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Question 31

Q: I’m bothered by applause after music in worship services.

Not because the music isn’t superb, but because we are applauding ourselves at a moment when all attention, devotion, and thought should be given only to God. 

Asked by: Robert, Pennsylvania


A: Robert, I really do think that you have a point and yet, at the same time, I personally cannot tell a congregation, “don’t applaud.”

I believe that if they are properly instructed, they are not applauding simply because the music is great, although there is always that temptation. I would like to think that they are applauding God. Their hearts have been blessed. The words of the song have gone so mightily and consistently into their hearts that they are simply saying, by their applause, “we love you Lord, thank you very, very much.” I hope that’s what’s happening when people applaud, and when it happens that way, the enthusiasm that is in that service is very appropriate. We ought to be excited for God. We ought to be excited for His glory.

The bottom line is: I think proper instruction is what congregations need if they are going to applaud. Freedom in our worship is important; some people raise their hands, others applaud and still others shout “Amen!” Some do all three. 

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