Originally, Alcoholics Anonymous was a Christian Fellowship. Dr. Bob said so. And a recent A.A. publication "Marking: Your Archives Interchange" also said so. The last major talks of our two co-founders make that clear in The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks (General Service Conference-approved Pamphlet P-53), at pages 13, 14, 30.
On page 30, in his last major talk, Bill Wilson is quoted as saying about Dr. Bob:" He reminded us that most of us were practicing Christians. Then he asked, 'What would the Master have thought?'"
In short, the standards for salvation, sanity, sobriety, and helping others were those of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, every early A.A. was required to profess a belief in God--Almighty God, the Creator. Every early A.A. was required to establish his relationship with God by accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior (it was called their "real surrender").
Let me digress and quote a comment I recently put on Facebook in answer to a man who thought, today, that he could believe in whatever he wished:
"I have been delighted with the interaction with those posting. I have no interest in controversy. But I do put forth facts--particularly those that come from A.A. history or A.A. Conference-approved literature--to the end that our fellowship will be blessed to see what A.A. is, was, and can be. But this all starts with the fact that A.A. is what it is!
Thus I quoted Dr. Bob's statement on page 144... of "DR. BOB and the Good-Oldimers" about Matthew 6:33--Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness . . ." Dr. Bob explained to Clarence Snyder that the slogan "First things First" came directly from this verse in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7).
More on the posts in a moment. But that information reflects what A.A. itself recently published--that early A.A. was "a Christian fellowship" ("DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers," 118) with a Christian perspective that was founded on attaining sobriety with needed belief in God and coming to Him through Jesus Christ.
Things have changed in A.A. publications; and the beliefs and unbeliefs of fellowship members today vary widely. But that fact neither makes history irrelevant nor a mandate to believe something or nothing at all. Rob's statement about what people call God needs to be viewed in that way. More to come."
People came to early Christian AA not because they were Christians nor because they thought it was a church. They came because they had hit their bottom when it came to booze. They were licked. Their lives were in shambles. They asked God to manage their lives. And they didn't want to be drunkards any longer. They were tired of the misery that excessive, uncontrolled drinking had brought into their lives.
Fortunately, for those who were already Christians, the inebrietes grabbed the welcoming hand of Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (Dr. Bob) who qualified them as being drunkards, as being serious about quitting, and as being willing to go to any lengths to end the misery that accompanied alcoholism. That done, Dr. Bob hospitalized them--every one. He sedated them to avoid seizures, DT's and death. He spent hours talking to each one in the hospital. The only literature in the room was a Bible. And Dr. Bob read that Bible to each new person almost every single day. At the end of this detoxing period, Bob made sure that each believed in God. When he received that assurance, he required each patient to get out of bed, get down on his knees, and pray with Dr. Bob. In that prayer, each accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Then Dr. Bob handed the man a Bible and told him to go out and help others!