In honor of my friend Terry who went home to be with the Lord.
Death, are you ready for it?
When someone dies we should reflect on the reality of death. What happens when we leave this physical existence?
"O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Thank you Recovery Reformation for all the work you do to bring the Truth of God's Word to people who are lost in the darkness of the recovery movement/industry. I attended over 300 aa meetings myself over the years and never once found any true or lasting peace in "the rooms". The twelve steps - the entire program! - construct a perpetual circle of guilt and shame. It is a system with no conclusion, you are always "in recovery", no matter how much "clean time" you have. It is a complete satanic distortion of reality. But PRAISE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, today I am free. Through God's Divine Design, I was saved from aa. I have lived the reality of Jeremiah 29:11-14. This Friday, January 5, 2017 will be 4 YEARS since the Good Lord set me free from the bondage of alcoholism after 31 years of pure hell. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY!! My only ambition in my new life of freedom is to help bring the truth of God's Word to as many people as I can. God has allowed me to pursue a university degree (at age 51), and I am currently putting my own story/testimonial in writing with the goal of publishing it to the widest possible audience. God has brought me from park benches and homeless shelters to a life of peace, strength, and joy. A true miracle. I will spend the rest of my days spreading The Word to the many, many desperate souls who can be saved by no other power than that found in Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible! Amen!
My name is Kevin I am in the Charlotte NC area recently left AA after the Matt Slick talk show was speaking of how its a cult and directed me to your website. How I didn't see this before is amazing. I am looking for other people maybe in my area....lost my support group one thing about AA that is...well convenient...first I sold my soul to drink and drug then I sold it for sobriety. Everything you have said makes perfect sense...I have abused alcohol...drugs mostly cocaine...gambling porn and food...5 habitual sins that kept me in bondage...after I stopped drinking could not get away from porn and gained weight thanks to the sugar feast available at my home group. I Just left a relationship that I started in the program...Got saved through Faith in Jesus Christ April thanks to my roommate. I started praying to Jesus but had this feeling that something was not right...looking around at the hate of that "higher power" in the groups. My Sponsor must have been sent by God..an unsaved angry man who died 5 months ago literally due to anger...was very argumentative when he saw what he considered not AA behavior...had a blowout...got kicked out of his home group...the last meeting I saw him at he called the group a bunch of hypocrites because we were supposed to be non religious but recite the Our Father prayer...then stormed out of the room started arguing in the parking lot the next day he died...the reason I say he was sent by God was because he told me this was not a Christian program...told me I was in a cult....we would make jokes...and really did not like Bill Wilson at all as he called him an egomaniac....a womanizing hypocrite...and "The most famous anonymous person of all time". Also told me to research the history of it...that is where it really gets scary...also the similarity with Aleister Crowley and the AA coin and his group named AA also...powerlessness and all that nonsense. Then the fact that the Oxford Group and Frank Buchman and that cult being the basis for the cult of AA. Occult, masonic like practices of seances, conjuring the dead and Ouija boards and his "burning bush" moment in the hospital 1934 where he "saw god" who appears on command for old Bill while going through DTs under the Belladonna treatment full of a cocktail of various drugs and barbiturates...and high levels of mercury. Also love how people who suffer from "terminal uniqueness' have to get with the program, we are all garden variety drunks....that statement REEKS of hypocrisy in that we all all sinners...and need Jesus...but don't think you are Unique in AA newcomer...hello you are in a satanic cult that has a whole program for one sin...so you can separate yourself because other people don't understand...and a 12 step program for every sin known to man...so if I get a coin for time abstaining from alcohol....then shouldn't I get coins for lengths of time I didn't commit other sins...please give my lifetime coin for not murdering please...I need my 3 month coin for not fornicating...and on and on. To say it is a disease is a complete insult to someone who has a real disease like cancer. If God sets you free you are free indeed, He does not wish that you identify yourself by or obsess over past behaviors you may have long since changed, those sins were paid for a long time ago. Well looking forward to hearing from you soon...thanks and my God continue to bless your ministry...the real GOD that is...not a doorknob
Thank you to Anthony for sharing his powerful story of how the Holy Spirit opened his eyes to the truth of what Alcoholics Anonymous really is and setting him free from it's clutches.
