So, specifically then, how does AA differ from Bible-based faith?
(following text captured from a forum discussion at Forums.CARM.org)
AA ~ The Broad Road of AA
“To us, the Realm of the Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive, or forbidding….” Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 46.
Bible ~ The Narrow Road of Christ
““You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matt 7:13-14).
AA ~ Contempt for Sound Doctrine
“Any number of alcoholics are bedeviled by the dire conviction that if they ever go near AA, they will be pressured to conform to some brand of faith or theology.” As Bill Sees It, p. 201.
Bible ~ Sound Doctrine
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…” (2 Tim 4:3-4).
AA ~ “God-as-you-understand-Him”
Any Name “We suggest that you find a substitute for this destructive power, alcohol, and turn to a Higher Power, regardless of the name by which you may identify that power. We suggest that you turn your will and your life over to God, as you understand Him.” The Clergy Ask About Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 9.
Bible ~ Jesus Christ: No Other Name
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
AA ~ Powerlessness
“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable” (Step 1).
Bible ~ Power in Christ
No believer can claim to be powerless: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philip 4:13).
AA ~ Spiritual Awakening
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps…” (Step 12).
Bible ~ Spiritually Dead in Sin
Man is spiritually dead, not asleep. He needs resurrection, not awakening. “Even though we were dead because of our sins, [God] gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead” (Eph 2:5).
AA ~ The “Big Book”: AA’s “Bible”
Portions of the “Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous, are read “religiously” at every AA meeting, much like Scripture readings at Christian worship services.
Bible ~ Sufficient for Life & Godliness
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3).
AA ~ Leadership: “Trusted Servants”
“Our leaders are but trusted servants. They do not govern” (Tradition 2).
Bible ~ Leadership: Elders
AA’s leaders and individual sponsors usurp the role God has ordained for church elders to shepherd and “feed the flock of God which is among you” (1 Peter 5:2).
AA ~ The “Moral Inventory”
Step 4 requires a “searching and fearless moral inventory,” essentially a detailed catalogue of past sins to be “confessed” to some other person to whom such confession is not biblically due.
Bible ~ No Condemnation
As Christians, our sins are fully covered by the blood of Christ. We confess our sins, as appropriate, to God and to those actually sinned against. New believers are nowhere in Scripture required to make a detailed list of all past sins. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).
AA ~ “Birthdays”
AA members celebrate annual “birthdays” based on the date of their last drink. They practice a “secular regeneration.”
Bible ~ Regeneration by the Holy Spirit
Christians celebrate their new birth in Christ.
AA ~ The Goal: Sobriety
The goal of AA is abstinence from alcoholic beverages (sobriety). Other sins, such as sexual immorality, are commonly tolerated so long as the AA member isn’t drinking.
Bible ~ The Goal: Sanctification
“For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son” (Rom 8:29).
AA ~ Fellowship/Unity: A Common Sin
AA’s fellowship is built around the common sin of drunkenness. “Personal recovery depends upon AA unity” (Tradition 1).
Bible ~ Fellowship/Unity
A Common Salvation “For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all” (Eph 4:4-6).
AA ~ Carrying “the Message”
“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs” (Step 12).
Bible ~ Christian Evangelism
” Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28:19-20).
AA ~ Incurable Disease
AA’s literature is permeated with the dogma, taught faithfully to newcomers, that “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” There is no “cure” offered, only continual abstinence from all alcoholic beverages.
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or effeminate, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11).