Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 9 September 2014
Page 11

Questions and Answers

Send your religious questions to editor@gospelgazette.com

Should a Christian Attend
Shows with Dancing and Music?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis RushmoreA reader asks, “Should a Christian attend shows with dancing and music?” The question is too vague and also indicates some misunderstanding as well. The definition of “dancing” is, “a successive group of rhythmical steps or bodily motions, or both, usually executed to music” (“Dancing”). Nowhere in Scripture are Christians forbidden, aside from singing hymns, psalms and spiritual songs in worship (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), from enjoying or playing instrumental music. In addition, successive rhythmical steps or bodily motions accompanied by music are not necessarily sinful; whether it is sinful depends on the type of bodily motions and with whom (if anyone) the dancing occurs. The type of dancing forbidden by Scripture are “revelries” (Galatians 5:21; 1 Peter 4:3), which are associated with “drunkenness” (Galatians 5:21) and “lewdness” (Galatians 5:19).

Christians ought not to subject themselves to the influence of or participate in bawdy gyrations with or without music and with or without alcoholic beverages. The type of behavior between persons that is immoral is no more acceptable if plied with booze or set to music. Yet, Christians may well enjoy shows with dancing and music that are not characterized by the vices contained in the Sins of the Flesh in Galatians 5:19-21, etc.

Works Cited

“Dancing.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 01 Sep. 2014. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dancing>.


Dunamis

Louis Rushmore, Editor

As you see in scripture, dunamis can be applied to the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16), strength from Christ through weakness/affliction (2 Corinthians 12:9), and the power to work miracles (1 Corinthians 12:10, 28-29 – a first century phenomenon). My question is: Would the fact that dunamis is used in a miraculous context as well as receiving strength from Christ (non-miraculously) be justification for one to say that God still works miracles today, if they are meaning that one receives strength according to Romans 1:16 and 2 Corinthians 12:9? I ask this, not from any thought that I would say God worked a miracle, sign, or wonder today (in light of 1 Corinthians 13:8-10).  I ask, though, on the basis of dunamis and anyone who may attempt to make an argument from this word, that miracles can be applied today, but in the context of other works beside what God does DIRECTLY.

The Greek word dunamis means, “force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power…” (Biblesoft’s). Vines’s adds that dunamis especially refers to “inherent power” (“Dominion”). Another Greek resource includes these variances in the meaning of dunamis: “ability” (2 Corinthians 1:8), “power” (Acts 1:8), “mighty deed” (Acts 2:22), “ruler” (Romans 8:38-39), “supernatural power” (Ephesians 6:12) and “meaning” (1 Corinthians 14:11) (“Dunamis” Greek-English). Likewise, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon denotes several variables to the way in which dunamis is used in the New Testament: inherent power, the power of miracles, moral power of excellence, the power and influence of riches, power arising from numbers, military power, the meaning of a word. “Words deriving from the stem ‎duna‎- all have the basic meaning of ‘being able’…” (“Duna”).

A primary principle of correct biblical interpretation, or even of non-biblical interpretation, is to examine the context in which a word appears to determine its precise meaning in that place. The Greek word dunamis obviously does not always refer to supernatural power, as evidenced by its use – twice – in 2 Corinthians 8:3 (“ability” NKJV).

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5 NKJV emphasis added)

What this means, then, is that it matters not at all that dunamis sometimes in Scripture refers to miraculous or supernatural power with respect to correct biblical interpretation of other verses where that is not the way in which it is used.

Works Cited

Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2006.

“Dominion.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. CD-ROM. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985.

“Duna.” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. CD-ROM. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989.

“Dunamis. Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. CD-ROM. New York: United Bible Societies, 1988.

“Dunamis.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2006.


Exorcism Seemed Real

Louis Rushmore, Editor

I am Samson from Bangalore, India. I read the article “Do the Evil Spirits Mentioned During Jesus’ Time Exist Now?” Can you please send me more information regarding the same? I was not convinced with the discussion in the above mentioned topic as I witnessed my aunt being exorcised by a denomination preacher. It seemed very real. I would really appreciate if you could help me get over that incident.

There are four perspectives involved in the question above and the observation that an “exorcism” witnessed “seemed real.” There is the participation of the one upon whom exorcism purportedly was done. There is the involvement of the “denominational preacher.” There is the observation of Samson respecting the episode with his aunt, presumably a beloved relative. Finally, there is the consideration of the authority and reliability of the Word of God.

There are two primary possibilities respecting Samson’s aunt aside from granting that a real exorcism occurred. First, a person can have a psychosomatic condition that appears to resolve itself when one’s mind is satisfactorily persuaded. Psychosomatic means, “Of or relating to a disorder having physical symptoms but originating from mental or emotional causes” (“American Heritage”). Secondly, in the excitement of the moment, a person can surmise that a mental or physical condition has been altered, in this case supposedly by an exorcism, only to find that the condition returns afterward.

The “denominational preacher” may actually believe that he was performing a real exorcism when in fact he was deluded, or he may be a faker – profiting either financially or from the personal acclaim that he would receive. We have a biblical example of both deceived people and a fake miracle worker; only when the people observed genuine miracles were they able to discern the difference between the counterfeit miracles and the genuine.

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. (Acts 8:5-13 NKJV).

There is also the issue of “a denominational preacher.” Denominations did not exist in Bible times. The first completely organized rival to the Lord’s church was the Catholic Church, which came into being hundreds of years after Jesus Christ died to establish His church. The first of numerous and an unending explosion of denominations coming into existence began about 1,500 years after the establishment of the Lord’s church. Denominational preachers are neither practicing nor preaching pure Christianity from the pages of inspiration. They are not true Christians, and they are not members of the Lord’s church. If miracles had not ended around the close of the first century when the New Testament revelation was complete, still, a denominational preacher would be in no position to perform miracles on behalf of the Lord.

Next, sometimes we cannot trust our eyes. We see things and can experience things for which we have no explanation. There is an explanation, but we may not know what it is. Especially magicians appear to do things that are impossible since those who observe them are unable to explain how they do what they do. We can be misled or fooled.

Finally, there is the matter of the Word of God. Is it reliable? Is it inspired of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21)? Since we are not allowed to believe even an angel of God if he came to us with a message that is not in the New Testament (Galatians 1:6-9), we must not believe a mere mortal who purports to do something that the Bible teaches no longer occurs (Mark 16:17; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13).

We must not allow ourselves to be deceived (Luke 21:8; 1 John 4:1). We must not allow our love for family to cloud our judgment (Luke 14:26). On the Bible we must rely, and to it exclusively we must turn regarding our Christian faith and practice (Romans 10:17).

Works Cited

“American Heritage Dictionary.” Answers.com. 1 Sep. 2014. <http://www.answers.com/topic/psychosomatic>.


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