Addictions
A worship disorder: this is how Edward T. Welch views addictions. Will we worship ourselves and our own desires, he writes, or will we worship the true God? With this lens the author discovers far more in Scripture on addictions than passages on drunkenness. There we learn the addict's true condition: like guests at a banquet thrown by the woman Folly, he is already in the grave (Prov. 9:13-18). Can we not escape our addictions? If we're willing to follow Jesus, the author says we have immense hope hope in God's forgiving grace, hope in God's love that is faithful even when we are not, and hope that God can give power so that we are no longer mastered by the addiction. Each chapter concludes with Practical Theology, guidance As You Face Your Own Addictions and As You Help Someone Else.

Addictions Details

TitleAddictions
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 1st, 2001
PublisherP & R Publishing
ISBN-139780875526065
Rating
GenrePsychology, Counselling, Religion, Theology, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Faith

Addictions Review

  • Natalie Vellacott
    January 1, 1970
    Very biblical description of addictions and how they can take over a person's life. The book uses the illustration of alcohol but frequently refers to other addictions making it clear that all addictions can be dealt with in the same way. Practical advice pointing people to the Bible as the source of all hope in this situation. Recommended.
    more
  • J.S. Park
    January 1, 1970
    Dr. Welch writes a relevant yet condescending work on addiction that is overly technical, hit-and-miss, and largely presumptuous. Like his other more popular work, When People Are Big and God Is Small, Dr. Welch assumes too many motives and correlations, often whipping up pop psychology to explain away some complex issues. I cringed. A lot. There are some bright spots. Whenever Dr. Welch expounds on Scripture, particularly in his exposition of sin-slavery and Proverbs, he nails the root problem Dr. Welch writes a relevant yet condescending work on addiction that is overly technical, hit-and-miss, and largely presumptuous. Like his other more popular work, When People Are Big and God Is Small, Dr. Welch assumes too many motives and correlations, often whipping up pop psychology to explain away some complex issues. I cringed. A lot. There are some bright spots. Whenever Dr. Welch expounds on Scripture, particularly in his exposition of sin-slavery and Proverbs, he nails the root problem of addiction. While addressing the physicality of addictive behaviors, especially alcoholism, Dr. Welch is careful to emphasize the spiritual nature of the battle. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) can only do so much, and an identity as a recovering addict as opposed to a saved follower of Christ is still circling the drain. It is no coincidence that when Dr. Welch sticks to the Bible, he speaks insightful truth. The twofold problem here is Dr. Welch's content and style. The content assumes too much about the human mind -- A leads to B leads to C -- which dismisses how complicated our problems really are. It's misleading and downright pretentious to pass this formula off as true. At several points he uses the example of "Jim" in a screenplay-like dialogue, points out his excuses, and shows why he is wrong. There is no open-mindedness to the host of spiritual issues that Jim must be facing, but only a constant bashing of Jim's motives and inner-thoughts. Dr. Welch did this in his other work, where he assumed a rape victim was acting out based on multiple theories -- but he passed off those theories as truth. And his explanations range from too simplistic to highly unlikely. As if Dr. Welch has no real clue what people go through. The writing style is all over the place. It jumps from one major point to another, often in mid-chapter or mid-paragraph. Suddenly spiritual warfare is introduced, dropped, emphasized, then dropped. There is no logical flow from one idea to the next, and certainly no chronological order of how addiction works. It's a montage of ideas, like the scribble of bad sermon notes, put together to say something. However, those struggling with addiction will find useful information. It won't be easy to find and it's not very streamlined, but the avid reader will be highlighting several portions. For every five poor paragraphs of writing, I found enough brilliant insight to keep me from scoring too low. Dr. Welch is best at ripping through common excuses of the addict, and those dealing with addicts will find these absolutely crucial to aiding in recovery. Bottom Line: I'm sure Dr. Welch is a kind person who genuinely wants to help the struggling, but his writing could use a lot of help in organization and tone. If you're willing to do the hard work of sifting through the poorer sections, this book can be a guide to understanding how to communicate with addicts. I recommend Redemption by Mike Wilkerson, Rid of My Disgrace by Justin Holcomb, and Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller.
    more
  • Mike E.
