Alcoholics Anonymous: The Cult Religion Of AA  -  AA Not For Christians

Christians and AA. What about this question. The below is a paper compiled from a number of sources some years ago for the purpose of making possible an informed answer to that question. Originally done as a ministry resource to be used as a handout for a Christian 'Bible-Based' drug and alcohol ministry. Basically a bible study. It was named 'Leave It At The Cross'. Many coming through the doors had been involved with AA, but had no knowledge of the AA organization itself. The paper below was put together to address that issue. A number of sources were utilized to gather the needed information to provide some background on the origination of AA along with a general overview. The result is entirely a compilation of quotations from the various sources, arranged under subtitles, with added scripture verses. Posted here in original form.

"Bill felt it would be unwise for AA as a fellowship to have an allegiance to any one religious sect. He felt AA’s usefulness was worldwide, and contained spiritual principles that members of any and every religion could accept, including the Eastern religions"



Come one.....come all

Without a doubt, the most widely recommended "therapy" for people struggling with life (including various forms of "addictions," many "mental illnesses." and conditions such as "codependency") is a recovery group that employs a Twelve-Step program. The original Twelve-Step recovery group is, of course, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which was founded in 1935. Today there are thousands of recovery groups modeled after AA. Over the years the "Christian" psychiatrists Frank Minirth and Paul Meier have specifically placed their stamp of approval on the Narcotics Anonymous, Codependents Anonymous, National Association for Children of Alcoholics, Overcomers Outreach, Overeaters Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Incest Survivors Anonymous, Adult Children Anonymous, Al-Atot, Alcoholics Victorious, Bulimics/Anorexics Anonymous, Child Abusers Anonymous, Codependents of Sex Addicts, Fundamentalists Anonymous, Parents Anonymous, Pills Anonymous, Sex Addicts 'Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex and Love Anonymous, Shoplifters Anonymous, Smokers Anonymous, Spenders Anonymous, Victims of Incest Can emerge, and Workaholic Anonymous.  [2]

"In the beginning"....Bill.....

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, originally written by Bill Wilson, came from his own personal experience and world view. Step One, "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable," expresses the relief he experienced when his doctor convinced him that his heavy drinking was caused by an "allergy" over which he was powerless. Thus, when Wilson completed his drying out treatment, he thought his problem was solved. He had been relieved of guilt for moral failure and had been diagnosed as having a disease. The cure was simple. Just don't take another drink. Nevertheless, his confidence in his newly found sobriety did not last long. In spite of his belief that his excessive drinking was not his fault, but rather due to an "allergy", Wilson felt doomed.  [1]

During this bleak time Wilson received a phone call from an "old drinking buddy", Ebby Thatcher. They hadn't seen each each other for five years and Thatcher seemed like a new man. When Wilson asked him why he wasn't drinking and why he seemed so different, Thatcher replied, "I've got religion." He told Wilson that when he had prayed God had released him from the desire to drink and filled him with "peace of mind and happiness of a kind he had not known for years, Wilson was uncomfortable with Thatcher's testimony. Yet he desired Thatcher's freedom from alcohol. Wilson drank for several more days until he reached a point of great agony and hopelessness (the full intensity of step One). He then returned to the hospital tor detoxification treatment.  [2]

Wilson's Conversion

Wilson's religious experience occurred at the hospital. He deeply desired the sobriety his friend had, but Wilson still "gagged badly on the notion of a Power greater than myself". Up to the last moment Wilson resisted the idea of God. Nevertheless, at this extreme point of agony, alone in his room, he cried out, "If there is a God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything." Because Wilson believed he was helplessly afflicted by a dread disease, he cried out to God as a helpless victim, not as a sinner. He had already been absolved from guilt through the doctor's allergy theory. Thus he approached God from the helpless stance of a victim, suffering the agony of his affliction, and commanded God to show Himself. Here is Wilson's description of his experience: "Suddenly, my room blazed with an indescribably white light. I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description. Every joy I had known was pale by comparison. The light, the ecstasy - I was conscious of nothing else for a time. He saw an internal vision of a mountain with a clean wind blowing through him. He sensed a great peace and was "acutely conscious of a Presence which seemed like a veritable sea of living spirit." He thought, "This must be the great reality. The God of the preachers."  [1]

(And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 2 Cor. 11:14)

Satan can appear as an angel of light and give guidance that may sound right because it may be close to the truth or contain elements of truth - A discerning Christian would avoid any guidance that comes through occult methods.  [3]

A "shaky" start.....

