SHOULD A CHRISTIAN MAKE A PLEDGE?

The definition of the words oath, swear, pledge, and vow are all the same. They all mean to make a solemn promise about something. The person making a pledge is promising to do something in the future. If you think about this you will see that it is not possible to truthfully promise anything. I am not speaking of what a person intends to do, but what someone promises to do.

A solemn promise is not within the power of any man. No man can control the future, so no man can make a solemn promise in truth. When someone asks us to promise, or make a pledge, we should examine all of the situations which we think might cause us to break our promise and answer accordingly. However we do not even know the future. How then can we make a solemn promise and what promise that a Christian would make is not a solemn promise.

Let me illustrate what I am trying to say. Suppose you are walking down the street and you happen to meet a friend. Your friend stops you and explains that he desperately needs a loan. He asks for one hundred dollars. It seems like a lot of money, but you have a thousand in your pocket. However you intend to make a purchase with it and you do not want to go back to the bank, where you have more than a hundred thousand, in order to withdraw more. You fear you will miss out on the deal you had planed for. Your friend does not need the money until tomorrow so you promise to loan it to him in the morning. You see no reason that you can not fulfill your promise and it does seem reasonable, but it would be better to listen and contemplate what God says about making promises.

The ability to see the future is not given to man. Suppose you die tonight. Your friend who desperately needs the loan, which you promised, stopped searching for it, because of your promise. That is just one possible ending to the story. There are any number of possible endings.

You could forget, after all, the loan is not as important to you as it is to your friend. There could be a tornado, hurricane, or flood. Your bank could fail, or you could learn that you are bankrupt and did not realize it.

You are probably saying to yourself that these are very unusual occurrences and of course that is correct. This may lead you to think, because you could not predict these unusual circumstances that you have done nothing wrong. But do not forget your friend who depended on you to fulfill your promise. Your conscience will remind you that you have indeed erred.

Consider Matthew 5:33-37 (NIV),  “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’  But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Also James 5:12 (NIV), “Above all, my brothers, do not swear‑‑not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.”

While you are contemplating solemn promises and you still think you are released from your promise if unusual circumstances cause you to fail to fulfill your obligations. Consider Leviticus 5:4 (NIV), “Or if a person thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil‑‑in any matter one might carelessly swear about‑‑even though he is unaware of it, in any case when he learns of it he will be guilty.” Did God give you an out? He said anything, good or evil, in any matter, even if you are unaware of it you will be guilty.

I do not see any possible way to justify a broken promise. If you are one of those who would say Leviticus is the Old Testament and it no longer applies to the events of today you are wrong. It is true that the penalty for sin has been paid for all those who will admit guilt, and plead for mercy, but it is still wrong to sin.

Only God knows the future, so only God can make a promise. If we promise to do anything without the ability to fulfill it we are lying, and we do not have the ability to control or predict the future, so any promise is basically only a lie.

If you are inclined to think your motives make a vow, or pledge right then consider Jephthah the Gileadite who made a vow to the Lord. His motives were right. However he did not know the future and he had to sacrifice his only daughter, because of his vow.

Satan can not change the Word of God, so he changes the meaning of the words in which the Word of God is written. This is how Satan has confused this issue. Satan has managed to shade the meaning of swear into meaning using God’s name in vane. It does not mean that when it is used in the Bible. It means to make a promise. When we make a promise we are setting ourselves up as a God. We, though we do not mean to, are indicating that we can do what only God can do. Do as the Bible says (Mat. 5:34-37 NIV), “But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

That is how promises, oaths, swearing, pledges, and vows look to me.


46 Responses to SHOULD A CHRISTIAN MAKE A PLEDGE?

  1. Ian Hilt says:

    In your example of pledging your friend money, what if you answered your friend with a “yes”? Would this be promising? Or would it be following Jesus’ and James’ instruction to let your “yes” be yes and your “no” no?

  2. astudent says:

    Ian,
    I think it would be following the instructions of Jesus and I believe Jesus said this because we can not make a pledge in truth. I for one am glad that the Bible doesn’t spell everything out, but gives us enough to go on so that we can determine what is right and just. The answer “yes” would not have changed the outcome for either participant in my example. However if we thought these things out, realizing that anything could happen, we might be able to make the outcome different. I must say that an answer “yes” is about as close as a Christian can get to a pledge without making a solemn promise.

  3. Ian Hilt says:

    So then my next question is, What is the difference between pledging something and saying “yes” to doing something?

    You said, “However if we thought these things out, realizing that anything could happen, we might be able to make the outcome different.” Does this mean in the situation you outlined above the more financially endowed friend should have either given the money to the friend on the spot or said “no”?

    It seems to me that Jesus was saying when we begin qualifying our commitments, it could mean our truthfulness is in question. Using your example, if the friend with $1000 in his pocket said “Yes, I promise I’ll give you the money tomorrow”, the question would be: why did he need to use the word promise? Possibly because he has said “yes” to things in the past and had not followed through. Therefore, in this situation he felt he needed to add something to his statement to coerce his friend into believing him.

    If “money bags” had this type of track record and had said only “yes”, perhaps his friend would have thought, “Well, maybe he will and maybe he won’t give me the money. You never know with this guy.” Surely here this isn’t an example of what Jesus was talking about, otherwise we could go around saying only “yes” and “no” yet not really following through—not being people of truthfulness and integrity. These last two qualities are what I think Jesus was intending to point out by the example he gave.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but your argument appears to be presented like this:

    Telling someone you will do something at a later time than now when it’s possible to do it now is promising (pledging, making an oath, vowing).

    Jesus said we should not make promises (pledges, oaths, or vows).
    —-
    Therefore, we should not tell someone we will do something at a later time than now when it’s possible to do it now.

    The problem I see with this line of reasoning is that Jesus said we _should_ say “yes” or “no”. In your example and by your implicit definition of promise, saying “yes” to the friend would have been the same as promising!

    In any case, I find that the words aren’t really the issue. The issue, as I hinted at above, is that we remain truth-tellers. I would qualify what you say in your blog above that “When we make a promise we are setting ourselves up as a God” with “if we don’t keep in mind that God does control the future”. I will explain as follows.

    Your reference to the Old Testament is relevant in my judgment. Although, I think it should be pointed out that it applies to a “yes” equally as well as to a “promise”. Why? Because Jesus said let your yes be yes and your no no. This is as good as a human can get to being truthful about the future.

    Example.
    Mother: Son, will you take your brother to school in the morning?
    Son: Yes.

    By responding with “yes” I would have to say he’s promised, pledged, vowed, made an oath, or sworn to do his mother’s will. It may seem I’m being simplistic in my use of these words. However, I do understand they have many different meanings that are not all within the same semantic domain. Nevertheless, If he had promised, pledged, vowed, made an oath, or sworn, how would that have effected the outcome? I say it would not have affected the outcome. Consider this.

    Mother: Son, will you take your brother to school in the morning?
    Son: I am really really really sure I will take my brother to school in the morning.

    How is this different from responding with “yes”? In the mother’s perspective I don’t think there is a difference. He either is or is not going to do what he said he would do. Jesus’ advice: don’t waste your breathe, be honest and don’t make yourself sound bigger and better than you really are because the future is in God’s control.

    So, to answer your question, “Should a christian make a pledge?” I would have to answer, yes, as long as they are truthful and use everything God has given them to follow through.

    This leads to “Should a christian ever forswear?” As you’ve said above, whether good or evil, to forswear makes a person guilty before God.

    But, I’m finished writing for now, and please pardon my length.

  4. astudent says:

    Ian,
    Before you can ask, “What is the difference between pledging something and saying “yes” to doing something?” you must ask if there is a difference. It seems to me that you have determined that there is no difference. If there is no difference then Matthew 5:37 makes no sense.
    Matthew 5:33-37 is a warning not to swear. In verse 37 it is said that it is alright to say yes, but anything beyond comes from the evil one. If there was no difference then it would be OK to swear: which is the conclusion that you reached.
    The question of what is wrong with swearing or pledging is what started me thinking about the whole thing.
    I see that you, like me, must think things out for yourself and you do not accept anything at face value. I believe that is the proper way to approach anything that another says and in order to gain a personal understanding of a subject there is no other way possible. Well, I haven’t thought that out yet! The only exception that I am willing to make at this point in my studies is, “If the Bible says it, I accept it as true” and that exception came from the fact that every time I doubted the Bible, in the end of that particular search, it proved itself true.
    As I analyze your comment it seems to me that you are trying to prove me wrong. I think that is a proper approach and I appreciate it. There is always a chance that I am wrong and a view from that angle is one of the ways I can learn more about a subject and I want to know and understand everything about the Bible.
    If you can prove me wrong you must prove that I am wrong about “why” there is a difference between giving the answer yes or no and swearing, but your conclusion is that there is no difference. You must prove the Bible wrong in order to substantiate that view.
    Part of me hopes that you can prove me wrong, because I will lean more and it will remove a wrong understanding that would block the way to a complete understanding of the truth. But there is a prideful part of me that would not be happy if you succeed. Both parts of me are grateful for your attempts! Don’t stop.
    To answer your comment, I don’t believe it is wrong to say yes about a future event. It is only wrong to add anything to the answer. As I said in the post it just is not possible to be completely honest and pledge something that one does not have the power to deliver and because we can not control the future we can not guarantee anything: either good or bad.
    As I understand Matthew 5:33-37 it is not about forswearing which is lying, but about any form of swearing.
    You say, “So, to answer your question, “Should a Christian make a pledge?” I would have to answer, yes, as long as they are truthful and use everything God has given them to follow through.”
    Then you might want to consider Jephthah. He made a pledge to God and he was given everything necessary to fulfill that pledge. At the time he made the pledge he thought it a good thing, but he did not know, or have the ability to control the future and he was a very unhappy man when he realized what he had done.
    As I think more about the subject I see that one could say that 33-37 is only speaking about an oath made to God, but that little voice in my head immediately asked “What is the difference between making a pledge to God and pledging to someone made in the image of God?
    Thanks for caring enough to comment. I really do like the input.