    January 1, 1970
    Welch states his purpose in this book, "to show how the theological riches of the Bible speak practically and meaningfully to the problem of addictions." This book is extremely helpful, not only to those who self-identify as addicts but for all Christians--since all Christian struggle with recurring sins. Welch has reflective sections at the end of each chapter: one section for the addict, the other for the Christian friend of the addict. Welch goes out of his way to demonstrate how the addict's Welch states his purpose in this book, "to show how the theological riches of the Bible speak practically and meaningfully to the problem of addictions." This book is extremely helpful, not only to those who self-identify as addicts but for all Christians--since all Christian struggle with recurring sins. Welch has reflective sections at the end of each chapter: one section for the addict, the other for the Christian friend of the addict. Welch goes out of his way to demonstrate how the addict's friend is, in many ways, like the addict.Welch is no AA-basher. Indeed, he acknowledges how AA has, to our shame, been more accepting and often more helpful when it comes to a pathway to sobriety as well as a pathway to a new community. AA, however, does not lead one to a life of worship in Jesus Christ and being a family member of the church and the eternal kingdom of God. May the Lord help us to make our churches sanctuaries and hospitals for the addicts all around us.QUOTES:Regardless of the church’s perceived weaknesses, it remains God’s primary agent for change. Even the world hints at this when it diagnoses addictions as spiritual problems.The church changes our identity. Notice the difference between “I’m Jim. I’m an alcoholic” and “I’m Jim. I am part of the body of Christ. I am part of ‘a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God’ (1 Peter 2: 9).” For those who have put their faith in Christ, it is Christ himself who unites us and defines us— not race, financial status, hobbies, interests, or particular problems . Our family—those closest to us— are those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. When our core identity is “alcoholic,”“drug addict,” or “sex addict,” we are saying that our problem defines us, and our church consists of the people who share that particular problem.Finally, wisdom suggests that if you have both offended and been offended by the same person, don’t try to confess and confront at the same time. Confession should long precede your confrontation.Fight these kinds of thoughts with the fear of the Lord principle: All aspects of my life are seen by God. Would I be comfortable having my behavior and my imaginations made public?Law without grace is called legalism, and grace without law is called antinomianism (literally, against the law).God desires something more than our mechanical obedience. He teaches us about himself so that our obedience can be in the context of a loving relationship between a father and child. He reminds us that he has loved us to the extreme in Jesus, and a father who loves us that much is not going to impose oppressive commands. Rather, his desire is to bless and prosper us as his children.Remember that it is easier to avoid an idol when we are far from it. When it is within reach, cravings will be much more intense.Welch quoting Luther:“What do you do when you are caught in some sin? If your answer is, ‘I’ll do better next time,’ then you have no need of Christ.” “that you despair of your own righteousness and you trust boldly in Christ.”But the Christian life always looks in three directions: first at Christ, then at our own hearts, and finally at other people.I went through this book with a group of men in our church. Below are some of the questions we wrote for our group study:CHAPTER 11. Does it seem awkward to you to discuss your own struggles and then in the next thought think about the struggles of others and helping them? Or, to what degree should one be a sheep who struggles and a shepherd who cares for the wayward?2. What addictions are the focus of this book? Will this book be relevant to those who are not in bondage to those?3. What is the basic point of this book?4. Is Scripture preoccupied with addictions? (page 6) Defend your answer.5. Do you live very differently in private than you do in public? Do you permit your imagination to indulge itself in ungodly fantasies? If so, what are you doing, according to the author? (p. 8)6. Why is it so critical for us to be accountable to others? (p. 9)7. What is a “dry drunk?” (p. 9)8. What unites most addictions? (p. 12)9. Does God’s Word support the ever-widening list of addictions, according to Welch? Do you agree with him? Why? (p. 12) What would you add to his list?10. What can own you besides Christ? (p. 12)11. When have you been self-deceived and how did you discover your self-deception?CHAPTER 21. Recurring sins or addictions are ultimately against Whom? To what degree do you think of this, if at all? Why does it matter? (20)2. To what degree do you feel that sin is _the_ primary problem in your life? When sin is not perceived as the primary problem, what is?3. Does the New Testament distinguish between sickness and sin? Cite Scripture that supports your answer? Is drunkenness in the category of a sickness or a sin? What about meth or cocaine abuse? What is the difference between seeing drunkenness as a victimizing physical weakness versus an expression of a self-focused heart?4. According to the author, why do heavy-drinkers consume alcohol? What are heavy-drinkers worshipping when they drink? What about drugs? What about pornography? Food? Who is worshipped? (22)5. What is the “wake of pain” for those addicted to alcohol, food, drugs, or pornography? (22)6. What is the difference between the terms “alcoholic” and “drunkard or “obese” and “glutton?” (24) What is the “majority opinion” concerning the categorization of alcoholism? Why?7. Review Welch’s nine reasons that people drink. Drinking is purposeful, he says. (24) If you are an alcoholic, what is the purpose of your drinking? Identify your most recurring sin. What does it do for you? Why do you do it?8. What is the first issue to address when someone is physically dependent on drugs/alcohol? (29)9. A friend of yours is addicted to food, alcohol, pornography, or drugs. Are you reluctant to call this addiction a sin when you are with him? Why/why not?CHAPTER 51. When an addict calls you for help what is going on? What is more likely to happen than an addict calling you for help? (87)2. Is it common to miss the sins and indulgences of an addict? Why?3. When you feel like hitting an addict upside the head, how do you show love and kindness in humility? Have you done the latter?4. As we have opportunity to shepherd young people who drink & smoke while underage, what else should we alert to? (90)5. When evidence of addiction is found, and one confronts someone what is so important to keep in mind? Should the confronter be in helper & expert mode? (92)6. How do you respond to the truth— even when it is deeply distressing? Are you approachable? Can people easily tell you the truth, knowing that you will be able to handle it?7. “If you really want to lay a foundation for honesty, you must be a person who is quick to acknowledge your own sin.” What if the sin of the person you are confronting is not even a temptation for you? How can you acknowledge your sin in a way that is helpful when you have not committed that sin? (e.g., cocaine or alcohol addiction)8. What Scripture helps us know how to confront an addict? What is always the goal? (94)9. Should you wait for the addict to hit bottom before confronting in love? Why/why not?10. Does Scripture support granting privacy in the parent-child relationship? If so, cite Scripture. If not, why not?11. What did you learn from the chapter about helping the spouse of an addict?12. What impressed you from the chapter about an intervention? What do you make of the intervention-church discipline equation?13. What is the author’s view on secular programs like AA? Do you agree? Why/why not?14. Are Christian addicts usually freed from bondage in a miraculous moment or a miraculous process that involves ups & downs? Discuss.15. Alcoholics Anonymous has a better understanding of the need for daily exhortation than the church. TRUE or FALSECHAPTER 61. Should we avoid AA or embrace it?  