Of Lawful Oaths and Vows.
Chapter 23, Paragraph 1.
“A lawful Oath is a part of religious worship, wherein the person swearing in Truth, Righteousness, and Judgment, solemnly calleth God to witness what he sweareth;…”
A lawful oath is a part of religious worship…
Have you ever thought about that before? That when you make a solemn promise that invokes God you are participating in an act of religious worship? For that is what you are doing. While not praising God or praying to Him, you are asking God to stand as witness to the veracity of what you promise.
When you make an oath, you are stating that what you are promising to do you will do. The oath is a surety against the possibility that you are lying. And you are stating this in front of God Himself. It’s all a rather frightening scenario. Perhaps it should be avoided altogether? The Quakers thought so. They refused to take oaths in court, and due to this were penalized in England through “An Act for preventing the Mischeifs and Dangers that may arise by certaine Persons called Quakers and others refusing to take lawfull Oaths.”, enacted in 1662.
Were Quakers correct in their understanding? Should oaths not be taken? Scripture tells us that the Quakers were misguided. The Bible does not forbid all oath-taking, but rather gives directives for lawful oaths. While a serious matter, it is not a sin to take an oath before God. On the contrary, it is an act of religious worship.
Questions to Consider
- Have you thought through whether oaths are lawful or not?