12-tradition 12-step fellowships are more biblical (and Kingdom-driven) than non-tradition keeping 12-step fellowships that are self-labeled, “Christian” or “Christ-centered.”

Let me state that again less loudly: 12-tradition 12-step groups are more biblical (and Kingdom-driven) than non-tradition keeping 12-step Christian groups that try to replicate the tradition-keeping fellowships in a “Christian” way.

Non-tradition keeping 12-step groups such as CR, Prodigals International, and Pure Desire are wonderful ministries that are biblically based. However, while they hold fast to a Biblical and Christian message. They are not constructed Biblically but follow more traditional corporate structures.

We are all-too aware that saying that 12-tradition groups are more biblical and more Kingdom-driven, is the reversal of what many members of the “Christ-centered 12-step groups believe. However, someone needs to say it. We too often make God small enough to fit in our Christian cultural comfort zone, not realizing that God sometimes enjoys speaking to his people with a donkey or an outside voice.

Please read this as a commendation of 12-tradition  fellowships, rather than a critique of “Christian groups.”

Please notice that all of the traditions are Biblically and Kingdom-driven. Each tradition articulates, at least, one Biblical idea or attitude that creates safety and imbues the fellowships with power. Also, by structuring themselves biblically, Scripture becomes a part of trecovering addicts’ DNA without them ever realizing it.

The first three traditions are listed below. Each tradition has a very brief statement to explain how the tradition gives Scriptural undergirding to the very structure of the fellowships that follow it. In addition, each tradition is linked to an article that exegetes the tradition more fully. So for more “in-depth exegesis” of the traditions, click on the appropriate link.

Tradition 1 states: “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon our unity.”

This is a call to Trinitarian thinking. Recovery is an “us thing” or it is not a “thing” at all. John 17 comes to mind.

Tradition 2 states: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.”

This is the tradition at which many Christians balk. “God can be whoever the group decides he is, rather than the God of the Bible,” they say. And they are right to a degree, but they miss the point of the tradition: “Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” It is in this statement that the power of the tradition resides. For it teaches Jesus’ view of authority.

Tradition 3 states: “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop ‘fill in the blank.'”

This is key to the recovery movement. It doesn’t matter who you are; what you’ve done or what you do. Thieves, murderers, and terrorists are welcome so long as they desire to stop their behavior. That is such a radical statement and belief. It is as if Jesus said, “love your enemies.” or, “I don’t care what you do for a living, Matthew and Zacchaeus. I want to spend time hanging out with you.” (SGT)

More to come
Here is a more complete list of both 12-tradition and non-tradition groups.

I just realized that this is going to post on April Fool’s Day and that due to the controversial nature of it, some may think we are playing an April Fool’s joke. We are not. Controversy can lead to great conversation. Please consider this an invitation to join the discussion in the comments section below. All respectable comments and questions will be entertained and given unedited voice.

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