Morgan Blake was first a sports columnist and then a religious commentator for the Atlanta Journal. He became a open supporter of Alcoholics Anonymous in Atlanta on the Op-Ed pages of that newspaper. Though not a member of AA himself, he gave up drinking in 1923 through his church. His praise of AA was by becoming a witness to the recoveries that were being accomplished. He once was called to the Atlanta Federal Prison in 1944 to quell a prison riot at the request of 25 rebelling prisoners. He was successful in his efforts. This article is one of a series that documents his support of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Atlanta Journal, MORGAN BLAKE [Atlanta Journal, Early 1945]
Says AA’s No Competitors of Christianity
THERE ARE a number of Christian people who have the mistaken idea that Alcoholics Anonymous is religious organization and, therefore, a competitor of Christianity.
I have had many letters similar to one received from Rev. Raymond C. Moore, pastor of Central Baptist Church at Gainesville, GA. Pastor Raymond says:
“Several times I have read with much interest your impressions of Alcoholics Anonymous. As a minister I have a great deal of concern for those who are victims of the drink habit and am glad when anything appears to offer help to those who are bound by alcohol. But when such help ignores the person of our Saviour and mine I fear that, though its outward results are desirable, inward effects are disastrous.”
Pastor Raymond sends me in his letter a clipping from the Sunday School Times in which a writer for that publication says among other things that Alcoholics Anonymous is a “counterfeit of the Gospel” and from the world and from the Modernists. Satan is only too willing to give boost to anything that will lead men and women away from Christ.”
The Alcoholic is a Sick Man.
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a competitor of any religion. It is a group of men and women formerly enslaved by the drink habit who are seeking sincerely to help others out of that slavery. And they believe that while a man may be a great sinner in becoming an alcoholic, after he reaches that state he is a sick man.
Surely no Christians would deny to have member of another faith a chance to be led out of this slavery, regardless of the methods used.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were written by men largely of the Christian faith. But the name of Christ is not found in these documents, although the name of God is. Our nation was formed by, and includes, men and women of many faiths.
Nobody would say that Satan was the chief influence in these documents because Christ’s name was not mentioned in them.
It is true that in the plan of Alcoholics Anonymous belief in a higher power is essential. The victim must realize that he has reached the end of his own resources and strength and must look to that higher power for help.
Discovered It Wasn’t Nature
Some three years ago a man of means and education was taken into the Atlanta A.A’s. He didn’t believe in God but said he thought nature was the higher power. “All right,” said the A.A.’s, “then put your trust in nature if you believe it is a higher power than you are.” This man was rescued from alcoholism, hasn’t had a drink in three years and is now a Christian. He found out who the higher power really was after he had discarded his false god of alcohol.
No one knows more than I do that Christ is sufficient to rescue a man from the liquor habit. But the great majority of alcoholics are in such a condition they don’t understand about this. They’ve got to be approached differently than by saying, “Accept Christ and be cured.”
One alcoholic told me he had accepted Christ five times in different churches, that the workers prayed with him at the time, and then forgot all about him. Few preachers and church workers have been victims of alcohol, and they don’t know the peculiar angles associated with this disease. Many Christians are saved like Saul of Tarsus in a minute of time, but the great majority have the experience of the Apostle Peter and come by degrees to understand what it’s all about.
Most Christians, unacquainted with the liquor habit, are unable to follow through and to give that necessary fellowship to an alcoholic at the time he needs it most. It is in this fellowship that Alcoholics Anonymous has experience to give.
Atlanta Preachers Endorse It
Alcoholics Anonymous has the warm endorsement of many of Atlanta’s outstanding Christian ministers. Dr. Louie Newton has had members of A.A.’s on his Druid Hills Radio Hour. Pierce Harris and Dean de Ovies have spoken to the group and praised its work from the pulpit and in their newspaper columns. And I could name many other ministers who have appeared before the group and are grateful for the good its doing.
If Satan were behind the A.A.’s these noble Christian leaders would certainly not endorse it.
Personally, if I thought that Satan was behind the A.A.’s I would feel he was a better fellow than I have been led to believe.