Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave
Edward T. Welch
I bought this book at a Nouthetic Counseling conference last year and read it soon after. As I didn’t take very good notes while reading, this might be a short review.
Welch dives skillfully into a topic that has touched all of our lives, if only indirectly. All of us have fought a sin so long that it could be labeled an “addiction.” All of us know someone stuck in some addiction, whether alcohol or drugs or sexual addictions. So, we simply need to look around to see the need for such a book.
The first section of the book deals Biblically and theologically with the topic of addictions, answering questions like “How can people with good theology still fall into addictions? (A: By not really believing what they believe.) Are addictions sickness or sin or both? (A: Sin, but we must recognize and deal with the profoundly physical nature of many temptations.)”
At the end of each chapter, he includes some direct comments to those fighting addictions and to those helping others fight. These may be the best part of the book – it’s great to see someone bring theological depth to such practical levels!
In the second section, Welch helps us understand & deal with addictions: how the descent into addiction happens, how to speak to the “addicted”, how to counsel at each stage of the battle, what Christ’s holiness has to do with anything, etc.
Welch writes earlier in the book that addictions are a worship disorder, a matter of worshipping ourselves and our desires instead of the living God. This means it is an inherently spiritual problem and must be dealt with using the means of grace God has given. Rather than make the book esoteric and metaphysical, thinking about addictions as false worship gives us absolute, concrete ways to help people Biblically. Thus, the book is replete with helpful, relevant Scripture passages (as well as with attention-grabbing stories from Welch’s own counseling ministry).
Addictions is a book that could be easily read by anyone who needs to. It’s interesting, well-written and well-edited. Most importantly, it shines with the hope of the gospel for those in sin. Should you buy this book? If you are stuck in sin or helping someone who is – yes! I expect it to come down off the shelf more than once. You don’t even have to consider yourself addicted; this is a book with solid, Biblical help for anyone concerned to fight sin for the glory of Christ.