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of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 20. Truth and the Avoidance
We commit ourselves to
tell the truth, to give a simple yes or no, and to avoid swearing of
Jesus told his disciples
not to swear oaths at all, but to let their yes be yes, and their no be
no.  We believe that this teaching
applies to truth telling as well as to avoiding profane language.  An oath is often sworn as a guarantee
that one is telling the truth. This implies that when one has not taken
an oath, one may be less careful about telling the truth. Jesus'
followers are always to speak the truth and, in legal matters, simply
to affirm that their statements are true.
Jesus also warned against
using oaths to try to compel God to guarantee the future. In faith, we
commit our futures to God. 
Throughout history, human
governments have asked citizens to swear oaths of allegiance. As
Christians, our first allegiance is to God. 
In baptism we pledged our loyalty to Christ's community, a commitment
that takes precedence over obedience to any other social and political
(1) Matt. 5:33-37; James 5:12.
(2) Eph. 4:15, 29.
(3) Matt. 5:34-36.
(4) Acts 5:29.
1. In the biblical languages, truth is related to faithfulness--
faithfulness to the facts (speaking truth) as well as faithfulness in
relationships (being true). Speaking the truth in love in the Christian
community shows our commitment to right relationships as well as to
2. We follow the
Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition, which has usually applied Jesus' words
against taking oaths in these ways: in affirming rather than swearing
in courts of law and in other legal matters, in a commitment to
unconditional truth telling and to keeping one's word, in avoiding
membership in oath-bound or secret societies, in refusing to take oaths
of allegiance that would conflict with our ultimate allegiance to God
through Christ, and in avoiding all profane oaths.
Jesus' counsel to tell
the truth without oaths and to be true in our relationships applies to
family life, business dealings, advertising, and other agreements we
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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