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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Ron Bean's picture

Because nothing says spontaneous joy like being told when you may express it.

"Can I get an Amen?" (Please smile)

I'm sorry, but mandating a specific time to shout on the basis of that verse seems to lack warrant.

"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:

Because nothing says spontaneous joy like being told when you may express it.

"Can I get an Amen?" (Please smile)

I'm sorry, but mandating a specific time to shout on the basis of that verse seems to lack warrant.

In light of these comments, if you have biblical data about corporate worship that mandates or warrants spontaneity, it would be helpful for you to set forth that data. 

I have not stated any mandates.

This verse is only one part of the data to support the practice that I believe is warranted in some manner in our corporate worship.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Part of the nature of corporate worship is that it is corporate. What is the biblical warrant for an individual to do something individual in corporate worship?

And what is the warrant for spontaneity as a biblical category of corporate worship? We don't really apply that to much do we?

Bert Perry's picture

It turns out that there are several Hebrew words translated as "shout" and the two most prominent, variants of Strong's 7321 and 7442, differ quite a bit in their usage.  the former appears to be a significantly military term where one is shouting the alarm or in victory, and the latter is the one mostly (but now always) used generally to describe exuberant praise.

The question, then, is really the one that Ron mentioned; can we really have spontaneous expressions of joy by command?  Or do we understand the usage of Strong's 7442 in light of a situation that where joy already exists, we are free to express it?  I'm going with the latter, and see it as a very real need in our circles.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

The Spirit chose to end the longest Gospel and the longest book of the NT with a profound emphasis on corporate praising of God:
 

Luke 24:50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

These believers who had been blessed by the risen Christ prior to and during His Ascension responded in worship by continually being together in God's house and corporately praising God!

 

 

Larry's picture

Moderator

The question, then, is really the one that Ron mentioned; can we really have spontaneous expressions of joy by command? 

We still have no answer to this question about spontaneity. What's the biblical basis for corporate worship requiring spontaneity? To "see something as a very real need" is completely different than seeing something as biblically warranted. Too often, I fear we are driven by what we "see as a very real need" rather than what Scripture actually commands us to do. One is guaranteed to be correct. The other is not. 

So what is the biblical warrant for spontaneity in corporate worship? And what is the warrant for an individual in worship to do something by himself or herself apart from the body?

Bert Perry's picture

....really has to do with the question that the prophets and our Lord ask a lot; if our expressions in corporate worship/praise do not arise from a genuine love of God, are they worth anything?  It is along the lines of the churches where we see everyone doing "everything right", but they are deader than a doornail because it is just an obligation.

And really, a lot of this has to do with the very definition of Strong's 7442: if it is a sound of joy, as the definition goes, then that presumes joy.  If you try to make those sounds without joy, you're just a hypocrite.  (there's that dead as a doornail church again)  So I would suggest that a church which lacks joyful singing cannot remedy the problem by saying "sing louder and more cheerfully", but rather must do some introspection to figure out why everybody's got their feet nailed to the floor and their tongues glued to the roof of their mouths.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Thanks but none of that answers the question of spontaneity. Why? 

To argue about genuine love vs hypocrisy is fine. But does genuine love require spontaneity? What's the argument behind that? Is a pastor who studies during the week for his message rather than relying on spontaneity on Sunday morning not loving God? Is the music leader who picks songs during the week rather than during the service not loving God? Is the man who plans to take his wife out to dinner two weeks from Friday not genuinely loving her? 

Does genuine love sometimes limit spontaneity? Again, obviously it does. 

Appealing to Strongs 7442 is not good theological method and doesn't help. There is nothing in that word, so far as I can see, that has to do with spontaneity.

So the question still remains about spontaneity: Where or how does the Bible require spontaneity and particularly individual spontaneity as a part of corporate worship?

Ron Bean's picture

Is anyone saying that there should not be spontaneity in corporate worship?

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

Larry's picture

Moderator

Is anyone saying that there should not be spontaneity in corporate worship?

I am questioning the biblical basis for it. You said, if I understood you correctly, that there should be. Bert has said there should be and likened it to genuine love. But neither of you have provided any Scripture requiring that nor have either of you given scriptural warrant for individual outbursts in corporate worship. 

Now, those things may be acceptable, but should we not at least ask the questions and provide warrant for them? 

Ron Bean's picture

I'm just asking if anyone thinks there shouldn't be spontaneity in corporate worship.

I know that some disagree with me because I think it's permissible. That's not the question.

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

Bert Perry's picture

I think what Ron is getting at, again, is what the Prophets, Christ, and others mention repeatedly in the Scriptures, as exemplified in Matthew 15:8; "these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."    And that is backed up by the very Hebrew word used here, which is not a verb meaning simply to shout, but rather to shout with joy.  We need 3 words, the Hebrews economized.  

