Social drinking, Stone says, can cause others to stumble
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Should Christians drink socially?
Everywhere he goes, Ted Stone asks his audience that question. Each time, he offers the same answer -- no.
Stone, an author and speaker on alcohol and drug abuse, visited Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 3 as part of a tour of all six Southern Baptist seminaries. He and his associate, Philip Barber, are speaking at the seminaries to help prepare students for ministry among those with alcohol and drug problems. Both men are former drug addicts.
During his stop at Southern Seminary, Stone noted that much of the energy in the anti-drug movement is focused on such substances as marijuana and crack cocaine. But Stone pointed out that Americans -- and Christians in particular -- often shy away from speaking against the dangers of the nation's No. 1-used drug -- alcohol.
Much like he does everywhere he speaks, Stone asked those in attendance to avoid social drinking.
"We ask individuals to prayerfully consider giving it up totally -- to totally abstain -- for the sake of somebody they love," he said, "because somebody somewhere trusts in each of us. If one person sees one of us drink a social beer and assumes it's safe because we think it's safe, and then they develop a problem that destroys that individual's life, the guilt will rest partially on our shoulders. I don't want that guilt on my shoulders, and I certainly don't want anybody to go astray or stumble on account of me."
Stone said social drinkers often fail to see the implications of their actions. He used himself as an example. During his life as an addict, Stone said he would take drugs and drink alcohol in excessive amounts. For him, there was no such thing as moderation.
"Our concept about whether things are good or right for Christians is not based just on the fact that we can take it or leave it," he said. "It is not only imperative that I ask the question, 'Will this be good for me physically, mentally and spiritually?' I must also ask the question, 'Is this good for everybody else with whom I come in contact?'"
Stone said he sometimes gets criticized for his views on alcohol. "A lot of people say to me, 'Ted Stone, you talk about alcohol a whole lot.' I do, because it's the No. 1 drug problem in America," he said. "Some people say, 'Well, it sounds like you wish it was illegal.' I probably do, but that's not a part of what I'm doing. Philip and I are trying to deal with the world as it is -- not as we wish it was."
On another subject, Stone disagreed with those who would say that he and Barber will always be "recovering drug addicts." That addiction and desire, Stone said, is gone forever.
"We used to be recovering individuals, but we are no longer recovering," he said. "We are recovered forever by the grace of God. We believe that that same hope needs to be imparted to everybody who hears this message."
Stone said that Jesus can deliver a person from a desire for drugs.
"I do not believe that a person who wears the tag 'alcoholic' today or the tag 'drug addict' today has to wear that nametag the rest of their days," he said. "I believe you can actually be cured. I believe we would be doing a wrong to society if we presented to them a message of hopelessness. That's what it is whenever we say to somebody, 'If you're a drug addict, you'll always be a drug addict.'"
Stone and Barber are coauthors of two books, "The Drug Tragedy - Hope for the One Who Hurts," and "The Drug Tragedy - Hope for the One Who Cares."