Had a great series of chats a couple of weekends ago, several with a pastor friend of mine about Twelve Step and such programs.
He said some Christian peeps can’t figure out why a person who has been clean and sober for years would still attend meetings. It’s like “Jesus has set you free, what do you need that stuff for”?
He said he’s come to the conclusion that sometimes it may just be God wants him there for younger strugglers who need to see an encouraging example of sobriety, an honest walk with God which by Christ’s grace is what he has.
The founders of AA (which of course inspired NA, SA, OA and etc.) were believers who in fact decided that it would be better to bring someone to God in a process that includes at core, for them to face their absolute powerlessness over their addiction, than to let them suffer and in some cases perish with zero help.
The issue is around “God as I understand God”, that is, other religions and various spiritual beliefs (not biblical nor true as per solid Christian faith and relationship with Jesus Christ) where someone may get free of their addiction but not know the risen Christ.
I get that. I even agree with the concern and problem with this. I also don’t think walking by the person in the ditch unless they respond to the Gospel of Christ is what loving one’s neighbor is all about. Ever study the “spiritual beliefs” of the Samaritans? Makes you wonder why Jesus used one as the prime right example to the… wait for it… an “expert in the law” of God. Remember as Jesus tells the story in Luke 10.25-37, it was a priest and a Levite (both of these guys should be truly holy), two out of three who just kept going.
Core points are that the man coming to Jesus asked about inheriting eternal life, what should he do? Loving God and neighbor supremely of course. So the Book tells us he then asked “wanting to JUSTIFY HIMSELF” (which only Jesus and His blood can do…) “who is my neighbor”?
Jesus gives the punchline that is summed up in one word: “mercy”. Actions that demonstrate genuine mercy. On my part, me to you! On your part, you to me! On our part, to whomever our neighbor happens to be.
Oh how easy we dismiss God’s power to use means we dislike to bring positive, healing change to people.
Do I want to be righteous, right, correct in all my theology, doctrine, methodology? OF COURSE. Do I think there is salvation in any other name than that of Jesus Christ? NO. Do I think believers (including myself at times) can be a bit thick and even a bit cold-hearted when it comes to suffering, down-and-out addicts? Indeed I do, as I’ve seen it here and there over my lifetime.
I think my pastor friend got it right.
Further, as each of the steps have solid biblical basis (you can find that by a simple thorough web study if you look) the real question is not why saved believers attend such meetings but why more churches don’t offer them?
By the way, both my wife and I have been there, done that, speak at various such meetings and frankly, I get something good (spiritually, yes) every time I attend one. I have both The Bible and The Big Book (AA) in my Kindle and turn to the second one off and on, reading through and considering the Steps along and along my journey.
Both my need and my need of compassion are met there.
And my Higher Power- Jesus Christ- never fails to show up.
Some things to consider… and thanks for stopping by!