Adding Regular Corporate Shouting of Praise in Our Worship

Based on the considerable amount of data in Scripture that shows the musical importance of shouting, I believe that churches would do well to add regular corporate shouting of praise to God to their other musical worship activities.

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Kevin Miller's picture

I looked at your article and I didn't see any New Testament verses listed that referenced shouting. Could it be that shouting was a part of the culture of Old Testament people, but by the time of the New Testament, that element was no longer a part of culture and so people didn't do it as a matter of course? I think if it was something that God definitely wanted done in church worship, Paul would have mentioned it somewhere in his letters to the churches.

Ron Bean's picture

Did you ever consider opening your blog for comments?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

Did you ever consider opening your blog for comments?

My blog has been open for comments from the beginning. As long as people are respectful and courteous in their comments, I welcome comments. 

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I looked at your article and I didn't see any New Testament verses listed that referenced shouting. Could it be that shouting was a part of the culture of Old Testament people, but by the time of the New Testament, that element was no longer a part of culture and so people didn't do it as a matter of course? I think if it was something that God definitely wanted done in church worship, Paul would have mentioned it somewhere in his letters to the churches.

This article is only part one of what probably will be at least a two-article series. I intend to treat additional evidence, including from the NT in a future article.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I looked at your article and I didn't see any New Testament verses listed that referenced shouting. Could it be that shouting was a part of the culture of Old Testament people, but by the time of the New Testament, that element was no longer a part of culture and so people didn't do it as a matter of course? I think if it was something that God definitely wanted done in church worship, Paul would have mentioned it somewhere in his letters to the churches.

The passages that I treated show that shouting in connection with music was something not just done by humans but also angels and even God. Obviously, what God and angels did in those passages was not culturally based.

Another thing to keep in mind is that several of the passages that I treated show that God commanded both His people and all other people to shout to Him in connection with music. These passages show that what they did was not something that was based on "the culture of Old Testament people."

Jay's picture

...I believe that churches would do well to add regular corporate shouting of praise to God to their other musical worship activities.

That's nice...thanks for sharing.  Are you saying we should incorporate the practice, that it is normative for churches, or what?  

What is the purpose of this post other than to advertise your blog or let us know that you believe this to be true?  Lots of people believe that churches should do something.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

The passages that I treated show that shouting in connection with music was something not just done by humans but also angels and even God. Obviously, what God and angels did in those passages was not culturally based.

But what God has done and what angels have done is not necessarily relevant to what God wants humans to do, is it?

Quote:
Another thing to keep in mind is that several of the passages that I treated show that God commanded both His people and all other people to shout to Him in connection with music. These passages show that what they did was not something that was based on "the culture of Old Testament people."

But God gave the Israelites in the Old Testament a whole body of laws that we as Christians are not obliged to follow today. Isn't that correct? Are you saying that we as believers should still keep ALL the Old Testament commands?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

 

The passages that I treated show that shouting in connection with music was something not just done by humans but also angels and even God. Obviously, what God and angels did in those passages was not culturally based.

 

But what God has done and what angels have done is not necessarily relevant to what God wants humans to do, is it?

 

Quote:

Another thing to keep in mind is that several of the passages that I treated show that God commanded both His people and all other people to shout to Him in connection with music. These passages show that what they did was not something that was based on "the culture of Old Testament people."

 

 

But God gave the Israelites in the Old Testament a whole body of laws that we as Christians are not obliged to follow today. Isn't that correct? Are you saying that we as believers should still keep ALL the Old Testament commands?

 

It's true that what God and angels have done is not necessarily what he wants humans to do, but in this case it is significant that God commanded humans to do the same things that He and angels did.

Of course, I am not saying that we are to keep all the same commands that God gave specifically only to Israel. In this case, the commands concerning shouting were not just given to Israel. They were given to all people.

RajeshG's picture

Jay wrote:

...I believe that churches would do well to add regular corporate shouting of praise to God to their other musical worship activities.

That's nice...thanks for sharing.  Are you saying we should incorporate the practice, that it is normative for churches, or what?  

What is the purpose of this post other than to advertise your blog or let us know that you believe this to be true?  Lots of people believe that churches should do something.


