian recovery programs.

God Bless, Dick B.;

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