Index by Subject

"What is Written … How Readest Thou?": You Bet You Lose!

We see the signs on the highway. We hear about it on the late news twice a week. We are faced with it up close with every visit to a convenience store. But we rarely think about it unless the jackpot gets high enough to make the news — the lottery. This article will not engage in a discussion regarding the political implications of this question concerning the lottery and its relation to state programs financed. However, it will examine the moral implications of gambling for the gambler and provider, including the sanitized and legitimized forms like the state sponsored lottery.

The word "gamble" is sometimes used so loosely we must define the word before we begin, so limiting the scope of our study. We will discuss this word in the sense of "to stake or risk money, etc., in the hope of great gain in a game in which success is solely dependent on chance" (see Webster and Oxford American Dictionary). When that gain takes place, it is at the expense of one or more who lose money without receiving any legitimate benefit or service of commerce.

Continue reading » "What is Written … How Readest Thou?": You Bet You Lose!

Walking Worthy: Drawing Lines

Where do you draw the line?

That is the question that confronts many people as they think themselves wandering somewhere in between righteousness and iniquity. How much is too much? When do we go too far?

So many believe that the answers to those questions will always be a matter of personal conviction and that each person’s answer is as valid as the next. Yet in many cases, God has drawn lines for us and inching closer and closer to iniquity is like the moth flitting nearer to the flame. While it is imperative that we resist any urge to draw our own artificial, arbitrary lines and impose them on others, it is equally vital that we learn to respect the lines that God has drawn in his word.

When God Has Drawn A Line

In creation, God enacted certain lines, limits and boundaries for this planet on which we live, and in all the years since, it has not added an ocean or a continent (Proverbs 8:25-31).  In Proverbs 8, personified wisdom respects the authority of the Lord to set limits and draw boundaries, and when those limits are pressed, as they are in storms and floods and droughts, there is great conflict and injury that follows.

Continue reading » Walking Worthy: Drawing Lines

The Simple Gospel: Gambling

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men” Romans 12:17.

The word gambling is not in the Bible, but the word covet is and it is condemned, Luke 12:15, “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

One may wish to argue that gambling is not covetousness because all the parties involved agree to the wager. An agreement by both parties to be covetous does not lessen the fact that gambling is covetous. Mutual agreement does not legitimize sin. If mutual agreement could legitimize then dueling would legitimize murder because both parties mutually agree that each will have have equal opportunity to murder the other. Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: Gambling

The Foolishness of Preaching Morality

In 1 Corinthians, chapter one, Paul greets these brethren, stating that he thanked God for them. Since Chloe let Paul know of their division over names (v. 11-12), he told them they were to be united (v. 10). He also stated that he was glad he baptized none but the few mentioned in verses 14 and 16 for fear that some might think he had baptized them in his own name (v. 15).

Paul then turns his attention to the “preaching of the cross” (v. 18). In so doing, he makes several interesting contrasts. In the last half of 1 Corinthians one, Paul contrasts the wisdom of this world and the wisdom of God. Paul said God used what appeared foolish to the world, what appeared weak, that which was considered base, despised, and things that are not “to bring to nought things that are.” Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 really brings out the contrast. There, we read, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Paul makes it clear that God chose what the world calls foolish to save lost souls. And truly, those who are lost consider the things of God foolish. In fact, “the fool hath said in his heart there is no God” (Ps. 14:1). Therefore, it pleased God to use what men consider foolish (preaching the gospel) to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21). Understanding passages like this makes me appreciate passages like Romans 1:16 all the more. Remember that Paul said he was “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Though it was considered foolishness by men, he told the Romans it was “the power of God unto salvation” to save those who believe. Knowing the saving power of God is revealed in the gospel, it is imperative that men and women do all they can to spread the gospel (2 Tim. 2:2). Only through teaching and spreading the gospel will men be presented with the opportunity to hear and obey the saving gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-2). Continue reading » The Foolishness of Preaching Morality

Editorial: Playing Powerball! Is It Sinful?

The state of Texas (where I live) is only one of many which run a lottery. The proliferation of these games of chance brings to the forefront questions concerning the morality of gambling. Is gambling a sin? This article will attempt to answer honestly that question by an appeal to scripture. However, before the Bible is discussed in this regard, might I make a few salient points about lotteries in particular?

 

The Odds
A “super-lottery” called Powerball is now in the news. Approximately 20 different states have pooled resources to have one gigantic payoff to the lucky winner or winners. The odds of winning the last Powerball jackpot (almost $300 Million, won by 13 people who shared their tickets) have been published as 80.1 million to 1. In contrast, note the following odds, as quoted from a recent AP article: Continue reading » Editorial: Playing Powerball! Is It Sinful?