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ORU's 95-Page Vow to the Lord

 
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Post ORU's 95-Page Vow to the Lord Link
Oral Roberts University requires students and faculty to sign an honor code which includes a 'Solemn vow and promise to the Lord.' The content of it is mostly things we'd all agree with, like not lying or getting gay-married.

I notice that if someone under the Nazarite vow and someone next to him suddenly dies, the Nazarite was unclean? He was not merely just unclean like a regular Israelite. He had sinned. Why? Because he had made a vow and broke it accidentally. (Numbers 6:9-12). Vows were expected to be followed precisely. Jephthah's vow should remind us to be careful about vowing. Ecclesiastes 5:4-7 warns of God destroying the works of the hands of those who do not perform vows.

The ORU pledge requires students 'not engage in behavior contrary to the rules and regulations listed in the Student Handbook'. This is included in a 'solemn vow and promise to the Lord.' So if a student misses an 11 PM informational meeting on Monday night, he has violated a vow to God. If he does not follow the appropriate procedure to live off campus, he has violated his vow to God. If he comes home after the 1 AM or 1:30 AM curfew, he has violated his vow to God. If a student plays hacky sack near office building after hours, he has violated a vow to the Lord. Ecclesiastes 5 warns against many words in the context of vowing. The Honor Code is a page or so long, and the Student Handbook is another 94 pages long.

Miss a chapel service or engage in illegal activity, and you have broken a vow to the Lord. If a student or faculty member gets stuck in traffic and will miss chapel unless he or she speeds, either option is a sin.

One aspect of the vow is to agree to no alcoholic beverages of any kind. If you vow that as an actual vow to the Lord, an Old Testament-style practice, and someone sneaks a little alcoholic beverage into your glass, you sin. If you hadn't vowed, you wouldn't be guilty of sin.

What are you supposed to do if you go to a different type of church or to a Pentecostal church in Asia, yell out before you have communion, "Is this real wine? I vowed not to drink wine? Can I drink this?"

Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, tells believers to be perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect. He had taught may ways to avoid sin in this passage. Part of that involves not swearing at all:

33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Jesus did not say we do not have to keep vows if they are foolish or if we made them in opposition to His teaching. It seems to me the only way someone could sign this is if they took vowing to the Lord really lightly, maybe if they try to change the words around in their mind to mean something different, don't bother to read what they sign, or just think Jesus will forgive them later.

It is unlikely vowing is going to keep people from sinning in this culture which is low on honor and honesty. Lots of people don't even read contracts before signing, and without any pushback from consumers, lawyers keep putting more lines in the agreements. Asking them to agree they signed it may be tempting them to lie. Putting a vow on the Lord on top of that is to encourage a more grievous sin and puts them under bondage.

The word 'vow' gets used loosely. We hear 'marriage vows', even though Protestants generally have ceremonies that do not include words like 'vow' or 'swear.' Newspaper headlines have butchered the word. A president mentions his intention to do something, and the newspaper says 'President Vows....'

But isn it appropriate to interpret a 'solemn vow and promise to God' at a Christian university? Is it appropriate for an ordained ministers in the COG denomination- whose Practical Commitments (if I am not mistaken), forbids swearing oaths- to bind students under a solemn vow to God? Especially things that hinder taking Holy Communion? Does it make sense to vow to keep the regulations of a long Student Handbook, to make oneself a sinner for missing a meeting? The president of ORU was ordained COG the last I read.
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8/9/18 2:50 pm


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I was hoping to get some feedback from COG and other Pentecostal folks about 'vowing to God.' It used to irk me when I turned the TV on in the 1980's and Tilton was on, asking people to make a 'vow to God' and send him their money. Part of my concern with it, aside from the financial aspects of it was the fact that Jesus said 'Swear not at all.'

Of course, my concerns over that issue come from reading the Bible. I can't recall it being addressed from a Pentecostal pulpit. I know the COG has some anti-swearing stuff in the Practical Commitments and other Pentecostal denominations have or have had statements against oath-bound societies.

