Question Box
Good News Magazine
October 1962
Volume: Vol XI, No. 10
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Question Box
Good News Staff  

"I have to appear in Court soon as a witness in an automobile accident case, I know that they will always ask witnesses to swear to tell the truth. What should I do to avoid raising my right hand and swearing?"

   Jesus Christ Himself unequivocally warns us not to swear in the form of an oath (Matt. 5:33-37).
   Inasmuch as the world today cannot understand the spiritual principles of God's Word (I Cor. 2:14) taking an oath before testifying is the common and customary practice in our legal system.
   However, man has made exceptions in his law for those who do have religious scruples against swearing. Probably every state provides that a witness may affirm rather than raise his hand and swear. Affirming that you will tell the truth is permissible in God's sight.
   A Christian should, therefore, before the trial begins and before being called upon to testify, advise the Clerk of the Court that because of his religious principles he cannot swear to an oath or raise his right hand.
   By informing the Clerk ahead of time he will not be taken by surprise by your request, confusion will be avoided (I Cor. 14:38) and undue attention will not be attached to the fact that you are being affirmed rather than swearing.
   On some occasions the Clerk may not be familiar with the fact that being affirmed is permitted. You must always be polite under such circumstances and see that his office is respected (I Pet. 2:13), but polite, firm, unswerving insistence will usually result in a brief check of the law and permission to take the affirmation being granted.

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Good News MagazineOctober 1962Vol XI, No. 10