I recently received a couple of emails from a disciple of Alcoholics Anonymous claiming to be Christian, yet defending AA in spite of scriptural refutation exposing it's heresy. I hope this dialogue will prove beneficial for those engaged in exposing the heresy of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps.
His original email text:
people in aa or various 12 step groups do not follow bill Wilson....they use the 12 steps...which were written by the first 100 people ...not exclusively bill Wilson are based on SURRENDER TO GOD ...CONFESSION...RESTITUTION...PRAYER...HELPING OTHERS....there is no profit motive...no paid proffessionals....no Ouija boards at the meetings which I have attended for almost 30 years...I am ashamed to say that the honesty and love I have experienced has been more than any evangelical church has given me ....WHY DO YOU PERSECUTE ME/
His response back:
sir with all due respect....the epistle of james says that faith without works is dead....when I say I am an alcoholic I am saying I am a sinner who is never beyond temptation....interesting you are not opposed to using pharmaceuticals but refer to aa as satanic....the American medical association states that alcoholism is a disease...are you a doctor? the truth may be that the religious establishment may be jealous of aa na ca oa and the millions of people who have been helped.....aa is not a religion but does not oppose anyone from believing in the gospel....no theology .....your message of grace implies we don't have to do anything but believe but what about preach, baptize and make disciples ..is this works?.....the reason the churches let them rent space is because aa is self supporting and pays rent.....aa is not involved in politics and does not pander for money and donations.....maybe some churches could learn from that.....I believe there is a recovery reformation but it is the recovery movement that is reforming the church ..we are everywhere.....aa is not for everyone and does not oppose your religious beliefs. Lets not forget youre views on the gospel is your denominational teaching....youre posts sound like medieval inquisitions and are not the views of my Baptist denomination, nor the views of many prominent Christian leaders so who are you speaking for?? ive met many Christians with unresolved addiction issues in aa and have become better Christians after taking the steps. The concepts of one day at a time, amends, forgiveness are in the sermon on the mount but you only talk of grace .....aa also says but for the grace of God.....ive been in chuches and aa since 1988 and have never seen so much support for 12 groups as today......saved by Christ alone ....Christ is the Word and we are to obey His commandments....acts 5 38 should be considered and Gamaliels words have much wisdom for us.
My final response:
In what way does the Epistle of James refer to this issue? Our works are the fruit of our faith which is born of God's grace - but how would that justify the heresy of Alcoholics Anonymous?
Is it really possible to have victory in these battles?
Just how far should we go in order to obtain the victory when faced with demonic assaults and oppression?
Because so much of the modern Christian church culture has moved toward seeker sensitive entertainment and watering down or in some cases neglecting the gospel altogether, it may come as a surprise to many to learn that as Christians we are to be directly engaged in battle against the enemy.
One of the main reasons the heresy of Alcoholics Anonymous and other "recovery" programs like Celebrate Recovery which is based on Alcoholics Anonymous have been able to slither into so many churches is because the teaching and arming of the saints for spiritual warfare has been completely ignored. So instead of faithful prayer and the seeking of God through His Word for victory, so many sinners under the lash of Satan are instead led into false man centered programs.
Let me share a story with you about a very good friend of mine who has spent his life in the service of the Lord as a missions Pastor. This man has reached people all over the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
About ten or twelve years ago this man's son somehow in spite of being raised by good Christian parents in a good Christian church was lured into the sin of drug addiction. He had always been a very good child and young man, but over a period of time he began to withdraw from his family and after a while it became clear to his father that something was very wrong. It finally reached the point that it was obvious to his father that his son was using drugs.
The addiction reached a point that there was no longer any attempts to hide it and the son admitted to his father that he felt he was being sucked into a whirlpool from which he could not escape and that he was dying. The son was at a point of being nearly destroyed and his father was suffering miserably and his faith tested to the breaking point as he felt powerless to help his son. But this man is a man of God and he went to God in order to engage in this battle for his son.
My friend looked into all of the recovery options he could and saw that none of them were Christian - even the ones marketed as such. He knew the options presented would not be able to save his son. So this man did what a father must do when their child is in grave danger from a deadly enemy - he engaged in battle against the enemy knowing that God was on his side.
This father, in order to see his son saved from the evil forces of sinful addiction entered into a strict period a fasting and prayer that lasted for forty days. He told me those forty days were the greatest period of spiritual warfare he has ever had to endure. But he went as far as he needed to go, faithfully looking to the Lord in prayer and fasting, and after that forty days his son was set free from the addiction he had been trapped in, and has been free in the Lord for over ten years now.
So, to answer the two questions at the beginning of this article:
Is it really possible to have victory in these battles? Without question - yes. Christians standing in faith on the power of God's Word can destroy the strongholds of the enemy.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. - 2 Corinthians 10:4
Just how far should we go in order to obtain the victory when faced with demonic assaults and oppression? We must be willing to go beyond what we could naturally do, because by God's love and grace we are empowered far beyond our natural limitations.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, - Ephesians 6:10-18
Christian believers by the blood of Jesus Christ are protected from demonic possession. However, we may still be demonically oppressed and/or hindered. Paul the apostle wrote of his ministry being hindered by Satan in 1 Thessalonians 2:17-18, "But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you--I, Paul, again and again--but Satan hindered us." Unbelievers are completely unprotected and in severe instances may suffer demonic possession. In this article I will mainly address causes of demonic oppression for believers which could lead in extreme cases lead to possession in unbelievers.
