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Ted Stone prepares to take anti-drug drive to seminaries

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Three times Ted Stone has walked across America to draw attention to the nation’s drug abuse problem and its Christ-centered solution.

Now he’s about to begin another journey across the nation — only this time his destination is the six Southern Baptist seminaries.

“We’re going to conduct conferences at each seminary to explain how local churches can offer a Christ-centered solution to the nation’s drug abuse problem,” said Stone, who was the impetus behind the Southern Baptist Convention forming a national drug abuse task force in 1998.
“Doesn’t it seem reasonable that we [the SBC], as the largest denomination, ought to be focusing on ways to get our churches involved in solving this national problem?” Stone asked about 25 SBC leaders and supporters at a June 12 luncheon.

The luncheon included an opening prayer by Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and chairman of the SBC drug abuse task force, and a devotion led by James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the SBC and vice chairman of the task force.

The seminary conferences begin Sept. 5 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina before moving on to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky Oct. 3 and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas Oct. 18-19.

Conferences are tentatively scheduled for Golden Gate Theological Seminary in California in February and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in March. No date has been set for the conference at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Missouri.

“We want to focus on prevention and proactive ways for churches to get involved,” said Stone, who spent five years in prison for armed robbery after shooting a store cashier for money to support his drug habit in 1973.

“Jesus is the answer and it’s time to let him change the hearts of men and women,” he said. “Jesus will eliminate the need for drugs.”

Stone also called on the six seminaries to include solutions to drug abuse in their curriculum.

“The seminaries include it in their counseling courses, but we’re urging them to take a more preventive approach by including it in some of their main courses,” he said.

Two ways he said churches can be proactive is to sponsor Christ-centered halfway houses for recovering addicts and to offer interactive ministries for younger postmodern people as an alternative to the drug scene. Stone cited Damascus Home near Creedmoor, N.C., a halfway house supported by the Flat River Baptist Association. A second halfway house, Potter’s Home near Morganton, N.C., is expected to open by the end of the year.

“Each house handles six individuals at a time,” Stone explained. “They spend six months there, working a job and taking classes. They must be Christ-centered,” he emphasized. “If a person has an addiction, the best cure is to find something stronger — and that is a deep and abiding trust in the Lord Jesus.”

Stone said churches should create as many ways as possible get young people involved in programs in helping others. Such activities will stimulate them “to be better Christians and they will have less of a chance of being involved drugs,” he said. “Positive peer pressure kicks in and it works.”

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  • Don Hinkle