Another modern addition to the worship of the church is handclapping. Now there are different types of handclapping involved in modern worship. There are those who applaud and those who handclap with the song service. The applause is generally a show of approval, a sign of recognition, a result of excitement or a manifestation of diplomatic courtesy.

With the rise of this new fad, there is a question to ask. “Is there Biblical authority for applause or handclapping in God’s worship?” In short, Brother Hugo McCord wrote, “Nothing in New Testament teaching on worship calls for hand clapping, body movements, or shouted words.” Simply put, there is no Biblical authority for it, and if that is the case then why do people handclap and applaud today in worship? Well, without Biblical authority, if they do these things, it is because they want to. But, shouldn’t our wants and desires give way to obeying the Lord, John 14:15; 15:14?

Historically speaking, according to David Miller, he says the introduction of applause in Christian worship was through an elder of the church in Antioch named Paul of Samosata in 260 AD. What he introduced was the transfer of customs from the theater to the church and he persuaded the members “To applaud his preaching by waving linen cloths.” Not being there, this sounds like the “Terrible Towels” of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Anyhow, the church censured him for this practice, and they quickly abolished it. And, now, once again, culture has infiltrated the church instead of the church influencing the world.
Again, this is only a first-page article and there is only so much one can say. But here are four things those who applaud and handclap in worship should consider.

#1 – Why do you applaud and handclap in worship? Did the authority come from God or man; God or culture; God or one’s own desires? Now, I understand it is common for humanity when challenged to allow pride to get in the way of truth. But, do away with your pride and ask, why do I applaud or handclap in worship?
#2 – 1 Corinthians 4:6 teaches us “not to think beyond that which is written.” The early church did not practice such. And the “Terrible Towel” movement came 230 years too late to have come from God.
#3 – Matthew 15:1-3 teaches us that we should not mix our culture with God’s word.
#4 – Colossians 3:17 – teaches that “whatever we do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord.” Now, some people will quickly turn to the Old Testament and proclaim that there was handclapping then so we can use it today. Friends, the O.T. is not our authority today. To try to justify practices in New Testament worship through the Old Testament is to make the life of Christ vain, Galatians 2:21.

I could have said much more. But, this is enough to evidence why anyone trying to restore New Testament Christianity should not add handclapping and applause to God’s worship, there is simply no authority for said practices.

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