What are some things to consider? (118-19)2. Do you have suggestions for how Cornerstone's worship services could be more welcoming and communicate "God is here"?  (121)3. What are some ways you tend to answer "If I only had ____________, then I could be happy"?4. As a follow-up to question 3, from the list of "heart" questions on p. 130, share one or two that speak  accurately to your life. 5. When getting to know another's story, what are some things that indicate the gospel needs to be shared and believed, maybe for the first time?6. What did you like from the sections "Securing a commitment" and "Build walls of protection?"7. Share a story about how God has, at some time, or many times, provided a way out for you.CHAPTER 7Knowing the Lord1. As you read through the chapter highlight passages that stand out to you. If anything you mark is not covered in the following questions and you would like to share, there may be time at the end. :)2. This chapter is about knowing the Lord. This book is about addictions. Where could addictions fit into 2 Peter 1:3?3. What is the root problem or sin underlying all addictions?4. What is the ultimate solution to this sin problem? 5. In what way must a biblical approach to addiction radically depart from all other recovery strategies?WARNING: JESUS HAS BEEN DOMESTICATED6. We have probably all been fed the line that God's love is unconditional. I know I have. Although some of us may be inclined to argue that it is indeed, let's set that aside for now and focus on Welch's view of God's love. In the paragraph where Welch cites Mark 3:5 and Mark 8:33, what does he say is wrong with using the word unconditional in describing God's love?7. If God's love is not unconditional, what was the condition that had to be met in order for us to experience His love?8. What is contra-conditional love?9. In discussing the deep deep love of Jesus Welch contrasted knowing that someone smiles on you with knowing what? What are the results of each?HOLY LOVE, HOLY JUSTICE10. What do all the holiness laws of the OT show us?HOLY MEANS "JESUS IS NOT ORDINARY"11. What must the psychological distress and problems in living that plague us all find their resolution in? And what is that according to Hebrews 7:22; 8:6; 7:24; 7:25; 7:26; 9:14; 8:1; 9:28? HOLINESS FORGOTTEN12. Our humanizing of God usually means that we also minimize his holiness. We get angry with him when things don't go our way. But God is ___. He is the ____, and we are his ________. We are his, and he has the right to bring whatever he wants into our lives. And who are we to stand in judgment of God's _______? Isn't that saying that we are the epitome of justice rather than saying that God's justice is holy, ______ ____ ___ ___? Who are we to critique God's ____…. If we don't see it in our _________ ______________, it is because we are equating love with _______ ____ __ ____. God's love, however, always has a larger view. 13. The cross displays…The cross indicates…Sin called down…Sin demanded a payment that…Only the cross can speak simultaneously about…CHRIST: THE CENTER OF HISTORY—The Apostle Paul's Exaltation of Christ14. Shortly after this study began I ran across Romans 13:13-14 while reading the Bible. Although it was not a passage Welch referenced, it very well could have been. Listen. "Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." When I read this I wondered what it meant to put on Christ. After much reflection and further study I think it has to do with regularly acknowledging who I am in Christ. I found myself turning to Romans 6 and Ephesians for specifics. Read Romans 13:13-14 again before reading the section of the chapter, The Apostle Paul's Exaltation of Christ. 15. What is your response to the last paragraph of the chapter in this section? 16. The chapter started with 2 Peter 1:3. Read 2 Peter 1:3-9. Comment on how the passage fits with the chapter. CHAPTER 101. Since our society is one that favors the self-indulgent, not modesty, how might that impact one’s sanctification/Christian maturity? How does one not follow the “pattern of this world” (Rom. 12:1-2) when it comes to personal or familial excess in regards to material possessions, homes, cars, bikes, phones, etc.?2. Among evangelical Christians, “ Let go and let God” is still a motto we live by. Our sense is that if change feels like self-effort and hard work, then it is probably legalistic and not animated by the Holy Spirit. Is this true? Why/why not? Defend your answer with Scripture.3. What is the reason for capitalism working according to Welch? What does this say about capitalism? Should Christian support capitalism? Why/why not?4. Is sin enjoyable? Explain your answer. How would you answer this questions to an unbeliever?5. Since some craving involves biology or the cellular level, is it therefore caused by biology or cells? Explain the relationship between biological urges and cravings as spiritual problems.6. In your own words, explain self-control.7. Explain the connection between the second coming of Christ and an addict’s wife walking in on him when viewing porn.8. What is a public strategy?
    more
  • Vincent Ng
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent book on the topic of addiction. A practical, gospel-filled and pastorally sensitive book that compares the indulgence in addictions to enjoying a banquet in the grave. Welch gives the ultimate reasoning for sin in that sin cannot be reasoned, it is irrational and is not supposed to make sense. With this grounds, the solution Welch diverts his readers to is the to the person of Christ and message of the hope-filled gospel. It is to, as C.S. Lewis may put it, enjoy the vacation that G An excellent book on the topic of addiction. A practical, gospel-filled and pastorally sensitive book that compares the indulgence in addictions to enjoying a banquet in the grave. Welch gives the ultimate reasoning for sin in that sin cannot be reasoned, it is irrational and is not supposed to make sense. With this grounds, the solution Welch diverts his readers to is the to the person of Christ and message of the hope-filled gospel. It is to, as C.S. Lewis may put it, enjoy the vacation that God gives us as opposed to playing in mud. Would recommend this book as it is insightful and filled with practical tools we can use to ask ourselves or to help those in whom we may counsel.
    more
  • Chuck
    January 1, 1970
    Welch's goal in writing this book was to show how the Bible speaks "Practically and meaningfully to the problem of addictions." In the Preface, he observed that while the book's focus is on the prototypic addictions to drugs and alcohol, the basic ideas are relevant to all kinds of sins. "What is it about our humanness that leaves us susceptible to being overtaken by certain desires?" His careful answer in "Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave" helps the reader to see the awful truth that in some Welch's goal in writing this book was to show how the Bible speaks "Practically and meaningfully to the problem of addictions." In the Preface, he observed that while the book's focus is on the prototypic addictions to drugs and alcohol, the basic ideas are relevant to all kinds of sins. "What is it about our humanness that leaves us susceptible to being overtaken by certain desires?" His careful answer in "Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave" helps the reader to see the awful truth that in some sense, we are all "addicts" because what drives addictions "Can be found in every human heart." See my fuller review on anselm-ministries.us.
