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Wednesday, June 01, 2011 | Comments (53)

The following is adapted from comments I originally posted in other forums, but since what I have to say below is germane to the large subject under discussion, I've distilled it here and am posting it so that it will be permanently attached to this thread. Like my remarks in the immediately preceding post, this one answers several e-mails that have been sent to me directly, and a few posts that have appeared other forums:

The distinctions I made in the "definitions" post are not ideas I made up. And they are not as ambiguous as a few argumentative souls seem to want to pretend. What I have attempted to give is essentially a simple summary of the legal definition of gambling.

Please allow me first of all to try to cut through a lot of niggling questions that have been put to me about whether investing in the stock market is really any different from "gambling": The distinction I have made between gambling and investing in stocks is recognized by the laws of every state in the union. Investing in stocks is not a form of "gambling." That's what the law says, not merely how I "feel" about the question. In the preceding post I gave several sources that explain in careful detail why this is a valid distinction. Notice that the articles at the links I gave all expand on pretty much the very same arguments I made in the post itself. I'm not inventing these arguments as I go.

Unfortunately, I simply can't take time to respond individually to every dissenting "well, it seems to me . . ."-style argument. So if someone wants to try to make a cogent argument that investing in stocks is really exactly the same thing as gambling after all, please list a credible source where someone who is knowledgeable about economics and the law agrees with and supports that position.

As John Calvin would say, Good luck.

Incidentally, the argument (made by more than one person who e-mailed me) that there are always losers whose losses correspond to the gains of every winner in the stock market is essentially a jejune argument based on the long-discredited dogma of popular socialism. It simply is not true, and the economic growth in the United States since World War II seems rather convincing proof that the socialist argument holds no water whatsoever.

The comments in my in-box today make it clear that there are a lot of people who have never really thought through the issue of gambling but have strong feelings about "legalism" and whatnot. In many cases, it seems, they are prepared to offer a kneejerk denial to any suggestion that this or that questionable vice or popular "leisure" activity is inherently sinful. One of my more prolific critics basically admitted that he was making up arguments on the fly, but he wanted me to help him think out loud. Sorry. That's not what we are doing here.

My plea is simple: If you're just spoiling for a fight about some argument you think I am going to make—or if you have already made up your mind (no matter what) that gambling is OK and you are going to try to deconstruct any and every argument against it—please at least let me finish my whole argument first. I would also encourage you to read carefully and seriously think through what I'm saying before you react.

Finally, (for those who predictably demand that every argument START with biblical proof-texts) please notice that I'm making a rather systematic argument, and it's not nearly finished yet.

I'm sorry there is no easy biblical proof-text about gambling. Often the question of whether something is sinful or not has to be thoroughly considered as a matter of biblical principle rather than instantly dismissed with a Scripture reference. In such cases, it is usually necessary to be even more careful in defining and thinking through the foundational questions step by step.

But I acknowledged all of that at the very outset, and I have already said where I am going in the discussion (i.e., "Each of the essential characteristics of gambling violates one or more biblical principles. In the next post in this series, we'll begin to see why"). So comments e-mailed to me from lurkers who say things like "You haven't really given us anything biblical yet"—frankly are not particularly helpful.

The definitions I have given are essential groundwork for showing why gambling violates certain biblical principles. I actually said so in the post itself.

After I'm done, you can scold me if you think my argument isn't biblical. But to throw out that objection when I've barely finished defining terms isn't really a helpful approach to an issue like this one.

While I'm at it, here's a special note for some particularly mischievous first-time commenters: Please try to be serious if you comment. I'm really not looking for off-the-cuff arguments from every penny-ante poker aficionado who might be lurking. These are meant to be serious posts about a serious problem with serious ramifications in our society, and the feedback I'm most interested in is from church leaders who are serious about considering a tough subject carefully.

Phil Johnson
Executive Director


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#1  Posted by Scott Graeff  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 4:37 AM

You are in my prayers, brother, as your post indicates you are embroiled in quite the battle over this topic of gambling.

But know this. One of the things I find most helpful on this blog is the opinions of the dissenters. They run the range from outright foolish to incredibly angry as a person struggles to defend their sin. What helps me is that I am able to see the 'mote' in my eye more clearly when I see the rationalizations, theories, and methods that I have used to talk myself into sinning coming from another.

Keep up the good fight and know that what you do is truly helpful to me and, through the Grace of God, others as well.

#2  Posted by Colleen Eubanks  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 5:04 AM

All to God's Glory! When I have gambled, it was my goal to entertain mySELF. My period of growth in Christ right now concerns denying myself. If I am busy entertaining myself, it is likely I am not making myself available for the Lord's purposes. I get it, a higher call to purity... Dear God, help me.

#3  Posted by Craig Hurst  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 5:29 AM

Phil, you mentioned in your first post on this issue that you feel that 'one persons gain at the loss of another' is the most sinister aspect of gambling. I mentioned at the end of your 2nd post why I would like to see more explanation of this considering the loser willfully puts their money up at risk. I think the best argument (though not the only one) against gambling is that inherent in it (for most people but not all) is the love of money which manifests itself through greed.

Are there any plans to address gambling from this vantage point?

#4  Posted by Justin Lewis  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 7:23 AM

Great response! After reading some of the initial comments from other users, it seemed odd that many were argumentative when you clearly stated the following in the first post:

"So in a couple of follow-up posts, I plan to give you a SERIES of biblical arguments showing in further detail exactly why I still believe gambling is a sin.

Stay tuned for more . . ."

Keep them coming! Grace and peace to you!

#5  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 7:32 AM

So Phil, you're saying that you're not at my beck and call...to answer for every point of disagreement, or niggling doubt?......tsk tsk....shameful.

