The Oxford Group Wasn’t a Bunch of Professors…

“I just found out the Oxford Group wasn’t a bunch of professors sittng around discussing how the earth rotates on its axis! I’m thankful for what they did.”

That’s what Garry said last night at Recovery for a Lifetime, our Biblical 12 Step recovery group that meets at my church in New Market, Maryland. In recovery for over a decade, he had discovered the Biblical underpinings of the original 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Oxford Group began in the 1920’s as the result of the spiritual awakening of an American Pastor at a meeting in Keswick, England. Staying in that country, his message resonated and a true movement was born.

Originally called “A First Century Christian Fellowship,” the movement had a significant impact on Oxford University students and faculty in the ’20’s and ’30’s. They even made annual missionary trips to South Africa and their regular presence in that country led to newspapers calling them the “Oxford Group.” It stuck.

The movement also migrated to America and was the single most powerful influence in the founding of AA. Unfortunately, like so many movements and institutions, the group’s focus — and, consequently, its influence — changed. They strayed from their original spiritual focus of personal spiritual awakening and responsibility.

But, with Garry, let’s be grateful for their message and influence. Let’s also learn from their mistakes.

One Day at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director