Saturday, April 21, 2012

Alcoholics Anonymous and the Oxford Group: An Inquiry and Response

Today, a divinity student wrote about the Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous. She said she was researching the relationship of the Oxford Group to Alcoholics Anonymous. She said she had previously owned two of my relevant Oxford Group books but had passed them along to friends who had drinking problems. She cited two or three books she did have, but asked how she could obtain access to my materials on the subject.

I had pointed out to her that she had not cited Oxford Group books like Garth Lean’s Frank Buchman a Life, Walter’s Soul Surgery, Shoemaker’s Children of the Second Birth, Twice Born Ministers, Realizing Religion, Confident Faith, and the Conversion of the Church. And I also pointed her to several of my important books on the Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous including those on Shoemaker and A.A. like New Light on Alcoholism, Courage to Change, and Good Morning: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.

My son Ken then wrote the following two letters as to how she could track down the needed Oxford Group materials. His responses may be helpful for others who are researching the Christian roots of the Twelve Steps and the Oxford Group and Rev. Shoemaker (as an A.A. cofounder) whose writings impacted on Bill Wilson’s 1939 Big Book:

Here are Ken’s two supplementary responses:

Aloha, Katie!

Dick B.’s son, Ken, here.

A number of my dad’s books are available in eBook form, including The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous.

Here, for example, is that book in Kindle format available at

In addition, 29 of my dad’s titles, including The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, are available in 6” x 9” format through with the “Look Inside” feature which allows partial searching:

In addition, those same 29 books are available for partial searching through Google Books:

(I used “Paradise Research Publications” as the search term rather than “Dick B.”)

Another option is to use the search capabilities available on the left-hand navigation bar of the front page of the Web site. You can search my dad’s Web site (which will turn up many articles my dad has written about the Oxford Group). You can also search the 29 books currently in Print-On-Demand format.

You can also check the “Articles” page which gives both articles and other Web sites where Dick B. articles are posted:

You can search individual titles by accessing through the “Titles” page:

New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, has a great deal about the Oxford Group:

You can use the “Search Books” powered by Google capability near the top of the page to search it. (You can also search this book using the “Look Inside” feature and search it using Google Books. (It is not yet available in eBook format.)

You can find a seven-part series of audio talks on the Oxford Group and a four-part series of audio talks on Sam Shoemaker here:

After you have reviewed the resources above, if you still need help, please give us a call:

Dick B.: 1-808-874-4876

Ken B.: 1-808-276-4945

Dick B.’s son, Ken

Aloha, Katie!

I see from my dad's message below that he is now up and at 'em. (Hawaii is six hours earlier than Eastern time.)

I would like to add a couple of clarifications to my dad's comments below.

1. The correct title for the second book my dad listed below by Dick B. and Ken B. is:

Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed. (2010).

This is a vitally-important work which brings together much of the key information from previous books, articles, and talks, and adds new research.

(Please see "Major Christian Recovery Resource #3" in the center column of the front page for more information.)

2. The Upper Room was and is a Methodist periodical, not a book.

3. I hope you will "break the mold" of people writing about "the Oxford Group" by discussing the name they themselves used from the earliest days: "A First Century Christian Fellowship." This name was still actively being used when Dr. Bob began participating about January 1933 and when Bill W. began participating around December 1934. The official name of the organization became "Moral Re-Armament" in 1938, by which time Bill W. and his wife Lois had already been "sort of kicked out" of it in August 1937.

We actively encourage and support godly efforts to make known the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early A.A.'s astonishing successes. (Early A.A. claimed an overall success rate of 75%; early Cleveland A.A., founded by Dr. Bob's sponsee Clarence S., had a documented success rate of 93% with no relapses!)

At least one medical doctor declared that "real" alcoholics like Bill W. were "100% hopeless apart from Divine help." Dr. Silkworth declared that alcoholics like Bill W. were "medically incurable.”

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