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Does ‘Mutual Consent’ Eliminate the Evil in Gambling?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

We are looking at four essential characteristics in a standard definition of gambling. I have argued that each of the four characteristics involves a violation of one or more vital biblical principles.

In other words, gambling is sinful for more than one reason. It's wrong on several counts. When you gamble, whether you win or lose, you violate God's moral law—quite possibly on multiple levels.

My previous post began this argument by pointing out that if you merely participate in a gambling contest with a desire to win, you are guilty of coveting that which belongs to your neighbor. The tenth commandment expressly forbids that.

Now consider the second of gambling's four distinguishing features. Here is, I believe, the most significant evil inherent in the practice of gambling:

2. In a gambling contest, something that belongs to someone else is placed at stake as the prize. The person who collects that prize violates the eighth commandment: "Thou shalt not steal" (Exodus 20:15).

I began this series of posts by recounting an incident where a college student challenged my views on gambling. He argued that winning a wager is not really the same as stealing, because the winnings are put up as a stake by mutual consent.

But when someone commits an act that causes hurt to another person, even if he does it with the victim's full permission, the mere fact of prior consent does not necessarily absolve either party from guilt. Lots of crimes are carried out and sins are committed by mutual consent that are nonetheless immoral or illegal. In such cases, mutual consent usually means that the moral culpability in the wrongdoing is shared jointly by both parties. It does not eliminate the guilt of the perpetrator.

A duel, for example, is a contest where one opponent kills another by mutual consent. The fact of the victim's consent does not absolve the victor from the guilt of murder, either in the eyes of God or in the eyes of the state. (I realize, of course, that certain societies have sometimes permitted dueling. That does not alter the immorality of the practice. It is certainly not justifiable by any biblical standard.) Kill someone in a duel in a just and civilized society, and you probably will be charged with murder.

Gambling is to theft what dueling is to murder.

Gambling is stealing by mutual consent. But it is still stealing. It is the taking of that which belongs to your neighbor and to which you have no right. It is not like a gift, which is given willingly and gratuitously. It is a loss he sustains to his hurt, even though he gives his consent to the contest before the die is cast.

Gambling is therefore morally tantamount to stealing. As such, it is a violation of every biblical principle regarding the gaining and sharing of our possessions.

Ephesians 4:28 says, "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." That is the spirit of Christianity, and it is the polar opposite of the various sentiments that drive gambling.

Is there no place for a "friendly bet?"

The question of whether penny-ante gambling is a petty sin is quite different from the question of whether it's a sin at all. If it's a matter of principle that makes gambling wrong, and not a particular amount, we ought to recognize that fact and acknowledge it. I'm expressly arguing that gambling is wrong in principle.

But to be clear: I'm not arguing that all forms of gambling are equally egregious. I'm not suggesting that church discipline should be carried out against Christians who play penny-ante poker. It should be fairly obvious that the size and seriousness of the wrong in a gambling contest is proportional to the amount gambled (among other factors).

Just in case that is not clear to someone, however, let me state plainly that I am not trying to portray the guy who plays Texas Holdem for spare nickels as a miscreant on the same level as the guy who foolishly bets the family farm on the spin of a roulette wheel. Gambling, like any sin, is wrong by degrees.

So I will gladly stipulate that the wrong in betting spare change is ordinarily quite trivial. We could probably list a whole lot of similarly trivial sins. I would argue, however, that in no case is it ever wise or even morally justifiable for Christians to practice any sin (even at a level we might all agree is "trivial")—especially for entertainment purposes, or with the express purpose of perfecting one's technique.

Trivial sins are, after all, still sins.

The problem with trivial sins is that when they are tolerated—especially when they are nurtured and defended—they tend to become big and bold. They also breed other sins. A £5-per-week addiction to playing the lottery will feed an awful lot of covetous fantasies.

It's really no wonder crime statistics are always higher wherever gambling is freely indulged in. In a society that caters to people's covetousness by sanctioning a form of larceny, we should not be surprised when other kinds of crime increase as well.

Feed the sins of "trivial" covetousness and thievery, and they will beget more evil. That's why Paul instructed the Ephesians to get as far from the sin of covetousness as they could. Notice that he ranked it along with fornication as the kind of sin that should never be dabbled in at any level: "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints" (Ephesians 5:3).

Some people think all kinds of covetousness are "trivial," but the apostle often listed covetousness right alongside the most heinous of sins: "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience" (Colossians 3:5-6).

So the sin of covetousness, which lies behind every form of gambling, is in the same category of wickedness as the sin of fornication. What do you think of gambling as a form of "entertainment" now?

Scripture says, "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have" (Hebrews 13:5). Gambling violates that commandment. And if you should happen to win, you have to add stealing to the list of sins you have committed by your gambling.

Remember, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and according to 1 Timothy 6:10, and those who love money tend to stray from the faith and pierce themselves through with many sorrows. The wreckage of many lives destroyed by gambling provides ample proof of that.


Phil Johnson
Executive Director


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#1  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 2:28 AM

You are absolutely right Phil.

Jesus said the same, "You have heard, but I say to you.."

It's a heart attitude. A Christian is not of this world.

#2  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:56 AM

Thanks for the warning about tolerating trivial sins. Even little foxes will spoil the vineyard (Song of Solomon 2:15) because if we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption (Gal. 6:8). It is not about earning or losing salvation (legalism) but it is about living a life unto the Lord that He may be glorified. The more we set our minds on things of the Spirit, the more we will live according to the Spirit (Romans 8:5) and God will be glorified in us.

#3  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 9:10 AM

Two thumbs up!!! Amen. Good post.

#4  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 10:13 AM

Another consideration on the "mutual consent" issue is whether all necessary parties have actually consented.

If two married men are gambling by mutual consent, have they consented with their wives--equal sharers owners of the money? If you have consent from your wife, have you ensured the other man/men have agreed with their wives?

On another train of thought, those who use slot machines at a gas station or go into a casino to gamble a pre-set small amount of cash are being supported and upheld by those who have gambled away their existence.

I haven't had the displeasure of entering a casino hotel, but by pictures and descriptions I've heard they're quite exquisite. They don't get that way because people limit themselves to gambling $50 on vacation. They get that way because most people gamble thousands of dollars, property, jewelry, and other possessions. Most men and women are miserable throwing away their lives so that a few self-controlled men can have fun burning up a little cash.

Of course that doesn't apply to Monday night poker with your neighbors... but it is something to consider.

#5  Posted by Marc Lambert  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 10:56 AM

Your premise is correct. Mutual Consent does not automatically make gambling ok. However, I just don't see the "stealing" aspect. I agree that mutual consent just means mutual guilt in a joint-venture into sin (most likely of coveting), but by placing their possession or money at stake, the loser gives the winner permission to take ownership. It may not be wise. It may not be moral on other grounds, but it doesn't equate to stealing.

The strongest argument in this piece is the "trivial sin" bit. A little wrong is still wrong. Coveting small is still coveting.

#6  Posted by Barbara Laurie  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 11:21 AM

Thank you Phil,

Very well spelled out. Ray Comfort always ask," Have you ever stolen anything, regardless of it's value?" Pointing out God sees stealing, not what was stolen.

I've enjoyed the series because I live in an area where casinos abound. Before I was saved I was drawn to them, my husband saw the look in my eyes apparently and we talked about it and that was that, but after God saved me I really could see how bad it all is and was so grateful I have such a wise, godly husband. Humbling moments.. seeing my sin for what it is to God.

There are so, so many heart breaking stories of ruin when people play the "no harm done, consenting adults here" Card. I just pray for the Body of Christ. That we will hunger for His righteousness and not covet what isn't ours for the taking.

Hmmm: Even now I hope I have not violated Proverbs 13:3!

#7  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 2:54 PM

Sometimes we use the expression, "to rob God from His Glory". I think it is the same idea. Not to let things be where they belong. In gambling, we even know that somebody is going to loose. We are responsible to take care of the weeker.

#10  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:02 PM

Is all card games wrong. Like gin or rummy. Each time it feels ungodly to play them even not using money, just for conversation. Just wondering.

Hope this post is ok.

#11  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:05 PM

Mark (#5),

Stealing happens when you take something from someone without giving them anything in return. When a company takes someone's money they offer goods, services, or some kinds of desirable experience.

In gambling, the winner takes the loser's money and gives only misery... just like a thief.

#12  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:14 PM

Dan (#10),

That's a good question, and no, playing cards is not wrong. It's just a game and can provide great entertainment and everyone can go home with all their money in their pocket.

#14  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:39 PM

Gabriel,

You are redefining the definition of "stealing".

"Stealing happens when you take something from someone without giving them anything in return."

I don’t care what the context of this Blog is, you are not allowed to redefine terms simply to pretext your position.

Your definition of stealing is erroneous.

If I receive Grace without giving anything in return, am I stealing?

If I receive charity (which I must take in order to receive) without giving anything in return, am I stealing?

I suggest you use a dictionary.

#15  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:46 PM

Greg (#14),

Using Dictionary.com, the third entry is: "to take, get, or win insidiously, surreptitiously, subtly, or by chance." That works for me.

You don't steal grace because God gives it to you freely. Again, no loser in gambling is gives their money to you freely. The only reason their money is in the pot is because they're hoping to take it themselves. When you win, you take it from them by chance when in fact they want it. So you are taking something they want.

Sure, they agreed to the terms, but as Phil wrote in this article, that doesn't matter.

#16  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:50 PM

I'm not interested in what Phil say's or you, neither of you have the right to redefine terms to make your point witgh sweeping blanket statements.

How do you know "no loser in gambling is(sic) gives their money to you freely."

Do you know every loser in every gambling situation?

