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False teacher Perry F. Rockwood well illustrates a common "Christian" perspective towards gambling. In his booklet, Gambling - The Winner is the Devil, he speaks of the "damnable sin of gambling," and maintains,
Gambling is a sin against God because it is mammon worship. (www.tpgh.org/archive/books/11.htm)
No doubt, many who gamble worship mammon (Romans 1:29; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5; 2 Timothy 3:2), and that may be why they gamble; because they are evil and greedy (Proverbs 27:20). But, gambling, in and of itself, is not evil (1 Corinthians 6:12). A godly person could gamble and not sin (Titus 1:15). Yet, Rockwood goes so far as to say,
The only real Christian attitude towards gambling of all kinds is one of nonparticipation in what has grown to be a great social evil. Every Christian should let his bank manager know that he opposes the banks selling gambling tickets. He should inform his pharmacist, supermarket manager and other business men that he is against gambling and will not patronize his business until the practice is stopped. (bold added)
So, Rockwood claims "gambling of all kinds" is "a great social evil." Rockwood fails to heed the Scriptures that teach:
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. (1 Corinthians 10:23)
Four times Paul says, "all things are lawful." It is lawful to gamble, but it may not be profitable (1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23, NAS). In fact, for a majority of people who gamble it is not profitable. The rich casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada, exemplify that fact.
Moreover, gambling is lawful, but it may not edify (1 Corinthians 10:23). Actually, it will not edify a brother who, in his own conscience, believes it to be evil (Romans 14:16, 21-15:1).
Furthermore, gambling can certainly be, and typically is, the squandering of riches by the foolish (Proverbs 21:20). People foolishly hasten after riches (Proverbs 28:20) and it is typically frivolity (Proverbs 12:11); and the following Proverbs no doubt are fulfilled.
A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him. (Proverbs 28:22; see also Proverbs 21:5)
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough! (Proverbs 28:19).
Our use of unrighteous mammon is a serious matter before God, and it is not to be taken lightly (Luke 16:10-13). Yet, the wicked are frivolous in their ways (Romans 3:18) and squander their riches (Proverbs 21:20), some via gambling.
But, gambling, in and of itself, is not evil. All things are lawful (1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23). What makes it evil, when there is evil, is the desire for riches and the love of money (1 Timothy 6:9-10), which is covetousness (Hebrews 13:5), which is idolatry (Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5). So, the gambling itself is not the sin. It is the motive of people's hearts, why they are gambling, and, perhaps, in what way they are gambling (squandering their riches), which makes for a sinful event.
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