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  • 12 Step Programs in the Church

    Has "Christian Recovery" helped or weakened us? In the past I've struggled with addictions and finally was able to break free. I attended several 12 step programs which were somewhat helpful but not a total cure by any means. They teach that once an addict always an addict: you're either active or recovering. I can say with absolute certainty that this is crock. I'm totally cured thanks to Christ.

    Lately I've noticed more and more 12 step recovery programs like Celebrate Recovery are finding their way into Christian churches. But is this such a great thing? Are they teaching unbiblical doctrines? Celebrate Recovery, for example, which was started at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, teaches one to "forgive God," of all things. Don't get me wrong, I did find help giving up my addictions—for a while at least—through 12 step programs; but at the time it was an alternative to religion and didn't try to encroach on its territory. Now it seems it's bringing its doctrine into the churches. Some "churches" I've been to are even replacing the traditional church paradigm with a recovery-based model. Can these even be called churches?
    Love is patient, love is kind. . .

  • #2
    I believe it would depend on the nature of the church putting on the program. If it's Christ focused and gospel focused then I can't see anything wrong with it, but I can see exactly what you're talking about in many recovery programs.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by pdun459 View Post
      Has "Christian Recovery" helped or weakened us? In the past I've struggled with addictions and finally was able to break free. I attended several 12 step programs which were somewhat helpful but not a total cure by any means. They teach that once an addict always an addict: you're either active or recovering. I can say with absolute certainty that this is crock. I'm totally cured thanks to Christ.

      Lately I've noticed more and more 12 step recovery programs like Celebrate Recovery are finding their way into Christian churches. But is this such a great thing? Are they teaching unbiblical doctrines? Celebrate Recovery, for example, which was started at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, teaches one to "forgive God," of all things. Don't get me wrong, I did find help giving up my addictions—for a while at least—through 12 step programs; but at the time it was an alternative to religion and didn't try to encroach on its territory. Now it seems it's bringing its doctrine into the churches. Some "churches" I've been to are even replacing the traditional church paradigm with a recovery-based model. Can these even be called churches?
      Our first experience with Biblical Recovery was when my wife was led to be one of the leaders in a Celebrate Recovery program in a church we attended back in 2001-04. At the time, I was not led to serve in the program as one of the teaching leadership. However, I volunteered as a van driver to get those who attended but did not own POV's, to and from the meetings. Then, the Army PCSed me to a new location and once we had attended the church God led us to for about 8 months or so, we inquired of the pastor if he ever planned on raising up a Bible based recovery program. We set up a meeting and by the time that meeting ended, I'm laughing as I write this... we were the lead directors of Celebrate Recovery for the church. Took us a few months to find other leadership, train them, run them through the course and then, open the ministry to all.

      We led the ministry for 2 years, even though half-way through that two years... God had other plans as we actually began to serve at another church, attend their services. So for that last year where we ran the Celebrate Recovery and attended, we also attended the other church. Quite the experience as the new church, the services were not done in English and we did not speak, Spanish. There were many a night in prayer, several periods of fasting/praying, God.... what are you doing to us???

      Once the Celebrate Recovery program was fully transitioned into the hands of those who we trained during that final year, we moved on to the other church. Within a year, both my wife and I understood the "equipping" God accomplished IN us as we led that Celebrate Recovery... in this new church we were to lift up a Bible based recovery ministry from the ground up. Wrote a whole program/lesson plans, etc. Once we got the final OK from the pastor of that church were we served, in 2008 we started Breaking the Chains, Biblical Recovery Ministry.

      Now... as for specifics to your post. The program we lead is not 12 step at all. Sure, some fundamentals are the same. All who desire to be healed/free of any form of bondage must first admit to the fact they have a bondage.

      Based on experience since 2005, any program CAN help people but there is a difference between applying self and having a "crutch" in avoiding falling back into a bondage. Compared to surrendering self and the bondage over the Christ, learning what scripture teaches about re-newing of the mind and allowing Christ to TAKE the bondage away and HEAL a person.

      12 step = always an addict but recovering/ed.

      Biblical Recovery that is not 12 step = a healed sinner that has been completely freed/liberated of whatever bondages they have. Freed/liberated consisted of TOTAL HEALING or due to the renewing of the mind, they have overcome and keep a past bondage under their feet and they are UNaffected by what was once overwhelming them.

      As for a church being taken over and becoming a "12 Step" program... I personally have not experienced this.
      Slug1--out

      ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Slug1 View Post

        Our first experience with Biblical Recovery was when my wife was led to be one of the leaders in a Celebrate Recovery program in a church we attended back in 2001-04. At the time, I was not led to serve in the program as one of the teaching leadership. However, I volunteered as a van driver to get those who attended but did not own POV's, to and from the meetings. Then, the Army PCSed me to a new location and once we had attended the church God led us to for about 8 months or so, we inquired of the pastor if he ever planned on raising up a Bible based recovery program. We set up a meeting and by the time that meeting ended, I'm laughing as I write this... we were the lead directors of Celebrate Recovery for the church. Took us a few months to find other leadership, train them, run them through the course and then, open the ministry to all.

