The James Club and the Original A.A. Program's Absolute Essentialsby Dick B
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The first complete, detailed study of what the early A.A. pioneers in Akron read in, borrowed from, and applied with the Bible's Book of James, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Chapters 5, 6, and 7), and 1 Corinthians 13. The pioneers explicitly stated that they believed the answer to their problems was in the Good Book. The foregoing three parts of the Bible were considered by them to be "absolutely essential" to their spiritual recovery program. To the extent, in fact, that many AAs wanted to call their fellowship "The James Club." Included also in this title are five invaluable appendices showing where the original program came from, how it was practiced, how it different from Bill W.'s Big Book program, and where Yahweh the Creator fitted into the picture.
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For a number of years, author Dick B. has presented pieces on early A.A.'s Christian Fellowship, its stress on Bible study and prayer meetings, and the importance of three segments of the Bible. These three segments are: (1) Book of James. (2) Jesus's Sermon on the Mount. (3) 1 Corinthians 13. And Dr. Bob said at a talk in Youngstown, Ohio that AAs start their day by reading one of the three. He also said that all three were absolutely essential in the original program. Dick B. therefore felt it was specially valuable for AAs, 12 Steppers, and Christians to have before them a verse by verse study of each of the segments, and a specific correlation of those verses to portions of A.A.'s Big Book and Twelve Steps that borrowed from them. This James Club book was a long time in coming because it necessitated an examination of many different A.A. sources--Anne Smith's Journal, the devotionals, Dr. Bob's library, the Oxford Group literature, Quiet Time literature, Step Guides, and Big Book study works to bring it all together. Dick also felt it important to include materials discussing the Book of James itself and the probable authorship of it by the Lord's brother. He also added materials on A.A.'s United Christian Endeavor roots which help to explain how the Bible achieved such a prominent role in the early fellowship. And here's a book that allows you to do what the pioneers did--study these books themselves. Have a ready guide to the relationship between the verses and A.A. writings. Use it as a tutorial for your study group. Realize it can be a catalyst for organizing Big Book/Bible study groups now that there is an in depth study of these three core Bible sources of A.A. ideas. I welcomed the new insight Dick's presentation gave me on patience, God's wisdom, temptation, being a doer of the Word, the significance to James of 'love thy neighbor as thyself,' the core idea of submitting yourselves to God and resisting the devil--knowing the devil will flee from you, the important 5th chapter on prayer and healing. Then the materials in the Sermon that were direct sources of Step ideas. And finally the principles from Corinthians, such as kindness, truthfulness, tolerance that have become embedded in A.A. thinking and language.
As a Marine vet and Bible student, I have found this book particularly valuable because it explains the principles of A.A. and recovery so well. It covers the Book of James and A.A. This means you can see in its discussion, its study of verses, and its comparisons with A.A. language: (1) Resisting temptation. (2) Seeking God's guidance. (3) Being a 'doer' of God's will--not just a hearer. (4) the royal law of love thy neightbor. (5) The faith without works is dead catalyst of A.A. service. (6) The famous 'tame your tongue' origins of Dr. Bob's warning. (7) The origin of 'submitting yourself to God.' (8) The origin of 'resisting the devil.' (9) The assurance that if you humble yourself in the sight of the LORD, the LORD wlll lift you up. (10) The warning about eliminating 'grudges.' (11) The importance of James 5:16--elders praying for your healing, confessing faults, relying on the efficacy of prayer. It's all there. And then there's the equally wonderful comparative study of A.A. and Jesus' sermon on the mount and Paul's important study of lvoe in 1 Corinthians 13. A great, practical, inspiring book assuring God's help.