Now I’ve seen several people argue for hand clapping (rhythmic) and people are divided on whether it’s right or wrong. The Bible doesn’t say one way or the other. But that “the bible doesn’t say you can’t” is a very weak argument for doing something. Doing something because “the bible doesn’t say you can’t” had better be a really ethical and necessary thing as it has the potential of [1] opening the door to all sorts of error based on the same weak principle, and [2] it has the high potential of creating division.
Hand clapping has some problems.
[1] It does not edify in the biblical sense of that word. The spoken word of God edifies and Paul says “let everything be done for edification” 1 Cor 14:26. Even legitimate “tongues”, which were miraculously spoken foreign languages, when not understood with the mind, could not edify and was to be silenced. How much more should the noise of a humm or a clap be silenced!
[2] It adds to the music God already authorized which is singing with the voice. To “add” is forbidden by the Scriptures. Rev 22:18 warns against ETITHEIMI, ‘to lay upon’ the Word of God something additional to what is inspired. We know we are not to lay upon God’s Word something additional. To sing spiritual songs with the voice is to complete the direction from God. To “lay upon” the singing with a new kind of sound/music is to do something to what is authorized. Let me illustrate. Picture a cup filled with water. Then pour a handful of rocks into the cup. The rocks displace the water. To add the rocks takes away from the water. When the hand clapping is added, of necessity something is taken away from the vocal singing. The ears are no longer filled only with the beautiful, edifying spiritual words, but they are now filled with smacks and clacks and noise that does not do anything for the soul but satisfies only the flesh. The addition of noise is not to be supported by those who follow God’s word that all things are to be for edification. Whatever subtracts from that edification is to be removed.
[3] The pressure to clap points to something that is not born of the Spirit of God. The things of the Spirit of God are unquestionably good so that spiritual people all agree they should be promoted and encouraged by all. Singing is encouraged in the church and the force or pressure to follow along is wholesome. All are encouraged to pray and to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
These are holy without question so much that when someone is NOT participating, it is thought that things are not right with that person. This is how we view the need for universal participation in the things born of the Spirit.
Now I say that to call attention to the pressure to clap. The pressure is for full participation in the clapping. Where clapping is accepted, the person who doesn’t clap is viewed in a certain way as “fuddy duddy”, or uncoordinated, or unspiritual, or legalistic. You join into the clapping by the pressure of the group.
[4] The practice of hand clapping, once adopted, has the suspect tendency of being irreversible. Like the thorns and thistles that would persist in Adam’s garden, so clapping once incorporated cannot be removed without a painful and thorough cleansing. Once the noise of clapping is adopted, singing alone without it is not an option. It will be clapping 100% of the time – unless the leaders say “with this song or during this service we ask that you not clap.” Singing alone becomes boring and not an option. This persistence to clap that cannot go back becomes an unwritten law to be enforced.
If anyone has any doubt about the seriousness of this matter, one only needs to see the way clapping is vigorously defended.
Therefore, to keep from running headlong into the troubles of disunity and to the dulling of the soul such noise will inevitably bring, hand clapping should be avoided completely. The ones who need to have their nature stirred by it will use any kind of argument to get their clapping into the door. “I clapped one time….are you telling me I’m going to hell?!” “The Bible says to honor others and the commonly accepted way of honoring people is with applause….you telling me I’m going to hell for clapping in honor?!” The hand clapper needs his fleshly nature stirred. And he will use anything specious argument to advance things to his final goal. No matter what their reasonings are, they must be repelled and silenced.
The reason to have clapping is it sounds good. The reasons not to go there are numerous and far outweigh any argument for clapping.

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