A Specifically Christian Re-Writing of the Twelve Steps

I believe the original Akron group of “A.A” was explicitly Christian, thanks to the investigative work of DickB. Even by the time of the “Twelve Steps” when they originally came out, they were beginning to soften the original “Oxford Group” emphases which were more specifically Christ centered.

Here, however is a specifically Christian (and specifically Lutheran Church Missouri Synod) rewriting of the Twelve Steps from the book When Addictions Threaten: Hope for Those Endangered by Addictions (Christian Care) by Charles Knippel who writes to address various kinds of addictions.

Can you tell the differences between this version and the Original Twelve (above)?

1) Admit that we are sinners as well as forgiven and renewed people. We daily sin much and often find ourselves powerless over facets of our lives that are not under control of the Holy Spirit and that dishonor God and hurt us and others.

2) Believe that God can and does daily forgive our sins for Jesus’ sake and liberate and renew our lives through the work of the Holy Spirit.

3) Live daily under the Holy Spirit’s power and, in the promise and new life of Holy Baptism, daily turn our will and our lives over to the care of God and His recreating power and make fuller use of His gift of the Holy Spirit for the renewal of facets of our lives that need transformation.

4) Make a searching and fearless inventory of our sinful behaviors that require  immediate attention.

5) Admit to ourselves, to God, and at least one other Christian the exact nature of our sins. Mindful of the comforting and reassuring benefits of individual  absolution, we value the privilege of making private confession before the pastor and receiving holy absolution from God through him.

6) Be ready to have God remove our sinful behavior.

7) Humbly ask Him to remove our sinful behavior.

8) Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and be willing to make amends to them all.

9) Make direct amends to such persons whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10) Continue day by day to take a personal inventory, and when we sin, receive  God’s forgiveness and life-renewing power, and respond in responsible Christian ways.

11) Use God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper to enrich our relationship with God, as well as use God’s Word and prayer to discover a clearer understanding of God’s will that the Holy Spirit enables us to carry out.

12) Carry the message of the saving and freeing Gospel of Jesus Christ to people who need God’s life-transforming resources to deal with a variety of concerns and, finally, to seek to express our growing Christian maturity in all aspects of life.



Thoughts: These are obviously Lutheran as noted by their strong sacramental language (“absolution”,  “private confession before the pastor”, etc.) They are also (perhaps obviously) written by a seminary professor because they take some fairly pithy phrases and make them somewhat verbose! Perhaps their greatest benefit to be in explaining the original Twelve Steps from a Christ-centered perspective.

Because the “Twelve Steps” are fairly well known and may function as a “Bridge” for the Good News as they stand, using an altered version may not serve the purposes of outreach as intended.

This could however work within a church based program …