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A Hearty Amen

Times change, cultures change. Some of those changes are healthy. Some are harmful. Some are neutral. As one might expect, Christians and the church are not immune to these cultural changes and the pressure to conform to them. However, we are reminded in Romans 12:2 that Christians we are to refuse to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

The church feels this pressure acutely in the area of worship. Even the denominational world will admit to struggling with this concept. It wasn’t too long ago that it was common to read of “worship wars” in the pages of numerous denominational religious journals. At the heart of the debate was the inclination of our generation to conform to the entertainment mentality of popular culture. We in the church have not been immune to these struggles.

One aspect of this struggle relates to the ways in which we show our approval, joy or agreement. Following a stirring speech, a beautiful song or an inspiring and exciting performance, it is common to show our approval or indicate our appreciation through clapping our hands in applause.

The question arises, is this the most appropriate way to show our approval of or agreement with something in the context of the church? Let me suggest that we do have a biblically endorsed way of indicating such approval.

Showing approval by saying "amen" is specifically authorized by scripture (1 Cor. 14:16). The New Testament contains fifty examples of "amen" being used to solemnly confirm a prayer, blessing, statement of praise or statement of truth.

Without casting aspersions on those with a sincere desire to show their approval of, agreement with and joy in worship to God, it would seem that the best thing one could do to show such approval is to offer a hearty amen. That finds biblical approval and places us on safest of ground.

—Darryl Tripp,
Bostonia church of Christ