Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Oaths and Vows

Oaths are not a rare thing in this day and age. Government officials take oaths of office, and many times among children, you will hear phrases like "I swear to God it's true!"

However, it is my personal conviction that oaths are not something that Christians should consider lightly, if even at all. The only reason I give ground regarding oaths is because Paul possibly swears an oath in 2 Corinthians 11:31 and Galatians 1:20. I do not believe that Paul's two instances of swearing give Christians the freedom to go around swearing oaths freely, given other instances where the Bible says not to swear oaths (Matthew 5:33-37 and James 5:12)

I've been thinking about the practice of renewing marriage/wedding vows. If I'm not mistaken, I have known people who renewed their vows after less than 4 years of marriage. I do not claim to know what was going on in their life, but things seemed fine on the outside. Standard Disclaimer applies. As I stated before, I do not believe oaths and vows are something Christians should take lightly. I personally believe it is a frivolous, unnecessary, and possibly unGodly gesture to renew vows when things are going perfectly fine in a marriage. Would we ever renew vows? At this instant in our lives, we are leaning towards "no." I know that we've only been married for a grand total of about two seconds compared to some readers, but we do not take oaths or vows lightly. We meant what we said. This is not to condemn any who have renewed vows; who knows, we might change our minds after 30 years.

All that said, when we have children, we will strongly instruct them that they are never to say things like "I swear to God this/that!" 1) The child is likely swearing a needless oath, and 2) Swearing in God's name is not something to be taken lightly. I also have some problems with corrupt or non-religious government officials swearing on the Bible when taking an oath of office. (Do they have any idea of the gravity of what they are really doing??) If they are not going to uphold Christian virtues and not going to conform to Christ's image while in office, they should not swear on the Word of God. That, too, is what I believe to be a frivolous swearing of oath.

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  • Alan

    The whole idea of taking an oath suggests that, in general, your word cannot be trusted. So you add a few extra words to identify the times when your word can be trusted. There is something wrong with that picture.

  • Michelle

    Jesus said quite simply, "let your yea's be yea and your nay's nay". I don't have the portion in front of me, but it also says something like not swearing by anything, because we can't make one hair white or black.

    Recently my 3 1/2 year old daughter has picked up the expression "I promise". I've been teaching her not to use such phrasing and trying to explain why.(Disclaimer: I know a lot of good living Christians are perfectly ok with this statement, but I do have a personal conviction against it.)