        We led the ministry for 2 years, even though half-way through that two years... God had other plans as we actually began to serve at another church, attend their services. So for that last year where we ran the Celebrate Recovery and attended, we also attended the other church. Quite the experience as the new church, the services were not done in English and we did not speak, Spanish. There were many a night in prayer, several periods of fasting/praying, God.... what are you doing to us???

        Once the Celebrate Recovery program was fully transitioned into the hands of those who we trained during that final year, we moved on to the other church. Within a year, both my wife and I understood the "equipping" God accomplished IN us as we led that Celebrate Recovery... in this new church we were to lift up a Bible based recovery ministry from the ground up. Wrote a whole program/lesson plans, etc. Once we got the final OK from the pastor of that church were we served, in 2008 we started Breaking the Chains, Biblical Recovery Ministry.

        Now... as for specifics to your post. The program we lead is not 12 step at all. Sure, some fundamentals are the same. All who desire to be healed/free of any form of bondage must first admit to the fact they have a bondage.

        Based on experience since 2005, any program CAN help people but there is a difference between applying self and having a "crutch" in avoiding falling back into a bondage. Compared to surrendering the bondage over the Christ, learning what scripture teaches about re-newing of the mind and allowing Christ to TAKE the bondage away and HEAL a person.

        12 step = always an addict but recovering/ed.

        Biblical Recovery that is not 12 step = a healed sinner that has been completely freed/liberated of whatever bondages they have. Freed/liberated consisted of TOTAL HEALING or due to the renewing of the mind, they have overcome and keep a past bondage under their feet and they are UNaffected by what was once overwhelming them.

        As for a church being taken over and becoming a "12 Step" program... I personally have not experienced this.
        What I've witnessed in recovery ministries is that if they are yoked to the church ( a part of the churches ministry through the saints in that local congregation ) then they can flourish because there is something for those who are recovering to be a part of , scripturally speaking. If a 12 step program is NOT yoked to the local church ( not in location but in Spirit ) then the people that attend look just like your description

        Comment


        • #5
          From your post slug, I'm not sure how object you can be as you you appear to be knee-deep in it.
          Love is patient, love is kind. . .

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pdun459 View Post
            From your post slug, I'm not sure how object you can be as you you appear to be knee-deep in it.
            Hi Brother pdun. Here's what brother Slug wrote at the end of his post;

            12 step = always an addict but recovering/ed.

            Biblical Recovery that is not 12 step = a healed sinner that has been completely freed/liberated of whatever bondages they have. Freed/liberated consisted of TOTAL HEALING or due to the renewing of the mind, they have overcome and keep a past bondage under their feet and they are UNaffected by what was once overwhelming them.
            He's saying there's a major difference between the 12 step program and what God wants to do. That doesn't mean the 12 step doesn't have some overlap with God's truth, it does. But our brother is pointing out a big, huge difference.

            God bless!
            Matt 9:13
            13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
            NASU

            Comment


            • #7
              Brother Mark, do you know anything about Celebrate Recovery? If so, do you think it's something we should be bringing into the churches?
              Love is patient, love is kind. . .

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by pdun459 View Post
                Brother Mark, do you know anything about Celebrate Recovery? If so, do you think it's something we should be bringing into the churches?
                Before answering that, let's look at something else Brother Slug wrote:

                Based on experience since 2005, any program CAN help people but there is a difference between applying self and having a "crutch" in avoiding falling back into a bondage. Compared to surrendering self and the bondage over the Christ, learning what scripture teaches about re-newing of the mind and allowing Christ to TAKE the bondage away and HEAL a person.
                Does that sound like someone neck deep in it?

                This is what I know... people grow. They learn. They don't (or shouldn't) stay static in the Lord. It seems to me that he is drawing a contrast between the two programs. He was once in a 12 step program in a church and even led it, but since 2005 he has seen a difference. He sees the 12 step program as offering some help, like a crutch helps people. But he says Jesus can take the bondage away completely and heal the person too.

                Don't you agree that Brother Slug is no longer "neck deep in it"?

                God bless!
                Matt 9:13
                13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
                NASU

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brother Mark View Post

                  Don't you agree that Brother Slug is no longer "neck deep in it"?

                  God bless!
                  I don't know, I guess he'll have to answer that question himself if he feels like it.

                  Love is patient, love is kind. . .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by pdun459 View Post

                    I don't know, I guess he'll have to answer that question himself if he feels like it.
                    What do you think he was saying here:

                    Based on experience since 2005, any program CAN help people but there is a difference between applying self and having a "crutch" in avoiding falling back into a bondage. Compared to surrendering the bondage over the Christ, learning what scripture teaches about re-newing of the mind and allowing Christ to TAKE the bondage away and HEAL a person.