And in that context and with that reality, our question becomes not a question of whether we ought to add corporate shouting, but rather the question of what our singing/etc. says about us.  If it's dead and joyless, there's our problem.  If we lock out expressions of our relationship with and our gratitude towards God, there's our problem.

A great way of summing that up is in the noun "spontaniety."  Excessive requirements tend to lock it out.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

Is anyone saying that there should not be spontaneity in corporate worship?

The NT standard for corporate worship is not spontaneity. Rather, Paul sets forth how all things in corporate worship must be done:

1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

If there is any spontaneity in NT corporate worship that is acceptable to God, it must be in keeping with this plain divine mandate.

Larry's picture

Moderator

I think what Ron is getting at, again, is what the Prophets, Christ, and others mention repeatedly in the Scriptures, as exemplified in Matthew 15:8; "these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

That may be, but Ron actually mentioned spontaneity and so that is the question I am trying to pursue a bit. Matthew 15:8 is irrelevant to that question. If our singing or shouting is dead or joyless, it's a problem. But that's not the question. I think I have been more than sufficiently clear. Again, does something have to be spontaneous to be from the heart? Can planned responses and the lack of spontaneity also be from the heart?

What is the biblical warrant for individual spontaneity in corporate worship?

Larry's picture

Moderator

Clarification for Ron

I am questioning whether there should be spontaneity, or to what extent there should be particularly as an individual expression rather than a corporate one. If the spontaneity is "Let's sing this song instead of the one we planned" that's one thing. But should there be inidividuals yelling out during the service spontaneously and of their own accord?

Ron Bean's picture

I think a clear definition of "decently and in order" is required to be presented by those who hold that as a NT standard. I think they should also be willing to define when it is followed and ignored. 

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

Bert Perry's picture

.....if indeed peoples' hearts are close to Christ, than His praise in the church ought to need little encouragement, planning, or regulation.  In short, it will be.....

spontaneous!

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

I think a clear definition of "decently and in order" is required to be presented by those who hold that as a NT standard. I think they should also be willing to define when it is followed and ignored. 

The verse appears in teaching on the use of spiritual gifts in the assembly, probably particularly in gifts of tongues and prophecy, and there it seems to argue against spontaneity, but rather speaks to having order and limits in corporate worship. People are not just permitted to speak out in the assembly, right? They are limited both by when they can speak and how many can speak.

Again, the issue is, to what degree should an individual practice some individual and spontaneous outburst in the corporate assembly that is contrary to what everyone else is doing? 

To cut to the chase, it seems to me that "corporate" means corporate, that what we do, we do together. I am not sure it is good for some individual to shout out during the assembly, doing something no one else is doing and calling attention to himself or herself and distracting others.

M. Osborne's picture

@Rajesh: Yes, the "decently and in order" requirement isn't going away.

@Ron: How would "decently and in order" not be a NT standard, seeing that it's in the NT? Aren't we all required to grapple with how to apply it? That being said, I don't think we're going to be able to nail down a precise list of what is(n't) decent and in order. In an earlier post, I argued that there's probably something constant about human nature that we do need some "oomph" and volume (shouts) to express (as embodied creatures) what's going on inside. And yet I think that's going to look different from culture to culture.

@Larry: you wrote about people doing something "that is contrary to what everyone else is doing," and this seems to be a good basic guideline for what is not acceptable spontaneity. Just as there are musical flourishes that go well with the melody and musical flourishes that are "off" and distracting, it would seem that a handful of people shouting "amen" when the preacher says something particularly convicting or encouraging helps to reinforce the truth of what the preacher has said, rather than distract from it. On the other hand, I've been in some services (perceived through my own cultural lens) where everything is getting "amen-ed" with the same intensity, and that seems to blend everything into an indistinguishable froth.

An example of something we have to consider at our church: we had a guy baptized within the last quarter. He gave his testimony about how he had had to give up a relationship with a woman to follow Christ. A sister (non-member but visits frequently) of a more charismatic bent (and from a Caribbean culture) jumped up, praised the Lord, and was more or less dancing in the center aisle. Which is really funny because the brother being baptized has been influence by Paul Washer, John MacArthur, and very conservative individuals. He just kept on giving his testimony, and the church leadership let the lady do her thing and she sat down. If that became a regular occurrence, would we address it? Honestly, I'd have to weigh that based on very specific factors. She sits in the back; people around her don't seem to mind; probably we'd address it if she makes it hard for the pastor to preach or for people to hear the main thread of what's being said.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Larry's picture

Moderator

.....if indeed peoples' hearts are close to Christ, than His praise in the church ought to need little encouragement, planning, or regulation.  In short, it will be.....spontaneous!

Why will it be spontaneous?

My guess is your church doesn't actually practice that either in singing or in preaching. Probably not in the offering, Communion, or baptisms. Those things are planned ahead of time by people whose hearts are close to Christ. 

