Summary: The people of God have always been a vocal people at worship. Scripture teaches us to affirm the truth by openly commenting, "Amen."

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,


Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

for his judgments are true and just;

for he has judged the great prostitute

who corrupted the earth with her immorality,

and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.’

“Once more they cried out,


The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.’

“And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, ‘Amen. Hallelujah!’ And from the throne came a voice saying,

‘Praise our God,

all you his servants,

you who fear him,

small and great.’” [1]

“Amen” is an affirmation heard occasionally during worship, even in Canada. I am certain that a case can be made that this affirmation is not heard often enough among worshippers in Canada; nevertheless, it is heard from time-to-time among the faithful. I came to faith in a Texas assembly, and I am privileged to have worshipped with the believers of a black congregation. In that setting, the saints were not hesitant to demonstrate their approval of what the preacher said with vocal affirmation.

I confess that I miss the shouts of hearty affirmation offered in joyful agreement. Whenever I heard a worshipper encourage the preacher by shouting, “Preach it, Brother!” or when a worshipper would exclaim, “Right on!” I knew that they understood what the preacher had said and they were encouraging him to keep on delivering the truth. At other times, a worshipper would simply agree by saying aloud, “Yes, yes!” However, the most common affirmation, even among white Christians, was the exclamation, “Amen!”

Whenever a follower of the Risen Saviour exclaims “Amen,” that believer is saying, “I agree.” Whatever has been said, whatever action has been performed, the one agreeing with that word or with that action is standing with the one speaking or the one taking the action. Amen.

I want to look at our participation in the services of the Lord as worshippers. I am not seeking to turn this congregation into an assembly of Christians whom others might classify as being from some backwater region who are mindlessly chaotic during the services of worship. Neither do I seek to make the services we share so noisy that the message is somehow lost amid the din of people shouting simply because they can shout. I do, however, want us to see the meeting of the congregation as far more than a mere performance that entertains or amuses those witnessing what is done as we share the rituals of the Faith.

Those who attend an operatic performance will sit silently throughout the performance, revealing whatever appreciation they wish to show after the opera has concluded. People attending an orchestral concert are trained to sit silently as the conductor leads his ensemble through the pieces as they have been written. Worship, however, is not a performance to be admired, nor is worship mere entertainment for the audience. Worship of the Living God should not be a performance, but it should be an opportunity for the whole of the gathered people of God to unite as one to glorify the Saviour. This point is too important not to be emphasised—the worship service is not a performance, but it is a shared experience as the people meet God.

Dr. W. A. Criswell, on occasion told of an old farmer who came to one of those oldline churches where the people sit silently and quietly listen to whatever the preacher is saying. As the preacher delivered his message, he made a good point about Jesus. The old farmer just raised his hand and loudly shouted, “Amen!” His exclamation was so out of character for those in attendance at that congregation that the preacher lost his place and was left sputtering in the pulpit as he tried to regain his composure.

Eventually, the preacher gathered his thoughts and found where he had been reading in his manuscript when he was startled, and he began again to deliver what he had prepared. Again, the preacher made a good point about Jesus, and the old farmer shouted, “Hallelujah! Praise God!” The poor preacher was thrown off his game again and struggled to find where he had been and what he had been saying. Clearly, that large congregation was discomfited and distracted by the shouts of that old farmer.

After finding his place, the preacher began again to deliver the message he had prepared, and he again said something good about Jesus. The old farmer simply could not contain himself, and he just lifted his hands in the air and shouted, “Glory to God!”

That was just too much for many who were seated in that vast assembly that day. An usher hurried to where the old farmer was seated, and tapped him on the shoulder. “You can’t do that here,” the usher hissed firmly; “You can’t be shouting like that.”

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