|Vol. 13 No. 3 March 2011||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Teenage hormones raging and sporting recent physiological developments previously unrealized, and you want to go to the school dance, the prom or some other occasion where young, unmarried males and females handle and touch each other’s bodies? How is that appropriate for anyone in light of God’s Word, but especially how is that fitting for the children of God? Is dancing conducive to thinking pure thoughts (Philippians 4:8)? Instead, doesn’t dancing promote lusts (Matthew 5:28), which can only be correctly gratified within marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2)? Dancing leads young men and young women to first have impure thoughts, which if acted upon lead to fornication (James 1:14-15), but the handling of one another’s bodies is sinful in itself (1 Corinthians 7:1).
In the second place, dancing is associated with other sins like drinking alcoholic beverages, immodesty and lewd bodily gyrations, besides being a vehicle through which lusts can be fulfilled. “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness… But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:13-14). Rather than wearing either expensive or immodest party clothes, shouldn’t especially Christian “…women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness…” (1 Timothy 2:9-10)?
In the third place, does dancing enhance or detract from the child of God’s Christian influence? Dancing is sensual in nature. Were one to turn off the music, dancing would more readily be recognized for what it is: touching, feeling, embracing and gawking with sensual overtones for one’s dance partner – of the opposite sex or even of the same sex! Essentially, dancing is foreplay set to music. Clearly, dancing is a form of worldliness instead of godliness. It is among other popular amusements that hinder spirituality and overshadow one’s influence. “But fornication and all uncleanness… let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints” (Ephesians 5:3). Dancing is not something that we can do and at the same time give thanks to or glorify God (Colossians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
In the fourth place, does dancing influence Christians who participate in it to be more like the world and less like Jesus Christ? Robert R. Taylor made this fair assessment: “The fruit of dancing is not on the plus side of fidelity in marriage” (Taylor 377). Dancing poses a danger not only to the unmarried but also to the married when one’s dance partner is not his or her spouse. In the context of discussing dancing, Tracy Dugger wrote: “When Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom in Genesis 13, a tragic mistake was made, the same mistake some Christians make today” (245). Our Christian defenses are weakened – ever so slowly, maybe, but weakened none the less – when we hobnob with the ungodly world. The dance hall with its trappings often of alcohol, immodesty and lewd behavior is no place for a Christian to be, subjecting himself to temptations.
In the fifth place, dancing more nearly conforms to unrighteous behavior that will prevent souls from entering heaven than does it resemble Christian behavior. Galatians 5:19-21 contain four important points regarding the subject of dancing. (1) The word “lewdness” (NKJV) refers to the type of activity involved in dancing. “aselgeia – Mentioned in Gal. 5:19 this word is rendered into English by the words lasciviousness (KJV and ASV) and licentiousness (RSV). Greek lexicons define it so as to make clear that it is closely related to sensuality and sexual excesses.’ Thayer notes that it may have reference to ‘filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females’” (Eddins 11). (2) “Revelries” (NKJV) denotes dancing and partying that occurred in the worship of Bacchus, the god of wine. (3) “Such things” summarizes that behaviors related to or similar to the foregoing likewise carry the same heavy penalty: failing to “inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). (4) Dancing keeps very bad company in this list of sins, any one of which will keep one out of heaven.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV)
In conclusion, dancing is a worldly model (Jones 776) instead of something worth modeling by the children of God (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 11:1). Like many sins, dancing is a delusional sin (Grider 304), something like the so-called little, white lie that we tend to think isn’t all that bad. However, what we might view as little sins have the same basic characteristic of every sin, transgressing the law of God (1 John 3:4), and have the capacity to keep a soul out of heaven (Revelation 21:8).
The following excerpt aptly recaps the foregoing above about the true nature of dancing – and how that Christians need to acknowledge that it is not a practice in which they can engage without sinning.