*kidding*

I'm thankful for the discussion as it has gone. If nothing else, I now know more about the stock market than I ever thought I would! Discussions like this are always tricky because I think that deep down, many of us really do want to walk in God-pleasing holiness, but we also want to be wary of the tyrannical, joy-stealing chains of legalism.

This weekend I heard a pastor preach about the evils of everything from facebook to husbands and wives spending too many weekends out individually with their friends. He was warning against idleness, and against spreading your affections too thin...I understood that, but I have no doubt that many went away assuming he was being legalistic. He told me afterwards, "Mike, I worry sometimes that I might be slipping into legalism." I reminded him that anytime holiness is the issue, the threat of legalism is always lurking close by. Any time we long to be closer to God, the devil is close by with a counterfeit, seeking to lure us away. That's why it's so important that we pay attention to Proverbs 4:23 and be vigilant in guarding our hearts.

Whether any of us agree on this issue or not, I am thankful that though we count ourselves slaves to righteousness, we have God's Word and God's Spirit to guide our consciences in living free, joyful, holy lives while we are in this world. More than that, I am thankful for the grace, mercy, and patience of God with his children. We are all working towards getting it right...trusting only in Christ's righteousness for the fullness of our sanctification.

Looking forward to the rest of your case...

Thanks for your ministry sir.

1 John 4:7-10

#6  Posted by Ronald Caruso  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 8:21 AM

Thanks Phil. I am glad that you clearly stated (and hope that others read) that there is no Biblical proof text, and that you are working with a Biblical principle. That really helps.

In these blogs, i find it personally disturbing that the conversation thread takes on such a dogamtic, leagalistic nature as if it is black and white. I am not personally edified by the nature of (overall)response.

My final thought:

The better I know the Bible and its principles, the more I know Him and become more accountable...for me. When it comes to others and my duty to point out overt sins, I rest on Biblical text. Regarding principles of the Bible, and my perception of someone elses sin, I have learned that God Himself will teach and convict His children of His principles as they grow in His Word. There must be room for the young in faith to grown on their own. I can help teach, as God leads or if they ask, but i cannot convict or condemn.

In His love, Ron

#7  Posted by Donnakay Ortega  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 11:03 AM

I agree with you 100%, Phil. Gambling is a monster addiction,and I will have no part of it! My brother and his family moved to Las Vegas quite a few years ago. It was there, my mother learned to love playing the slots. My mom also loves lottery tickets. All my family, which includes my seven brothers and sisters love to gamble. One sister in particular will say it's relaxing and entertaining,(blah,blah,blah). "I only spend about $150.00". That money buys groceries and pays bills as far as I'm concerned!.

Gambling isn't beneficial to anyone and those who say different are fooling themselves.

Jesus loves you,

Donnakay Ortega

#8  Posted by Edward Howell  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 11:33 AM

Hi Phil, You said "The distinction I have made between gambling and investing in stocks is recognized by the laws of every state in the union. Investing in stocks is not a form of "gambling." That's what the law says, not merely how I "feel" about the question."

Are you saying that every state in the union literally has a law that say investing in the stock market is not a form of gambling. Wow that is quite a statement. I would love to see a reference to one please.

Just guessing but are you going to make a point that gambling is a sin since there are laws against it. Well as far as I know almost every state in the union has a lottery. Also there are laws about stock trading. There are many possible transactions in the stock market that are against the law. Insider trading comes to mind. This seems to agree with what I have been saying that gambling like drinking is not a sin in and of itself but carried to extreme can and does become a sin. Any action is sinful if it dishonors God. How does being in a casino playing cards for money for a nights entertainment dishonor God. I don't go to ballgames but I assume there are people getting drunk being loud and cussing taking the Lord's name is vain. It is not the kind of place I would take my grandchildren. The only time I was in a casino it was clean. People were polite, no cussing and no threatening language at all. I say if you think it is sinful then it is sin for you to gamble but you can't make it a sin for me because of your personal convictions. Now if scripture says Thou shalt not gamble then it is a sin. Casino, state lotto or Stock Market.

Please be specific and explain to me/us why it is all or nothing with respect gambling.

#9  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 11:42 AM

Edward (#8),

It seems you are misconstruing Phil's point. Phil's point is not that the state laws determine what is or isn't sin. Nor is his point that each state has an explicit law denying that investing in the stock market isn't gambling.

His point is that almost every state says gambling is illegal, but no state has outlawed investing. That tells us that the authorities understand there is a significant difference.

Granted, as you say, there are Casinos and state lottos--so the state is inconsistent in its application of gambling laws. But there are categorical differences between the stock market at the lotto. You simply cannot equate the two.

#10  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 11:57 AM

Doing a fine job, Phil. Glad to read this important blog. We all need that. God bless.

#11  Posted by Edward Howell  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 1:22 PM

Hi Gabriel, I think you are the one doing the misconstruing. I was saying that Phil was trying to imply gambling is a sin and to prove it states make it illegal. Which is not altogether true. There are laws governing gambling and the stock market so his reference to law holds no water. Can't he speak for himself?

I agree there are categorical differences between the stock market and the lotto. Both are gambling though. That is just my opinion just like your statement is just your opinion. No one has given anything other than their opinion about gambling in a casino or on the stock market.

Why is it that no one with GTY blog will answer why gambling is all or nothing while drinking is not a sin until done to excess. Could it be that John M. has stated that drinking is not forbidden by scripture. Gambling is not forbidden by scripture either. I am sure if gambling was a sin we would not be debating it. Everyone would know from scripture that it was.