Besides being hindered in our Christian walk and ministry we may also be demonically oppressed through mental anguish or turmoil, fear and anxiety, financial problems, illnesses, despondency and depression, etc... As Christians it is a fact that Satan and his demons will do all they can to hinder and oppress us at every turn and opportunity. I have experienced this personally in my own walk and especially in ministry.
So what might expose us to demonic oppression? What tools does Satan use in an effort to sway us from the path leading to the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13)? His ways are usually much more sinister and subtle than that of the raging demons portrayed in modern films. Some of Satan's most brilliant deceptions may even appear to be of God for those without Biblical grounding and discernment.
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. - 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
So what are some of the causes that could potentially expose a believer to demonic oppression and an unbeliever to demonic possession?
Obviously anything to do with the occult.
Occult meditation methods
Pornography is the sin of lust which may invite demonic activity.
Involvement with false religions such as Mormonism, New Age Spiritualism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholicism, Alcoholics Anonymous, etc... which are the doctrines of demons.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, - 1 Timothy 4:1
Drug use - which I would like to expand on a bit as both legal and illegal drug use, reliance, and addiction are rapidly increasing in modern society.
We are commanded in scripture to be sober minded (1 Peter 4:7). Yet, drug use leads directly to the mind being out of control and into varying degrees of altered states. Also, consider that the Greek word for sorcery is "Pharmakia" from which the English word pharmaceutical derives. So from a Biblical perspective I think it is fair to conclude that mind and/or mood altering pharmaceuticals could very well be considered a form of sorcery. (See Galatians 5:19-21 and Revelation 9:20-21)
Now let's take this a little further and consider the modern obsession with psych meds from Satan's perspective. Because so often, when a sinner hears the gospel and begins to experience conviction of sin, they may go through a period of struggle and depression which may very well need to happen for them to come into the truth of and faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, in modern society - especially in America, the person suffering from even the slightest depression or mental struggle is quickly "diagnosed", drugged, and led into secular remedies and programs which nearly always fail and lead away from the gospel and salvation in Jesus Christ and instead to eternal destruction. The demonic influence was just subtle and insistent enough to lead the sinner from the truth of the Word and into a state of oppression, spiritual darkness and possibly possession.
There is a grief that all sinners must experience when faced with the truth of their sin that will lead them into repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The last thing Satan wants is for that to happen and he is a master at using pharmakia, schemes, and false teachings to lead souls from the truth.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. - 2 Corinthians 7:10
For believers, we must understand the danger of relying on drugs - especially for "psychological" or emotional issues instead of going to the Lord in prayer and the study of His Word. It may very well be that a period of depression or struggle may be a blessing in disguise intended to draw us closer to Christ. If we do not seek the Lord in times of anguish but instead turn to psych meds we may very well be opening ourselves up to demonic oppression.
Am I claiming that Christians should never use legal psychiatric drugs for any reason whatsoever? No I am not. However, I think it is very clear that there is an epidemic of reliance on these drugs that is far beyond any measure of sense. They should be a very last resort in obviously severe situations.
The point I am hoping to make to Christian believers is that we must put our faith, trust, and reliance in Jesus Christ before and above all else and with all that we are. There is nothing that our Savior cannot deliver us from regardless of how much society in this fallen and lost world strives to convince us otherwise.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. - Ephesians 6:12
As Christians, we have true inner peace in Jesus Christ. Yet, we are engaged in a war against spiritual forces that seek to destroy our peace and lead us away from the Lord and His truth, and to hinder the proclamation of the gospel.
Satan knows that he is defeated and that his time is short. He is in a rage because of his impending demise and strives to destroy all he can in the time he has left.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. - Romans 16:20
This world is Satan's domain and his influence permeates and slithers into the eyes and ears of every person through his relentless and growing prevalence. Take a look around at modern culture and Satan's signature is seen everywhere.
We must arm ourselves, our brethren, and especially our children. The hour is late and the battle is intensifying rapidly. Christians, the gospel, the Christian faith is under attack. We are surrounded by the enemy on all sides in the middle of a violent spiritual battlefield. Yet, the majority of the modern Christian church relies on worldly, secular methods in addressing spiritual issues. I use the word "addressing" because the church is not engaging in warfare. It seems one of the greatest problems in the modern church is rampant spiritual apathy in which no one wants to fight the battles but instead efforts are focused on worldly measures of success and new and innovative methods of compromise without any scriptural standards. The question must begin to be shouted, "Where are the men that will stand up and fight for the truth of the gospel in the name of Jesus Christ? Where have all the warriors gone?
"The most critical need of the Church at this moment is men, bold men, free men. The Church must seek, in prayer and much humility, the coming again of men made of the stuff of which prophets and martyrs are made.” - A.W. Tozer
There is nothing in or of this world, or of man that is of any value against the oppressions, afflictions, struggles, and sinful desires of man alongside the Word of God. Psychology, psychiatry, psych-pharmaceuticals, recovery programs, false religions - they all lead astray to varying degrees from the one absolute truth of saving grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. - Acts 4:12
I received an email from a woman yesterday that was such a blessing to read. She is a living testimony to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to save and transform lives. Her message makes so very clear that there is no need for Alcoholics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, or any other "programs" to overcome any sin because we have the power of the Gospel in the Word of God.
Chad Prigmore is Pastor and President of The Way Ministry Church USA & Kenya.