Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."

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Sometimes today people make statements like, “I just can’t enjoy reading the Bible.  I’ve read it so much, it’s a boring thing.”  Or, “Christianity is a boring religion.”  Or, “I get so bored with the worship services.  There is nothing interesting and fresh about them.”

Probably, in all honesty, these thoughts are not new.  Every generation surely must have had its own people who felt bored and for whom boredom closed the doors to spiritual growth.  The difference is that in the past when people had those thoughts they were ashamed of them, knowing that there was some fault within their own attitude and understanding or they would not have felt that way.  So they usually kept their thinking to themselves, their own guilty secret.

Today, though, the boredom is expressed as a charge, not against self, but against Christianity.  If people find the Bible to be boring, the implication is that the Bible is at fault.  Christianity is pronounced a boring religion because it fails to meet the needs of today’s society.  Worship is boring because it is formal and ritualistic.

How sad it is that we have grown subconsciously so secure in our confidence in our own thinking and intellect that we question and find fault with God’s work rather than with ourselves when it seems that something somewhere is not measuring up to the needed standard!  Is this not the epitome of egoism?

Is God’s word boring?  Not if we have cultivated (and cultivation is something we do ourselves, by choice) a hunger for it; not if it is His living word in our hearts instead of a dead letter; not if we love the daily guidance we receive from it. (Psalms 1:1,2) “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Is Christianity a boring religion?  Does it have no relevance in today’s world?  We need to understand that Christian does not draw from the world around it, and its relevancy does not depend on the culture in which it exists.  Christianity is a way of life designed by the God of heaven to fill all the needs of all men in all cultures for all time and to lift them above their human cultures.  Christianity is as relevant as its adherents will allow it to be in their individual lives.

Is worship boring and ritualistic?  Worship is adoration of God, not entertainment of humans.  It was planned by God according to His own wisdom so if there is any lacking, it is in us and not in the plan. God knew that there is strength in fellowship so he asked His family to gather regularly so that we should be continually aware of each other’s needs and would be moved by our love to help each other.

But worship is more than just gathering together.  And it is a much more involved and profound thing than just conforming to a ritual. (John 4:23,24) “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

First, Worship is adoration and exaltation of God.  The whole group is to be involved, but the act of worshipping is a very individual thing.  That is why those who participate fully go home spiritually invigorated by the experience while those who practice absentmindedly or were primarily spectators find worship “boring.”

Second, Worship is a teaching and strengthening process.  The hymns and the studies, the sharing of spiritual thought and growth, are all meant to edify the body.  Again, God showed His wisdom in His plan.  He knew that men would gain more from reaching out to others to help them grow than from concentration entirely on their needs.  So worship should, and must be, a time of giving and receiving, of “teaching and admonishing one another”, if it is to be effective. (Colossians 3:16)

Third, Worship is a weekly renewal of our commitment to the death of Christ and to the new life we have in Him.  How often Christians fail in their awareness of this part of worship!  If a sincere searching of the heart and soul is made each week, followed by a fresh avowal of giving of one’s entire self to God, how could such a time of consecration ever be labelled “boring”?

Everything about the Christian way of life is as new and vital as the “new” of a new day, because it is a living relationship between a living soul and his living God.  To allow it to sink to the level of boredom must surely be one of the deepest hurts we could inflict on our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit.

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Is Hand Clapping in the Church Scriptural?

Why do some clap their hands (applaud) during the worship of the church? Some clap when they agree with a point the preacher has made. Some applaud when he finishes his sermon. This is to show their approval of it. However, there is no Scriptural authority for hand clapping in the worship of the church! One of the principles which will help us understand the Lord’s will for worship is to”speak where the Scriptures speak, and to remain silent where the Scriptures are silent.” In other words, when the Lord teaches us by a command, approved example, or implication in His Word, we have authority to do it. If He does not, then we are doing it without His authority.

What is the proper way to show agreement or approval in worship? The answer is found in 1 Corinthians 14:16. Paul wrote: “Otherwise, if you bless with the Spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say ‘Amen’ at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?” The manner of Paul’s question implies that the proper way to show agreement is to say “Amen.” Even though this passage is dealing with the miraculousspiritual gifts of the apostolic age, it clearly shows how the Lord expects His disciples to show agreement today.

If God had simply said, “Show agreement,” then hand clapping, whistling, or anything else could be done to accomplish it. However, God did not simply say “Show agreement!” He said to say “Amen” to show approval or agreement. This principle is clearly seen in Genesis 6:14. The Lord told Noah to “Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.” Since God commanded the specific kind of wood to be used, no other kind could have been used with His approval. Since, in the New Testament, God has commanded the way to show approval or agreement in worship is by saying “Amen,” then no other way can be used with His approval! God does not have to say, “Thou shall not practice hand clapping or any other thing except to say “amen.” When He commanded saying “Amen,” this eliminated (left out) every other way of doing it!

The apostle Paul wrote: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). To do a thing “in the name of the Lord” means to do it by His authority. Therefore, we must have authority for everything we do in our worship and practice. Where is the verse which gives us authority for hand clapping in worship? It is not mentioned anywhere in the New Testament!

Please consider the following arguments from the Word of God:
A) All Scripture is given to thoroughly equip the man of God for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16,17).
B) No Scripture authorizes hand clapping in the worship of the church.
C) Therefore, hand clapping is not a good work!

A) It is a violation of Scripture to go beyond what is written (Revelation 22:18,19; 2 John 9).
B) Hand clapping in the worship of the church is not written in the New Testament.
C) Therefore, hand clapping in the worship of the church is a violation of the New Testament!

A)“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).“Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
B) The Word of God does not mention hand clapping in the worship of the church.
C) Therefore, hand clapping is not an act of faith and is a sin!

A) God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” through His Word (2 Peter 1:3).
B) God’s Word does not give us anything concerning hand clapping in the worship of the church.
C) Therefore, hand clapping in the church does not pertain to life and godliness!

Some try to justify hand clapping in the worship of the church by arguing, “It is mentioned in the Old Testament.” While this is true (see Psalm 47:1), this does not authorize it in the worship of the church today. We are under the New Testament law of worship. The Old Testament Law was for Israel and has been replaced by a new and better covenant (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 7:12; 8:6-13). The fact that hand clapping was commanded in Old Testament worship does not authorize it in New Testament worship any more than the fact that the burning of incense and the offering of animal sacrifices in Old Testament worship gives authority for them in New Testament worship. We are not under the Old Testament law of worship today! If one leaves out the offering of animal sacrifices and burning of incense, he must also leave out hand clapping.

Some try to justify hand clapping in the worship of the church today by insisting that it is a matter of option. One can choose to do it, or one can choose not to do it. But if it is an option, why not leave it out? Many Christians cannot do it in good conscience. If it is not commanded, but merely a matter of option, then it should not be used for this will cause division. Those who oppose hand clapping in worship do not believe it is an optional matter. They oppose it because it is an addition to the God given pattern of worship in the New Testament.

When we worship God, we must simply follow that which He has revealed to us in the New Testament. Hand clapping as an act of worship is not revealed in the New Testament. Therefore, in order to please God, we must leave it out of our worship! God demands respect for His Word. To add to it or to take away from it is to incur the wrath of God. It will result in one’s being kept out of the Holy City, which is Heaven (Revelation 22:18,19).