Thursday, November 03, 2011

We Say "Amen"

R. C. Sproul has some instructive comments on why we say "Amen" in our corporate worship. He begins,

And all the people said… “Amen!” The “amen corner” has had an important place in the life of the church throughout the ages. However, it is rare to find such a spot among Presbyterians. We are known as God’s frozen chosen for a reason. It has been said that the Methodists like to shout “Fire,” the Baptists like to shout “Water,” and the Presbyterians like to softly say, “Order, order.” Nevertheless, in spite of the idiosyncrasies of various ecclesiastical persuasions, the function of the word amen far transcends denominational usages in the modern era.

Read the whole thing.

2 comments:

Chuck said...

I can't find the primary source reference, but I've read about the loud unison congregational "Amen" that was common in certain congregations of the ancient church. Here's a quote from Spurgeon in this regard:
"In the ancient Church it was customary for the entire congregation to say Amen. Paul alludes to this custom in that expression in the Corinthians where he speaks of persons praying in an unknown tongue—he says, "How should he that occupies the room of the unlearned say Amen at your giving of thanks, seeing he understands not what you say?" We have it put on record by Jerome that at Rome the people were accustomed to say Amen in the gatherings of the early Christians so heartily—I might add, so lustily—that it was like the dash of a cataract, or a clap of thunder!" (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons12.xii.html)
Eusebius quotes Justin Martyr thus: "On Sunday a meeting of all . . . is held, and a section from the Memoirs of the Apostles (the Gospels) and the writings of the Prophets (the Old Testament) is read, as long as time permits. When the reader has finished, the president, in a discourse, gives all exhortation to the imitation of these noble things. After this we all rise in common prayer. At the close of the prayer, as we have before described, bread and wine with water are brought. The president offers prayer and thanks for them, according to the power given him, and the congregation responds the Amen." (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc2, para. 68)

Jason Parker said...

Thanks, Chuck. Great quotes!