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by ProfDave, ©2020

mmi9, Pixabay, License

(Oct. 13, 2020) — What is a “bible-thumper?”  Are they dangerous?  If you call me and your number is unrecognized, I answer “Celebrate Recovery, how may I help you?”  Celebrate Recovery® is a Christ-centered, 12 Step, life-recovery support program for all hurts, habits and hang-ups.  There are some 30,000 groups worldwide.  My number is the main contact for the local meeting and once in a while I get a real inquiry.1

This caller was obviously uncomfortable talking to me.  About half-way through her real concern came out, “You’re not bible-thumpers, are you?”  I confess, I whiffed on that one.  I should have asked what she thought a “bible-thumper” was and why she feared them.  It might have led to a constructive discussion of what that book has done for me.  But I dodged and talked about confidentiality and non-condemnation and how a spiritual experience is part of the 12-steps.

So I missed the chance to find out what a “bible-thumper” is.  Is it someone who “thumps” people over the head with a large leather-bound book?  Or someone who thumps on a large leather-bound book for emphasis?  Or just someone who believes what is in it is the Gospel truth?  Perhaps one of you can tell me.  I don’t want to remain in denial if I am one.

The founders of AA discovered that a “Higher Power” and a “spiritual experience” were necessary to achieve recovery from alcoholism – and any other serious addiction.  Indeed, a good operational definition of addiction is a habit that you cannot permanently break by your own willpower.  You can quit a thousand times, but you always pick it up again.  Typically, such addictions combine physical, emotional and spiritual aspects.  Medicine and psychiatry may help the physical and emotional aspects but leave the spiritual untouched.  Emotional pain and hang-ups are not much different.  Relying on our own wills and our own pride, we slip back into the same ruts.  We raise a glass to celebrate our sobriety (it actually happens!), manipulate our meds to feel better, enjoy the view of the girl next door, or take a second brownie and off we go chasing temptation down the toilet again.  AA has proved over seventy years that you need a sponsor, a meeting and a Power greater than yourself.

And who might that Power be?  Imaginary higher powers are not going to help you.  Spiritual entities that are not interested in your recovery are not going to help you.  Spirits may just be messing with you to keep you captive.  In Celebrate Recovery we look to the real God – and Jesus has shown definitively that He wants you clean and free of your hurts, habits and hang-ups.  Where did I find that information?  In the Bible.  I believed what the Bible said about Him.  And, lo and behold, He set me free!  If I need to “thump” the Bible to share this information with you, I will “thump it.”  So, yes, Virginia, every one of the classical 12-Steps has a Bible source and everything we teach in the CR curriculum has a verse.  If being a “Jesus freak” is what it takes to be free of my addiction, so be it.  Who wouldn’t?


1US website celebraterecovery.com (resources and group finder), Manchester CT local meeting mcnaz.com/recovery.

David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College.  He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota.  He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020).  He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.”

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  1. “Bible thumper” is a derisive term libtards use against people who truly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ rather than cower before liberalism. I consider it an honor to be among those so denigrated as it means Jesus is happy with me