                    12 step = always an addict but recovering/ed.

                    Biblical Recovery that is not 12 step = a healed sinner that has been completely freed/liberated of whatever bondages they have. Freed/liberated consisted of TOTAL HEALING or due to the renewing of the mind, they have overcome and keep a past bondage under their feet and they are UNaffected by what was once overwhelming them.
                    Matt 9:13
                    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
                    NASU

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My concern is people and true discipleship are gradually being replaced by a 'program.' Some will say, "God works through people and programs to disciple." My argument to that is, people in these programs aren't really being discipled by people or God, but by the program. Why should people worry about loving or discipling a struggling brother or sister if a program can do it for them. And what is lacking in the church that makes programs like this necessary?

                      Celebrate Recovery has its own line of 'Recovery' Bibles. They also has a whole line of other merchandise which it pushed to its groups. Who's making money off of all this?

                      Why do we need to 'Christianize' a 12 step program? If Christianity has the ultimate truth already why drag the 12 steps into it? And why the need to put a psychological spin on God's word? And if the 12 steps aren't Christian, why do some feel it's necessary to 'Christianize' an unchristian program? I believe this was done already in the early years of the church.
                      Last edited by pdun459; Jan 19th 2020, 07:23 PM.
                      Love is patient, love is kind. . .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pdun459 View Post

                        I don't know, I guess he'll have to answer that question himself if he feels like it.
                        What do you think then, with his answer here?

                        =====================
                        "'Based on experience since 2005, any program CAN help people but there is a difference between applying self and having a "crutch" in avoiding falling back into a bondage. Compared to surrendering the bondage over the Christ, learning what scripture teaches about re-newing of the mind and allowing Christ to TAKE the bondage away and HEAL a person.

                        12 step = always an addict but recovering/ed.

                        Biblical Recovery that is not 12 step = a healed sinner that has been completely freed/liberated of whatever bondages they have. Freed/liberated consisted of TOTAL HEALING or due to the renewing of the mind, they have overcome and keep a past bondage under their feet and they are UNaffected by what was once overwhelming them."
                        ======================

                        Do you agree that he is saying that Christ frees completely and heals while the 12 step programs do not? Do you agree he is saying one is a "crutch" while Jesus is the deliverer and healer?
                        Matt 9:13
                        13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
                        NASU

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brother Mark View Post

                          What do you think then, with his answer here?

                          =====================
                          "'Based on experience since 2005, any program CAN help people but there is a difference between applying self and having a "crutch" in avoiding falling back into a bondage. Compared to surrendering the bondage over the Christ, learning what scripture teaches about re-newing of the mind and allowing Christ to TAKE the bondage away and HEAL a person.

                          12 step = always an addict but recovering/ed.

                          Biblical Recovery that is not 12 step = a healed sinner that has been completely freed/liberated of whatever bondages they have. Freed/liberated consisted of TOTAL HEALING or due to the renewing of the mind, they have overcome and keep a past bondage under their feet and they are UNaffected by what was once overwhelming them."
                          ======================

                          Do you agree that he is saying that Christ frees completely and heals while the 12 step programs do not? Do you agree he is saying one is a "crutch" while Jesus is the deliverer and healer?
                          Brother Mark, while I respect your loyalty to our brother and coming to his defense, I should tell you I don't intend to answer questions like these. You can't put words in slug's mouth and neither can I. He will have to answer for himself and then I'll reply to him. Doing otherwise will only lead to misunderstanding and possibly hard feelings.
                          Love is patient, love is kind. . .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            "Celebrate Recovery is a biblical and balanced program that can help you overcome your hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory this recovery program is more effective in helping people change than anything else I've seen or heard of."—Rick Warren, Growing in Christ While Helping Others, 'Forward.'
                            Last edited by pdun459; Jan 19th 2020, 07:23 PM.
                            Love is patient, love is kind. . .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              So that all can know what we are speaking about, here are the 12 steps listed in "Celebrate Recovery"

                              Celebrate Recovery 12 Steps and Biblical Comparisons


                              1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

                              I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
                              For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18 NIV



                              2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

                              For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13 NIV



                              3. We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.

                              Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 NIV


                              4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

                              Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40 NIV



                              5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

                              Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16a NIV



                              6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

                              Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10 NIV



                              7. We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

                              If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NIV



                              8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

                              Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 NIV



                              9. We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

                              Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 NIV



                              10. We continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

                              So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12

                              11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and power to carry that out.

                              Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Colossians 3:16a NIV



                              12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.

                              Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1 NIV
                              Here's the link:

                              https://www.celebraterecovery.com/re...-tools/12steps
                              Matt 9:13
                              13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
                              NASU

                              Comment

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