Old hymns and Christian poetry shed light on the depth of thought and contemplation of the gospel in God's word in earlier times. In this age of hectic busyness and technological intrusion, it is like a drink of pristine water to step away from the world and consider the words of Christians who lived in quieter and simpler times.
Christian, dost thou see them on the holy ground,
how the pow’rs of darkness rage thy steps around?
Christian, up and smite them, counting gain but loss,
in the strength that cometh by the holy cross.
Christian, dost thou feel them, how they work within,
striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin?
Christian, never tremble; never be downcast;
gird thee for battle, watch and pray and fast.
Christian, dost thou hear them, how they speak the fair?
“Always fast and vigil? Always watch and prayer?”
Christian, answer boldly, “While I breathe I pray!”
Peace shall follow battle, night shall end in day.
Hear the words of Jesus: “O my servant true;
thou art very weary, I was weary too;
But that toil shall make thee
someday all mine own,
and the end of sorrow shall
be near my throne.”
- John Mason Neale, 1862
Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. - John 16:24
As a Christian, affected by erroneous teachings so prevalent in much of the contemporary Church - how much of Christ do you lack simply because you have never known to ask, seek and knock? How much more glory to God through a vibrant living sacrifice could you send up to heaven if only you could overcome the limitations of your own heart and mind?
Step out of the world. Ask, seek and knock and the Lord will lift you up to heights beyond what you could ever have dreamed of. The burdensome influences and limitations of this world must be cast off!
We must pray and we must ask. Never doubt the radical transforming power of prayer.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. - Matthew 7:7-8
The desires of the sinful become lusts. They are selfish, sensual, evil lusts that make the lost sinner their slave.
Those who are in Christ, by being born again desire God and His righteousness, and rise above the lower sinful self of the flesh. Believers in Christ - transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit desire the best things of God. Instead of the futile and fleeting things of a lost world, those in Christ desire purity, peace, joy, humility, beauty, etc...They desire God's righteousness and glory.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8
The world shows the fruit of the wicked contentiously striving to satisfy their lustful desires. But the righteous in Christ seek and express their desires in fervent and persistent prayer. Those in Christ ask and receive the fulfillment of their desires from the very hand of God.
If your prayer life is stagnant, if it is void of a fervent passionate fire - then ask, seek, and knock that your heart may be set ablaze with a passion to know more of God. Pray and go to the Word in prayer.
Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. - John 16:24
As a Christian, affected by erroneous teachings so prevalent in much of the contemporary Church - how much of Christ do you lack simply because you have never known to ask, seek and knock? How much more glory to God through a vibrant living sacrifice could you send up to heaven if only you could overcome the limitations of your own heart and mind? Step out of the world. Ask, seek and knock and the Lord will lift you up to heights beyond what you could ever have dreamed of. The burdensome influences and limitations of this world must be cast off!
We must pray and we must ask. Never doubt the radical transforming power of prayer.
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. - James 5:17-18
And the people of Israel said to Samuel, "Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines." So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the LORD. And Samuel cried out to the LORD for Israel, and the LORD answered him. As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the LORD thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel. - 1 Samuel 7:8-10
While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, "O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision. - Daniel 9:20-23
Ask, seek and knock. Pray, pray and continue praying. Ask as a beggar seeking alms, as a child in distress, or as a criminal seeking mercy. When have you heard anyone in the contemporary Church beg the Lord for mercy? If you do not understand your need for mercy, then you do not understand the gospel. And if you do not understand the gospel you do not understand the need for Jesus Christ as your Savior. This is why the contemporary Church is polluted with heresy and why man is worshiped rather than the Holy sovereign God.
Seek as if you have lost the most precious thing imaginable. Seek in prayer and in prayerful meditation of God's word. If you struggle in prayer and your mind is turmoil then go to the Psalms - use them as lessons in how to pray and use them as prayers.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. - Psalm 34:4-7
Knock as one who desires more than anything to enter the house of our heavenly Father. To just ask is not enough. Being blessed and born again by the power of the Holy Spirit we are driven passionately to see the Lord and to knock on the door of heaven for more and more of what only the Lord can bless us with.
Venture through Jesus' ministry in the scriptures and take note of all who sought Him and came to Him. We must not only ask - we must seek, plead and wrestle with God.
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. - Matthew 7:8
If you are a Christian who was fooled and trapped in the false teachings of Twelve Step programs, I hope you will read and meditate on the words of this wonderful prayer. When I realized the truth of the Twelve Steps I was horrified that I had participated for so long in such heresy. I asked the Lord for forgiveness, turned from the path I was on and repented of the sin the Twelve Steps had led me into.
