Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)
Christians in A.A. may not see it this way, but they are in agreement with a belief system that lifts up strange gods. (Amos 3:3) In Alcoholics Anonymous all gods are called the higher power, thus relegating Christ our King to commonality, as if He were simply one nameless deity among many.
I am the Lord, that is My name. I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to idols. (Isaiah 42:8)
In 1941, Jack Alexander of the Saturday Evening Post wrote the article that provided A.A. its first national publicity. Describing A.A.’s “higher power,” Alexander noted the alcoholic “may choose to think of his Inner Self, the miracle of growth, a tree, man’s wonderment at the physical universe, the structure of the atom, or mere mathematical infinity. Whatever form is visualized, the neophyte is taught that he must rely on it and, in his own way, to pray to the Power for strength.”
Please note that Alexander’s article, with this A.A. definition of “god,” is distributed as official Alcoholics Anonymous literature.
More than seventy years later this salad bar approach—make your own god—has seemingly become a cultural norm. “Spiritual” is in. “Religion” is out. Many Americans now refer to their god as “higher power.” A.A.’s twelve step program has literally dictated the spiritual direction of the country.
I want to say that again: A.A.’s twelve step program has altered the spiritual direction of the country.
In The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, author Christine Wicker credits Alcoholics Anonymous with “hastening the fall of the evangelical church.” The author notes how A.A. ”slowly exposed people to the notion they could get [a god] without the dogma, the doctrine, and the outdated rules. Without the church, in fact.” 
Since the twelve steps have nothing to do with Christ, neither sin nor Biblical repentance is addressed. This, of course, is very appealing to the flesh. The Steps address “wrongs,” “making amends,” and “moral inventory,” but one inserts one’s own moral code within the context of these Steps.
Bondage to alcohol is miserable. I speak from personal experience. Entire families can be ruined. Yet, there has been a solution all along, not that you ever hear this in A.A.:
“Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6: 9-11)
We see from this passage that drunkards were being delivered in the early church, long before the arrival of twelve step spirituality.
Indeed, many of us have been freed through the power and love of Jesus Christ. Still, like the world, too many Christians believe only A.A. can help an alcoholic. Everything has been turned upside down: Alcoholics Anonymous can supposedly help everyone, but experiencing Jesus in church without the twelve steps can supposedly help no one. What, really, is a pastor saying when he tells an alcoholic he needs to join a twelve step program? When all is said and done, A.A. attendance serves to subtly condition Christians to worship with non-believers; perhaps this has been the point all along.
It is written: “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? …Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
Come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord.
But, we are not separating. Christians participate in A.A.’s Christless corporate prayers every day all across the country. For decades A.A. has been referred to as a “spiritual program,” a harmless adjunct to one’s own religious belief system. Because of this misrepresentation, most Christians in A.A. are sincerely unaware they have joined–I am going to be blunt here–a new age religion.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, anything and everything–from spirits to inner divinity–can be worshiped as “god.” In A.A.’s twelve step belief system, spirituality by no means requires dealing with sin–or the Savior. Here “jesus” can be whatever or whomever we want–an ascendant master, an inner spirit, even a great teacher…
Because A.A. takes key passages of How It Works from the A.A. Big Book (the A.A. “bible”) literally, it can be further described as a fundamentalist new age religion. This is what is read to alcoholics at the beginning of every single meeting:
“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.” (bold mine)
How It Works goes on to note, “We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not.”
Despite the elasticity of the higher power, these two fundamentalist passages lock many into the A.A. system, while also teaching contempt or distrust for alternative ways of gaining sobriety. Particularly opposed is the idea of getting help in “church.”
Irving Peter Gellman observes, “A member who suggests that A.A. is not as effective as maintained, and who implies that some improvement might be made, will be censured when broaching these ideas. The A.A. program is deemed infallible, whereas other methods are considered less than perfect.” 
In a pastor’s office, an A.A. Christian told me straight faced that alcoholics were too angry and didn’t want to hear about Christ, so the “higher power” concept was necessary. This is simply one more repetition of what I have have heard at many, many A.A. meetings.