The experience had a profound effect on Wilson. From that point on, he believed in the existence of God and he stopped drinking alcohol. However, at no time in his life (to our knowledge) did Bill Wilson ever place his faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. In addition, rather than turning to the Bible to explain more about God, he turned to William James' book, 'The Varieties of Religious Experience'. James was a philosopher-psychologist (1842-1910) who was intrigued with mystical-existential experiences. He believed that people from all religions had had virtually identical experiences in which the person becomes one with the Absolute (God, as we understand Him). The official AA biography of Wilson says: James gave Bill the material he needed to understand what had just happened to him - and gave it to him in a way that was acceptable to Bill. Bill Wilson, the alcoholic, now had his spiritual experience ratified by a Harvard professor, called by some the father of American psychology!

It is important to note that Wilson's faith system was not based on Jesus Christ and Him crucified; nor is there any mention of Jesus Christ being the Savior from his sin. Both he and Bob Smith (co-founder of AA) embraced and promoted a variety of spiritual experiences, which included practicing spiritualism and conversing with the dead (which the Bible forbids,) and being heavily involved in seances. Wilson also acted as a medium or channeler. It was while involved in these types of religious experiences, not Biblical Christianity, that Wilson developed his Twelve Steps.  [2]

"The legacy of AA. Bill Wilson and his close friend, Bob Smith, were both heavily involved in the occult even before they conceived of AA. Nor did that involvement cease after AA's founding."  [4]

(For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 3:11)

He got it where?

The official AA biography of Wilson reveals, without embarrassment, that for years after AA's founding regular seances were still being held in the Wilsons' home and other psychic activities were being pursued, including consulting the Ouija board." Bill would lie down on the couch. He would "get" these things [from the spirit world] ...every week or so. Each time, certain people [demons impersonating the dead] would come "in... long sentences, word by word would come through.., [in 1938] as he started to write [the AA manual], he asked for guidance..."

"...The words began tumbling out with astonishing speed. He completed the first draft in about half an hour... Numbering the new steps ... they added up to twelve - a symbolic number; he thought of the Twelve apostles, and soon became convinced that the Society should have twelve steps." (Quoted in Occult Invasion by Dave Hunt pp.297-298)

So it was through mediumship that Wilson received the manual for Alcoholics Anonymous from the demonic world.  [4]

Wilson was accustomed to asking for guidance and then stilling his mind to be open to the spiritual world, which for him involved various so-called departed spirits. Wilson does not identify any specific entity related to the original writing of the Twelve Steps, but he does give credit to the spirit of a departed bishop when he was writing the manuscript for Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, which constitutes Wilson's commentary on how all of the 12 Steps and Traditions are to be understood, interpreted, and practiced.  [3]

The official biography of Bill Wilson says, "One of Bill's persistent fascinations and involvements was with psychic phenomena." It speaks of his "belief in clairvoyance and other extrasensory manifestations" and in his own psychic ability. This was not a mere past-time, it was a passion directly related to AA. The manner in which Wilson would receive messages not of his own making was definitely channeling. The records of these sessions, referred to as "Spook Files," have been closed to public inspection.  [3]

Tim Stafford sums up Bill Wilson's religious life well when he wrote: "Though he was close to Christians for the rest of his life, and once took a year of instruction in the Catholic faith ...he never could reconcile himself to any orthodox expression of faith. His continuing religious search led him to LSD and spiritualist experiments.  [2]

(A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Matt. 7:18)

God's Word ...or... the Big Book...?

