A.A., A.A. History, the Oxford group, and Rev. Sam Shoemaker

Today, a divinity student wrote about the Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous. She said she was researching the relationship of the Oxford Group to Alcoholics Anonymous. She said she had previously owned two of my relevant Oxford Group books but had passed them along to friends who had drinking problems. She cited two or three books she did have, but asked how she could obtain access to my materials on the subject.

I had pointed out to her that she had not cited Oxford Group books like Garth Lean’s Frank Buchman a Life, Walter’s Soul Surgery, Shoemaker’s Children of the Second Birth, Twice Born Ministers, Realizing Religion, Confident Faith, and the Conversion of the Church. And I also pointed her to several of my important books on the Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous including those on Shoemaker and A.A. like New Light on Alcoholism, Courage to Change, and Good Morning: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A.

My son Ken then wrote the following two letters as to how she could track down the needed Oxford Group materials. His responses may be helpful for others who are researching the Christian roots of the Twelve Steps and the Oxford Group and Rev. Shoemaker (as an A.A. cofounder) whose writings impacted on Bill Wilson’s 1939 Big Book:

Here are Ken’s two supplementary responses:

Aloha, Katie!

Dick B.’s son, Ken, here.

A number of my dad’s books are available in eBook form, including The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous.

Here, for example, is that book in Kindle format available at Amazon.com:


In addition, 29 of my dad’s titles, including The Oxford Group & Alcoholics Anonymous, are available in 6” x 9” format through Amazon.com with the “Look Inside” feature which allows partial searching:


In addition, those same 29 books are available for partial searching through Google Books:


(I used “Paradise Research Publications” as the search term rather than “Dick B.”)

Another option is to use the search capabilities available on the left-hand navigation bar of the front page of the http://www.DickB.com Web site. You can search my dad’s Web site (which will turn up many articles my dad has written about the Oxford Group). You can also search the 29 books currently in Print-On-Demand format.

You can also check the “Articles” page which gives both articles and other Web sites where Dick B. articles are posted:


You can search individual titles by accessing through the “Titles” page:


New Light on Alcoholism: God, Sam Shoemaker, and Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, has a great deal about the Oxford Group:


You can use the “Search Books” powered by Google capability near the top of the page to search it. (You can also search this book using the Amazon.com “Look Inside” feature and search it using Google Books. (It is not yet available in eBook format.)

You can find a seven-part series of audio talks on the Oxford Group and a four-part series of audio talks on Sam Shoemaker here:


After you have reviewed the resources above, if you still need help, please give us a call:

Dick B.: 1-808-874-4876

Ken B.: 1-808-276-4945

Dick B.’s son, Ken

Aloha, Katie!

I see from my dad’s message below that he is now up and at ’em. (Hawaii is six hours earlier than Eastern time.)

I would like to add a couple of clarifications to my dad’s comments below.

1. The correct title for the second book my dad listed below by Dick B. and Ken B. is:

Dick B. and Ken B., The Dick B. Christian Recovery Guide, 3rd ed. (2010).
This is a vitally-important work which brings together much of the key information from previous books, articles, and talks, and adds new research.
(Please see “Major Christian Recovery Resource #3” in the center column of the http://www.DickB.com front page for more information.)

2. The Upper Room was and is a Methodist periodical, not a book.

3. I hope you will “break the mold” of people writing about “the Oxford Group” by discussing the name they themselves used from the earliest days: “A First Century Christian Fellowship.” This name was still actively being used when Dr. Bob began participating about January 1933 and when Bill W. began participating around December 1934. The official name of the organization became “Moral Re-Armament” in 1938, by which time Bill W. and his wife Lois had already been “sort of kicked out” of it in August 1937.

We actively encourage and support godly efforts to make known the roles played by God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Bible in early A.A.’s astonishing successes. (Early A.A. claimed an overall success rate of 75%; early Cleveland A.A., founded by Dr. Bob’s sponsee Clarence S., had a documented success rate of 93% with no relapses!)

At least one medical doctor declared that “real” alcoholics like Bill W. were “100% hopeless apart from Divine help.” Dr. Silkworth declared that alcoholics like Bill W. were “medically incurable.”

About mauihistorian

Uses pen name Dick B.: Writer, Historian, Retired attorney, Bible student, CDAAC, and active and recovered A.A. member with over 25 years of continuous sobriety. Published 42 titles and over 650 articles on the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Christian Recovery Movement. www.dickb.com
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3 Responses to A.A., A.A. History, the Oxford group, and Rev. Sam Shoemaker

    • And again, many thanks Kurt

    • Synopsis of the Doug Nunes Radio Interview by Dick B. Today on http://www.ChristianRadio.com

      By Dick B. Copyright 2012 Anonymous. All rights reserved

      Calvary Church in Los Gatos, California is truly a remarkable, effective, forward-looking, full-platter Christian recovery host. And today we heard the exciting facts in our interview with its Director of Recovery Ministries, Doug Nunes. The facts make clear that Doug initiated and has directed a full-bore Christian recovery ministry since a time before our International Christian Recovery Coalition was organized in July of 2009, and yet containing so many of the parallels to First Century Christian Fellowship of the kind the Apostles describe in the Book of Acts, and the kind that earliest AA in Akron’s Christian Fellowship incorporated in its highly successful program. Moreover, it excels under Doug’s leadership, in the features of bringing people to God through Jesus Christ, involving them in daily prayer and study of the Word of God, and carrying the powerful message to others of what God can do for the alcoholic, alcoholic, and affected others who still suffer.

