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A Biblical Position on Gambling

Rev. Dr. Melvin A. Turnbull is a Senior Pastor at the Cane Garden Bay Baptist Church. Photo:
By Rev. Dr. Melvin A. Turnbull

My position on what could be considered a vexing issue is simply to speak where God speaks, and to be still until He does. It needs to be understood that God’s direction to mankind is basically communicated in two main ways: through laws and/or through principles. Where there is a law, there is no room for debate – it’s either we obey and ‘live’ or disobey and ‘die.’

In the absence of a law, we look for the principle being taught – that is always applicable. In other words, whenever God speaks, I do not have the luxury of an opinion. The consequences of my action or non-action are built into my choice to obey or disobey. Galatians 6:7, KJV declares, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Now, concerning the question of gambling - gambling may be practiced in many different ways. These include, but are not limited to the lottery, Ponzi schemes or pyramid schemes, pari-mutuel betting, etc. Some forms appear to be quite innocent, and sometimes percentages of the profits are used for a good cause. God’s Word, however, indicates that gambling in any form is contrary to the Will of God for a Believer.

First, gambling or betting puts faith in chance or luck rather than in the care and provision of God. Second, one who gambles seeks to profit from another’s loss. This practice borders on covetousness and stealing. Third, gambling promotes a greedy spirit. It emphasizes getting rather than giving, selfish interest rather than self-sacrifice, and erodes the moral fibre of society.

The Bible indicates that there are three ways by which to profit materially. First, work. “If any would not work, neither should he eat” (2Thessalonians 3:10, KJV). Second, by wise investments (refer to the parable of the talents in Luke 19:1-27). Third, gifts or inheritance. “Children ought not to lay up for the parents, but parents for the children” (2 Corinthians 12:14, KJV).

One writer says, “The appeal of gambling is somewhat understandable. There is something alluring about getting something for nothing. That is where the sin lies. Gambling of any kind amounts to theft by permission. The coin is flipped, the dice are rolled, or the horses run, and somebody rakes in that which belongs to another. The Bible says, ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’ (Genesis 3:19, KJV). It doesn’t say, ‘By the flip of a coin shalt thou eat thy lunch.’ I realize that in most petty gambling no harm is intended, but the principle is the same as in big gambling. The difference is only in the amount of money involved.”

The experience of the gambler is similar to that of the alcoholic. He deludes himself that he is master of his life which is actually out of control. He denies he has any problem, even though his family disintegrates. He ends up with enormous debts, and even steals to cover his losses.

The gambler may promise to quit, but rarely follows through unless he experiences a disaster which brings him face to face with the reality of his situation.

I submit to you that an encounter with Jesus Christ is the only solution for many; and some experience immediate freedom from the addiction. Complete victory for others, however, is often a process. Many of the same emotional problems of the alcoholic are also present in the gambler, and the underlying causes must be dealt with in the light of the Word of God.

To be continued ...

12 Responses to “A Biblical Position on Gambling”

  • Mitt Romney (26/10/2012, 14:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Blah blah blah
  • ... (26/10/2012, 15:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What a load of crap
  • yawwn (26/10/2012, 16:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This was boring and pointless. Neither did he quote any relevant scriptures to justify his claim. He just picked random scriptures and tried to make it suit his argument. So wait, when you collect all that tides from your congregation then you are doing as you said "profiting from someone elses lost" ....... smh
    • Observer (29/10/2012, 18:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Actually, this was a well reasoned argument but it is essentially, one person's opinion.
      The issue of parimutuel betting should be put to a national referendum to let the people decide.
      Also gambling on the cruiseships while in harbour, so that they can stay overnight.
  • strups (26/10/2012, 19:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    so why don't you take a biblical position on marijuana ?
  • yes we can (26/10/2012, 20:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Lotteries are easy and are actually played in churches and at family functions very regularly
    .BINGO anyone.
  • look and learn (27/10/2012, 12:16) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I cant believe that we have so many negative bad minded pastors in this ya BVI. We should be proud of the horse owners who wants a way to keep the sports alive via parimutuel, after all it is the best thing we have to save the sports.
  • social (27/10/2012, 15:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So....let me get this right. Pastor Turnbull is happy with Churches gambling but not at horse races…
  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (28/10/2012, 12:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    What foolishness Dr. T
  • bb (29/10/2012, 08:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Does the BVI practise the Jesus principle, "And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also." Luke 6:29
  • dd (29/10/2012, 17:21) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The great hymn goes: "Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with ME!
  • jr (08/12/2012, 10:48) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply

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