#17  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:53 PM

Greg,

I just gave you a dictionary definition. I'm not redefining terms to make my point.

Can you look at me with a straight face and tell me there are gamblers who enjoy losing money? In fact, there are gamblers who prefer to lose so others can take their money?

#18  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:54 PM

Third definition?

"to take, get, or win insidiously, surreptitiously, subtly, or by chance." That works for me."

And this may work for you, but again how do know the motive in the heart of every winner?

#19  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 4:58 PM

Yes, I can look you in the face and say there loosers who loose graciously and enjoy the game.

You act as if the looser in a game has no concept that he will ever loose, this is falacious at best.

All games are based on a win loose senario, name one that is not.

Who enters any win/loose situation without weighing the chance of loosing?

#20  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 5:07 PM

I didn't realize the second and third definitions didn't count. Only the first definition is the actual and only valid definition usable? Can you help me understand that?

First you asked if I knew every loser, which I answered. Now you're asking if I know the motive in the heart of every winner (as if that was your original question). You're muddying the waters with each passing comment.

For further evidence of that, in #19 you changed my question in an attempt to answer it in your favor. I didn't ask if people enjoyed the game. I asked if people enjoyed losing their money. I'm certain most people enjoy the game, but I'm also very certain anyone enjoys losing money--even if it doesn't impact them significantly. No one goes home from Reno saying, "Woohoo! I lost $100!" They say, "Yeah, we had a good time, but..."

Of course everyone understands the win/lose concept. In fact I think a lot of smart vacationers almost expect to lose their alloted money. But none of them prefer or enjoy losing it. They may enjoy the playing, but not the outcome.

#21  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 5:11 PM

Now, Greg, tell me that people actually enjoy losing their money. Tell me that people enjoy the fact that their pockets are empty.

No one does. They all prefer to win. That's why they play! Sometimes we'll pay to play a game, and we don't expect to get anything in return except the experience (think carnival). But no one gambles with that mentality. Everyone hopes to win more than they paid. No one wants to end up with less, even if they had fun in the process.

Wouldn't you agree?

#22  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 5:12 PM

I'm muddying the waters?

Show me where your off the cuff definition of "stealing" appears in any dictionary.

I notice you conveniently left out the context of the the third definition from dictionary.com.

"to take, get, or win insidiously, surreptitiously, subtly, or by chance: He stole my girlfriend."

Why not the seventh definition?

"to gain or seize more than one's share of attention in, as by giving a superior performance: The comedian stole the show."

#23  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 5:14 PM

"Sometimes we'll pay to play a game, and we don't expect to get anything in return except the experience"

Explain to me why this cannot be the case in a friendly game of poker?

#24  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 5:26 PM

Phil....with All do respect to you and Grace to you....I Absolutely do not agree with your Biaxial definition on stealing...to Me this is my definition..Stealing is taking something that belongs to someone else WITHOUT their permission. Someone who steals is a thief

That is why Coveting your neighbors good to the point of taking them WITHOUT his or her permission..Is a sin

I am trying to be as open to my Lord as I can..When two people Gamble they both agree to give their money up..PERIOD...WHETHER One agrees with that or not that is a different subject all together..Now this might torque some off here but this is the reason many have left Many Churches altogether, Gambling does have it Warnings true and I tell many to be careful,but their are many who do Gamble that DO watch how they use their money and fully understand they are giving their money up understanding that they are in a unsigned contract to pay the other persons a certain amount if they loose...and When one does this he or she is fully aware of the consequences, and for a Pastor of anyone to call these people a THIEF is putting words in Gods mouth which he does not say, In my opinion, It brings forth a "holyer than thou" attitude and puts the Church in the role as Judas as when he said "shouldn't this money go in to the Church offering" instead as foolishness as this? In no way am I NOT condoning the act of anointing my LORD, I AM AGAINST THE FACT the attitude of when ever the Church sees some people use their money for ENTERTAINMENT which they see as a area they don't agree with, lay a guilt trip upon them.

I know there are many out there that are against Gambling, but understand when Christ met with sinners HE DID NOT CONDEMN THEM AND CALL THEM A THIEF??? He was very tactful and Gentle...where Christ did use condemnation was against the religious leaders.

No one on these Blogs has proven to me where people cannot Gamble wisely. Through scripture unaware....are Their dangers in Gambling? You better believe there are ..but I bet (no-pun intended) there are more chargaholics on these blogs than Gambelholics (if there is such a word) more people on here are ruled by their credit cards than a slot machine....but Please if many that read these Blogs bet College football wisely, and pulls a slot machine handle handel every now and then or playes a poker game with friends that the winnings are chicken feed....dont go over the top by calling them a THIEF!. That my friend is way more than my spirit can handle...passing Judgment in that manner to me in my opinion is more of a sin!.

Now Phil please understand I highly admire you and John Macarthur and to thoes who respectfully dissagree with me, I will respect your comments...I just, in my opinion I do not, WITH ALL DO RESPECT agree with this.

#25  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 5:27 PM

I'm certain most people enjoy the game, but I'm also very certain anyone enjoys losing money--even if it doesn't impact them significantly. No one goes home from Reno saying, "Woohoo! I lost $100!" They say, "Yeah, we had a good time, but..."

Even if this is the case...how does that make the winner "insidiously and surreptitious"

In your scenario the "innocent family vacationers" becomes the villain if they win.

#26  Posted by Donovan Epling  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 6:43 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#28  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 8:40 PM

I think that Gabriel in post number 4 made a great point that has not been acknowledged when he wrote:

"If two married men are gambling by mutual consent, have they consented with their wives--equal sharers owners of the money?"

And then someone else wrote: "When two people Gamble they both agree to give their money up..PERIOD..."

The person who wrote this either ignored Gabriels point or just plain didn't read it. Gambling will always effect more then the people wagering and it is not necessarily two people agreeing to give their money up. I'll take it a step further and say even IF both the husband and wife agree to put the money down for a bet, but it happens to be there grocery money and if they lose their kids don't have groceries for the week then your still stealing. Weather you know it or not that is what the outcome is.

When I have given input here I have kept it mostly focused on why being a patron of Casino's is sinful because obviously playing penny hold em games with your neighbor probably will not cause the same type of wreckage that going to a casino will but Phil makes a great point about it in this thread. It is not OK for Christians to go to Casino's and gamble. It is sinful to sit down at a poker table with people who have gambling problems no matter how small they might be.

#30  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Wednesday, June 08, 2011at 9:36 PM

Donovan Post 26..

I will try to answer the best I can In my opinion SIN is not defined they way it should be when dealing with a subject like, gambling, going to Movies, drinking rum and coke or sipping scotch, and Smoking a fine cigar every now and then, notice how I used these terms....in a way we control them not they control us, so in my opinion according how the scriptures are brought to me by the Holy Spirit are What may be sin for one person may not be sin for another due to difference in light and understanding of what God requires, unless they include a voluntary act of disobedience against a known commandment of God...and that is SIN full-blown!

#31  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 6:22 AM

"It is not OK for Christians to go to Casino's and gamble. It is sinful to sit down at a poker table with people who have gambling problems no matter how small they might be."

This is another fine example of a subjective self determined righteousness.

Then would you sit at a table and eat with a person who has an over eating problem (gluttony) no matter how small the problem might be…

Do you patronize establishments such as gas stations and convenience stores and support them with your “dollars” knowing that they provide alcohol, tobacco, and gambling to people who may or may not have a problem with any of the three?

Have you really thought out the logical necessity deduced by your own judgment of the actions of others and compared yourself to yourself?

I would almost bet that all the “Holier than than thou’s” arm-chair blogosphere-preachers here, turn a blind eye to most things during their daily life.

Mt 15:7 "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:

8 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.

9 'But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' "

#32  Posted by Robert Le Mere  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 7:32 AM

That is why Coveting your neighbors good to the point of taking them WITHOUT his or her permission..Is a sin

When two people Gamble they both agree to give their money up..PERIOD

These are two very reasonable thoughts on the surface and ones that could easily be agreed with. The problem with them is that on the first point you start out making your point with a sinful action in itself....coveting.....while this doesn't make your point mute I believe it is hard to make your point while using sin as a starting point. My bigger area of concern is the second point where you talk about mutual consent. Mutual consent may take out the aspect of stealing but it definitely doesn't take out the sin or make things ok and on further thought doesn't take out the possibility of stealing either. For example..if you got to a car dealership and mutually agree to buy a car it is mutual consent but if the dealer purposely didn't inform the buyer of problems with the car then he stole from the buyer. Do casinos inform people openly about the odds to win at each game...maybe they do, I have never been in a casino....and by openly I don't mean some fine print posted off somewhere that is not near the games. Another problem with the mutual consent argument in general is that to many sinful actions are validated by mutual consent like living together before marriage, premarital sex, homosexual and lesbian relationships, and many other actions. What if two consenting adults agree to meet at a strip club to have a meeting and they justify this by saying they can have privacy there and that they are not going to watch the strippers anyway....is it still ok for them to be there....are they not supporting something that is evil and wrong.....are you not doing the same thing if you are at the casino?

As far as Jesus meeting with the sinners, he did talk to them gently but he also talked to them directly and to the point, He never minced words about something being wrong and letting them know they needed to stop doing it and to do it no more.

#33  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 9:10 AM

Greg (#22, #23, #25),

It is very difficult to continue a discussion with you because you refuse to stay on track. You asked for a dictionary definition, I gave one but you won't accept it even though it comes straight from the dictionary. I asked you if anyone enjoys losing money, you keep changing the question.

I'll ask again: Does anyone enjoy losing money in gambling? Do people gamble for the purpose of losing money?

