Tuesday, April 15, 2014

AA - A First Century Christian Fellowship - Temptation - the Book of James

A Tidbit on “Temptation” in the 24 Communications, Inc. Quarterly

Dick B., April,  2014

Dr. Bob said in The Co-Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Biographical Sketches Their Last Major Talks that older AAs believed the answers to their problem were in the Good Book. He then said they believed that the Book of James, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, and 1 Corinthians were “absolutely essential” to their program.

In my early A.A. days, that sparked my interest in the Book of James. It caused some of our brothers across the country to form “James Clubs” which is what the old-timers wanted to call A.A. And it later prompted me to write The James Club: The Original A.A. Program’s Absolute Essentials  www.dickb.com/JamesClub.shtml

James 1:12-16 has always seemed to me to deal with “temptation” the recidivist alcoholic or addict lure—a topic Dr. Bob mentioned more than once. The James verses read:

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

            Do not err, my beloved brethren

Dr. Bob and his wife Anne frequently mentioned and cited verses from James; and I think the foregoing verses, when coupled with James 4:7, can be particularly helpful to those AAs who consider the Bible the “main source book of all” as Anne put it.

Incidentally, James 4:7 says:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

I was drawn to this subject by an article in the Spring 2014  AAA 24 Quarterly, on page 16. It was titled “Buchman’s Advice for Handling Temptation”

Buchman had learnt that temptation, of whatever kind, was best resisted at its earliest stage. It was easier, he sometimes said, to divert a small stream than to dam a river. He defined the progression of temptation as “the look, the thought, the fascination, the fall,’ and said that the time to deal with it was at the thought—“Tackle temptation well upstream.” This was not a new idea. Thomas a Kempis, whose writings he would not likely have encountered at Mount Airy but whose Imitation of Christ went with him everywhere during his adult life, describes the same progression. “The enemy is more easily overcome,” write a Kempis, “if he be not suffered in any wise to enter the door of our hearts” but be resisted without the gate at his first knock.”

Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman was the founder of A First Century Christian Fellowship later known as the Oxford Group.

If you are looking at a challenging study topic that is really related to the Bible, the Oxford Group, the Book of James, and a subject that will provide plenty of useful discussions by alcoholics and addicts, this tidbit may be something you can use in your James Club or in any discussion meeting.

Gloria Deo

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