My journey in AA started when I was in the college group at my church. Another member at church attended NA meetings and at their suggestion I started attending AA meetings out of a desperate desire not to go back to drinking again. Even though I initially had concerns about their views of God and that alcoholism was some sort of disease or allergy, the people there seemed to genuinely care about helping me stay sober and would go out of their way to help me. A lot of what they had to say seemed to be pretty practical, something I didn't think anyone at church would understand or be able to provide.
My experience with AA was generally a positive one. I got a sponsor, went through the 12 steps, sponsored others, shared in meetings and even organized new groups which were “solution based". My life improved. I developed better social skills and I gained a lot of confidence I didn't previously have. I got married and had a very nice job. My thinking was less fixated on myself and more towards others. I was one of the "Big Book Thumper" types. I stuck to the "first 164 pages" and didn't get into any of the "advanced AA” stuff as some of them would say. I was told that this was the best way to stay sober and not become a "dry drunk" and I was wary of anyone who used the 12 and 12 as someone who advocated a diluted message of AA. So I stuck with it and vigorously worked the 12 steps for the better part of 6 years.
Early into my venture with AA, the nagging of my conscience was much more pronounced. I was particularly concerned about AA’s teaching that you could come to God as you understood him and that it seemed to promote the idea that anyone could have a right relationship with God regardless of their standing with Christ. I can remember on one occasion sitting on the floor in my room praying and crying out of fear I was somehow betraying Christ, but everyone around me kept telling me I wasn’t. My sponsor, who professed Christ, assured me that I wasn’t by staying with AA. I talked to two pastors at my church about my concerns and neither definitively said that I would be involved in anything dangerous or contrary to scripture. Neither of them had any direct knowledge of AA, only what they heard from others and I was encouraged to stick with it. This eased my conscience somewhat so I continued on thinking there must be some answer to my concerns that I couldn't really figure out. Additionally, my sponsor constantly reminded me not to think too hard about things or else I may drink. He said the AA program was one of action, not one of hard thinking. I reasoned that since I was staying sober and my life was improving that I must have been doing something right. My fear of drinking again, and knowing my tendency to become unhealthily fixated on things, kept me from trying to resolve what I felt were contradictions between my professed faith in Christ and AA. I was also told that the founders of AA were Christians who just wanted to help as many people as possible, which I reasoned was a noble thing to desire so it must be good. I was even told that AA was really like “the Bible for dummies” because it was simple and focused on practical applications and results. It was easy for me to see many of the parallels between the Bible and AA, so maybe what I was hearing was right after all. It was likewise hard for me to deny that other people who clearly didn’t know Christ were staying sober through the program, and AA taught that it was their relationship with God that was the cause.
The first thing which really started my path out of AA was the birth of my first son. I met my wife in AA and we were both very much committed to AA at the time. We had even made a point to attend an AA meeting while on our honeymoon. However, with my sons birth a bible verse kept coming up in my mind that I knew I needed to take seriously. The verse is Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” I began asking myself, how do I teach my son that there is one way to God through Jesus, and that there is no other way, but yet at the same time tell him that I go to these meetings and tell people that they can come to any god they choose and they will stay sober? The whole thing felt extremely hypocritical of me and that was the first thing that really bothered me enough to make me seriously question whether or not I should continue in AA. I wondered why would my son be inclined to be believe in the one who is the Truth, the Way and the Life if I was simultaneously telling others that they didn’t really need him? I had an unshakeable desire to teach my son Biblical truth and I knew that if being in AA was wrong, then I would be guilty of leading my own children away from God. This nagging at the conscience was the small beginning of an almost two year search for answers that ultimately led me out of AA.
