A Twelve Step Program for Christians?

Do Christians Need to Break Their Addiction to the World!

Several weeks ago I started thinking about a 12-Step program for Christians. In lesson 17 of my Detox Your Life and Awaken Your Inner Spirit Program, I use the tenets of the 12-Step program to illustrate our need to surrender everything to God. Step one of Alcoholics Anonymous is “We admit we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

My interest in a 12-Step Program for Christians led me on a search. I wasn’t looking for a program to overcome an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or similar vices, but to overcome the addiction to the cares, deceptions, and illusions of the world and its destructive philosophy. The non-Christian life is so engrained within us, that it is oftentimes difficult to disconnect from it and even if we desired to do so, do we really know how? Jesus told us to “be in this world but not of this world.” Yet this is no easy feat. It means walking in a totally different direction with a new and foreign mindset.  Is it really enough to call ourselves Christian but possess very little differentiation from the modern world? That’s an important question to ponder.

In my delight I found just what I was looking for. It’s called Twelve Step Christianity by Saul Selby. The author, who happens to be a recovering addict and born-again Jew, discovered that the principles of the 12-Step Program applied to “any” life would be transformative.

And if you didn’t know, which I didn’t, the first 12-Step Program was inspired and developed by a group of devoted and on-fire-for-God Christians who called themselves the Oxford Group. Out of this group, several men, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob, wanted to help a larger group of addicts, but feared the religious ideas created by the Oxford Group might scare them away, so they purged all references to Christianity from the new program and A.A. for formed. They reasoned that A.A.’s purpose was sobriety, not salvation, so they wanted to make their program attractive and available to people of all faiths as well as to people with no faith.

The premise of Twelve Step Christianity is to help believers know and realize a personal, dynamic and growing relationship with God.

Selby writes, “Our relationship with Jesus defines genuine Christianity. No salvation prayer, church membership, or baptism can ever substitute for intimate communion with Jesus Himself.

Many church members know about Jesus, but they don’t know Him. They have been taught He existed, He died, He rose from the dead; and they believe it all. They have been told of His love, His power to forgive, and His eventual return. But they don’t experience His love, care, and intimate touch in their lives. They don’t daily seek His direction or desire to make sacrifices based on His will.”

For the next several months I will be exploring Twelve Step Christianity by going through each of the twelve tenets outline in the book and sharing how they relate to our Christian walk, not as addicts, but as sinners redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I will send out a brief email each time I post a new article to my blog. If you want an in-depth version, consider purchasing the book, but I’ll do my best to summarize the key points and applications.

Also, your comments are appreciated, so please feel free to post any feedback to this blog.

Next: 12-Step Christianity Step One: “We Are Powerless To Live The Christian Life”

5 thoughts on “A Twelve Step Program for Christians?

  1. Victoria Duncan says:

    I am a ministry leader in Texas for a WONDERFUL 12 step program for Christians dealing with many many issues from abuse, addictions,anger, grief etc. It is called “Celebrate Recovery” and was created 19 years ago by John Baker and Rick Warren of Saddleback church. This program is in many countries all over the world and in every state in the USA. I am a recovering addict myself and also deal with childhood abuse issues and this is one of the best programs I have ever seen when it comes to working the 12 steps. Just thought you would like to know

  2. Lonnie Trevino says:

    I am a recovered Alcoholic/Christian. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  3. Gls says:

    Who are the “lost,” and how does God respond to them? God takes special effort in seeking out the lost. Were you ever summonded by God to help a person who was lost as Jesus carried out his mission from start to finish that God asked him to do for us. Can any of us (Christians) say that we actually did all we could have to help a person who was lost – through Christ who strengthens us? Or did we selfishly give up when things got tough. I can’t even imagine what this world would be like if Jesus had given up so easily on us simply because things got tough… I’d might conclude that maybe He didn’t really love us as much as he said He did. But because He gave His only begotten son who yes died for our sins so that we too may have everlasting life. I know that – God (truly) loves us.

  4. JJ says:

    Jesus says “be in this world but not of this world”…
    Where does Jesus say this in the Bible? I have heard this phrase a lot and I haven’t been able to find this verse in the Bible.
    Are you referring to Romans 12:2 where it is Paul who says “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”
    Am I missing this verse that you put in quotes?

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