Give Me That Old Time AA New Age Religion :: By John Lanagan

“Alcoholics Anonymous is a sub-trend of the New Age.” —Ehud Sperling

In the small town where I worship, a neighboring church holds Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on an almost daily basis. They know the Scriptures that clearly forbid mixing our Savior in with false gods, and yet this has made no difference. They do what they do because that is what they want to do.

Not that this is unusual. It is happening all over our nation—churches embracing anti-biblical activity, and choosing to portray it as God’s perfect will. We even find books to validate what we prefer to believe about the nature of God Himself.

The novel The Shack falls into this category. Despite its errant theology it remains a best seller, and may ultimately prove to be a significant dividing line between the Body of Christ and the rising apostate Church. But this is no less true of Alcoholics Anonymous.

“‘Has a nation changed gods, when they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, and shudder, and be very desolate,” declares the Lord’” (Jeremiah 2:11-12).

We have gone far beyond individual Christians simply attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Now, increasingly, Alcoholics Anonymous is allowed to hold meetings in Bible believing churches. A.A. membership by definition demands a faith in the 12 Step process, and many Christians end up with a syncretistic belief system—biblical teachings have been weakened and welded with 12 Step theology.

The Lord tells us to “come out from their midst and be separate” for good reason.(2 Corinthians 6:14-17). He tells us, “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). In like manner, exposure to bad theology often corrupts sound doctrine.

Some years ago Martin and Deidre Bobgan wrote the 12 Steps To Destruction,

a blunt and accurate analysis of the 12 Step movement. This well-researched book angered some and was ignored by others. The authors write, “Twelve-Step programs are in essence New Age religions and archetypical precursors of a one-world religion. They do not hold a common doctrine of God and His creation.” [1]

You will find that, sure enough, a quick Internet search demonstrates how compatible 12 Step groups are with New Age/New Spirituality. Or, really, with anything else. According to PASS IT ON, A.A. cofounder Bill Wilson “felt A.A.’s usefulness was worldwide, and contained spiritual principles that members of any and every religion could accept, including the Eastern religions.” [2]

A.A.’s Step 3 states, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Jesus Christ is never mentioned in the 12 Steps. This is not surprising considering the source from which the 12 Steps originated.

Martin and Deidre Bobgan further notes, “The common goal of the one-world religion will be peace—for the sake of survival. Each goal is centered on self and in the now, not in God or eternity. The goal takes precedence over the One True God. Whatever god or goddess is chosen as the higher power is subservient to that goal. All of these fit into the New Age spirituality: no absolutes, many ways, self-enhancement.” [3]

There are those in the church who are fully committed to the all-gods religion of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are enthralled with it. They have friends, warm feelings, perhaps even sobriety through A.A. So, although they know the Scriptures, the 12 Step path is the way they have decided to go.

But there are also those who simply do not know better. Some of these are new Christians, and they are in Alcoholics Anonymous because they have been told that is the only possible way to sobriety; or because other Christians have recommended it.

Then, of course, there are the books. Numerous books erroneously portraying A.A. not only as compatible with Christianity, but as Christian in origin. These have done much damage.

With all the urgency I can summon, I tell you the Lord wants His people out of Alcoholics Anonymous. He wants His people to quit feeding this shimmering, glimmering chameleon of a spiritual system. The Ancient of Days will take care of those in bondage to alcohol if we but give Him the opportunity. How do I know this? It’s right there in the Bible. And so it was for me.

Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that if one is to overcome alcoholism, one must turn one’s life and will over to a “higher power.” It doesn’t matter what (or whom) one believes in, and worships, it only matters that one must worship something.

My friend, do not rationalize that this is still okay because you, in the middle of A.A., worship Christ. Alcoholics Anonymous denies the Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, and you are not to have anything to do with it. It is, as Paul tells us, a false gospel.

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:6-8).

Christians in A.A. are literally praying and worshiping with New Age folks and others who, as they have been encouraged, have custom-created their own gods. To justify belonging to such a religion, some Christians claim it is okay because, well, it’s all about evangelism.

And so it is. Unfortunately, it is the usually Christians themselves who are “evangelized,” who are unknowingly affected by the theology of the 12 Step religion. This is why God tells us to stay away from such a thing in the first place.

This is potentially a fertile mission field, but such a ministry is not for those Christians who are already caught in 12 Step theology. There are many wonderful people in A.A. bowing to various deities. The best thing we can do for them is to obey God, get out, and pray for Him to strengthen our churches.

A great separation is taking place. For the 12 Step religion—an anti-Christian religion—grows stronger every day. Emergent/Comtemplative/12 Step Spirituality will continue to blend together. False gods will boldly be celebrated and elevated.

Commenting on A.A.’s invent-a-god theology, Martin and Deidre Bobgan point out, “When one configures his own image of god and places himself under that power, he is essentially his own god, because he finds that god within himself and within his own experience.” [4]

Do Christians in A.A. know the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book—the A.A. “bible”—promotes the New Age lie of inner divinity? The Big Book states, “Sometimes we had to search fearlessly but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis, it is only there that He may be found.” [5]

Really? The Bible tells us God dwells only in those who have accepted Jesus Christ. This may sound harsh, but none of us should be found in A.A., unless the Lord Himself sends us there as missionaries.


[1] Martin and Deidre Bobgan, 12 Steps To Destruction, pg.116

[2] , Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., pg.283

[3] Martin and Deidre Bobgan, 12 Steps To Destruction, pg.116

[4] Ibid., pg.116

[5] Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., pg.55