#12  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 1:42 PM

Edward #8 you say: "Any action is sinful if it dishonors God. How does being in a casino playing cards for money for a nights entertainment dishonor God. I don't go to ballgames but I assume there are people getting drunk being loud and cussing taking the Lord's name is vain.. "

I will attempt to answer this question adequately. I have alot of experience playing cards in casinos from before I was a Christian and it was also something I did on occasion my first year of being born again. There are alot of reason's that my experience has shown me that casinos are ungodly. I think in the end it all comes down to supporting an institution that breeds sin and addiction on multiple levels. I played poker for a fews years on a pretty much daily basis and one thing that I noticed early on was that 90% of the people I saw and interacting with were the same people. Both in brick and mortar casinos and in online poker rooms. I new of people who were literally gambling there paychecks away every payday. In fact towards the end of my gambling career the casinos around here began cashing peoples pay checks so they didnt even have to go to the bank first! Casinos breed lust, greed, dishonesty, and a variety of other sin and addictions with the patrons and the institution itself only cares about taking as much of the patrons money as possible. I could keep on going and talk about how casinos around here affect the culture of the tribes who own them but I fear it won't matter to you Edward.. the reason being is that I have rarely seen the conversations on these threads change anyone's mind once they have made a decision on what side of the fence they land on.

So I'll turn the the question back on you.. How does supporting a casino by being a patron there honor God at all when the institution depends on mans sinful nature to make a living? What biblical principles can you state proving that it honors God?

You state that any action is sinful if it dishonors God, don't you think that supporting an institution that breeds sin and evil is dishonoring to our Lord?

God bless all

#13  Posted by Donovan Epling  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 1:54 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#14  Posted by Donovan Epling  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 1:54 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#15  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 3:44 PM

Edward,

I agree there are categorical differences between the stock market and the lotto. Both are gambling though.

I think you're mudding the issue. It sounds like you're talking about risk generally, not gambling. And that would make sense why you're frustrated that it's an all or nothing issue.

#16  Posted by Ronald Caruso  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 6:18 PM

RE: Donoavn's Posts 13 & 14

For the record, everyone who reads this blog can apply Donovan’s post(s)and position to me.

Donovan, Ron, and J. Vernon McGee.

I feel we are not in the majority. Praise God, and thank you for clearly articulating my hearts desire.

In His love, Ron

#17  Posted by Edward Howell  |  Wednesday, June 01, 2011at 6:25 PM

Hi Gabriel, No I am no muddling the issue. You people who are unwilling to concede that greed for riches is one of the driving forces of the market as is gambling. You don't gamble but you play the stock market so you post to justify what you are doing. Why don't you just put your money in the bank and draw interest. I'll tell you why. You can't even keep up with the inflation rate that way. You play the market because of your desire to make more money than interest pays. That is greed but I can see that this debate is going nowhere. There is no biblical reason to say gambling in all cases is a sin. Now you are starting to play psychiatrist. How do you know if I am frustrated about anything. You don't know me, my temperament or how I express myself in writing. I have seen you make these sort of remarks to belittle others on this blog when you could not give a proper answer. I forgive you because I know the blog folks here are desperate to prove something they can't. It is hard to perfect all the time and always have all the answers. You don't think gamblers study and play the risks (odds) to there advantage. How do you think the house always wins in the long run. That's the same with the big players on the stock market.

#18  Posted by Andy Bailey  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 4:50 AM

I am seeing LOTS of posts from people who's main argument boils down to: "Gambling is just the same as investing in the stock market!"

PLEASE! Go back and read the blog post titled: "Gambling: Some definitions and distinctions"

There is a Huge difference between gambling and investing in the stock market! Phil Johnson points it all out very clearly in that post.

#19  Posted by Mike Dillon  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 6:33 AM

Donovan,

Thank you for this post! You stated, "If we regard the motive as secondary to the method then all that’s left is the cold sting of legalism." I think this is an excellent point, and one that needs to be addressed by Phil.

Many who say gambling is a sin try to justify their argument because they have a history of sin as a result of gambling. By not recognizing that sin begins in the heart we tend to label activities and behaviors as sinful. Just because an activity is correlated with sin does not imply that it is causing the sin.

Although there are many postings, I hope that Phil will take the time to address your post.

Kindly,

Mike

#20  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 11:56 AM

Surely there is a distinction between doing something for profit and doing something out of a motivation for greed? Investing in stocks CAN be motivated by greed...especially with regard to high-risk stocks, but surely it doesn't always have to be a greed issue?

I wager (heh..heh) that if your boss came up and offered you a raise, you wouldn't say, "Oh hey, no thanks. I'm doing okay. As a matter of fact, out of good Christian kindness and humility I'd rather have a pay decrease instead." I'm sure that most, if not all would gratefully accept it because it either allows us to better care for the needs of our families, or even to give more to ministry.

Personally I could see the same argument in favor of reasonable gambling, but the issue of weaker believers and casinos does come into play I think. This is where I think we have to rely on the whole counsel of scripture, conscience, and wise counsel from more mature believers. All seasoned with a liberal dose of humility of course.

#21  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 12:27 PM

Edward # 11 asks:

Why is it that no one with GTY blog will answer why gambling is all or nothing while drinking is not a sin until done to excess. Could it be that John M. has stated that drinking is not forbidden by scripture. Gambling is not forbidden by scripture either.

Edward, your comparison between drinking and gambling doesn’t work. To be fair, let’s compare alcohol to money, or wealth. Both are a gift from God to be used for His glory, and both can enslave us.

Scripture holds out some legitimate uses for alcohol. Consider Paul’s instruction to Timothy, “Use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Tim. 5:23). The Good Samaritan treated the wounds of his patient by pouring oil and wine on them (Lk. 10:34). King Lemuel’s mother told her son to use “strong drink” and “wine” as a sedative to ease the pain of the sick and afflicted (Pr. 31:6). In the Old Testament, alcohol was an extremely useful sedative, a gift from the Creator’s merciful hand.