  5. Ian Hilt says:

    I will respond point by point to your comments. Your statements will be within single quotes.

    ‘Before you can ask, “What is the difference between pledging something and saying “yes” to doing something?” you must ask if there is a difference. It seems to me that you have determined that there is no difference. If there is no difference then Matthew 5:37 makes no sense.’

    As I was writing I was thinking that I might not have been clear enough. I redefined the meaning of the word pledge near the end of my post. I think there is a difference in Matthew 5:37 between saying yes and swearing. The definition in Matthew 5:37 would be adding “by heaven”, “by earth”, or “by my head”, to “yes”. This is what Jesus was saying not to do. Notice that we should still fulfill our commitments to God.

    ‘Matthew 5:33-37 is a warning not to swear. In verse 37 it is said that it is alright to say yes, but anything beyond comes from the evil one. If there was no difference then it would be OK to swear: which is the conclusion that you reached.’

    Again, I apologize for not being clear enough. The definition that I had assigned to swear was “a commitment made to someone”. I can hear a possible objection, but please bear with me.

    ‘The question of what is wrong with swearing or pledging is what started me thinking about the whole thing.
    I see that you, like me, must think things out for yourself and you do not accept anything at face value. I believe that is the proper way to approach anything that another says and in order to gain a personal understanding of a subject there is no other way possible. Well, I haven’t thought that out yet! The only exception that I am willing to make at this point in my studies is, “If the Bible says it, I accept it as true” and that exception came from the fact that every time I doubted the Bible, in the end of that particular search, it proved itself true.’

    Just be careful of your presuppositions. I’m reminded of a saying, “A text taken out of context is a proof text for a pretext.”

    ‘As I analyze your comment it seems to me that you are trying to prove me wrong. I think that is a proper approach and I appreciate it. There is always a chance that I am wrong and a view from that angle is one of the ways I can learn more about a subject and I want to know and understand everything about the Bible.’

    I think both of us have knowledge to gain from the other. That is why I’m discussing this with you. I’m not trying to prove you wrong. I’m merely analyzing the argument you’ve presented.

    ‘If you can prove me wrong you must prove that I am wrong about “why” there is a difference between giving the answer yes or no and swearing, but your conclusion is that there is no difference. You must prove the Bible wrong in order to substantiate that view.’

    It may be that you are overlooking one of my statements—“In your example and by your implicit definition of promise, saying ‘yes’ to the friend would have been the same as promising!” This was a crucial point in my argument. I’m saying that you are defining promise in a way that is not in line with what Jesus was saying. This is what I’m attacking, so to speak. Please don’t misunderstand—I’m not attacking you personally. Although, I think you obviously understand what I’m saying, so I won’t say anymore about that.

    ‘Part of me hopes that you can prove me wrong, because I will lean [sic] more and it will remove a wrong understanding that would block the way to a complete understanding of the truth. But there is a prideful part of me that would not be happy if you succeed. Both parts of me are grateful for your attempts! Don’t stop.’

    Isn’t this what all rational discussion should lead to?

    ‘To answer your comment, I don’t believe it is wrong to say yes about a future event. It is only wrong to add anything to the answer. As I said in the post it just is not possible to be completely honest and pledge something that one does not have the power to deliver and because we can not control the future we can not guarantee anything: either good or bad.’

    This is exactly the line of reasoning I’m focusing on in my previous reply. You say that it is not wrong to say yes about a future event, but then say (in my paraphrase) we can’t be honest when we tell somebody we’ll give them something when it’s not within our power to do so. Maybe I’m getting tripped up on your example, since “money bags” had the power to give his friend the cash. Or did he? If you think about it, we really don’t have the power to do anything, as you say we can’t control the future. So this makes me think that the friend was in fact pledging the money to his friend, even if he said only yes, although this is different from what Jesus was saying in Matt 5.

    ‘As I understand Matthew 5:33-37 it is not about forswearing which is lying, but about any form of swearing.’

    When I say forswear I mean to “formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure”. Ref: http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=forswear

    Consider Matt 21:28–32. Repentance is very similar to forswearing under the previous definition. Notice the son that said simply “no” to his father ended up doing his father’s will. This also applies to my line of reasoning. I don’t think God is all that interested in what we say, but in what is in our hearts, which will be carried out in our actions and words. If our hearts are right with Him, then everything else will follow. This is another reason I was trying to merge the meanings of “pledge” and “yes”.

    ‘You say, “So, to answer your question, “Should a Christian make a pledge?” I would have to answer, yes, as long as they are truthful and use everything God has given them to follow through.”
    Then you might want to consider Jephthah. He made a pledge to God and he was given everything necessary to fulfill that pledge. At the time he made the pledge he thought it a good thing, but he did not know, or have the ability to control the future and he was a very unhappy man when he realized what he had done.’

    Do you have the reference for this story of Jephthah? I can’t seem to find it. In any event, would it have changed things had he answered only “yes” instead of “vowing”?

    I think this may be where the fog resides. There might have been people who said only “yes” to something and then later said, “I was only joking” or “I wasn’t serious”. Maybe this is another thing Jesus was referring to. When we say “yes” it should mean “yes”. If we’re being honest and we can’t say yes, then we should say “no”. Although I think there are legitimate reasons for saying yes and then later changing that to a no, or vice versa. Consider the two sons in Matt 21.

    ‘As I think more about the subject I see that one could say that 33-37 is only speaking about an oath made to God, but that little voice in my head immediately asked “What is the difference between making a pledge to God and pledging to someone made in the image of God?’

    I think your thought is valid based on Jesus’ statement, “don’t swear at all” and by James’ comment.

    ‘Thanks for caring enough to comment. I really do like the input.’

    Your welcome.

  6. astudent says:

    Ian,
    You have to laugh: well I do anyway. God confused the language and we are trying to use it to enlighten each other.
    You say, “The definition that I had assigned to swear was “a commitment made to someone”. If that is so then we are not speaking about the same thing. “Yes” is a commitment to someone, and “Yes, I promise” is adding to it: which becomes a pledge, oath, or a solemn promise.
    As for my presuppositions, I probably should have said, “If the Bible says it, I accept it as true as I understand it.” It is good advice to be careful of presuppositions and I thank you for it.
    You say, “It may be that you are overlooking one of my statements—“In your example and by your implicit definition of promise, saying ‘yes’ to the friend would have been the same as promising!”
    Well, if I say yes to a friend I certainly mean to fulfill what ever I said yes to, but my friend does not hear a solemn promise and I have not guaranteed an outcome.
    Perhaps that may be what we are not clear on. If I verbally make a promise, then I am giving my personal guarantee of the outcome of that promise and because I do not have the power to do so I am in effect lying. I think Jesus is telling us that we are “Getting to big for our britches” if we make promises that we do not have the power to fulfill. (Been told that once or twice myself)
    You included, ‘Part of me hopes that you can prove me wrong, because I will lean [sic] more and it will remove a wrong understanding that would block the way to a complete understanding of the truth.
    Ha Ha! I wondered why I kept falling down! I need to learn more and lean less!
    You say, “If you think about it, we really don’t have the power to do anything, as you say we can’t control the future. So this makes me think that the friend was in fact pledging the money to his friend, even if he said only yes, although this is different from what Jesus was saying in Matt 5.”
    I wouldn’t say that we do not have the power to do anything, but I would agree if you said that we do not have the power to guarantee anything that we intend to do which is the difference between “Yes” and “I Promise”.
    You say, “When I say forswear I mean to “formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure”.Ref:http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=forswear”
    Do you see how God confuses us? The American Heartige Dictionary defines forswear as, “for•swear•ing, for•swears. –tr. 1.a. To renounce or repudiate under oath. b. To renounce seriously. 2. To disavow under oath; deny. 3. To make (oneself) guilty of perjury. –intr. To swear falsely; commit perjury.” And the first word in the Thesaurus is “Lie”
    You say, “Consider Matt 21:28–32. Repentance is very similar to forswearing under the previous definition. Notice the son that said simply “no” to his father ended up doing his father’s will.”
    I suppose you could say that, but I wouldn’t chose the word “belief” to describe how the two sons were thinking at the time they were told what to do. I wouldn’t really call it a belief, more like a desire to do the will of his father. The wiser one decided later that it would be better to do it, though I doubt if he wanted to.
    You say, “Do you have the reference for this story of Jephthah? I can’t seem to find it. In any event, would it have changed things had he answered only “yes” instead of “vowing”?
    Well, Jephthah didn’t have to make any promise. God didn’t ask for a vow, it was Jephthah’s idea. There was no possible answer of “Yes”. The reference is Judges 29-39 and it is a revelation of how men use to revere God and keep their word no matter what. It is also an amazing account of a mistake and worthy of much thought.
    You say, “Although I think there are legitimate reasons for saying yes and then later changing that to a no, or vice versa. Consider the two sons in Matt 21.”
    I certainly would agree with that. We should always try to rectify our mistakes, but it is better not to make them in the first place.
    I once thought that I might have to be on the Witness Stand and you should have seen the face of my lawyer when I told him I would not put my hand on the Bible and swear anything, because the very Book that the Court demanded that I swear on says, “Do not swear”. To his credit he researched it and the demand is “Swear or Affirm”: at least in Kentucky it is.
    I am surprised that someone hasn’t brought up the subject of a Promissory Note yet. Just so you don’t have to, it is an agreement with the conditions spelled out. If you don’t pay you loose the collateral, so it is more of a yes than a promise.

