Go Ahead, Raise Your Hands in Church

“The Psalms teach us to praise God with the full spectrum of human emotion, from rejoicing to lamenting, sometimes even within the same passage.” - TGC


I used to think SI was fundamental, but hand-raising? shouting? clapping even? I hardly know this place anymore. Next thing will be an article about using percussion in worship!

I have always avoided raising my hands in church, not because it’s proscribed in scripture, but because it feels like drawing unnecessary attention to oneself. Of course, I have always felt that way about really loud “amens” from people in the congregation as well, when it’s not at a point for the congregation to respond together.

Then again, I’m officially an old guy, so…

Dave Barnhart

I'm with Dave on this one. Of course I'm an old guy too! As far as Sharperiron not being fundamental, they have not changed their doctrinal statement that I am aware of. My understanding of Sharperiron is to keep Christians (especially pastors) informed on doctrinal issues. That requires articles that they (we) don't agree with.

Richard Brunt

Richard E Brunt

Yeah, I don't understand the concern with posting an article. The problem with some corners of fundamentalism is that it becomes so separatist that even reading something outside of the orb can be viewed as compromising. The doctrinal statement hasn't changed, so posting articles of interest shouldn't be viewed as some levels of compromise. This is a forum, not a church.

With that said, I have always enjoyed this.


....this article from the newspaper of record comes to mind.

OK, seriously, my thought, as a confessed "feet nailed to the floor" guy myself, is that at some point, the Psalms, in particular 149 and 150, seem to indicate that at some point, the joy and goodness of God ought to go beyond mere singing and a mind thing to become a heart thing that extends to our arms and legs.

Workin' on it, and hoping to dodge that sniper. Really, if we want to call ourselves "Fundamental"--first fundamental, Sola Scriptura, all that--we can't, or at least shouldn't, proceed from 19th century culture that associated all dancing with saloon and promiscuous dancing, but we need to find a way that honors the text of the Psalms. I think there's a nice middle ground between pole dancing or twerking and feet nailed to the floor.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

I might have misunderstood, but it seemed to me that pvawter’s post was made with tongue firmly in cheek. The tone seemed obvious, not to mention the reference to “percussion in worship,” which is the subject of another recent thread, even if there hasn’t been an article praising it that I have seen.

Dave Barnhart

We used to have a disclaimer link on the Filings basically saying stuff we link to isn’t necessarily our own views.

It really should not need saying, though. (Edit: And I think Pvawter may have been just having a little fun there)

But in this case, I don’t think I disagree with the author, for the most part. I don’t see anything non-fundamental (in the historical sense) about raising hands in worship. It was not an issue at all until the charismatic movement happened, and then many saw the need to distance themselves from it in that specific way, among others.

I am not a hand raiser myself, but we have a few at our church who do that, including our pastor now and then. They are just putting themselves more fully into the expression of praise and thanksgiving. I’m just too temperamentally reserved to feel comfortable doing that. But if you’re an outwardly expressive sort of person, it might be pretty weird not to.

I think I actually benefit personally from witnessing their more demonstrative joy (it would make me a bit sad if they stopped). … though I am probably incurably reserved, myself.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Yes, I was just poking fun a little, trying to laugh at some of our fundamentalist silliness. I thought the article was good and it is helpful to think about areas we may be able to grow. I know for myself, as a member of the frozen chosen here in Wisconsin, I need to work hard to be more expressive in worship and encourage others to do so by my example.

Because the culture of fundamentalism from yesteryear discouraged the raising of hands so that they wouldn't be associated with the Charismatics and Pentecostals, I realized that when I raised my hands in some of these churches, I was being a distraction because it was so unusual to see. At the church our family was a part of 20 years ago, we would either sit in the back left corner of the auditorium (under the balcony) or in the balcony so that I wouldn't distract others when I raised my hands in worship among those weren't used to the raising of hands. 20 years later in this same Baptist church, that culture has died out and changed where no one is even thinking about it anymore.