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Thread: Are vows allowed in the NT?

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    Are vows allowed in the NT?

    I'm curious what your view of NT oaths is? I think perhaps for a long time I simply thought, Christians shouldn't make vows. Jesus said don't do it at all. Enough said.

    However, over time I've gradually come to think otherwise. Jesus was speaking while still under the OT. What did he mean by prohibiting oaths?

    I think this was another of those occasions where Jesus was directing his admonitions in the light of Jewish excesses. It wasn't so much condemnation of vow-making--clearly that was in the Law. However, it did seem that he meant to curb the excesses.

    What do you think?

  2. #2

    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    I'm curious what your view of NT oaths is? I think perhaps for a long time I simply thought, Christians shouldn't make vows. Jesus said don't do it at all. Enough said.

    However, over time I've gradually come to think otherwise. Jesus was speaking while still under the OT. What did he mean by prohibiting oaths?

    I think this was another of those occasions where Jesus was directing his admonitions in the light of Jewish excesses. It wasn't so much condemnation of vow-making--clearly that was in the Law. However, it did seem that he meant to curb the excesses.

    What do you think?
    I think the crux of this is in the context. Let your "Yes" be YES, and your "No" be NO. Nothing else should be needed added-on...

    "Will you do this?" "Yes." Nothing else needed...

    "Did you do this?" "No." Nothing else needed...
    Last edited by Falconcheff; Jun 4th 2018 at 01:34 AM. Reason: expand thought

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Falconcheff View Post
    I think the crux of this is in the context. Let your "Yes" be YES, and your "No" be NO. Nothing else should be needed added-on...

    "Will you do this?" "Yes." Nothing else needed...

    "Did you do this?" "No." Nothing else needed...
    I think that's right. I get suspicious when someone promises me he'll do something, and then explains he really will do it, he really will find a way, he really will--I mean for sure--do the job, etc. etc. The more you promise, the more the person has questions about his ability to perform. If you can't just say, "I'll do it," something is wrong.

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    I'm curious what your view of NT oaths is? I think perhaps for a long time I simply thought, Christians shouldn't make vows. Jesus said don't do it at all. Enough said.

    However, over time I've gradually come to think otherwise. Jesus was speaking while still under the OT. What did he mean by prohibiting oaths?

    I think this was another of those occasions where Jesus was directing his admonitions in the light of Jewish excesses. It wasn't so much condemnation of vow-making--clearly that was in the Law. However, it did seem that he meant to curb the excesses.

    What do you think?
    Our Lord Jesus was PATENTLY speaking in a New Testament Context. This is twofold proved;
    1. The grammar of Matthew 5:1-2 shows our Lord teaching ONLY His disciples. "... and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying" Throughout the New Testament the "disciples" of Jesus are CONTRASTED with those of (i) John Baptist, (ii) the Pharisees, and (iii) Moses.
    2. Our Lord CONTRASTS the Law with what is now New. In Matthew 5:33-34. "... ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all ... ."

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Falconcheff View Post
    I think the crux of this is in the context. Let your "Yes" be YES, and your "No" be NO. Nothing else should be needed added-on...

    "Will you do this?" "Yes." Nothing else needed...

    "Did you do this?" "No." Nothing else needed...
    Correct. An OATH is when one promises something and calls a higher instance or power to witness it and administer retribution if it is broken. A "yes" or "no" from a Christian, Temple and Representative of the Highest Instance of the universe, is not needed. This does not mean that Christians adhere to this. I have heard the most heinous of lies from Christians. How much more will be their portion than the Jew who breaks an oath? And then there are those who, having read the Lord's words, still take and make oaths. What rebellion!

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    Jesus was speaking while still under the OT. What did he mean by prohibiting oaths?

    I think this was another of those occasions where Jesus was directing his admonitions in the light of Jewish excesses.
    Jews in general do not take oaths precisely because of how important and binding they are. If one takes an oath, they are obligated to fulfill it no matter what. So all Jesus was doing was restating what was common Jewish practice. Then and now actually.
    "For a small moment have I forsaken you, and with great mercy will I gather you.With a little wrath did I hide My countenance for a moment from you, and with everlasting kindness will I have compassion on you," said your Redeemer, the Lord."..."For the mountains shall depart and the hills totter, but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of My peace totter," says the Lord, Who has compassion on you.

    Isaiah 54

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Walls View Post
    Our Lord Jesus was PATENTLY speaking in a New Testament Context. This is twofold proved;
    1. The grammar of Matthew 5:1-2 shows our Lord teaching ONLY His disciples. "... and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying" Throughout the New Testament the "disciples" of Jesus are CONTRASTED with those of (i) John Baptist, (ii) the Pharisees, and (iii) Moses.
    2. Our Lord CONTRASTS the Law with what is now New. In Matthew 5:33-34. "... ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all ... ."
    Sorry Walls--I have a very different perspective. NT teaching is not determined by Jesus being the one doing the teaching, nor by his personal disciples being the ones taught. On the contrary, the same Divine Spirit was in the OT, under the Law, and spoke to genuine disciples of that one God. And that's where Jesus was, before his cross. For it was only *at the Cross* that the transition took place from OT teaching to NT teaching.

    Jesus was teaching as a Jewish Rabbi, correcting common abuses of the Law. His comparison of how it should be done from the way it is being done is a means of reform--not transition to a NT Covenant. Just my thinking...