  7. Cliff says:

    Instead you ought to say “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that” – James 4:15

  8. astudent says:

    Cliff,
    Well, I do believe that you are right about what we should say. However I believe God has made it plain that we should not make promises that we do not have the power to keep. Even those made with good intensions can not be true promises. So, I do not believe it is the Lord’s will that we should do so.

  9. Kevin says:

    Where in the bible do God ask people to make pledges

  10. astudent says:

    Kevin,
    Nowhere, that I know of

  11. jmeroyer says:

    “only by pride cometh contention; but with the well advied is wisdom…”

  12. jmeroyer says:

    This is a little comical.. I’m a christian, follower of Jesus Christ like you all. I saw the top comment on reasons we shouldn’t pledge, promose or swear, which i TOTALY AGREE with, then I see the back and forth, then comes Jesus, who settles the whole thing!!! {see Cliff’s comment} Isnt the Lord awesome! We’re all so rationally confrentational, why?

  13. astudent says:

    jmeroyer,

    I like it when someone sees a laugh when thinking about God and His word.

    I believe we are made that way. The Bereans were of more noble character because they examined the Scripture to see if what Paul said was true. If you check what all men say, you will not be spoken of as noble in today’s society. Perhaps someone will call you confrontational, because you are trying to be noble!

    Now you have me laughing. The thought of me being noble! Perhaps confrontational fits better.

  14. Biodun says:

    I just stumbled on this site when i had a thought about making pledges and i must say that your views and comments have enlightened me. However, i will like to add that we should study to make ourselves approved of God rightly dividing the word of truth. I will make more contributions as we go on. Meanwhile keep the good work on. Thanks

  15. astudent says:

    Biodun,

    Welcome, feel free to jump in, anywhere and anytime. Try to overlook me as I always look for something that I see in a different way and it seems as though I am disagreeing with everything others say.

  16. C.L.R says:

    Just came across this site, so very much needed in this time when our leadership in the our churches are asking the congregations to make pledges. Oh I pray much that we would all began to read, study, and understand God’s word, thus allowing us to be in true relationship with Jesus Christ.

    God Bless

  17. astudent says:

    C.L.R,

    The Church of today has become like the world. The world sees the power in money, but God sees another master. (Matthew 6:24) The true Church will be completed by the Spirit of the Lord and not by might or power.

    I too would like the congregation to study God’s Word for themselves.

    Perhaps we should pray for God to kick the props out from under these lukewarm churches. Not saying, just a thought.

  18. D says:

    It sounds like we all need to have the “props” kicked out from under us! And God Laughed!!!!!!

    “Intellectualism” the Golden Calf of this generation!

  19. astudent says:

    D,

    I agree we all do need the props kicked out from under us. It is a wonderful thing when someone kicks the props from under me and I appreciate it. I laugh as much as the one that does the kicking! Yes, God laughs also.

    “Intellectualism” the Golden Calf of this generation!

    Do you mean that we shouldn’t seek answers? Or perhaps we shouldn’t talk about what seems right to us? Perhaps I just don’t understand your comment. Surely, you are not accusing me of being intelligent! I plead innocent. Really!

  20. Kris says:

    What of the greatest promise, oath, pledge, vow of all? The marriage union? Are we not to make this pledge? It is not accurate to state that vow, pledge, oath, etc., all mean the same thing. This assumption is leading you to error. It isn’t the making of a promise that is “wrong” but instead, the making of hasty, foolish, promises, committments, etc. We make thousands of unspoken vows, promises, committments, oaths, every day. We promise, etc., to go to work, to pick up groceries, to go to school, to help people, to study, and on and on. The summary is that we do nothing without first appealing to the Father about his plans and purposes for our life. That we don’t determine our own futurs and destiny without appealing first to the Father for his wisdom and direction in our life. We become idolatrous only when we ignore the leadership of God and make decisions without asking God for direction first. I suggest you buy a Strong’s concordance and examine the original meanings of these various words. Some are nouns, some are verbs, etc. and all are used is specific context.

  21. Kris says:

    Oath, Swear: an oath is a solemn declaration, usually based on an appeal to God or to some revered person or object (Matthew 5:34-36 [34] But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black, that someone will do some particular thing–like speak the truth, perform a particular act, keep a promise, etc. To swear is to make the oath. To forswear is to swear falsely.

    Vow: in scripture, vow is both an noun and a verb. One can “vow a vow” (Numbers 6:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:
    See All…). A vow is a solemn promise made to the Lord. It usually involves dedicating oneself or some possession to an act, service, or way of life.

    Pledge: often used today as a verb meaning to make a promise to give something. But in the Bible, pledge is consistently used as a noun. Normally, it refers to what we might today call collateral. A pledge was an object given as a guarantee that the promised act or object or money will follow. It was like the earnest money in a real estate purchase or the collateral on a loan. Though it came to mean the making of a promise, it did not originally have this meaning.

  22. astudent says:

    Kris,

    How did you arrive at the conclusion that a marriage vow is the greatest vow of all? It is a promise between two people, how could that be greater than a promise to God?

    Matthew 19:11&12 (NIV) Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” In other words (mine) Jesus said that it is better not to marry (make that vow).

    1Cor 7:32-35 (NIV) “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” Don’t you think that cancels out the idea that the marriage vow is a great vow?

    When I was married the words were, “Do you take this woman”, and my proper response was, “I do”. I did not make a vow. James 5:12 (NIV) “Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.” By the way, I did not keep that promise. She did not let me. Truth is, I was happier the day she divorced me, than the day we were married.

    God does not separate hasty promises from carefully considered ones. If someone carefully considers a vow, they would not make it. We are not in control, God is, and we are not God. Satan would have you believe that you have the power to keep an oath, but God warns us not to make any. Who would need God, if they could keep oaths?

    Scripture does not say do not forswear, but do not swear.

    Mat 5:37 (NIV) “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” To go beyond just a yes or no is to vow, pledge, swear, or make an oath. Look the words up; they all have the same definition.

    Let me save you the trouble.
    VOW
    1. a solemn promise, pledge, or personal commitment:
    OATH
    1. a solemn appeal to a deity, or to some revered person or thing, to witness one’s determination to speak the truth, to keep a promise, etc.: to testify upon oath.
    SWEAR
    1. to make a solemn declaration or affirmation by some sacred being or object, as a deity or the Bible.
    2. to bind oneself by oath.
    PLEDGE
    1. a solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something:

    These definitions all were found in the Random House Webster’s Dictionary. I believe it is very accurate to state they all mean the same thing.

    I believe you are right in saying that we should “do nothing without first appealing first to the Father for His wisdom and direction in our life” and He said, “But I tell you, Do not swear at all:” Matthew 5:34 (NIV) (in part).

    We do not determine our own futures and destiny; God does. We can only turn to Him and let His will be done.

    As I read your attempt to define the words oath, vow, and pledge, I cannot help but think ‘What is the definition of is’! I hope you think it as funny as I do.

    Anyway, whether a word is a noun or verb is determined by the context in which it is used. God said do not swear and that is a verb.

  23. Kris says:

    It’s the greatest between two people as that was the subject that you started out discussing. Clearly this whole topic takes on a new meaning when we speak of promises to God but that wasn’t your original post topic. “Should a Christian make a pledge….” Marriage is a pledge and your post seems to infer that we dont’ make pledges, promises, vows, etc., with people. Of course we do and they often cost us everything. However, one should never do so lightly or without first being sure that we are walking in obedience.

  24. Kris says:

    Num 30:2 – Vow – Used many times in the O.T.
    נָדַר
    nâdar
    naw-dar’
    A primitive root; to promise (positively, to do or give something to God): – (make a) vow. To promise to another person.

    Gen 38:18 – Pledge – One of many uses of the word in the O.T.
    עֲרָבוֹן
    ‘ărâbôn
    ar-aw-bone’
    (in the sense of exchange); a pawn (given as security).

    Num 30:2 Make an Oath – one of many uses in the O.T.
    שְׁבוּעָה
    shebû‘âh
    sheb-oo-aw’
    properly something sworn, that is, an oath: – curse, oath, X sworn.

