Swearing on the Bible in court.

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Ben W, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    If you witnessed an incident that required you to testify in court, would you take an oath on the Bible? Is it o.k for Christians to take part in that?
     
  2. gb93433

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    Sure, why not? It is an oath signifying that we agree to tell the truth. We are to let our yes be yes and our no be no.
     
  3. Bro Tony

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    I would not do it, and in the American system I don't have to. We can either swear or affirm that our statements are true. To affirm is to let your yes be yes and no be no. I did not swear when I joined the army 20+ years ago and have not since. I affirmed then and do so now. I take seriously that we are not to swear by anything in heaven or on earth.

    Bro Tony
     
  4. Brian30755

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    James 5:12
    But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.


    I wouldn't do it either. I would tell them that I will tell the truth, but I'm not going to swear or take an oath, because the Bible tells me not to.
     
  5. Brian30755

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    I think this is one reason so many Christians won't belong to the Masonic Lodge.....because of the blood oaths they have to take.
     
  6. Bro Tony

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    I would agree with you Brian. I have had some men say that the oaths were not to be taken literally. If that is the case why take them at all? It would seem nothing but folly or silliness. We are to obey the Scripture and refrain from taking oaths where we swear on that which is not ours.

    Bro Tony
     
  7. Gold Dragon

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    Baptists who oppose swearing on the bible should thank our Quaker brothers and sisters for taking the initial stance against oaths leading to the institution of solemn affirmation in 1696.

     
  8. Paul of Eugene

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    It is my own opinion that our Lord was referring to the common speech we use in day to day conversation - and making us aware that even our casual words are to be taken seriously by us, we are not to consider breaking an unsworn word to be innocent. But the solemnity of the occasion of testifying in court is appropriately noted by taking an oath. And what about other occasions? Wouldn't it be strange to see a president, for example, decline to take an oath of office on religous grounds? Surely nobody is thinking at that time that his oath is in disobedience as he makes it.
     
  9. Debby in Philly

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    Far worse are all the people who do so swear in court, with a hand on the Bible, for whom the Bible means nothing.

    Hey, how about swearing on a Quran?

    And why haven't the seperation of church and state folks made a fuss about swearing on Bibles?
     
  10. gb93433

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    The passage in James is not talking about the prohibition of oaths. It is simply teaching that our word should be sufficient. We should not have to be reminded to tell the truth by an oath.
     
  11. Timotheos

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    This is an interesting theoretical discussion. However, most courts don't have you swear on the Bible anymore - at least in my experience.
     
  12. drspinko

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    These are the plain words of our Lord. Even the president of the United States isn't above Christ's dictates. I believe we are to take His instruction seriously.

    Randy
     
  13. ituttut

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    Genesis 21:23-24, ”Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son. But according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned. 24. And Abraham said, I will swear.” Abraham swore, and forced others to swear. Jacob had Esau swear, and Esau paid a high price. If we swear, we had better be ready to pay the price.

    ”And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, and profane the name of thy God: I am Jehovah”, Leviticus 19:12.”[/I] If we swear, we had better tell the truth. His Word to me teaches we should fear to swear if we know we are not going to tell the truth, or if what is beyond us to control.

    I Timothy 1:10, ”for fornicators, for abusers of themselves with men, for menstealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine”.

    I believe Jesus in Matthew 5 is saying we are to be truthful with one another. Why would one believe a witness in a court of law, if they do not swear on the Bible? I wouldn’t, or with the phrase “so help me God”. The State has a right to uphold justice, and His Word teaches we are to follow what the law of the land demands. We are to be honest in all our dealing’s with one another, not having to swear, but let our yes mean yes, and our no mean no.

    If one has ever taken out a loan, or used a credit card, that one is swearing to pay as agreed. It is the same thing as swearing. It is a written agreement, or could we possible call it a “covenant”? You do this, and I will do that. We are saying yes, but is putting the screws to us. We do these things because we know we will pay what we agreed to. If we don’t we will pay a penalty. And I do agree that His Word says to “owe no man”, yet Jesus endorses one to borrow. It is better not to be in debt, but if we are we are to pay. And I believe if we are “forced” to swear we are to tell the truth.

    What we are not to swear to are things beyond our control. Not too long after we were married, as all couples do, we got around to our fidelity. We said yes we would always be faithful to each other. My wife then asked would I swear to it. I told her no I would not swear to her, but yes I would be forever faithful to her as long as I was faithful to Jesus Christ. In this case my yes became much more reassuring to her than if I had swore on a stack of Bibles. Christian faith, ituttut
     
  14. dh1948

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    Would it be okay if the Bible was not a KJV? After all, according to some folks, if it ain't KJV, it ain't the Bible.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    The difference between a sworn statement and an affirmation is a distinction without a difference for the most part. If it makes you feel better, affirm, by all means. But remember that the judge sees no difference. They say "Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth ..." They are not asking which you are doing; they are asking will you do it.

    Of course, an oath is only as good as a man's word.
     
  16. Alcott

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    Then it's a valid question as to why you affirm anything. "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil (Matthew 5:37). To say you "affirm" you are being truthful is "beyond these." Why do you do it?
     
  17. Bro Tony

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    Alcott,

    To affirm is to say in the presence of a legal authority that you are speaking the truth. There is no outside thing or being that you are placing your word and the truthfulness of it under. Thus when one affirms they are letting their yes be yes and no, no. For it is based solely on what they say nothing else.

    Also it was said that in a court you only answer I do to the question of swear or affirm. That is not necessarily true, when I served as a juror in a case and a witness in another case, when I was asked the question I responded that I affirmed what I was about to say.

    Webster,
    affirm- 1. assert positively, declare to be a fact 2. confirm; ratify 3. (law) declare solemnly, in lieu of swearing upon oath.

    They are not the same in law, nor are they the same in the English language, nor are they the same in the Word.

    Bro Tony
     
  18. Alcott

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    They are the same as far as the court is concerned-- a legal obligation to tell the truth. But it doesn't matter if there is a fine distinction in them linguistically, or even scripturally, because: "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil (Matthew 5:37).
     
  19. Bro Tony

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    I guess you just dont get it. It does matter that there is a difference, they dont mean the same thing. To affirm is to let your yes be yes and no mean no. That is why it is allowed rather than having to swear. There is nothing "added or beyond" in affirming.

    Bro Tony
     
  20. Alcott

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    There is a difference. Example: 1)"Yes." 2)"I affirm my answer to be yes." #2 is more than Yes.
     

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