Thursday, May 3, 2012
A.A. and Celebrate Recovery - a Response to Two Critics
There is a lengthy article by Dave Hunt and another gentleman which squarely addresses the modern day "higher power," "disease," "spirituality," and Twelve Step secularism and admiration by many a Christian organization such as Celebrate Recovery and certainly by many in the recovery community and 12 Step Fellowships. It is important, however, to remember that there is little evidence of a monolithic CR or a monolithic AA--regardless of any rules or restrictions. And to claim that one size fits all does not do justice to the varied beliefs and actions of members.
The article was sufficiently useful that I did not and do not treat it as among the handful of articles by anti-A.A. Christians who devote most of their writing to ad hominem attacks, specious reasoning, and undocumented historical claims. And that has been covered elsewhere.
But, here is the response I just sent to the authors of the Berean article. May it jolt them and others in to recognizing the differnce between "higher powered" nonsense gods that are perpetuated among the people it criticizes and the reliance on the one true living God that took place in early Akron A.A.:
The response to the article:
" Neither time nor space permits me to cover in any detail the material set forth in my 44 published titles and over 1000 articles on the History of Alcoholics Anonymous and of the Christian Recovery Movement. I am aware of occasional comments appearing on the same Google pages as mine, and a few are far from tasteful.
However, I am a Christian writer, historian, retired attorney, Bible student, and recovered alcoholic with over 26 years of continuous sobriety. My story is published on my main website www.dickb.com.
I write here to make these two or three comments about your article: 1) It properly notes the biblical departures of both Celebrate Recovery and present-day A.A. 2) It is lacking in both understanding and recital of the Christian roots of the recovery movement and A.A. (Evangelists like Moody, Meyer, Folger; YMCA brethren in the 1860's on; Gospel Rescue Missions; Salvation Army; and United Christian Endeavor Society. 3) It also fails to note the substantial Christian upbringing of both Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith and William Griffith Wilson--factual material either disdained, ignored, or distorted by practically every recovery author. However, see my titles: Dr. Bob of Alcoholics Anonymous (www.dickb.com/drbobofaa.shtml) and The Conversion of Bill W. (www.dickb.com/conversion.shtml). 4) It fails to note that all the early Akron AAs believed in God, accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, studied the Bible, held old fashioned prayer meetings, observed the "Quiet Hour," and read Christian literature and devotionals. They called themselves a "Christian Fellowship." They stated to a man that they had been cured by the power of God. And their first three members (Christians and Bible students all) attained sobriety by turning to God, were instantly healed when that was done, and spent the rest of their lives helping other alcoholics recover.
All this action by the first three AAs--and by those who followed their path over the next three years--occurred when there were no Twelve Steps, no Twelve Traditions, no Big Books, no drunkalogs, and no meetings as folks know them today.
A major change occured in the A.A. Society itself when Bill Wilson fashioned his own program primarily from Oxford Group ideas with Rev. Sam Shoemaker's help and when Wilson succumbed to a major compromise in 1939--just before the Big Book went to print. Bill Wilson quite clearly took God out of the Steps. And this is documented.
There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of alcoholics and addicts like myself who are Christians, who got sober in A.A., who relied on God for deliverance, and who were or became new men and women in Christ at and after their complete recovery.
To close, I sincerely hope you will look at our International Christian Recovery Coalition (www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com) which highlights these points and stresses the role that God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible played in recovery and in early A.A. We strongly hope to see "First Century Christianity"--that of the Book of Acts, which was practiced by early AAs--restored to the history chronicles and recovery programs today regardless of where the suffering alcoholics, addicts, and affected others find themselves at the beginning of their march to delvierance. In His Service, Richard G. Burns, Executive Director. firstname.lastname@example.org; 808 874 4876