The Baptist Pillar ©      Brandon Bible Baptist Church     1992-Present

"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

Hand Clapping in Worship Services

Richard L. Walters

The Baptist Trumpet

For what it may be worth, I’d like to set forth my objections to hand clapping in worship services.

This practice is relatively new to our churches, but its spread is alarming to me. Perhaps televised religious services have had some influence on us in adopting this new form of expression.

We do not clap our hands in worship services where I pastor for the simple reason that I believe hand clapping is in praise of a performance and is intended to compliment and magnify the performer. We have no place in our worship services for this.

Our design is not to magnify the instrumentalists, singers, or preachers. Those who are at the instruments, on the platform or in the pulpit should be joining with the congregation to magnify and worship the Lord. It seems to me that a worshipful, muffled "Thank the Lord," "Praise the Lord," or "Amen" would be a much more appropriate response to some part of a worship service such as a song or a testimony or a particularly striking statement in a sermon.

I believe there are severe dangers in this alien practice. Number one, where will it lead? Will we stand and clap, holler and clap, jump and clap, whistle, throw our hats, hymnals and books in the air while we clap? Similar things are done in stadiums!

Number two, what does clapping say to people with charismatic leanings? Do we not say to them, "This is your crowd?" If we do, we have cultivated some people whose bag of tricks will change the whole character of our services much to our sorrow.

Number three, the practice of hand clapping in worship services is offensive to some, and I happen to be among that group. It dampens the spirit of worship in my soul and I am convinced that it has the same effect on some others.

Obviously, my opinions are not shared by all. But, I do insist that my views be respected in my territory. I believe it is proper for a guest to sit with his hands in his lap and wait for the host to pick up a fork and start eating first. Then the guest may start. By the same token, it seems proper to respect the mode of worship where we are and let the home folks set the tone.

Why make all the "to-do" about hand clapping in church? A worship service is a high point in my spiritual life and I believe every moment of it needs to magnify our Lord before us that our hungry souls may be fed. If any part of the service fails to magnify the Lord, I feel that I’ve been given a meatless bone which can never strengthen my life. I hope we will leave it to others to "jump for Jesus" and make a "clap offering" to the Lord.

Eloquent Habakkuk wrote, "The Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him."