The most pivotal in my turning away from AA was during a meeting. I can’t remember exactly what the topic was, but a man I had never seen before began talking about the cross and forgiveness. He said that when he sins he knows that they are all “nailed to the cross” so to speak. As I listened to him share, I became angry. Why in the world was this guy talking about Jesus and religion so blatantly in an AA meeting? Didn’t he know that talk of Jesus scared drunks away and that people may die because they’ll turn away from hearing the “solution” in AA? Before he was finished sharing I knew there was something seriously wrong, and it almost hit me like a ton of bricks. Did I actually just get angry because someone talked about Jesus to a group of desperately sinful people who need him? Did I really just get mad at the idea of the gospel competing with AA? Was I really buying into the idea that “god as you understand him” was just a stepping stone to the real God? God’s word teaches that there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). This means that no false god should ever at any time be a mediator, or a stepping stone if you will, between us and God. It is directly through Jesus and Jesus alone that we come to Him.
As I immersed myself in the God's word, I began to realize that AA is not as neutral to the Christian faith as it claims. In fact makes it’s own claims about God and those claims actually do oppose the Christian faith. If AA stated that people of any faith could join and didn't present it's own views of God or teach it's own spiritual doctrines, that would be one thing. However, this is not what you find there. AA doctrine may claim not to oppose anyone, but since it states that anyone of any faith can join AND to then goes on to declare that you can come to God however you understand him and goes further into it's own spiritual doctrines and instruction on how to have a relationship with God. I realized this sort of misleading double-talk amounts to an opposition against Christian doctrine on a fundamental level. At this point I began to question a whole host of other things I learned in AA such as the supposed powerlessness over the first drink, meditation practices of the 11th step, the alcoholics purpose in life, the constant identification of myself with my sin, the constant and exhausting inventory of “character defects”, etc. I went through nearly two years of real spiritual struggle because I simply could not shake this idea that something was wrong with me being in AA. No amount of rationalization could keep it down.
My initial approach during all of this was to just stop teaching people that you can believe whatever god you want. I thought I could just teach them about Jesus and stop teaching all the things I didn’t agree with. I decided I would continue to participate in meetings and try to treat AA as a mission field. I did this for some time, but my list of AA doctrines I could no longer teach out of a clear conscience slowly began to grow as my understanding of God’s word began to grow. With every AA doctrine I found at odds with the bible, I felt the walls closing in and the door closing on my ability to be involved with AA. Furthermore, I discovered the claim that the AA founders were Christian proved to be totally false since they were essentially heretics involved in immoral behavior and occult practices. Harry Emerson Fosdick, referenced in the big book, was a false teacher and herald of theological liberalism that undermined biblical Christianity. On a more personal level, some of my closest AA friends who I thought were Christians actually turned out to to be heretics with cult beliefs. Then I discovered that Bill Wilson penned the words of the big book while being either directly or indirectly influenced by demonic spirits through his occult practices. With all of this I found it extremely difficult to share and participate in meetings without somehow violating God’s word.
As my biblical convictions grew, I started to become more vocal about my concerns to my wife. I questioned whether or not I was just looking for a way out so I could go drink again. We were both afraid of what this could lead to, because as they say in AA, “alcohol is a subtle foe.” Despite my fears, 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 had a profound impact on me when I understood that my involvement in AA was essentially joining Christ with Belial. Sure, I was staying sober, but at what cost? I already knew that my thinking was being more and more influenced by false AA doctrine than the bible. I became convinced that in AA I was gaining the world (sobriety) at the risk of losing my soul (Matthew 16:26). I eventually came to the conclusion that I had to leave. For me to stay would be a blending of AA and Christianity, which amounted to nothing more than idolatrous syncretism. Was I breaking my loyalty to the people in AA who had helped me stay sober all those years? Yes, I was. But loyalty to Christ supersedes any loyalty to anyone in AA or AA itself.