A friendly game of poker can be just a game. Years ago I would play with a jar full of pennies, and after the game all the pennies would go back in the jar for the next game. No gambling. Just fun. No problem with that.

how does that make the winner "insidiously and surreptitious"

You need to read that definition more clearly paying attention to the word "or". The more I think about it that definition, including the example ("he stole my girlfriend") reflects gambling well. When two guys want the same girl, they both make great efforts to win the "prize". After all their word, one goes home happy, the other empty handed. Same thing in gambling. The gamblers are all after the same prize, and one person "steals" it from everyone else who wanted it.

In your scenario the "innocent family vacationers" becomes the villain if they win

Indeed they do. Whether they took the money from another "innocent family", from a rich man, or from a poor soul addicted to gambling doesn't matter. They take something through chance that someone else wanted. There may very well be multiple ways of viewing the situation, and some of them positive, but this fact remains the same.

#34  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 9:19 AM

Gabriel,

Let's go back to your original claim, and we'll stay on track here.

Show me one dictionary that defines stealing by your definition of the word.

"Stealing happens when you take something from someone without giving them anything in return."

Citing one of the seven definitions on dictionary.com will not justify your definition.

Cite your source, or better yet put it into the form of a logical and valid syllogism.

#35  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 9:36 AM

I wonder if you will say to Jesus: WAIT a minute young man. This is NOT what this word means. Do you even know how to define words!

Matthew 5:28, "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

#36  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 9:42 AM

Greg,

I have a response prepared, but I will not provide it until you answer the question I've asked over and over.

Does anyone enjoy losing money? Does anyone want to lose money? Does anyone gamble hoping to lose money?

#37  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 9:48 AM

"Does anyone enjoy losing money? Does anyone want to lose money? Does anyone gamble hoping to lose money?"

The answer to this question is "probably not"..

Now we can go back and forth on this one all day...

Does anyone gamble without knowing that there is a possibility of loosing?...does the posibility of loosing necissarily take the enjoyment out of the action?

#38  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 9:50 AM

And as a second thought.

Can you absolutely rule out the possibility of a person not enjoying loosing?

#39  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 10:07 AM

does the posibility of loosing necissarily take the enjoyment out of the action?

Actually, I think it adds to the thrill for most people. But no one in their right mind actually wants to lose.

Can you absolutely rule out the possibility of a person not enjoying loosing?

Of course not... this world is full of fools.

My response to your #34 is briefly this:

A gambler does not earn the money he wins. They do not work for the money. Professional gamblers work to increase their chances, but they money they gain isn't thereby earned.

When people gamble they put their money in the pot and each individual wants the pot. If they are all professional gamblers you know it's not a legitimate occupation because each could have put the same amount of work to increase their chances, but only ones wins the money. It's a game of chance no matter how you dice it. In gambling, there is no correspondence between the work put in and the money received.

It is a form of stealing in that everyone wants the pot, no one earns it, and only one takes it. One person takes what everyone wants. They didn't earn it. They didn't work for it. By a roll of the dice, a spin of the wheel, or a flip of a card they took it by chance. If you will, it's a form of culturally acceptable stealing. The losers are forced to give up their money and they are shown to be fools for playing.

It is the nature of the game.

Now again, some people might be at least smart enough to limit themselves to small change gambling. But they are enabled by, and support the high dollar gamblers who ruin their own lives or the lives of others.

#40  Posted by Barbara Laurie  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 10:17 AM

#33 Gabe, you're arguing with unreasonable folks. Probably not the best for your blood pressure!

I always say, our responses to blogs or sermons etc. say more about us than they do about the original event.

I think if we want to debate a word definition! wow. Hey, we don't OWN anything as Christians, God owns it.

Anyway. Good replies Gabe. But, I think of the overall view of Scripture and remember the warning not to argue with unreasonable people.

I enjoy this series as a reminder that all things gray are not all things good or right.

God Bless Buddy

#41  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 10:18 AM

Gabriel,

I appreciate your honesty here, but "fool" or not, you cannot create a false dichotomy of "either/or"

You are still asserting your position without addressing the claim.

Simply claiming that gambling is a "form" of stealing does not answer my objection.

"Stealing happens when you take something from someone without giving them anything in return."

Where do you derive your justification of this definition of stealing, without creating another fallacy?

#42  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 10:32 AM

Where do you derive your justification of this definition of stealing

By thinking about what stealing is. It's a "common sense" definition, not a legal or dictionary definition. If you want to rip it apart... fine, but do it with something more authoritative. You can't just reject my definition on the basis that I stated it.

You are free to show how my definition contradicts well known understandings of stealing. You claim I can't just redefine words... but you haven't even tried to demonstrate that I actually redefined anything.

#43  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 10:54 AM

Gabriel,

Your definition is not my definition.

Define your terms, what do you mean by "common" and what do you mean by "sense".

I did not make the claim nor did I attempt to redifine a word to suit my position.

I do not have defend my position here, if you cannot logically validate your position and show by what authority you can redifine the word.

Then you must throw out the definition completely.

#44  Posted by Marc Lambert  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 11:04 AM

Gabe (#15)

I apologize for being behind the conversation, I only get to check out the blog once a day.

In response to the definition you provided from Dictionary.com, I do not know anyone who uses the term "steal" in that context literally referring to a thief taking something that does not belong to them.

You can't really discuss what is or is not stealing without a useful, agreed upon definition of what constitutes stealing.

Keep in mind that terms are not defined by dictionaries, dictionaries are records of the meanings placed on words according to how they are used. That's why they are always being updated. Our use changes meanings. I think it is more likely that the provided definition reflects an idomatic expression of how the term may be used in popular culture, and as such would not be a very useful definition of stealing in this conversation.

I think the question would be, what is the ideal or principle at work when we talk about "stealing"? Basic answer: taking that which does not belong to you without permission.

Gambling has all sorts of other reasons it can be considered wrong, but stealing does not seem to qualify as one of them.

#45  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 11:16 AM

Greg,

You're "quarreling about words". You haven't demonstrated that I've redefined anything. You haven't given an authoritative definition that I've contradicted. I made a claim, you say I'm wrong and you want me to prove I'm right, but you haven't even tried to demonstrate that I'm wrong. I'm not obliged to support what you haven't demonstrated.

Marc (#44),

I agree with your concept of definitions (something Greg needs to learn). I gave a "dictionary" definition because Greg asked for one. Not only does the dictionary support that gambling is a form of stealing, but so does social use of the term he stole my girlfriend.

I think you may be on to something when you say it may come down to the principle of work. But your answer doesn't match the question. I don't think "permission" is the basic principle that distinguishes stealing from not stealing. I think it is quite possible for someone to steal something by permission (e.g. a prisoner stealing something with the permission of a guard).

#46  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 11:17 AM

Mark (#44)

Great point and very succint.

I was hoping to bring Gabriel to this realization on his own.

#47  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 11:21 AM

Greg (#46),

If by demanding a dictionary definition (and rejecting a common idiom) you were hoping to lead to me to the importance of idiom and away from dictionaries, you have a very odd way of communicating. I would encourage you in the future to get to the point and stop beating around the bush (or around a nearby tree).

#48  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 11:25 AM

Gabe,

you may have given a dictionary definition.

But you have yet to provide any valid support for your definition.

So the question remains.

"Stealing happens when you take something from someone without giving them anything in return."

I do not see the words "permission" as a basic priciple in your definition.

Your definition is based simply on a "common sense" or subjective interpretation.

Assuming what is common and what makes sense.

You made the claim and defined the word, now support it or throw it out.

#49  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 11:26 AM

I still would like to see a response in regards to post 31. Greg Gallant makes a great challenge. The Bible calls us to to have our conduct above reproach and to be sanctified. So how does one justify even going to a baseball or football game knowing at the very least that establishment supports alcohol sales knowing full well at times they will be selling to an alcoholic? And please don't say the bible does not say drinking alcohol is not sinful in it self, because that fact is already known but, as with the original gambling blog here, it stated that games of chance in itself was a catalyst that lead to sin because of it's very nature. Well, I would argue that at a athletic event that serves alcohol is also just as potentially sinful. By sitting down next to the drunkard who gulps down 18 beers in three hours and carrying on under the influence of that alcohol, your ticket sale just enabled that ball park owner the ability to allow that drunk to buy his alcohol. How can it be said that you are not partaking with sinners? Your money spent there, even for a hotdog further generates revenue that allows that ballpark the abilty to stay open and thus provide the means for that man to have the opurtunity to buy his 19th beer. As Greg stated in post 31, Blanket "self determined righteousness" is wrong because it ultimately condemns you. So I think we would be wise to listen to Paul when he said in Ro.14:22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.(NASB)So when it comes down to it everything has the potental to become sin, yes even this blog roll, because I can just see guys saying "just wait until I find that scripture"....or just wait until I find that dictionary,I'll show 'em!..... That would be the sin of pride a sin, which God literally hates.

#50  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 11:27 AM

Gabriel is right. Else all dictionaries would have exactly the same wordings.

But stealing is more a concept. Just as "adultery" used by Jesus.

#51  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 11:32 AM

Sorry Greg (#48),

You’re barking up the wrong tree. If you want to continue in the discussion, I’d suggest changing your tactic. I’m done wasting time trying to figure out what you consider authoritative (since now you don’t think dictionaries are helpful).

Support your position or give a basis for disagreeing. Otherwise our time (yours and mine) is better used elsewhere.

#52  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 11:48 AM

You are in error, because you are using human social conventions. But GOD is looking at the heart. I'm sure you know exactly what Phil meant.

Do you know the difference between a blind and a seeing man?

The blind man only gets the descriptions provided. The seeing man gets the wole picture.

