UPDATE: I am a Reformed Presbyterian (RP). Reformed Presbyterians have held many distinct doctrines and practices. One such distinction has been that of the Constitution of the United States failure to acknowledge Christ’s supremacy over the nations. Given the Constitution does not proclaim Christ as King and also rejects Scripture as the law of the land. As a means of addressing the dilemma of swearing to the Constitution, the RP’s came up with an Explanatory Declaration that allows one to swear to the Constitution insofar as it is in accordance with God’s Law. One RP Pastor once told me that it would be best for Christians not to swear an oath to the Constitution, and I agree. That being said, for those who are interested, below is the Explanatory Declaration. At the end is a PDF copy if you want to download it.
UPDATE 2.0: I do not believe the Constitution of the United States is a God-honoring document. It fails to acknowledge the Christ’s crown rights over the nation, choosing instead to place “We the People” in that role. So why put this explanatory declaration on my blog? Well, the answer is rather simple. At the time I posted this in 2013, the Explanatory Declaration was not available online. A good friend asked that I digitize it so that he could use it when he had to take oaths. So while I do believe that not swearing to the Constitution is the ideal path, I have no problem helping a friend who came to this position after committing to serve in the Army for a time. Please do not read into my posting of this declaration any sympathies to the “goodness” of the Constitution of the United States. 🙂
“An Explanatory Declaration (To be used in connection with the oath to the Constitution of the United States) “I take this oath, pledging my loyalty to my country: but declaring my supreme allegiance to Jesus Christ Whom God Almighty has appointed Ruler of the nations, and expressing my dissent from the Constitution’s failure to recognize and acknowledge the Divine Institutions of civil government.” Those who view this declaration for the first time, may wonder if there is any need for an “Explanatory Declaration” when taking the oath to the Constitution to the United States. It will come as a surprise to many people that there are Christians who have any objection to taking an oath to the Constitution without an explanation. This difficulty does not arise from any disloyalty to our government, nor for a lack of appreciation for the many fine features of our Constitution and form of government. It is due to one vital defect which Christians cannot approve, and which leads to a conflict between the laws of God and the laws of man. Our Constitution fails to acknowledge any authority higher than “we the people” and does not acknowledge that a nation must submit to the laws of God. The Bible tells us that all power is of God, and that rulers are to be God’s ministers. Romans 13:1,4. The atheists are capitalizing on this deficiency to spark a drive to remove all recognition of God from our government. Due to this deficiency the Supreme Court is ruling that our government should be neutral as far as God is concerned. A high government official writes, “this (oath) is a most sensitive area of citizen responsibility, and one that is replete with unanswered questions.” Because an oath is a solemn promise it is only just and right that all should know what is being promised. Oaths are to be understood in the plain commonsense [sic] meaning of the words used. The oath of office prescribed by the Constitution for the President is,
“I do Solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The Constitution requires other officers to take “an oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution”. The dictionary gives as one of the meanings for defend “to justify, vindicate, to plead the reasonableness;” and it gives as a meaning for support “to give help, sanction, approval”. Since I do not want anyone to think that I approve the Constitution’s failure to acknowledge God and His law, I explain how far I am willing to go in defending and supporting the Constitution. A larger problem arises when one takes the oath to the Constitution in order to hold an office in our government. We find that the office holder is in a dilemma for he finds that some of the laws of the United States are in conflict with the laws of God. There is no question but what the purpose of the oath is to bind office-holders to enforce all the laws of the United States, for the Constitutions says,
“This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all the treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every states shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” The Constitution, Article VI paragraph 2.
The Bible tells us that where there is a conflict between the laws of God and the laws of men we are to obey God. In keeping with this Bible teaching we ask to be given the freedom to obey God rather than men. If the oath is interpreted to require that the laws of man must be placed above the laws of God then I will not hold office nor vote for others to hold office if they are required to put the laws of men above the laws of God. We are conscious that the “Explanatory Declaration” presents problems. We realize there is no easy solution for this dilemma. We do not present this issue to embarrass our government, we present this issue because we feel it is vital and must be met for great issues are at stake. At stake are:
1. The issue of peace – There can be no peace in a world in which nations acknowledge no higher law than the will of the people, and who claim the right to make any law, or pursue any policy the people choose without any respect to the laws of God. 2. Secularization of the nation – If our nation has no obligation to God, then our nation in time will be completely secularized; when this happens the foundation for morality and integrity will disappear. 3. The judgement of God – If we continue to neglect our obligation to God the time will come when He will “speak to us in wrath, and vex us in His sore displeasure. Psalm 2:5.
We hope that many who are required to take the oath to the Constitution will take it with this Explanatory Declaration. By doing this they will bear testimony to their belief that this nation should acknowledge God and His law, and that when there is conflict between the laws of God and man that they should obey God. There may be times when the oath will not be administered with this explanation, in that case would it not be better to refuse to take the oath, than to perjure ourselves with an oath that may be interpreted to mean we approve the failure of this Constitution to Acknowledge God and which binds us to obey men rather than God? The only real solution of our problem must be the adoption of a constitutional amendment that would acknowledge God and His law. Such an Amendment is before Congress and reads:
1. This nation devoutly recognized the authority and law of Jesus Christ, Savior and Ruler of nations, through Whom are bestowed the blessings of Almighty God. 2. This Amendment shall not be interpreted so as to result in the establishment of any particular ecclesiastical organization, or in the abridgement of the rights of religious freedom, or freedom of speech and press, or of peaceful assemblage. 3. Congress shall have power, in such cases as it may deem proper, to provide a suitable oath or affirmation for citizens whose religious scruples prevent them from giving unqualified allegiance to the Constitution as herein amended.
This would put our nation squarely in line with Bible teaching. Then the Christian would have no difficulty in saying we approve the Constitution, and no conflict would arise between the laws of God and the laws of the land. Under such an Amendment the laws of the land would be made in pursuance to the Constitution that recognizes that the laws of God are binding upon our government. We trust that many Christians will join us in the use of the “Explanatory Declaration” and focus attention upon this vital defect of our Constitution. The recognition of the rights of God are long overdue and the acknowledgement of those rights will be added glory and lasting stability to our great nation.”
Download: An Explanatory Declaration