    more
  • Anthony Ray
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really easy read. Welch doesn't bog you down with any big words or complicated ideas, but also doesn't dumb any of these truths down. Despite its title, "Addictions" isn't a book just for counselors or addicts: everyone can benefit from this title. Every chapter I not only found myself more educated on addictions and the theology that surrounds them, but I also was given a new sensitivity to my own heart and struggles.
    more
  • Lindsey Doolan
    January 1, 1970
    Awesome, excellent, fabulous. Addiction as sin and idolatry (meaning "addiction" is a lot more prevalent). Very applicable to any idolater--any human. Great for Christians as well. Read it for school and am keeping it.
  • Joyce Olij
    January 1, 1970
    Read to learn more about addictions. Put it down because it was so depressing. Picked it up again last week to complete reading it. The second half is more positive - it gives hope for the addict.A reflection on the book is that there is no 'secret formula' for overcoming addiction. There's no special tips or tricks...it's actually very basic. But super challenging. I agree with another review that the book could be better organized.Notes on the book:p 35 - Definition of Addictionp 45 - For ever Read to learn more about addictions. Put it down because it was so depressing. Picked it up again last week to complete reading it. The second half is more positive - it gives hope for the addict.A reflection on the book is that there is no 'secret formula' for overcoming addiction. There's no special tips or tricks...it's actually very basic. But super challenging. I agree with another review that the book could be better organized.Notes on the book:p 35 - Definition of Addictionp 45 - For every one look at your sin, take ten looks at Christ.p 120 - Be welcoming123 - Know the addict.127 - Know Scripture does relate to them.129 - When worship is true, you produce fruit. When worship is false we can be grieved, angry, bitter, angry or fearful.The heart is an idol factory.131 - drinking a symptom of other problems.133 - make sure the addict is converted.To overcome addiction may seem impossible, but take each day one at a time.138 - 1 Cor 13 "No temptation...."139 - Ways to escape temptation.142 - Scripture is not a 'how to' manual.144 - unconditional love does not mean unconditional approval. Christ's love is contra-conditional.155 - See who God is first. Then love Him. Otherwise being good or doing right is like boy scouts.156 - After you have considered Christ, the question is not "what works?" but "whom do I worship?" The struggling man must first know Christ.157 - God doesn't change us instantly. God does not immediately remove affliction. The advantage: this makes us cry to Him and say 'I need you' - a definition of faith.1. Change is gradual2. Meditate on God3. Don't believe lies about God162 - have a heart that searches out His will and cannot wait to do it.173 - Reasons for not believing you are forgiven:1. no real profession of Christ.2. you are essentially 'good'.3. can't believe you are loved.4. angry with self for repeated sin.5. has own standard for righteousness.6. regrets consequences for himself only.7. spiritually inexperienced.8. God is not satisfied by Christ.9. Do not want to believe they are forgiven.191 - we deceive ourselves.Deceptions: 1. God is not good. 2. I am good (blame others) 3. Idols are harmless (remember they are a banquet in the grave!)205 - Sin is pleasurable. Sins pleasures are temporary.206 - Cravings are not unique to addictions. ANYTHING we enjoy, especially if the experience is physical, is something we desire to repeat.207 - Cravings are physical AND spiritual. All things spiritual are expressed physically. If we hate God, it will be expressed in our actual words and deeds.215 - self-control - is for ALL of us. We need it as part of wisdom.It is the opposite of self-indulgence. (wine, lust, pleasures)It's a WAR.237 - Grace means it's all from God. Not in your own strength. We do not have to pay God back.If you regress, review strategies for growth and change - Say NO. Stay violent (vigilant). Know God. Fear God. Do not lie.Love and serve others.If you grow tired, rely on people around you and focus on Christ's return.254 - we need others. Go public - Say to someone 'I need you for...." (prayer, etc.)
    more
  • Bob Mimiaga
    January 1, 1970
    Edward Welch's book is filled with many good ideas and perspectives associating addiction with sin. This is definitely a book for the Christian reader who wants to know more about where addiction stands in the face of the gospel. I don't believe the non-Christian would find this book acceptable.Welch goes into depth (sometimes more than necessary) to bring the reader to an understanding of the gospel's theological position on the illness of addiction, deception, sin, temptation, recovery, and re Edward Welch's book is filled with many good ideas and perspectives associating addiction with sin. This is definitely a book for the Christian reader who wants to know more about where addiction stands in the face of the gospel. I don't believe the non-Christian would find this book acceptable.Welch goes into depth (sometimes more than necessary) to bring the reader to an understanding of the gospel's theological position on the illness of addiction, deception, sin, temptation, recovery, and reconciliation. In my opinion there are two faults with the book in general. (1) Welch attempts to address the material to the addict as well as the mentor or counselor. As he hops back and forth sharing his suggestions from both points of view some of the focus is lost. It would have been much better to address this book entirely to the addict or to the counselor. (2) Secondly, Welch deviates frequently from providing sound practical and spiritual advice about addiction to providing general information about the gospel, worship, prayer, etc. to name a few. A Christian counselor should already be familiar with the basic tenets of the Bible. Both these deviations create a book who's material is broad and unfocused on the important topic of addiction in the context of God's Word.I am also concerned about Welch's lack of consideration in the strength and control of physical and emotional addiction that most addicts face. Although Welch writes about the sinfulness of the addiction and how to overcome it, he skims over the physical and emotional power of addiction and how the addict can successfully recover from it. Yes, it was sin that brought the person into a place of addiction, but at that point he/she has two challenges, (1) spiritual and (2) physical/emotional problems.Given all my negative reaction I still believe this book has many valuable and helpful principles and suggestions for the addict and counselor who is helping an addict. Definitely worth it's time to read.