    2 Peter 2:19 – Promise – Only used in the Scripture when referring to things that God will do or has done for us.
    ἐπαγγέλλω
    epaggellō
    ep-ang-el’-lo
    to announce upon (reflexively), that is, (by implication) to engage to do something, to assert something respecting oneself: – profess, (make) promise.

    Matthew 5:33 – Forswear
    ἐπιορκέω
    epiorkeō
    ep-ee-or-keh’-o
    to commit perjury: – forswear self.

    Note that the context of Matthew 5 – do not swear, etc. is an exposition of the third commandment.

    Psalm 24:4 makes a reference to swearing deceitfully and tells us NOT to do so Deceitfully…. it is possible therefore to swear… Non deceitfully as is referenced in Numbers 30 – Please note that the entire chapter of Numbers 30 is an explanation of the proper way to make, use, and keep a Vow. Which is also, by the way, tied to marriage in this chapter. Here are two verses but please read the entire chapter: 2 When a man voweth a vow unto the LORD, or sweareth an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. 3. Also when a woman voweth a vow unto the LORD, and bindeth herself by a bond, being in her fathers house, in her youth;

    Marriage is according to this chapter the making of a vow and swearing an oath that binds one’s soul.

    Here are a few instances in Scripture where God told people how to swear or ways that it is acceptable, and if doing so, make sure you follow through with your vow: Deu 6:13; Deu 10:20; Deut 23:23; Isa 48:1-2; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2 Rash swearing is as great a profanation of God’s name as solemn swearing is an honour to it.

    Back to Matthew 5:34-35 Which is a direct reference to Lev. 19:12
    Which states “You shall not swear by my name falsely…. It does not state, you shall not swear… It says, not to swear falsely…This is a critical difference…

    But I say unto you, Swear not at all – That is, in the manner which Jesus proceeds to specify. Swear not in any of the common and profane ways customary at that time.

    By heaven; for it is God’s throne – To swear by that was, if it meant anything, to swear by Him that sits there, Mat 23:22.

    Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool – Swearing by that, therefore, is really swearing by God.

    Jews in Jesus’ day had culturally introduced a number of oaths in common conversation, and oaths which they by no means considered to be binding. For example, they would swear by the temple, by the head, by heaven, by the earth. So long as they kept from swearing by the name Yahweh, and so long as they observed the oaths publicly taken, they seemed to consider all others as allowable, and allowedly broken.

    This is the abuse which Christ wished to correct. It was the practice of swearing in common conversation, and especially swearing by created things…. which also continues to this day….They were mistaken in their views of the sacredness of such oaths. They were very closely connected with God; and to trifle with them was a trifling with God. Heaven is his throne; the earth his footstool; Jerusalem his special abode; the head was made by him, and was so much under his control that we could not make one hair white or black. To swear by these things, therefore, was to treat irreverently objects created by God, and could not be without guilt.

    What Jesus is addressing in Matthew 5 is the common practice in his day of swearing in common conversation and in a frivolous manner. After all, even Jehovah swore by His own name on several occasions throughout Scripture; Too many times to list.

    Jesus completes the reference to swearing in vs. 37 by stating that our yes should be yes…etc. What he means is that we should be the kind of people that do what we say and say what what we do. There is no need to follow the cultural practices of the day by foolishly swearing to do something; as though swearing makes it even more meaningful and true. When we swear in such a manner, we are including God in our activities and He therefore, holds us accountable to do what we promise. He is also grieved when we rashly and foolishly include Him in our frivolous conversations that often include swearing of a vow or promise.

    The entire 5th chapter of Matt is Jesus addressing many misconceptions of his day… The verses about swearing and yes, yes are no different. Jesus is stating that we should be more like the Father. It is impossible for Him to lie and so we should simply say yes, yes, or no, no and that should be enough. Don’t get involved in all the cultural bindings of the day.

    In fact, when we do invoke the Name of God, or in reality, God in our vows, promises, oaths, etc., then we are all the more expected to follow through and if we don’t there will be condemnation (James). When we include God in our vows, swearing, promises, etc, then you better believe he expects us to keep our word and will hold us accountable if we don’t.

  25. astudent says:

    Kris,

    My original post tried to show everyone, that if one does not have the authority or power to keep a solemn promise, they error when doing so, as God pointed out. It makes no difference if one swears to God or to man. I did not mean to separate the two. I only tried to clarify that by asking which vow would be more important when I answered you as you seemed to separate promises.

    You say, “However, one should never do so lightly or without first being sure that we are walking in obedience.” and I say it is wrong to make any vow, whether lightly or not. If God says it is better not to make a vow, and He does, then one cannot be walking in obedience by doing so.

    Of course, we should not swear falsely. This is so far off the subject it is not worth considering.

    I see that you use the King James Version of the Bible. That is all right, but because neither you nor I speak old English, it tends to confuse us. I know you will say it does not confuse you, but it does me.

    This is quickly turning into an argument about words and we are told not to do that: it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.

    Both the KJV and the NIV state in Matthew 5:34-35 not to swear at all. To me that means not to God, or to anyone that is made in the image of God: and the reason is the same. I do not know what is going to happen tomorrow and therefore I cannot, in truth, make a vow. It would be a lie to claim that I can.

    If you chose not to see that, then fine, but how can you guarantee a vow: to anyone? Do you know what will happen in the future?

    James 4:13-16 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.

    It seems to me that the person that makes a vow is not saying, “If it is the Lords will”, but saying it is my will. Though he does not understand, he is boasting and bragging.

  26. Kris says:

    You can’t simply take one verse here and there and build a doctrine. Remember that you are quoting from letters and books. If I write you a letter, it isn’t accurate to take a sentence out and build a belief on that one sentence. If it’s wrong to make a vow then why does God repeatedly tell people to keep their vows? It isn’t wrong to make a vow, it’s wrong to do so hastily and without deep consideration as to whether or not you can follow through with it. Again I go back to marriage. If it’s wrong then why marry. Marriage is clearly a vow accoring to Num. You have to consider the whole of Scripture and complete thoughts, not just parts written to certain people because of specific situations about them. Have you ever purchased a house? Rented an apartment? Purchased a car? This is making an oath according to the O.T. because that’s what an oath is… making a committment and following through with it, not knowing if you will be alive tomorrow. Have you ever said you would meet someone for lunch? It only becomes my will when I boast about it…. when I become my own god and keep God out of my decsions. It’s a heart issue not a action issue. Go back and read all of Matt. 5….. notice that Jesus is addressing common belief’s one after the other and the idea of swearing is no exception. If it’s wrong to swear then why does God tell people to swear in the O.T.? Again, it’s wrong to do so indescriminately and in a reckless manner. I only used the KJV because it contains the references to the oringial Koine Greek and Hebrew. The English is pathetic. For example… Jesus conversation about Peter… do you love me? He doesn’t ask him three times if he loves Jesus, He only asks twice. The third time he says “Peter, are we friends….” All three times, Peter responds, “Yes Lord, we are friends….” Also in Hebrews, when it says “I will never leave you or forsake you…” In the Greek it states, “I will never, no never, not ever, never no never will I leave you or forsake you….”

  27. Kris says:

    I don’t think that what we are engaging in is an argument. Certainly it isn’t what Paul spoke of as “wicked, fruitless, or foolish” in 1 Timothy 6:20.

    I don’t consider this to be fruitless because I am currently attending a church that is conducting a campaign to raise money for “ministry.” The leadership is calling upon the body to “make a pledge over the next three years.” I am willing to agree to give to alleviate the debt but I am not willing to make a vow that I will give a certain amount of money over three years because I don’t know what will be happening over the next three years. I don’t know if I will lose my job, if my father will become ill and I will need to quit my job to help him die…. My wife has M.S. and I don’t know if she will be working in three years….

    So in this regard I completely agree with you. I will not make a vow that I am not sure, by the grace of God, that I can fulfill. The Father has not released me to make it so it would be foolish and rash.

    I do not see an admonition in Scripture stating that we are NOT to make vows. What I see is an admonition that states, “when or if you make a vow, be sure you understand what you are dong because God expects you to keep it, even if you make it foolishly.” Because vows are SO serious, it is often best that you do NOT make them because God holds us accountable to our vow, pledge, promise, etc.

    So I will be giving but I will not be writing it down in the form of a vow. I will give so long as God provides me the means to give. I will let my yes be yes, and my no be no. I don’t need to vow it or swear it, I will simply do it.

    All of the verses below talk about making vows… to keep them when you make them… They don’t state that it is wrong to make them, they state that it is wrong to make them and not keep them…
    There are more than 40 and this was just a quick search….

    Ecclesiastes 5:4-6
    When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?

    Numbers 30:1-16
    Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. “If a woman vows a vow to the Lord and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the Lord will forgive her, because her father opposed her. …

    Deuteronomy 23:21-23
    “If you make a vow to the Lord your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the Lord your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin. But if you refrain from vowing, you will not be guilty of sin. You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.

    Psalm 76:11
    Make your vows to the Lord your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared,

    Numbers 30:2
    If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

    Nahum 1:15
    Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! Keep your feasts, O Judah; fulfill your vows, for never again shall the worthless pass through you; he is utterly cut off.

