By Tom M. Roberts
Introduction: Many states are now investigating gambling as a source of revenue. (Texas defeated part-mutual betting May 6, 1978 but it is back as an issue at this time. The Speaker of the House in Texas is a member of the church but on record as favoring gambling.) Many people look at forms of gambling (bingo, lottery) with favor.
Some say “Politics in the pulpit” when we preach against it but this is a moral issue that must be dealt with forthrightly. Other moral issues that some want left alone: abortion, pornography, etc. We must preach the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) both “in season and out” (2 Tim. 4:2).
I What is gambling?
A. Many Christians not prepared to deal with the basic issue (some oppose large wagers but will place small bets with friends).
B. Definition: “To play or game for money or other stakes; to hazard; wager, betting on the result of a game” (Webster).
C. Built into gambling is a “loss” principle: winners win only when losers lose. Illustrate:
1. 5 people put up $100 each on a bet.
a. The “house” gets $100 off the top for their take.
b. 1 man wins $400.
c. 4 men lose all. Remember: winners win only when losers lose.
2. Farming (often used by proponents of gambling) is not a corollary.
a. God ordained that men should eat bread by “sweat of thy face” (Gen. 3:19).
b. There is no built in “loss principle” in farming.
c. Rather, God’s law built into seeds is that seeds always produce more than the seed that is planted! This is the “harvest” principle.
3. The Stock Market is not a corollary.
a. The Stock Market is a source of funds to finance business enterprise.
b. It does not operate on a “loss principle” but a “work principle.”
c. An enterprise uses money invested by stock holders to increase its business and to repay a profit to the investor.
d. To illustrate:
(1) 5 people put up $100 each by purchasing stock.
(2) A corporation uses this as capital to expand, enlarge, etc.
(3) On services rendered (work performed), the corporation makes a profit.
(4) A dividend (profit earned) is paid to the investor.
II. What is wrong with gambling?
A. It is covetousness (desire for money that belongs to another; he must lose it for you to gain it): Col. 3:5,6; Eph. 5:5; Lk. 12:15.
B. Violates labor principle: Eph. 4:28 (gambling: a form of stealing).
C. Cannot harmonize with Matt. 7:12: the “Golden Rule. “
D. Violation of law of love: Matt. 22:39; 1 Cor. 13:4-6.
E. Involves evil associations: 1 Cor. 15:33 (Gambling attracts mafia, etc.).
F. It will destroy influence: Matt. 7:17-19.
G. Its fruit is evil: Mt. 7:17-19.
H. It leads away from God: Mt. 6:24.
I. It appeals to weaknesses in man and becomes addictive: Phil. 4:8; destroys self-control: 2 Pet. 1:6.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 24, p. 747
December 18, 1986