Although I know there are exceptions, I was generally liked and respected by the other members in the meetings I attended. Everyone's experience in AA is different and not everyone approaches the 12 steps the way that I did. Yet I mention all these things hoping that others who had a similar experience would know that my decision to leave AA wasn't because I couldn't stay sober or wasn't working the 12 steps. Neither was it because of some falling out I had with anyone there. It wasn't out of a subtle desire to just get away from people to whom I was accountable so that I could drink again. What I experienced was a constant nagging at my conscience that something wasn’t right between my Christian faith and AA beliefs and practices. Looking back, I believe this was the Holy Spirit working in me to bring me out of the organization.
After I left AA it took some time to unlearn all the false doctrine I picked up over the years there. It seemed like almost daily I was finding something in God’s word which exposed another AA doctrine as a lie. During this time it was almost as if I went through a spiritual shock and I missed having so many different people to see and hang out with at meetings. My wife was concerned because my attitude and behavior were not what they were. I had lost my main motivation to do good that I learned in AA, which was to not drink and to keep God on my good side so he would keep me sober. At first this hindered my efforts to help my wife to also leave AA because she thought she was seeing me become a dry drunk without the program. Over time I was able to root my motivations in God’s word and to serve him with love without fear of taking another drink lurking in the background. God was also working in my wife’s heart and mind to help her see the truth of what God’s word taught. Thankfully, she has also made the decision to leave AA and to serve Christ alone. My wife and I are still happily sober. My hope and prayer is that Christians will see AA for what it is, and that those involved would honor Christ and leave.
By Chad Prigmore
When reading the writings of some of the earliest Christian believers it becomes clear that there is a damage caused by the modern Christian recovery movement that we don’t often recognize. That damage is a lost joy in Jesus Christ and a lost amazement at the wonder of how by God’s grace a sinner is raised from the dead and brought to life as a new creation in Jesus Christ. After so many years of the modern Church becoming man centered rather than Christ centered, of entertaining “seekers” while believers starve for the meat of the word, working on addictions rather than repenting of sin; when we read of an early believers rapturous joy in being born again in Jesus Christ and the ensuing praise pouring forth from this glorious truth - we should mourn for a modern Church that embraces the world rather than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Consider the response of Augustine, who after years of sin and struggle and fighting against the only truth in Jesus Christ is brought to believe by the power of God’s amazing grace.
Augustine writes, “But who am I, what am I? Is there any evil I have not committed in my deeds, or if not in deeds, then in my words, or if not in my words, at least by willing it? But you, Lord, are good and merciful, and your right hand plumbed the depths of my death, draining the cesspit of corruption in my heart, so that I ceased to will all that I had been wont to will, and now willed what you willed. But where had my power of free decision been throughout those long, weary years, and from what depth, what hidden profundity, was it called forth in a moment, enabling me to bow my neck to your benign yoke and my shoulders to your light burden, O Christ Jesus, my helper and redeemer? How sweet did it suddenly seem to me to shrug off those sweet frivolities, and how glad I now was to get rid of them - I who had been loath to let them go! For it was you who cast them out from me, you, our real and all-surpassing sweetness. You cast them out and entered yourself to take their place, you who are lovelier than any pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, more lustrous than any light, yet more inward than is any secret intimacy, loftier than all honor, yet not to those who look for loftiness in themselves. My mind was free at last from the gnawing need to seek advancement and riches, to welter in filth and scratch my itching lust. Childlike, I chattered away to you, my glory, my wealth, my salvation, and my Lord and God.”1
Such passion, rapture, and absolute joy are Augustine’s in Jesus Christ his redeemer. Where has all of that gone? Why do so many in the modern Church, instead of forsaking the world and pointing only to Christ as our victory over all sin and struggle, look to the world in compromise and apathetic resignation? Is it not time, as everything in this sinful world crumbles and falls apart to look only to Christ and honor and worship and praise Him at a level hardly experienced in such a long time?
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Make a stand. Be the one who exposes the heresy in the Church that snuck in the door in the guise of recovery. Be the one that points to Christ, who stands on the authority and sufficiency of His word and nothing else. Be like Christians used to be - bold, courageous, confident, and powerful in God’s word, rejoicing always, praying ceaselessly, and thanking God from a heart in love with Him.