    Psalm 116:14-19
    I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, …

    Numbers 29:39
    “These you shall offer to the Lord at your appointed feasts, in addition to your vow offerings and your freewill offerings, for your burnt offerings, and for your grain offerings, and for your drink offerings, and for your peace offerings.”

    Proverbs 20:25
    It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,” and to reflect only after making vows.

    Psalm 61:8
    So will I ever sing praises to your name, as I perform my vows day after day.

    Psalm 61:5
    For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

    Acts 5:1-11
    But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. …

    Job 22:27
    You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you, and you will pay your vows.

    Numbers 6:1-27
    And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins. “All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head. Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long. …

    Jonah 2:9
    But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”

    Psalm 66:13
    I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you,

    Psalm 56:12
    I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you.

    Judges 11:29-40
    Then the Spirit of the Lord was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” So Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the Lord gave them into his hand. And he struck them from Aroer to the neighborhood of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with a great blow. So the Ammonites were subdued before the people of Israel. …

    Leviticus 22:18-25
    “Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of the house of Israel or of the sojourners in Israel presents a burnt offering as his offering, for any of their vows or freewill offerings that they offer to the Lord, if it is to be accepted for you it shall be a male without blemish, of the bulls or the sheep or the goats. You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable for you. And when anyone offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering from the herd or from the flock, to be accepted it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. Animals blind or disabled or mutilated or having a discharge or an itch or scabs you shall not offer to the Lord or give them to the Lord as a food offering on the altar. …

    Leviticus 7:16-18
    But if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow offering or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what remains of it shall be eaten. But what remains of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burned up with fire. If any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten on the third day, he who offers it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be credited to him. It is tainted, and he who eats of it shall bear his iniquity.

    Psalm 50:14
    Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,

    Leviticus 27:1-13
    The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, If anyone makes a special vow to the Lord involving the valuation of persons, then the valuation of a male from twenty years old up to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. If the person is a female, the valuation shall be thirty shekels. If the person is from five years old up to twenty years old, the valuation shall be for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels. …

    Psalm 132:2
    How he swore to the Lord and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,

    Job 31:1
    “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?

    Genesis 28:20-22
    Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”
    1 Samuel 1:11
    And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

    Mark 7:11-13
    But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

    Psalm 65:1
    To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song. Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed.

    Psalm 22:25
    From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.

    Leviticus 23:38
    Besides the Lord’s Sabbaths and besides your gifts and besides all your vow offerings and besides all your freewill offerings, which you give to the Lord.

    Genesis 28:20
    Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear,

    2 Samuel 15:8 ES
    For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to the Lord.’”

    2 Samuel 15:7
    And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron.

    1 Samuel 1:21
    The man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow.

    Judges 21:5
    And the people of Israel said, “Which of all the tribes of Israel did not come up in the assembly to the Lord?” For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the Lord to Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.”

    Leviticus 27:14
    “When a man dedicates his house as a holy gift to the Lord, the priest shall value it as either good or bad; as the priest values it, so it shall stand.

    Genesis 31:13
    I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred.’”

    Proverbs 7:14
    “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows;

    Leviticus 27:15
    And if the donor wishes to redeem his house, he shall add a fifth to the valuation price, and it shall be his.

    Proverbs 12:22
    Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

  28. astudent says:

    Kris,

    Surely, we must not be talking about the same thing.

    A vow, pledge, oath, or to swear, to me is a personal guarantee that I will full fill that promise. What do the words mean to you?

    As I said, I do not know, nor do I control the future. It would not be humble or honest on my part to do such a thing.

    I have not built any doctrine on any thing. I have only tried to understand Scripture and when I do, I have tried to explain that understanding to others. My understanding does not come from me, but from the Spirit within me.

    It is my understanding that God demands that a vow be fulfilled so that a person that would attempt to make a vow will stop and try to determine if they can fulfill it. Then, I believe that a wise person will not. Because no mere man can guarantee anything.

    I see that we do not really have a disagreement. You know that you cannot, in all honesty make a pledge to give to the church. Why do you think it is all right to vow and then think it is not all right for yourself?

    Do you not see that the church errors when they ask members to make pledges. You have thought your situation out, but can anyone guarantee they will, and or can, honor their commitment?

    I was a member of a church that would also ask the members to make pledges and I did exactly as you have decided to do.

    Your verses start with Ecclesiastes 5:5 (NIV) “It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.” No one, except God, can control or know the future. Therefore, no one, but God can guarantee anything. God should be the only one that makes vows.

    I explained this to a friend a long time ago when the church that he and his wife were attending was asking for pledges. He was not as wise as you and they made a pledge. Shortly thereafter, the church began to ordain practicing homosexuals! They were sorely disappointed, but they had made a pledge. I did not ask if they kept that pledge, as it was not my place to do so, but they were trapped by their good intentions. It is better not to make a vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it: again, God was right.

    I wonder if those who are supposed to be guiding others ever contemplate Luke 16:13. They have set up a system where money must be served. Preaching is a job or career in this last church (Lukewarm church). Does no one read Micah 3:11 or 2 Corn 2:17?

  29. Kris says:

    Your points are well made and I suppose I would only consider making a vow to God… in regard to something like vowing to give him my life, my worship, offering my body as a living sacrifice…. I have also made a vow to my wife, that I will be faithful to her and strive to love her as Christ loved the church in accordance with Paul’s admonition to Ephesians. I have made a vow to take care of her as long as I am able and as long as God gives me the ability to do so. In essence, any vow I make can only be made under unction and direction/leadership/agreement of the Holy Spirit. It is best not to make a vow BUT… any vow I make will only be under clear direction from God and can only be fulfilled by Christ in me. Any vow made can only be fulfilled through the power of the Spirit because I am mortal and prone to weakness; Christ in me, the hope of glory. Also, If God specifically told me to make a vow, then I would do it. “To obey is better than sacrifice…”

  30. astudent says:

    Kris,

    I see, in you, a man that wants to do the will of God. I believe that is all He wants from us. Well, actually it seems that is all that is possible.

    As for making a promise to our father, it is not necessary. All we have to do is remember His promises to us.

    It is encouraging to trade comments with a genuine Christian. Thanks for making me think about what I believe. It is good to be questioned.

  31. you brought your payment and went for prayer and picked 10% for the Lord ministry. but somehow you have give that money to other what will your oppinion.

  32. I want to reply from kris.

  33. Kris says:

    Actually my wife and I give more than 10% of our income to support our local church. Money has never been any more than a tool to me and I don’t strive to hold onto it. 10% is only a guide and in my review of scripture, no such mandate exits in the new covenant. In fact, everything I have is the Lord’s and I should be willing to give whenever He directs me and hold tight to no earthly possessions. I support the poor and pour out my life ministering to the mentally ill and poor in our community.

    The leadership at my church is challenging the congregation to make a three year pledge to give above their normal giving and stating that everyone can give something. I don’t agree that everyone can because some people at church are in fact very needy and not in a position to give. Giving would be a tremendous hardship. Certainly, if the Father personally called upon them to give, like the widow who gave more than anyone else, they should give. However, their giving should not be out of compulsion of men but because they felt drawn to give by the Holy Spirit.

  34. Otibeji Odumeru says:

    Otibeji says:

    When searching for help on what to do about a pledge that i had hastly made, i came accross this website and it has blessed me. Though i have the money now to pay up for my promise. { I actually dropped a promisory note in response to a call to make a plege at my local church.} I believe this amounts to making a pledge in todays english language. I have been struglling with my conscience about paying, telling myself that i was not bound by an oath to pay, however, having read all the imputs from Kris and astudent and with the Biblical verses on fulfilling our promises or vows. {These words are so similar that it can be used interchangably.}I AM PAYING UP. My question now is, what should be our response next time we are faced with this type of situation i.e Pastors asking you to make a pledge towars something,{ Often worthy cause.} Do you say hold on, let me seek the Lord’s face on this, { While they are totting the paper in your face.} Or you write Yes as the Lord lives no amount yet. What exactly do you do. Also is it right for churches to ask members to make pledges for whatever cause, if not how should the churches raise money for future events. The rules are clear about tithes and offerings, either old or in the new testament but in the raising of funds for other noble purposes either immediate or in the nearest future how should the church leadeship go about it and how should the lead respond. I do understand that the Lord will bless us for whatever we give, we are even encouraged to give bountifully, but i do not want to give under pressure, nor do i want to give grudgingly and thereby loose my reward. When the money to be given is yet to be made. how do you evade sinning, by your giving that is my question.

  35. astudent says:

    Otibeji Odumeru,

    Please forgive me for such a late response. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

    I believe that you are doing right when you say that you are paying up. It is only money and money means nothing (unless you cannot pay your bills).

    You are looking for the perfect response or answer to a request to make a vow and I don’t believe anyone can give an answer.

    The answer that I would give you is study vows, oaths, pledges in the Bible. Do this until it becomes part of you and then you will be able to give an answer.

    (Luke 12:11&12 NIV) “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

    It greatly helps if one already has been taught by the Holy Spirit.

    I do not think you will be exalted by the pastor if you do not give. They ignore the verse that says you cannot serve both money and God.

