Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry - Ephesians 4:12

Twelve Steps Versus the Church

The 12-step recovery program is one of the primary tools the world uses to help people overcome addiction, and most everything else that plagues humanity.

Our Judicial System

Even our judicial system falls prey to this. If anyone gets in trouble with the law, they are forced to attend some type of recovery group. It’s even been adopted by most churches. They label it something like “celebrate recovery” and away they go.

The Church’s Claim on the Twelve-Step System

Most Christians claim the twelve steps were originally Christian, starting with the Oxford Group. They say the world took it and the church needs to take it back. This is a complete fallacy. The Oxford Group began with four principles or absolutes:

  1. Honesty
  2. Purity
  3. Unselfishness
  4. Love

None of these has anything to do with the twelve steps. Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson pulled away from the Oxford Group because they were too evangelistic. They went on to develop the program apart from the Oxford Group.

The Origin and Deception of the 12 Steps Program

The twelve steps do contain elements of truth which makes them very deceptive. The bits of truth are mingled in to disguise the lie. Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson were participating in seances on a regular basis while developing the twelve steps.

In their book, 12 Steps to Destruction, Martin and Deidre Bobgan show letters that Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson wrote to Carl Jung, the occult psychiatrist, thanking him for his contribution to their program. To say the twelve steps were originally Christian is a stretch beyond the imagination. They could not possibly be Christian considering their origin.

The Cultic Nature of the Twelve Steps

The twelve-step program is cultic at best. Just like with psychology, the church brought it in because of its acceptability to the world. Every aspect of the twelve-step recovery system must be rejected by the church.

For example, most recovery programs insist new members attend ninety meetings in the first ninety days. If a person goes to a meeting every day for the first ninety days, it will inevitably have a huge impact on them and the brain washing begins.

Can you imagine what would happen if a person went to church or a Bible study every day for the first ninety days after being saved? A great transformation would take place! If a local church insisted on a commitment like the twelve-step recovery programs do, it would be labeled a cult. God help us to avoid conforming to this world’s system (Romans 12:2, Matthew 6:8)!

Colossians 2:8 – “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

The Disease Aspect of the 12 Steps

In every recovery movement program, addiction is labeled an illness or disease that is progressive and will worsen over time. This removes all personal responsibility of the individual. A person with a disease is a victim and has no control over their illness.

The Bible calls it sin and maintains it’s a choice. It is true that when a person experiments or dabbles with any sin that in time it can become uncontrollable and unmanageable. Jesus put it this way, “whoever commits sin becomes a slave of sin” (John 8:34).

The Power of the Church

What has happened to the power of Christ in the church? In 2 Kings 2:14, when Elijah was first taken from Elisha, his cloak fell on him and he cried out, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” He went on to perform twice the miracles to that of Elijah.

We need to once again begin to cry out, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah, Smith Wigglesworth, D.L. Moody, Spurgeon, Finney, etc.?” Jesus came on the scene in the power of the Holy Ghost and people were set free from all that held them in bondage.

In Luke 4:18 Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”

I was saved during the Jesus movement and remember clearly people being totally set free and delivered from every addiction and bondage imaginable after they committed their life to Christ.

The problem is the church has stopped seeking God. Altar calls, prayer meetings and times of fasting and prayer are things of the past. We no longer do what is necessary or “pay the price” to tap into the power of God.

You Can Recover!

You don’t have to spend the rest of your life recovering. People can actually recover and be set free. Paul, after listing a host of sins, (one being a drunkard, the Biblical term for alcohol addition) said, “And such were some of you (Past Tense): but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Get into the Word of God. Study it, memorize it, meditate on the Word, hide it in your heart. Jesus said, “If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31-32, 36). The Psalmist said, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word. Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:9 and 11).

That doesn’t mean you can continue to toy and flirt with your old life and habits and the things that once held you in bondage. “Whosoever commits sin is the servant – slave of sin” (John 8:34). “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16).

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

Starting a new church or ministry is one of the most rewarding things you can do to advance the gospel, but it can also be very challenging. With over 40 years of church planting and ministry experience, Dr. Linton's passion is to encourage, support and equip pastors and church leaders.