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, - 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
A young man named Taylor Gaffney testifies to the transforming power of the love of Jesus Christ. Thank you Taylor for allowing us to share your writing.
My testimony varies greatly from yours, but would probably have many similarities. Briefly: Parents divorced when I was 8 or 9. Got very rebellious and had a lot of anger. Around 11, began stealing liquor and smoking marijuana. By 13-14, this led to prescription pills. I was sent to military school at 14, got out, got worse, then off to rehab.
Spent all of my teenage years in and out of rehabs, hallways houses, detox, programs, etc. Dropped out of school. Around 18, I took too much of those things and overdosed, alcohol poisoning from a blood alcohol level of .4, several Xanax bars and a lot of marijuana. I could hardly breathe and could not respond. My friends took me for dead and left me on my doorstep. My parents drove me to the hospital just in time. After several hours, I sort of responded, but became very physically aggressive and violent with doctors, nurses and family. When they sent 2 LEO's to assess me and bring me to county, I assaulted a cop.... It was bad. They objected me with something to put me down, and the mixture of it and the drugs/alcohol put me in a 3 or 4 day coma. I woke up at home and my parents told me the story while in tears. I didn't believe them and had them tell me a second time, to realize they were serious. I remembered nothing, at all.
I sent myself to rehab, because I was worried of going to prison. Stayed sober in AA for a year+ and moved in with a Christian buddy. Relapsed worse than ever. Lasted 3 months or less. The last night I did drugs and drank like that was June 8, 2013. The weed wouldn't work. The alcohol wouldn't work. The pills wouldn't work. I felt nothing, no relief, no difference, just empty. And, it was at that moment (that I believe, though God's timing is different than what we may expect) that the Holy Spirit regenerated me and caused me to be born again. I cried out, and was initially angry, but more in a wanting to die way. I told God that I didn't want to live anymore if all I was just going to be a slave to drugs, dead, in prison or miserable and sober. I said what do you want from me?! And, it is hard to explain... But, inside, it is as if Jesus revealed Himself. It's as if I didn't have to ask who He was, I just knew (evidence of Spirit's work). And, I repented of my entire life being thrown away in sin, and I asked Jesus to please take control of my life. I said, "Lord, I don't know what to do. But, I know that I need you. Please take control of my life and teach me to live for you. I am so sorry!!!!" He changed me radically! And, everything up until now, would take too long to write. Would need to write a book."
Taylor Gaffney on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009360802024
If you have trouble getting your head around the truth that recovery in it's worldly sense is not needed from a biblical stance - then you have a faith issue.
"Many people are willing to believe regarding those things that seem probable to them. Faith has nothing to do with probabilities. The province of faith begins where probabilities cease and sight and sense fail. Appearances are not to be taken into account. The question is - whether God has spoken it in His Word." - George Mueller
Consider that the more horrific and hopeless a sinners condition may appear, how by appearances there may seem to be no way that the simple gospel truth could ever have power in a mind seemingly destroyed by the power of sin. Then consider the awesome glory that will be brought to God by the transforming of that sinner into a shining child of God by the power of the Holy Spirit through the simple, faithful sharing of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. - Romans 10:17
Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. - John 3:3-15
When considered deeply from a Biblical perspective, the reason that the modern recovery movement has been allowed to infiltrate the contemporary Church is largely due to a severe lack of faith in the Lord and in the power of God’s word in proclaiming the gospel. This truth is evidenced by the most common responses provided by those claiming to be in Christian ministry but mainly focused on programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery. When these people are shown how the recovery programs they support and promote are proven to be apostate when held up to the light of scripture they either angrily reject the proof presented outright, or claim that there is no way anyone trapped in alcoholism or addiction could come to grasp the Christian message without first working through a program in order to heal them and bring them into a coherent state. They simply do not have the faith necessary to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ with power and authority and instead rely on man made concepts and programs which contradict scripture. This is why not just recovery programs but the entire worldly concept of recovery is contrary to the Christian message of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
In the story of Jesus and Nicodemus we see the response to the gospel from a man who was a teacher at the highest level of Jewish society. Nicodemus probably knew all there was to know of religion except for the main point and purpose of it all - the doctrine of salvation. This man prefigured what so many have suffered from down through the centuries - the danger of knowing about Jesus but not knowing Jesus.