    I will go out on a limb here and say; if God wants some event to occur then He will supply what ever it takes to fund it. If I believed it is a good idea to have an event, then I might mention it and then wait for God to supply what ever it takes to have it. He may lay it on just someone’s heart, or many people’s hearts to give. If nothing happened I would consider it my idea and not God’s and it should not be done.

    There is no end of “worthy causes” that men can dream up. If you give to every worthy cause you will have nothing to give to someone that needs your help.

    (2 Cor 9:7 NIV) Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

    That might be the best answer. The man should decide in “his” heart, not under compulsion from someone that has dreamed up a worthy cause.

    However, never make a pledge; just let your answer be yes or no. Never answer yes unless you have the money and do not tarry with your payment.

    Having said that remember that you cannot serve both God and money and neither can those that ask you for money.

    Money is the best tool Satan has and he uses it even in the Church.

    I do not believe it is possible to sin by giving, either by giving to the Church or not giving to it.

    The rules certainly are not clear in today’s Church when it comes to tithing. I have written about tithing and I do not want to repeat everything in this comment as that would make this comment to long. God never wanted anyone to give ten percent every year to Him or to anyone else.

    Please study tithing and you will find that two out of three years the tithe was a great big celebration to demonstrate to each and every one of His children, just how good He had been to them.

    The Church of today does not teach tithing. Those who are in charge twist Scripture in order to acquire money!

    (Acts 17:11 NIV) Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

    Study Scripture yourself and be as noble as a Beaean. They even doubted Paul so you will not be wrong to doubt what is said by the authorities of your local Church.

    I might add, doubt me also and examine the Scriptures every day to see if what I say is true.

  36. dingo342014 says:

    Thank you for this post…I firmly agree with what you are saying and that on a logical sense it makes sense also..

    I was curious as to your thoughts and any scriptures in support on two other aspects of pledging that I have been unable to find others thoughts on…

    The first is, does this then also pertain to one who asks another to pledge something? As far as I am aware (but cant remember where in the bible), but apparently God asks us to give without condition…I would say that if it is wrong to pledge something we cant 100% guarantee then it stands to reason that no one should ‘expect’ another to make a pledge.

    The second is on a government level. Governments pledge our future earning ability (taxes) to borrow to fund deficits, investments, etc, and they also pledge the nations assets when issuing currency. As the government is representing the people, when the Government borrows it is really ‘we the people’ who are authorizing the borrowing and therefore the pledging, which obviously means people need to be educated on this to lessen the need….but what is of more concern to me is the ‘currency issuer’, i.e. the central bank authorized by government to pledge our assets as backing the currency….would this also be wrong in the eyes of God?

    Many thanks

  37. astudent says:

    dingo342014,

    Could you be thinking of Luke 6:38? “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”” (NIV)

    It seems to me that pledging and giving are two different subjects. Though one must usually give to complete a pledge, it is the pledge itself that is wrong, not giving.

    I agree with your premise, that no one should expect another to make a pledge. Though the established Church would disagree, I believe it a sin to ask someone else to make a pledge. After all God says, (Ecc 5:5 NIV) “It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.” Then to ask someone to pledge, is to ask them to place themselves in danger.

    If you have read anything that I have written on the government, then you would know that I agree with you about the errors of the government. It is really not ‘we the people’ at all. We seem to think God needs our help in order to choose the authorities. So, we put our faith in man and not God.

    Somehow, Satan has convinced us that we can choose the best-qualified man to lead us, when there is no man qualified to lead. We place our faith in ourselves to be able to choose and then in the man that we choose. And, because we do not reason this out, we suffer the same curses that God told Israel they would suffer, when they chose a king (man) to lead them.

    1Sam 8:11-18 (NIV) He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

    Just substitute president, representative, senator, or any other authority for king and the verse is as true today as in the time of Samuel.

    As I understand, it is wrong, in God’s eyes, for the government to pledge what God has given (loaned) us, but the root of the problem lies in our own heart. We should not have meddled in God’s affairs.
    (Rom 13:1&2) “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

    Dan 4:17 (NIV) “‘The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.’

    God has not changed and we deserve to be under the lowliest of men.

    The word “lowliest” has many definitions. The one that seems to me to be correct for Daniel 4:17 is “morally low; without estimable personal qualities; dishonorable; mean-spirited; selfish; cowardly” (Random House Webster’s Dictionary). And the one that would mean Jesus would be “the bottom support of anything; that on which a thing stands or rests” One has to understand the context in order to understand the definition.

    We know that Jesus is appointed King of kings, so the verse can mean him and it can mean any authority. Therefore, the word can, and must, have two different meanings.

    You do well, when you apply logic to the Word of God. God is perfect and therefore perfectly logical. Everything that He does or says is logical. Knowing this helps to make Scripture clear.

    I need questions that cause me to think. Thanks for one.

  38. dingo342014 says:

    thanks astudent,

    what it seems to boil down to is that the government gets bigger because we as individuals get smaller…which is probably because we focus too much on our rights rather than our duties

  39. BILLY JONES says:

    I believe you have to honor your word if you say yes you should stand by it and if you say no you should support that because you are the only person that know the reason why you are making that choice.

  40. dingo342014 says:

    Hi astudent,
    I can’t believe it has been nearly two years since I made my comment to this article.

    I should have introduced myself a bit more back then. I want to expand on your post as well by limiting promises, vows, oaths, pledges etc to ‘legally binding promises, sanctioned by the state, and which are convertible into money, debt, or property (which are all the same thing anyway)’. All other types of promises (in other words promises which are not legally binding) are not referred to here.

    In 1998 my parents won the state lottery and became instantly wealthy, only to end up bankrupt 4 years later. Not long after this I discovered that this actually occurs to 19 out of 20 lottery winners. But this wasn’t all; I then discovered that 19 out of 20 people will retire with insufficient funds, and 19 out of 20 businesses will ultimately fail within 10 years!

    At first, I was stunned and believed (as many of the wealth gurus will tell you) that it was to do with the mental aspects of the person – i.e. 19 out of 20 people have a poor relationship with money, lack business skills, don’t understand economics and finance etc, and this is why they never seem to be able to succeed.

    At first I was determined I was going to become one of the 5%. For years I struggled with mixed success at all sorts of business ventures, stocks, real estate, etc, until one day I had some sort of epiphany. I was sitting at my desk and I asked myself “what would all the volunteers, charity workers, religious preachers, just about anyone and everyone who worked for others without remuneration, do if all of sudden every being on the planet had all their needs met?”

    Although appearing to be a very naive question it had an extremely profound effect on me and completely turned my life 180 degrees in the other direction. I was no longer concerned about wealth or being part of the 5%, and I now wanted to discover what money actually was, which along the way culminated into wanting to disprove some of the statements and assumptions people have about money itself, including the biggest and most parroted term I hear, ‘its a fact of life we all need money’, because I can never tell if people mean that there will always be money somewhere in the world, or if in fact all people have to accept money and the principles it rests on, or starve! If people mean its the latter, I wanted to disprove this.

    My aim since has been to explore the possibility that an individual, family, or even small group, might be able to employ a different model that does not work on the same principles as money, and yet be perfectly lawful, but still be able to co-exist alongside everyone else. I believe money is necessary for some, as it motivates idea makers, inventors, but I also believe that for an economy to thrive, some of the members of society actually need to step off, i.e. leave the game of economic pursuits altogether, renounce all use of money (and therefore renounce all benefits that money can bring an individual, which is nothing more than owning property with a right to convert it into money), but at the same time not requiring the individual or family to have to go out into the wilderness.

    Just on this last part, it would actually be illegal anyway. It is illegal to be homeless (because you will then be trespassing on another’s land) just as it is illegal to beg; and therefore, logically speaking, there must be a way for a person to exercise basic human rights without having to compete economically (which is another way of saying ‘making legally binding promises, oaths, pledges and vows relating to money or property’), otherwise that would suggest that there is a written law somewhere that states we have a right to life on the condition we compete with one another!!! I would love for someone to show me where this law exists.

    This sent me down a new path where I now began to study religion, philosophy, law, history, economics, politics, psychology and just about anything and everything I could get my hands on; because I had to then discover what such an individual would have to do, or rather give up, in order to operate a model based on different principles to those that govern money.

    There are some interesting things I discovered along the way, which also tie in with the subject of your post.

    The principles of money are simple, and have been explained all too often, however the best description was given in a publication by the Bank of England in 2014 in which they said that money is nothing but debt, and that if everyone paid their debts there would be no money; and further, that a ‘lack of trust’ is the essential ingredient needed for money to exist. They contrasted this lack of trust with a credit system which is the opposite.

    But this wasn’t enough of a description of a credit system until I read a book called Debt: The First 5000 Years, when describing how the Eskimos did not barter but always gave away their surpluses from their hunting expeditions, not out of charity as they believed charity was below being human, but out of necessity as too much meat etc would cause them problems; they also never expected anything in return such as would be the case in any legal exchange, but rather knew that at some point in the future if that same neighbor had success in hunting that they would give away their surpluses also. In fact, don’t ever thank an Eskimo if he gives you meat, as he ‘will’ be offended (according to this book).

    But I don’t like calling this a credit system as it does not fit with today’s definition of a creditor, because a creditor needs to ‘own’ that which he lends out. I needed another definition.