    more
  • Joshua Reichard
    January 1, 1970
    My issue with Addictions A Banquet in the Grave is that Welch seems to write nothing new on the subject of addictions. I feel as though his whole book could be summed up in a few pages. Though he gives helpful insight here and there about fighting addictions, recognizing addiction, and counseling someone with an addiction. The book falls flat over all because his approach fails to address the real hurt, pain, time, and commitment it takes to helps those who are struggling. If Welch set out to br My issue with Addictions A Banquet in the Grave is that Welch seems to write nothing new on the subject of addictions. I feel as though his whole book could be summed up in a few pages. Though he gives helpful insight here and there about fighting addictions, recognizing addiction, and counseling someone with an addiction. The book falls flat over all because his approach fails to address the real hurt, pain, time, and commitment it takes to helps those who are struggling. If Welch set out to break the myth that Addiction last are not diseases but sin then he did a great job. But as the title of the book shows this book was created as more of a helpful guide that I found lacking.
    more
  • Daniel Beaudoin
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book. it really opened my eyes on the spiritual aspects of the problems of addictions. Its already given me direction in helping a friend with alcohol abuse. It's making me think about my own addictive behaviors too, both past and present. highly recommended.
    more
  • John W
    January 1, 1970
    It offered me the hope that i needed in my addiction. I believe it can help others.
  • Joshua Centanni
    January 1, 1970
    Welch was most helpful when interacting with material from AA. Throughout the book he clearly articulates the gospel in fresh ways.The book felt like it was longer than it needed to be.
  • Donny Crass
    January 1, 1970
    This provided a thorough understanding of addiction from a biblical perspective. The Gospel of Jesus speaks to you in the midst of addiction. It is a message of hope!
  • Peter Clegg
    January 1, 1970
    While this book focuses on several sins that a person could struggle with it is a good resource for all Christians.
  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    An in-depth examination of the heart of addictions: spiritual worship.
  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    I Corinthians 13:1: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” Where’s the love, Ed? Where’s the love? A dollop of compassion, maybe?Poor Ed Welch. So smart, but so boring. At least with this book, he dumbed things down a bit, and this book was slightly more readable than others of his I have read. I’m glad this book was not filled with repeated suggestions to “Repent” if all else fails. I think conservative denominations feel t I Corinthians 13:1: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” Where’s the love, Ed? Where’s the love? A dollop of compassion, maybe?Poor Ed Welch. So smart, but so boring. At least with this book, he dumbed things down a bit, and this book was slightly more readable than others of his I have read. I’m glad this book was not filled with repeated suggestions to “Repent” if all else fails. I think conservative denominations feel they have a corner on the market of repentance. You would think some denominations INVENTED repentance. In the book “Addictions...,” Ed challenges the Disease Theory of addiction. His premise is that the motive of all addiction is sin, namely the sins of greed and idolatry. He says the heart says, “I want” and “I want more.” While these things are true, he doesn’t delve into the obvious: that all addictions are the result of intense pain. Addiction is an attempt to self-soothe, an emotional reaction to suffering - past and present.Some addictions are the result of fear. Some are the result of the need for comfort. He claims that those in the throes of their addictions are running from God. This is also false. Many addicts are running to God with abandon even while shooting up or drinking. Many addicts are prayerfully pleading with God to take away the desire. It is true that no temptation has overtaken us in which we have not been given a way of escape. So where do we draw the line?I quickly realized that Welch purposely took a one-dimensional side of addiction, that of sin and desiring something else more than we desire God. He has counseled people for many years on addiction. The one thing he has not done is experienced addiction for himself. We have ALL as humans experienced what the Apostle Paul describes as doing what we do not want to do. So, in that sense, we have all experienced being caught in a perpetual sin that we can’t seem to stop. It could be overeating, pornography, or lying. It plays out like the NyQuil commercial: “I will not cough. I will not cough.” *cough* *cough* *cough* NyQuil (Holy Spirit) to the rescue. I think Welch also whaled on AA, being overly harsh on them, and was not harsh enough on the role the church has played or rather, NOT PLAYED, in addiction. The entire point is that AA was born from a gigantic hole in the church and that the church has NOT been there for addicts, but instead been very judgmental. Welch - you did not give AA enough credit and you gave the church too much credit. I agree with what you said about AA from a biblical standpoint. But it HAS helped many people. And where has the church been?Furthermore, Celebrate Recovery is a Christian version of AA which is very God-centered and heavy on Scripture and testimonies, and yet, Celebrate Recovery - a 27 year old ministry - was not mentioned AT ALL in this book. It was almost purposely left out. I was shocked. What if a Christian is reading your book, looking for a place they can go that is God-centered? Don’t you think CR was worth a mention? Instead, a few small obscure rehab places were mentioned in the back of the book, but I’m not sure why they were even mentioned.I appreciate the chapters on worship, accountability, the church, and building walls of defense. I appreciate some parts of the book. However, the glaring things left out included the gray areas of addiction - the non-sinful areas - and also the pain and suffering that led to the addiction, which are not sin.In summary, I agree with small portions of the book, but I just can’t subscribe to the SIN THEORY of addiction in all instances. Each situation is unique and ONLY GOD knows when it is sin and when compulsive behavior is beyond one’s ability to realistically say no. There IS a gray area. Maybe not the Disease Theory, but a definite gray area. We love to talk about grace; we just don’t love to apply grace in everyday life. This book is really not grace-based, if you think about it. It is far too heavy on law, with a little bit of grace thrown in for good measure. Again, this is typical of theologians like Welch. Everyday sinners are in need of grace. His years of counseling addicts and seeing their destructive patterns may have hardened his heart towards addicts because the compassion, love, and sympathy just aren’t there.Remember - an unguarded strength is your greatest weakness. Ed, you too could be the next addict. When that happens, I’m going to read your book to you.
