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Today’s Question and Answer

Q:

Is gambling in line with Christian teachings?  And If not, why not?

Asked by: Bill

A:

Well Bill, thank you so much for your email. And I’m very glad to be able to respond to your question.

It’s true that there is not a commandment in Scripture that says, “thou shalt not gamble.” But I certainly agree with Augustine, the great theologian, who said that the devil invented gambling.

Let me give you some reasons why I think that gambling is sin. First of all, it ridicules work as a means to obtain money. Here in Chicago there was a billboard ad that people could see as they drove by. It said that there are two ways to earn a million dollars: one is to work hard, and the other is to gamble. So you are a fool, as the saying goes, if you work in order to gain money when all that you need to do is play the lottery.

Well you and I know that there are many people who gamble away the money that should be used for their children’s clothes and for food. I believe that gambling is legalized stealing, actually. Now you say, “Well Pastor Lutzer that’s too harsh, because aren’t the people doing this voluntarily? They’re voluntarily giving up their money.”

Yes, they are, but I think it’s something like taking money from a drunk. He might give it to you voluntarily, but ask yourself, “As a matter of morality, should I take the money handed to me by a drunk?” I don’t think so. Now, I could go on about gambling and all of its effects—that would be a huge, long answer that I could give—but I want to end with one passage of Scripture that maybe speaks to gambling like no other. The Bible says in Proverbs 12:11, “He who works with his hands and with his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.” In my opinion, anyone who gambles is chasing fantasies. He’s going to lose.  His family’s going to lose, and because of his lack of judgment.

I’ve known wealthy people who were brought to poverty because of a gambling addiction. Put simply, it is wasting God’s money, and in the process, it destroys the soul.

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