And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
but rather reprove them.
This is a subject where most Christians who have walked with the Lord for many years will undoubtedly know what stand to take on this issue. In the Bible, both the people of God and the sinners also danced. The words “dance”, “danced” “dances” and “dancing” occurred seven, six, six and eight times respectively.
Dancing is a form of expression of joy and celebration, especially over victories against enemies and this is clearly taught in the Bible. In 1 Samuel 18:6, we have the children of Israel dancing, “And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music.”
In Judges 11:34, we have the tragic story of Jephthah having to sacrifice his daughter who came out to meet him with dances after he defeated the Ammonites, “And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.”
The Amalekites, the enemies of Israel, also danced after capturing their captives with great spoils recorded in 1 Samuel 30:16, “And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.”
When the prodigal son returned to the father, dancing was part of the items during the celebration. “Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.” (Luke 15:25)
Dancing also formed part of worship in the Old Testament.
“Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah. Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards; And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.” (Judges 21:19-21,23)
It is an indisputable fact that dancing is also employed in worship. In 1 Chronicles 15:29, we have David dancing before the Lord when he brought the ark to Jerusalem, “And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.”
In the temple worship, musical instruments were also employed during dances. “Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.” (Psalm 149:3, 150:4)
Dancing is not strictly practiced by the children of Israel alone as already mentioned in the example above in 1 Samuel 30:16. When King Herod celebrated his birthday, the daughter of Herodias’ dancing resulted in John the Baptist’s execution.
“And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.” (Mark 6:21-24)
Incidentally, when the children of Israel worshiped the golden calf while Moses was up in the mount with God, godless and rebellious dancing of the people and nakedness became part and parcel of the celebration and worship of the false god.
“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)” (Exodus 32:19 & 25)
Now, pray tell me, are the modern day’s dancing, whether disco or rock and roll or whatever dances sinners can put together with their ungodly and depraved musical accompaniments, are they part of celebration for victorious Christian living or rapturous joy in worship of the true and living God? I am not talking about cultural dances here which can be quite subjective as dancing is a natural form of human expression of joy and happiness. I am discussing modern dancing with music which sometimes may even be satanic. Ever wonder why nakedness, lust and sensuous bodily contacts between opposite sexes are also very often part of such activities? Why do Christians unashamedly participate in such fleshly movement of the body where it is often awkward and impolite as well as displaying of certain parts of body that is inappropriate?
The Bible has something to say about such Christians.
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:5-9)
Interestingly, no disciples in the New Testament were told to dance in worship and worship is to be performed in spirit and in truth.
Well, some who would justify dancing would claim that there is nothing wrong with dancing which is just a form of exercise! Any honest Christians would be able to tell the difference between the effects of dancing that corrupts the mind and traditional sports which relaxes the body and mind. Shouldn’t Christians heed what the Apostle Paul warned about exercise as an excuse for sin?
“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
The apostle Paul didn’t say that we should not exercise but he pointed out that spiritual exercise is far more superior. So Christians who still want to continue to feed their depraved old nature with sick dances and be programmed by their devilish music, we should leave them alone and not join them or excuse them in dancing. Such Christians being filled with wisdom that is earthly, sensual and devilish will sooner or later incur the chastisement from God. The warning from the Lord is very clear, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:13)
For a Christian who still thinks that there is no harm in dancing to the sick music of this present evil world and the Holy Spirit is not grieved, Paul has a pronouncement for him; “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” (1 Corinthians 16:22)