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Lottery gambling violates numerous biblical principles

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Some people believe the amendment to the Alabama state constitution authorizing a state-sponsored lottery is strictly a political issue.
Churches, such people hold, have no business trying to influence the way people vote when they go to the polls Oct. 12.
Such reasoning is wrong at both points. The lottery issue is more than a political issue; it is an issue that impacts the moral and ethical climate of this state. The question is more than whether individuals may purchase lottery tickets if they desire. The question also is whether state government will be authorized to try and fleece its citizens of their hard-earned dollars by manipulative advertising and an endless stream of gimmicks designed to entice people to gamble.
That is what the lottery is — it is gambling.
Gambling violates the principles of God’s Holy Word, the Bible, as generally understood by Baptists. That is why Alabama Baptists have no choice but to oppose lottery gambling and to try and defeat the lottery gambling amendment Oct. 12.
From a biblical perspective:
— Lottery gambling violates the biblical principle of concern for others.
In Mark 12:31, Jesus called his followers to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” In Luke 6:31, Jesus enlarged on that principle when he declared that Christians are to “do unto others as you would have men do unto you.”
Love and conduct are interwoven, inseparable. Loving one’s neighbor as one’s self expresses itself in conduct toward others in ways one would want others to relate to him or her. The principle is to do good, to encourage and build up, to help others become all they can become before God.
Gambling has the opposite effect; it destroys the personhood of others.
Instead of human beings to love as neighbors, others are reduced to “things” to be exploited economically.
Gambling turns the axiom of Jesus on its head. It teaches individuals “to do unto others before others do it unto you.” Gambling panders to personal passion and excitement. It is devoid of love of neighbor — of loving conduct toward others.
— Lottery gambling violates the principle of loyalty to God.
In 1 Timothy 6:10, the Apostle Paul warned Timothy “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Paul’s statement was another way of expressing the 10th commandment given by God on Mount Sinai. God told the people not to covet and not to desire a neighbor’s possessions or status or job.
The reason one was not to covet is that it detracted from dedication to God himself.
Things got in the way of loyalty to God, and God declared in Exodus 20:5 that he would not share the affections of his people with anything else. That is why Paul could write that “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Money replaces God when money is the goal of one’s affections.
Gambling promotes the love of money. It is intoxicating, even addictive. Gambling is built on coveting the property of others.
Gambling is different than buying stock in a company or purchasing a lovely home from a neighbor. In the stock market or in real estate, something of appropriate value is exchanged between parties. Gambling provides no compensation. People coveting what belongs to others try to take it without giving in return.
The love of money becomes one’s passion. There is no room to love God with all of one’s heart, mind, soul and strength.
— Lottery gambling violates the principle of Christian stewardship.
God requires all he entrusts to one’s keeping be used in the service of God and of God’s people.
The strong emphasis on tithing among Baptists sometimes leads to the mistaken conclusion that once God receives the tithe, one is free to do as one pleases with the rest. Not so.
The tithe is the beginning point of Christian stewardship. It demonstrates obedience to God. But the other nine-tenths also belongs to God. It is to be used consistently with godly values.
Risking what God has entrusted to one on the chance of matching random numbers or drawing a scratch-off prize winning card is not Christian stewardship. It is not wise, prudent and responsible use of what God has entrusted into one’s care.
— Lottery gambling violates the principle of creative work.
When God created man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, God gave him work. Adam was to be a partner with God in caring for the garden. In his work, Adam found purpose in life.
Man honors God through work. The Bible teaches that “whatever one’s hand finds to do, do it as unto the Lord.” Work is an expression of one’s personhood. Gambling mocks work. It promotes a something-for-nothing attitude. Gambling encourages people to believe in get-rich-quick schemes instead of working and saving. Gambling indulges fantasy instead of embracing reality.
— Lottery gambling violates the principle of God’s sovereignty.
Baptists believe God has a perfect plan for every human being and that he works in history to accomplish that plan. Gambling ignores God in the affairs of men. It looks to luck and chance, leaving no room for God.
— Lottery gambling violates the principle of how one is to live before God.
In Micah 6:8, the prophet wrote, “What does the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Gambling breaches all three commands.
Gambling does not produce justice. It brings manipulation. Gambling does not embrace love and mercy. It is void of both, replacing them with a selfish spirit. Gambling does not promote a humble spirit. It promotes vanity, teaching one to rely on one’s own abilities.
Alabama Baptists oppose lottery gambling because lottery gambling and the culture it produces are contrary to the principles of God’s Holy Word. That is why Alabama Baptists will turn out in force Oct. 12 and help defeat the lottery gambling amendment.

    About the Author

  • Bob Terry