If you’ve ever had to overcome addictions or had a family member involved in a 12-Step program be sure to make time to listen to and read this content as it will bless you and help you minister to others.

You can watch Armor of Truth’s full playlist video series, The Truth About A.A. & 12 Step Programs or check out any of the videos below. Disclaimer + Methodology below:

You might also like to watch Apologia Radio engage with the Bible, addiction, and Alcoholics Anonymous: Is AA biblical? No. Here and here.


What is Alcoholics Anonymous and why should we write about it? from carm.org

Alcoholics Anonymous and the occult from carm.org

Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: A Brief History of AA. Alcoholics Anonymous, World Services. 1957

Cheever, Susan. My Name is Bill: Bill Wilson – His Life and the Creation of Alcoholics Anonymous. Simon & Schuster 2004

Hartigan, Francis. Bill W: A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-Founder Bill Wilson. St. Martins Griffin, 2001.

Irving Peter Gellman, The Sober Alcoholic (College and University Press, 1964), p. 121.

Lanagan, John. The “Spiritual” Truth Behind Alcoholics Anonymous—And Why Christians Should Think Twice About Joining A.A. 

Lewis, M. Addiction and the Brain: Development, Not Disease. Neuroethics 10, 7–18 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12152-016-9293-4

“Pass it on”. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. 1984

Gellman, I. The sober alcoholic. College and University Press. 1964

Twelve steps and twelve traditions. New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. 1981.

A Message from Armor of Truth:

Please understand that this message is being given in love and my prayer is that it will be received in the intention in which it is given. This is not an attack. We are not commenting beyond our area of expertise here. My wife Summer has specifically been affected by the cult of AA essentially losing contact with her family. We don’t offer a critique of the program because we’re mad at it. We don’t say it’s a cult because we think it doesn’t work. We know it works. And that’s the problem. AA is effective as a cult in that it creates life-long slaves to the program rather than slaves to Christ Jesus. The program gets the glory that belongs to Christ. Someone might say, what difference does it make as long as I am sober and sane? Be careful with that. You don’t want to make too much of your ability to overcome anything without Christ, otherwise, you have an idol – a lesser God.

In the AA program, any god is good enough as long as that god is bigger than you and not yourself. But, wait a minute… the same thing can be said for Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witnesses. No doubt, there have been alcoholics and addicts who responded to the Mormon message or Jehovah’s Witness evangelists, became a part of their recovery program, and overcame their addiction. So, does that mean Mormonism or the Watchtower is the truth? No. They also meet the basic qualifications for being deemed a cult. Why AA is a problem is because it is a lifestyle religion. We encourage you to watch the episode of Apologia Radio we have linked above for a full explanation. Pastor Jeff Durbin of Apologia Church, another one with a background of addiction, recovery, and working directly with others in treatment, gives a much better description of why AA is a false religion that makes disciples for AA.

You might say to me, but why are you being so harsh? AA isn’t infringing on the church, it’s just helping people to overcome their addictions and live a better life. Exactly. That is a religion. Any movement that claims to have the truth and the only way to success over sins of commission like alcoholism, heroin addiction, molly, pot, pills, or sex addiction, while providing a sacred text to be the standard for your life, must be held up to the light of Scripture and analyzed very closely. AA addresses sin without calling it sin; one has a life-long disease. AA offers an incomplete diagnosis then provides a completely enslaving prognosis: you will be diseased forever; you will always be an alcoholic, an addict… Two major problems here:

1) What about the sins of narcissism, lying, anger, or basic idolatry?
2) There is no hope of ever overcoming your condition as a sinner. You will always be enslaved to that specific sin and not even God can change that condition!

Do you see the problem?

God has been setting addicts free from their sin since The Fall of mankind in The Garden. He hasn’t lost His power or forgotten about drunks. He doesn’t need the AA Big Book to help Him bring His children to the Light.

Let me offer this analogy again: If a drunk joins the church of Scientology (an obviously dangerous New Age cult) and that man gets sober, do we then identify Scientology as the truth? Do we then begin a crusade to defend Scientology because it saved John Q from alcoholism? Of course not. We honor Christ as Lord of ALL areas of our lives and give Him the glory for victory over ALL sin. My friends, when you are IN Christ, you are still a sinner, but you are NO LONGER a sinner before God. Christ has covered your sins – ALL of them, not just one or two of them. Your sins are washed away from crimson to snow-white; removed from you as far as the east is from the west. You are Justified! Forever identified with Christ – not as an alcoholic.What about the Celebrate Recovery program that you see at so many churches across the country. It is no better. Pulling Bible verses out of context and attaching them to the 12 steps of AA is not an answer. Watch the video above for more on that.

I also want to explain my wife’s personal experience of being delivered from her bondage to the sin of addiction in the year 2018. She was delivered through the sovereign grace of our Lord and God alone. I’m with her every day now and I bear personal testimony that she is free from that bondage. There are always consequences to our lives of sin before we were drawn to Christ and Justified. But, please understand this, nobody is saved from a life of sin by anything other than the work Jesus Christ completed on The Cross.