 

The purpose of this post is to promote discussion of a specific biblical subject with people who have a genuine interest in interacting with me in non-adversarial interaction intended for mutual edification. Other people seem to understand that is what my intent is with my posts, but apparently for some reason that continues to remain a mystery to you.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Of course, I am not saying that we are to keep all the same commands that God gave specifically only to Israel. In this case, the commands concerning shouting were not just given to Israel. They were given to all people.

But they were given within a certain cultural context. Let's examine another worship practice so you can see my point. Does your church regularly practice falling down to the ground or bowing low to the ground in your worship services? We can find plenty of verses in which people in the Bible did so.

Genesis 17:3  Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,

Genesis 24:26  Then the man bowed low and worshiped the LORD.

Exodus 34:8  Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.

I Chronicles 29:20  Then David said to all the assembly, "Now bless the LORD your God." And all the assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, and bowed low and did homage to the LORD and to the king.

II Chronicles 20:18   Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD.

Nehemiah 8:6  Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 

Isaiah 66:23  "And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the LORD.

Matthew 2:11  After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him.

Luke 17:16  and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.

Now, I've seen plenty of people bow their heads, just their heads, in worship as they are praying, but these verses seem to indicate a full body bowing, even to the point of falling to the ground. Wouldn't the "full body bowing to the ground" be more of a practice that was done in earlier times rather than something that God necessarily expects of us today? Oh, there is nothing wrong with doing it today, but is God expecting full body bowing in our corporate worship services today? I don't think it's an expectation, is it? In my opinion, it's the same scenario for shouting. There is nothing wrong with doing it today, but I don't think God has the expectation that we would have to be doing it in our current context.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Speaking for myself, I intend to implement full-on, ecstatic dancing in our church services this coming week (2 Sam 6:16). We all must leap and dance before the Lord. We can add shouting, for good measure, too. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

But they were given within a certain cultural context. Let's examine another worship practice so you can see my point. Does your church regularly practice falling down to the ground or bowing low to the ground in your worship services? We can find plenty of verses in which people in the Bible did so.

Now, I've seen plenty of people bow their heads, just their heads, in worship as they are praying, but these verses seem to indicate a full body bowing, even to the point of falling to the ground. Wouldn't the "full body bowing to the ground" be more of a practice that was done in earlier times rather than something that God necessarily expects of us today? Oh, there is nothing wrong with doing it today, but is God expecting full body bowing in our corporate worship services today? I don't think it's an expectation, is it? In my opinion, it's the same scenario for shouting. There is nothing wrong with doing it today, but I don't think God has the expectation that we would have to be doing it in our current context.

It's important that you represent what I have said accurately. I have not said that we have to be shouting in our services. I said that churches would do well to do so, and I specified what I am talking about: "regular corporate shouting of praise to God"; I am not suggesting that any indiscriminate shouting be done.

Whether God expects "full body bowing in our corporate worship services today" is another discussion that I am not going to get into here because that is not the subject of this thread.

You have expressed your opinion that you "don't think God has the expectation that we would have to be doing it [shouting] in our current context" and are entitled to hold that view. I would like to hear what any other people who might be interested in commenting on-topic have to say.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

But they were given within a certain cultural context. Let's examine another worship practice so you can see my point. Does your church regularly practice falling down to the ground or bowing low to the ground in your worship services? We can find plenty of verses in which people in the Bible did so.

Now, I've seen plenty of people bow their heads, just their heads, in worship as they are praying, but these verses seem to indicate a full body bowing, even to the point of falling to the ground. Wouldn't the "full body bowing to the ground" be more of a practice that was done in earlier times rather than something that God necessarily expects of us today? Oh, there is nothing wrong with doing it today, but is God expecting full body bowing in our corporate worship services today? I don't think it's an expectation, is it? In my opinion, it's the same scenario for shouting. There is nothing wrong with doing it today, but I don't think God has the expectation that we would have to be doing it in our current context.

So far, you have not interacted at all with the fact that God did not just command the Israelites to do this; He commanded all people to do it.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:
So far, you have not interacted at all with the fact that God did not just command the Israelites to do this; He commanded all people to do it.

I did list Isaiah 66:23 when referencing bowing.   "And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the LORD.