(This is not meant to be disrespectful to blind people)

#53  Posted by Luke Fulliton  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 12:13 PM

Hello Phil,

Thank you for reading and considering my points. I too have read and considered yours. Lets take a look at stealing. Stealing by its very essence is taking something from someone without their consent. If you have their consent to take it, then it is not stealing. When you leave a tip for the bus boy, he is not stealing from you. You put the money down on the table at your own free will just as those who gamble do. The bus boy is not responsible to make sure you didn’t put down a tip that you couldn’t afford, nor that by taking it that it wouldn’t hurt you. It’s your job to be responsible and wise about the money you spend on pleasure. The bus boy is not taking that which belongs to you, and to which he has no right. You put it on the table at your own free will. No different then the gambler who puts his money down on the table at his own free will. The gambler by putting his money down, says “if I am wrong you are free to take the money on the table.” That is not stealing, nor is the bus boy. Taking something from someone without their consent is stealing. I believe you are wrong in your definition of stealing. Look up the definition in the Merriam Webster dictionary. The only way you could encompass gambling as stealing by those definitions means you would also have to say that it is sin for a baseball player to steal a base in baseball.

Phil you have broadened the definition of stealing so far that now no one can even make any kind of monetary transaction. One can barely be in the world without stealing from someone according to your explanation. No one is saying stealing is not sin, but your definition of stealing is incorrect. I do not mind if you are simply sharing the reasons that you have for choosing not to gamble. Even though your reasons sound more like issues of conscience and conviction than doctrinal. You have the freedom to not gamble if it violates your conscience. But you cannot, I repeat cannot find any Biblical backing to support an argument that gambling is sin and that Christians are in sin every time they gamble. None of the reasons you have provided thus far are grounded in the word of God. You have had to either twist the word of God to support your opinions or twist the facts about what gambling actually is.

I say this not out of spite, but in all seriousness. You sound like the Sadducees and Pharisees who took the Law of God and expanded on it leaps and bounds further then God ever intended. Christ came accusing them of this, and I accuse you of the same. It is not out of hate that I write this brother, but in love I tell you be careful when you try to make the word of God go where He has not intended. Even if you don’t like what people are doing, authority has not been given to you to declare what is or is not sin. Continued on next post.

#54  Posted by Luke Fulliton  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 12:14 PM

The Sadducees and Pharisees made this mistake, please learn from them and do not repeat the same. You will have as much luck finding grounds to declare gambling is sin, as you will finding grounds to declare that one cannot eat food sacrificed to idols. None. Please consider what I have said before teaching further.

Now regarding my second point. It sounds like you are starting to treat gambling as a grey area. You speak of different degrees of gambling, and some small stakes gambling being not very sinful, but high stakes gambling is more sinful. I thought you said sin was sin. And if gambling is stealing, then you should confront those habitual unrepentant penny-ante gamblers for their sin of stealing and gambling. According to you, you would now have them on two different accounts of sin to confront them with. How serious is sin to you, or more appropriately how serious is having an unrepentant habitual thief in your midst? You are trying to get out of having to start church discipline by starting to treat gambling as a grey area. How much is too much to gamble with? What percentage of my income is ok? The point you made about the guy who bets his farm on one roll of the roulette wheel is faulty. The sin for that man was not the act of gambling in and of itself, but the foolishness involved with his money management. No different then if you sold every thing you owned, quit you job, and went to baseball games everyday until you were living on the streets. There is no sin in going to baseball games, the sin would be in the area of stewardship. You can both gamble and go to baseball games without sinning as long as you are not being foolish with what the Lord has given you.

If gambling violates the verse in Heb 13:5, then so does investing in the stock market. One could accuse you of not being content with what you have. You are trying to get more and more. Coveting is sin, but only when you do it. One can gamble without coveting, just as one can invest, and go to baseball games without coveting. To claim that no one can, is an uneducated statement. “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:28-31.

Last but not least. The way in which you have tried to wiggle out of your responsibility to carry out the process of church discipline with your brothers who you believe are sinning in numerous ways when gambling, only supports my observation of how unserious you are that gambling is sin. Your argument holds no ground because you do not treat this so called sin as you would or should any other unrepentant habitual sin in the body.

Phil, you and I probably agree on some of the most beautiful doctrines found in the word of God, it brings me no joy to confront you in disagreement on this one.

Thank you for listening.

#55  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 12:21 PM

What Phil meant does not change the fact that sin is sin just because he enjoys a baseball game. As far God knowing the heart, well since that is true, He truly knows to what the degree a gambler is enjoying his entertainment either for sheer thrill of chance or seeing someone lose all to him. You got it right it right, it's a matter of the heart, not what you think is sinful. Human social events do not nullify or justify a sin. That person has the choice not to go to a baseball game. Just as Paul chose not to eat meat if it cause a brother to stumble. 1Corinthians 8:13

#56  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 12:33 PM

Then please explain Jesus' use of adultery. This is going to be fun!

#57  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 12:35 PM

Rudi:

If you'll mention the post # or at least the person to whom you are repsonding, your comments would be much more effective. Just a friendly tip, brother.

#58  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 12:55 PM

Sorry Tommy, this is posted from my mobile, so I can't see the post numbers.

But Luke, you are trying to make everything to sin. But gambling is sin, because there are victims, and the winner knows about it, but don't care. Please justify this Luke, or anyone else. Then at the same time explain my post above.

It is a heart issue.

#59  Posted by Luke Fulliton  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 1:11 PM

Rudi, look at the webster definition of victims. If all the losers at gambling fit that definition, then so would losers at sports events.

And I am afraid I don't understand your previous post about the adultery thing. Explain further, and if I have time, I will see if I can help. Thanks

#60  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 1:49 PM

Sorry Phil, the question of whether gambling is a sin or not has absolutely nothing to do with gambling being theft. When a person enters the "game", they put their money at risk. The money is technically no longer theirs. They have bought a chance to win money, but at the cost of giving up a claim on the ante. There is absolutely no way to "spin" around that...

As an aside, I do notice a "difference" in the blogs from one author to the other. Phil's tend to bend toward legalism and be a touch harsher than others. Come on, this one is a stretch. Gambling is stealing when EVERYONE in the game agreed to it...

#61  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 1:56 PM

Gabriel,

This argument fails in the cotext of this blog.

"don't think "permission" is the basic principle that distinguishes stealing from not stealing. I think it is quite possible for someone to steal something by permission (e.g. a prisoner stealing something with the permission of a guard)."

This implies that atleast one party (the one loosing) is not aware of the "permission."

Since you are implying that at least one party in the theft is unaware that He is a participant.

This argument canot apply to Gambling as "stealing" since both winner an looser are both acting and aware parties in the transaction. There is no secret permissive third party.

#62  Posted by John Linak  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 2:03 PM

Greg / Gabriel,

I enjoyed the entertaining back and forth of your discussion...thank you for that! :-)

Question: Doesn't the gambler forfeit ownership of their money at the point of placing the bet?

When they add money to the pot or place their bet, they have effectively lost their money. They cannot retract their bet or retrieve their money from the table.

The house essentially retains possession of all the bets until someone wins whatever game is being played -- if there is a winner at all.

I don't know all the ins/outs of gambling, games of chance, etc., but I am trying to understand where the stealing would occur and who is the offended party. If the above is true, the house (eg. casino) would be the offended party.

As regard to covetousness, I was about to fill out an online survey for a popular home improvement store using the code on my receipt for the chance to win $5,000. I tossed out the receipt after reading some of these blog posts sensing greed creeping into my motive for filling out a silly web survey. (Seriously -- not being legalistic or sarcastic!)

Thanks GTY for the blog!

#63  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 2:07 PM

Greg #31

you say: "This is another fine example of a subjective self determined righteousness."

You have obviously not read any of my other posts regarding Casinos.. This is not self determined rightousness, this is a conclusion from experience, years of experience using poker to supplement my income.

I am not being a hypocrite or holier then anyone. I am simply stating Casinos are sinful places to patronize. I am not judging other's who disagree. You on the other hand seem to be fairly abrasive with your statements. Almost desfensive with your responses.

You keep brining up other establishments to attempt to make a point stating that our logic is flawed. The problem with your point is those places do not thrive and depend on addiction (sin) to make their money. They literally want you to gamble your whole paycheck away. Go back and read my other threads and you will get a clearer picture of how the casinos in my area run.

On a side not I think it is pretty bold of you to claim that the blogosphere preachers as you call them turn a blind eye in there life. You have no idea how ANYONE on here lives or how devoted they are to our Lord. Those statements are counter productive and give the appearance of abrasiveness I mentioned earlier.

How does going to a casino honor God? If it does not honor God then it is sinful.

I have asked that at least three times and no one has even tried to address it. Instead gambling has been compared to going to the grocery store or a baseball game.

In my experience, most patrons at the casino, deep down do not want to be there, they don't want to gamble, they are enslaved to it, they want to stop. Alot of times they are gambling to try to get back the losses from the day before or the week before, and if your playing against those people with the motive of taking their money you are stealing. From them and their families.

Your taking advantage of their enslavement to sin.

#64  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 2:11 PM

Greg,

Obviously this wouldn't work in every situation, but when there are two parties gambling, there may be wives and children at home. It may be (not necessarily, I admit) that the husband has "stolen" his money from his family because they are unaware nor did they give permission. He may have taken their grocery money to serve his pleasures. If he is stealing from them, then the other party participates in that (albeit unwittingly).

Again, that's not a universal argument, but from what I understand, it happens often.

Just a reminder, this "stealing" argument is not the full argument. It's only one slice of the pie. If you don't buy it, fine... there's more to come.

#65  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 2:12 PM

Luke

There is nothing I can do in a human heart.