I am so sorry for the way I'm wasting the precious life you gave me.
Forgive me for living like a selfish three year old.
Forgive me for any pride I take in my "wild times" war stories.
Forgive me for believing in worldly labels like addict, alcoholic, and many others.
Forgive me for portraying myself as sick and diseased.
Let me see the reality of my state.
I am not a victim.
I am a sinner, and a law breaker.
I am guilty for my crimes.
Forgive me Lord for making a program my Messiah and savior instead of you.
Forgive me Lord for putting The Big Book in front of or even alongside your awesome word.
Forgive me for every recovery meeting I ever attended because a recovery meeting is all about ME!
Forgive me for sitting in a room where you are horrifically referred to as a higher power. My heart aches that I described you in that way.
Have mercy on me for holding hands and reciting the way you taught us to pray as a cheap means to a better life. Show me what that prayer really means!
Forgive me for every sponsor I ever had and I pray that you would reveal truth in their hearts that they might also be saved.
Lord, from this day forward I put my faith and trust in you.
I repent, I am turning from my sin and wicked way of life and I desire to live a life that is pleasing to you.
I believe Lord that you went to the cross and took my sins, my lawlessness with you and you suffered and drank down the cup of wrath that was mine.
I believe I am saved through grace alone, in Christ alone.
It is this grace that keeps me sober and changes my desires.
I believe that your word is sufficient for my life.
Father, thank you for the gift of your son.
Holy Spirit, fill me and help me live the life I am called to.
All praise and thanks to Jesus Christ my Lord who took me from death to life and from darkness to light.
- By Doug Hardy
This book deals with the "Twelve Steps" and the "Twelve Traditions" of Alcoholics Anonymous. It presents an explicit view of the principles by which A.A. members recover and by which their Society functions. [pg 15]
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. The problem is not insanity. The problem is sin. By fooling someone into believing their condition is due to insanity they are freed from taking responsibility for their behavior. Labeling sin as insanity removes the guilt and shame that leads to true repentance and to the cross of Jesus Christ. A "higher power" cannot help anyone. The only way to overcome sin is by the blood of Jesus Christ and to refer to Jesus Christ as a "higher power" is to deny Him before men and to be ashamed of His name. The name of Jesus Christ is to be praised above all others - never to be referred to as a higher power. Step two is a perfect example of why AA and the Twelve Steps are heresy, an insult to Jesus Christ and have no place in any Christian environment. Romans 5:6, "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 3:23-25, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith..." Shame on anyone who refers to the great I AM as a higher power.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Page 34 of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions: "Like all the remaining Steps, Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God - or, if you like, a Higher Power - into our lives. Faith, to be sure, is necessary, but faith alone can avail nothing. We can have faith, yet keep God out of our lives. Therefore our problem now becomes just how and by what specific means shall we be able to let Him in? Step Three represents our first attempt to do this." Here again is one single statement that completely disqualifies the Twelve Steps from having any place in a Christian Church or gathering. While the entire statement above is anti-Christian, the two sentences in bold especially are in direct contradiction with the core belief of the Christian message - that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Read those two sentences again and then read the following passages of scripture.
Can the third step of Alcoholics Anonymous be used in a Christian context? No. Can it be used if it is re-worded or if "as we understood Him" is removed? No. The dangerous apostasy of AA's step three is apparent in claiming that we can worship a God of our own understanding which eliminates the only true way to know God which is through the Holy Scriptures in which He reveals Himself to us. Step 3 also indicates that our will and lives can be turned over to God simply by a decision that we make based upon a false understanding of God. Christ is nowhere mentioned in the AA program which makes step three complete apostasy because Jesus tells us in John 14:6, ..."I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." By removing the words "as we understood Him" does in no way justify step three from a Christian perspective because something man made and actually demonically inspired (the AA program and the 12 steps) and not of God is being used to claim access to God. We are told in the scriptures who God is and that only through Jesus Christ can we be redeemed before God and we are not to give any credence to teachings outside of or contrary to God's word. The bible is very clear that Christians are to adhere only to the one true gospel. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:9, "As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed." Paul is very severe in his warning to the Ephesians. Anyone trying to justify AA and the 12 steps as being acceptable in a Christian context, and especially combining the apostasy of AA and the Twelve Steps with God's word should heed Paul's warning, "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other." - Isaiah 45:22
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Pages 56-57 of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, "Most of us would declare that without a fearless admission of our defects to another human being we could not stay sober. It seems plain that the grace of God will not enter to expel our destructive obsessions until we are willing to try this." So instead of grace as a gift through faith in Jesus Christ, the Twelve Steps claim that grace is had through admitting our defects to another human being? Romans 3:23-25 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith."
