Heidelbergian Children's Catechism (age 8- 10 years)
Lord's Day 37
In this Lord’s Day we are still speaking about the third commandment. It says that no one should abuse the name of God. If someone does abuse God’s name, you should say something. The oath was mentioned, too. Someone can say “Honestly, I did not do that. I swear!” Swearing In this Lord’s Day we are still speaking about the third an oath like that is not good. You would use the Lord God to be believed. Does this mean that we are not allowed to swear an oath? Have you ever attended a worship service where a new minister was installed? He is sitting in the first bench. The explanation of the work of a minister is read. At the end, several questions are asked. He does not swear an oath; no, he simply says:”I do:’ Likewise, new elders and deacons do not swear an oath. Parents who have their child baptized do not use an oath either. The Lord Jesus said to all his followers that your “yes” should really mean “yes.” Sometimes swearing an oath is allowed: when a judge says that you have to swear an oath, or when other people we have to obey require us to say an oath. Let me give an example: someone set a house on fire. The police are trying to find who did it. They cannot find anyone who saw it happen. But then someone goes to the police and says, “I saw the person who did it from my window,” Can the police simply trust this man? Or did he say that because he dislikes the man? Maybe he saw the flames and thought, “Now I can get even with him. I will say he did it,” The police cannot tell by looking at him whether or not he is Iying. In that case, and in worse cases, a person is asked, “Are you ready to swear this is the truth?”You can be sure he won’t easily tell a Iie. For if it is discovered that he lied, he himself will go to jail. Swearing an oath goes this way: you have to put your hand on a bible, and you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, “Sa help me God:’ You dare to ask God to help you tell the truth. You know that God has heard it. He will punish you if what you say is not true. The name of the Lord God is mentioned with reverence when you swear an oath. God will hear what you are saying, and He may punish you if you tell a lie.