Beyond that, wine was staple drink in Israel. It even grew into an emblem of prosperity, joy, and blessing for Israel (2 Kings 18:32; 2 Chron. 32:28). Along with oil and figs, it was the most valuable production from the land of Israel. Jesus created wine on one occasion and some argue He drank it.

That being said, do you find Scripture endorsing gambling—anywhere? Ever read where an apostle commends it as a helpful recreational activity? Did gambling serve as an emblem for Israel’s prosperity? On the contrary. Gambling is a seductive fantasy. By the way, John MacArthur preached a series on gambling by that title. Search the site and you can easily find it.

I hope that answers your question. Scripture never forbids drinking, but it condemns drunkenness. It never forbids working to obtain wealth, but it condemns greed, covetousness, and the love of money (all of which I understand Phil to say riddle the activity of gambling).

Bottom line, you can’t compare drinking to gambling. Better find another analogy.

#22  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 2:14 PM

Tommy, there is a flaw in your argument.

"That being said, do you find Scripture endorsing gambling—anywhere? Ever read where an apostle commends it as a helpful recreational activity?

Where does scripture state that drinking is a "helpful recreational activity"

Alcohol may have a "legitimate purpose" as far as you have stated but is never condoned as a "helpful recreational activity"...this is not a legitimate use and I highly doubt you would suggest to anyone that they drink alcohol as a "helpful recreational activity"

This is an analogy you have applied to alcohol from your own reasoning.

Any arguments against the use of analogies that you hold Edward to you must hold your self to as well.

#23  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 2:41 PM

Greg:

You’re missing the point.

I was showing how absurd it would be to claim Scripture commends gambling as “useful” in the same way it does “wine.”

Paul instructed Timothy to “use a little wine” for the sake of his stomach. How might an apostle do the same with gambling—hypothetically? Since gambling has no medicinal value, maybe he’d suggest a run at the slot machines. You know, as a helpful, distressing kind of recreational activity. Can you see Paul doing that? Me neither. Scripture never equates gambling and drinking, and neither should we.

If you’re trying to sanitize the activity of gambling, be my guest. But don’t try and put some kind of biblical stamp of endorsement on your efforts by claiming gambling and drinking are both useful. They’re not.

#24  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 3:31 PM

Tommy,

What in my comment even remotely suggested that I was attempting to sanatize gambling?

Or that I was endorsing gambling as useful?

I was only pointing out what appeared to be a flaw in your argument.

But this seems to be the tact here, anybody who disagrees even in the slightest with your position or you comments must be entirely against you and un-biblical as well.

Is this really the best way to handle this argument?, it's always been my opinion that the first sign a person is loosing a logical argument is when he takes a swing at you.

#25  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 4:47 PM

Phil please understand....preach what God has put on your heart...mainly because Many people say they gamble just for fun. This may be true. People drink, dance, smoke, swear, and live immoral lives, too, just for fun. The Bible says that sin is pleasure "for a season." It's a very short season, though, and the hell that follows makes it a poor deal all around.

But, really, I wonder sometimes if people do gamble just for fun. They sure have serious looks on their faces while playing those gambling slots and games! They surely get angry and curse when they lose!

I wonder if people would play slot machines if they knew they could NEVER win. If there were a line of devices set aside with a sign on them saying, "These machines are for those who play only to pass the time of day; for relaxation and enjoyment. There are no jackpots!" - do you think they would ever be touched?

do most people gamble because they are GREEDY, and want to try to get something for nothing. are They are COVETOUS?....something to think about.

ARE THERE ANY BIBLE VERSES THAT CONDEMN GAMBLING?

Not to the point, but George Washington was a believer in and frequently quoted the French proverb: "Gambling is the child of (greed), the brother of iniquity and the father of mischief."

Thomas Jefferson said, "Gambling corrupts our dispositions, and teaches us the habit of hostility against mankind."

The great statesman, Benjamin Franklin, said in Poor Richard's Almanac concerning gambling, "Keep flax from fire, youth from gambling."

Statesmen and leaders such as these cannot be brushed aside as unimportant. They were concerned about the orderly moral development of our nation. They felt that gambling would be a HINDRANCE to such.

Even the new Columbia Encyclopedia says,

"Gambling flourishes in the United States usually under the control of a criminal element, and with the blessings of corrupt police officials."

Another writer reports that gambling is now "the largest illegitimate business in the United States." Fort-five percent of the U.S. adult population admit they participate in some form of gambling.

So do I Gamble? yes at times. Now may I add I may be the only one here that will consider quitting this....I do not even touch a slot machine handle only once a year and for 2 days...but it is obvious its part of a heavy crime element...which I do not in no way be apart off..I have someting in my life I do need to double check on since this has been brought up....thanks to you Phill.....Lord Bless

#26  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 4:55 PM

My apologies, Greg. You don’t appear to be supporting gambling with your comment. Thanks for pointing out a perceived flaw in my argument. I trust my response clarified where I stand on the issue. I stick with my point. Comparing gambling with drinking is comparing apples to oranges. And as Phil has argued—rather well I think—so is comparing gambling to investing.

You bring up an interesting point with your comment on the signs of “losing an argument.” Phil has explained his method in this series. At this point, he has merely introduced the subject, defined his terms, and raised some questions. The response has been…interesting. Proverb 18:13 comes to mind. “He who answers a matter before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.” There are many signs of a weak argument. I believe that’s one of them—hasty, ill informed protests. We’re seeing a lot of that here. The final few posts in this series will be interesting.

#27  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 5:04 PM

Nothing makes the sinner more hostile, than when someone exposes his pet sin. How far from "taking every thought captive under obedience to Christ". We LOVE Him.

If gambling is sin, we want to know!

Please don't use ad hominem arguments.

