What are the “Four Absolutes” of A.A. and A First Century Christian Fellowship?

Facebook Comment by Dick Answering “What Are the Four Absolutes”

Dick B.
© 2013 Anonymous. All rights reserved

Absolute Honesty, Absolute Purity, Absolute Unselfishness, and Absolute Love.

These were phrases that began with Robert E. Speer’s book, The Principles of Jesus. They were first called the four “Standards.” Many Oxford Group people also called them standards.

In any event, Professor Henry B. Wright wrote a book elaborating on the many parts of the Bible that supported these “absolute” principles—honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love. And he called them “absolute” standards. Standards on which Jesus did not compromise.

Oxford Group Founder Dr. Frank Buchman was much influenced by Speer and Wright, and passed along to Oxford Groupers those four “Absolutes.” They were absolute standards taught by Jesus as a target for those who would be like him. Or so Dr. Speer taught in his book. They were targets to shoot for, not principles commanded by A First Century Christian Fellowship (the Oxford Group) or by early A.A.

But in A.A. Conference-approved Pamphlet P-53, Dr. Bob stated in his last major address to AAs that he felt these were “yardsticks” by which one should measure his behavior. Anne Smith (Dr. Bob’s wife) referred to them repeatedly in her journal–frequently urging that we test our conduct by the standards. http://www.dickb.com/annesm.shtml.

Actually some like Rev. Shoemaker used them as the four parts of what later became Step 4 in A.A. — writing down where you had fallen short of the teachings of Jesus in your life, because of “sin.”

And you can see more in my Oxford Group book http://www.dickb.com/Oxford.sthml, and in the extended remarks of Dr. Bob in “The Co-Founders” pamphlet.

For more information, contact dickb@dickb.com

Gloria Deo

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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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