How many dead bodies, broken homes and totally despair would it take to make anyone to see what the Bible (and not a dictionary) means about our responsibility for each other and what we are doing with our freedom, if we are genuine Christians?

For me, it would be none. I would die before I would justify anything like this. I have actually experience with suicides, and I can tell you plainly. There are NO entertainment values in that.

I can only give an answer for myself. And yes, I am a little bit cynical here, because I have actual pictures in my mind, that won't go away and tears in my eyes.

What you, and anyone else should have learned from the lesson Jesus gives about lust/adultery, is the true condition of the sinners heart. And it is very bad.

The early church would die for a weaker brother. YES, the weaker brother argument!!!

It's called LOVE.

#67  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 3:03 PM

Greg:

You said in a previous gambling thread (and I quote) It's always been my opinion that the first sign a person is losing a logical argument is when he takes a swing at you.

Applying that principle to your comments in today’s thread, I’d say it isn’t looking too good for you, friend—especially with your # 31 comment. Definitely something to think about…

#68  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 3:11 PM

Tommy,

You got me there.

Am I better or worse than the rest, not at all.

We all miss the mark from time to time.

Easy to see the speck in a brothers eye while missing the plank in our own.

Wouldn't you agree?

So considering that, how can we apply such a principle to this entire discussion?

#69  Posted by Donovan Epling  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 3:30 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#70  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 3:52 PM

Great question, Greg #68

I’ll let James answer how we should approach a discussion of this nature, But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

May God help us adopt such an attitude.

To those who address questions to Phil:

Phil is currently in the thick of an intense, time-demanding teaching schedule and cannot possibly address all the good questions you’ve raised. I know he appreciates your patience and understanding—as well as your prayers.

#71  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 4:02 PM

Original by Gabriel Powell

Dan (#10),

That's a good question, and no, playing cards is not wrong. It's just a game and can provide great entertainment and everyone can go home with all their money in their pocket.

______________________________________________________________

J.C. Ryle would disagree with you concerning the friendly "card playing" or "poker" playing. Find his sermon titled "The World" and you will see his arguments & perhaps you may learn something new and be blessed.

What in the world would a "Christian" be doing playing cards; especially poker or the like - except "Go Fish" with their kids especially in this culture? Why doesn't John MacArthur drink alcohol; not because the bible forbids it, but because he wants to set a standard and not allow anyone to get the wrong idea nor impression nor take a chance that "it is okay-only to have them go to excess" and is likely based on our cultural views. Perhaps we all can humble ourselves and learn from such an example.

I worry!!

#72  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 4:04 PM

Tom, I have eyes in my heart. Meant I understand what is gambling and realize there is no point get myself hype up about. If the Lord says, he says. I got the point you made. God bless.

#73  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 4:39 PM

Mark (#71),

I'm not entirely surprised a Puritan would disagree. I have no idea whether John MacArthur would play cards or not, but that's not really relevant.

I would prefer not to start a new debate on whether playing cards is wrong. But I will just ask one question--what sets "Go Fish" apart? When I was young my family played a number of card games frequently, never involving money, and we had a blast. I think it's better than a board game. Since I mentioned it, is playing cards different than board games?

#75  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 5:03 PM

Original posted by Gabriel Powell

Mark (#71),

I'm not entirely surprised a Puritan would disagree. I have no idea whether John MacArthur would play cards or not, but that's not really relevant.

I would prefer not to start a new debate on whether playing cards is wrong.

_____________________________________________________________

I'm not surprised you would not prefer to talk about card playing as it is part of many casinos and thus GAMBLING, part of why I have loving concern for you - POKER and Black Jack are some of the more popular card games when it comes to gambling. I doubt there is much "Go-Fish" being played at a casino nor a "pool hall" since it is a children's game designed for ages 3-6. Apples to Oranges.

Not knowing; I would guess MacArthur's doesn't play Poker nor black Jack - even for fun, but probably "Go-Fish" with the grand kids. Why not ask him and let us all know?

As I said; perhaps if you actually found and read the sermon you may learn something new and be blessed; I would encourage everyone to read that particular sermon.

God bless the PURITANS; we could use more of them!!

#76  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 5:16 PM

God bless the PURITANS; we could use more of them!!

I agree, and I love R.C. Ryle. I've learned much from him recently. But Mark, is it the basic rules of the game that is wrong or something else? I would contend that it is something else.

If you wanted to you could gamble just as easily with Go Fish as you could with poker. The game itself is benign, it's what you add to the fundamental game that makes things go awry. Just like you can watch a basketball game, or you can bet on a basketball game. It's not the game, it's the betting that's wrong.

You don't have to search the Internet very long to see "Go Fish" hasn't been overlooked by gamblers.

#77  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 5:27 PM

It's really ashame legalism has come into play here. I see the good points on both sides of this debate. But we must not call something we disagree with "sin" because of our hang up or passion regarding a particular choice of entertainment. If it has been branded a sin only in the eyes of legalist or weak brothers one must tread carefuly before pointing that old sin stick at someone. For that matter,many a preacher would call Dr. MacArthur a sinner for having played football,saying he was destroying the "temple of God" (1 Corinthians 3:16)by having his body broken and bruised knowing full well his chances of being hurt before he took the field. I can see this sin labeling could go,on and on on just about anything were inclined to frown upon. Because as long as there is Christian liberty someone will be offended. As Chuck Swindoll said "Don't force feed me your legalism have at it till you burst, I'll pass thank you"

#78  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 5:27 PM

POST #32 Posted by Robert Le Mere

Robert,Robert,Robert....I figured when I posted my coment that somone would come back with a Legalistic answer as you posted, but I do respect it coming from where you are...I never seen a Blog where soooo amny people are in themselves as "the GOD GIVEN ANSWER" When in all actuallity there is not any!! mutual consent is the law of the land in many cases...but if it interfears with Gods law then we must hold up Gods law, I am very aware of that..what we are discussing is GAMBLING....not sex clubs not Homosexual agreements not strip clubs..where in my most wildest days I did not go in to them.

Where does it say THOU SALT NOT GAMBLE!!!...IT DOSENT PLAIN AND SIMPLE And Phil stated in one of his blogs "the bible dont condem a arsonest either!!Phil I will always love you my friend but come on I know many of a hard core gambler, BIKER ETC..THAT WOULD NOT EVEN THINK TO BURNING SOMEONES HOME DOWN....you have to use a better example than that!....WE must Love Our God with all our heart and all our mind and all our streingth, and Love our neighbor as are selves.

Now the next thing is "what do we do with our spare money, play money"

Shall we buy a Gun and go hunting and have thoes that are in the church tell us 'WHY DO WE KILL INOCENT ANNIMALS?" or buy a very nice collector car and have thoes tell us we are worshiping a idol? when we do something like that,or shall we go to Vegas and see the grand canyon the hoover dam, see the sights like the bakery in the Beliagio, Or watch the fountian that blows water up approx 60 ft with the sound of music, or take in a musical like MENAPAUSE, WHICH MY WIFE AND I VERY MUCH LIKED....But if you do that you are GOING TO SIN CITY!!!...REALLY!!! and there is not sin in every city ...if you want to look for it... Yes in my 60 years and 45 as a Christian I have heard it all folks....My wife and I have been married 41 years and we are leaving tomarrow for our 42 aniversery....and we are having a blast we have fun we get wild we see sights, we laugh together, we take our Lord every whare we go, and what we do together by ourselves is no bodys bussiness but ours and our LORDS. we pray together we sing together and we party together...and the last people that told us we were not doing right by the the way they scriptually see things..were People that were Christians that were on their second or third Marriages, and I think people like that should lossen up a little and enjoy their freedom in Christ they may stay together longer.....life is short folks soon we will be walking on streets that are golden worshiping our Lord....lets quit wilking around with a "WOE IS ME AND IF MY BROTHER IS HAVING FUN HE must be SINNING ATTITUDE".....

#79  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 5:38 PM

Ok I want to summit this question after much prayer last evening:

If a brother came over to my house and we sat around and chatted about how we feal about the President etc...and he ask me if I wanted to play "high cards takes all card game" and I said "SURE" SO he deals card knowingly that we agreed on a 5 dollar bet, meanning that we both put down 5 dollars and winning high card takes....so he wins the first two bets with the highest card, then I say " I cant go on I dont have that much on me and I need the rest to get some things from the store when I go home"...my friend says "OK Let me take you out to lunch and I will buy" I agree, so off we go we have lunch my friend gets up and goes to the restroom and leaves his wallet on the table, I am wanting my money back so i take the 10 I lost out of his wallet with out him seeing it....so my question to you that think Gambling it stealing...which One of us is the THEIF?

#80  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Thursday, June 09, 2011at 8:49 PM

Just wondering where Cleromancy (casting lots) comes into play in this discussion? A few times God commanded His people to "cast lots, some translations even render it throwing dice(NLT)But I would assume God's will was already determined in the situation in question and casting lots only reinforced His will to be done,as God would already know the outcome of the lots being cast. But I believe casting lots is mentioned like 77 times throughout scripture in some form or another.

#82  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 6:15 AM

#80 Keith Stokes

At the top of this page is a list of resources.

One of them points to a sermon by John MacArthur, where the casting of lots is explained in details.

Title: "Gambling: The Seductive Fantasy, Part 2"

Search for: 90-165_Gambling-The-Seductive-Fantasy-Part-2

I can only recommend to read the provided resources.

#83  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 7:09 AM

Let’s adopt Rudi’s argument for the weaker brother for moment and apply it to Gabriel’s ambiguous definition of stealing.

“Stealing happens when you take something from someone without giving them anything in return.”

Now what is a weaker brother or sister, or new Christian supposed to do with this definition?

If this definition is true why must it be limited only to Gambling?