#28  Posted by Luke Fulliton  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 5:15 PM

Phil, you have been in my prayers throughout my days of late, and I shall continue to pray for you.

Allow me, if you will, to comment on one point you made above. You said, “The distinction I have made between gambling and investing in stocks is recognized by the laws of every state in the union. Investing in stocks is not a form of "gambling." That's what the law says, not merely how I "feel" about the question. “

So because the because the state government doesn’t view investing as gambling, then it must not be gambling. That is one point you made to support your point. You‘re supporting your point by using the state government. Respectfully, that seems like a dangerous road to take. I can list several state governments if you need me to who don’t recognize abortion as murder. So because the state government doesn’t recognize abortion as murder, it must not be murder after all. You have just given pro-choice people permission to use that as part of their argument. I am looking forward to your future insite that will show us how gambling violates Biblical principles, but putting your money in the stock market is completely different. What does it matter what the legal definition of gambling is, it is about as relevant as the legal definition of murder.

Your definitions given; “To gamble is to wager on a contest or to play at a game of chance for stakes. When you gamble, you are risking money (or something else of value) on the outcome of something that involves an element of chance, uncertainty, or hazard—for the possibility of winning something someone else has put at stake.

A stake is a prize one person stands to gain through the loss of others.”

Once again Phil, read about shorting stocks, people do it everday and no doubt on stocks you own in your IRA. You can write as much as you would like about how you think gambling is sinful and wicked, but I would like to see you conclusively prove how the stock market is not gambling, when it fits the very definition of gambling you yourself gave.

I also found many articles and much information to support my point. But how are we supposed to send them to you, if we can not post links here, according to blog rules?

#29  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 5:23 PM

Luke:

You may name your source, and quote from your source, but we've decided to put a nix on posting links within the thread--for the time being anyway. Thanks for understanding.

#30  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 6:04 PM

post #27...If gambling is sin, we want to know!

I second that RUDY!!! But I think we all know why GAMBLING is in bed with leading crime syndicates....GREED!!..if We can control greed then no....it is not a sin by itself, in my opinion...it has been said: "Las Vegas was built for people who are really bad at math"...that Being said there is more to it than that to me , in my opinion from what I get from MY heart who listens (most of the time) is sin is anything that is a willful act against the will of God in my life!...if God tells me beyond a shadow of a doubt to not do something that is in a area of concerns....and I go ahead and do it ...I HAVE SINNED!,

Now we are warned to stay from the appearance of EVIL!...what Is the appearance of evil?....well Back in the late 30,s and 40,s there were some Churches that would tell a women , if she was wearing a RED dress to go home and change, because it had the appearance of the clothing a Hooker would wear to entice men, if the women's dress was worn above the knee....naughty, Naughty....or How about of you wanted a black Cadillac or Lincoln with darker in windows...you were bad because you resembled a mobster like car.

And even today many Churches adhere to men wearing suits as a way of looking GODLY....you think at his day and age we as the Church body would grow up after many decades, but Paraseeisum still folks.Even if one receives a doctrine degree, we must address him as DR. so and so, I had a black pastor who had many degrees tell me that being addressed as a "Pastor" was the highest honor you can bestow on a any leader in the Church body....so with all this said one must use wisdom and a tender heart to hear if God wants him to Gamble or not, I strongly feel it is not a blanket issue like adultery, stealing, etc.

In my opinion it think the spiritual body is much like the physical body, being I knew a fella who was on Pergacet, a pain reliever, for 6 mo weaned off and never touched it again, and then I knew another fella who was on for two weeks, got addicted and 2 years later after rehab was finally off. One had a addictive reaction to the drug the other one didn't.

I honestly think Gambling can be the same way , one can do it walk away and don't think a thing of it, while the other can get hooked the moment he drops in his first quarter in a slot machine, so out of wisdom and love we must think how our Lord is speaking to us about this and how we react, if it might affect a weaker brother and make him stumble to a point where we can have a serious spiritual problem on our hand, I think along these lines I would use my freedom....my Freedom not to gamble....it The same thing folks...just With more severe consequences.

#31  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 6:15 PM

OOPS....I LEFT OUT A THOUGHT ON MY LAST POST...WHEN THOES WHO SAY ON HERE .....ISNT LIFE A GAMBLE IN ITSELF????

Lets be realistic here True, all of life is uncertain and has its risks. We start down the road but do not know if we will reach our destination. We are told in the Bible that our lives are like a vapor that appears for awhile and then vanishes, and that we do not know what a day may bring forth (James 4:13-15). Yet, this risk is not LIKE a las Vegas night on the strip or Bingo for Jesus night at the local Cathlioc Church There are the realities of life.

We are frail human beings and as Christians we realize that our lives are dependent upon God. We were placed in the circumstances of life with many of its uncertainties that are beyond our control. We are to be the best stewards possible of our lives, our time, our talents, and our possessions. We are to be as sure as we can about the matters of life.

To those who call all of life a gamble, we simply answer that while life has its risks, the more intelligent a person is, the more he REDUCES the element of uncertainty. The farmer is NOT a gambler. He doesn't leave everything to chance. He does all he can to insure himself a good yield from his crops. The wise business man reduces his risks to a very minimum. He watches his inventory, checks his accounts, feels the pulse of public wants, and studies the market.

Marriage is not a gamble when two intelligent young people become well acquainted as to family background, ideals, beliefs, hopes and dreams, habits, and disposition, before finally saying the "I do" or as they use to say on friday night fights back in the early 60,s...."shake hands now and come out fighting"....JOKE!

The Bible sanctions farming and blesses it as a needed industry. The Bible commends honesty and diligence in business. The Bible honors marriage.

The only COLOR OF "WHITE" ways BIBLICALY TO receive money are by work, gift, or inheritance...ANYTHING ELSE follows the shade of Grey in my opinion....and then that is where you need to use CAUTION!

