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Q Is it right to use funds gained through gambling for things of God’s kingdom? What if someone came to the church or a Christian school and said, “Here’s some money I won at a lottery”?

A You are essentially asking if it is right to use wrongful profits for good. This is a version of “Do the ends justify the means”? I believe that a biblical worldview approach is that the ends should instead shape the means; if we can help it, we should not intentionally use sinful or unethical means, as they tarnish our gospel witness and have negative consequences.

Some Christians see gambling (and lotteries) as similar to alcohol drinking: it is not inherently evil but can be addictive and harmful. However, I see gambling as closer to pornography; it is itself a distortion of something good. Gambling is artificially increasing risk in order to profit at someone else’s expense.

It distorts “chance and risk” that occur naturally in God’s good creation. Winners profit at the expense of losers. It is essentially a form of taking from our neighbors. Gambling feeds on the sin of greed. This differentiates fundraising raffle draws from lotteries, board games with dice from rolling dice in casinos, video games from slot machines. Gambling does not honor God, God's creation, or show love to our neighbors.

Furthermore, the church’s gospel witness might be tarnished as there are people who would see it as hypocritical for the church to use funds from gambling.

Because lotteries are pervasive in our society, and a lot of lottery funds are channeled into charities and community organizations, it is not always easy to discern where funds originate. Hence, we need to show grace if Christians unknowingly or can’t help but use such funds.

As Christians, we should not intentionally use wrongfully gained funds, if we can help it.

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