“Shout unto God with the voice of triumph.” –Psalm 47:1
I have studied spiritual awakening and revival history for more than 40 years. I have passionately been trying to discover what makes Christianity break out of the religious status quo and become a bold, transforming influence in society, sweeping millions into radical obedience to the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. What makes faith in Christ irresistibly contagious?
Several years ago, my wife and I came into The Salvation Army and began to plant a corps (church) in Nashville, not knowing much about it. At one of our first Officers’ Councils, which were rather low-keyed religious meetings of corps leaders (pastors), a young woman suddenly began to loudly shout, over and over: “Fire, Lord send Your fire!” Something stirred deeply within me as she shouted! Once she stopped shouting, the meeting meandered along in its usual, quiet, calm manner. It was like her shouting was hardly noticed.
We had Officers’ Councils twice a year and at some point, during many of them, this woman would shout “Fire!” and cry out for the Spirit to fall on us. While driving to these meetings, I used to tell my wife: “I hope she will shout ‘Fire!’ again this time!” Recently, however, when I said that to my wife, these words came to my mind: “Why don’t you shout “Fire!”? Now that was a different story because I sure didn’t want to do that (and I didn’t at that particular Officers’ Councils).
However, about a month later, I was at a Salvation Army men’s camp with about 200 guys. During the worship time people began to spontaneously fill the altar. When the worship stopped, a guy began to boldly and loudly shout: “Don’t wait! Come to God now!”
However, the people were soon sent back to their seats and the service was carried on as planned. At the end, an invitation was given to come to the altar. As I walked down, I put my hand on the shoulder of the guy who had shouted so loudly and said: “What you did was really from God. That took courage.”
When I took my hand off his shoulder, something broke out inside of me and I found myself shouting at the top of my lungs: “Fire! Fire! God send Your fire! We have to have Your fire! We need Your fire . . .” and on and on for several minutes.
When the shouting flow stopped, I was embarrassed, so I laid down on the carpet in front of the altar and continued to pray silently. And I kept thinking to myself, “What came over me?”
A few weeks after that I received in the mail a copy of a book published by The Salvation Army USA called: Tsunami of the Spirit Come Roll Over Me. As I read through the book, I came to a chapter called: Brengle’s Teaching On Shouting — Shout Aloud Salvation! (Commissioner Samuel Logan Brengle was an early Salvation Army leader who wrote many books that are still impacting the Army today.) Here are a few quotes from that chapter:
“I am convinced that the subject of ‘shouting,’ which is emphasized by Bringle as a distinct manifestation of extraordinary prayer, should be recognized as one of the most exciting themes in his holiness teaching.” –Young Sung Kim
“Nothing can stand before a man with a genuine shout in his soul. Earth and Hell flee before him, and all Heaven throngs about him to help him fight his battles.” –Samuel Logan Brengle
“Many a prayer meeting has failed at the shouting point. Songs were sung, testimonies had been given, the Bible had been read and explained, sinners had been warned and entreated, prayers had been poured forth to God, but no one wrestled through to the point where he could and would intelligently praise God for victory, and, so far as could be seen, the battle was lost for want of a shout.” –Samuel Logan Brengle
“At times their shouting will be like the boom of a big gun, and will have the speed and power of a cannon-ball.” –Samuel Logan Brengle
“Brengle asserts that there is a certain stage of shouting that leads us in our salvation to ‘what flame is to fire.’ Though the aid of the Holy Spirit, in this particular stage, our ‘salvation becomes irresistibly catching.” –Young Sung Kim
“Shouting and praising God are to salvation what flame is to fire. You may have a very hot and useful fire without a blaze, but not till it burst forth into flame does it become irresistible and sweep everything before it. So people may be very good and have a measure of salvation, but it is not until they become so full of the Holy Ghost that they are likely to burst forth in praises to their glorious God an any hour of the day or night both in private and in public, that their salvation becomes irresistibly catching.” –Samuel Logan Brengle
These ideas are not just a theory from Brengle. The capture of Jericho in the Old Testament gives a vivid example of the power of shouting.
“When you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” –Joshua 6:5
“At the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD has given you the city.” –Joshua 6:16
So, could loud and bold shouting be a key in bringing spiritual awakening? Is it true, as Brengle says, that when we shout, “salvation becomes irresistibly catching”? Perhaps we should step out of our religious box and shout! We’ve nothing to lose except our pride!
(After writing this article, I found more quotes on shouting from Samuel Logan Brengle.)
“Nothing is more completely hidden from wise and prudent folk than the blessed fact that there is a secret spring of power and victory in shouting and praising God.”
“Let no one hastily conclude that he should not shout and praise God unless he feels a mighty wave of triumph rushing through his soul.”
“Many a soul, in fierce temptation and hellish darkness, has poured out his heart in prayer and then sunk back in despair, who, if he had only closed his prayer with thanks, and dared in the name of God to shout, would have filled Hell with confusion, and won a victory that would have struck all the harps of Heaven and made the angels shout with glee.”
“An old friend of mine in Vermont once remarked, that ‘when he went into a store or railway station, he found the place full of devils, and the atmosphere choked his soul till he shouted; then every devil hid himself away, the atmosphere was purified, and he had possession of the place, and could say and do what he pleased.’ The Marechale once wrote: ‘Nothing fills all Hell with dismay like a reckless, dare-devil shouting faith.'”
“Joy can be cultivated by rejoicing in the Lord and praising God for His goodness and mercy, and shouting when the joy wells up in our souls under the pressure of the Holy Spirit. Many people quench the Spirit of joy and praise, and so gradually lose it. But let them repent, confess, pray and believe and then begin to praise God again and He will see to it that they have something to praise Him for, and their joy will convict sinners and prove a mighty means of winning them to Jesus.”
“The shouting of some people is as terrible as the noise of an empty wagon rolling over cobble stones; it is like the firing of blank cartridges. It is all noise. Their religion consists in making a racket. But there are others who wait on God in secret places, who seek His face with their whole hearts, who groan in prayer with unutterable longing to know God in all His fullness and to see His kingdom come with power; who plead the promises, who search the word of God and meditate on it day and night, until they are full of the great though and truths of God, and faith is made perfect. Then the Holy Ghost comes pressing down on them with an eternal weight of glory that compels praise, and when they shout it takes effect.”
Here’s 1 more Bible verse: Luke19:27-38: “As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: “Bessed is the King who comes in the Name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”