« Chronicle of Higher Education: Stop Accrediting Christian Colleges | Main | If God Can’t Do Anything, Is He All-Powerful? »

August 11, 2014

Comments

Greg totally misrepresents the issue. Let's not kid ourselves that gambling is the only thing that goes on in such places. I live in Las Vegas, the casino capital of the world. Let me share a few things to help frame the discussion. Here's what goes on in casinos:

--blatant sexual immorality: waitresses and servers are required to wear the skimpiest of outfits, clothing that leave zero to the imagination and are specifically designed to pander to a person's lustful desires. This is specifically why I avoid casinos to the max extent possible. I don't need to have some hottie waitress showing off her stuff parading in front me and enticing into adultery.

--human trafficking: while prostitution is technically illegal in Clark Co., casinos basically look the other way and i suspect actually encourage it because sex sells and brings folks into the casinos. BTW, the average age of a girl who's arrested for prostitution is something like 14 or 16 years of age. The pimps are getting very sophisticated such that often the only way to stop them is to have them brought up on charges by the IRS for tax evasion because they deal only in cash (and lots of it, some of the wealthiest people in town are drug lords and pimps).

--government corruption: the most heavily policed area in town is the Strip. A couple blocks away, we have the most heavily gang-infested area. The police in that area are short-staffed, yet it is where most of the murders (multiple per day) and drug trafficking occur. The reason for this is that the town is run by the casino owners, and they get the priority because they have the cash and the clout. This also plays out in terms of infrastructure maintenance, transportation services, etc.

--more government corruption: Paris Hilton can break the law and get a slap on the wrist. A normal citizen can break the law and get thrown in jail for years. What's the difference? A decision made by a district attorney who knows which person has more money to contribute to the local economy...This atmosphere is driven by the casinos.

--gambling: there is a mathematical way in which to beat the house at some games. It's been proven; I work with folks who do it professionally. The point is, if you don't know what you're doing, you CANNOT be a good steward of your money. You WILL lose your money, and you are throwing away your money to line the pockets of a culture that overtly supports and drives the things I mentioned above.

So, I guess if you, as a Christian, feel comfortable contributing to that type of environment and culture, then perhaps there are some more serious questions to ask about yourself than just reducing the "casino" issue to "gambling".

The issue isn't "Christian freedom"; the issue is how much are we willing to die to self!

More on this Christian freedom issue: here are some Biblical commands to consider in light of the casino discussion.

2 Cor. 10:5--"we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ"

Can you even walk through a casino in the type of environment described above and still say that you've taken every thought captive in obedience to Christ? If so, you need to get on the celebrity Christian lecture circuit right now, because that's vital information that I and most other Christians need desperately, and I'm being deadly serious in that statement!

1 Cor. 10--"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Can you be rolling the dice with scantily-clad serving girls around you and still say that you are bringing glory to God? If so, you're a better Christian than I. Instead, how about sharing the gospel with them and everyone else in the casino? Ever thought of that instead of rolling dice and pleasing yourself?

"Instead, how about sharing the gospel with them and everyone else in the casino? Ever thought of that instead of rolling dice and pleasing yourself?

I'm serious. If you're a Christian, and you're going to vacation here in Vegas at the Casinos, why not instead join us and help share the good news of Christ:

http://lvoutreach.com/

All you need is your self and a couple hours.

g,
I don't think Greg misrepresented the issue. He said working in a casino isn't inherently wrong, yet it might be wise not to do that. That is true as far as I know.

A casino, by definition, doesn't inherently have all the illicit issues attached to it that you listed. Many of them do, so it would be wise to stay away from those as you have suggested.

"A casino, by definition, doesn't inherently have all the illicit issues attached to it that you listed. Many of them do, so it would be wise to stay away from those as you have suggested.

So point me to a one that doesn't.

Even if you could, it still doesn't address the mandate to be biblical stewards of God's money that He has provided us to use for His glory...

It's an interesting question about how closely you want to be associated with sin. The borderline can be fuzzy. For example, where in this series do you stop being sinful? Is it sinful ...

1) To work in an abortion clinic
2) To sell medicine to an abortion clinic
3) To mow the lawn for an abortion clinic
4) To live next-door to an abortion clinic
5) To walk on the sidewalk past an abortion clinic
6) To talk to someone who works at an abortion clinic
7) To talk about a specific abortion clinic in your town

Believe it or not, I have Muslim friends who think all of the above are sinful.

g,

Even if you could, it still doesn't address the mandate to be biblical stewards of God's money that He has provided us to use for His glory...

Greg's answer isn't supposed to address that. It's a separate question with a separate answer that could be given.

Can you gamble and still be a good steward? I think it's entirely possible. Let me put it this way. Gambling is strictly entertainment to some people. Some are using God's resources (money) in the same way they would at a movie theater or for cable TV. Is this a problem?

John Moore,

You introduce an intriguing line of thought.

