Twelve Steps in the Wrong Direction

(Volume 22, Issue 1, Jan/Feb 2016) A Biblical View of Codependency and Alcoholics Anonymous by Gary E. Gilley and M. Kurt Goedelman A number of years ago I wrote a TOTT article dealing with twelve-step programs as well as codependency.  Recently that article was revised by myself and Kurt Goedelman, the director of Personal Freedom Outreach, and published in the PFO’s Quarterly Journal (January-March 2016). – Gary E. Gilley Those who consume a steady diet of syndicated television talk shows or digest the writings of Christian psychologists such as Frank Minirth, [1] Paul Meier, and Henry Cloud will be surprised to learn that there is neither scientific nor biblical evidence to support the theories of codependency. Codependency is a hot topic within current psychology. Before the late 20th century the word — and even the concept — was virtually unknown. Now, nearly everyone in one fashion or another seems to…

The Tragedy of Self-deception

(August/September 2011 – Volume 17, Issue 4) “The power of the human mind to deceive itself seems infinite”[1] The Greek philosopher Demosthenes said, “Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be truth.”[2] In his confessions Augustine wrote, “Man’s love of truth is such that when he loves something which is not the truth, he pretends to himself that what he loves is the truth, and because he hates to be proved wrong, he will not allow himself to be convinced that he is deceiving himself. So he hates the real truth for the sake of what he takes to his heart in its place.”[3] The fact that we are easily self-deceived should surprise no Christian for, as the inspired prophet Jeremiah wrote centuries ago, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it” (Jere 17:9)?…

Twelve-Step Recovery Groups and the Christian

(April 1996 – Volume 2, Issue 6) Without a doubt, the most widely recommended “therapy” for people struggling with life (including various forms of addictions, many “mental illnesses,” and conditions such as codependency) is a recovery group that employs a Twelve-Step program. The original Twelve-Step recovery group is, of course, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which was founded in 1935. Today there are thousands of recovery groups modeled after AA. Minirth and Meier specifically place their stamp of approval on the following groups: AA, Al-Anon, Alateen, Debtors Anonymous, Emotions A, Gamblers A, Narcotics A, Codependents A, National Association for Children of Alcoholics, Overcomers Outreach, Overeaters A, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Incest Survivors A, Adult Children A, Al-Atot, Alcoholics Victorious, Bulimics/Anorexics A, Child Abusers A, Codependents of Sex Addicts, Fundamentalists A, Parents A, Pills A, Sex Addicts A, Sexaholics A, Sex and Love A, Shoplifters A, Smokers A, Spenders A, Victims of Incest…

The Biblical View of Self-Image

(September 1996 – Volume 2, Issue 11) The fact is that the self-image movement is neither Biblical nor scientific. It is a fad that will eventually pass away after doing incredible damage in our society and unfortunately in all too many churches. By God’s grace and the truth of His Word, believers need not be taken in by Satan’s lies. We can choose to live by the infallible, never changing Word of God! Few would disagree with the following statement: How people think of themselves will to a large degree determine how they will think of others, how they will think of God, how they will obtain and maintain all their relationships, and how they will make decisions. There is no area of life that will not be directly or indirectly affected by the way we view ourselves. However, there are two vastly different views on the subject of self-image:…

Inner Healing and Visualization

(November 1996 – Volume 2, Issue 13) The true gospel message is that God saves people even though they are yet sinners (Romans 5:1-11). However, He does not simply leave them in their sins, but rather, forgives their sins and imputes to them the righteousness of Christ (Romans 4). By grace He brings them into the family of God and starts the process of transforming them into the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28,29). One of the increasingly popular methods of dealing with problems today is Inner Healing (also known as healing of memories, or healing for damaged emotions) through the use of visualization. Some of the better known practitioners of this methodology have been: Agnes Sanford, Ruth Carter, Dennis & Rita Bennett, and among Protestant non-charismatics, David Seamands. Seamands’ books, Healing for Damaged Emotions and Healing of Memories, are perhaps the standard texts on the subject. These books come…

Codependency, A Biblical View

(October 1996 – Volume 2, Issue 12)  There is neither scientific nor Biblical evidence to support the claims of those who teach the theories of codependency, but why should truth get in the way of a good thing? Codependency is one of the “hot topics,” at the moment, in modern-day psychology. Until recent years the word (and even the concept) was virtually unknown; now everyone seems to be a codependent. The goals of this section are to define codependency, look at what psychologists tell us causes it, examine its supposed effects on people and find out how to cure it. Finally, we will examine all of this in the light of Scripture. A Definition of Codependency “Originally, codependency was used to describe a person whose life was affected as a result of being involved with someone who was chemically dependent” (Martin Bobgan, Twelve Steps To Destruction, p15). Today, however, definitions…