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Old 06-14-2011, 12:43 AM
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Default Is Gambling a Sin?

I was raised in a strict Baptist household and we were always taught that any form of gambling was sinful (games of chance, lotteries, raffles, etc.). The simplest explanation, that my dad used to give, was that the money we earn is a gift from GOD, not our own personal property. Thus, we will be held accountable for every penny that we spend and gambling is simply NOT good stewardship of the resources that GOD provides for us.

Now that opens up a completely different can of worms for me because I do spend a lot of money, sometimes too much, on hobbies. However, I think gambling is still in a different category.

Here is a good article about it on John MacArthur's website that explains in more detail why gambling could be considered a sin:

http://www.gty.org/Blog/B110522

The articles goes pretty in depth and gives good arguments on both sides, but here are the main reasons that he considers gambling to be a sin:

Quote:
Here are three reasons that instantly come to mind:

1. The absence of a single commandment or proof-text against gambling ultimately proves nothing. There are lots of things that are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible that we would probably agree are clearly sinful.

There isn't anything in Scripture that forbids arson, for example. But we know arson is wrong because it violates other biblical principles. It's a violation of the commandment in Leviticus 19:18: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

As a matter of fact, even thinking about burning down your neighbor's property violates Zechariah 8:17: "Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour . . . [for] these are things that I hate, saith the Lord." So I don't think anyone would seriously argue that arson is OK, just because it isn't named in the Bible as a sin. Ditto with recreational drug use, graffiti-vandalism, and a host of other societal evils.

2. Gambling is inconsistent with biblical virtue. It is fueled by—and it fuels—covetousness, greed, and materialism. It is associated with crime, vice and corruption, so that wherever gambling exists, crime rates rise. And it is contrary to the biblical work ethic, because it is an attempt to gain wealth without working for it.

3. Our possessions are not our own to squander. They are given to us as a stewardship, and we will be accountable to God for how we use them. To put God-given resources at risk is to fail in the faithfulness required of stewards.
Here is a second article about the same topic in which he tears down the "mutual consent" viewpoint. In other words, many argue that as long as everyone who participates in the game participates voluntarily, then it can't be a sin. He also very clearly describes gambling as a form of stealing:

http://www.gty.org/Blog/B110608

Now this might not seem like a big deal to some and many will think that it's just certain pastors trying to be a killjoy. However, as Christians, we need to seriously examine everything we participate in and examine our motives for participating. If someone gambles as a more of a social activity with no real interest in whether they win or lose, then I would have a hard time condemning that as a sin. However, if some gambles for the sole purpose of taking someone else's possessions for themselves, then I would have to agree that it is nothing short of stealing.

It might not be the biggest sin that a person can commit, but small sins tend to morph into large sins if left unchallenged.
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:09 AM
rearnakedchoke
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what about playing the stock market?
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:19 AM
logrus
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If someone gambles as a more of a social activity with no real interest in whether they win or lose, then I would have a hard time condemning that as a sin

I dunno about that one...
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:33 AM
Chris F
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Got to agree with John on this one. Sin is missing the mark and any behavior the causes you or someone else to miss the mark is sin. In fact since the bible says our very thoughts cause us to sin is proof enough. The difference is how we react to it. DO we continue to miss the mark or do we allow Jesus to rule and reign in ALL our life and not just the parts we let him.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by rearnakedchoke View Post
what about playing the stock market?
I think they cover that one in the first link. With the stock market, it's a rising tide. Meaning that when one person wins, everybody who owns that stock tends to win. The stock market can sometime be win/lose; but it is often win/win and can also be lose/lose. Gambling, by it's very definition, is win/lose. In other words, you only win by taking away from someone else.

So the discussion of whether playing the stock market is a sin or not would be a separate topic. I don't think it falls into the category of gambling. It's a gamble, but it's not gambling.
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:31 AM
adamt adamt is offline
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Originally Posted by logrus View Post
If someone gambles as a more of a social activity with no real interest in whether they win or lose, then I would have a hard time condemning that as a sin

I dunno about that one...

you have to ask yourself if they would be doing it if they had no chance to win anything, just for play money..... some would....i.i facebook holdem.... but most people at a casino? no, they are in it to win, not for fun

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Originally Posted by NateR View Post
I was raised in a strict Baptist household and we were always taught that any form of gambling was sinful (games of chance, lotteries, raffles, etc.). The simplest explanation, that my dad used to give, was that the money we earn is a gift from GOD, not our own personal property. Thus, we will be held accountable for every penny that we spend and gambling is simply NOT good stewardship of the resources that GOD provides for us.

Now that opens up a completely different can of worms for me because I do spend a lot of money, sometimes too much, on hobbies. However, I think gambling is still in a different category.