#32  Posted by Donovan Epling  |  Thursday, June 02, 2011at 6:15 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#33  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 9:26 AM

BECAUSE we now live by grace, we go longer than the law requires, in love. We are ambassadors for Christ, and don't want to be ashamed.

#34  Posted by Mike Dillon  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 10:01 AM

RE #32

Donovan,

Thanks again for the post. I hope that others are taking the time to consider what you have said.

This discussion has really helped me to better understand legalism and how we can get so wrapped up in "rules" and completely miss the Truth.

In John 5 we read that Jesus greatly upset the Jews because He broke their sabbath rules and was declaring equality with the Father. In verses 39-40 Jesus says,"You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life."

I do not aim to accuse anyone of being legalistic. However, it does seem that this discussion is leaning in that direction.

I think Donovan's last sentence deserves repeating. "If we deal with our sin in the darkness of our heart where it's conceived, then we might be surprised to find that we are walking in the light (1 John 1:7) rather than confined to a cell of legalism."

I hope we all consider the fundamental point of Matthew 15:11.

Kindly,

Mike

#35  Posted by Mike Dillon  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 10:48 AM

RE #31

Darrel,

You wrote, "To those who call all of life a gamble, we simply answer that while life has its risks, the more intelligent a person is, the more he REDUCES the element of uncertainty."

Are you saying that our intellectual assessment of risk is what God uses to judge our behaviors as sinful (poker) or not sinful (farming)? If so, I respectfully disagree.

I believe that God does want us to use the wonderful brains He has given us to make logical decisions in life. I'm sure there are many intelligent poker players who conduct logical risk assessments before playing. However, what determines whether or not a behavior is sinful is not our intelligence or our ability to properly assess risk. The determining factor is what our motives are.

There are many examples in the Bible where God's people do things that are far less reasonable that a farmer planting a crop. To me, marching around Jericho for 7 days and then shouting at the gate doesn't seem like an intelligent decision but rather an unreasonable gamble based on my own perception. However, the Israelites did this because it was what God wanted and not because of their own greedy desires.

God wants our hearts to be pure. If a person can have a pure heart while playing games involving high risks and high rewards then so be it. Although I do not believe that most people who choose to play these games or go to locations where they are played (e.g., Vegas) do so with a pure heart I am not going to try and be the judge.

Kindly,

Mike

#36  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 10:57 AM

#34 Mike, I'll consider you as a newborn Christian if you first see this now.

(Taken from my memory, so please don't hang me up on this. You can find it in the resources. About Grace, I think)

According to John MacArthur the law have 3 purposes:

1) It shows the holiness of God. This is how He is. Perfect love written down.

2) It reveals man as sinner. It condemns us because we violated it. And we can't keep it perfectly, even if we do our best.

3) It makes the Gospel the only hope. The really good news.

A Christian is no longer under the law, but under grace. Christ did it all, and we receive it as a gift. Righteousness. A forgiven sinner. Born again.

Isn't that just good news?

#37  Posted by Andrew Cairns  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 3:17 PM

I agree that this has gotten somewhat technical and legal for a non direct-investor like me. As I commented in a previous post I choose not to directly invest in the stock market in an effort to increase my earthly wealth based on three biblical directives. (Where I cannot avoid it, such as in my compulsory pension saving plan, I invest only in low risk, dividend reliant stocks)

1) To live simply.

2) Not to store up riches on earth.

3) Not to create stumbling blocks for others.

None of these have anything to do with gambling of course but are for me reason enough to stay as far away as possible from directly participating in the stock market.

In regard to the basic question, "Is stock market participation gambling" in terms of gambling being defined by the requirement that there must be losers, I can't get past the following observations providing an answer in the affirmative.

I work in the rather well paid mining construction sector here in Australia and I have many work associates who are VERY involved with their stock portfolios. They are certainly convinced that there are losers in the market. They RELY on it. They consider it a battle of wit and skill and research and are rather cold to the sad stories of others who, inspired by same desire to increase their wealth as fast as possible through speculative, higher risk investment, have zigged when they should have zagged and have lost their money to others in the market. It is this necessary transference of money from winning to losing players in the market that has me convinced that stock trading is very much gambling.

A small mining company once sold stock to the public and went drilling core samples looking for gold. The principle stock holder of the company salted the core samples with gold dust between drilling and processing and when the results came back it looked as if they hit the best quality ore body ever. The stock soared. The perpetrator quietly sold off his stock in a very premeditated way and took off with the cash. The losses to the other investors ran into the hundreds of millions. They definitely gambled, and lost. This is a very common event and even when there if no fraud involved, the principle is the same when investing in stocks expecting a return that has little to do with the actual earnings of the company involved. Its got to be classed as gambling in my view.

Hey GTY, do you think Proverbs 10:19 is the best verse to have above the submit button? It is a blog, after all.

#38  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 4:27 PM

Gambling is about chance. But as Christians we do not believe in chance. Evolutionists believe chance is an instrumental force. A farmer prays to God for blessing the outcome. But do the gambler turn to God for blessings at the casino, or is he hoping for the false god "chance" to bless him? Then it becomes a very serious matter. False gods.

#39  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 6:19 PM

post #35 Mike....

...I some what agree with you I think Phil wants to drive it home that The Gambling house in Vegas or where ever wants to feed you lust for money and your drive for greed, plain and simple, and to that I stand behind him 100%....I may make a point here there needs to be , in my opinon a dividing point between a impulisive Gambler and a smart well thought out program for Gambling...Impulse is what makes Vegas, indian Casinos etc....RITCH...But I know and have done it myself thoes who have a well thought of stratagey of putting the odds in there favor..such as College Football....I know a few friends and a couple who are Christians who make very good money at betting College football Games...They are sharp they devise a plan, study each team and do not follow the house plan for betting.

