Celebrate Recovery Concerns (part 1)

The C.R. program is incredibly well-organized. Its materials are second to none in terms of packaging, readability, and presentation. Plus, those involved in the C.R. program at thousands of churches around the country are very enthusiastic about it and have hearts to help hurting people. I will go so far as to say that C.R. has helped people by God’s grace over the years and I am grateful to the Lord for that help.

My concern is simply the language that C.R. uses. Any time a program like C.R. starts with worldly constructs (from Alcoholics Anonymous) by worldly men (Bill Wilson) RATHER than starting with biblical constructs (like idolatry and drunkenness rather than addiction and alcoholism) by God-inspired men (2 Tim. 3:16), there is going to be a problem with the language. Words are not neutral – they point us in a direction. As an author whose book is The Heart of Addiction, I struggled with that title knowing the word “addiction” is a worldly term; however, in the book, I re-defined the term by substituting the word compulsive with habitual since Eph. 4:20-24 points to habits. Addiction is better understood biblically as a habitual problem rather than a compulsive one.

It is always difficult to critique a program like C.R. that is attempting to be Christian in its approach and to bridge the gap from secular groups to the church. But it is important that we all evaluate our approach to addiction to be sure that we are striving to handle this important issue in our culture with biblical truth.

Here is a good article by The Berean Call that offers a solid critique of some of the other flaws in the C.R. program. Again, my biggest concern with C.R. has to do with the language used because worldly terminology C.R. uses to describe the problem do not point to sin as the root of the problem and therefore point away from Jesus Christ as the solution to the root problem. That is a problem that negates the message of the Gospel and it is important!

-Mark (thankful for God’s work in C.R. despite its flaws and hopeful C.R. leaders will see the need to correct wrong theology so as to glorify God and point participants to Christ alone)

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