    more
  • Ray
    January 1, 1970
    "Full moons make people get weird and do crazy things." I believed that and never reflected on it until I was in my twenties and something encouraged me to ask, "Why in the world would that be true?" This book speaks directly to major issues that, similarly, most in our cultural setting just assume uncritically. Even conservative and Reformed circles are little different in this regard than most of the other evangelicals and teh broader secular culture. As helpful as it has been, the AA approach "Full moons make people get weird and do crazy things." I believed that and never reflected on it until I was in my twenties and something encouraged me to ask, "Why in the world would that be true?" This book speaks directly to major issues that, similarly, most in our cultural setting just assume uncritically. Even conservative and Reformed circles are little different in this regard than most of the other evangelicals and teh broader secular culture. As helpful as it has been, the AA approach is not theologically neutral and makes some fundamental errors about human nature that have done some damage. The opening case study with "Jim" (pp.3ff.) echoes many with which I have been involved. The issue may be pornography, alcohol, drugs, or spending, but the model rarely varies. Mistakes the person has willfully entered into are lumped together and treated as a 'condition' rather than choices. Patterns of behavior are a disease. People will define themselves or others by these problems (see p. 250). Invariably, this leads to problems from the start. People begin to move away from others in the church, in their families, among their friends, because others allegedly 'can not relate' to their specific problem (conditon) (see p. 3). People can become self-absorbed, rather than willing to address their part in the problem. A recent example comes to mind from a discussion I had with someone trying to help a mutual friend who was being self-destructive. We were discussing the struggles of our friend involved in self-injury, deceit and other hurtful behavior. I was hoping we could discover some heart issues in this friend. What was he really worshiping in his life? What was really important to them? What are they really looking for, and where are they going to find it? How does God's grace speak to his self-slavery to these issues? How can we get the person to see the bigger picture of their life, and how they fit into the Big Story of the Universe? But the person became frustrated with me. Could I not see this friend was just a victim of his `condition(s)?' He was certainly `addicted to affection' from women, and when he felt this being threatened he would become manipulative to get control and attention. The causes of the problems, no doubt, were a combination of genetic and environmental. The friend had technical terms (usually with acronyms) for each condition in the long list for the friend. It seemed that the Gospel was OK for our salvation and for smaller `spiritual issues,' but clearly it was psychology that was best able to address the `big' addiction issues. Another example of the formidable practical issues with the AA world view: I have been proposing the introduction of wine as an element (along with a grape juice option) for our observance of the Lord's Supper. After all, I have argued, if Jesus commanded us to use wine in this sacrament, who are we to say, "No, we know better." The objections in our church have been mild but consistent: "What about the `alcoholics'?" My response has been, "But the church had plenty of people who drank too much. Why didn't Paul or Jesus tell us to use grape juice?" And even if abstinence (even from a small thimble full of wine) is the best policy for those who drink too much, how can the mere presence of wine be so damaging? (For an excellent argument for the use of wine in the Meal, see Jim West, Drinking with Calvin and Luther (2003), esp. pp. 121ff.). Bill W. trumps Scripture (and common sense and tradition) every time.
    more
  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    Welch moves beyond the disease model of addictions (alcoholism in particular) because of its short-sightedness in addressing the root problem--a worship problem. Welch speaks with compassion and reminds helpers that idolatry (worship of false gods, e.g. money, sex, approval) is not far from each one of us. Welch discusses the disease model as partially right when describing the effects addictions have on a person's life, but he also talks about the enslavement one experiences as he descends deep Welch moves beyond the disease model of addictions (alcoholism in particular) because of its short-sightedness in addressing the root problem--a worship problem. Welch speaks with compassion and reminds helpers that idolatry (worship of false gods, e.g. money, sex, approval) is not far from each one of us. Welch discusses the disease model as partially right when describing the effects addictions have on a person's life, but he also talks about the enslavement one experiences as he descends deeper into "worship" to the idol of a bottle, or what have you, as well as the volitional aspect of continuing to choose the idol because there is still some perceived benefit from it. Welch acknowledges that even if genetic proclivities exist, we are no more to be fatalistic about the influence of these than we are about environmental influences. Welch discusses the noetic aspect of the fall, in which sin affects our thinking mainly in our moral reasoning. This is why any intelligent person can become an addict. One can know they need help and yet continue in the same behaviors. One's enslavement and loyalty to the drug, etc. causes the addict to be oblivious to the consequences of his actions. This person would be called a fool in the book of Proverbs. Many practical considerations are given to helpers to know how to lovingly confront the addict and surround him in community. Ultimately, Welch points the addict to the Lord to see his surpassing beauty and forgiveness offered. Change happens at the level of affections. Welch also wonderfully discusses the fear of the Lord. If there was a big cuddly bunny that offered us freedom, we'd probably be grateful (and a little freaked out), but not drawn to worship this bunny. When we learn the fear of the Lord, we encounter a holy God who is very different from us yet whose image we bear and owe our life to. This God frees us to start living the way we are meant to under his Lordship. Where some may fear judgment or trite treatment of the subject need not worry when they read Welch's book. Finally, I'll end with a C.S. Lewis quote that Welch also quotes:"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
    more
  • Mike Phay
    January 1, 1970
