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

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  890 ratings  ·  88 reviews
A worship disorder: this is how Edward T. Welch views addictions. Will we worship ourselves and our own desires, he writes, or will we worship the true God? With this lens the author discovers far more in Scripture on addictions than passages on drunkenness. There we learn the addict's true condition: like guests at a banquet thrown by the woman Folly, he is already in the ...more
Paperback, 298 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by P & R Publishing
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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Natalie Vellacott
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very biblical description of addictions and how they can take over a person's life.

The book uses the illustration of alcohol but frequently refers to other addictions making it clear that all addictions can be dealt with in the same way. Practical advice pointing people to the Bible as the source of all hope in this situation.

J.S. Park
Oct 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
Dr. Welch writes a relevant yet condescending work on addiction that is overly technical, hit-and-miss, and largely presumptuous. Like his other more popular work, When People Are Big and God Is Small, Dr. Welch assumes too many motives and correlations, often whipping up pop psychology to explain away some complex issues. I cringed. A lot.

There are some bright spots. Whenever Dr. Welch expounds on Scripture, particularly in his exposition of sin-slavery and Proverbs, he nails the root problem
Natalie Weber
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was one of the books on our list of reading for the first phase of certification as biblical counselors. I appreciated that author Edward Welch offered both theological underpinnings for understanding addiction and also many practical considerations. He provides much scriptural insight, but also doesn’t presume to provide answers for every situation. He acknowledges that many cases involving addiction are complex and benefit from discernment and several counselors to make wise and helpful d ...more
Mike E.
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Welch states his purpose in this book, "to show how the theological riches of the Bible speak practically and meaningfully to the problem of addictions." This book is extremely helpful, not only to those who self-identify as addicts but for all Christians--since all Christian struggle with recurring sins. Welch has reflective sections at the end of each chapter: one section for the addict, the other for the Christian friend of the addict. Welch goes out of his way to demonstrate how the addict's ...more
Vincent Ng
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book on the topic of addiction. A practical, gospel-filled and pastorally sensitive book that compares the indulgence in addictions to enjoying a banquet in the grave. Welch gives the ultimate reasoning for sin in that sin cannot be reasoned, it is irrational and is not supposed to make sense. With this grounds, the solution Welch diverts his readers to is the to the person of Christ and message of the hope-filled gospel. It is to, as C.S. Lewis may put it, enjoy the vacation that G ...more
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Welch's goal in writing this book was to show how the Bible speaks "Practically and meaningfully to the problem of addictions." In the Preface, he observed that while the book's focus is on the prototypic addictions to drugs and alcohol, the basic ideas are relevant to all kinds of sins. "What is it about our humanness that leaves us susceptible to being overtaken by certain desires?" His careful answer in "Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave" helps the reader to see the awful truth that in some ...more
Anthony Ray
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a really easy read. Welch doesn't bog you down with any big words or complicated ideas, but also doesn't dumb any of these truths down. Despite its title, "Addictions" isn't a book just for counselors or addicts: everyone can benefit from this title. Every chapter I not only found myself more educated on addictions and the theology that surrounds them, but I also was given a new sensitivity to my own heart and struggles.
Lindsey Doolan
Awesome, excellent, fabulous. Addiction as sin and idolatry (meaning "addiction" is a lot more prevalent). Very applicable to any idolater--any human. Great for Christians as well. Read it for school and am keeping it.
Joyce Olij
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read to learn more about addictions. Put it down because it was so depressing. Picked it up again last week to complete reading it. The second half is more positive - it gives hope for the addict.
A reflection on the book is that there is no 'secret formula' for overcoming addiction. There's no special tips or's actually very basic. But super challenging.
I agree with another review that the book could be better organized.

Notes on the book:
p 35 - Definition of Addiction
p 45 - For ever
Bob Mimiaga
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Edward Welch's book is filled with many good ideas and perspectives associating addiction with sin. This is definitely a book for the Christian reader who wants to know more about where addiction stands in the face of the gospel. I don't believe the non-Christian would find this book acceptable.

Welch goes into depth (sometimes more than necessary) to bring the reader to an understanding of the gospel's theological position on the illness of addiction, deception, sin, temptation, recovery, and re
Millie V
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this book because it was referenced in a Truth for Life podcast. I am the sister of an alcoholic and a Christian whose faith has grown and developed as a result of the frustration, impatience, heartache, and emotional rollercoaster I've experienced via her addiction. This is ironic, I know.

This journey with my sister has not been easy, mostly because I don't think I'll ever truly understand the power of addiction. I tried to help her, but in the end, all my efforts were for nou
James Williamson
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ed Welch's book on Addictions is at its best in the early parts, describing the nature of addiction and the behaviors that attend that addiction, and setting out a course for change. It is written both for the addict and those who try to help and treat him/her, so chapters end with a section to each type of person.