Page 58 of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, "Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all-round forgiveness was desirable, but it was only when we resolutely tackled Step Five that we inwardly knew we'd be able to receive forgiveness and give it, too."
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. Page 65 of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, "If we ask, God will certainly forgive our derelictions. But in no case does He render us white as snow and keep us that way without our cooperation. That is something we are supposed to be willing to work toward ourselves. He asks only that we try as best we know how to make progress in the building of character." Step six is in direct contradiction to the Christian gospel. There is no forgiveness outside of Christ. By grace through faith in Christ we are washed as white as snow. There is nothing we can do on our own to be redeemed or forgiven. This excerpt from page 65 of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions leaves no room for debate on whether or not the 12 steps are Christian in origin - this statement makes it clear that they are absolutely not.
Alcoholics Anonymous Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. ("As we understood Him" is underlined in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and italicized in the book Alcoholics Anonymous). Page 98 of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, "There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God's kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure for so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the will of our own Creator." Here again is heresy. There is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ, our own works avail nothing, only faith in Christ can save us.
Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps are a false teaching and in direct contradiction to the Gospel. It really comes down to either making a commitment to believing in, adhering to, and relying on Jesus Christ or rejecting Christ and following Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps. The two cannot be combined.
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
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 recently received an email from a woman who has been trapped in Alcoholics Anonymous for years and has now through God's grace had her eyes opened to the truth of what AA really is and is now beginning to grow in her faith in Jesus Christ. I am posting my response to her email in hopes that it will help others who have been ensnared by the sinister and fear based teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Her main concerns were for her husband who has been in AA for years and what to do for those who reject any talk of Jesus or church and yet want to have sobriety.
The following is my response:
Regarding your first email, I understand your struggles after waking up to the truth of what Alcoholics Anonymous is after you were a part of it for so long. I was fearfully trapped in AA for thirteen years and fled from it eleven years ago and have not stepped foot in a meeting since. I can tell you from my own experience that you have been tremendously blessed to be freed from Alcoholics Anonymous by God's grace through Jesus Christ. Also, your greatest strength going forward will be in seeking to grow closer to Christ through prayer, study of the Word, and Christian fellowship.
By Chad Prigmore
Struggle against temptation is unfortunately a battle that Christians must all engage in as we are in a dark sinful world in which temptation is one of Satan's most relentless attacks. In order to have victory over temptation we must understand that it is not in our power to defeat temptation - but only through the power of God's grace.
We must understand what the Bible teaches us in Ephesians 6:12, "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." These are the forces that tempt us and seek to entice us away from the truth of Jesus Christ. But we are told in Ephesians 6:10-18 how we are to arm ourselves against these attacks. Paul writes, "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,..."
We must be in prayer constantly, and prayerful study of God's Word constantly, seeking to grow closer to Christ and to be more and more conformed to His image. As we seek Him this way He will strengthen us and we will overcome temptation and the devil will flee from us in defeat.
On page 63 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous you will find what is known as the “Third Step Prayer” which in the AA twelve step program signifies an implied point of conversion and surrender to “God as you understand Him.” It reads as follows:
“God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always!”
One would think, that if someone were to say this prayer with sincerity and conviction that it would affect and change them in such a profound way that they would be truly freed from “the bondage of self” and that their difficulties such as drinking or drugs would be taken away. However, after spending over thirteen years in AA and the twelve steps I never witnessed this prayer working for any member of Alcoholics Anonymous or other twelve step program that use it because they all continued to identify themselves as alcoholics and addicts and were resigned to the belief that they would be unable to survive without the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. They were never relieved of the bondage of self, and their difficulties (alcoholism and drug addiction) at least by all appearances were never taken away.
So why is the third step prayer so ineffective? What is missing that leaves it unable to have any real benefit for those that recite it as they work through step three?
In John 14:6 Jesus tells us, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Then He tells us in John 14:13-14, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
So based on the Lord's own words in scripture, the reason that the third step prayer in Alcoholics Anonymous doesn't work is because it is not prayed in Jesus' name and is part of an entire program (the twelve steps) that Jesus is no part of.
Chad Prigmore is Pastor and President of The Way Ministry Church USA & Kenya.