"One problem that any Christian will have with Alcoholics Anonymous is the organization's abandoning of the Bible. The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, is their new Bible. Some members claim to still use the Bible; I sometimes hear a bit of lip service to the Bible like, "Keep the Big Book next to the Good Book," but you won't see a Bible at a meeting, and you won't hear it quoted. Everybody is carrying the Big Book, and all readings come from it or from a similar book of daily meditations, also written by Bill Wilson and other members of AA. In addition, AA has essentially abandoned Jesus Christ. The AA faithful believe that Bill Wilson is superior to Jesus Christ when it comes to dealing with alcoholism, and you will hear Bill Wilson quoted a hundred times more often Than Jesus Christ. (As a matter of fact, I can't really remember the last time I heard Jesus Christ quoted in an AA or NA meeting...).

In fact, reading aloud from the Bible at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is usually forbidden. The Bible is considered "outside literature". Reading aloud at meetings from anything but A.A. "Council Approved" (and A.A.-published) literature is forbidden. [The A.A. library of books like Twelve Traditions", "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age", "PASS IT ON", "As Bill Sees It", and "The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill".]

The AA Big Book does not contain the word "Jesus" anywhere, not even once. Bill Wilson raves constantly about "God", but doesn't talk about Jesus Christ at all. There is one and only one mention of "Christ" in the book, and it is Bill Wilson's statement that before his hallucinatory experience on belladonna, his "spiritual experience," he didn't have much use for Christ:

"With ministers, and the world's religions, I parted right there. When they talked of a God personal to me, who was love. superhuman strength and direction, I became irritated and my mind snapped shut against such a theory. To Christ I conceded the certainty of a great man, not too closely followed by those who claimed Him. His moral teaching — most excellent. For myself, I had adopted those parts which seemed convenient and not too difficult; the rest I disregarded." [The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 1, Bill's Story, pages 10-11.)

Apparently, Bill continued to disregard a lot of that stuff even after he "saw the light." or saw "the God of the preachers", because Bill never mentioned Jesus or Christ again, not anywhere in the Big Book. The word "God" appears in ...the Big Book 106 times ...but there is no mention of "Jesus Christ", not one. Alcoholics Anonymous is not a Christian religion, no matter what some members say.

It is a religion all right, in spite of the denials of the members who claim that it is only a "spiritual program". AA believes in and practices the teachings of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, another man who had little use for Jesus Christ, preferring his own beliefs and teachings to those of Jesus. In spite of that fact that Bill Wilson tried to hide the strong connections between Frank Buchman and AA, Buchman's Oxford Group got two mentions in the Big Book, while Christ got only one."

"For that matter, when you consider the fact that Jesus's first miracle was changing water into wine at a wedding party there might be a real problem with Jesus being a member of AA... "  [5]

What's the big deal anyway.....

"The major concern that we have with AA (and other such recovery groups) is that contrary to their denial, they constitute a religious system. For example, they believe and talk about God, they pray, they have a creed, AA is their bible, and they fellowship in a church-like setting. However, just like all religions, save true Christianity, Twelve-Step recovery groups cannot bring a person into a right relationship with God - for their god is not the God of Scripture, their prayers are to whatever power(s) they choose, their bible is not God's Word, and their salvation is from "addiction," not sin. The devil is more than happy to provide sobriety in the place of salvation. AA and recovery movements are false religions with false religious systems, attempting to lead mankind to a better and happier life, yet bypass the cross of Christ."  [6]

A. God as "you" understand him....?

Wilson did not want to attach AA to any one faith. The official AA biography of Wilson declares:

Bill felt it would be unwise for AA as a fellowship to have an allegiance to any one religious sect. He felt AA’s usefulness was worldwide, and contained spiritual principles that members of any and every religion could accept, including the Eastern religions.  [1]

Wilson believed that concessions regarding references to 'God as you understand Him' were...

"...the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics. They had widened our gateway so that all who suffer might pass through, regardless of their belief or lack of belief."

