Dangerous! Pastor says though there is not a specific Scripture that addresses gambling, it is a slippery slope
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. - Hebrews 13 vs 5.
With the increased cost of living, most people are seeking the impossible dream of being that one in a million to hit the jackpot. For some, they are OK with small winnings gained from Cash Pot or one of the many other games of chance.
For Christendom, while they have a staunch objection against gambling and games of chance, the reality is that a lot of Christian organisations and churches have benefited a great deal from contributions made by the very same entity's main source of income for which they are objecting.
Therefore, the question begs to be asked, what's the justification in accepting the donations knowing the source is questionable?
Bishop Rowan Edwards said there are some churches that will not take tainted money.
"I know of a particular pastor who millions of dollars was given to him by someone who was involved in drugs and he refused it. As a Church, you don't take money from those places. You have to investigate who are your donors and that settles the issue," he said, adding that Christian organisations should know who to accept donations from.
You will know what and who to take from.
There are a few churches, however, that indulges in raffles and other fund-raising activities that falls into the category of game of chance, this therefore put them in the same category of entities that offer these gambling options.
Reeling out his full title, Bishop Edwards was resolute in his response.
"As chairman of the Jamaica Association of Full Gospel Churches, president of the Jamaica Association of Gospel Churches and also pastor of the Spanish Town Minister's fraternal as well as an executive member of the umbrella group of church ... I know for sure that the majority of churches in Jamaica does not participate in raffle, it's against their beliefs although few churches do participate in it."
While the Church is emphatic on gambling being a no-no, a specific verse cannot be pinpointed in the Bible that addresses the issue.
But for Bishop Edwards, that does not mean it is an acceptable practice as he put it, "the word 'gambling' has never been found in scripture, neither 'drugs' nor 'grandfather' nor 'grandmother'. Not because it is not in scripture, does it mean it is OK," he said, citing I Corinthian 10 vs 23. "I have the right to do anything, you say - but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything - but not everything is constructive."
follow instructions in hebrews
Bishop Edwards urged Christians to follow the instructions given in Hebrews 13 vs 5, "let your conversation be without covetousness and be content with such things as you have."
"Gambling is a thing that someone wants to take from you, but instead of using a gun, they use a card or dice. They don't do it forcefully, but has a way to cunningly take it. Not saying that gambling itself is wrong, but the way you do it is," he said.
Edwards also pointed out the destructive effect it can have on families as many fathers he said will gamble away their week's pay, hoping to improve on it, but instead, go home empty-handed, worse off than he was before.
"The other aspect is that gambling is dangerous, it can cause murder, I have seen it where knives have been drawn and people got stabbed. the whole aspect of that is dangerous," he said.
Bishop Edward said the way God structured the human being form is for them to live by the sweat of their brow, adding that there are two other ways can get money by inheritance and by faith.
"You can inherit something from someone because it has been handed down to you or you can receive by faith - you ask and it shall be received."
While acknowledging that the economy is not the best, he said people can still stay above board.
"It's not poverty that creates violence. I have lived a life of poverty for years, grown up in a house that didn't have electricity or running water, neither a gas stove. But I have never committed a crime. People can live and don't do things that are unseemly to become rich overnight."