Is chanting in worship services okay?

Chanting is defined as reciting something in a monotonous repetitive tone. There are different types of chanting, from simple to complex ones, with different varieties and purposes. We see the shouts of victory in the battle field (Joshua 6:20), the cries of mourners lamenting (Ezekiel 32:16), the cries of protesters, the cheers of sport fans, and finally the chants of prayer and praise in worship.

While the Bible exhorts us to sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16; Psalm 95:1–2), it clearly speaks against vain repetitions (Ephesians 5:6-12; 1 Timothy 6:20; Proverbs 10:8-10). In Matthew 6:7, Jesus specifically said, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Here, Jesus spoke against saying the same thing over and over again without giving thought to what is spoken.

Jesus did not proscribe all repetition, for He Himself used repetitions (Matthew 26:44) but He spoke against the styles of repetition and chanting that the heathens do. For example, Tibetans use their prayer wheels to repeat the same prayer thousands of times without thought or effort on the part of the worshiper.

Chanting is usually associated with erroneous practices of the Eastern mystic religions, New age, Voodoo shouts, and the Native American rituals. In these ceremonies, the purpose of chanting is to connect with the spirit world. Worshipers chant mantras to induce a trance-like state for the purpose of opening the mind to receive supposedly “spiritual” guidance. The Bible clearly warns us against these practices (1 Kings 18:26; Acts 19:34) for they open the minds in reality to demonic influences.

Chanting is used in the Catholic Church worship services and devotionals such as such as Ave Maria and Salve Regina. These chants are nothing more than prayers to Mary and the saints which are un-biblical. The Lord has forbidden the adoration and devotion to humans and teaches that all worship should be addressed to God alone (Exodus 20:3; Mark 12:30). “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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