The Consequence of Freedom
January 23, 2013 Filed in: PARL
The gospel is filled with paradoxes. To live you must die. To be filled you must be empty. To be exalted you must be humble. To be chief one must be a servant. Perhaps more interesting however is humanity’s provision to choose as free moral agents, even in the revelation of grave consequences to the decisions made outside of God’s dictates. In the same context it is God himself who makes clear the choice that is most favorable to our existence. Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV) reads, “…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses; therefore choose life…” Does this represent real freedom by its truest definition?
Truthfully, while every human being without exception has the inalienable right of freedom, regardless of what others impose, a misunderstanding of the same can lead to great folly. Freedom always produces a crisis. It affords both danger and opportunity. And the danger is cited in Galatians 5:13 (ibid), as the bible reads, “Do not use your freedom to indulge in the sinful nature. A prisoner set free may live productively or return to crime. Even so, the Christian’s freedom must not become a springboard or pretext to an indulgence in the flesh.
This is the interpretation that should guide any conversation concerning liberty and freedom, including the current national discussion on the legalization of webshop gaming and gambling within The Bahamas. Moreover, as South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists supports the right of every citizen to freely participate in the upcoming non-constitutional referendum, our position on the subject matter remains consistent with Atlantic Caribbean Union of Seventh-day Adventists, expressed by its president, Dr. Leonard A. Johnson. An excerpt from an article previously published by Dr. Johnson is provided below:
The Seventh-day Adventist Church stands opposed to all forms of gambling, inclusive of raffles and lotteries to raise funds for charitable organizations. It views gambling ‘as a paid game of chance . . . winning at the expense of others’ not comporting or lining up with Christian values and principles…
(We) recognize that God gave man a choice; and as dangerous as that ability is, God empowered human beings with it… However, (we) observe that the gift of choice does not mean that the church shirks its responsibility of teaching and informing mankind of consequences of decision-making. In fact, it is more incumbent on the church to instruct and inform but never to force one against his will. Therefore the Seventh-day Adventist Church will not argue against one’s right of choosing, but seek aggressively to inform and instruct in the ways of God. We have been doing this prior to the announcement of the referendum, and even after it, we will continue.