Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 16, 1964

What Is Wrong With Gambling?

Fred A. Shewmaker

Recently the question, "What is wrong with gambling?" was passed on to me by a member of the church who had been confronted with it.

This is an important question in the minds of some folks. It is not enough for us to preach that gambling is wrong. I am not saying that we should not preach gambling is wrong. I am saying that we fall short of doing the job we ought to do when that is all we preach about gambling.

Gambling is a sin. It is not enough, however, to stop preaching when we have told the people that gambling is a sin. The question that is in the minds of those who need to be told that gambling is a sin is yet unanswered when we just tell them that and no more.

When we preach that gambling is a sin we should answer the question: "WHY?"

Gambling is a sin because the intentions of the gambler violate the teaching of Christ. Matt 7:12, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." The gambler has no intention of doing unto his fellowman what he wants his fellowman to do for him. The gambler intends to make his fellowman lose at the game while he intends to win. The gambler has no intention of losing to his fellowman; yet wants his fellowman to lose to him. The gambler, therefore, is a violator of the teaching of Christ.

The one who gambles sins because he violates the command in Rom. 13:9. "Thou shalt not covet." What does the gambler hope will be the outcome of the game? He hopes to gain from another that which the other had and he did not have. Such a hope or desire can be called nothing but pure covetousness. This desire to get from another by giving nothing in return, by a member of the church, is grounds for a congregation to withdraw from that member. (I Cor. 5:11.)

Rom. 13:9-10 "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor." The gambler is out to work ill to his neighbor. He wants to take from him all that he can. The gambler loves himself more than he loves his neighbor. He desires to promote his own welfare at the expense of the welfare of his neighbor. He can not gamble and obey the command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," at the same time Therefore, gambling is a sin and the gambler a sinner.

Gambling violates the principle of working to have the needs of this life. Eph, 4:28, "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." (II Thess. 3:10) "We commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." The whole idea behind gambling is to get out of working. The desire of the gambler then is to circumvent the plan that God has given to man for him to gain the necessities of this life.

A Christian is to be a helper of his fellowman. (Gal. 8:2, 10) By what stretch of the imagination could we call the taking of another man's goods, without giving something of equal value in return, doing good unto him? A Christian is not a gambler. He is a helper of his fellowman; doing good unto him as he has opportunity.

Christ said, "Ye shall know them by their fruits." (Matt. 7:18) Is gambling wholesome recreation or is it evil? Look at the fruits if you will know. History speaks very clearly that wherever we find a center of gambling we find all kinds of crime, vice, and corruption. The gambling den is the hot bed where the seeds of every sort of sin are planted. Men gamble because they love money. "The love of money is the root of all evil." (I Tim. 8:10)

Parents teach your children that it is a sin to gamble. Teach them why it is a sin to gamble. Teach your children to shun those who gamble. I Cor. 15:33 "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." I Thess. 5:22 "Abstain from all appearance of evil."

Preachers, answer the question, what is wrong with gambling? so that people will not doubt that it is sin.

Elders, discipline those who will not repent of this covetous practice.

Sent forth in the hope that we all will now be better able to answer the question, what is wrong with gambling?

— 3801 Mitchell Ave., Bakersfield, Calif. 93306