    This book took me a long to read, mainly because of the topic. As a pastor who works often with those struggling with addiction, I am often caught not knowing how to help. I feel helpless and hopeless in the face of broken lives, broken promises, and the slavery that comes with major addictions. Addiction is a dark and prevalent reality where I live, and it often seems hopeless. In light of the overwhelming prevalence of addiction in our culture, along with the myriad of avenues of "treatment" - This book took me a long to read, mainly because of the topic. As a pastor who works often with those struggling with addiction, I am often caught not knowing how to help. I feel helpless and hopeless in the face of broken lives, broken promises, and the slavery that comes with major addictions. Addiction is a dark and prevalent reality where I live, and it often seems hopeless. In light of the overwhelming prevalence of addiction in our culture, along with the myriad of avenues of "treatment" - few of which seem to work - we have been told that the "experts" are the real help here. Welch argues differently, fighting for the central place of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and combatting the current culture's successful attempt to relegate "addictions" to the realm of "diseases". Disease, of course, minimizes responsibility. But Welch argues that addiction is really idolatry - the worship of something other than the One True God, who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. The object of any addict's affections is the substance to which they have become enslaved, and the ultimate responsibility for an addict's idolatry is, ultimately, their own.For me, this was a helpful word as one who does not feel like an "expert" when trying to help those who are stuck in their addictions, who have surrounded themselves with lies, and who continue to tread the same paths to their chosen "idol." Addictions, of course, take on many of the signs of disease, but the Scriptures seem to be clear that the way of the addict is direct course to death - thus Welch's title: "Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave." For many who have understood addictions with the language of disease, and to a culture and society who has accepted that definition wholeheartedly, Welch's handling of addictions (as a worship problem that can only truly be dealt with at a heart level and with the power of the gospel) will seem naive and pedantic. But for my money, I'll take the power of Christ's Gospel any day. Without it, none of us idolaters have any hope.
    more
  • Corinna
    January 1, 1970
    I struggled with this book. Anyone who has experience working with addicts or personal experience as an addict would cringe at the corny examples and conversations the author used. It feels as if the author did ample research but has very little personal experience and interaction. This may not be the case. It simply reads this way. His attempts at current drug culture jargon were painfully embarrassing. On the other hand, I hope anyone who doesn't have experience with addictions or addicts woul I struggled with this book. Anyone who has experience working with addicts or personal experience as an addict would cringe at the corny examples and conversations the author used. It feels as if the author did ample research but has very little personal experience and interaction. This may not be the case. It simply reads this way. His attempts at current drug culture jargon were painfully embarrassing. On the other hand, I hope anyone who doesn't have experience with addictions or addicts would NOT use this book as a way to interact with them. The speech is painfully canned. That said, I agree with the author's assessment of addiction root and needing to look at one's heart before improvement and healing can happen. I actually waffled between a 1.5 and a 2 rating. The content was fairly basic for me, but perhaps would be helpful for someone who was just starting out in learning about addictions. And unfortunately...although his intentions were likely good...I felt like the author came across as arrogant. I'm afraid the window of population this book would truly benefit is quite small. The readers would need to have discernment in applying some of his action items.
    more
  • Drew
    January 1, 1970
    A well written, practical, insightful guide for addicts, or friends/family addicts. First, let me say that I appreciated this book. At least the part I read. I made it 100 pages into this book before I decided to put it down. It wasn't that it was frustrating, poorly written, or theologically wrong. It was none of those things. And in fact, I imagine I will pick it up and finish it at some point in time. Welch makes some very good insights and tries to point the addict to the sin behind their si A well written, practical, insightful guide for addicts, or friends/family addicts. First, let me say that I appreciated this book. At least the part I read. I made it 100 pages into this book before I decided to put it down. It wasn't that it was frustrating, poorly written, or theologically wrong. It was none of those things. And in fact, I imagine I will pick it up and finish it at some point in time. Welch makes some very good insights and tries to point the addict to the sin behind their sin. "Addiction is a worship disorder." Welch couldn't be more right. What, then, was wrong with to book that made me want to put it down? Maybe I just wasn't that interested at the moment, but I felt like the book wasn't telling me anything I didn't already know. Maybe if I stuck with it, it would have. All in all, if you struggle with addiction I do recommend this book to you. Welch is spot on and speaks with experience and always tempered with love.
    more
  • Adam Smith
    January 1, 1970
    I read this as someone who has struggled with addictive tendencies, who has found more than enough grace in Christ for them, and who wants to help others. Welch's book was great! My favorite point that he made in the book is that God is the beginning and the end of true life-transformation. It's not about us cleaning up our lives so that we can think we're independent from God and look good to (or down on) others. It's about God and his good plans and promises and power for his children. It's ab I read this as someone who has struggled with addictive tendencies, who has found more than enough grace in Christ for them, and who wants to help others. Welch's book was great! My favorite point that he made in the book is that God is the beginning and the end of true life-transformation. It's not about us cleaning up our lives so that we can think we're independent from God and look good to (or down on) others. It's about God and his good plans and promises and power for his children. It's about how knowing all that he is for us in Christ changes and cleanses us for his own glory! This book is Biblical, heart-searching, Christ-exalting, and practical. And I appreciate how he distinguished real, Christ-empowered, church-supported help from things like AA in a balanced way that demonstrated the hope of the Scriptures and Christianity without becoming overly negative about AA.
    more
  • J.J.