Nicodemus had to be brought above the limitations of his mind and what he thought he knew. Jesus presented to him a truth that was beyond his mind’s capacity to understand and accept. But in spite of this fact did the Lord water down the truth or try to come at it from a different angle? No, Jesus presented the truth simply and without compromise obviously knowing that understanding and belief come by the working of the power of the Holy Spirit.
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." - John 3:8
Nicodemus became a believer.
Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. - John 19:39-40
We must witness and share the gospel with faith in and reliance on the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit. We must stop inventing new ways to pitch the gospel and just proclaim it. We must have faith and trust in the Holy Spirit to save those lost in sin and darkness. If we, as individuals are truly faithfully seeking the Lord and striving to be conformed to His image, His light in us will be the only attraction needed for those in the darkness. And we must have absolute faith in the sufficiency of scripture and throw out all of the worldly programs and concepts that have slithered into the contemporary Church.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. - Hebrews 4:12-14
The fall into idolatry that so much of the Church has made can be very incremental and subtle. Beware of worshipping another Christ, another Christianity, or a Church, or a program, or a Pastor. Salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone is not a concept - it is the transforming, re-creating, life-giving, loving power of God saving us in Christ eternally. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so that those who looked upon it might live (Numbers 21:4-9), we must lift up Christ and His gospel looking only to Him knowing that whoever believes in Him will be saved and have eternal life.
Look to, seek, follow, worship only Jesus Christ as revealed to you by the working of the Holy Spirit through God’s word.
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matthew 7:13-14
The many and the few - everyone will end up in one group or the other. There is no middle ground in divine truth. One of the great errors in the contemporary Church and especially prevalent in the recovery movement that has infiltrated the Church is the idea of an all inclusive universal salvation regardless of what someone believes and whether or not they have truly been born again and follow Christ according to His word. Sadly, many Churches rely on Alcoholics Anonymous or its spin off program Celebrate Recovery rather than the gospel in an effort to help the alcoholic and addicted, completely unaware of the heresy put forth by AA. Consider that on page 46 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous it is stated that, “We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men". That is a complete contradiction of Matthew 7:13-14 and yet so many Pastors and Churches participate in and promote Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery.
But in truth we once again see the razor's edge of Christianity, the clear distinction that there are only two ways in life: right or wrong, good or evil, Christ or the world, faith in Christ or dependence on programs, the narrow gate to heaven or the wide highway to hell, death with the the many or eternal life In Jesus with the few.
The wide worldly gate to destruction is one of enticement, amusement, entertainment, ease, worldly prosperity, self worship, and is all inclusive - open to all without anything needing to be given up or repented of in order to pass through. The lusts and desires and passions of this world are welcome through the wide gate without question or running the risk of insult. The wide gate is easy to find because there is a constant mass of ignorant humanity fighting to get through it.
The fact that we must enter by the narrow gate has been cast aside in “Christian” recovery programs, and traded instead for the faulty idea that the goal is to get someone over their pain - then, when the suffering sinner is better they can be presented with the Christian message. What a destructive heresy man creates when by lack of faith and sinful pride the gospel is manipulated or ignored and the man made concept of recovery is set up as an idol above the commands of Christ. There is a reason the very first command recorded in Christ's ministry was repent.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." - Matthew 4:17
Christ does not command sinners to clear their head, fix themselves up, get their life back together, and then repent and follow Him. Instead, Christ commands lost sinners to repent and to follow Him faithfully on the hard path to the narrow gate that can only be passed through by grace through faith. But the wonderful paradox lies in the fact that although the gate is narrow and the way is hard - it is a way of inexpressible joy and true peace. Christ does a miracle in the transformation of every sinner that cannot be grasped or understood by the sinful human mind without the enlightening of the Holy Spirit. And that is where faith must be exercised in the sharing of the gospel. Unfortunately, for too long much of the contemporary Church has lacked the faith to simply and lovingly share the gospel with the lost drunk or addicted sinner and pray for the working of the Holy Spirit, and instead has devised man made programs that lead only away from the one true way to salvation. By relying on anything of man other than God even with the best of intentions conveys a severe lack of faith in the power of the gospel by the working of the Holy Spirit.