If Gabriel’s etymology of the word stealing is true then it must apply to all facets of life universally.

After all it is a “common sense” definition, a sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.

Am I allowed to freely receive (again receiving depends on the action of taking) anything without sinning?

Does this re-defined form of stealing apply to charity, gifts, government assistance, acts of kindness or benevolence from friends or strangers?

Does this mean that I cannot accept or receive anything from anybody for any reason unless I can repay it with an equal or greater value?

And on the flip side of the coin, can I give anything to anybody without requiring a payment in return? After all I don’t want to inadvertently cause a weaker brother to stumble or sin?

How can I know what is stealing and when or how I should take anything from anybody in any given situation without committing a sin?

If Gabriel’s definition of stealing is true, a clear and valid precept, then I wouldn’t even be able to raise such seemingly confused questions.

Already we can see the danger of legalism spreading through this Blog.

And condemnation in the name of religion is sure to follow.

Rudi’s ready to die for this cause, and somehow managed to apply suicide to the situation.

Harmless games of “Go Fish” are being questioned.

Not to mention the untold numbers of people who may have only read portions of this blog and never posted a comment or asked a question.

The ambiguity of the definitions and the blanket attempt to label all Gambling as a sin will only lead to more confusion and more legalism.

I agree with both Donovan Epling and Keith Stokes let’s stick to clearly defined definitions and clearly defined Biblical imperatives.

I still insist that Gabriel recant or completely dismiss his definition of stealing.

And yes Keith…it really is all a shame.

#84  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 9:09 AM

Greg (#83),

I find it hard to understand why you are so fixated on my #11 comment. As anyone can readily see, I made no claim that this was an absolute universal etymological dictionary definition. I've already stated in other comments that it requires much nuancing and clarification. I suggest you move on to something else.

No one is questioning "Go Fish". I merely stated it is no different than poker in it's gambling potential. It seems you flipped the intention of what I said completely around.

#85  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 9:28 AM

"I've already stated in other comments that it requires much nuancing and clarification.

This is the inherent problem Gabriel. If it was a clear precept there would be no need for "much nuancing and clarification". You yourself point to the problem. How is it you cannot see this yourself?

#86  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 9:37 AM

Greg (#85),

The context in which I made the "definition" of stealing was comparing it to business. Several have tried to claim that gambling in a casino is no different than gambling in a business venture. My point in context was to distinguish the two. Going back and reading what I was responding to (Marc's #5 comment), he himself wasn't making that claim, but others have so I was simply trying to make a distinction.

Will you at least be charitable enough to admit that I wasn't trying to create an etymological definition of the term as you have consistently accused?

#87  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 9:42 AM

Original: #84 Posted by Gabriel Powell

Quote: "No one is questioning "Go Fish". I merely stated it is no different than poker in it's gambling potential."

_______________________________________________________________

Now let's add a preference/CONDITION "no different than poker in it's gambling potential".

Your statement speaks for itself to ALL OF US WHO HAVE CHILDREN and in light of the "cultural" aspects between the two games in relation to gambling, which I mentioned earlier. If we get into "GAMBLING POTENTIAL", then let us all become like some monks and hide..LOL

In the end, it is a matter of one's conscience and given our cultural tendencies to take that which is innocent and exploit it I would advise parents to stay away from anything that could be a gateway into gambling and "Go Fish" is not one of them, but Poker and Black Jack certainly would be in this parents opinion.

#88  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 9:43 AM

Greg Gallant

I'm not surprised you are so confused and ends up with such things.

Do you really understand the law? And how to use it?

#89  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 9:54 AM

Rudi,

Why don't you elaborate futher.

Exactly what "Law" and exactly how are we "to us it"?

#90  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 10:04 AM

#89 Greg

I posted this earlier, but it didn't show up. So here it is again.

The law, the ten commandments. You know.

Then look at this example:

Yesterday my wife and I were watching our daughter in a musical at her school.

Most of the time it was like being flogged with barbed wire and rubbed with nettles, so we were liars and hypocrites when we applauded - according to the law.

But we loved every minute of it.

Did you see me Dad?

Do you get it?

#91  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 10:20 AM

Thanks Rudi.

That explains everything.

#92  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 10:45 AM

Darrel #78 said: …what we do together by ourselves is nobody’s business but ours and our LORDS. We pray together, we sing together, and we party together...

Darrel, I’m glad you’re enjoying life under the sun with your wife—nothing wrong with that. And by the way, happy anniversary! I’m thankful you and your wife have enjoyed 42 years of marriage together and remained faithful to your marital covenant.

However, I take exception in your comment with what appears to be an incomplete at best, or skewed understanding of the church and your relationship to other members of the body of Christ.

Consider Hebrews 3:12-13 in light of your comment and see if it squares:

“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But exhort one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Or 1 Corinthians 12:12; 26-27

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, thou they are many, are one body, so also is Christ…If one member suffers, all the rest suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”

As a believer, you belong to the body of Christ. It’s a body, a family, a living organism. What you and your wife do, where you go, and how you behave not only leaves an aroma/fragrance of Christ to those around you outside the church, but your actions also affect other members of the church. So with all due respect, what you and wife do—whether in Vegas or out of Vegas—is the business of your brothers and sisters in Christ. And frankly, you should welcome the kind of biblical accountability that Hebrews 3 calls us to. We all need it, brother.

Something to think about.

#93  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 10:48 AM

Greg

No you don't.

This is how you read the law.

See, it's clearly written right there.... woe to you, gotcha

But Jesus showed it is a wrong approach with his lesson.

God is love.

#94  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 10:56 AM

Rudi,

In fairness to Greg, I don't quite understand the point you're trying to make. I realize you're on a mobile device, but I think it would help you explained your point further.

#95  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 10:59 AM

I'm back in an hour

#96  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 11:20 AM

Fellow brothers and I trust sisters as well. I just read through my few comments I posted here and realized how for a Christian how unloving they were addressed and ended. I wanted to ask all here for forgivness and also hopefuly an unbeliver was not given an oppurtunity to mock not only Christians, but more gravely the Lord God in my unloving attitude.I have learned much reading all the varied viewpoints and really enjoy reading brother Tommy Clayton's input throughout these blogs. I am so grateful for what I believe the most humanly God given blessed Pastor/Teacher in Dr.MacArthur. I can't tell you all enough how wearing out three NASB study bibles and listening to his 3,000+ sermon downloads and not to mention the free books and devotionals he has sent to me has been not only life changing but a blessing as I would not been able to afford to purchase most of these things. May our Lord be glorified through these blogs and never be dragged through the muck and mire of scoffers by our comments. All praise to God the Father for our Lord Jesus Christ, my loving Saviour and praise to the Holy Spirit for illuminating my sin to me here. Behold,how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity!Psalm 133:1 (AV)

#97  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 12:27 PM

Jesus spent a lot of time in His ministry, speaking to the Pharisees, and in the end He condemned them. One thing was their rejection of their Messiah who would die to show Gods love, but another thing was what they had done with the law! They had twisted and turned it to accommodate their own agenda. By doing that, they did not keep the law themselves, (they did not love) and they kept people out from getting the true understanding of the law as it was intended.

There are some attributes to God. He is Holy, He is Love, and He is righteous and so on.

What they did not see, is the most important attribute. He is Merciful.

The law kills if you do not have that in mind, that God is both love and mercy.

If you go through the posts on this page, you will find many scaring examples where scripture is taken out of context with this loving intent in mind.

I gave a short example myself. If only looking with Gods perfect justice in mind, then yes – my wife and I were liars and hypocrites, condemned in our heart. But do you really think God is unable to see motives behind? That’s why I gave you Jesus lesson. A masterpiece on motives.

The Ten Commandments are pure love written down. To get any fruit of it, you must have a loving heart.

If you use Scripture to justify your sin, woe to you. Some even don´t care people are committing suicide! Well, gentlemen, then you can find me at the citylimit shaking my shoes.

#98  Posted by Robert Le Mere  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 12:31 PM

Just so I understand, only things that are mentioned specifically in the Bible can be considered sin. Does that mean watching pornography is not a sin? Abortion would not be a sin either. How about strip clubs? Would doing drugs be ok? What about divorce...every single divorce can be justified because every single married person has lusted after someone at some point even if for a moment.......this is adultery which is grounds for divorce....does this make it the right thing to do in God's eyes. If these things are not right in God's eyes then I would believe them to be sin.

#99  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 2:07 PM

Yes Rudi,

Jesus as God incarnate was the authority and ultimate interpretor of the Law & The Prophets.

He came to remove any ambiguity from the law, He also removed any man made definitions of Law which added many nuances and attempts to redefine the law.

The Pharisees had added their own iterpretations and definitions to what the law was intended to communicate, something that was strictly forbidden by our Lord.

Mt 5:17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

We are to neither add nor take away from the law, not one jot or tittle can be changed.

This was the fault of the Pharisees, and it is still going on today.

Redifining the intent and language of the law to justify traditions of man made precepts which inturn gave rise to the legalistic religion of the Pharisees.

Please take a closer look at Matthew 23 and Jesus's rebuking of the Pharisees.

Thank you for helping me make my point.

#100  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 2:16 PM

Yes Greg. That is true. Jesus fulfilled the law. Now we live by GRACE.

#101  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 3:16 PM

Then comes the better part: a NEW commandment. That you LOVE one another, as I have loved you. Did you see that?

#102  Posted by Joe Castle  |  Friday, June 10, 2011at 7:09 PM

It seems that the blog articles on gambling are targeted to those Christians who may have fallen (or are about to fall) into one of our society's most familiar traps - present it as normal, harmless, adult behavior and it eventually becomes acceptable.