I would have to say the way these fellas play and many like them...IT IS NOT A SIN....They dont brag about themselves and they have the ..TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT ATTITUDE...They actually made more money off College football than they did in their stock investments

But you will never be clever playing a slot machine, poker machines etc.....I know a assistant Pastor who secretly..invested $12,000 in Horse racing two years ago and made $112,000 just picking a horse to place. He studies his game plan does resurch and follows through.

I believe this is a Honest way to make money, there is nothing wrong , that I can see, if you can make Money by being smart, and wise about how you place your money....you actuall are going against the way the House wants you to bet, and they can not do a thing about it and it is perfectly legal. the House loves thoes who are the public who insist they know it all and will out of ego and pride place a bet, then these guys come along and study the lines and place their bets accordingly. Now many will ask "Why arent these guys you talk about Millionaires?"....because they know why its called Gambling ..and they are smart enough to know when and how much to place down.....But I am for any pastor to warn thoes who are playing the impulse game, and get so wrapped up in not showing sound judgement loosing it all.

#40  Posted by Ronald Caruso  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 6:55 PM

Andrew, RE#37

LOL!!!

Post #37 last line: "Hey GTY, do you think Proverbs 10:19 is the best verse to have above the submit button? It is a blog, after all."

#41  Posted by Ronald Caruso  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 7:14 PM

Why don't we focus on grandma's bingo? The casino and its trappings are too easy to attack as sin. Lets apply all the rules of gambling to grandma and her bingo! Or, how about the office baby pool? Bunko?or how about football superbowl party pool? If we are using Phil's logic, and i am, then every level of gambling is sin (based on Biblical principle, not text)and maybe grandma should be brought before the church elders as well as the casino gambler.

I don't mind starting with my grandma...she's been a little testy lately.

#42  Posted by Steven Xue  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 7:28 PM

Rudi

Do you know what evolution actually is? You seem to have no clue as to how evolution works. Evolution is not about chance, quite the opposite; it is about change and development over time. Unlike prayer evolution is actually very beneficial to agriculture. Scientists today are using the practical applications of evolution to breed better crops in order to fight world hunger. But this isn’t a new initiative. For centuries farmers have been using the principles of evolution to produce better quality crops. It is because of the practical applications of evolution we have stronger, faster growing, bigger yields and better tasting fruits and vegetables then our ancestors. In fact we humans have actually created better vegetation than God. Through selective breeding over many centuries we have created better tasting and more nutritious produce from God’s original designs. This is evident in modern bananas and modern cabbages compared to their wild counterparts.

I also want to point out that the farmer who relies on prayer to bring him a better harvest is the one who’s relying on chance. First of all God doesn’t always answer our prayers, especially when it’s regarding something we can do on our own. But secondly my pastor had always told me that while he believes in the power of prayer, we shouldn’t pray for every little detail of our life (especially if it has to do with our careers). He considers that as form of hassling God. I also want to point out that the farmer who prays to God is the one who is lazy. I say this because instead of having the initiative to breed superior crops to better his chances, he instead depends on God to give him better crops.

#43  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Friday, June 03, 2011at 8:26 PM

Hi Phil, Tommy, Fred and all others on this blog,

A MUST CONSIDERATION - THERE IS AN AMERICAN CULTURAL ISSUE HERE!

Anyone can finds means to justify and rationalize away that "investing" in the stock market is not a form of gambling, but I wonder how God sees it??

Yes you are investing in a company, but that company is made of people and therefore you trusting money to people to whom you do not know and likely do not know God, which is to hate God. So unless one can do the extensive research into the companies leadership and "political offerings", which might be to give to those (i.e. politicians or political organizations) who support the murder of babies or other ungodly practices, then would that be a sin in the sight of God for you to support with HIS money?

What about this question; is it necessary to "invest" in the stock market and what are the hearts intentions for doing so and have you done your best to makes sure the people running the companies are not sponsoring things that God hates or do you just bury your head in the sand.

I know we must eat and we must get to work and that means we are buying from people who likely fall into the category, but buying a product out of necessity as opposed to investing money with them are two separate and distinct "animals". The topic is "gambling" and their are many companies, especially in the commodities business who take advantage of a countries resources, make promises to the local people that they do not plan to keep as a recent story about a mining company overseas owes to this day 3 months back wages to its employees, which they will never see; get what they want and leave them in the dark.

But we are quick to rationalize and ignore this aspect of the issue as to who are being hurt or what qualifies as a looser; so as Christians do we have a duty to research each company to look for inappropriate practices that God would hate and seek those which he would approve? I believe we do have that responsibility as Christians. What say you Phil, Tommy or anyone else?

LET ME GIVE YOU ONE OF THE GREATEST MARKETING SCAMS we see all over today. Susan G. Komen for the Cure; this is a marketing ploy which gives millions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies who do not WANT a cure, but rather create drugs that prolong the life - there is no profit for a cure is there?. Companies have jumped on board because it helped sell their products - this is deception and not from God; so like KFC, which some of the ingredients are KNOWN to cause cancer, have jumped on board. So "investing" in the wrong companies does create loosers in various ways besides just plain money, just not in the same sense as a gambler at a casino. Don't believe me, then go Googling and you will see.

Just something to think about - "investing" is not just that simple from a godly perspective. 1 John 2:15 comes to mind as I have considered all of this.

God bless all of you!

#44  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, June 04, 2011at 3:30 AM

#41 Ronald Caruso

Let's hear what Jesus have to say: Luke 9:23

The real problem is not the things we do, but the righteous deeds we don't do. Spend your time better if you are a Christian. Be like Christ.