A.A. has given us the syncretism of recovery passing for sanctification, and twelve step theology has confused Christians in A.A. into believing it is perfectly fine to tell alcoholics to go ahead and make up a “god.” To help justify attendance in this non-biblical spirituality, the myth has been promulgated that most alcoholics with custom-designed higher powers will eventually come to Christ.
This is simply not so. It is relatively rare, but is presented as a common occurrence. This claim is one of the primary ways Christians justify A.A. It is time to acknowledge that in Alcoholics Anonymous, most Christians experience a transference of faith. The twelve step experience often becomes an idol. It is not uncommon to speak with Christians who are more concerned with “recovery” than sanctification; and who demonstrate a preference for A.A. rather than the fellowship with the saints.
And those who bow down and swear to the Lord, and yet swear by Milcom, (Zephaniah 1:5b)
On November 15, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that AA is indeed religious in nature. An A.A. meeting is essentially a devotional service. The “higher power” receives worship; confession is heard; testimony is given; the group invokes the Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer. The 12th Step instructs AA members to go forth and Spread the Word.
Whether one calls it religious, or spiritual, the bottom line is that millions have been taught to reach outside (or inside) of themselves, and draw on a higher power to give them strength.
Lost in all this is the holiness of the God of the Bible–the God who absolutely does not want His people placing Him amongst false idols. Lost–ignored, really–is the Lord’s abhorrence of worship of false gods. Was Jeremiah mistaken? King Josiah? Do biblical passages such as 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 and Galatians 1:6-9 fail to address Alcoholics Anonymous?
Not at all. The Bible is true, and God’s Word is clear. But the spread of twelve step spirituality has brought about the rapidly coalescing syncretism we are now experiencing. And so, many in A.A. who claim their higher power as Christ, have an invented, remade or custom-designed version of the Savior. It is all coming together, one hissing tangle of emergent, contemplative, and twelve step heresy.
It is the age of the redesigned “jesus.”
For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. (2 Corinthians 11:4)
Thus, in A.A., among those claiming Christ, there if often blatant disregard for the Word of God, the use of “grace” to do whatever is desired, and the lack of comprehension of the holiness of God. As one writer has noted, “So it’s pretty obvious where a person’s loyalties lie by who they defend…the A.A. gospel or the gospel of Jesus…” 
This is not to say there are not reborn Christians in Alcoholics Anonymous. But, again, what is this rising within in the twelve step religion, and from Christian contemplative practices, and elsewhere?
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” (Matthew 24: 4-5)
Were we to take 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 as the truth that it is, we would understand that people were freed from the bondage of drunkenness long before the rise of the twelve step religion. But this, unfortunately, is why A.A. was created–to channel people away from Christ, out of contact with church fellowship, and into a syncretized belief system.
Alcoholics Anonymous and the twelve steps are not man-made. (Ephesians 6: 12) But they are a key component in the coming one world religion.
Yes, it gets confusing. Can an atheist get sober? Yes. Let us be honest about that. Do some people in A.A. get sober? Yes. For that we should be grateful. But as God’s people, we are to seek His help. Within the context of biblical fellowship, the Lord has accomplished much. An alcoholic will never hear that in the A.A. religion.
Despite the twelve step juggernaut, the news is good. There truly is hope. People have been getting sober for centuries without A.A. So do not, please do not, think this is the only thing that can help you. Perhaps the Lord will send missionaries into A.A. to boldly preach the gospel, to pray for the lost. Perhaps Christians will once again remember we are not to join with unbelievers in spiritual enterprises. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
Maybe options like Setting Captives Free* and Safe Ministries** will be explored by those who no longer believe only A.A. can help them. The Lord will continue to help many within the context of the local church. May He send you to a healthy, Bible based church if you are not in one now.
Christian, that fellowship in A.A., where did that concept come from? From the Body of Christ… That service work, where did that come from? Check out the Book of Acts.
My words may sound hard to you. I write this because I love you, because God’s Word is clear, and because so many are being poisoned by twelve step spirituality.
* Browse the Setting Captives Free website http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com/ **Browse the Safe Ministries website http://safeministries.net/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1
1. 2. http://www.barefootsworld.net/aajalexpost1941. html.
2. Christine Wicker, The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, pg. 134-138
3. Irving Peter Gellman, The Sober Alcoholic, pg. 121