To state the obvious - gambling is wrong, and it only takes what Gabriel alluded to in a previous post (common sense) to know that. And common sense needs no defining (sorry, Greg).

While ascribing the sin of coveting to gambling is appropriate and clear, charging the sin of stealing to gambling is a much harder sell. I understand that there's "more to come" on the subject, but it seems that (at least to this point) the idea that gambling is stealing needs more scriptural support.

The analogy of the duel doesn't really bolster the assertion that gambling is stealing since most duelists were not considered guilty of murder (but only guilty of duelling where duelling was illegal). So I eagerly await the next segment to see if a better demonstration will be more convincing that gambling is stealing - might be tough.

#103  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Saturday, June 11, 2011at 6:33 AM

In 1 Corinthians 10:23, Paul wrote, “'All things are lawful', but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor."

It is pretty hard to rationalize that winning another person’s money is for his good, even if it was done by his consent. Legalism is living according to rules in order to obtain earn our salvation. As Christians we live in grace, having obtained salvation as a free gift.

In return we seek a greater and greater level of holiness that we might better reflect the Holy God who saved us. (Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 7:1) I believe Phil is calling us to holy living when he warns against gambling and trivial sins. This is not legalism.

#104  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Saturday, June 11, 2011at 11:13 AM

To Post #92 by Tommy Clayton..

Thank you for your kind encouragement but I must apologize when I re-read my Post I did see a glaring problem the way I put it But believe me my wife and I consider very much those about us when we have fun together...I Do love to see the post..That have the HOWEVER in them

So Tommy HOWEVER..Ya see my wife and I have a very nice place down in Mexico, I was hurt in a very serious work related incident approx 6 years ago and and had a settlement of X amount of dollars...we, Through much prayer, purchased a place right on the beach in one of Mexico prominent spring break towns the place as nearly tripled in price, they rent it out for us when we are not there for approx $995.00 American Dollars a night, every year we go there we ask 3 couples to go with us that are Christians from all different Churches in our area that we know and we ask them to pay us nothing, only to bring money for food and excursions, because we tell them "this is your vacation not ours you go do your own thing we been there don't that"....but We are very careful on who we ask mainly being a spring break town their are things in the shops that are very offensive to certain people, so we always tell them, the situation and so far the past 6 years every one has had a very blessed time.

We had a couple that the husband was from Heidelberg Germany and he ask everyone if he it was alright to have a beer once in a while and they thanked him for his consideration for other people and there was no problem..The first few days we get to know each other more by just being in day to day contact and when everyone leaves our biggest comment is "we didn't know Christians could have so much fun"....

So just to let you know I taught Hebrews for approx 3 months in one of my classes after I was hurt, and I FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU MEAN, Many that come down with us are somewhat really reserved until midweek and then the "real McCoy" comes out and they be them selves they open up understand the meaning of having fun in Christ, and a few have told us their lives have changed quite a bit, in how they now relate with other Christians....we Met a pastor there one year and him and his wife hadn't had a vacation in 13 years do to the stress of the church, and when they left they told us they were so blessed, because it was fun to feel young again. And do things with his wife that hadn't been done since they were in Bible College.

Something you might want to think about! ...Lord Bless

#105  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, June 11, 2011at 12:50 PM

#103 Mary

Amen

Now we see the FULL picture

#106  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Saturday, June 11, 2011at 5:30 PM

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. (1Thes.4:1 NASB) Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God. (Lev.20:7 AV) But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;(1Pet.1:15 AV) I guess if the activity in question is at best questionable, we should avoid it if it will bring dishonor to the Lord and cause weaker brethern to be offended. Christian liberty calls for discernment,not always exercising the right you have under Grace.Paul said he would swear off meat if it caused a brother to be offended. (1Corinthians 8:13)Paul also said it was a sin to know the good he ought to do and not do it.(James 4:17) I guess another way to look at this gambling question is this:Since we are called to be more conformed into Jesus'image, why then would we gamble? I don't think we would find our Lord shooting craps in some alley way under the cloak of darkness. I don't think we would see Jesus at the horse track betting away what the Father entrusted Him with.Remember the Temple cleansing He did? Did He not cleanse it because people were conducting worldy events in there? We are His Temple too, as a whole body,the Church.We are also individually a Temple where the Spirit of God dwells. So after much reflection and reading everyones views and reviewing my own earlier comments, I believe it to be wrong to gamble even if it only casts a negative light on God and His Church. We can't be to sanctified (as the Lord call us to be) if we are out at the casinos with the world can we? Last week I was out walking and passed a rather well known Catholic Church in my city and the parking lot was full. It was a Friday night and they were having bingo with a fish fry and had a Budweiser stand with kegs of beer. I heard a young man say to his partner, those Catholics are the biggest drunks I know and and when Church lets out they aren't even out the door before lighting up. They say they serve God! just Look at all them trying to win the pot! So yes, the scoffers just sit back and wait because they know even if a few profession Christians will come they will bring discredit to the Kingdom of God. Like Mary Kidwell said, All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.(1Cor.10:23 AV)

#107  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, June 11, 2011at 7:59 PM

Amen, and our Lord is righteousness and holy whom no sin is hidden in him. Our bodies are a temple as you say. I agree. We must live our lives worthy of God. Step by step, according to his Word. Amen.

#108  Posted by Jane Wilson  |  Sunday, June 12, 2011at 5:25 PM

Not to mention the victims that you least hear about. I heard a news bite this week that there is a school in Las Vegas where 85% of the children are homeless... 85%. And the principal has organized all kinds of relief efforts to make sure those kids get food (no food at home), clothing, hair cuts, etc. There was no mention that Las Vegas is one of the gambling capitals of the world. But you have to know those kids are reaping some fruit of the world of gambling all about them. All who gamble, gamble to win, but many, MANY lose...

#109  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, June 12, 2011at 7:15 PM

Man, I feel bad for those kids. Thanks for sharing that news. It's good to help them out. If Casinos grows where I live. It would become poverty. I read a article about Las Vegas might be another Detroit. Poorest city in Michigan. Hmm. Money is greed.

#110  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Sunday, June 12, 2011at 8:43 PM

to post #108 and #109 Jane wilson and Dan Wilson...

It is sad to hear Children hurting but please understand it has nothing to do with Gambling....and I know Gambling if use wrong can bring hardship to a family so can abuse of drugs and a abusive parent, but this has to do with the economy in Las Vegas it is at 12.1 percent unemployment, and the highest foreclosure rate in the country....People dont have the "throw-away money" and a town like Vegas is hurting and some of thoes People are Christians, who in which many local Churches are stepping in to help.

#111  Posted by randell danner  |  Sunday, June 12, 2011at 9:39 PM

Could have already been addressed but i'm curious. I used to play golf and was in the business for a while. As we know people will play matches for money. We know it's gambling but what category would it fall under. Gambling is generally based on chance or luck. Besides the obvious reasons not to would it be considered sin to wager based on or relying on skills. When i played i wrestled with it alot. At times i would think it was wrong but then i found ways to justify it. I as i said i've retired from golf and i am not a gambler by any means. Seeing the post still has me wondering. Opinions please.

#112  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 7:41 AM

I beleive Phil mention that and gambling does destroy families. No kidding. Serious. God bless.

#114  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 9:41 AM

These last few post are comming dangerously close to the heresy of a social gospel.

I would suggest a study of this doctrine before inadvertantly postulating such a position.

#115  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 9:47 AM

Greg,

Can you elaborate? In what way is any form of social gospel being advocated? I hope that you do not equate compassion for hurting people with a social gospel. As far as I've read, no one here has said anything remotely close to what you seem to be concerned about.

#116  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 10:33 AM

Definition:

The Social Gospel was an early 20th century Protestant Christian movement which placed its emphasis on the application of Christian principles to society's problems.

It is seen in the teachings of those who seek to replace a gospel of justification with a program of justice, those who seek to de-emphasize the new birth in favor of social action.

Now go back and look at the comments and see if any correspond to this definition.

#117  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 11:05 AM

Greg,

I hope you consider this is a very narrow discussion. The discussion is not about the overall Christian's responsibility toward society's problems. There is some measure of emphasis on the negative impact of gambling, but that's due to the nature of the discussion.

Were we to do a series on the Church's relationship to culture, that would be a different issue. But justification is not part of the scope of our discussion.

Unless I'm missing something... feel free to point out any specific comments that reject or downplay the gospel and replace it with social justice.

#118  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 11:10 AM

Greg #114 & #116

I see no one seeking to advocate a social gospel anywhere in this comment thread. But here’s an interesting observation, Greg. Your comments over the course of this series have failed to interact with the contents of the articles themselves. Instead, you have questioned and criticized the comments offered by readers. Before you dispute that claim, go back and read all your comments.

I think you’re grasping for straws, Greg. Interact with what Phil has written. Argue your case. Is gambling okay? Why or why not?

Let’s not get distracted with trying to exegete comments and find liberal agenda. No one here would advocate that the answer to society’s problems can be found in social reform. In fact, I read the opposite. Greed is a sin (a sin associated with gambling), and that sin must be identified and dealt with. The answer is the gospel of Christ.

#120  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 2:00 PM

Yes the topic mutual consent and the evil in gambling.

No one who knows the Lord, can argue against His view on mammon, when He cleansed His Fathers house, the Temple. It should be a place of worship. Do we really think it was the building He was concerned about?