So I was wondering whether people here think or the COG teaches that one should or should not make a 'vow to God' about anything. Also, what do people think about vowing things like never missing a required chapel meeting, etc. to the Lord.
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Post Quiet Wyatt
I once knew a guy (a CoG PK, no less) who, when challenged on something he had said which I knew to be an outright lie, exclaimed, “I swear to God I’m telling the truth!” As if swearing to God like that somehow was supposed to make what he said more trustworthy. I knew he was lying. My response to him was, “Jesus said to swear not at all,” and that an honest person doesn’t need to swear to God that he’s telling the truth.

I would say that the ORU statement you have mentioned, by essentially making conformity to all the school’s rules a vow, only serves to water down the meaning of a vow. My understanding of a vow is more like a solemn promise to be faithful to something or someone. I don’t take it as being precisely the same thing as swearing an oath.

I would think just listing the school’s rules, and the penalties for breaking each (at least the major ones) should suffice.
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8/10/18 7:47 am


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Post Quiet Wyatt
I head up a small outpost of Royal Rangers at my church. It is a Christian mentoring, discipleship, and activities program for boys. At the beginning of our meetings, together we repeat the Pledge of Allegiance to the US Flag, the Christian flag, and the “Royal Ranger Pledge,” which is: “With God’s help, I will do my best to serve God, my church, and my fellow man. To live by the Ranger Code, to make the Golden Rule my daily rule.”

The Ranger Code describes the Christian character traits which all Royal Rangers are to make their aim.

A Royal Ranger is:

ALERT. He is mentally, physically, and spiritually alert.
CLEAN. He is clean in body, mind, and speech.
HONEST. He does not lie, cheat, or steal.
COURAGEOUS. He is brave, in spite of danger, criticism, or threats.
LOYAL. He is faithful to his church, family, outpost, and friends.
COURTEOUS. He is polite, kind, and thoughtful.
OBEDIENT. He obeys his parents, leaders, and those in authority.
SPIRITUAL. He prays, reads the Bible, and witnesses.

To my mind, the above pledges or promises are not the same thing as swearing an oath, but instead speak to sincere commitment to personal character development, “with God’s help.”
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8/10/18 8:15 am


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Post Eddie Robbins
How about....

Here is what is expected from you......

If you violate this, here are the consequences.....
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8/10/18 8:31 am


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Eddie Robbins wrote:
How about....

Here is what is expected from you......

If you violate this, here are the consequences.....


That's what I think, too.

I see 'vow' as along the same lines as swearing and oath or making a covenant. Breaking covenant with the Gibeonites was such a big deal that applying the command to wipe out the Canaanites had to be modified, and judgment came when Saul broke covenant. Jephthah vowed his daughter.

If you are under a vow to the Lord to attend a required chapel and your mom is dying in the hospital, then you go to chapel instead. It's an awful burden to put on people.

I suspect people take these things very lightly, much more lightly than in the Bible, or else they wouldn't include them in the school pledge.

I wouldn't sign it. Would any of you sign it to get a job, go to school, or encourage your children to sign it?
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Last edited by Link on 8/10/18 12:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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8/10/18 10:19 am


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Post Nature Boy Florida
When was this written?

I find it hard to believe that Mark Rutland had that "vow" at the school when he was President.
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8/10/18 10:21 am


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Nature Boy Florida wrote:
When was this written?

I find it hard to believe that Mark Rutland had that "vow" at the school when he was President.


It is currently in use under Billy Wilson (ordained COG). I find it hard to believe Mark Rutland will do that. My dad is probably going to talk to him about that.
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8/10/18 10:41 am


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Post Dean Steenburgh
Eddie Robbins wrote:
How about....

Here is what is expected from you......

If you violate this, here are the consequences.....
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Post Cojak
I think 95 pages is a little over the top by 90 methinks.

I would definitely find another college! Shocked

PS: Or ask for a /Reader's Digest version! Confused
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Post (L) Link
The text of it, for anyone who is interested:
http://www.oru.edu/pdfs/honor-code/HonorCode-2016.pdf
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Post Eddie Robbins
You gotta pledge to attend class? I can’t do that. 😂 Acts-pert Poster
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8/13/18 6:51 am


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Eddie Robbins wrote:
You gotta pledge to attend class? I can’t do that. 😂


Not just pledge-vow it to the Lord. Atleast they did not include a list of ancient curses for failure to attend.

The vow of obedience to the administration who canchange rules amd regulations to add to the solemn vow to the Lord-- presumably for the rest of the student or faculty's lifetime- is rather terrifying.
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