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Sometimes I've played the lottery when it gets over $100 million, thinking I could retire on a small fortune and then give tens of millions away to charity, including of course, Christian ones.

Has anyone ever seen a congregation or parachurch organization (pick the Billy Graham Evangelical Association for example) flatly refuse a donation because it came from lottery winnings? I'm actually wondering about the prevalence of such refusals, or denominational / charity by-laws that state up front they would not accept such funds.

I'm not immediately interested in debating the sinfulness of playing the lottery. Although citations of its sinfulness in refusing donations is of course of interest.

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actually several times in the Bible offerings are refused. God considers the lame blind or as a result of sinful gain unworthy of His use. Saul, Cain, Namen and Malachi are the big examples that come to mind. –  caseyr547 Jun 14 '13 at 16:04
    
Okay, make that an answer with a few bible verse citations and I'll "accept" it. –  pterandon Jun 14 '13 at 16:09
    
I'm torn on this one.. i voted it up at first because it seemed like a good question, but seeing the answers come in, I see that it fits the "straw poll" definition, discouraged on all StackExchange sites. See How should we handle “List Questions” for more. I'm keeping my up-vote and not voting to close for now, but it looks like it's encouraging a few "me too!" answers. –  David Stratton Jun 15 '13 at 1:34
    
Um, what? We've got one excellent scholarly biblical one that brings insights I hadnt thought of and two earnest ones. Please don't confuse the appropriate down vote of answer with closing a question. –  pterandon Jun 15 '13 at 3:32
    
I've been part of a church that declined to accept a donation from a lottery fund. –  DJClayworth Mar 19 at 16:49
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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Offering were rejected in the Bible several times. I list the notable few that came to mind.

Mal 1:7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible.

Mal 1:8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts.

In Malachi they offered the lame and otherwise diseased animals and the Lord was angry and rejected their offering calling it evil. This would not be a good example of an offering from a lottery win because intrinsically there is nothing broken about the money nor is the money in and of itself defective.

1Sa 15:14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?

... 1Sa 15:21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.

1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Saul did not kill everything pertaining to the Amalkites which included things of value like the ox and lambs. They were specifically told not to take these items and Saul refused the command of the Lord choosing instead to give offerings. God rejected this saying the famous to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken the fat of rams. However it should be noted that this prohibition of taking spoils from the enemy did not apply to all enemies. This would fit lottery earnings if the Lord specifically told you not to partake in the lotto.

Gen 4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

Gen 4:4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

Gen 4:5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Cain offered some fruit to the Lord and it was rejected. Some speculate that it was rejected because it was not a lamb the type of Christ. Other speculate that it was rejected because it was not first fruits but simply some of the fruit. Regardless of the why it too was rejected.

2Ki 5:15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.

2Ki 5:16 But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.

Namen tried to buy a healing after the fact. He would have given much to be cleansed of his leprosy but it was rejected and when Gehazi violated the command of the Lord the leprosy of Namen came on him. Giving lotto earning might fit trying to buy a blessing from the Lord but in other places we are told to give generously and that the Lord bless those who give so this too cannot be universally applicable to the lotto.

Pro 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

Finally if the Lord specifically laid up wealth from a wicked person even that which was gained by a wicked person dishonestly it would be poor judgement and unwise to reject it because wicked hands had touched it. That said some forms of money are confiscated by the United States Government after the fact because of its ties to illegal activities however gambling is not one of those activities.

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I appreciate the information in every answer, but this one provides the best perspective. I was focused on the personalities, perhaps even the Puritanicalness of temporal churches. You offered the proper perspective, that is that the Bible has examples of God refusing offerings. –  pterandon Jun 18 '13 at 11:54
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has an official policy of not accepting any tithing from winnings having to do with gambling, this includes the lottery. Their position on gambling can be found here.

For those that don't want additional information/links the position is this:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is opposed to gambling, including lotteries sponsored by governments. Church leaders have encouraged Church members to join with others in opposing the legalization and government sponsorship of any form of gambling.

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The First Baptist Church of Orange Park in Orange Park, FL refused a $600,000 donation of lottery winnings from one of it's members back in 2008.

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