Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel

by Edward T. Welch

Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.


The author asks the question: “What is the basic point of this book?” Theology makes a difference. It is the infrastructure of our lives. Build it poorly and the building will eventually collapse in ruins. Build it well and you will be prepared for anything. The basic theology for addictions is that the root problem goes deeper than our genetic makeup. Addictions are ultimately a distortion of worship. Will we worship ourselves and our own desires or will we worship the true God? Through this lens, all Scripture comes alive for the addict. No longer are there just a few proof texts about drunkenness. Instead, since all Scripture addresses our fundamental disorder of worship, all Scripture is rich with application for the addict.


What the author points out, will, seem radical. Rightly understood Scripture should always seem radical, leaving us amazed and a bit off-balance. But a Christ-centered perspective on addictions should definitely be revolutionary. We are living in a culture where the theory and language of addictions are presently controlled by secular categories. Words like disease, treatment and even addiction convey the idea that these problems have their ultimate cause in the body rather than the soul—a commonly accepted view that is at odds with clear biblical teaching. Given the domination of this secular perspective, careful biblical inspection will most likely reveal many years, and the insights of many people, to uncover. Thinking biblically about these difficult problems will require much more than redefining words or making Jesus the higher power. Instead, everything must be open to biblical inspection. Since we live in a culture that assumes a sub-biblical inspection. Since we live in a culture that assumes a sub-biblical inspection. Since we live in a culture that assumes a sub-biblical position, we must realize that it affects us more than we think.


For those who have been keeping track of cultural trends, what follows might not seem that radical. There are more and more probing and insightful voices both secular and Christian that are questioning the legitimacy of current views on addiction. So this book is certainly not alone. It can contribute wisdom and practical help to this very important area of debate and spiritual struggle.


Addictions are all about what we desire. Will we desire God more than anything else? As an antidote to addictions, worship is always central. This might seem out of place on the battlefield of cravings and daily temptations, but it is absolutely essential. Without it we are defenseless. Consider one typical Old Testament battle (2Chron.20). The Moabites, Ammorites, and Meunites had just banded together into “a vast army.” God’s people were overcome with fear. Even the king was alarmed, and immediately moved into action as a result of the threat. But instead of rousing the nation to battle, he “resolved to inquire of the Lord.” His resolve was then imitated by the people, who came together to seek the Lord. Worship had begun. This book has a very holistic understanding of addiction to offer the reader and it speaks to both those in addiction and those who are not.