Church Order and Shouting

In response to a question about a young lady who "yelled out" from time to time during worship, and how various others in the fellowship react positively and negatively to this; by Dean VanDruff

A "shout" can be in the Spirit, or in the flesh; to praise God from the heart from the Spirit or ape religious obedience to get attention. I have seen both, and not just with shouting, as there is a general principle in view here for all these sort of things. Works of the flesh and the Spirit can be described the same way externally.

As for order in the church, discernment is really the issue. All such things should be dealt with and tested, and judged within the body, even if nobody else is doing it. <grins> We err by disregarding and/or disobeying the commands of God in this; for whatever reasons we do. Perhaps we do this because we do not want it done to us. But this is "pleasing of men" (even if ourselves as men), and not regarding what God wants. Instead, let a righteous man rebuke my praising, as it might well be laced with hypocrisy or phoniness or unredeemed human effusiveness or legalism. And if a huge beam is removed from my eye, then I can help others remove splinters. <smiles> The command is not to avoid removing splinters, to merely "pray" and thus disobey the cathartic role of actively cleansing the body, but to make sure we are healed first. The lady shouting in the fellowship makes an excellent example case of this, as it may be one of those rare occasions where proper examination might well show the experience as being sourced by Christ within. But first, let us "make plain on tables" the nature of the problem.

Some people love flesh-out pep-rally carnal-religious-energy sorts of "worship", for they can do it as good as anyone else. Such will grieve those who seek to worship in Spirit and the truth. For example, we know a man who likes to "dance" in a cartoonish, overblown style whenever he can get away with it. He has been kicked out of nearly every church he has gone to. His home church (a very charismatic and wild church) had him physically removed by the police in the middle of a service not long ago. He comes and complains to me, but I think these churches are doing the right thing, and this man is being stiff-necked to many rebukes and has proven incorrigible in this area of his life. I have seem him do his act, and this guy is big-time in the flesh. He is out of order, out of step with the Spirit, and obviously so. He is trying to call attention to himself and his body. Such can only be endured for so long by even the most dull people spiritually, and eventually they say "stop that"! He trots out scriptures about "dancing", but this misses the point. God hates sacrifices, praise, fasting, prayer, tithing or anything done to ape spiritual life with mere human energy. The Pharisees did all these and more, and God was not happy. The only thing the Father approves of is Christ, and if His life shows up in us then--and only then--we will be approved. No pharisaical obedience, no matter how fastidious or well-intentioned, will ever cut it before God. "All things Christ!" The Lord requires truth in the inner parts; He is looking for worshippers in Spirit and truth--not people meeting the external standard by mere human religious gas. Thus, as Jesus did, we should point out the pompous prayer, the phony externalism--and the like, as the Spirit gives us insight and vision and discernment; right? This will show up as a godly correction or rebuke to the person who is trusting in themselves rather than waiting upon the Lord for His righteousness.

On the other hand, in the case where someone is moving by the Spirit of God, not all will approve. We know another man who would move his hands in a most unusual way during worship, not with the smirk of getting attention, but rather oblivious to what anyone thought. When I would occasion to notice him, I found it a real blessing. It was beautiful, spiritually; something akin to the lack of self-consciousness that must have been the hallmark of David's dance before the Lord. Nobody took this man to task; this would have been unthinkable as it was obviously a move of the Spirit; but in a different environment someone might have. Perhaps this was a training nursery (of sorts) which was protected from the bullies that must be faced down later as we mature. When Stephen preached one of the most powerful sermons ever, his only applause was a hail of stones. The point is that manifestations of the Spirit will not always be greeted with acceptance: the spiritually frigid might well have a hissy fit. Remember, the new wine will create rips and tears in the old wineskin which was a fine old relic till the new wine showed up in it. So having people (especially some people <smiles>) get upset is no reason to reject something; the real question is... if it is of the flesh or if it is of the Spirit. The only problem here is: who are we going to listen to? Who are we going to believe? Who makes the final decision? This is why the church must have elders appointed; and why these elders must be rigorously tested, beyond blame, have good spiritual insight and experience, be apt to teach, etc. This is how things ought be decided, not by democracy or compromise or who has more carnal "influence" in the church; but rather by the new-wineskin proscription of elders rendering discernment in matters of church order and decision.

As a quick note, growling sounds, blasphemous visions, mocking God, grinding the carpet, etc., are clearly wrong and need no such flesh/Spirit discernment. Things not described by God as "ordinate", or shown by example by our fathers in the faith as proper responses to God should be suspected at the onset. We have a long way to go to catch up to what really happened in the Old and New Testaments in terms of normal supernatural experience, so we need not look for new things or hip-and-trendy spiritual fads--which often end up being obvious and classical demonic activity blindly embraced by over-horny "christians" and blamed on the Holy Spirit <yikes>. But with shouting we are talking about something that is not forbidden by God and that we know in fact that godly people have often done and still do.

