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Clapping and Rhythm-Joy or Mayhem


As a Charismatic Baptist Church, we do have a few distinctions which differ from practices followed by other congregations who are charismatic.  One is that we do not clap our hands in our song services.  I do not seek to legislate nor dictate to other assemblies, but offer the following as food for thought.

In visits to other churches who used songs with which I was unfamiliar, I strained to hear the words and music and thus share in the message.  Instead, more often than not, the message was blotted out or garbled by enthusiastic clapping.  Those who did not know the songs were left with very little melody and practically no words that could be understood.

All we got was the thumping, drumming rhythm of a beat, reinforced and overemphasized by the clapping.  I got the urge to pat my feet.  However, I knew that music which moves your feet and not your heart has far less to do with joy in the Lord than with bodily sensations and can be dangerous.

I also remembered what I learned when researching voodoo, Hindu and African rituals and direct Satan worship.  Rhythmic and often dissonant beating of instruments and clapping were always incorporated in the preliminary phase of opening up people’s minds and bodies to receive evil spirits.  This same thing happens at rock concerts.

Let me say that I had no adverse reaction when people leaped and clapped their hands or clapped their hands and praised the Lord; only when it was coupled with and overshadowed the music I found it distracting and disturbing.

At one such service I witnessed two new babes in Christ, recently saved and delivered from rock music, going into almost hypnotic weaving as they swayed and clapped with the beat-beat-beat of the music.  A look came over them that was not of the Lord.  It was an excitement I had seen often in many demonized persons.

Glancing around I saw others in the assembly in the same condition.  I remembered the deceitfulness of Satan and the alarm bells went off in my mind.  The devil had slipped in through a singing group who thought they were doing service to God.  Satan was actually recapturing captives who had been released.  Because he was doing it in the name of religion, no one suspected what was happening.

Following one such service we visited, we had to pray for several of our young people who had developed splitting headaches during the musical program.  Those who are newly delivered from devilish music can be super-sensitive to such things.  Simply observe the swaying, sensual  movements accompanying many of these sessions.  It becomes entirely clear that this stimulation is earthly, sensual and devilish.  We need to recognize this most clever counterfeit as it slips in to mock and steal away glory from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I went home, took out my concordance and looked up the word “clap”  in all its forms.  I was surprised to find how few times the word even occurred in the Bible.  I had assumed, as I am sure others have, that it was mentioned many times in the Scripture.

I ran the references.  After discarding those which had nothing to do with worship or which personified inanimate objects, I only had half the references left.  In the few verses which were actually associated with praising and worshiping the Lord, there was a notable omission.  Not one single reference coupled clapping with singing.  Not even one!

Of the nine verses which speak of clapping, five show instances in which it was done in derision and scorn.  See Nahum 3:19 and Job 34:37 for examples of this.  Two are personifications of inanimate objects, (Psalm 98:8; Isaiah 55:12).  One tells of a response to the crowning of a king (II Kings 11:12).

Only one involves people praising the Lord, and that is by clapping with shouting, not with music.  Certainly our wise God arranged the scriptures.  Suppose that this omission  is because of the very real danger that rhythm would dominate the message, harmony and melody of music, and thereby produce sensuality rather than spirituality?

Sensuality is the effect when rhythm and beat are overemphasized.  Music is not given to us for that, but to convey joyous worship in the words, with a melody to carry them to the heart!  Singing can be up tempo, joyful, exuberant, but unobscured by a beat that unduly propels or overwhelms it.  Let those who have accepted rock in a “Christian” mask ask, “Will that which I allow ultimately become a source of bondage or a stumbling block for those who follow and look up to me as an older Christian?”

Try the song services without clapping and see how they are.  At least be sure that the sound and intensity of clapping are kept moderate and below the level of the melody and the message.  It will be surprising how much more of the content of the songs will come through.  The Holy Spirit can use this content to minister powerfully to a variety of needs in the congregation.

The whole rock music scene is filled with pitfalls for young people, including young believers.  Some may insist that we have liberty to use rock tempos without danger.  Paul warns that our liberty must not become an occasion for stumbling to our weaker brothers: “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours  become a stumbling block to them that are weak” (I Corinthians 8:9).

Can it be that demonic influences have crept in right under our noses to steal away the clarity and distinctiveness of our victory over the devil and all of his works?  In this he must be discovered, lest he craftily cheapen and spoil the finest things of worship and praise.  In their purest state these things are full of power to lift men and lead them to vital godliness.  What the enemy is unable to do by direct attack, let us be equally sure that he is unable to do by infiltration!

Inviting Demonic Attack - WorleyThe following is an excerpt from “Inviting Demonic Attack, Booklet #8″ by Pastor Win Worley. Copyright © 1983 by Win Worley, Revised © 1991.  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including storage and retrieval system, without securing permission in writing from the publisher, WRW Publications, PO BOX 9309, Highland, IN 46322.

If you’d like to obtain your own copy of not only this, but other materials authored by Win Worley, please contact WRW Publications at www.wrwpublications.com


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