Preachers Shouldn’t Be Regularly Screaming at Their Audience
In rebuking screaming preachers, I am not including those who are preaching God’s Word that need to raise their voices so everyone present can hear them. Obviously, if people are attending a meeting where one is preaching and the circumstances warrant that those who speak there raise their voice loud enough so everyone at the meeting can hear them, and they end up screaming as a result of that, that is surely different than what is being talked about here.
There also might be other circumstances in which it is appropriate for a preacher to raise his voice throughout a message. And I hope that what I mean will be clear enough by explaining why it is not appropriate for a preacher to continuously scream. I am also especially dealing here with church meetings and evangelistic meetings which people have willingly attended. The Bible says in Jonah 3:4: “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” In this circumstance Jonah probably had to raise his voice in walking through Nineveh and giving the warning that he gave there for obvious reasons.
I am also not talking about a preacher being passionate about what he is saying as he preaches nor am I disregarding the fact that some people are naturally more energetic and/or higher volume than others in their normal speaking. Someone can have a lot of passion about their message, a lot of energy, and a strong voice while still exercising self-control in speaking and not making their preaching a major dramatic event and/or hurting the ears of the members of their audience by their volume and/or potentially overwhelming people by psychological pressure. Preachers who scream regularly throughout their message do such things.
I’m talking then here primarily in regard to preaching before an assembled audience which can hear the one speaking without them needing to shout greatly in order for the audience to be able to understand what they say.
Regarding evangelism then:
Virtually no one will say that we are able to force people to salvation, but some do act like they can at least almost force people to salvation. The Calvinists, in their belief in irresistible grace, essentially believe that God forces His elect to salvation. Yet we know that is a false belief.
Consider then Acts 19:8: “And he (the Apostle Paul) went into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.”
Paul testified, Paul persuaded, Paul challenged opposition, Paul warned- yet he didn’t try to override people’s wills. He also (and many preachers fail here by their methods) didn’t try to intimidate people by the strength of his personality nor try to impress them by his intellect and/or oratory elegance. He actually feared people coming to believe in Jesus on the basis of such things, because he knew that would not be a Biblically authentic faith that worships God from the heart and endures suffering in line with His Word. Such a faith would not be based on the belief of God’s testimony from the heart.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
In demonstration of the Spirit and power here possibly refers to the signs the Apostle Paul performed by his apostolic authority to testify the truth of Jesus being the promised Messiah. Yet it certainly refers to letting the Word of God speak for itself and not mixing that with his own devices to try to convince people of its truth. Why make the error of Nadab and Abihu to try to add his own fire to his preaching when he could trust that God would provide the fire to bear witness of His Word as he followed God’s directions and explained the Word accurately and faithfully?
Luke 24:32: “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he (the risen Jesus) talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
Romans 10:16-17: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias (Isaiah) saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
2 Corinthians 4:4-7: “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
If the pure Word of God being testified to a person’s heart and mind does not persuade them to commit themselves wholly to Jesus Christ and to live by His Word, then it’s not only useless, but also potentially deceptive and destructive, to try to bring about belief in Jesus Christ in an alternative way- and screaming at people while preaching might very well have this effect.
-When preaching to a group or witnessing to individuals, just like Jesus warned about in relation to prayer to God, don’t think you’ll be heard for your much speaking (in terms of how much you say nor in terms of loud you speak). Sometimes less is more. And usually, normal volume is better than shouting.
– Beware of doing altar calls and causing situations which might cause people to make a profession of faith in Christ due to not wanting to look bad before you or before others at the meeting.
– People shouldn’t be confronted to repent in a way that they feel ganged up on or intimidated by a strong personality, especially if they are not being a notable hindrance to the salvation of others.
– It is better for a meeting to end with no new converts to report, and no great accomplishments to report at all, than to extract professions of Christ, and other notable decisions for God’s kingdom, by methods such as those described in the previous points.
And all those listening should ask themselves whether their faith in Christ is at all dependent on a decision related to being impressed or intimidated by any human personality and/or something which is holding up based upon being impressed or intimidated by any human personality. If so, there is good reason to believe it is the type of faith, a dead faith, which the Apostle Paul actually feared that his hearers would come to have if he were to be unnecessarily impressive and/or overpowering as an orator. Have the dealings with God which you need to have over your sins and surrender to Jesus Christ in truth and walk before Him in truth according to the terms set forth in the Bible regarding His covenant in Christ, so that your faith will indeed hold up in trials and temptations in life- and on Judgment Day.
Some say that it is not Christian to critique and criticize others for how they preach. When it comes to individual characteristics, and things that one cannot help or necessarily do a lot better in, then this is true. Don’t criticize someone’s preaching or teaching of the Bible for these things (or because they do not impress you for whatever reason). And though I’m not saying a preacher or Bible teacher should be bland, consider that even that is better than being bombastic or unnecessarily impressive. There is a way to preach or teach the Bible which doesn’t have to be any of these things. And yet consider that the Apostle Paul feared being unnecessarily impressive or overwhelming towards people. And when someone is regularly screaming like an angry drill sergeant, or acting like a know-it-all professor who is evidently trying to portray themselves as an expert and seeking to impress their audience by their oratory tactics, such things indeed ought to be criticized. And there are definite scientific ways to prove these things rather than such things merely being subject to personal interpretation.
Consider: What if someone were to scream at the preacher who was constantly screaming regarding why they shouldn’t constantly scream while they are preaching? Why would you scream at someone and think they’ll give heed when you would resist another screaming at you over something they could have spoken to you just as well without screaming? Making screaming a regular method of communication doesn’t serve an effective purpose. Why would it be any different when it comes to getting one’s point across in other Bible related matters or in matters of life altogether? There are of course some obvious exceptions. Those who listen to our studies regularly know I’ve raised my voice considerably once in a while. There are times when it’s appropriate to match or overwhelm the intensity of an opponent during a contention or in dealing with a known contention to the truth that you’re standing for; there are times when it’s appropriate to scream to emphasize something (yet if you’re regularly screaming how could this even be effective?); there are times when listeners obviously don’t care, and it might be appropriate to raise your voice to awaken them out of their slumber (yet afterwards they will either care or tune you out more- why continue to shout then?).
When it comes to preaching at regular church meetings:
Especially, when the choir is being preached to, people whom you believe are ready and willing to hear and obey the Word of God, screaming at them is not going to do anything but frustrate them and cause them to tune out (even if only unconsciously). And when it comes to preaching in a church context to the members of your church, you have bigger issues to address if being ready and willing to hear and obey the Word of God does not describe the membership of your church. If that does not describe the membership of your church, deal with those issues behind the scenes and consider not preaching publicly at all until that is done. Perhaps the screaming preacher and his church do not stand faithfully and uncompromisingly stand for truth like they claim to, and perhaps the regular screaming is a futile attempt to compensate for this.
A preacher shouldn’t be uncomfortable faithfully testifying the truth that they ought to testify to people and exhorting them to walk in it without trying to overpower or impress them- and then leaving them to deal with God about what they’ve heard. The faithful and wise servant of Christ understands this, seeks to faithfully do their part, and keep their hands off of the rest.
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]