    January 1, 1970
    This is perhaps the "meatiest" CCEF book. The content is very dense and thought-provoking. Rather than simply quoting his compatriots in the biblical counseling movement like everyone else seems to do, Welch states things in original, thoughtful, and vivid ways. I've always appreciated that about him. Each chapter concludes with a section entitled "Practical Theology" which is subdivided into two sub-sections entitled "As You Face Your Own Addiction" and "As You Help Someone Else." Those section This is perhaps the "meatiest" CCEF book. The content is very dense and thought-provoking. Rather than simply quoting his compatriots in the biblical counseling movement like everyone else seems to do, Welch states things in original, thoughtful, and vivid ways. I've always appreciated that about him. Each chapter concludes with a section entitled "Practical Theology" which is subdivided into two sub-sections entitled "As You Face Your Own Addiction" and "As You Help Someone Else." Those sections are solid gold. I've been reading this book for a year because I get to about page 80, and then I just go back and start re-reading. I'm glad to finally be done. Whew. A pastor could create a fantastic multi-issue, single-gender recovery group culture in a local church with nothing else but this book and a Bible. It's that robust.
    more
  • Tara
    January 1, 1970
    Good resource for those who are counseling addicts, as well as those who are addicts themselves. So...everyone, basically. Because yes, you're an addict, even if your drug of choice isn't...drugs. We all substitute idols for the true God, and we all can echo Paul: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." We're a lot closer to the druggies and the drunks that we'd like to think. Understanding that simple fact allows you to counsel effe Good resource for those who are counseling addicts, as well as those who are addicts themselves. So...everyone, basically. Because yes, you're an addict, even if your drug of choice isn't...drugs. We all substitute idols for the true God, and we all can echo Paul: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." We're a lot closer to the druggies and the drunks that we'd like to think. Understanding that simple fact allows you to counsel effectively. Lots of practical advice and fake counseling dialogues (which, corny and contrived though they may be, are actually really helpful). Felt a bit repetitive at times, but hey -- it's the simple truths that are so easy to forget.
    more
  • Christian Tirtha
    January 1, 1970
    This is a very good and practical book that addresses the heart issue of addiction. It is not good and practical because it 'works', but more fundamentally because it is biblical. It addresses addiction not merely from the vantage point of its symptoms and causes, but its root. Edward Welch weaves throughout this book that ultimately at the root of addiction is the issue of worship disorder. We have replaced the proper and right worship of God with an abused and wrongful worship of self. Unless This is a very good and practical book that addresses the heart issue of addiction. It is not good and practical because it 'works', but more fundamentally because it is biblical. It addresses addiction not merely from the vantage point of its symptoms and causes, but its root. Edward Welch weaves throughout this book that ultimately at the root of addiction is the issue of worship disorder. We have replaced the proper and right worship of God with an abused and wrongful worship of self. Unless the issue of worship is addressed in the most practical manner, the root problem of addiction will never find its true solution.
    more
  • Jason
    January 1, 1970
    This book is an excellent introduction to the Christian perspective on addictions. Refuting the common "disease model" of addictions often promoted by many, Welch boldly calls addictions what they truly are: worship disorders. Going through the descent into addictions from simple indulgence to slavery, Welch charts the spiritual pitfalls of addictive sin. Not only does Welch present a Christian alternative to those struggling with addictions, but he also provides resources for those who help or This book is an excellent introduction to the Christian perspective on addictions. Refuting the common "disease model" of addictions often promoted by many, Welch boldly calls addictions what they truly are: worship disorders. Going through the descent into addictions from simple indulgence to slavery, Welch charts the spiritual pitfalls of addictive sin. Not only does Welch present a Christian alternative to those struggling with addictions, but he also provides resources for those who help or seek to help someone suffering from addictions.
    more
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book as a Christian individual, not as an addict or counselor of addicts. I found it very helpful and straightforward. Christ is glorified and the gospel is central to every chapter. However, it is also completely practical, giving examples, snippets of possible dialogue, and ideas for positive change.I would recommend it to any person, as the practical theology can be applied to a vast range of situations and circumstances. Additionally, I feel at least somewhat equipped to handle w I read this book as a Christian individual, not as an addict or counselor of addicts. I found it very helpful and straightforward. Christ is glorified and the gospel is central to every chapter. However, it is also completely practical, giving examples, snippets of possible dialogue, and ideas for positive change.I would recommend it to any person, as the practical theology can be applied to a vast range of situations and circumstances. Additionally, I feel at least somewhat equipped to handle whatever addiction-related situations may come into my life in the future.
    more
  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    This book is AMAZING!!!! In some ways I wish it had a different title, because I'm afraid some people might not read it because they think it is only for alcoholics or drug addicts. Yes, people with specific addictions are the main focus of the book, but according to Welch's definition of addictions, if you are human, you are an addict. He uses the paradigm of idolatry and/or adultery to address areas which keep us from worshipping God whole-heartedly and offers suggestions for both addicts and This book is AMAZING!!!! In some ways I wish it had a different title, because I'm afraid some people might not read it because they think it is only for alcoholics or drug addicts. Yes, people with specific addictions are the main focus of the book, but according to Welch's definition of addictions, if you are human, you are an addict. He uses the paradigm of idolatry and/or adultery to address areas which keep us from worshipping God whole-heartedly and offers suggestions for both addicts and those who are working with addicts.
    more
  • Ben Flegal
    January 1, 1970
    Welch's book is a Scripture-filled, practical outworking of solid theology in the life of an addict. He speaks practically to both addicts and those who counsel addicts in terms of how the theology which he develops with sound, scriptural exegesis applies to everyday life and even particular strategies concerning how one lives out who he is in Christ as opposed to giving way to the dominion of sin in one's life.
    more
Write a review