      As we said in the course of today’s interview, Calvary Church and Doug’s many recovery principles and practices are not unique. Many other Christian individuals and churches are rising up to adopt and implement First Century Christianity—old school A.A. recovery groups and practices. They are doing it all over the United States and in other countries. That is what International Christian Recovery Coalition advocates. http://www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com. That is what Doug humbly acknowledged is happening in our Coalition fellowship. But Calvary Church, located more or less in Central California as well as the San Francisco Bay Area, presents a first class exhibit of what we would like other churches, recovery pastors, Christian recovery leaders, purveyors of intervention and detox and treatment, and those concerned for family members to do: To enhance their own work. To tell each other about their approach. To swap can-do ideas. And to give a major push to the growing Christian Recovery Movement today.

      Here are just a few of the great strides that Doug Noonan said his people are making in the recovery arena: (1) Conducting a “God and Big Book AA Meeting.” (2) Using early A.A. Bible study tools like The Runner’s Bible and Henry Drummond’s The Greatest Thing in the World. (3) Studying the early Akron A.A. “absolutely essential” Bible segments—Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Book of James, and 1 Corinthians 13. (4) Regularly working in the Men’s Small Group Recovery where men seek to grow in the Word of God through Bible teachings. (5) Mirror 12 Step Workshop which walks participants through the 12 Steps and some of the “Good Book” (the Bible) to bring it alive in one’s heart. (6) The just organized 12 Step “Women of Wisdom Group. (7) Educating alcoholics and addicts, as well as others, about regular “Morning Meditation.” (8) Maintaining a “Laugh” Group—adopting A.A.’s “We are not a glum lot” expression and going out together to comedy shows. (9) Maintaining a Great Outdoors Group. (10) Educating others in keeping what Doug calls “Balance” in recovery—meaning placing greater and greater emphasis on the power of God and less and less dependence upon A.A. and its meetings. (11) Conducting a real 12 Step recovery program along the successful lines of early A.A.—(a) Intervention which is not a one shot affair but involves several weeks of prayer, counseling, and preparation. (b) Detox and hospitalization to get the newcomer started in a life-saving way. (c) Conducting a six month recovery program emphasizing some fifty-eight spiritual recovery sessions. (d) Emphasizing work with families and kids—as more and more full-fledged recovery programs like Betty Ford are now doing. (e) Assuring outreach to treatment programs with appropriate teachings about the Big Book and the Bible.

      The successes are documented. More than 200 have given their lives to Christ. Half of those have been baptized, whether in Calvary or in some other church of choice. 95% of those who stick with the full recovery effort do not relapse. And all this closely resembles the 93% success rate A.A.’s Cleveland group founder Clarence Snyder documented as to early Cleveland A.A. And Doug seems more than ready to participate in the mission of International Christian Recovery Coalition, collaborate with others wanting or using similar programs, and welcome onto their own campus those who want to exchange views and/or learn.

      As I commented in the interview, we are seeing similar stellar old school A.A. Friendly, Bible Friendly, Recovery Friendly, Newcomer Friendly, and Outreach Friendly that others in California are making great progress with. For example Dale Marsh at Oroville Church of the Nazarene, Dominic D. and Greg Polk at Cornerstone Church in Livermore, Matt Pierce and David Sadler in Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood, Wade Hess in CityTeam International at San Jose, Joe Furey and Roger McDiarmid at His Place Church in Westminster, Dr. Robert Tucker and his wife Stephanie at New Life Spirit Recovery, Inc. in Huntington Beach, Randy Moraitis at Lifelines Recovery Program at The Crossing in Costa Mesa, David Powers at Rock Church in San Diego, the Whites at Ex-Cons, and still other Californians in the wings right now. And the examples extend to Arizona, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oahu, Maui, British Columbia, Toronto, Ontario, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Vermont, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Utah, and more. All are moving forward, glorifying God, and serving others.

      In the interview, Doug tells of his own bottom, of his successful battle with 4 stage cancer, of the effective prayers of many AAs for him, and how the pastor Bob Thomas has been very helpful in the efforts.

      dickb@dickb.com, http://www.ChristianRecoveryRadio.com, http://www.ChristianRecoveryCoalition.com, http://www.dickb.com

      Gloria Deo

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