Step Four of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is:
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Here's how the "Big Book" describes the step.
Although that's a pretty good description, and should certainly be enough for most people, others want more detail. Some find a "checklist" helpful. And a few would like to take inventory based on the revelation of God in the Bible.
The Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms were written in the 1640's. B.B. Warfield, professor at Princeton in the late 1800's, wrote of the Westminster Standards,
[T]hey are the final crystallization of the elements of evangelical religion, after the conflicts of sixteen hundred years. . . . [T]hey are the richest and most precise and best guarded statement ever penned of all that enters into evangelical religion. . . .
The Larger Catechism is a rich catalog of Biblical Truth. It provides the foundation of a powerful "moral inventory." In reverse order, here are the questions the Ten Commandments begin to ask:
10Am I filled with resentment from envying the rich and coveting what I don't have?
9 Do I lie to cover up my character defects?
8 Do I cheat others to gratify myself?
7 Do I lust and have impure thoughts and actions?
6 Am I willing to hurt other people to protect myself?
5 Am I angry at my parents, and is our relationship broken?
4 Am I able to rest, and trust God?
3 Do I take the Lord's Name in vain?
2 Do I cover up my character defects with religion and false spirituality?
1 Is my relationship with God broken because I am trying to be my own god (Genesis 3:5)?
Click the number than interests you most, and begin a "fearless and searching moral inventory!"
Vine & Fig Tree
(1)From an address "delivered, on its appointment, before the Presbytery of New York, Nov. 8, 1897" (from the Princeton Press, Nov. 13, 1897); published in book form under the title, The Significance of the Westminster Standards as a Creed, 1898, reprinted in 2 Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield 660 (1973). [Back to text]