Any temptation which affords an unnecessary risk to the Christian’s spiritual life ought to be avoided. It is clear from many N. T. passages that the Christian is in a constant struggle with sin. Even the strongest person ought to take care lest he fall into evil (1 Cor. 10:12). … Anything which tends to reduce spirituality and our awareness of God’s presence in our lives should be avoided. … Christians should not arouse emotions which cannot honorably be fulfilled. Human sexual drives are God-given and the place of their acceptable fulfillment is .God-ordained. The body contact and movement, the atmosphere, and the appealing music all lend themselves to the arousal of such desires as can be rightly fulfilled only in marriage. … Christians have a responsibility to preserve their influence so as to be able to lead others to glorify God (Matt. 5:16). The New Testament makes it clear that we are to act so as to keep others from stumbling over us. Let us all honestly ask ourselves how participating in dancing affects our Christian influence. (Eddins 12)
Dancing affects the child of God who engages in it, and dancing influences others to commit sin as well.
Dugger, Tracy. Abraham Entertains Angels; Sodom’s Doom; Sin of Lot’s Daughters.” The Book of Genesis. Curtis A. Cates, ed. Memphis: Memphis School of Preaching, 2001: 219-248.
Eddins, Tom. “Christianity and Modern Dancing.” Spiritual Sword. July 1971: 10-13.
Grider, Barry M. “What Is Sin?” Sin and Salvation, Vol. 1. Bobby Liddell, ed. Memphis: Memphis School of Preaching, 2004: 293-306.
Jones, David B. “The Sin of Worldliness.” Sin and Salvation, Vol. 1. Bobby Liddell, ed. Memphis: Memphis School of Preaching, 2004: 773-790.
Taylor, Robert R. “Foundations for a Happy Marriage.” Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Curtis A. Cates, ed. Memphis: Memphis School of Preaching, 1994: 377-389.
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
Being acquainted with someone and knowing him or her are two totally different things. While we may have many acquaintances in life, only few people do we have the opportunity to really know. The apostle Paul’s desire was to really know Christ; Paul did not want a mere acquaintance, but much deeper and more intimate of a relationship is what he sought with the Lord. In fact, to the church at Philippi, Paul penned, “…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Philippians 3:8b); “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10). Really knowing Christ brings about a multitude of blessings. I wonder how many Christians miss out on these wonderful blessings because they are merely acquainted with Jesus instead of really knowing Him.
Firstly, to really know Him is to know assurance. Paul penned, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…” Of course, the authenticity of Christianity is seated in the resurrection of our Lord. Christ’s resurrection from the dead gives us assurance in several areas. Because Christ resurrected, we have the Assurance that He is real (cf. Romans 1:4; Acts 17:31; Colossians 2:15). Because Christ resurrected, we have the assurance of our own resurrection (cf. Philippians 3:11; 1 Corinthians 15:20ff). Further, because Christ resurrected, we have the assurance of rest (cf. Revelation 1:18; Hebrews 7:25). Thus, to really know Christ is to know assurance!
Secondly, to really know Him is to know association. Paul continued, “…and the fellowship of his sufferings…” The association that we enjoy with Christ is never more necessary than when we are suffering. Association during times of suffering reminds us of many things. We are reminded of His sympathy (Hebrews 4:15). We are reminded of His support (Hebrews 2:18; Philippians 4:13), and we are reminded of His salvation (Matthew 5:10-12). To really know Christ is to know association!
Thirdly, to really know Him is to know alteration. Paul concluded, “…being made conformable unto his death.” Logically, we must ask, “how did Christ die?” Christ died obediently! What other logical choice does one have when death is considered? There are only two ways to die – obediently or disobediently. Obviously, Christ died obediently, and for those who really know Christ, there is no other way to die! Knowing Christ alters many things concerning one’s pending death. One’s mind is altered (Philippians 1:21; Revelation 14:13). From the mindset of the world, death is the end, a tragedy, a terrible heartbreak. However, for those who really know Christ, our mindset is different. One’s motives are altered as well (Philippians 1:22-24). The person with worldly motives often declares things like, “I want to retire before I die” or “I hope to go on a cruise before I die.” While these things, in and of themselves, are not wrong, the one who really knows Christ declares things like, “I hope I see my grandchildren baptized into Christ before I die” or “I hope to live long enough to see the church fully restored.” Motives for living and dying are completely altered when we really know Christ! To really know Christ is to know alteration!
Most people are at least acquainted with Christ Jesus. Yet, sadly very few, even some who call themselves Christians, really know Him. What about you? Do you really know Christ? Don’t miss out on all the blessings that are available to you. Make it your life’s aim “to really know Him!”