Where do you draw the line on sinful employment?

What type of work is too sinful for a Christian? Where do you draw the line on sinful employment?

sinful employment

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  1. Jon says

    I found it all to be circumstantial. I would have to make it a black/white issue and remove intent and level of spiritual growth. I personally practice non-violence and see military force as empire… yet I know of like minded peolle who serve in the military as medics and chaplains for example. It’s easy to grasp a legalist stance but that normal ends in finger pointing condemnation.
    But I do love the subject, just 2 days ago I was having dialog on this.

    • says

      Yes, the questions were really black/white. Even with some of them, I might not have a problem working at a place, but I might have trouble owning one. But even these I lumped together.

  2. Ed says

    just a thought, it’s not wrong for a Christian to work anywhere truthfully, BUT if there is something that goes against a persons faith and what they have been taught, they would not accept a job at these places. I work in the financial industry, and there is greed, lust, a “me” first mentallity all over, Christ leads me past all of that. My Lord and my family are my only concerns.

      • Bud Baker says

        Very True what if one of those places is where you found faith then you would move in or out because of the Spirits prompting. You may think nothing of it at first then feel you need to move on from there as you grow in Christ and not because some legal-est put it in your head.

  3. Jonathon says

    There are industries that are not approprate for a Christian to work in.
    There are occupations that are not appropriate for a Christian.

    For some of them, one can make a Biblical case that engaging in them is a sin.

    The hard part is helping those individuals out of that sin.

    At thirty, changing industries, and occupations is not uncommon.
    At fifty, age discrimination gives the person a double whammy.
    At fifty-five, the person has, for all practical purposes retired.

    That transition period requires:
    * Emotional support: If the individual does not have a new job within 90 days, it will take them between 12 and 18 months to get a job. If they are unemployed for more than 2 years, odds are they will not be employed, unless they have somebody in the firm advocating for them;
    * Financial support: The average family has enough money in savings to survive three months. If 401(k) Plan or IRA money is used, the IRS will grab a significant share, thereby pushing the family into further destitution;
    * Spiritual support: The world punishes those that try to be ethical. It rewards those who are unethical. Quitting a job because it is a sin, is taking an ethical stance that employers will punish the person for doing. This can be extremely stressful, and cause the person to seriously question, if not doubt their faith and trust in God;

    • says

      I think there is some gray areas in most of the questions above, but you are right, if a person has been in one of these professions for most of their lives, it is next to impossible to get them to move on to something else.

  4. Jon says

    I think the question would be more relevant if it was asked on a personal level…. is this right for me as a Christian. ” all things are legal but do they edify”
    Though I think faith is FAR MORE than just a personal relationship Jesus… I have to examine my own actions within faith community. I struggle with my trade as an industrial electrician. My primary ministry is working with local homeless in my area, those in dire need of a job…. all while working on automating plants that are consrantly laying people off.
    Is it better for a person to grow into spiritual convictions rather than having them forced on?

    • says

      Excellent point!!! I definitely should have worded the questions that way. It is hard for me (or you) to make blanket statements about what all Christians should do everywhere all the time. But for ME … well, that is quite a different matter.

  5. says

    When I was deep into legalism, I concluded I couldn’t work anywhere. If fact to get away from all sin, I needed to escape and try to live in the wilderness, just like an animal.

    • says

      Yep. I have known Christians like this. They at at home in the living rooms, with no TV, no books (except the Bible) and no magazines. They couldn’t go shopping because the grocery store sold wine and Cosmopolitan magazine. etc. I don’t think this is how Jesus intended us to live.

  6. Emilio Gomez says

    I would draw the line if asked to be a cast member for the movie”Noah” with Russel Crowe. What an abomination of a movie-shameful to be associated with it in any way.

    • says

      For some reason, I think I might really like that movie…


      Seriously, though, I wonder how many Christians who condemn “Noah” turn right around and play “Grand Theft Auto” or “Call of Duty” or watch R-rated movies full of sex and violence.

      • Lisa says

        I had a friend who loved to watch the older James Bond movies (the ones with the voluptuous Bond girls with the suggestive names) but told me the classic rock music I was listening to was ungodly because the accent was on the wrong beat in the measure. Okay.

      • Ward Kelly says

        That may be…but the Noah movie is spiritually fatal to those who don’t know scripture. Unbelievers are not biblically decieved playing grand theft auto, or watching most r-rated movies. The Noah movie is so deceptive and preposterous it would lead non-believers to conclude that the bible is a fantasy tale. Rock people building the ark…really? Noah wanting to kill his family…really? It is so ridiculous it might be funny to watch…if it weren’t a tool driving people to hell. Its only redeeming virtue is that it may give believers a door to discuss God’s real story of love and redemption with someone who might not otherwise want…

  7. Lyle says

    A Christian can work or own any of those businesses. The grey matter is if it is beneficial to their spirit and if they are causing a brother to stumble. Some are more acceptable than other like the buffet verses the strip club. We have to listen to where the Holy Spirit is convicting us. When I answered the questions I relied on my assumed context and personal walk.

  8. Soli Deo Gloria says

    Military? Many O.T. heroes were in the military. David for instance.
    Serving food or liquor is OK. I could just as easily walk into a supermarket and engage in gluttony. My church serves alcohol (wine), but they don’t encourage over-indulgence.
    Investment firms are there to help people invest their money. Any industry has problems with greed and unethical people.
    Porn industry? Now there’s a problem.

    • Jonathon says

      >Porn industry? Now there’s a problem.

      There is a sub-genre, that in the US qualifies as porn, because of sexual explicitness, that is based upon stories from the Bible. Probably the most startling thing about them, is how close the storyline stays with the Bible.