Here we can offer some understanding. The Greek words that the NT uses in the area of sin are hamartia and anomia. They are both negative in quality, hamartia dealing with a missing of a target, anomia being outside of the Law. It deals with not walking a path a righteousness established by God in His moral code (1 Jn. 3: 4). For simplicity's sake, we can say the Ten Commandments, but this would be an oversimplification.

This would deal with an application of God's Law in life situation, which you expanded to seven issues. Application brings this to an exercise of conscience. Here, our greatest oversimplifications can become complicated. A janitor or a lawn mower at an abortion clinic would not have the same considerations as a doctor, medical assistant or even the clinic administrator. The commandment of "Do not murder" would directly impact the decisions of the latter over against the former group of workers. If the medications are abortifacients or pain relievers would determine the second case.

As to points 4-7, we have to make a statement of being in the world but not of the world. Paul even makes the "we would have to leave this world" notion of guarding oneself from sin (1 Cor 5: 10).

In that you advocate a thoughtful response to the nature of sin and matters of conscience, we can agree on the fuzziness of this moral borderline. But conscience is best guided in moral codes that do not hedge on issues of convenience.

Thanks DGFischer for your good reply. I'm delving into this kind of issue these days, and it's good to hear other people's views. Obviously it's related to the Hobby Lobby decision and other recent cases.

Hey John, I like your list. Could you add one more line to that, something like, "Knowingly contribute to a charity that knowingly, publicly, and unrepentantly funds abortion clinics?" Not sure where it goes, but it is definitely after number 1 and before number 4.

Another one might be something of the order "Knowingly invest in the individual stock of a company that funds abortion clinics or produces abortifacients?" That is one I have been thinking about, wrt mutual funds and pharmaceuticals, since Hobby Lobby. I think that is further down your list than my previous suggestion, but not much further. Thanks and well done!

FWIW, my comfort level is with items 4-7 in your original list. For example, a number of pro-life organizations have bought property right next to abortion clinics to provide counseling to the workers and clients there, and I see this as a VERY effective and worthy form of pro-life Christian witnessing. Not sure who said this, but “Some yearn to live within the sound of a church bell. I’d rather run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.“

I posted something earlier and it said it worked, but I do not see it. So, if this is a double posting, I do apologize.

John Moore, I like your list a lot. I was going to suggest two possible additions to it, something of the order:

a. "Knowingly contribute to a charity that knowingly, publicly, and unrepentantly funds abortion clinics." (Here I am thinking of Susan G. Komen.) This would go after number 1 and before number 4 in your list. For me, it might be number 3, or 2 depending on the types of medications sold in your number 2. (That could be fleshed out to things like pain medications, versus abortifacients.)

b. "Knowingly invest in a stock of a company that funds abortion clinics or produces abortifacients." (Here I am thinking of pharmaceutical company stocks - certain ones. I am also wondering about mutual funds.) This would probably go after the one I gave in a.

FWIW, I am fine with numbers 4-7 in your original list but none above. On 4, a number of pro-life groups have bought property next door to or very close to abortion clinics to better witness to clients and workers there and even provide services to abortion-minded clients who defer an abortion when they show up. I consider that quite worthy from a pro-life Christian view: "“Some yearn to live within the sound of a church bell. I’d rather run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.“ --- I don't have a source for that, but I do believe it or a variant has been said by a number of missionaries over the decades / centuries, and would certainly apply in this situation.

You could probably do some interesting word-smithing to come up with even more subtle gradations in your list, and might easily end up with 20 or more. Thanks for putting the work in, and well-done on the list!

I totally disagree with this man whomever he is.
Jesus didn't say don't flip the bird! He didn't say
Many things but point taken. You wouldn't want
To work in those places or even frequent those
Places if you truly knew the spirit realm of darkness
In these places of iniquity. I live in Tulsa, Ok.
I have watched it all the last 34 years roll out.
The seeds of drinking dancing gambling music
That channels in these spirits seeking roaming
With addictions of every kind. This guy makes
Me want to throw up literally. Yeah buddy you big
Boys don't want to lay anything out because
Many of them would be stripped of associations
If they really abided in the Holy Spirit I really see
Jesus stopping to play the slots and really taking
time To brush up on the tables. Those places are
founded By syndicate or Indian Nations controlled by
Others. Whose big enough wise enough to
Dabble open doors oh my you stick to your
convictions That stuff doesn't effect me. Tell that to
Jimmy Swagart Jim Baker Ted Hagarty and many
other Men of God opened doors and guess who was
Waiting in the wings. Music moves the spirits
Wine Song and women now men do too.
We are to come out and be seperate. We are to
Be Holy as God is. That's not law and bondage
That's deliverance from darkness into light.
Hey Guts church took same gambling guys their
Tables taught the kids to gamble that the big car
Dealers used. Sheesh then they started
Kick fighting til a big name guy was died from a
Blow. Cut the crap really this is baby stuff
Bigger issues at hand. Stand to reason will kill
The spirit of God right out of you. You don't reason
You cut it off. The Holy Spirit knows what He's
Doing. He will lead and guide. There is no good
That will come from mixing with the profane.
Run like Joseph did from Pottiphers wife.
If Christians did not support the world in
Their music and entertainment. You would see
A dry hole. But alas this guy and many other
major Players in the Kingdom of God are being given
Strong delusions and waivering when they stand
Before The Lord He will have to call John the Baptist
A real meddler and judge of King Harod.
Apparantly a John didn't get that memo to
Give a pass on the King for taking his Brothers
Wife. He got stimulated by Solomes harmless
Dance and at the nagging of her mother whose
Was offended at John for calling her out she
Took maters in her own hands. Little foxes spoil the vine
Do you not know that spirits attach themselves
When you expose yourself and look upon
Evil. They are seeking whom they can devour
Ok rant done. Thx totally disagree!