    Not long after this, I found an Iranian economist who was explaining the principles of usury in an article, and I was able to email him to expand on the principles in which he shared the following (I used the example of a tomato seed to him).

    Assume one person grows tomatoes to feed his family, and assume some unexpected event destroys his crop which was almost ready to harvest. He asks another to lend some tomatoes for food, and some seeds, with a promise to share in the profits of the harvest, but with a mutual understanding on both parties that if the crop fails, there will be no legal action forthcoming. He explained to me that neither was usury because:

    a) the loan of tomatoes was personal and done out of need to help another, and thus the lender should lend expecting nothing in return;

    b) the loan of seeds was a mutual venture, i.e. for the purpose of sharing in either the profits or loss.

    Contrast this to any bank loan or loan of money or property and what you have are three distinct differences.

    1st. Even personal loans for basic consumption and to meet basic human needs will be expected to be repaid, ‘and’ with interest.

    2nd. Any loan for a venture always comes with lenders insurance in whatever form, mostly in an interest charge and a security or lien on some property, and never does the lender lend under a profit/loss share agreement.

    3rd. It is impossible to grow anything which mother nature herself has not made self-reproducing (seeds, livestock, etc), without having to extract it from others (for example, gold, silver, money, land, etc).

    To put all this in perspective we have on one side a debt based system where resources are viewed as private property with an aim to exploit for monetary gain, which requires lending to people by getting them into legally binding promises, which if breached result in seizure of property, irrespective of the purpose of the exchange or loan, and by demanding that they take the sterile (non self-reproducing) subject they borrowed and getting them to increase and multiply it, which can only be done by extracting it from others. Wealth under this system therefore means, the right to live off the labours of others.

    Compare this to the Eskimo or tomato system where resources are not viewed as property at all, therefore the concept of exploiting them for monetary gain wouldn’t even be able to exist (as there is no money), no “legally binding promises” are created, nor enforced, nothing is seized upon failure, and what is the subject matter is always self-reproducing. Wealth (if we have to use this term) then is mutual trust and resources are just resources.

    The debt system requires a much larger government because without a government one can’t have property, nor be able to lend or exchange it, nor be able to enforce their legal rights thereof.

    I also found another major issue with the economic system.

    Although I initially believed what I was told about why 95% of people are poor with money, I have since discovered that it is mathematically impossible for every economic entity which generates revenue and has some form of balance sheet (i.e. an individual worker, family, small business, large business, corporations, states, councils, cities, governments, etc) to ‘all’ be solvent ‘all of the time’.

    When people especially talk about 19 out of 20 businesses failing, they always refer to the point that it is cash-flow that is king; i.e. being successful simply means being solvent and being able to pay all your legally binding promises on time; and therefore when a business fails it means they can no longer pay their bills and are thus insolvent (just like monopoly).

    But not every economic entity can have enough cash on hand ‘all at the same time’ to pay their bills. It is impossible because the bigger the company or entity, the longer the account is they demand; for example, bigger compaines will only deal with you if you accept their 60, 90, or 120 day accounts, meaning they will pay you in 2, 3 or 4 months – but on the flip side, when you owe, especially bigger compaines, you will always be expected to pay in 7, 14, or 30 days.

    In other words, unless every entity out there all agreed on the same terms (for example 60 days), then there will always be entities which go insolvent – and our bankruptcy statistics prove this (unless of course we want to continue to assume that all these bankruptcies are the result of ignorance or stupidity).

    Incidentally, I found that the velocity of money might have some connection to this..for example, the velocity of money here in Australia is 6 (a dollar changes hand six times in a year), which equates to two months. Is it possible that bigger compaines use their power and might to ensure their accounts are always larger than the velocity of money (i.e. 2 months or longer), meaning smaller compaines are expected to pay bills, and thus transfer money, quicker than the average velocity? This would be like having to pay more than $200 out each round before you pass Go!

    Anyway, I digress.

    The question we have now is, is it possible for anyone to provide for their family, without having to engage in economics, or create legal contracts, (in other words, without having to use the debt system)? I believe there is a way and it comes from understanding the two very distinct and opposing ways in which we hold resources.

    Property does not comprise of things, but of legal relations. As Socrates once said, you either have a pair of sandals purely for the purpose of utilizing them for what they were designed for, as sandals, or you own them for the purpose of making money from them.

    I call the first purpose a right in utility – and which the law calls a right of excludability which simply means the world at large is not permitted to infringe on your right to use the sandals.

    The second, I call a right in usury. The law calls it a right of transferrability (otherwise known as a beneficial interest or right), which means I have the right to take this resource and do all sorts of things with it, give it away, destroy it, sell it, lease it, etc. But ultimately, I am concerned the right to exploit it for monetary gain, i.e. I did not buy the sandals to utilize as sandals, I bought them so I could generate income or profit from them.

    When we buy homes, which of these rights are we exercising? An investor is only exercising the latter, but a home buyer is exercising both, and I do not know of too many who buy homes who also do not have expectations that not only can they sell this house at a later time, that they also desire it will increase in value.

    It is this right to exploit the resource for monetary gains (remember money can’t grow on its own, nor can gold or silver – and so these things can only increase in one persons hands if he bargains them out of anothers), which is at the core of our economic world, and can only exist under a competitive system built on lack of trust.

    This is out of the Supreme Court of South Australia

    Individual Autonomy
    1.In a competitive world where one person’s economic gain is commonly another’s loss, a duty to take reasonable care to avoid causing mere economic loss to another, as distinct from physical injury to another’s personal property, may be inconsistent with community standards in relation to what is ordinarily legitimate in the pursuit of personal advantage:

    This particular immunity from liability reflects the common law’s concern with the autonomy of the individual and its desire to give effect to the choices of the individual by not burdening his or her freedom of action. Thus, as long as a person is legitimately protecting or pursuing his or her commercial interests, the common law does not require that person to be concerned with the effect of his or her conduct on the economic interests of other persons.

    — MILLS & ORS v SHEAHAN [2007] SASC 365 (16 October 2007) Supreme Court South Australia

    In closing:

    Jesus said to a rich man who asked how to enter the kingdom of heaven, sell all your possessions, give it to the poor, and come follow me.

    Do you believe we are to take this literally?

    Logic would suggest NO, simply because as I have said above, it is illegal to be homeless and/or to beg. Would Jesus tell us to do something which is illegal? No, he said I am here to fulfill the law (not break it).

    Interestingly, the error is that we ‘do’ interpret this literally, and further, we interpret the meaning of possession to be the way it is used today, i.e. I possess my clothes, my computer, my car etc.

    But, the meaning of the word possession in Roman times was exactly as I described above as a right in usury. In other words, possession back then meant your right to exploit the sandals for monetary gain – and did not refer to simply utilizing them for what they were designed for.

    I have a few questions.

    Can anyone imagine being able to simply hold a resource such as a house, car, appliances, tools, etc and never own the right to sell or lease them, or do anything with them other than that for which they were designed for – and when you die, all those resources, the house, the car, etc, would go to the public trustee who can then deal with them the best way for the community?

    Would the government, and therefore the community benefit more if I held resources this way, as opposed to being able to exploit them for monetary gain? Would I not be helping the poor more by not using resources for personal self gain?

    And finally, would I ever need to make legally binding promises if I never owned property to begin with?

    The ultimate question then becomes, how would I feed myself if I cant work for money? That will have to be for another time.

  41. astudent says:

    BILLY JONES,

    You agree with God when you say that you believe that you have to honor your word, but it doesn’t make any difference why you make a promise.

    Follow God’s advice and do not swear at all.

    (Mat 5:33-37 NIV) “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

  42. astudent says:

    dingo342014,

    You started with legally binding promises and quickly switched to money as the principal subject!???

    I see that you have spent much time thinking about money and you make some interesting points about the subject.

    However, the study of money is a subject that is unfruitful when applied or combined with the study of Scripture.

    Scripture says, (Luke 16:13 NIV) “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

    Money is a master that opposes God and because it is a master we cannot change it. It has the power to change us, but we do not have the power to change it. Those who love money, and there are more of them than those who do not love money, will not let money be changed, as it will limit their greed.

    As I see the subject of money, it is a waste of time to study it. There will not be two masters in Heaven, so there will be no money there. I have determined to study the Master that will be in Heaven and I will leave the study of the master that will not exist to the world.

    That is not to say that the studies of the things of this world are not interesting. I find science interesting and I waste time thinking about it, but because everything here is really only made of nothing, it will all be changed and everything that I have learned will be worthless. And yet I find myself wasting time thinking about it!???

    (Mat 19:21 NIV) Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    You asked, “Do you believe we are to take this literally? My answer is yes.

    It seems to me that the question is not really “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” as said in Mark 10:17-27, which is the account that I believe you are referring to, but the question is really ‘What must I do to be perfect?’

    That is the question that Jesus really answered. He gave the answer to a man that had kept the law that was given at that point in time.

    It is not possible for any man to be perfect. If that were possible that person would not need a Savior. At the point in time that the man asked Jesus the question, Jesus had yet to be sacrificed and therefore there was no Savior.

