Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 16, 1955

Bingo -- Big Enterprises Now Going On

Wm. E. Wallace, Akron, Ohio

In a recent issue of Collier's magazine there appeared an article worthy of public interest concerning the problem of the Bingo gambling craze sweeping the country. In the words of Bill Davidson, the author, "Bingo has assumed a position of considerable importance in American life." Mr. Davidson tells how many churches have accepted the Bingo game as a fund-raising method. One parish priest is reported as saying "bingo is a harmless, fund-raising activity in the House of God, and to interfere with it is a Gestapo or MVD tactic." Mr. Davidson thoughtfully points out the evils of the Bingo gamble: "For one thing it has led to police corruption . . . . a second evil has been the development of the Bingo addict . . . . a third evil of the growth of Bingo has been the commercialization of the charity games .. . . and evil number three led to evil number four — the racketeer." Step by step the seemingly harmless little pastime has developed into a big problem and is now headed toward being classified as a massive problem. Gambling violates the law of most states, yet when normally law-abiding prominent citizens insist on its presence in the various realms of activity, the police are forced to turn their back on law-breaking, and in the words of Los Angeles Police Chief William H. Parker: "If you get a police officer to turn his back on any form of illegal gambling no matter how praiseworthy the purpose .... he'll soon become cynical about enforcing the gambling and vice laws generally." People become addicted to this form of gambling to the hurt of the innocent as well as to themselves. Their interest in obtaining "something for nothing" encourages violations of 2 Thessalonians 3;10, 11 and other passages — in other words the addict seeks gain at the sacrifice of principle. The third evil mentioned characterizes the common sin of trying to mix oil with water — charity and commercialization do not belong to be married, and when they are joined together, Bingo goes all the way to corruption, degradation and wantonness.

We have a problem in the church not too much unlike the Bingo problem. Big Enterprises Now Going On — "Bingo," in the church are leading many capable brethren into addiction to innovation. The "methods" of evangelistic and benevolent work may seem to get the job done, but many of the methods employed are expedited at the sacrifice of principle. And when we speak out against principle abandonment some "parish priest" (editor or preacher gone haywire) bellows: "Bingo is a harmless, fund-raising activity in the House of God, and to interfere with it is a Gestapo or MVD tactic." That sound like anybody you know? Once you get a front line warrior to turn his back on one departure or innovation, he loses his punch in fighting error, he becomes cynical and usually goes plumb rank. This seems to be the order of the day.

When the church becomes addicted to one departure it shows its dissatisfaction and disrespect for the Lord's way, its members become delinquents. We have turned our benevolent work into enterprises, if not commercial, commissary. "And evil number three led to evil number four" — partisanship. If you speak out against error in evangelistic or benevolent work you are ousted from the Bingo clique. Thus we have now, as we did 60 years ago, and 1900 years ago, a battle between the "BINGO" crowd and the principle clinging group.