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Walls View Post
    Correct. An OATH is when one promises something and calls a higher instance or power to witness it and administer retribution if it is broken. A "yes" or "no" from a Christian, Temple and Representative of the Highest Instance of the universe, is not needed. This does not mean that Christians adhere to this. I have heard the most heinous of lies from Christians. How much more will be their portion than the Jew who breaks an oath? And then there are those who, having read the Lord's words, still take and make oaths. What rebellion!
    I think you're way too harsh on the matter. Sin is sin, and we all do it. There are worse sins and lesser sins--we can't just generalize and say all who break oaths commit the most serious errors.

    If you read about vow-taking in the Law, you will discover that certain cases exist where vows were made, and broken, and God excused them. So there are lesser wrongs with respect to oath breaking--not just Hell at the end of it all!

    I think the major problem here has to do with making hasty vows, or with making rash promises coupled with an oath, to reinforce the determination. A perfect example would be a Christian who is very upset at being slandered, perhaps even on this particular forum. So he says, rashly, that he will prove the slanderer wrong, and make it sting. He will put him in his place, as God is his witness.

    Well, do you think God will take such a rash promise seriously? Will God bless his efforts to pay back, eye for an eye, a fellow believer? I don't think so. We do get carried away in our emotions, and do not always recognize when we have become carnal. We think we're just being "truthful," but fail to see that our spirit has gotten carried away, and has become vengeful. "Vengeance is mine. I will repay, say the Lord."

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    Jews in general do not take oaths precisely because of how important and binding they are. If one takes an oath, they are obligated to fulfill it no matter what. So all Jesus was doing was restating what was common Jewish practice. Then and now actually.
    Yes, I don't think Jesus was against oaths as such, since clearly, it was in the Law. He was referring, most likely, to those who used oaths recklessly, to reinforce their carnal intentions. Oaths were not designed to strengthen a promise to do something malicious or wicked.

    As an aside, I would say that one of the most common errors made by regular Christians in their interpretation of the Scriptures is the tendency to ignore general statements that are not intended to include the exceptions. If Jesus here said, "Don't take oaths," he is excluding the taking of oaths in a proper way. He is *only* excluding all oaths that are taken in a carnal way.

    Matt 5.33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.



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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    If vows/oaths are forbidden, what does one do with these words from Paul?

    2 Corinthians 1:23 (AV): Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    I suppose Christians shouldn't exchange marriage vows then ?

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    Sorry Walls--I have a very different perspective. NT teaching is not determined by Jesus being the one doing the teaching, nor by his personal disciples being the ones taught. On the contrary, the same Divine Spirit was in the OT, under the Law, and spoke to genuine disciples of that one God. And that's where Jesus was, before his cross. For it was only *at the Cross* that the transition took place from OT teaching to NT teaching.

    Jesus was teaching as a Jewish Rabbi, correcting common abuses of the Law. His comparison of how it should be done from the way it is being done is a means of reform--not transition to a NT Covenant. Just my thinking...
    Thanks for your thoughts. They make us decide and are thus profitable.

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    I think you're way too harsh on the matter. Sin is sin, and we all do it. There are worse sins and lesser sins--we can't just generalize and say all who break oaths commit the most serious errors.

    If you read about vow-taking in the Law, you will discover that certain cases exist where vows were made, and broken, and God excused them. So there are lesser wrongs with respect to oath breaking--not just Hell at the end of it all!

    I think the major problem here has to do with making hasty vows, or with making rash promises coupled with an oath, to reinforce the determination. A perfect example would be a Christian who is very upset at being slandered, perhaps even on this particular forum. So he says, rashly, that he will prove the slanderer wrong, and make it sting. He will put him in his place, as God is his witness.

    Well, do you think God will take such a rash promise seriously? Will God bless his efforts to pay back, eye for an eye, a fellow believer? I don't think so. We do get carried away in our emotions, and do not always recognize when we have become carnal. We think we're just being "truthful," but fail to see that our spirit has gotten carried away, and has become vengeful. "Vengeance is mine. I will repay, say the Lord."
    The Christian in the example has failed thrice:
    1. He has placed himself in the seat of judgement. This is forbidden for the Christian (Lk.6:37)
    2. He has decided on retribution. As you have said, it is not his to give. Luke 9:54-55 is brutal but true. "And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of."
    3. He has made an oath. He is a rebel. And you have misunderstood the oath. It is not God Who helps one carry it out. It is the sole responsibility of the oath taker. Matthew 5:33 says; "Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but (thou) shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths." The second "thou" is implied by the grammar. It is even better seen in Psalm 15:4 where God honors the man who keeps his oath even to his hurt. But it is the Man who must keep the oath.

    And it is a vain plea to says that you did it in a moment of passion. Matthew 12:36; "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." If God calculated in all eternity to say "EVERY", I would trust that He meant it.

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by TrustGzus View Post
    If vows/oaths are forbidden, what does one do with these words from Paul?

    2 Corinthians 1:23 (AV): Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
    Paul calls a Witness for his past actions here - not for something he promises to do later.

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    Re: Are vows allowed in the NT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pbminimum View Post
    I suppose Christians shouldn't exchange marriage vows then ?
    Correct. You have TWO sources of this truth;
    1. You are forbidden to take oaths
    2. You have no scriptures commanding an oath for a Christian wedding

    Two Christians meet - a man and a woman. They fall in love. One night, after discussing the ramifications of sexual intercourse, they make love. At the next Assembly they quietly announce that on such-an-such a evening they became man and wife so that the Church is in the picture. This is to fulfill 1st Thessalonians 5:22; "Abstain from all appearance of evil." It could look like fornication if peole were not clear on their intent. The Church should immediately organize a Wedding Feast. Later they visit the Justice of the Peace and fill in the required documents that the State requires. Where are the vows? No-one requires them except men who would add to the Bible.

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