The Baptist Beacon
AMENSHOULD WE SAY THIS OUT LOUD DURING PREACHING?
By Deacon Billy R. Gregory
The interesting phrase "Amen" is written twelve times in as many verses in Deuteronomy 27:14-26. "And all the people shall say, Amen." The thing that makes this interesting is the fact that the Levites were directed by God to speak to all the men of Israel, with a loud voice, the curses contained in this passage. When the people said "Amen" they acknowledged three things;
1) Their understanding of the curse.
2) Their belief that God meant what He said.
3) They accepted or agreed with the statements.
In religious gatherings today the word "Amen" is often used, or seldom used, depending upon the place and time of such gatherings. The true meaning of the word has not changed from its use by Israel in Deuteronomy. Webster's Dictionary gives the definition as: Firm, or true, Truth, Truly: (Aman, strengthen, or confirm) Truly; Verily; Esp. used as a solemn expression of concurrence of a concluding formula, as after a prayer. So be it, Truly, or Let it be done, appears to be the meaning of the word when used in the Old Testament Hebrew, the New Testament Greek, or current day English. In view of its meaning, it seems appropriate to consider its use in today's atmosphere.
Speakers are generally encouraged when they hear an "Amen" to a statement that they have made. However, in instances where there is a constant barrage of "Amens" there may be some question as to whether the hearer always understands, and in fact knows and understands what he is agreeing to.
Lest we get the idea that saying "Amen" is completely out of place in the service of God, let us consider the situation where "Amen" is never heard. In such a case, it could appear that the listener never has to take a position on the spoken Word of God. We know the Church at Corinth was accustomed to saying "Amen" at the close of prayer (1Cor. 14:16). By doing so, each member accepted and appropriated the prayer as their own.
Are you offended by someone who says "Amen" during the presentation of a sermon? Do you feel it is out of place? The questions really becomes; "Is it proper to say "Amen" in a service at any time other than the close of a prayer. The practice of saying "Amen" to a point that the speaker made should be studied and considered by each of us.
Elder Floyd Lambert helped us in a revival meeting many years ago. He made a statement about the church saying "Amen". He said that people had gotten so bad about not saying "Amen" in his part of the country, that it would scare him to death if they did.
I'm sure what he meant was that it really helped a preacher when people say "Amen" while they are preaching.
Can we not see that it is a great help to the preacher when we say "Amen" when we believe what the preacher is saying. The lost in our presence can see that we believe what the preacher is saying. I would like to encourage each of us to wake up and help our preachers put their message across.