Additional Comments on
Addiction As a Besetting Sin
The following thoughts
came to mind after the primary article on
Addiction As Besetting Sin was written. That primary
article needs to be read to place the following in context.
Jay Adams addresses the
“life-dominating problem” in the Christian Counselor’s Manual.
The person’s focus in his “problem,” but he has many areas to
address which include responsibilities to his work, spouse,
family, physical health, church, etc. (Adams names some 15-20).
This broader focus is important in two ways. 1) The person has a
total, and comprehensive responsibility before God. 2) Other
physical and mental activities take his mind off his “problem”
so that he doe not have to manage his “problem” constantly in
As we discussed this morning, words are important. I disagree
with Alcoholics Anonymous that one should say, “I am an
alcoholic” or “I am a drug addict.” One has recognized the
severity of his own problem when he is willing to seek help.
That is sufficient for recovery (sanctification).
Rather, he or she should say that I am a child of the Great
King, and He is my Lord and Savior. Now, I realize that may be
difficult for an “addict” (I only use the word here for
brevity’s sake) to say, because of his true guilt and guilt
feelings. But, herein is the most important issue, that person’s
theology. Does he understand Romans 8:1 and Psalm 103:12 to the
extent that he can apply it in his own life, primarily his own
mind (Philippians 4:8)? This understanding may be the most
crucial item to move away from that “addiction.”
To point the way to getting beyond a besetting sin (perhaps, I
should use BS and PBS -- person with besetting sin!) is not to
say that I do not recognize the truly life-dominating difficulty
of the problem itself. But, like the surgeon, great skill is
needed with words, as with a scalpel. (I never thought of that
illustration before! Helpful!) Leaving some of the tumor causes
great harm in the future. Perhaps, the PBS needs to be more
precise with words than the theologian. For the latter, he is
detached from his thinking, writing, and speaking. But, the PBS
is trying to build his house… what a firm and precise foundation
I would differ with one quote in my paper from Hewitt. As we
discussed this morning, some people with PBS are not at the
“starting point” of the Christian life. Many are far down the
road in maturity in other ways.
Well, those are some additional thoughts. PBS is a problem that
the Church, including nouthetic counselors, has not adequately
addressed (probably because of the serious commitment that such
a program would require). And, this failure has probably allowed
the continued validity of psychology and psychiatry beyond its