Should Christians Dance or Even Go to Dances?
This has been a common question in a Christian household for many years. Often times a child asks a parent, “What do you think?” More importantly the question should be, what does God think? The Bible doesn't give us exact instructions on dancing.
It does mention dancing acceptable to God, as well as some that is not. In Exodus 32:6 and verses 19-25, we see that this is a disappointing part of Israel's history. While Moses was up on the mountain talking to God, the Israelites built an idol. In the process of the idol worship, they began to dance. In verse 6 the NIV says, “Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” Then in verse 19, “When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of
the mountain.” In this case, dancing led to very sinful activity. We also see in Exodus 15 after the Israelites crossed the Red sea, to celebrate God’s deliverance Miriam in verse 20, “Danced with all the women to celebrate the victory God had brought them.” In II Samuel 6:12-16, David "danced before the Lord" to celebrate the Ark of the Covenant being brought back to Jerusalem.
Something important to note is that every instance of dancing that is not considered sinful was done in worship or praise to God. Here are some more principles to keep in mind when considering dancing: Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” So if there is an appropriate time to dance, there must be an inappropriate time. Both Psalm 149:3 and 150:4 mention praising God with dance. Going to the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us our bodies belong to God, and they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. So everything we do must be honoring to Him. Dancing to bring attention to yourself or your body, therefore, would be sinful. In 1 Corinthians 7:1-2, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband” (KJV). These verses are acknowledging that men have a very strong sex drive. Because of this, many styles of pair dancing outside of marriage can be very tempting, especially to the man. Let’s face it, high school dances (yes, I said high school dances) are in no way bringing praise to God. Kids try to sugar coat what is going on with comments like, “we are just hanging out there, it’s just having fun with friends, or I would never have thoughts like that.” "Flee (as in run away from) the evil desires of youth" (2 Timothy 2:22).
Any dancing that stirs up sinful desires in us or in others is sinful. In Matthew 18:6 Jesus says, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Those are some very strong words! Doing something that might cause someone else to stumble into sin is considered absolutely intolerable. Dancing in a way that would cause someone else to lust would fall under this. “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” That’s what we read in I Thessalonians 5:22. Here is a great rule of thumb if we're not sure if a dancing situation is acceptable. If it even looks like it could be sinful, don't do it. Ask yourself this: is this something God would want me to see, think on, and act on?
I think a majority of people try to justify going to these dances, because they don’t want to feel left out, because they don’t want their friends making fun of, being mad at, or just treating them differently because they don’t go. James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” and then verse 12 goes on to say, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” There is a lot of dancing that is inappropriate, such as slow dancing and dirty dancing among others, but the Bible acknowledges that we can dance in a way that does not tempt others, does not tempt ourselves, and brings glory to God. What are you trying to do?