Thereafter, we encounter a lot of material on the Christian and spiritual aspects of sanctification in general, applied to recovery from addictive behavior. One feels they are reading
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was very readable, easy to understand, and short on jargon that can make these books a chore. It offered practical as well as spiritual advice, and stayed true to teachings of the Bible. Good for people seeking help, or seeking to help others.

My only complaint (and it is shallow, it simply isn't within the scope of the book) is the borderline dance he makes between when pleasure becomes sin. God does not make a joyless, loveless, happy-less world, but wants us to enjoy what we have been giv
Ronnie Nichols
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anyone or the family and friends of anyone who is struggling with or has struggled with addiction. Mr. Welch identifies the true roots of addiction accurately and scripturaly as idolatry and the pouring of ones mind, body, soul, and spirit into that which will inevitably destroy them. I was challenged and encouraged by the author's calling out of the church on its lack of efforts to reach those who are addicts and their lack of faith that the grace and love of God has the ...more
Joshua Reichard
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
My issue with Addictions A Banquet in the Grave is that Welch seems to write nothing new on the subject of addictions. I feel as though his whole book could be summed up in a few pages. Though he gives helpful insight here and there about fighting addictions, recognizing addiction, and counseling someone with an addiction. The book falls flat over all because his approach fails to address the real hurt, pain, time, and commitment it takes to helps those who are struggling. If Welch set out to br ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So. Good.

This book is for every believer, not just the ones struggling with an addiction or a loved one who's an addict. It is a gospel-saturated book. And we are all sinners in need of a savior. We all need to learn how to fight our idol-prone hearts and crave Jesus more than our sins.

Highly recommend.

My only regret is that life got busy and it took me so long to read it. It definitely would have been better and had an even greater impact if I could have read it within a month!

Lexi Zuo
May 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Pretty solid and biblical explanation of addiction (mainly dealing with drugs and alcohol). I wasn’t aware till I started, that it’s mostly focused on coaching those who want to help addicts. As a daughter of an addict, I personally am not in a position to help or change their situation, so it was painful to read some of suggestions. I stopped early on. Might be more helpful for a spouse or friend with a different dynamic.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Awesome I recommend Addictions by Edward Welch to anyone searching for answers! It's especially helpful in the real world point of view, Bible quotes, and important worship. As a Jesus follower myself I agree worship is important and apparently the first commandment in Exodus. Thank you Alistair Begg for recommending the book.
Daniel Beaudoin
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. it really opened my eyes on the spiritual aspects of the problems of addictions. Its already given me direction in helping a friend with alcohol abuse. It's making me think about my own addictive behaviors too, both past and present. highly recommended.
Shari Breyfogle
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A biblical approach to helping people overcome addictions. This author give practical and detailed outlines of how to come alongside those who want to be healed and delivered. Grace filled and merciful.
Richard Minor
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Welch has delivered a very good book on dealing with addictions. Though drugs and alcohol are often times the main discussion, food, porn, and other addictions are applicable. He digs into the heart of addiction and it is very good.
Peter Clegg
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
While this book focuses on several sins that a person could struggle with it is a good resource for all Christians.
Joshua Centanni
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Welch was most helpful when interacting with material from AA. Throughout the book he clearly articulates the gospel in fresh ways.

The book felt like it was longer than it needed to be.
John W
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
It offered me the hope that i needed in my addiction. I believe it can help others.
Donny Crass
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This provided a thorough understanding of addiction from a biblical perspective. The Gospel of Jesus speaks to you in the midst of addiction. It is a message of hope!
Jacob Gaddie
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great content. The example conversations inside the work are terribly corny.
Apr 24, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: counseling
Referenced in redemption by mike Wilkerson
Holly Browning
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the most well informed book on the subject of idolatry and addictions I've read.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
An in-depth examination of the heart of addictions: spiritual worship.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I Corinthians 13:1: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Where’s the love, Ed? A small dose of compassion, maybe?

I usually like this author, although he tends to be dry. This book was slightly more readable than his others. I was relieved that this one was not filled with repeated suggestions to “Repent” if all else fails. Reformed theologians sometimes feel they have to drive that home quite a bit.

In the book “Addictions.
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Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He has counseled for thirty years and is the best-selling author of many books including When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave; Blame It on the Brain?; Depression: A Stubborn Darkness; Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away fro ...more

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The must-read summer beach book is a kind of American tradition. The crash of the waves. The glare of the sun. The sand in the pages. Is t...
48 likes · 20 comments
“If our failure to consistently worship the true God is the key feature of sin, we are sinners all.” 2 likes
“When it comes to addictions, we tend to divide humanity into two groups: those who are prone toward addictions and those who aren’t. The reality, of course, is very different. All human beings have already fallen into sin.” 1 likes
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