What is your opinion on applause at singspirations? This question I received some time ago, and now I had best get on with the answer. I understand that the question concerns special numbers at the singspirations. At the very outset, I would have to say that I am opposed to such applause. The reasons, I believe, are quite evident. Let us briefly look at them.
In the first place, we may ask the question, Why do we have singspirations, and why do we attend them? We may answer from Scripture; “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord: Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord: Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Ephesians 5:18-21. We notice in this passage that one sings together to make melody in one’s heart to the Lord. This is possible only as the Lord gives us a humble heart – for only then do we make melody to the Lord.
In the second place, we sing together to give thanks for all things unto God in the name of Jesus Christ. And this requires according to Christ a submitting of one to another in the fear of God. This rather than an exalting of one over another and a fear of man. I will write a bit more on this idea as we go on in this answer. Further the Psalms are filled with the reasons we sing, principle of these is the following: “I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” Psalm 146:2. This is repeated often in the Psalms. We sing to sing praises unto the Lord. And for “the glory of the Lord.”
These principles of Scripture 1 believe are understood. However, to applaud for special numbers at singspirations is in direct contradiction to this instruction of our Lord. Applause is the word of man in appreciation for an activity of man. Do not assume that by applauding an individual or group we are expressing gratitude to God. God gives us many means for this, the chief means is prayer, and as noted above we have the means of singing. Besides which there is the godly life and other ways.
Surely it is not wrong to thank God for the talents He gives His children and even to express this in our prayers, also at singspirations. But the special number is no more worthy of praise than the monotone singing from his heart in the audience.
To separate a certain person for special applause is to have respect of persons. This becomes practically manifest when one engages in the practice of applauding special numbers. The better the number – the greater the applause. It cannot be helped. The result shall be hurt feelings, a comparison of one of God’s children to another – and finally a striving to perfect one’s talent for the purpose of pleasing an audience to receive their applause. This will happen because this appeals to our flesh. Then rather than “submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God”, one will be involved in the sin of exalting himself one over another in the fear of man. And that which was pleasing to God is made an abomination to Him. We then are in danger of becoming as the Pharisees who prayed before men to be seen of them, etc.
Let us then use our talents only for the praise of God. And let us be mindful that even this activity is only possible because Christ has worked in our hearts His work of salvation, and gives us grace to be thankful and to sing the praises of the living God. Then we need not the applause of man for joy – Our joy is alone in the Lord!