#45  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, June 04, 2011at 4:39 AM

Thanks for the Proverbs above the submit button.

Bingo is like luck. I don't believe in luck, it seems to focus on a piece of paper and the sounds of the marked ping pong balls. Not educational. Keeps the elders in not get out to walk and stuff.

Just a thought.

#46  Posted by Mike Dillon  |  Saturday, June 04, 2011at 8:52 AM

What about considering the motive of the other parties involved in the gamble? If I play poker with 5 of my friends I trust that they are not trying to rob me of all I'm worth. On the other hand, a casino would like nothing more than to see me blow my entire savings.

Even if my motive for gambling is not necessarily sinful, is it right to engage in a gamble with others who wish to take my money and the shirt of my back?

The farmer, for example, doesn't have to worry about this.

I'm curious to see what others think about this.

#47  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, June 04, 2011at 9:04 AM

#42 Steven

Evolution (as molecule to man) is an atheistic belief, not supported by science, AND contrary to the testamony of God.

In other words: It is a myth.

There is a blog series on this site from may to august 2010. But let's stay tuned an the subject.

#48  Posted by Elizabeth Offer  |  Saturday, June 04, 2011at 10:48 AM

Thanks Phil, for this lesson, esp in this time of economic downturn. I did not realize the Bible did not specifically rule against gambling until this blog. I liked

# 38 Rudi's comment because that is so true, turning to the god of "chance," or as gamblers like to say,

the goddess, "Lady Luck."

Liz

#49  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, June 04, 2011at 12:38 PM

or the dices they use is like luck as you said. Tks.

#50  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, June 04, 2011at 2:45 PM

What is a false god?

It is an alternative belief system, a narrative, a worldview that determines how you live and think.

It came to my mind, because it was my first blog comment at GTY a year ago.

I was then reading this blog, where John MacArthur, with one sweep, rendered the evolution theory to NULL. It can't even begin.

Title: Chance vs. God: The Battle of First Causes (Sunday, May 16, 2010)

Search for: B100516

Here is the headline:

Secular evolutionary theory abandons God as the first cause, replacing Him with chance. But, what is chance? Where does chance get the power to bring everything we now see into existence?

As John has said, chance is nothing, and out of nothing, nothing comes. Chance is the first cause of the evolutionary dream world; it’s the creator-god of modern, secular mythology. And just like the myths of old, when it’s weighed, it’s found wanting.

In the comment thread below, start by testing this statement: Theistic evolution (or any Old-Earth theory) keeps chance as the first cause, but changes its name to “God;” it keeps evolution as the means, but changes its name to “creation.” Agree or disagree? Make your case.

Second, can a Christian adapt an unbelieving paradigm (i.e., evolutionary theory, caused by chance) and still maintain that (1) God is the sovereign Creator, and (2) Genesis 1-3 is His historical narrative of how the world came to be?

If God is sovereign, can you then gamble, knowing He will not hear a prayer out of selfish desires?

Would you argue that this false god "chance" is without effect? Or a minor issue? Then I have a stack of newspapers with bad storys to show you.

#51  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, June 04, 2011at 7:15 PM

Right, can't love God and mammon(money). Love one and hate the other. not both. God bless.

#52  Posted by Tom Jourdan  |  Saturday, June 04, 2011at 10:35 PM

Steven #42,

All I can say is wow. I wouldn't be so harsh usually but Steven you have been warned and rebuked in love more than a few times on this site. You have said some things that any thoughtful(mind renewing believer) would have serious cause to doubt your salvation and your fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ- our advocate to the Father in Heaven. Not the least was your most recent post -

Steven said, "unlike prayer evolution actually is very beneficial

to agriculture"

You must be kidding but I know you are not from your previous blogs. You have no idea what God we serve. He holds your very breath in His hands. He has complete power to grow any and everything He wishes for any of His faithful child's request. I could go on and on with scripture reference after reference but it would do no good. What you need is a good dose of repentance for your unbelief and mockery of God. This is much bigger than a discussion of gambling. Steven, your soul is at stake here. I plead with you to stop your mockery of God before it is too late. Repent while there is still time for you and believe upon the Lord Jesus for your salvation and restoration to the God who created you. I had intended to comment on each of your outrageous statements below that I have referenced. I will not, for it will be a mute point for it is obvious to me that you do not have the spirit of God within you and what else would come from your mouth but unbelief. Steven - my tone is stern- possibly perceived harsh by those unconcerned for your salvation. My concern for you is not the issue of gambling, but rather your contempt for God. I have read your blogs with curiosity for several blogs. I am very sorry for your relationship with your late earthly father. I am very sorry that you have apparently not had Godly teachers - or maybe you have but not heeded their teaching or warnings? I am sure if you would reach out to Phil, Tommy, or anyone at GTY they could point you to a Godly man of God(a Pastor in Christ's church) in your area that could lead you to Christ and mentor and teach you in the things of Jesus and His word.

Steven said from #42:

"In fact we humans have actually created better vegetation than God"

"I also want to point out that the farmer who relies on prayer to bring him a better harvest is the one who’s relying on chance."

"But secondly my pastor had always told me that while he believes in the power of prayer, we shouldn’t pray for every little detail of our life (especially if it has to do with our careers). He considers that as form of hassling God."

"I also want to point out that the farmer who prays to God is the one who is lazy."

If you would like to have sincere questions about God, faith, and what it is like to follow Jesus I am sure there would be room here for your comments but you might want to read the end of Phil's blog again above.

From one sinner to another, Tom Jourdan

#54  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Sunday, June 05, 2011at 12:01 AM

We've already covered the arguments on creation and evolution in a previous blog series. You can easily find that series and view all the articles and comments. I think a prolonged discussion of evolution in this thread would be a distraction. Let's stay on track. Thanks.