How does Zach Johnson the Christian reconcile gambling in the Skins Game?
Zach Johnson, Masters champion, is a professed Christian, and I’ve always liked the way he’s made it known in a forthright though low-key manner.
Still, I wonder how he reconciles his religion with what is essentially a gambling game, the LG Skins Game.
Johnson and Brett Wetterich gave a press conference recently, and of course, the moderator never asked him that question.
But I will: Zach, what gives?
Johnson admitted playing skins with some of his “buddies back home,” and “throwing some money in the pot, that sort of thing.”
All the players donate at least a portion of their earnings to charity, but does that make it right in the eyes of Christians?
I’m all for gambling, I do it every chance I get, but wasn’t it Isaiah who made it clear that trusting in God and trusting in luck cannot co-exist?
And – yea, might thee rebuke me if my tongue speak mischief – but I’m pretty sure it was William Temple, the late Archbishop of Canterbury who said: “To attempt to make a profit out of the inevitable loss and possible suffering to others is the antithesis of that love of one’s neighbor on which our Lord insisted.”
On the other hand, Joshua cast lots to determine the allotment of land to various tribes, and Nehemiah did the same to figure out who would live inside the walls of Jerusalem and who wouldn’t.
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Firstly, I don't see how the skins game is any different than winning money in any other professional tournament.
Secondly, golf isn't a game of luck, particularly one where the odds are stacked against the player.
Thirdly, wagering on a game that you are playing against competitors isn't as much 'gambling' as it is an incentive to perform as well as one can.
Fourthly (and last), gambling per se should be put in context. It can be an addiction or lead to an addiction which would be bad from a Christian perspective on a number of levels. But, if it's handled as a form of entertainment, like spending the same amount of money on a dinner out, then where's the sin?
Leave Zach alone! ;-)
Since you're just wondering, I'll provide the answer. The mistake is in assuming that legitimate Christian teaching would proscribe gambling across-the-board. But such confusion arises when there are strange denominations espousing radical standards that are a complete departure from traditional Christian doctrine.
For instance, there are denominations that teach that one mustn't drink at all or have rubber tires on his tractor (really).
If you look at the Catholic Church (Christ's original one), however, you'll notice that it embraces no such radicalism (mind you, radicalism as defined by God, not man). You can drink, but you can't get drunk. Likewise, you can gamble, but only within your means. Of course, it is more nuanced than that because you also have to make sure you're not taking advantage of someone who has a problem, that you're not acting as an occasion of sin for him. That's usually quite easy to ascertain, though.
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