Let's not forget that Paul teaches virtue ethics in his letters. Virtue ethics means that we do not have a do this thing in this situation/or these are the kind of laws, etc. Virtue ethics means that if you live a certain life all the time and create habits of virtue, when the moment comes to make the correct choice, you will do it.

I think it would be hard to have a clear conscience as a Christian working at a casino. I would consider the question "does this company that I am helping to build/support by my work provide a good service to humanity or meet a real need?" I don't think most people gamble at a casino and are the better for it. However, playing a game of poker with friends for coins is to me a different matter. That could be classified as harmless entertainment. Obviously, as Greg says, for some people who struggle with sinful and unwise gambling, even a low stakes poker game might be a bad idea. Anyway, our work is to glorify God, and that means that what we are helping to build and support with our work should glorify God. Unless you are employed by a solid Christian company or ministry, the question of whether your company glorifies God takes discernment, because no company's practices are perfect. For example, my husband worked for a large telecom company for years. I struggled with the fact that the company helped to provide (or make possible) access to pornography. Finally I came to realize that the over-arching purpose of the company (to provide phones and phone service to people) was good. There was a twisting of that purpose (porn) because we live in a sinful world. The fact that there was misuse and abuse of a good service didn't mean that the company was immoral. I don't think that casinos have a fundamental good or helpful purpose to begin with.

My experience at a Casino in Oklahoma was quite different from what some of you are describing. Other than the food being sinfully bad, I thought it was quite harmless. I have nothing against alcohol, per se, but I don’t think that they even served alcohol. The experience reminded me more of a glorified bingo night with slot machines. I’ve heard of some cut-throat Bingo places, so it may have been tamer. My wife goes every blue moon with her friend, as a girls-night-out, (as SteveK stated) for entertainment. I’ve considered going back to see someone like Diana Ross or the O’jays in concert.

I stand corrected. My wife advised that alcohol is sold in the casinos that she has visited.

Cindy, I pretty much agree with you, except for the blanket condemnation of STR. I think Greg just had an off day on this one, and I have WAY more off days than he has. :-) I just want to make sure of one thing: you ARE for witnessing to those going into the casino (from the outside), right? I love your passion for pursuing holiness - keep up the good work!

Greg's answer isn't supposed to address that. It's a separate question with a separate answer that could be given.

It's not separate, and I find it alarming that these types of issues immediately degenerate into a rationalization of how we can gratify ourselves and get away with it.

Why is it that the first thing out of our mouths is

"But the Bible doesn't prohibit this, therefore I can do it"

and the thing that matters most, God's Holy Name and our responsibility as His people to bring honor and glory to God in EVERYTHING we do NEVER enters the conversation? Almost never do we see a concern for holiness, almost never do we see a concern for the bigger picture of "the sin that so easily entangles". That speaks volumes.

By definition, this cannot be a "separate" issue: we are COMMANDED to bring God glory in EVERYTHING we do; "everything" DOES NOT mean "everything except for when we want to go to the casino and pleasure ourselves." It means INCLUDING when we want to go the casino, and I suspect if we consider it in that light then we would live a completely different type of life.

Why do we rebel against this? It's because we want to console ourselves by sounding biblical, with supposed biblical rationalizations, and yet our Lord's command to "deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me" is grating to our sinful minds.

The answer: quell our pride, repent, submit to God, and live for Him and not ourselves!

"For I am crucified with Christ; therefore, I no longer live, but Christ in me."

I'm sure there are those who would disagree, but you'll NEVER, Lord willing convince me! I hope to hold to this same viewpoint to my dying day, for His Name!

g, you wrote: "we are COMMANDED to bring God glory in EVERYTHING we do"

I could not agree more - well put! However, I have some work to do to get there. :-)

" However, I have some work to do to get there. :-)"

Me three! But step one is make it the first thing we think about in issues like these rather than some non-existent afterthought...

"But step one is make it the first thing we think about in issues like these rather than some non-existent afterthought...

And yes, to be clear, I am absolutely asserting that Greg in this video made God's glory a non-existent afterthought. Shame!

The comments to this entry are closed.