      At What point does sex education become porn?
      At what point does sex therapy become prostitution?

      Can one teach sex education, without committing adultery?
      Can one be in a sex education class, without committing adultery?

    • says

      Good points, all. There are many Christians today who believe that serving in the military is sinful, because it promotes violence toward others (and in some cases, causes you to kill others).

      There are also some records from the early church that if a soldier became a Christian, the church leaders asked him to leave the military.

  9. Living Liminal says

    The “is it wrong or right” questions tend to come from legalistic motives (rules, law). I’d start with, “what is God saying to me in this place and at this time?”

  10. Ty says

    Agree with Jon and other comments. It may be okay for me to work at some questionable places, but if causes a stumbling block for others, or for MYSELF, it’s wrong. I really wish there’d been space to comment on each or our answers as we answered them, and to click “like” (or not) on others’ answers.

    • says

      Yeah. My original survey had all that, but then I used “Survey Monkey” to run it, and they limit you to only 10 questions, with limited responses for the “free” surveys. Oh well.

  11. Taco says

    I have a lot of no’s on this one.

    I think porn is a big no if you own the company. If you work for it, it is different but would never work for the porn part of the company.

    Casino I said yes but not sure. You could own it but only if it is for entertainment purpose and I would say no to people who are addicted to gambling, could even offer them help.

    • says

      Yeah, there’s some tough ones here.

      You know what question I should have included? “Is it wrong for a Christian to get a salary from a church?” Ha! I wonder how many “Yes” answers I would have received?

  12. Shawn says

    I said “No” to all the choices.

    It is “right” or “wrong” to the individual involved, as it is between them in their conscience and Father, is it not?

    I understand and appreciate the post. It seems to directly highlight something that seems to come up in Christians often and easily: The assumption that any given Christian is both capable AND compelled to judge others. And to let the whole world (and God) know all about it.

    I doubt — other than for the purposes you have engineered here, for example — we should be asking ourselves and answering these questions.

  13. Jim Strickland says

    I’ve said “No!” to every question. However, I do have a hidden agenda. I’d like to know how the early church would deal with this. Bear in mind that a huge proportion of the early church were slaves. Obviously I can’t give quote numbers. I’m merely going on comments I’ve heard previously.

    In those days slavery was as “normal” as it is ever possible to be. Indeed, the background to Paul’s letter to Philemon was concerns the return of Philemon’s slave, Onesimus to him. Onesimus was a runaway slave. His “owner” could have had him crucified if he so wished. That was not unusual treatment for runaway slaves.

    I’ve sometimes wondered about slavery and prostitution. Could a female slave refuse to be a prostitute on the grounds of her Christianity? Probably not. How about a similar situation for boys and young men?

    I thank God that slavery is no longer legal in most countries of the world. Of course child trafficking is still alive and well in many countries. We all need to do all we can to stamp it out.

    What I have learned from this is that a Christian can and should follow Jesus Christ even in the face of such degradation. Don’t ask me how. They somehow succeeded! It’s unlikely they would only be a slave for 12 years. Mostly it was for life.

    You and I are more likely to find people enslaved by sin if we go to places where sin abounds. Bear in mind, Jesus came from glory to live among people who are “monsters of iniquity”. I’m so glad He did!

    • jonathon says

      There are some major differences in the rights that slaves were granted by their owners in Rome, circa 40 AD, and the rights granted to the slaves that are sold in Vancouver BC in 2000 AD,and the slaves sold at public outcry in Riyadh Saudia Arabia in 2010 AD, and the slaves that were sold in Washington DC in 1850.

      For starters, slaves in Rome could, and often did own their own business.
      Furthermore, slaves were expensive, and thus killing them meant that one was destroying one’s wealth.

      Slaves in both Ridyah and Vancouver are cheap. After factoring in the effect of inflation, you are looking at what is probably the lowest price in history for a slave. That low cost implies that it currently is almost cheaper to replace a slave, than fix one. The consequence of that is moe abuse, and maltreatmnt of the slave, today, than 2000 years ago.

    • says

      Wow. That is quite the insight that I had not considered. Like you, I am so glad that Jesus came for monsters of iniquity … because that means he came for me!

  14. Sam says

    Not long after we married, I applied for a job selling insurance with a major company. During the interview I was asked what I would describe as “standard questions”. At the end however, I was asked if I would give information that I knew to be incorrect to prospective customers. I said I would not. The insurance company told me they would not hire me if I would not.

    After that time, whenever I applied for work and made it to an interview, I told that story and watched their reaction. I beat them to the punch on the traditional “Are there any questions you would like to ask us about working here?” question at the end of the interview. The companies I ended up working for all replied “You’re the kind of person we would want working for our company.” The others usually made a face.

    I would not work for an employer who expected me to lie, cheat steal and other similar things. You might consider that sinful employment.

  15. Ward Kelly says

    I voted yes to all but the abortion industry. As a libertarian leaning Christian, I believe that God gives us a mind, an ability to make choices, and the Spirit to guide us. I think that a properly prepared Christian could be a great impact on all these industries where most Christians fear to tread, or judge in a manner that would keep their witness far from their doors. Would I own those businesses? I can’t say that I could see myself profiting from others self destruction, though there are legitimate customers that would not be self destructive in some of those. The problem I have with either working for, or God-forbid owning an abortion clinic…is that the child has no voice in its destruction. In each of the others the people doing commerce have made their own decision on how they will use the service or product. The child being aborted, a creation of God, has no voice.

  16. Ed says

    yes, I look forward to future teachings on this, the topic 1 Cor.8 and Romans 14, not being a stumbling block or being involved with anything that causes stumbling and the edifying that comes with Christ. Thank you Jeremy!

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