And indeed the gate is wide. The "Power greater than ourselves" can be anybody or anything. It can be a familiar spirit such as Carl Jung's Philemon. It could be any deity of Hinduism, Buddhism, Greek mythology, or New Age channeled entities. It could be one's own so-called higher self. It could even be the devil himself. Surrendering to anyone but the God of the Bible constitutes idolatry. AA is another religion with its own forms of piety, including surrender to a nebulous higher power. This pious surrender does not constitute a "Christian root" that can justify Christians using and promoting AA.  [7]

(Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.......Ex- 20:4-5)

B. But Jesus is my higher power......

The extreme naivete of Christians comes through when they confidently assert that their higher Power is Jesus Christ. Since when did Jesus align Himself with false gods? Since when has He been willing to join the Pantheon or the array of Hindu deities? Jesus is not an option of one among many. He is the Only Son, the Only Savior, and the Only Way. All Twelve Step programs violate she declarations of the Reformation: Only Scripture; Only Christ; Only Grace; Only Faith; and Glory to God Only. Instead they offer 'another power, another gospel, another savior, another source, another fellowship, another tradition, another evangelism, and another god'. Jesus' majesty and His very person are violated by joining Him with the gods of the wide gate and the broad way. Jesus emphatically stated that His gate is strait and His way is narrow. His is the only way to life, while all other ways lead to destruction. (Matthew 7:13-14).  [7]

What's the bottom line?

Twelve-Step programs are in essence New Age religions and archetypical precursors of one-world religion. They do not hold a common doctrine of God and His creation. Instead, each group holds a common goal, centered in saving self. In AA it's sobriety; in Co-dependents Anonymous it's feeling good through unshackled selfhood. The common goal of the one-world religion will be peace - for the sake of survival. Each goal is centered in self and in the now, not in God or eternity. The goal takes precedence over the One True God - Whatever god or goddess is chosen as the higher power is subservient to that goal. All of these fit into the New Age spirituality: no absolutes, many ways, self-enhancement.  [7]

When one configures his own image of god and places himself under that power, he is essentially his own god, because he finds that god within himself and within his own experience. Thus Self is truly the god of Twelve-Step groups and many other forms of New Age religions. Twelve-Step religions call on a nonjudgmental deity according to their own imaginations, rather than a God who is self-existent, holy, and external to the believer, but who has made Himself known through the Bible. When self is god, one is left to a life-long religion of works, because one must be continually saving self. That is why one must continue to attend AA meetings, follow the Twelve Steps, and help other drunks. While sobriety itself is not one of the works listed among the Twelve, it is the goal of every step. Even the seeming self-giving to help other drunks (other addicts or other codependents) is for the sake of one's own sobriety. One's life is thus devoted to the goal of selfhood.  [7]

Can I still go to meetings........?

The 12-Step recovery programs, as practiced in secular society, are clearly non-Christian, unbiblical attempts to solve the problems of life apart from bowing before the One and only God. The Scriptures provide answers and solutions for every "addiction" and struggle man faces. However, natural man would rather "discover" his own way than yield to God's way.  [6]

(Not by means of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5)

How grievous it is when hopeless and despairing people are sent to something or someone other than the One who is our only Hope! Is the Good News of Jesus Christ only for those who are suffering mild problems? While a person may gain temporary advantage through various programs that offer something else besides Jesus Christ and Him crucified there will be dreadful loss in the long run.  [7]

For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord. 2 Cor. 6:14,17



Footnotes - sources [note: the original footnotes were missing - fortunately all sources were able to be located with a recent search but are dated later than original paper - same articles though]:

1. 12 Steps to Another Gospel?, PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries - http://prophets-see-all.tripod.com/46512.htm

2. Twelve Steps in the Wrong Direction, Gary E. Gilley and M. Kurt Goedelman - https://tottministries.org/twelve-steps-in-the-wrong-direction/

3. AA: Christian or Occult Roots? PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries - http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/aaroots.html

4. From "Can you Hear The Dead Speaking", Mike Oppenheimer [w/Dave Hunt quotation from "Occult Invasion pp.297-298] - http://www.letusreason.org/NAM28.htm

5. The Heresy of the Twelve Steps by A. Orange - chs. 28, 30 pgs. 71,73 - https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-heresy.html

6. Twelve-Step Recovery Groups and the Christian, Gary Gilley - https://tottministries.org/twelve-step-recovery-groups-and-the-christian/

7. 12 Steps To Destruction, Martin and Deidre Bobgan; ch. 5, "12 Step Religions" pg. 119 - www.psychoheresy-aware.org/e-books/12steps-ebk.pdf

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