    I do not believe Jesus could have answered “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” with out destroying the young mans hope, so he gave answer to ‘what must I do to be perfect’ instead of “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    The real answer, which is the answer that can be given now, to the question “what must I do to inherit eternal life” is (John 6:29 NIV) Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    (Acts 16:30-31 NIV) He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”

    So, let me try to condense my answer to the question ‘Do you believe we are to take this literally’.

    Because no man is perfect, no man can inherit eternal life. However, God has devised and worked a plan where any man or woman can be saved and therefore can have eternal life.

    (1 Cor 15:50 NIV) I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

    It is not what we do, but what we believe that allows us to have eternal life.

    Please do not think that I am belittling you or your understanding. I believe that you already understand most what I am saying. I am only trying to clarify, for both of us, what I understand.

    As for your other questions at the end of your comment. We do not really own anything as everything belongs to God. When we leave this earth everything that we legally own is given to someone else, so we did not own it, we only used it. So, you do not “need” to make legally binding promises: someone else will make legally binding promises for what you leave, if you do not. And you do not feed yourself: God feeds you.

  43. dingo342014 says:

    Hi austudent,

    Thanks for the reply..I certainly do not think you are belittling me. I have a lot of respect for people who offer their own interpretations. Although I must admit, there does seem to be as many interpretations of the scriptures as there are people on this planet. I only found your blog a couple of years ago because I wanted to see others interpretations of what the bible (and other religions) had to say about making promises, especially when it is obvious one can’t know the future!

    As for money, I was hoping that you or other readers could see that I was pointing out that money and legal promises are the same thing but in different forms. Under the Eskimo and the tomato situations it was evident that neither involved money and therefore neither involved ‘binding’ promises. My understanding of the legal world (binding promises) is that it is money and money is the legal world – they are one and the same thing – in fact the Bank of England said as much when they said in their publication, money only comes into existence when one accepts another persons debt – and I think we can all agree, going into debt is making a legally binding promise.

    I also agree that we do not own anything. In fact so do the courts, as they go to pains to emphasize the fact that property comprises of ‘legal relations’ (which are nothing but binding promises) not ‘things’. So while people think their house is property, it is not the house that is the property, it is the legally binding duties of the rest of the community to refrain from your enjoyment of it, and it is also the legally binding duty of the government to protect that right, and it is also the legally binding duty of the government to ensure there is a currency in which to convert the house into if you decide to sell or lease it – therein lies one’s property.

    So my point that I was sharing was that money = property = legally binding promises = lack of trust; they are all the same thing.

    And so, and I do say this with utmost respect, that I do not agree with you when you say studying money is fruitless because it has most certainly not been fruitless for me as it has opened my eyes beyond belief – however at the same time it has also caused me great stress in that I have very few people who I can even talk to let alone see what I see…and I’m sure you know what this feels like

    I commend you for your efforts with this blog
    In trust
    Dingo

  44. astudent says:

    dingo342014,

    I like your point, it makes sense to me and I agree with you.

    I suppose all things, when compared to the Word of God, are worth studying. I studied money until I understood Luke 16:13 and then it did not seem important to me.

    I am happy that God has used money to teach you. God knows what fires us up and it is a joy when He teaches us using our understanding of the world, which is what we know the best.

    I see the government and the legal world as necessary because we do not obey God’s Law. That is ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you’. If we “all” did this very simple thing, we would not need governments, police, prisons, or any other law. Nor would we need money. We would give to those who have less than we do and one does not need money to give.

    The problem is not everyone obeys the Second Greatest Commandment and so we do need money. Everyone will obey that commandment in Heaven and there will be no money found there. Well, the streets will be pure gold, but worth nothing.

    Dingo, I have reached a point where I know that iron cannot sharpen iron. God gives us understanding and stops us from giving that understanding to others. He wants to teach each one of us Himself, so the words are sealed, and we cannot make anyone understand as we do.

    Though I am not very good at it, I believe that we should ask others questions without supplying too many answers. Then let them work on the answers: see I said I was not very good at it the truth is I stink at it.

    I get this idea from studying Jesus. He quite often answered a question with a question.
    He also said that understanding is not given to everyone. (Mat 13:11) So, we cannot give our understanding to those who God has not given.

    I have learned to control my zeal when I am around others, so that I do not drive them away. By the way, I stink at that as well.

    Thanks for your encouragement. You are right, I know what it feels like, but it is just part of the game.

  45. dingo342014 says:

    Hi astudent,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement also. I needed it.

    I totally agree with what you say on both the the reasons government and law exists, also that God teaches us directly and individually.

    As for treating others as you would have them treat you, I find myself writing short stories to express my concerns, especially as to the competitive world we live in, and how it seems almost impossible to actually fulfill this commandment because we are forced to compete economically against each other.

    The story goes like this:

    “A man is riding his bike home to get ready for a job appointment when he stumbles on another bike rider with a flat tire. Being the good Samaritan he is, he stops to offer his assistance, which the other person gladly receives and then thanks him for taking time out to help him.

    Later that day, both bike riders find themselves pitted against each other at the same job appointment. The good Samaritan asks himself ‘how do i treat this man as I would be treated? I am now forced to compete against him for this job because I have a duty by law to provide for my family, and I know if I win, he himself will not be able to provide for his family?'”

    The economist will answer this by saying, the best person for the job should have the job. I ask the economist, why are these people unemployed to begin with? and then I ask God ‘is it possible for an individual to live without money and thus not have to compete against his fellow man, and will he actually benefit society more by doing so?’

    Keynes, the most famous of economists actually said “For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to every one that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still.”

    I can only see one logical reason for making a statement like this – Keynes (along with just about everyone else I know) assumes we all have the same goal in life – to retire with enough material wealth to live off until we die – to which I totally disagree and which I take offense to. I do not have any desire to live off the labours of others, especially when even an economist admits that to do so means we can’t serve God! The only way anyone can even fulfill such a goal is to lend money at interest!

    Romans 13:8-9

    I do not criticize people for coveting a goal such as this, as a lot of it comes from a feeling of insecurity which is understandable in such a competitive world as we live in..my only goal has been to continuously ask God if there is a way to live without competing, because to do so means I can fulfill the commandments, and more to the point, address the very concern of your post, which is that it is only in a competitive world where we are all competing for the same goal (to retire) that we are forced to make legally binding promises, pledges, vows and oaths with each other.

    In trust
    Dingo

  46. astudent says:

    dingo342014,

    We all have different ways of looking at everything. That is not to say that some are right and some are wrong: just different ways.

    I have a problem interpreting your story the same way; it seems to me, that you mean it.

    I do not view the Good Samaritan as competing with the other man. To me it only seems as an attempt to get a job. For me to view it as competing one would have to attempt to block the other in some way. Just to summit a request for the position would not constitute a competition in my view. That is not to say that you are wrong as it could be viewed as competition.

    I will try to explain how my views differ from yours and to do so I must refer to the very basics of understanding. I find that the answers all lie in the basics and one cannot understand if one begins with anything more complicated than the very basics.

    The very first thing to know is that God made everything and He is in control of it. One must always keep that in mind as we search for complete understanding. Everything that is happening is happening because God is letting it happen. That sounds very simple and very basic, but we tend to lose sight of it when we begin to think about other things; such as money.

    This world is corrupt and God knows it, so it is this way because it is part of His plan.

    God has placed this world in the hands of Satan (John 5:19), who by the way, God made. One of the best tools in the hands of Satan is money.

    This whole world is a place different from Heaven. It is a test for all of mankind. If this world was a mirror image of Heaven it could not test anyone. There will be no money in Heaven, because God will supply all of our needs and probably all of our wants. So if this earth was exactly like Heaven there would be no Satan, or his best tool, and no test.

    Dingo, we are all given over to sin. (1 John 1:8 NIV) “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” We must handle money, and if I see competition as you do, it would be a sin. However we are told that we can pick up serpents and not be harmed. Speaking symbolically, money represents a serpent and I believe God will protect us from it.

    Scripture tells us not to worry and as long as I mean no harm to others I am not going to worry about money, or competition.

    Not all live for retirement. That was never a goal of mine. I owned my own business for a long time and my goal was to grow the business until it was big enough that I could work when I wanted and take off when I wanted.

    That did not pan out, but God has supplied me with everything I need and much of what I want anyway. I am quite sure it was God, as I did not plan, in any way, for this phase of my life.

    If you think about retirement it is only worry! Worry about what one will do when they become too old to work. The very basics of it is worry: like the basics of insurance. I would council everyone not to worry. When we become too old for this world God will take us home.

    We work because God wants us to (2 Th 3:10) and (Eph 4:28 NIV) “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”

    If we work with our own hands, then we will not live off the labors of others, but off our own labors.

    When I ask the same question of God that you ask ‘is there is a way to live without competing’, in my mind, I hear “Not in this world. But do not worry, for I am your Father and you are My child. Yes, there is a place where there will be no competition and, after a while, you will live there with Me.”

    I believe He will give you the same answer. If He gives you more understanding and a better answer then please share it with me. I do not claim to understand perfectly. Well, not yet, but I am working on it.

    I almost forgot. Those legally binding promises that you say we must make are really only agreements. If one party of the agreement does not fulfill their side of the agreement, the other party receives what ever was agreed on. So, it is an agreement, not a promise. It can be called a promise, but it is better described as an agreement. The word agreement is a better fit than the word promise.

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