But to your point, no one here, to my knowledge, is discussing whether we should worship with "hearts close to Christ" or "hearts far from Christ" (those I don't think either of those are biblical terms). 

The only question being discussed is spontaneity--whether individuals should have individual outbursts in the midst of corporate worship that risks detracting from the worship and from the one we are actually worshipping. Surely we can have a spontaneous response that isn't out loud, or we can have a spontaneous response that is corporate. 

Ron Bean's picture

@Ron: How would "decently and in order" not be a NT standard, seeing that it's in the NT?

I didn't say it wasn't. 

Just because someone asks a question about a premise, it doesn't mean that that person is questioning the premise. 

"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:

I think a clear definition of "decently and in order" is required to be presented by those who hold that as a NT standard. I think they should also be willing to define when it is followed and ignored. 

All of 1 Corinthians 14 has been given so that we can understand what "decently and in order" does and does not mean. 

RajeshG's picture

RajeshG wrote:

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.

Here is something I wrote elsewhere that provides more biblical support for corporately shouting, "Amen, Hallelujah."
 

The Biblical Importance of Saying, “Amen, Praise Ye the Lord”

 

Psalm 106 ends by making known something that God desired that all His people would say:

     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. {Praise…: Heb.         Hallelujah}

     Psa 106:48 בָּר֤וּךְ־יְהוָ֙ה אֱלֹהֵ֪י יִשְׂרָאֵ֡ל מִן־הָ֤עוֹלָ֙ם׀ וְעַ֬ד הָעוֹלָ֗ם וְאָמַ֖ר כָּל־הָעָ֥ם אָמֵ֗ן הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ׃

Psalm 150:1 shows us that the same Hebrew expression  that ends Psalm 106:48 (הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ) and is translated as “Praise ye the LORD” in both Psalms is transliterated as αλληλουια in the LXX rendering of Psalm 150:1:

     Psa 150:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

     Psa 150:1 הַ֥לְלוּ יָ֙הּ׀ הַֽלְלוּ־אֵ֥ל בְּקָדְשׁ֑וֹ הַֽ֜לְל֗וּהוּ בִּרְקִ֥יעַ עֻזּֽוֹ׃

     Psa 150:1 αλληλουια αἰνεῖτε τὸν θεὸν ἐν τοῖς ἁγίοις αὐτοῦ αἰνεῖτε αὐτὸν ἐν στερεώματι δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ

Revelation 19 illumines the OT directives from God that are found in both Psalm 106:48 and in Psalm 150:1 by teaching us that heavenly angelic beings say exactly what God directed His people of old to say at the end of Psalm 106:

     Rev 19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.

     Rev 19:4 καὶ ἔπεσαν οἱ πρεσβύτεροι οἱ εἴκοσι τέσσαρες καὶ τὰ τέσσαρα ζῷα καὶ προσεκύνησαν τῷ θεῷ τῷ καθημένῳ ἐπὶ τῷ θρόνῳ λέγοντες· ἀμὴν ἁλληλουϊά,

Notice that Revelation 19:4 ends with a transliteration of אָמֵ֗ן הַֽלְלוּ־יָֽהּ that is found at the end of Psalm 106:48 and teaches us that saying “Amen; Alleluia” is what heavenly beings say when they worship God!

By comparing Psalm 106:48 with Revelation 19:4, we learn that the directive at the end of Psalm 106:48 was a directive about how God wanted His people to worship Him—they were to say, “Amen, Praise ye the Lord.” We should learn from this comparison that God wants both angelic beings and humans to worship Him by saying these two expressions!

 

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Here is something I wrote elsewhere that provides more biblical support for corporately shouting, "Amen, Hallelujah."

Does "corporate" mean that everyone has to be saying the same words all together at the same time or can one person shout it out in the assembly and have it be a corporate shout since it is done in the midst of the assembly? I'm thinking in terms of a "corporate prayer." Does a "corporate prayer" mean that everyone is saying the same prayer, as some churches do with the Lord's Prayer, or is it still a corporate prayer if one person says a prayer while the whole assembly listens in agreement?

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

Does "corporate" mean that everyone has to be saying the same words all together at the same time or can one person shout it out in the assembly and have it be a corporate shout since it is done in the midst of the assembly? I'm thinking in terms of a "corporate prayer." Does a "corporate prayer" mean that everyone is saying the same prayer, as some churches do with the Lord's Prayer, or is it still a corporate prayer if one person says a prayer while the whole assembly listens in agreement?

Psalm 106:48 specifies that all the people were to say, "Amen, Praise ye the Lord." Revelation 19:4 has all the elders and all the beasts doing the same thing. Based on those two passages, what I believe is warranted is for everyone to say the same words all together at the same time.

