Can Christians Clap in Church?
The scriptures teach that Christians may clap and shout for joy in church. David the prophet says, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy” (Psalms 47:1). The genuine expressions of joy are permitted in Church if they are done in a sanctified manner (Psalms 148, 149, 150). God is worthy of our profound reverence, adoration and Praise. For He had offered His Son to save us (John 3:16).
Can Christians Raise Their Hands in Church?
The Bible also teaches that Christians may lift up their hands in prayer. The apostle Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:8, writes, “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” The lifting of hands is an appropriate form of prayer and worship. The phrase “holy hands” may also mean “clean hands” and pure thoughts and deeds (Psalm 24:4; James 4:8).
For a morally and spiritually corrupted man to pray in public worship is hypocrisy, and his deed in so doing, is an insult to the Lord. Thus, we can see that both expressions (clapping and raising hands) can be included in worship services.
Praise in Song
Music is a type of worship, praise and thanksgiving that are an essential part of worship. As the worshipers raise their voices in praise to the Lord in gratitude to His great compassion to them, He draws near to them and His Spirit fills the place of worship.
The Lord also instructs that Christians can raise not just their hands but also their voices in song and praise to God. In the Old Testament, we read that God’s children used “the trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: ‘He is good; his love endures forever.’ Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud” (2 Chronicles 5:13).
And in the New Testament, Paul also instructs that the believers should “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). The psalms are the Old Testament poems sung to instrumental accompaniment.
The hymns are praises to God, written by the Christians and sung by the whole congregation. The spiritual songs or odes are of a common and spiritual nature, with or without accompaniment (Matthew 26:30; Acts 4:24–30; 1 Corinthians 14:26; James 5:13; Collosians 3:16).
Concerning worship, Paul teaches that “everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” in the church (1 Corinthians 14:40). “Everything” would certainly include the clapping and raising of hands in worship and also singing. Any activity during worship that takes away from the holiness of the church gathering should be avoided.
Therefore, “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Christians should never behave in any way that would lead others into sin by their actions (Romans 14:13). They are not to follow the natural tendencies of the unconverted mind. Rather, they are to bring every thought, word, and action into harmony with God’s will (Colossians 3:17).
Finally, it should be remembered that the emphasis of worship should be on the spirit rather than the physical forms of it. For “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). As a spirit Being, God is infinite, and consequently is not so much concerned with visible forms of worship as He is with the spirit in which men worship Him (verse 22).
In His service,