#121  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 3:55 PM

I don't want to get of topic here but I think Jesus would be offended some people's attitude toward the ills of society. Sin is the root and the cause of all that is wrong in this world. Sin is period. So we,the Church are called to help answer the problem of society by our charity and giving. Meeting someones need where we are able to is reflecting God's love for all people. We are not called to stay in our cushy, pampered Churches debating current theology trends, patting one another on the back telling them how smart they are, while the wives have bake sales raising funds for the next Church cruise to Alaska. We are to go into the world where there is pain, poverty,illness, the homeless, drug addicts and more. I have witnessed first hand suburban Churhes going into the city dodging areas that are low income or skipping over run down homes while witnessing only to their kind. I like 1 Cor.13 or Mat.25:32-46 and Ezekiel 16:49~ Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. Where in the world did the Church come to the conclusion that because we help the troubled that is preaching another Gospel? I have no college degree, but I study the Bible hours a day and I have yet to find anywhere in scripture where that's preaching/teaching another Gospel to meet the needs of society when we can. C.H. Spurgeon once said, I don't lift up people's shirt tails and see if they have a yellow "elect streak" painted down their backside, I preach the Gospel to every creature. I'm of the Reformed Church, but I'll tell you, I see more non-Denominational Churches and Churches that are less rigid in worship, show a heck of alot more of Jesus in their worship and their Christian life in and outside the Church then the staunch conservative Churches do. Teaching is great and commanded but I believe there was a reason why Jesus and His disciples were always having their feet washed. It was because they went out and met the spiritual and social needs of people. I may have gotten of track here some but it pains me to see people object of doing works of charity as trying to corrupt or change the Gospel. I think everyone here knows salvation is the free gift of God by His grace. We do Nothing to earn it. Even our faith is God giving. So man has no place to boast. We accept the gift, confess we are sinners deserving hell and repent of our sins with a godly sorrow, and acknkowledge Jesus as our Lord and Saviour of our lives and stay busy working out our salvation with fear and trembling. So if my view of the Gospel is polluted, I guess I'm damned to hell.

#122  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 5:55 PM

Amen Rudi. And His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up. Jn.2:17

#123  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 6:04 PM

Sorry about the typos. This blog needs a edit/delete option. I do know how to spell "Church" lol, but I notice some mistakes only after it's posted.Grrr.

#124  Posted by Darrel Robertson  |  Monday, June 13, 2011at 11:05 PM

OK this will be my last post I am heading out tomorrow morning for my Anniversary...But with much research and reading all kinds of scripture. and looking at all kinds of post.No body has convinced me that Gambling in itself is a SIN...PERIOD. this is what I have deduced...

1. Gambling is stealing by consent. I DO NOT AGREE with this point being made here since, by definition, stealing is without consent. Taking something of value from someone with their consent is receiving a gift. Winning a prize is where people engage in a behavior with mutual consent where the outcome is based on chance.

2. Gambling is contrary to good stewardship..It is true that we are to be good stewards of material things (Luke 16:11), but this applies to how we use our financial resources in general and not to any specific behavior. I could argue that buying a diamond ring is a waste of financial resources, but most people believe they have the right to set aside money for such a purpose, especially if they want to get married, or to please a spouse on an anniversary occasion.It is likely that a vacation trip to Hawaii costs more than a gambling trip to Las Vegas, but it is binding where God has not bound to say that one is a sin and the other is not.

3. Gambling contradicts the work ethic...Work is honorable and good for all Christians (Ephesians 4:28). Work is not a curse because of sin but a blessing from God. Before Adam and Eve sinned, they were told to work in the garden (Genesis 2:15). Not working is contrary to God’s plan, and Paul gave this rule to the church: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). the people I know who enjoy gambling are not lazy. The people I know who gamble do so because they enjoy playing games of chance and they do not mind wagering money on those games... this is assigning a motive to those who gamble that many do not have.

4. Gamblers are greedy. This may be true with some gamblers, but it is also true with people who never gamble. Some people work two jobs because they are greedy, but work is honorable. Some people save their money and invest because they are greedy, but saving and investing are not sins. The Bible says “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” , but it is wrong to assign evil motives to everyone because of what some do.

4. Gambling demonstrates a lack of self-control. Paul said, “I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Certainly, this can include gambling behavior, but it can also include other behaviors, like eating, shopping, working, playing, sleeping, and so forth. People who are addicted to gambling are out of control, but people who are addicted to eating and shopping are also out of control. Gambling and casinos do not cause addiction—people cause addiction.

So in essence I see where Churches are mainly twisting scripture, to put fear into people, so that Gambling money stays in the Church...Now tell me, who is the greedy one?

#125  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Tuesday, June 14, 2011at 5:49 AM

Darrel,

In some of your arguments, you have tried to justify gambling by pointing to other behaviors which you believe can be equally wrong. But gambling is not good stewardship just because wasting money on something else also might be wrong, and it is still motivated by greed even if other activities are also motivated by greed.

We should not let the behavior of others be our standard of measurement. Paul said that those who measure themselves by comparing themselves to others are without understanding (2 Corinthians 10:12). The standard of each Christian’s behavior is not to just act better than others. Our standard is scripture. Our behavior should be motivated by what brings glory to Christ.

I don’t believe God is glorified if we take someone else’s money just because they were foolish enough to bet it. It is not the same as receiving a gift, rather it is taking advantage of someone acting foolishly. It is motivated by looking out for our own interests and not the interests of others as we are commanded to do (Philippians 2:4).

#126  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Tuesday, June 14, 2011at 11:13 AM

My final thought on this topic is this. If the people here who gamble are not convinced that gambling is wrong and leads to moral corruption,just google and read on. If that doesn't make you stop and think again,I guess you are free to experience the devestation yourself. I pray you don't end up a statistic. I'm sure many a gambler just started out with a plan on how much they would spend on any given night. Doesn't that in itself set off alarms? I know in all our entertainment there has to be a budget, but speaking from other experiences, when someone in a questionable arena starts setting limits,generally that's a sign of a problem. They all ready know before going in they have to control it. It's just like the alcoholic saying, tonight I'll just drink three cocktails. Well we all know what happends next....God bless each and all of you.I think this verse sums up gambling: Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1Thes.5:22

#127  Posted by Tom Jourdan  |  Tuesday, June 14, 2011at 9:22 PM

Amen Keith - 1Thes.5:22- It is really that simple. I say shame on those that want to justify their sin by a misuse of their liberty. And Darrell Happy Anniversary to you and your wife and I do hope you stay out of those sin infested casinos! Darrell, like me when I "travelled dangerously too close to sin's claws" I would encourage you as well as me to watch your back - for God is the one you and I need to be careful not to provoke. My admonition is not just for you but me as well. Our Lord Jesus taught us to pray - " ... lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Part of my prayers most every day is - " Lord - protect me from temptation and keep me from sin. I do believe because of what the Apostle Paul said their in 1Thes5:22 and our brother Keith so timely bringing that scripture to our thread I need to add to my prayers each day ... and keep me from the appearance of evil. With the risk of sounding awfully harsh- I don't mean it that way - Darrell -you must be warned - you are traveling on very thin "ice". With all the Godly instruction and clear teaching from the scriptures from not only GTY, but countless other Christ centered ministries I can only but think you are blinded by your infatuation with this most deadly activity. Yes - sin is fun for a season-even awfully entertaining. And you and I can even justify it so well to our own concious that we become totally blinded to its effects and can even come to the point where we are convinced it is not even sin so we can keep indulging ourselves in it's "tasteful pleasures". My brother ( you sure seem to be a brother from your writing-just a very misguided brother) I encourage you to heed the warning from the man of God who is leading this blog- WAKE up- throw off the cares of darkness while there is still time - Christ is coming - Let us be ready - Let us (you, me , all of us) not be found carousing in all filthy activity when He arrives, but rather in wholesome, Christ honoring activities. There are lots of wholesome, Christ honoring activities - of which there is no debate - gambling in casinos is not one.

By the way your last comment on your last post reveals a lot of where you are in your maturity in Christ. You may have been following Jesus for many years but you are stunted.

How can I say that? You said,

"So in essence I see where Churches are mainly twisting scripture, to put fear into people, so that Gambling money stays in the Church...Now tell me, who is the greedy one?"

This comes at the end of long justification on your part of how gambling is not sinful. You are claiming that GTY and other churches are being greedy for the money that is going to the casinos by warning of the sinfulness of gambling. You have the audacity to say they are twisting scriptures and being greedy for the gamblers money to fill their church coffers. How dare you? As I suggested before you are on thin ice my brother. In Him, Tom Jourdan

#129  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, June 15, 2011at 3:03 PM

I don't like the topic at all. For me it is like discussing what part of Egypt you like the most. God delivered Israel out of slavery from Egypt. This world is all the unbeliever have. We are not of this world, but bought with a high price to give Glory to God with all our heart and without hypocrisy. Don't call gambling freedom. It is not. Take the money out of it, and you will see it comes to an end. And the heart and motives is revealed.

#130  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Wednesday, June 15, 2011at 4:14 PM

The more I dwell on this topic the more convinced I have become that anything that Christians debate so heavily as to whether it is a sin or not should be avoided. Paul said if something caused a brother to stumble he would avoid it. Even if he liberty to do so. So maybe the question would be better asked:Will my gambling cause my brethern to stumble into sin? Then the answer becomes obvious. Avoid it period. But the Church is no longer as considerate and loving as it was in Paul's day. That's not an excuse, it's fact. People, including Christians are selfish and I don't think they care what it causes a fellow brother to stumble,as long as they get their desires met. Of all the sinful vices attatched to gambling who would want to subject themselves to those sinful things. "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?" 1 Cor.10:21,22.

#132  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, June 15, 2011at 7:35 PM

No one explained to me what the def. for Mutual Consent. The answer to this blog is really no, right??? What elimates gambling is that we refuse it and walk according to Jesus. Yhat word is saying accept the gambling, not destroy it. Why call gambling freedom, but gambling is not freedom, but a shell or wall of comfort. Tks. I got it. I hope. Smiles.