How to best counsel someone with a problem, such as drunkenness is being wrestled with in the marketplace of ideas. Addressing the question of whether Christians should attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or treatment centers, Wayne Jackson challenges the idea of what he calls a “hybrid religio/secular organism” such as AA. He’s concerned that, although the goal of the programs may be noble, they dilute the Word of God and don’t fully help people.
Early on, AA had a schism.
In 1921, a Lutheran minister founded A First Century Christian Fellowship, which was later called the Oxford Group.
The minister summed up the Oxford Group’s philosophy:
- All people are sinners
- All sinners can be changed
- Confession is a prerequisite to change
- The change can access God directly
- Miracles are again possible
- The change must change others
AA co-founder Bill Wilson joined The Oxford Group and learned their teachings but later broke away. These teachings influenced the structure of AA and helped form the foundation of the 12-step program.
The schism: AA subscribes to the idea “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” The Oxford Group: The Biblical view that the King of King and Lord of Lords can break the chains and set you free of any bondage holding you captive. Expedia reports the differing views: “In AA, the bondage of an addictive disease cannot be cured, while the Oxford Group stressed the possibility of complete victory over sin.”
Fidelity to scriptures isn’t a concern that started in the 20th century with counseling people. During the early years of the church, the apostle Paul and company toured the churches to make sure they were in line with God’s Word. In Sunday school class, when I saw a diagram of the route the apostles took, noticing the guys were traveling away from Crete, I remarked that they must have been running from the Cyclops. I was mistaken. The Cyclops hung out in Sicily. He liked Sicilian pizza. That’s one thing we have in common.
In the 20th century, churches in America, liberal churches, lost fidelity to scriptures. To them, the Word of God didn’t mean the Word of God, but was subject to human ideas that contradicted God. My mother used to call these churches “social clubs.”
While the traditional churches in America were preoccupied with fighting liberalism in the church, they let secular modern psychology infiltrate their ranks. For people who came to the church with problems, churches took on a policy of defer and refer to the modern mental health menagerie.
Don’t let me tell you where to go (some people have told me where to go) to church for counseling and for fellowship with true believers and communion with God. Study the Bible and learn for yourself and find a church that most closely matches scripture. This is a trend that Martin Luther started with the Reformation.
It’s important not to mix worldly beliefs that contradict scripture in counseling and in other matters. Sure, they may have in common the goal to help people. But some things just don’t mix. I wouldn’t hang out with the Cyclops just because with both like Sicilian pizza.
There are counseling programs out there that are in sync with scripture. One national one is Celebrate Recovery. It uses the 12-step program and matches each step with scripture. It seems to follow the philosophy of the Oxford Group. http://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php/about-us/twelve-steps
The closest Celebrate Recovery program from lower Bucks County, PA is in Ewing, NJ. Visit the link above to find Celebrate Recovery locations in your area as well as to learn more about the program.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
-2nd Timothy 3: 16-17