Grace-based Recovery: A Safe Place to Heal and Grow by Jonathan Daugherty is a 9-session study guide aimed at a new small group focused on recovery from addiction. The addiction could be of any type, and as a pastor it is striking to me how many types of addictions exist. From habitual lying, compulsive shopping, gambling, to the more common sexual addiction (porn addiction) and substance abuse, we humans, in our sin, are incredible at making up false gods and enslaving ourselves to them.
It seems to me this study guide could forge a group that can deal with any of these.
That seems like a remarkable feat, but really stems from an excellent understanding of the nature of sin, and the power of the gospel. The study provides a sound experiential-theological basis for understanding God, and self. It thoroughly deals with fundamental issues of confession, repentance, spiritual disciplines, reparation, and perseverance. As such, it provides a framework that can be used for any group dealing with any issue!
I have one small complaint in the epilogue on “Hearing God’s Voice” – which encourages us to combat lies by replacing them with God’s word to us. In it the author encourages us to listen for God’s “Small-still voice”, based on a common, popular, but in my opinion erroneous understanding of 1 Kings 18. God did not speak in the silence, he spoke after it. He spoke clearly, not uncertainly. The prophet knew he was hearing God, not perhaps fallibly perceiving a “whisper of truth.”
But that is a small complaint. Of course I agree with the author that we ought to “spend time alone with God” – but I would urge us not merely to have our bible handy “in case the Lord wants to lead us to a specific promise or passage”, but rather urge us to have the bible wide open because God certainly has passages and promises to speak to us.
The bottom-line however, is that the author really wonderfully lifts up the life-transforming power of the gospel of God’s magnificent grace which changes everything, and shows the vast superiority of a group that strives to embrace and walk in that grace over against a group merely aiming at correcting behavior.
I’m thankful for this book and commend it to you!
Note: I did graciously receive a copy of this book from New Growth Press to review and comment on, but decided to only because I felt it would be helpful resource for the church!