to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. - Acts 26:18
Consider this question: If someone has the greatest gift and you do not, and because you lack this gift you will die, would you want that person to give you the gift even if the giving of the gift may at first be painful and offensive? Is this what you wish others would do to you?
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. - Matthew 7:12
It seems that if we truly are to do unto others as we would have done unto us that we will strive to love them as Jesus would love them, that we would love for the sake of Jesus Christ and the gospel according to the word. We would not lead someone astray with a false worldly connotation of love. Yet, that is exactly what so many do by leading the suffering sinner away from the saving gospel of Jesus Christ and into programs invented by man.
Jesus tells us that we must enter by the narrow gate, and that if we don’t we will enter the wide way to destruction. He also tells us in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." - Mark 1:14,15
When you break it down, victory over the sin of addiction is victory over temptation - the temptation to sin. Our natural fallen desire to sin must be transformed into a righteous desire to please God which from a purely human capacity is impossible and in direct contradiction to our nature. It is only by the supernatural power of God's grace that a person's natural desire to sin can be transformed into a desire to please God in righteousness.
The prophet Jeremiah explained perfectly the human condition without the transforming power of God's grace: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
But even as Christians, saved and transformed by the blood of Jesus Christ, we still struggle against temptation for the time that we are here in the flesh. So the question becomes, "Just what is the most powerful way, as we grow in sanctification, to obtain victory over the temptations of the flesh"? This question - especially during the time in which we live, in which so much Christian teaching has come to look outside of the Word, or added to the Word from the teachings of psychology, psychiatry, new age philosophy, secular recovery, etc... is a very important one to address. And, with the hope of not seeming to overly simplistic, might we now consider turning back to the founder and perfecter of our faith and casting aside the influences of this world for the needed victory over the age old battle against the temptation to sin? Might Jesus our Savior have provided the means of victory for us in this battle?
Consider the greatest single onslaught of temptation that any human has ever had to endure - the temptation that Jesus faced in the desert and the victory He claimed over it. Also, as you read through this section of scripture please bear in mind that when Jesus faced these temptations he had fasted for forty days and forty nights out in the desert by Himself. Jesus also knew what lay ahead for Him in just three years. He knew that He was moving toward the time when His closest followers would desert Him, when He would be betrayed by one of His own apostles, when He would be arrested and accused falsely, then spat on, ridiculed, tortured, and stripped naked and hung from a cross by those He came to save. But beyond all the ridicule and physical pain Jesus knew as Satan tempted Him that He would have to take on Himself the sins of all mankind and endure the wrath of His Father in order to atone for our transgressions - in order to save us from that horrific and justified wrath.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you,' and "'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. - Matthew 4:1-11
All the Lord had to do in order to avoid what He knew He would soon endure was to give in to Satan's temptations. But by giving in to Satan, the Lord Jesus would have been abandoning us to eternal damnation. Because of love for us He stood firm, fought of the temptations of Satan and the devil left Him.
When we are faced with temptations, why would we ever consider looking for a solution other than what Jesus Himself shows us so clearly in His Word? Jesus, when tempted declared "It is written" in response to each temptation and the power of the Word proclaimed faithfully gave Him the victory. For whatever temptations we struggle against, for whatever attacks Satan unleashes on us through the enticements of this world, Jesus shows us the way to victory - through His Word!
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:2
Chad Prigmore is Pastor and President of The Way Ministry Church USA & Kenya.