News Articles

FIRST-PERSON: Charting an alternative

DURHAM, N.C. (BP)–In a question-and-answer session at Parkview Baptist Church in Morehead City, N.C., on Nov. 16, a concerned member echoed the question most often tendered in a church setting: “What can we do to be a part of the solution of the drug problem?”

It has been a long, hard road for the Christian church to finally acknowledge the existence of the problem. At last, many of the people on the pews across America realize that it is “our” problem, and not “theirs!”

As more and more of our families awaken to the disastrous effects of the gnawing addictions that entrap their loved ones, these hurting people frantically search for help.

Every day the phone rings with some new tale of woe, and each story seems even more tragic than the previous one.

We try to provide some positive direction and a measure of hope for every caller. We won’t conclude a call without reminding the individual that permanent recovery is possible.

The proclamation that “We used to be drug addicts, but we are no longer drug addicts; we are recovered forever by the grace of God, and that same hope can belong to your loved one!” has been documented in our lives and the lives of countless former addicts.

It has been difficult for Christians to acknowledge the problem, but also it has been difficult for Christians to assume responsibility for their part in the solution to the problem. After all, it is a dirty business, with no promise of success. And today’s “feel good” society likes for everything to turn out all right.

But this is not Mr. Roger’s neighborhood, and everything does not always turn out okay. But if we fail to lift a hand to help these who hurt, then we can be much more certain that tragedy waits just around the corner.

Serious addictions, whether to legal or illegal drugs, require the substitution of something stronger than the addiction in the hurting person’s life. Jesus does have the answer to America’s drug problem and we, His church, represent Him.

The hope for permanent recovery demands Bible-based, Christ-centered solutions, and we are determined to recommend only centers that provide such treatment. Most of those who seek help have never enjoyed dedicated, Christian lifestyles, and as representatives of the Savior we are in the business of changing the hearts of men and women so that this can be accomplished.

The successful roadmap to recovery should include a Christian primary treatment program that may range in length from 60 days to six months. The secondary treatment facility, a halfway house that enables an individual to mature in the Christian life and to develop good habits of daily living, must also provide Christ-centered recovery help.

There is another essential step to recovery that should be provided by local, caring churches.

We have depended too long on community support groups that neglect or abstain from acknowledging the importance of Christ in successful recovery efforts. They often teach those who use their services that they are doomed to wear the nametags of drug addict or alcoholic the rest of earthly existence. This hopeless doctrine has encouraged many of the weak to return to the dark habits of the past.

The Christian church must stand tall, and on an individual basis as well as a body, support and encourage these who seek permanent recovery, welcome them and let them find recovery within the Christian family.

We must never forget the words, “And this commandment have we from Him, that He who loves God, love his brother also” (1 John 4:21).

Every church fellowship should be a part of the road to recovery. Our Lord expects this. He demands this!
Ted G. Stone and Philip D. Barber speak across the country and have coauthored two books on alcohol and drug abuse, “The Drug Tragedy-Hope for the One Who Hurts” and “The Drug Tragedy-Hope for the One Who Cares,” both available from LifeWay Christian Stores. Stone and Barber can be reached through Ted Stone Ministries, P.O. Box 1397, Durham, N.C. 27702, or by phone, (919) 477-1581.

    About the Author

  • Ted G. Stone & Philip D. Barber