Also, we have passages where one person leads a group of people in corporate prayer but to my knowledge we do not have such passages for one person shouting, "Amen, Hallelujah," for a whole group of people.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Psalm 106:48 specifies that all the people were to say, "Amen, Praise ye the Lord." Revelation 19:4 has all the elders and all the beasts doing the same thing. Based on those two passages, what I believe is warranted is for everyone to say the same words all together at the same time.

The way I read those two passages, they don't specify that the words have to be in a unison, all-together-now, chant. Sure, they could be done that way, but the verses can also be understood as everyone individually, one by one, saying the words. All the people would then be saying it, right? Or the people could be saying it together but unorganized, with some starting it in the middle of others saying it and some repeating it while others say it once. That way would also be in line with the verses, right?

Quote:
Also, we have passages where one person leads a group of people in corporate prayer but to my knowledge we do not have such passages for one person shouting, "Amen, Hallelujah," for a whole group of people.

I'm curious about the way you see Mark 11:8-10. 

8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.

9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:

10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

I've always pictured that scene as individual people shouting those phrases individually, with much overlap and not necessarily in that order. Those are just the phrases people were shouting. Do you see that scene as an organized, in unison, shout?

Kevin Miller's picture

Larry wrote:

Part of the nature of corporate worship is that it is corporate. What is the biblical warrant for an individual to do something individual in corporate worship?

And what is the warrant for spontaneity as a biblical category of corporate worship? We don't really apply that to much do we?

Doesn't the line between "individual" and "corporate" become a little fuzzy when we talk about individual believers gathering together for corporate worship? For example, when the offering plate is passed, and we put our money in it, is our act of giving an individual act of worship or are we participating in corporate worship by giving together. It seems to me it's a bit of both, so individual acts can certainly be a part of corporate worship.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

The way I read those two passages, they don't specify that the words have to be in a unison, all-together-now, chant. Sure, they could be done that way, but the verses can also be understood as everyone individually, one by one, saying the words. All the people would then be saying it, right? Or the people could be saying it together but unorganized, with some starting it in the middle of others saying it and some repeating it while others say it once. That way would also be in line with the verses, right?

 

I'm curious about the way you see Mark 11:8-10. 

 

8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.

9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:

10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.

I've always pictured that scene as individual people shouting those phrases individually, with much overlap and not necessarily in that order. Those are just the phrases people were shouting. Do you see that scene as an organized, in unison, shout?

Having all worshipers act in unison best accords with a natural reading of both Psalm 106:48 and Revelation 19:4 and does not conflict with what we are taught in 1 Corinthians 14 about everything having to be done decently and in order. To minimize the potential for creating confusion and disorderliness, it would be best for all the people to act in unison.

Because the Triumphal Entry (Mark 11:8-10) was a one-time event and not an aspect of corporate worship that was authorized by God for continual observance, what happened on that occasion is not authoritative in all its particulars for what we should do in corporate worship.

RajeshG's picture

Kevin Miller wrote:

 

Larry wrote:

 

Part of the nature of corporate worship is that it is corporate. What is the biblical warrant for an individual to do something individual in corporate worship?

And what is the warrant for spontaneity as a biblical category of corporate worship? We don't really apply that to much do we?

 

Doesn't the line between "individual" and "corporate" become a little fuzzy when we talk about individual believers gathering together for corporate worship? For example, when the offering plate is passed, and we put our money in it, is our act of giving an individual act of worship or are we participating in corporate worship by giving together. It seems to me it's a bit of both, so individual acts can certainly be a part of corporate worship.

One important consideration to keep in mind is that what is done when an offering is taken is preplanned and orderly. Another is that giving in an offering is not an aspect of our verbal worship about which God has given us controlling considerations in 1 Corinthians 14 and elsewhere.

Kevin Miller's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Having all worshipers act in unison best accords with a natural reading of both Psalm 106:48 and Revelation 19:4 and does not conflict with what we are taught in 1 Corinthians 14 about everything having to be done decently and in order. To minimize the potential for creating confusion and disorderliness, it would be best for all the people to act in unison.

Because the Triumphal Entry (Mark 11:8-10) was a one-time event and not an aspect of corporate worship that was authorized by God for continual observance, what happened on that occasion is not authoritative in all its particulars for what we should do in corporate worship.

It may be "best," in your particular church culture, for everyone to act in unison as they shout in praise, but many churches do not consider it disorderly for people to be shouting in praise individually during, say, the preaching time. That is not disorderly for them at all. For them, it would be odd if it didn't happen.

The argument that some things in Scripture are not authorized by God for continual observance is the same argument I would make for verses that deal with Israelite worship in the Old Testament. We are in the Church Age now, so verses that deal with the way Israelites worshipped God may be profitable for us to understand, they are not necessarily applicable to us today "for what we should do in corporate worship." Would you agree?

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