Here is a good article about it on John MacArthur's website that explains in more detail why gambling could be considered a sin:

http://www.gty.org/Blog/B110522

The articles goes pretty in depth and gives good arguments on both sides, but here are the main reasons that he considers gambling to be a sin:



Here is a second article about the same topic in which he tears down the "mutual consent" viewpoint. In other words, many argue that as long as everyone who participates in the game participates voluntarily, then it can't be a sin. He also very clearly describes gambling as a form of stealing:

http://www.gty.org/Blog/B110608

Now this might not seem like a big deal to some and many will think that it's just certain pastors trying to be a killjoy. However, as Christians, we need to seriously examine everything we participate in and examine our motives for participating. If someone gambles as a more of a social activity with no real interest in whether they win or lose, then I would have a hard time condemning that as a sin. However, if some gambles for the sole purpose of taking someone else's possessions for themselves, then I would have to agree that it is nothing short of stealing.

It might not be the biggest sin that a person can commit, but small sins tend to morph into large sins if left unchallenged.
I would add also that gambling is the epitome of not loving your neighbor.... the whole premise for gambling is wishing for the other people to lose.... business is win-win....gambling perpetuates win-lose.... it demands you wish loss on the other person


edit: yeah i shoulda read the whole article before posting... it covers this
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NateR View Post
I was raised in a strict Baptist household and we were always taught that any form of gambling was sinful (games of chance, lotteries, raffles, etc.). The simplest explanation, that my dad used to give, was that the money we earn is a gift from GOD, not our own personal property. Thus, we will be held accountable for every penny that we spend and gambling is simply NOT good stewardship of the resources that GOD provides for us.

Now that opens up a completely different can of worms for me because I do spend a lot of money, sometimes too much, on hobbies. However, I think gambling is still in a different category.

Here is a good article about it on John MacArthur's website that explains in more detail why gambling could be considered a sin:

http://www.gty.org/Blog/B110522

The articles goes pretty in depth and gives good arguments on both sides, but here are the main reasons that he considers gambling to be a sin:



Here is a second article about the same topic in which he tears down the "mutual consent" viewpoint. In other words, many argue that as long as everyone who participates in the game participates voluntarily, then it can't be a sin. He also very clearly describes gambling as a form of stealing:



http://www.gty.org/Blog/B110608

Now this might not seem like a big deal to some and many will think that it's just certain pastors trying to be a killjoy. However, as Christians, we need to seriously examine everything we participate in and examine our motives for participating. If someone gambles as a more of a social activity with no real interest in whether they win or lose, then I would have a hard time condemning that as a sin. However, if some gambles for the sole purpose of taking someone else's possessions for themselves, then I would have to agree that it is nothing short of stealing.

It might not be the biggest sin that a person can commit, but small sins tend to morph into large sins if left unchallenged.

I really don't want to think of gambling (playing poker) with my friends and family as sin. We all enjoy it so much.

My mind is trying to make so many excuses right now (We only play for small amounts of money, etc. )

Nate!
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Here are three reasons that instantly come to mind:

1. The absence of a single commandment or proof-text against gambling ultimately proves nothing. There are lots of things that are not explicitly mentioned in the Bible that we would probably agree are clearly sinful.

There isn't anything in Scripture that forbids arson, for example. But we know arson is wrong because it violates other biblical principles. It's a violation of the commandment in Leviticus 19:18: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

As a matter of fact, even thinking about burning down your neighbor's property violates Zechariah 8:17: "Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour . . . [for] these are things that I hate, saith the Lord." So I don't think anyone would seriously argue that arson is OK, just because it isn't named in the Bible as a sin. Ditto with recreational drug use, graffiti-vandalism, and a host of other societal evils.

2. Gambling is inconsistent with biblical virtue. It is fueled by—and it fuels—covetousness, greed, and materialism. It is associated with crime, vice and corruption, so that wherever gambling exists, crime rates rise. And it is contrary to the biblical work ethic, because it is an attempt to gain wealth without working for it.

3. Our possessions are not our own to squander. They are given to us as a stewardship, and we will be accountable to God for how we use them. To put God-given resources at risk is to fail in the faithfulness required of stewards.
Wow, not the subject but the principles behind these statements would have applied to another debated topic around here in recent months.
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:52 AM
Chris F
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Originally Posted by Neezar View Post
Wow, not the subject but the principles behind these statements would have applied to another debated topic around here in recent months.
it could be used for many of the heated discussion on this forum for the last few years. Even back to the old site.
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Old 06-14-2011, 05:23 AM
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NateR NateR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neezar View Post
I really don't want to think of gambling (playing poker) with my friends and family as sin. We all enjoy it so much.

My mind is trying to make so many excuses right now (We only play for small amounts of money, etc. )

Nate!
How about playing for no money at all? Would you still play if there was no one's money on the line? If not, then that might suggest a sinful activity.

We used to play poker all the time when I was growing up, but we never played for money. It was just treated like a game as if we were playing Scrabble or Monopoly.
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