Jesus said IT IS FINISHED. That means all your past and future sins are covered when you are IN CHRIST. Summer lost her natural father to alcoholism and experienced the lifestyle that is alcoholism and mental neglect by her parents. To this day, the family members she has remaining choose not to communicate with her because she is not “working the program.” Why? Because it is too much of a risk to their sobriety to commiserate or even communicate with a person who is not a member in good standing of the church of Alcoholics Anonymous. That isn’t just “cult-like” my friends, that is one of the defining characteristics of a cult.

Whenever a lifestyle self-help “program” determines for you that it is unsafe for you to communicate with and express love directly to your child, you are firmly in the clutches of a cult – a cult that can save you from alcoholism, but it will NOT save you from yourself. Eventually, at some point, after the meetings are over when your sponsor isn’t available, your family is gone and you’re lying in your bed at night all alone, you will realize that your idol was insufficient. Your idol was limited. Your idol cannot talk to you now. Your idol cannot save you from the hard truth that you have forsaken Christ as Lord and now find yourself alone, sober, but all alone in all the other sins that AA could not wash away.

But here’s the good news!

God knows who you are. You’re not hiding from Him. By grace you are saved through faith, which is not because of anything you did or could do, it is the free gift of a Holy, wrathful and merciful God, and that is so that none of you may boast about your own special way to victory or sobriety. There is one way to the Father, one way to victory over all sin and death. Our Lord and God came into the world as a man, Jesus of Nazareth. He lived a perfect life according to the law, taught and prepared men to carry the message of the new Covenant to all the world. He gave His life willingly to perhaps the most brutal and humiliating form of capital punishment available in the Roman Empire. But God’s cup of wrath that is death could not hold Him and On the third day, He rose from the dead, left that tomb vacant… and in doing so He fulfilled the law, making the keeping of the law obsolete.

In Matthew 28 Jesus in His resurrected body gives His followers their command, which is ours today, our new covenant in Christ;

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If you’re reading this and you are experiencing conviction in your heart, if these words are getting through to you and you know they mean something very important, then God is effectually calling you. That means He is drawing you to himself. You cannot cause this to happen. You cannot choose for this to happen. God moves and we respond. You were dead in your sins just like the rest of the world. It is appointed once for us all to die, then comes the judgment. Will it be mercy or grace for you? Are you prepared for that moment? There’s only one way.

If these words make sense to you then you realize that you need that mercy and not God’s judgment – which is His wrath. If these words are piercing your heart, then give it all to Christ right now. Give Him your addictions, your lying, your coveting, give Him your love of the things of the world, give Him your inability to overcome lust and desire for more and more of what the world offers.

If you are lost in addiction right now and these words are getting through to you, if you know that your Creator is calling you according to His good pleasure, give it all to Him. You have no power. Give your life to Him right now. That is what The Cross means. It means that you were dead, but God being rich in mercy has restored you to life and seated you with Christ.

What a miracle! The Gospel is the power! Not any other program. The Gospel saves men from themselves. These words that God has given us in Scripture, the public preaching of this Gospel IS THE POWER.

Providing spiritual solutions for spiritual needs with the Bible as our inerrant, fully sufficient resource is our purpose (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 2 Peter 2:21).


1. Addiction is a behavior. What we believe about God and His word is the foundation of how we deal with any and all sinful behaviors (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:5). God has given us everything we need for overcoming sinful behaviors in His word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2. We live in a fallen creation and experience the effects of the fall in the world, in our bodies, and in our minds (1 Peter 1:24), and God’s word is the only unchanging resource for overcoming the effects of the Fall (1 Peter 1:25).​ Sin, including addiction, causes physical symptoms and we encourage everyone to diligently seek medical attention for any immediate symptoms, such as withdrawal or illness resulting from substance and alcohol abuse. After any physical symtoms or illnesses are addressed we encourage everyone to seek to spiritual counselling from Biblically qualified elders within the Body of Christ. We do not suggest or promote any secular or spirtual programs that emphasize steps to personal spirtual growth that do not stand on the inerrant, fully sufficient word of God, and do not exalt Christ alone as Lord and Savior of the world and Counsellor (Isaiah 9:6), and Comfortor (John 16:7). 

3. We advise everyone to seek membership with a Bible based church where Jesus Christ is the Head, that is overseen by a plurality of Biblically qualified Elders (Titus 1:5, Acts 14:23, 1 Timothy 3:2) for spirtual guidance from Christ and HIs body (1 Peter 2:25). 

Our prayer is for your full faith and healing in Christ. Please let us know if you have anymore questions on this or any other issue. We are grateful to be of service and we give all the glory to God!

All answers flow from these precepts:
The Bible is inerrant and fully sufficient for faith and Christian living.
We are saved by Grace alone,
through Faith alone,
In Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.


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