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Do you know how many Christian organizations influenced the ideas, principles, and practices of the AA of Akron Christian Fellowship founded in 1935?
Do you know the details of the Christian upbringing of A.A. cofounders Dr. Robert H. Smith and Bill Wilson as youngsters in Vermont–the church life of their parents, the Congregational churches and Sunday schools they attended, the emphasis on salvation and the truth of the Word of God these Congregational churches promulgated?
Do you know how frequently AA Cofounders Robert H. Smith and Bill Wilson heard about The Great Awakening of 1875 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont; how often they were involved in conversion and revival and temperance meetings; how deep were their connections with the Young Men’s Christian Association; how they learned that the great Christian evangelists like Dwight Moody, Ira Sankey, F.B. Meyer, Allen Folger, and others visited the boyhood arenas of Bill Wilson and Bob Smith in Vermont and healed drunks by the power of God.
Do you know of the intense Christian training that Robert H. Smith received at St. Johnsbury Academy and William G. Wilson received at Burr and Burton Academy.
Do you know that each AA cofounder attended daily chapel at the academies, was required to attend weekly Congregational church services, and studied the Bible at their academies.
Do you know the role played by the Young Men’s Christian Association in the academies the cofounders attended.
Do you know that Bill Wilson took a four year Bible study course at the Christian academy he attended in his high school years.
Do you know the Christian program of United Christian Endeavor Society (in which Dr. Bob was active as a youngster)–a program that involved conversion meetings, prayer meetings, Bible study meetings, Quiet Hour, and reading of Christian literature.
Do you know how all the foregoing facts have simply been ignored or suppressed by those writing biographies and histories of A.A. – to the point that the latest movie “Bill W.” now showing in California and many other places just leaves out most if not all the Christian principles and practices of early AA in Akron and all of Bill’s involvement with Dr. Silkworth and Jesus Christ, Ebby Thacher and Jesus Christ, the surrenders to Jesus Christ at Calvary Mission, the Oxford Group meetings at Calvary Church, and participation in evangelical marches by Shoemaker’s parishioners from the church to Madison Square to witness.
Do you know that each of the first three AAs believed in God, was or became a Christian, and studied the Bible before any got sober.
Do you know that early AA had no Steps, no Traditions, no Big Book, no drunkalogs, and no meetings as we know them today. Others later spoke of some supposed “six steps,” but Bill many times declared there was no agreement on them as a program, or consistent way of applying them, and therefore called them “word of mouth” ideas.
Do you know that every early AA professed his belief in God and was required to believe on Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9).
Do you know that it wasn’t until the Spring of 1939–four years after AA was founded–that Bill Wilson’s compromise by allowing or adding to the Big Book manuscript “one’s own conception of “a” god, some “higher power,” and some vague light bulb or door or table or Santa Claus as these weird expressions and nonsensical ideas began their intrusion into the recovery movement and later A.A.
Do you know how many Christians out of the two million AA members today are participating in Alcoholics Anonymous, getting cured by the power of God, praying, becoming children of the one true living God, studying the Bible, and witnessing to others there are today.
Do you think that the enormous and astonishing successes of early A.A. were the product of a belief in a light bulb, the Big Dipper, the Great Pumpkin, a chair, a table, a door knob.
In fact, do you ever hear about A.A.’s Christian roots, Christian fellowship, history, principles and practices as summarized on page 131 of DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers.
Awake thou that sleepest, and Christ shall give you light. The AA program did not foment out of free masonry, adultery, LSD, spiritualism, niacin, greed, and all the other detours anti-AA zealots are shouting about today. These sidetracks (or “carnal Christian” walks after the flesh) were mostly the exclusive path taken by Bill Wilson—not by the A.A. fellowship or its program. They simply had no influence and are irrelevant to each and every part of the actual 12 Step fellowship history. However, integrity in dealing with history may well require mention of Bill’s shortcomings and of the changes that took place in A.A. just before its Big Book went to press in 1939.
See The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed., 2010. www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com, and the scores of Christian Recovery videos and audios on www.ChristianRecoveryRadio.com.