Dick B. interviews Christian Recovery leader John S. on the December 2, 2013, episode of the "Christian Recovery Radio with Dick B." show found at:
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This morning's guest is John S. of Norco, California. John is a long-recovered Christian recovery fellowship leader. And he has been the most successful organizer and perpetuator of James Clubs in the International Christian Recovery Coalition. John attended our May 2009 conference of leaders at Mariners Church Community Center in Irvine, California. And he was among those who had met with a not-unusual barrier from a local 12 Step office trying to block the work of the James Clubs. But John plunged ahead with this effort. He held a large Christian recovery conference at his church in Norco. I have spoken there, and my son Ken has also spoken in Norco. John wrote a manual for James Clubs. And he rested his efforts on the very clear language of A.A. cofounders Bill W. and Dr. Bob that the early AAs believed the answers to their problems were in the Good Book and that they considered Jesus's Sermon on the Mount, the Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13 to be absolutely essential to their program--a program that was succeeding long before there were any Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, Big Books, War Stories, or meetings like those we know today. Bill and Bob had both said that James was their favorite. They both said that the Sermon on the Mount contained the underlying spiritual philosophy of A.A. And the early members wanted to call their Society "The James Club." In Norco, John saw local people growing in number with this concept and also expanding the number of clubs in their churches and in Norco. Today, John will tell you a little about his family, education, airplane activities, recovery efforts, Christian affiliations, and the progress of the James Club movement. John will tell you how they began, grew, expanded, and blessed those who followed the path. Take it away, John.
The thrust of John’s remarks was detailing how his James Club groups in Norco have used the Big Book, the Twelve Steps, the Bible, prayers, laying on of hands, and leading drunks to Jesus Christ—just as was done in early A.A. The interesting thing is that local clubs and A.A. leaders went to any lengths to prevent meetings where the Bible was even in the room. They barred the meetings from the directory. They attended meetings and proclaimed that the James Clubs could not do what the early AAs did and what the highly successful Cleveland Groups did. When Cleveland A.A. was organized in May, 1939, the members brought with them the Twelve Steps, the Big Book, the Oxford Group Four Absolutes, the Bible, and “most of the old program” (meaning the Akron practices of qualification, hospitalization, prayers, quoting of Scripture, and growing growing growing) – the fastest growing group in A.A. and one which surveyed and documented a 93% success rate.
When the Norco groups asked local leaders what authority they had for barring the Bible from meetings, they said they didn’t know. And they were emphatic that you couldn’t have Christian meetings.
The fact is that Dr. Bob’s Bible, for many years, was brought from the back of the room to the podium and rested there throughout the meeting. At the end, the Bible was retired to the back of the room to await the next meeting. That Bible contained inscriptions to the Akron meeting signed by Bill Wilson, Dr. Robert Smith, and A.A. Number Three (Bill D.). This fact is noted in A.A.’s own conference-approved book – DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers.
The Norco James Clubs have now grown to four in number, and the clubs themselves have consistently grown in attendance. One of the concepts followed is learning to be open-minded about those who are close-minded. And this call for unity sets an example for other groups which serve and glorify God and Jesus Christ and have Bible studies. It stands as a challenge to the ever-increasing number of “agnostica” meetings, atheist meetings, “spiritual meetings,” and higher powered meetings.