Godly people shout. God likes it. There will be loud shouts in heaven, and so we might as well get some practice now. Heaven will not be a place where people are worried about what their neighbor is doing, they will be themselves wrapped up in the glory of the Lord and shouting their new-body lungs out! In the here and now, however, we must "test the spirits, to see if they are from God", and many (most?) will be found wanting. Hopefully, not many "spirits" will be demonic spirits among those claiming to be believers, but many will be the flesh aping the Holy Spirit. The reason we must properly discern what is not of God is so that we do not end up besmirching the real by condoning the fake. We must throw out the dirty bath water... and keep the baby. But we must throw out the dirty bath water, no? Else we get a wrinkled and soggy and sick baby. The time will come when all this will cease, but in the meantime we have to properly discern the motive spirit.

1Th 5:21 (NAS) But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

So we have no option here. We must obey the Lord. We must scrutinize and discern, and thus the first part of the command that many people disobey in charismatic circles. But for those who do test, the temptation (since much (90%?) of what is tested will be found wanting) will be to grow cynical and "forbid tongues" wholesale, or whatever. Thus the second part of the command: "hold on to what is good". Twin problems. We don't test, wanting to please men; and if we begin to obey the first part we get pendulum-swing tempted to want to forbid the whole mess. Know what I mean? But God says: test everything, and cling tenaciously to what is good--even if most things turn up as false. This is our crisis and situation, and how Satan lures us into the ditch to the right or left. It is time to stop coddling flesh--especially our own--and fall in step with what the Spirit has commanded us to do. It is not what we want, but what God wants... that matters.

But back to the specific consideration. It is ludicrous to say that shouting is not allowed in principal. If we are to be "fit" for the kingdom, then we had better learn to shout in the Spirit now. This reminds me of a church where Laura was youth pastor, and some of the more frozen among the chosen were "deeply offended" by the crudity of the introduction of a drummer during worship. Don Wallace came with a message to this church saying: "If you do not like drums, then that is too bad, because God does. He likes "praise with timbrals" and "cymbals", even "loud cymbals" and "resounding cymbals" (Ps 150:5, 1Ch 13:8, and so forth) played "with all the might". So if you don't like it, you had better get over it if you plan to be with God, because He gets what He wants. And He likes drums."

Now certainly drums can be played in the flesh, or even (in rare cases, it is hoped) demonically. Such is discordant to the flow of the Spirit and is evidenced by inflaming the carnal nature in sensuality; thus it is not that hard to discern, really.

But back to shouting. It is out of fashion, but something God has always rather liked. When it occurs, it can irritate the flesh, but that is always what happens with the Spirit moves. In any case, God wants His people to shout in exuberance and loudly!

Ps 32:11 (NAS) Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.

Ps 95:1 (NAS) O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.

Ps 98:4-5 (NAS) Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. With trumpets and the sound of the horn Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.

Isa 44:23 (NAS) Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; For the Lord has redeemed Jacob And in Israel He shows forth His glory.

1Ch 15:28 (NAS) Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the horn, with trumpets, with loud-sounding cymbals, with harps and lyres.

Ezra 3:11 (NAS) They sang, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, "For He is good, for His lovingkindness is upon Israel forever." And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

1Sa 4:5-6 (NAS) As the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded. When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, "What does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?" Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp.

Shouts are not immune from the general command (and expectation, if the Spirit is really moving) that things should be done in order. Paul says "do not forbid to speak in tongues" in particular, but I suppose we can understand the general principal here and also say "do not forbid to shout" as well; since God wants it done and rather likes it. But when the Spirit so leads (for tongues or shouts or whatever) there is a supernatural order to it. You know it is God moving among His people, for it all works together for the general edification. Spiritually mature people (those obeying the Lord in fact) say a resounding "Yes!" While there may be detractors and critics, the more-complete-in-Christ will soar at the gift of leadership being revived in the body. [Leaders are not dictators, they "go first".]

As an eyewitness, it sounds like your perception of this woman is that she is breaking out of the retarded status quo. This sort of new-wine will surely destroy any residue of old-wineskin in your church. If this is the case, can you rejoice with God if it somewhat destroys what looks like "church" among you while helping to create a sense of real spiritual perception of what the church really is? Hang on...

When trouble comes, rejoice. Shout, even! God is purifying by fire. He is shaking what needs to be shaken.

One last testimony that might encourage. Once during a worship time I was standing in front of a mild mannered, shy man who in the middle of a quiet time (of basking in the Spirit of holiness) suddenly and loudly shouted out "GLORY! GLORY! GLORY!" and then sort of collapsed into sobs and weeping. This scared the hell out of me, quite literally. Besides the shock of such a thing happening not a few feet behind my ears, the shout was infused with the piercing presence of unaffected joy. It makes me tremble even to recall it. I want to shout like that, someday; but it would do no good to fake it. First I must see what he saw, and then I can respond in truth. Till then, any fake attempts will grieve the Spirit and those who have the Spirit. And if (or more correctly: when) I do see and comprehend the glory of God, I could misstep if I do not know that God allows shouting as a proper response. Now--if I want to--in proper response to a revelation I have permission to go ahead and do it, no matter what men might think. I can just do it and forget about what any man might think; including me. Praise God for this man's leadership, he went first (in my life, as least). It provoked me to godly jealousy--I want what he got! I must wait, and not fake, but I wait with longing.

John 4:24 (NAS) ...Those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

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