Handclapping in worship, is it authorized?, by Mike Riley, (part 2)

Biblical Example Of Unacceptable Worship
God has given us explicit warnings in the Bible concerning unacceptable worship of Him. One example is that of Nadab and Abihu in the Old Testament. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:1-2). Just as Nadab and Abihu were severely punished by being consumed by fire for their unauthorized worship, we also will be severely punished eternally in Hell for our unauthorized worship as we offer strange sounds of hand clapping to the Lord. We need to realize that, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

Worship To Be Done By The Lord’s Authority

Paul admonishes us, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). To do all in the name of the Lord Jesus is to do all things by His authority. Since we are under the New Testament law of Christ (Romans 8:2; 1 Corinthians 9:21; Gal. 6:2), where in the New Testament has God authorized hand clapping in worship to Him? The authorization is not there – it can’t be found. Hand clapping in worship is not authorized just as playing a mechanical instrument of music is not authorized in worship to God. Let’s ask ourselves this question: If we are going to clap in worship, why don’t we also whistle, yell, and scream to show our approval? Or why don’t we clap during the Lord’s Supper or as a prayer is being led? Our worship to God is not for our entertainment for God is the One being worshipped and glorified, not us. Paul tells us, “Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). We can only glorify and honor God when we do what He tells us, how He tells us, when He tells us, the way He tells us, where He tells us, and for the reason He tells us. We are to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Jesus says that those who worship God “must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). This means we are to worship God with, (1) the right attitude and (2) by God’s truth. Hand clapping in the worship service is not in spirit and in truth. We are also admonished by Paul to “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40). Hand clapping is neither a decent nor an orderly activity in our worship to God.


People who clap their hands in worship may “have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:2-3). People may be sincere in their hand clapping in worship, but they are sincerely wrong and will lose their souls in eternity. It will be too late on the day of judgment if the Lord says to us, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). Going to Heaven must be our number one priority in this life. When we worship the Lord, let’s make certain we are worshipping Him “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24), the way He has authorized.

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