Hand Clapping

Number 0025

Source: Beacon, Volume XXVII, #38

Missing the Point on Hand Clapping

by Kevin Williams

There are many instances in life that “excite” us to clap our hands together. We clap when our children graduate from high school, when a sports player makes a good play in the game that we are observing, and when family members are given special honors at banquets and dinners. By clapping, we show our approval of what is being done.

What about clapping and worship? Lately, there have been reports of such being done in our area. There are those who have clapped while singing religious songs in worship. There are those who have clapped at the completion of a baptism. Is this clapping approved by God? What is the purpose for hand clapping on these occasions?

Like the hand clapping that is done in the secular world, many have no problem with clapping in worship because they are showing their approval of what is being done in worship, at a baptism, etc. But here is the point about hand clapping that must not be overlooked! Neither the worship offered, nor the baptism administered is to be done to meet with our approval! They are to be done to meet with the approval of the One who gave the commands to perform, GOD! Please do not miss this point!!! We do not worship to please ourselves, we do so to please God!

Furthermore, whenever we come together to worship, administer baptism, or do any other religious practice, we must of necessity do them the way God has instructed (Colossians 3:17). Where is the authority to clap while singing? Where is the authority to clap at a baptism? And, as far as that goes, what is the reason behind clapping, especially at a baptism?

Baptism is a practice that the apostle Paul, parallels to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 6:3-4). Would clapping even enter into our minds when thinking of the sacrifice made at Calvary? Then neither should it enter into our minds when one is immersed, an occasion reminding us of Jesus’ sacrifice!!! Let us refrain from such!