Ask Your Preacher
Is going to poker rooms sinful? I believe poker is wrong and that it is sinful.
Dear All Out,
The Bible never specifically mentions gambling as a sin, but it doesn’t have to be specifically mentioned to be wrong. There are a great many things surrounding gambling that are sinful. Consider that:
- Gambling focuses around money and greed. God warns us clearly about being fixated with money (1 Tim 6:10, Heb 13:5). God wants us to be satisfied with our income (Eccl 5:10). Contentment is a major component of spiritual maturity (1 Tim 6:6).
- Gambling is used as a means to gain money without working for it. God finds pleasure in people working for their livelihood (2 Thess 3:10-12, Pr 10:4).
- Gambling wastes money because, ultimately, the house does always win. God expects us to be good stewards (1 Cor 4:2) and save for the future (Pr 6:6-8).
- Gambling and the places where gambling occurs are often associated with other sinful things. There is a reason Las Vegas is called “Sin City”. That industry is not one that a christian should be supporting (2 Cor 6:16-17).
- Gambling is addictive. We can only have one master (Lk 16:13).
Do church buildings help or hinder our evangelistic effectiveness?
Dear In Escrow,
Both. Having a church building is an issue of wisdom – sometimes renting, meeting in a home, park, etc. is a better option. Other times, owning a church building is the most effective way for a congregation to fulfill the command to assemble (Heb 10:24-25) and further their responsibility to be the pillar and ground of the truth in the community (1 Tim 3:15). A church building can also just be a weight holding a congregation back from being effective. It is a wisdom issue that must be assessed by each congregation individually. Read “Keeping The Lights On” for a detailed explanation of the purpose of having a church building.
Gen 47:22 and 26 state that “the only land he [Joseph] did not buy was the land belonging to the priests.” Who were these priests?
Real Estate Agent
Dear Real Estate Agent,
The priests referred to in Gen. 47:22 and 26 are the Egyptian priests. Pharaoh had granted his priests food during the famine, so they had no need to sell their land to avoid starvation.
I've always been told that there is a rapture and that Revelation is about the future... but the more I am trying to read, learn, and understand the Bible, the more I'm confused about the end! I've heard from some of my friends in Christ that Revelation is about the past Roman Empire!! Please help. I am so confused.
Dear Book Befuddled,
Your friends are right. The book of Revelation is about the past, and the "Rapture" isn't something you will find in the Bible. If you want to understand the book of Revelation, we have a class series on the topic that can be found here. The Rapture is an idea that comes from taking parts of the Bible out of context. That class series should help you put it back in context.
We have been without a preacher for sometime now. One preacher who recently tried out at our church has gained the interest of our elders, but I have some concerns about his ability to lead. He has six grown children, and only one is a faithful Christian. The church he was at previously is losing members. He is very knowledgeable about the Bible, but is that the only requirement? I have voiced my concerns with the elders, but they say it's their duty to shepherd, and as long as he preaches the truth, I shouldn't be concerned. What should I do?
You’ve already done what you ought to do. You had concerns about this man, and they sound like legitimate concerns, and you voiced them. Choosing a preacher is both a doctrinal issue and a wisdom issue. It sounds like the man is faithful and preaches the truth – that is the doctrinal element (2 Tim 4:1-5). The wisdom part comes down to the other things that make up a preacher – personality, preaching style, experience, etc.
The elders of a congregation are specifically appointed to handle issues of wisdom. They need to know how to manage people and assess these sorts of nuanced circumstances (1 Tim 3:4-5). You did the right thing by giving them your thoughts on this matter, but now you need to trust their judgment – after all, that’s what they are there for (Heb 13:17).