|Vol. 13 No. 5 May 2011||
Over the past few weeks, Facebook has been “the place to go” for photos and comments from teens and their attendance at local high school proms. This led to several posts rebuking teens for participating in the prom, as well as chastising parents for allowing their teens to attend these dances and commenting on the cuteness of the immodestly dressed young ladies highlighted in the photos.
I, too, am dismayed with the number of Christian teens joining in this immoral and ungodly behavior. Some of these posts are from friends who I know have been taught better. I do not intend to go into a lengthy discussion as to why high school proms are inappropriate behavior for Christians. I will simply state that dancing (the type found at proms) is a sin, and the typical dress worn by young ladies at this event is immodest. This is written for those who agree that there is a biblical standard of modesty and that dancing (in most circumstances) is a sin.
So, why are many of our teens attending, then broadcasting their attendance at the school prom? I believe that the answer is two-fold. One, we have failed to teach about the sins associated with dancing, and two, elders have failed to properly handle the prom situation.
Bible class teachers and preachers should periodically teach against the sins associated with dancing. This teaching should begin before the child is old enough to go to the dance, and continue with repeated lessons and more details as the student matures. Early every spring, this topic should be taught both in the classroom and from the pulpit. This would give each child and parents the biblical knowledge as to why Christians do not attend the local prom. I understand that some individuals are going to find excuses as to why it is acceptable to attend the prom (or do anything in which they want to participate). However, we need to ensure that we do our part – teach. Preachers and Bible class teachers are not policemen. We cannot force someone to accept biblical teaching, but we are required to teach, which includes making the appropriate application. When we teach book, chapter and verse and do not make a modern day application, we have failed as teachers.
Elders also need to fulfill their role as overseers of the local congregation for which they serve (Acts 20:27-28). This would include seeing that the whole counsel of God is proclaimed from the pulpit and in the classroom. When Christians participate in sinful activities, it is the responsibility of the elders to address the situation with the individuals. The first step is to instruct individuals why the activity is sinful and encourage them to repent. When one fails to repent, the elders need to discipline the erring Christian, as a loving father disciplines a wayward child, so as to save a soul from hell (Hebrews 13:17). Unfortunately, dancing, especially the school prom, and modesty are often overlooked by elderships. They may teach lessons (or see that these lessons are taught) on dancing, modesty and many other social sins, but when Christians participate in these sinful activities, the elders shake their heads in disappointment, but do not take the next step – that of disciplining wayward Christians. This behavior leaves the impression that the Christian truly did not sin when attending the prom or dressing immodestly. When teens are not convinced that dancing and immodesty are sinful practices, they will openly publish pictures of their activities for all the world to see.
Yes, parents, it is up to you to prohibit your children from attending the prom. They need you to help them make proper decisions when facing peer pressure. Elders, preachers and Bible class teachers also have a responsibility to ensure that our teens have the biblical knowledge to withstand the fiery darts of the devil (Ephesians 6:16), thus helping them to live in the world without being a part of the world.
As my thirteenth year of teaching draws to a close, I think I am beyond being surprised at the places evolution shows up in the school setting. Just a few weeks ago, I pulled out an English worksheet on adjectives, only to find each sentence made a reference to dinosaurs that lived “millions of years ago.” References to evolution appear in almost every textbook I use with my sixth grade class. At the heart of the idea of evolution is the concept that God does not exist.
Psalms 14:1 and Psalms 53:1 both begin with, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” The original Hebrew word fool in these verses means stupid, wicked, impious or a vile person (Strong’s). These verses are not describing the person who loudly proclaims to the world with his words that he does not believe God exists. Notice, this person makes that claim in his heart. Jesus condemned the Pharisees in Matthew 15:18-19 for what was in their hearts. The word heart in these contexts refers to man’s mind or thoughts. Our outward actions begin with our inward thoughts.
Those who reflect in the privacy of their own thoughts that God does not exist begin to show these thoughts in their actions. Consider the man described in Psalms 49:10 and Psalms 92:6. The man in these verses does not believe that God exists or that there is an eternal reward or punishment. The goal of this individual is to gather wealth on this earth, forgetting that he cannot take it with him (see also Luke 12:16-21). This fool takes no thought for the wonderful world that God created and the blessings man receives at God’s hand. Paul wrote to the church at Rome that the Gentiles had no excuse not to know God existed; looking at the natural world around them provided enough evidence (Romans 1:18-23). The word “fool” in this New Testament passage means “to become insipid,” “to make as a simpleton” or “to make foolish.” (Strong’s). Others show they do not believe in God by their failure to follow God’s commands; Jesus said if we love him, we will obey Him (John 14:15; 15:10). We cannot love someone in whom we do not believe. Still others show they do not believe God is real when they do not share the Gospel message as commanded (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16). Again, the foolish man acts like God does not exist or have a plan for his life.
God does exist; the honest individual will acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that points to this fact. Many in the world today do not verbally dispute this fact; however, many, by their actions, show they truly do not believe there is a God. Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instructions.” In Proverbs 12:15 it is written, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.” Those who choose to live their lives according to their own wants and desires say by their actions that they believe God does not exist. Jesus compared those who hear the truth of the Gospel but who choose not to obey it to a foolish man who builds his house on a foundation of sand (Matthew 7:26). We have been given the truth (John 8:32; 17:17) and everything we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3). The wise will follow God’s Word and have the reward of heaven. The foolish will ignore God and do as they please, leading to eternity in hell (Matthew 25:46). What do you show by your actions? Are you wise or foolish?
Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft and International Translators, 1994.