Question:

I recently came across your web site and have done some reading in your Question and Answer section which I have found most interesting.

I attend a church of Christ of considerable size. Several, maybe 10-25 members clap in our song service to "upbeat" songs, but not all songs. There are are also a few, not many, who raise their hands as they sing. Our song leader encourages this by bringing his hands together on the faster songs. I am very uncomfortable with the "clapping" and of course do not participate in the clapping. I have developed a really bad attitude about this. Am I wrong with the attitude I am seeing in myself or are the people doing the clapping and being offensive to me wrong or maybe we both are?

I understand through study that people were asked to not eat meat in front of certain people in the New Testament -- weaker brothers. Should the same principal apply here? I am certain they do not know they are causing me to stumble because of the attitude I have developed. I would appreciate your help and advice in this matter. I really don't know if this is a "salvation" issue but being raised in a very conservative congregation where clapping was not practiced I am MOST uncomfortable. But more importantly my attitude toward those who clap is not good.


Answer:

A weak Christian, such as in Romans 14, is someone who doesn't have enough faith yet to accept what God has said on a subject. What the weak Christian does is not wrong, but he is lacking confident understand in what God allows. The examples given were whether to eat meat (probably in relation to idolatry) and whether to celebrate days (probably in relation to Judaism).

Clapping during singing doesn't fall into this category because an essential element is missing. A Christian is righteous when eating meat or not eating meat. Personally celebrating a day is neither right nor wrong. But in clapping it must first be proved that clapping during singing is approved by God for Christian worship. The problem is that there is no authorization for clapping to accompany songs in worship.

Since this congregation has no problems with adding to God's Word things that God has not said, I would suggest finding a congregation that strives to please God instead of men. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10). After all, the only reason people desire clapping is because it makes them feel better.

Thanks for your words and thoughts.