All mankind is to bow as well. So what difference does that make? I think if you are going to bring up one command that is given within the Old Testament context, then it is certainly NOT off topic to ask if you also want the church to abide by other commands given to Old Testament believers (and to the world, of course, as the command to bow is given). It speaks to the logic of your position. Also, I never said you were in favor of indiscriminate shouting. What made you think you had to specify that you wouldn't be doing that? Of course you aren't suggesting that.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I did list Isaiah 66:23 when referencing bowing.   "And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the LORD.

All mankind is to bow as well. So what difference does that make? I think if you are going to bring up one command that is given within the Old Testament context, then it is certainly NOT off topic to ask if you also want the church to abide by other commands given to Old Testament believers (and to the world, of course, as the command to bow is given). It speaks to the logic of your position. Also, I never said you were in favor of indiscriminate shouting. What made you think you had to specify that you wouldn't be doing that? Of course you aren't suggesting that.

I understand what you are trying to do with your comparison.

As I see it, Isaiah 66:23 is predictive prophecy of what will take place some time in the future. I do not see any commands there.

The part about indiscriminate shouting was to try to ward off further comments like a comment made by someone else in this thread. It was not directed to you.

Ron Bean's picture

I was recently listening to a live broadcast of a service from a local IFB (Tabernacle Baptist Church in Greenville, SC---yes that TBC.) and there was A LOT of shouting from everyone.

(Additional Thought) My wife just reminded me that in our very conservative church it's not unusual to hear an occasional shout during a hymn (This week it was "Come Thou Fount" and I was the slightly muted shouter.) or even the sermon.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

M. Osborne's picture

Is it possible that OT societies and other cultures have understood something about human nature that has gotten minimized in our own recent intellectual-cultural history, that we are embodied creatures, and that how we engage our bodies in what we do (e.g., praise, prayer) does help reinforce what we think and feel about the matter?

For example, Luther understood that music can drive away the devil and doubts. Why? Is it because that music engages our whole body, and not just our rational faculties, in resisting doubts and temptations?

For another example, someone struggling with doubts and depression really needs to show up for worship on Sundays, all the more. Why? Because surrounding yourself with believers who add their "amen" to God's Word (preached and sung) helps press home the truth in a way that is "louder" than the inner doubts.

Five years ago I joined a church with multiple ethnicities, and along the way I've been challenged out of my customary quietness. A very few people with different cultural backgrounds have questioned whether or not more straight laced worship could possibly be sincere; that's an extreme and I'm not buying it. But on the other hand, I've met a Jamaican lady who truly wrestles with God in prayer when she feels the desperation of, "This young lady I'm praying for may get an abortion." And she gets loud. Her take is that she's facing Satanic opposition driving her towards half-hearted, what-can-I-do-about-it? prayer. How do you express the sentiment, "I won't let you go until you bless me"? Maybe not only mere loudness...but there's got to be some kind of intensity, right?

In the words of Screwtape, "At the very least, [Christians] can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget, what you must always remember, that they are animals and that whatever their bodies do affects their souls" (Screwtape Letters, Letter IV).

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

I think if it was something that God definitely wanted done in church worship, Paul would have mentioned it somewhere in his letters to the churches.

I disagree with this understanding that you have. The Pauline Epistles are not some kind of canon within the canon of the NT so that they are more important or more authoritative than the rest of the NT. For example, Paul's Epistles are not any more important for our understanding of worship than are the other NT Epistles or what Jesus Himself says to His churches in Revelation.

Furthermore, Paul in his own teaching in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that the entire Bible is profitable for us for our doctrine and practice. The book of Psalms, in particular, is central to a right understanding of the entire NT and is foundational for a right understanding of our doctrine and practice concerning worship.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Moderator Note to Jay, Have you considered staying out of these threads? It seems that your comments never contribute much if anything to the topic. You have made your view of Rajesh's posts quite clear in multiple places. There is no need to do that again.

If you wish to comment on shouting in the Bible, then please do so. Please do not make comment on this thread that deals with anything other than congregations shouting in praise to God.

Jay's picture

I don't see any biblical warrant either way for shouting in the church. That's why I want to understand what Rajesh's point is.  The only references I see in the (ESV) NT to shouting are descriptive (eg - And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air - Acts 22:23), not prescriptive.  

