Watch Your Step, You Dancing Christians

by Kevin Burton

   There has been some shuffling and backpeddling, some twisting, prancing and jiving over the years about Christians and dancing.

  You could maybe add waltzing and tap dancing.

   Just so you know, I hate dancing, at least formal dancing.  So to those who want to condemn it outright, I may not join your ranks but I won’t lose sleep over it either way.

   This whole stream of thought came to me as I listened recently to a lesser-known 1977 Contemporary Christian song.  Before we go there, let’s go to the Old Testament, II Samuel 6:12 (NASB):

   “Now it was reported to King David, saying, “The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.” So David went and brought the ark of God up from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with joy. And so it was, that [when those carrying the ark of the Lord marched six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened steer. And David was dancing before the Lord with all his strength, and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with joyful shouting and the sound of the trumpet.”

   But watching through a window, David’s wife Michal didn’t like his dancing and said so We pick up their conversation in verses 20:21.

 “How the king of Israel dignified himself today! For he exposed himself today in the sight of his servants’ female slaves, as one of the rabble shamelessly exposes himself!”

 21 But David said to Michal, “I was before the Lord, who preferred me to your father and to all his house, to appoint me as ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. So I will [celebrate before the Lord! 

  The song I mentioned earlier is

“Dance With You” by 2nd Chapter of Acts,” a great 70s-80s Christian band. You may know them for “Mansion Builder” and “Easter Song.”  Dance With You is lesser known but one of my all-time faves.

   In the song’s introduction you can hear the keyboardist dancing up and down the higher registers. The song expresses joy in the Lord with images of dancing. Some of the lyrics are:

   “There’s a song in my heart that’s ringing and I start singing out Your name. When I dance with you like David used to do. You make me feel like a feather on my feet somehow it’s all completely new. When I dance with you like David used to do.”

   The song is absolutely infectious and sounds like a hit to me. I wonder if it isn’t well known because the group got complaints about it, just as David got complaints about his dancing.

   It reminds me of the time at a Phillips, Craig & Dean concert when one of the guys, no doubt cognizant of the great dance debate, said “we’re not dancing we’re just walking cool.”

   “Dancing is mentioned often in the Bible and is used throughout the Old Testament as a means of worship and praise to God, reads a passage on the Bible Study Tools website. “As with other activities, dancing can also be used to worship the wrong idols and many Christians think poorly of dancing all together. God was pleased with dancing that worshipped him.”

   A few examples from the website, starting in Exodus 32, with Moses on the mountain:

   “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. This ended up in ‘revelry’ (v. 6) and being ‘out of control’ (v.25 says ‘naked’ in some translations). In this case, dancing led to very sinful activity.”

   “ In Exodus 15:20 Miriam was dancing to celebrate the victory God’s power had brought at the Red Sea.”
   “Ecclesiastes 3:4—There is an appropriate time to dance (and, by implication, an inappropriate time to dance).

   “First Corinthians 6:19-20—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 7:1-3, the writer says, ‘It is good for a man not to touch a woman’ (NASB, KJV). Paul was acknowledging that men have a very strong sex drive that is easy to set off. Because of this, many styles of pair dancing outside of marriage can be very tempting, especially to the man.  Any dancing that stirs up sinful desires in ourselves or in others is sinful. 

   The song says “like David used to do.”  So I think if you look to what David was and wasn’t doing, you have your guideline.

    A final aside, dancing is such a way as to cause someone to die laughing, would that be considered murder, or merely manslaughter.?  Asking for a friend.

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