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Why are We Silent on Gambling?

20 Feb

Arizona is highly susceptible to the damages wrought by gambling. We have 18 casinos in our state, horse racing, and dozens and dozens of gamblers’ anonymous groups. Many people have fallen into obsessive gambling. Business executives have embezzled from their employers to feed their gambling habit – and gone to jail, leaving families behind in disarray. Given to obsessive gambling – and losing (the house always wins) — on the ponies, former Phoenix Suns’ guard Rex Chapman self-destructed and went bankrupt. Americans spent more on gambling than they did on health insurance, dentists, shoes, foreign travel, or household appliances.

What are we, as Christians, to make of gambling?

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world — writes, “The Bible is clear on this issue. The entire enterprise of gambling is opposed to the moral worldview revealed in God’s Word. The basic impulse behind gambling is greed—a basic sin that is the father of many other evils. Greed, covetousness, and avarice are repeatedly addressed by Scripture—always presented as a sin against God, and often accompanied by a graphic warning of the destruction which is greed’s result. The burning desire for earthly riches leads to frustration and spiritual death.

“Why are Christians so silent on this issue? Though some denominations have adopted strongly worded resolutions opposed to gambling, the issue is virtually off the moral map of most churches. There is little evidence of any sustained theological consideration of the issue. A review of major textbooks on Christian ethics used in evangelical seminaries reveals not a single chapter on gambling. The issue does not even make the tables of contents!

“In all likelihood, most Christians have no conception of the problem’s scope. Once confined to Nevada (and later, New Jersey), casinos now operate in states ranging from heartland Missouri to deep-south Louisiana. In many states slot machines and electronic games are found in gas stations and grocery stores, and lottery tickets are sold in a myriad of outlets. The tentacles of the gambling industry reach deeply into the nation’s economy—and the national psyche.”

Read the rest of Dr. Mohler’s article here. Then ask yourself:

1)    Why do as Arizona citizens condone what is unbiblical and what is highly destructive to families and society?

2)    Why are the churches of Arizona silent on the troubling issue of gambling?

As Dr. Mohler writes, “We are trustees who will be judged for the quality of our stewardship.” And, “The Christian trusts in God, not in the vain hope of a winning lottery number or a favorable roll of the dice.”