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Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group

The Oxford Group was a Christian organization founded by American Christian missionary Dr. Frank Bucham. A.A's early roots can be traced back to the Oxford Group.

The Oxford Group was a Christian organization founded by American Christian missionary Dr. Frank Bucham.
A.A’s early roots can be traced back to the Oxford Group.

The Oxford Group was a Christian organization founded by American Christian missionary Dr. Frank Bucham. Buchman was an American Lutheran minister of Swiss descent who in 1908 had a conversion experience in a chapel in England and as a result of that experience he would later found a movement called A First Century Christian Fellowship in 1921, that eventually became known as the Oxford Group by 1931.

The Oxford Group enjoyed wide popularity and success, particularly in the 1930s. In 1932 the Archbishop of Canterbury in summing up a discussion of the Oxford Groups with his Diocesan Bishops, said ‘there is a gift here of which the church is manifestly in need.  Two years later William Temple, Archbishop of York, paid tribute to the Oxford Groups which ‘are being used to demonstrate the power of God to change lives and give to personal witness its place in true discipleship.’

In 1938, Buchman proclaimed a need for “moral re-armament” and that phrase became the movement’s new name.

Rowland H, claimed that it was Carl Jung who caused him to seek a spiritual solution to his alcoholism, which led to Rowland joining the Oxford group. He was introduced by Shep Cornell to Cornell’s friend Ebby Thacher, Ebby had a serious drinking problem. Hazard introduced Ebby to Carl Jung’s theory and then to the Oxford Group. For a time Ebby took up residence at Sam Shoemaker’s Calvary Rescue Mission.

Reverend Sam Shoemaker ran the Calvary Rescue Mission that catered mainly to saving down-and-outs and drunks. Sam Shoemaker taught the concept of God being that of one’s understanding to the new inductees.

The Oxford Group adhere to what is known as The Four Absolutes:

1. Absolute Honesty

2. Absolute Unselfishness

3. Absolute Purity

4. Absolute Love

The original first 6 steps of A.A. were adapted from the Oxford Group:

1. We admitted that we were licked, that we were powerless over alcohol

2. We made a moral inventory of our defects or sins.

3. We confessed or shared our shortcomings with another person in confidence.

4. We made restitution to all those we had harmed by our drinking. 

 5. We tried to help other alcoholics, with no thought of reward in money or prestige. 

6. We prayed to whatever God we thought there was for power to practice these precepts.

Ebby under the guidance of Roland H and others of the Oxford Group was able at the time to abstain from Alcohol and  took his knowledge to his old buddy.

Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?

Carl Jung

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