But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. Jude 20-21
What I am about to share reflects the struggle that I am facing increasingly as the President of America’s Keswick. What I am about to share my shock you and I trust that you will prayerfully hear my heart.
I really am at the point where I think our Board should call it quits and get out of the addiction recovery ministry. We are fighting a losing battle.
We have a record number of men who are graduating that are overdosing on heroin. Dying after one injection. Men who have graduated from the program who are relapsing in 48 hours and many of them are calling to come back to the program.
But there is an even greater concern. We have been encouraging our grads for years to connect with Bible believing churches so that they can grow in their walk with the Lord and continue to walk in victory.
Sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it? But in many cases, I owe the men a huge apology for setting them up for failure.
I just heard a report of a Christian addiction recovery ministry that raised $100,000 to help men and women come out of addiction. The money was raised by selling alcohol which was sold by young female bartenders that were asked to volunteer their services. So apparently we need to encourage men who are alcoholics to get the victory, but apparently one of the best fundraising tactics is to get people to sell the addictive –home/life destroying product and find people who want to help see addicts free to “contribute” by buying the product.
Yesterday I read an article about a new group of churches being raised up that are setting up shop in bars. The new evangelism initiative is called “Jesus and Beer.” The plan is to invited seekers to attend a “service” in a bar, serve the best beer, and have dialog about Jesus.
So I guess if we are going to be able to most effectively serve our grads in transitioning back to the “real” world, we need to educate them that it still isn’t ok for them to go to a bar and drink on their own and with their old friends. It is ok to go to the bar and drink as long as you are joining other Christians who have learned to drink responsibly and at the same time are able committed to studying the Bible and sharing Christ.
I have yet to see a post of Facebook posted by my Christian friends that shows them in the bar gathering for church or a Bible study. I have rarely been in the company of “Christian” drinkers where someone hasn’t left the party inebriated and out of control.
But even more disturbing is that the with this new norm we’ve swung the pendulum the other way in that you can’t hold a different position. It doesn’t matter if you have a history of alcohol in your background, it doesn’t matter is you choose to not drink, it doesn’t matter if you are concerned about offending a weaker brother or sister, you either join on or you are ridiculed.
I have left several functions where people have been in my face because I wouldn’t drink a beer. After all, if I am not at America’s Keswick, who is going to know? Really? So what happened to the passages in the New Testament about the weaker brother/sister or not doing something because it might hinder ones testimony? Or suppose your insistence on someone drinking leads them on a downward spiral or even worse, they do leave the party under the influence and face getting a DUI all in the name of “I’m free in Christ to do this so you need to do it too?”
This is a hot button topic and I am sure that I am going to get some humdinger responses. I welcome your comments. But I believe that we have opened the door to some pretty serious issues that are already coming back to bite us.
The same Pastors that refuse to preach both sides of this issue because they can’t nail total abstinence from the Scriptures, and I agree, are the ones that are ticked off at us when a believer in their church has lost everything because of the effects of alcohol, and “What do you mean there is waiting list?” We have a problem, guys.
I will write more about this in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, the next time I am at Applebees, I plan to take a picture of me and the guys enjoying our unsweetened iced teas and diet sodas.
Written by Dr. Bill Welte is President/CEO of America’s Keswick: He has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 10 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.
Daily Quote: Liberty is turned to license by self. – Walter Chantry
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: