The Oxford Group: The Inspiration For 12 Step?

From “A First Century Christian Fellowship” to “Moral Re-Armament, The Oxford Group had many faces throughout the 20th Century. The Oxford Group began under the leadership of Frank Buchman, a Lutheran Minister and attained world wide fame by the time World War 2 began.

Basic Principles

The Oxford Group had many different teachings, but the most important teachings as espoused by Frank Buchman can be summarized in 4 points:

  1. Absolute Honesty
  2. Absolute Purity
  3. Absolute Unselfishness
  4. Absolute Love

Bill W. and the Oxford Group

Bill Wilson attended the Oxford Group in New York between 1932 and 1933 and many times directly connected the 12 Steps to his attendance at Oxford Group meetings. In fact, Rev. Sam Shoemaker, Buchman’s partner personally assisted Bill Wilson’s writing of Alcohol Anonymous’ “The Big Book.” Despite these clear connections, Bill Wilson drifted away from the Oxford Group’s “Buchmanism” by mainstreaming the thoughts and ideologies of A.A. and the 12 Steps.