The Christian and the Dance
The standard for our study of this controversial subject is the Word of God, the Bible. The Bible (inspired scripture) is capable of furnishing man unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and provides him with all that pertains unto life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Therefore it is a perfect standard. On the day of judgment man will not be judged by what the majority of mankind said or did, but by the words of God and His Son, Jesus (John 12:48).
God’s Attitude Toward Sin
The Bible teaches that God loves those souls in sin (John 3:16), but that He hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19) as it separates man from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2). Those who love and respect God hate sin as well (Psalms 97:10; Proverbs 8:13). Sin is a transgression of God’s Word (1 John 3:4) and is responsible for the death of His Son.
God Demands Purity
God has always demanded purity on the part of His people. This is evident from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 5:6-14; Deuteronomy 7:1-6; Deteronomy 18:9-14) and the New Testament as well. Christians are:
- A people for God’s own possession – 1 Peter 2:9.
- To Keep themselves pure – 1 Timothy 5:22.
- To be pure in heart – Matthew 5:8.
- To keep themselves unspotted from the world – James 1:27.
- Not to love the ways of the world – 1 John 2:15-17.
- Not to conform to the ways of the world – Romans 12:1-2.
- To abstain from every form of evil – 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
How Does Dancing Violate God’s Instructions Concerning Purity?
Immodesty:God’s Word teaches that women are to dress in modest clothing which become women professing godliness – 1 Timothy 2:9-10. Describing his dancing establishment the General Manager of the “Amnesia” stated, “People have been known to get, shall we say, rather uninhibited at these parties. Not that that’s necessarily bad or anything. Here, partial or full nudity is a plus – this is South Beach, after all.” (The Columbus Dispatch, October 14, 1995, Columbus Ohio)
While all dances may not go to this extreme, immodesty is a characteristic of the modern dance.
Drugs: The same General Manager had this to say about drugs, “And as far as booze, absolutely. But only in plastic cups, and no beer bottles. You want drugs? Okey-Dokey. But if you get busted, baby, you’re on your own.” (The Columbus Dispatch, quoted above).
Dancing is sexually oriented:Ellen Switzer in the Ladies Home Journal, November 1981 states, “Sex does not have to conclude with orgasm to be satisfying. Sex therapist report that touch is often an end in itself. So too, is kissing, even dancing. These sexual activities can be…”
The Latin dance “Lambada” is described as, “It is a close dance, with male and female partners entwined around each other, grinding their hips together… This is about the closest you can get to having sex without actually doing it.” (The Herald-Citizen, Cookeville, TN, March 15, 1990)
The modern dance violates God’s will for man. In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul identifies the works of the flesh which can keep man out of the kingdom of God. One of these works is lasciviousness. This term is defined by Thayer in his Greek lexicon as, “Wanton (acts, or) manners, as filthy works, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females.” The lexicon of Arndt and Gingrich defines lasciviousness as: licentiousness, which is defined as, “Lacking legal or moral restraint, disregarding sexual restraints.” There is no doubt that the modern dance which is engaged in today fits the definition of lasciviousness and is condemned as a work of the flesh. To substantiate the lascivious nature of the modern dance monitor the dance programs on television.
In Defense of the Dance
Some who advocate that it is permissible for the Christian to dance are defending their position and practice by appealing to the Bible. Their defense is, “Dancing is spoken of in the Bible; people engaged in it and were not condemned by God.” From this premise they reach the conclusion that opposition to this form of “recreation” is merely a tradition held by a few preachers, elders, parents, and adults.
References to Dancing in the Bible
The Bible passages on dancing can be placed in the following categories:
A. Women dancing with women or by themselves. Judges 21:21-23; Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; 1 Samuel 18:6-7; 1 Samuel 21:11; 1 Samuel 29:5.
B. The dance as an act of worship unto Jehovah, Psalms 149:3; Psalms 150:4. King David danced before the Ark of God, 2 Samuel 6:14,16; 1 Chronicles 15:29.
C. Dance of rejoicing, Psalms 30:11; Jeremiah31:4; Lamentations 5:15; Ecclesiastes 3:4; Luke 15:25.
D. Dance of children, Job 21:11. Activities of children in play used as an illustration in teaching, Matthew 11:16-17; Luke 7:31-32.
E. Dance of animals, Isaiah 13:21.
F. Dance accompanying evil activities, 1 Samuel 30:16; Exodus 32:19; Matthew 14:6; Mark 6:22.
Let’s carefully consider the above six categories and determine if these Bible examples of dancing justifies a Christian participating in the dance today.
The first group of scriptures (group A) indicates that women danced with women, or by themselves. This would hardly prove what advocates of modern dancing are attempting to prove. Scriptures in group B speak of the dance as an act of worship which was rendered under the Old Covenant (the law of Moses). Today we do not worship God under the directions of Moses’ law. This law was given to the Jews (Exodus 20:2; Deuteronomy 5:6). God promised a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31) and this new covenant came through Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:14; Hebrews 8:13; Hebrews 9:15-17; Galatians 5:4). Group C contains scripture references which refer to the dance in connection with joyful occasions. Often references of this nature are used in contrast with mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:4). The custom of the Jews, as borne out by historians, was to segregate the sexes on such occasions. (McClintock and Strong, Vol. II, pp. 659-660). The evidence is very clear, their dancing was segregated except at times of idolatrous worship such as that found in Exodus 32:19.
The examples of dancing in the parable our Lord spoke concerning the prodigal son was in this Jewish setting (Luke 15:25). All who attempt to use this parable for justification of the dance must first establish the fact that is it equal to the dance today with its dim lights, sensuous music, immodest clothing, alcohol, and bodily contact between male and female.
The remaining three categories (D, E, and F) in no way contribute to the defense of dancing.
Some Defenses for the Dance
The high school prom is a major event in the lives of young people, so we are going to allow our children to attend this one time. This is parental assent to sin.
There are no alcoholic drinks allowed at school dances. What about the glove compartments and trunks of the automobiles? Dancing and alcohol are “bosom buddies” and where one goes the other is usually present.
There is a lot worse they could be doing. This doesn’t remove the fact that it is a sin. There are a lot of things worse than stealing, but that isn’t a license to steal.
I don’t see anything wrong with it. It doesn’t matter what we see; the important things is what does God say? A suggestion: re-read the scriptures listed in this tract.
School dances are chaperoned and teachers keep everything under control. How do you control the thoughts of another (Matthew 5:27-28) and the activities of the couples following the dance (Ephesians 4:27)?
May God give all Christians the strength to avoid dancing and the evils which are associated with it.