Contend Earnestly: Got a Question?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Got a Question?

This is what I used to think, because I thought I was funny, when I was a young Baptist growing up in the Bible belt when I saw people raising their hands in worship. I just never understood why people raised their hands in worship. I never understood why people would just stand up and raise their hands when everyone else was sitting down. Was this a way to put yourself on stage so all could see your “spirituality?” I would hope this wouldn’t be the reason but was always confused on why and how this practice started in worship. The only place we see this in the New Testament is in 1 Timothy 2:8;

I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing.

What does the passage say? It says that during prayer; we should lift holy hands, not during the singing of hymns and praise songs. I know that some will say that it is just natural to lift their hands or that they are reaching for the God’s hand like a child to a father’s hand. Some say are showing that they are “receiving” God’s blessings, through worship, by raising hands. Sorry to be such a conservative but I don’t see it in Scripture and what I see out of a lot of people is show more than love for the brethren. Now I can’t judge people’s hearts and most would consider me apart of the “frozen chosen” but I am not going to do something that isn’t laid out in Scripture. We are told to be apart of the body of Christ and to never consider ourselves more highly of ourselves (Romans 12:3) and we are to be lowly and meek (Ephesians 4:2), how is raising hands showing you are apart of the body? Isn’t it putting other’s eyes on you instead of the focus being totally on God?

I know that this will strike a nerve with a lot of people but I want to know why? Why do people raise their hands? Why only during singing? Why only during certain songs? Why not during the preaching? Why not during communion? Why not during church discipline? We are only told to do this during prayer, even David mentions raising his hands during supplications to the Lord (Psalm 28:2), but where does it stop?

I am really tired of people saying that I am not spiritual or that our church isn’t Holy Spirit filled because most of us don’t raise our hands during worship. What a joke. I am tired of people telling us that we are dead or dry because we don’t raise our hands, when those same people can’t even defend their faith or give me a reason I should believe on the blood stained cross that Christ was shed on. These same people (that lash out, not necessarily ALL hand raisers) care more about show than theology. I am told that I don’t love God because I don’t raise my hands and speak in tongues when no one has ever convinced me that either are biblical. I have an idea, start believing in Sola Scriptura and then we’ll have some common ground to start at; start with your emotions and I will show you pagan worship.

To obey is better than sacrifice
1 Samuel 15:20-23

Here is my disclaimer on this whole post. Don’t think that I think badly of those who like raising their hands or have something against “hand-raisers.” I just test everything to Scripture and want to know the reason people raise their hands when it isn’t in Scripture. I want everyone to know I love my brethren, and love those whom I don’t see eye to eye on with everything on Scripture. I just really get tired of being told because I don’t do something, in this case raising my hands, that my heart isn’t praising God.

Remember God cares more about the inside than the outside. I understand that the outside sometimes shows the inside, such as Moses being demanded to take off his sandals when he was standing on holy ground. I am not a Gnostic, but understand that God does call us to do certain things to show our heart (giving, evangelism, loving the brethren, and all the gifts of the Spirit) but raising hands during singing isn’t one of them.

Circumcise yourselves to Jehovah, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
Jeremiah 4:4

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Ezek 11:19-20

The real question is where is your heart not where are your hands.


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