To be honest, I don't see a lot of prescriptions for standard church worship practices in the NT outside of Believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper.  This is why I find it so interesting when someone talks about, "Well, in the New Testament, we see (or don't see) _____________ so we should (shouldn't) use them either." All you've done is admit that there's no clear evidence either way.  Once again, saying that it happened in the OT doesn't mean that it should continue or even that it was right at the time...just that it did.  That's before we have discussions about the abolishment of the OT Levitical system with the death of Christ as per Hebrews 8-10.

So I don't know why anyone would take a firm stand on something like this, much less say that it should be a regular practice in our churches.  If someone is going to get online and advocate that all churches should be doing ________________, then I want to see that position defended with Scripture, not just opinion.

But if it makes everyone happy, I'll stay out of this.  Y'all have fun.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

The book of Psalms, in particular, is central to a right understanding of the entire NT and is foundational for a right understanding of our doctrine and practice concerning worship.

See, I think this is really the crux of where Rajesh and I disagree.  I don't think that Psalms is the key to understanding the entire New Testament, nor do I necessarily feel like it is 'foundational for a right understanding of worship' for several reasons.  It seems like Rajesh does, and I think that is a dangerous (and I do use that term deliberately) position to take that is worth some serious and sustained pushback.

Anyway, I'm out now, as I just said.  

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Larry's picture

Moderator

Jay, it's not about making anyone happy. It's about being on topic. Feel free to participate on the topic of the thread. Do not feel free to make comments about motivations for posting or other things that are not on the topic of the thread.

Ron Bean's picture

I was recently listening to a live broadcast of a service from a local IFB (Tabernacle Baptist Church in Greenville, SC---yes that TBC.) and there was A LOT of shouting from everyone.

(Additional Thought) My wife just reminded me that in our very conservative church it's not unusual to hear an occasional shout during a hymn (This week it was "Come Thou Fount" and I was the slightly muted shouter.) or even the sermon.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Larry's picture

Moderator

I was recently listening to a live broadcast of a service from a local IFB (Tabernacle Baptist Church in Greenville, SC---yes that TBC.) and there was A LOT of shouting from everyone.

I remember listening to them on the radio growing up a little bit. It was quite the circus. 

To address Rajesh's question, we would have to know what the kind of shouting is that is being referred to. What happened at Tabernacle sounded like an awful lot of hysterical nonsense that had nothing to do with praise of the Lord. It sounded like a lot of carnal cheerleading.

TylerR's picture

Editor

How do you define what "appropriate" shouting is, and what it isn't? Is it a cultural thing? If it is, then ... (smile) ...

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Rob Fall's picture

back in the day, in certain churches of a "southern" persuasion, the preaching being accompanied by audible "Amens" and "Preach it, Preacher."

TylerR wrote:

How do you define what "appropriate" shouting is, and what it isn't? Is it a cultural thing? If it is, then ... (smile) ...

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

RajeshG's picture

Larry wrote:

To address Rajesh's question, we would have to know what the kind of shouting is that is being referred to. What happened at Tabernacle sounded like an awful lot of hysterical nonsense that had nothing to do with praise of the Lord. It sounded like a lot of carnal cheerleading.

Psalm 106:48 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.

Shouting, "Amen, Hallelujah," corporately (everyone in unison) in obedience to this command at the end of one (or more) congregational songs in a worship service on a regular and predetermined basis is what I think churches would do well to add to their musical activities. I do not find biblical support for indiscriminate shouting as a part of corporate worship.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Shouting, "Amen, Hallelujah," corporately (everyone in unison) in obedience to this command at the end of one (or more) congregational songs in a worship service on a regular and predetermined basis is what I think churches would do well to add to their musical activities. 

I was going to ask you for a way you would put it into practice in churches today. Thanks for answering before I asked.

M. Osborne's picture

My wife just reminded me that in our very conservative church it's not unusual to hear an occasional shout during a hymn (This week it was "Come Thou Fount" and I was the slightly muted shouter.) or even the sermon.

Listen to the Together for the Gospel Live recordings and you'll hear spontaneous applause and shouts at certain points during the singing, and it's clear that the applause is for the content of the songs and not for any "performers" (there aren't any performers: it's Bob Kauflin leading thousands of congregational singers).

Two weeks ago we were singing "My Shepherd Will Supply My Need" (Watts, tune name = "Resignation"), and I couldn't help applauding during the final stanza.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

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