Thursday, March 11, 2010

On dancing.

Now let me begin by saying I'm a born and bred, independent, fundamental Baptist-to-the-bone, and I'm as conservative as they come. No, more so. But before I'm any of that, I am a Bible Believer, a follower of Jesus Christ. So as I read in my Bible, sometimes I come across passages that make me reconsider things I heard or thought as I was growing up. One of those things is that all dancing is sinful. In fact, a joke among us when anyone moves with a flourish is to say, "We're Baptist. We don't dance."

I was reading on a forum where someone asked advice about how to train their children, mentioning as a specific example, when to get them to stop dancing to music. I think people in my camp have been rather overreactive (made that word up) about dancing, thinking that all dancing is inherently wrong. Now there is no doubt that some types of dancing are sinful. But do we toss out all dancing because of that?

Reading the Bible, I see Miriam and the other women of Israel dancing for joy when God miraculously delivered them all from being slaughtered by the Egyptian army. I see David's exuberant dance before the Lord when the ark of the covenant was returned. There have been times in my life when I was fairly bursting to dance for joy a la Fraulein Maria in the Austrian Alps!

With children, I daresay it is well nigh impossible to squelch the dance out of them. Little ones naturally respond to music, and I encourage that because they are developing their sense of rhythm and timing, for one thing. But more importantly, they are learning to be joyful! Someday their understanding will awaken, and their joy-dances will be unto the Lord, and not simply a reaction to good music.

Speaking of good music, I've noticed that the way babies move their bodies is directly related to the type of music they are hearing. Melodious music causes them to make graceful, sweeping motions. Light-hearted, toe-tapping music does just that, makes the feet tap or stomp, and the head to bob back and forth.

An ungodly beat, however, seems to move the hips and shoulders more. I do not know why or how, but that is what I've seen. Someone gave me the link to a video that they thought was cute. It showed a child, perhaps a year old, dancing to a music video that was so wicked I was amazed that anyone would show it to their child, let alone encourage them to dance to it. The way that little baby moved further affirmed my suspicions about types of music and the body parts they move.

No doubt there are types of dance that Christians should not perform. Satan has his wicked version of all things godly, but we should not allow him to kill our expressions of joy and praise to our God. Did not our Creator put it in us?

I hope my children never stop dancing for joy! There are few things more beautiful to me than the sight of my children dancing. So as they grow, how shall we keep dancing pure, and not fall into sensuousness and sin? Simply by following the same guidelines of Scripture that apply to other areas of life:

1) Do it as unto the Lord, and not to be seen of men (as in, mankind). (Ephesians 6:6-8)

2) Men and ladies who are not married to one another should not come in physical contact. (I Corinthians 7:1-2)

3) Dance should not be performed in a way that arouses sexual desires in others, causing them to stumble. (Matthew 5:27-28)

I'm sure there are other guidelines that would help. Can you think of any more?

13 comments:

Stephanie said...

Thanks so much for this post--it affirmed what I was already leaning towards. I've danced my share of "sinful" dances in the past, unfortunately, but I love dancing and twirling to music (especially when there's no one else around to see me trip over something, haha), so I've been trying to find a line. The verses about Miriam and David have been in my mind as well.

La Familia Garcia said...

A Time for Everything
Ecclesiastes 3
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven....

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,a time to mourn and a time to dance...

Chad and Sandy said...

Tammy,

What a wonderful post. Thank you!

In Christ,
Sandy

LadyBug-Laurie said...

Thank you for this thoughtful commentary on dancing. It sounds like my upbringing is similar to yours and I've struggled with knowing exactly how I stand on this issue. I love the pictures you painted of little children dancing with joy in their hearts. I also appreciate and understand the idea of ungodly music moving the hips and shoulders more, I think it is true. Music can so easily help strike a mood, when that mood is ungodly our bodies with exhibit that inward feeling. But when the heart is full of joy, praise and thankfulness to our God or excitement as we see His hand moving there is a so often a desire to move in praise of the Lord.
Thank you so much for your thought provoking post, it has helped me see some things more clearly! :)

DariLolis said...

Dear Tammy, I praise the Lord for the wonderful blessing you are to my life!!!

God is comforting my heart through your thoughts. God has given you a preciuos gift. Praise Him!!!

Last Sunday I was asking God to tell me if I do wrong when I move my body when I sing at church, or at home.

I know in my heart that my body wants to praise Him, too. There are hymns that touch my heart in a very special way, and I move my body softly, sweetly, and tenderly. I know in my heart is not carnal dancing. Is the praising music of joy of my body for our Lord!!!

There's another lady, an old lady, in church that does the same. I know is not carnal, she has such a heart for the Lord, and I know is the music of her body praising Him.

I just wanted to know if I am doing wrong before my Lord's eyes. I don't care about what people is going to say about that. I care about what God thinks. Thank you for the BIBLE VERSES!!!

God used you to answer my prayer!!! He says that if we look for Him with all our heart, we'll find Him, and if we ask Him, He will answer!!! Praise the Lord!!!

Thank you for being my friend!!!

I am praying for you, and your family.

Love you so much in our WONDERFUL, and AWESOME GOD... JESUS CHRIST!!!

Lolita, from the bottom of my heart.

Tammy said...

Lolita, you said in your comment that you don't care about what people are going to say about it. I know that you do not have an obstinate spirit, but I do want to encourage you to be aware of how you are perceived by others, especially the brothers. We do not want to do anything in the presence of our brothers that will cause them to stumble. Be extremely careful that your movements honor God and are not perceived as sensuous. God would not be pleased with that at all.

When I think of dancing as an expression of joy and praise to God, I've imagined it more personal and at home with family than during corporate worship at church. But that's just me!

DariLolis said...

Yes, yes, yes!!! Tammy... After I posted my message the Holy Spirit talked to my heart with the same thought you are telling me... Praise God!!!

"to be aware of how you are perceived by others, especially the brothers"

While I was organizing my children's books He rebuked me by giving me the Bible verse on 1 Samuel 16:7 "for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."

Wow!!! What a quick confirmation!!!

God is working in my heart through you... Thanks a lot!!!

I'll be careful at church, too. I know is nothing notorious, but I will ask my Pastor about it, too. I want God's peace in my heart.

Thanks Tammy for helping me to grow in His ways!!! This is your love for the Lord, and for me!!!

Love in Jesus,
Lolita.

Tammy said...

Excellent post Tammy! I too have questioned what is so often preached in my background. Your illustration about children is awesome and sooo true! Like Stephanie I too have had my share of incorrect dancing before I decided to live for the Lord. One thing that will take care of inappropriate dancing is listening to correct, godly music. It is pretty hard to move sensually when the words are singing about the Lord. ---And you can actually hear those words above the "noise" of the music being played. In other words the music (beat and sound) must be godly also. As I'm sure you are speaking about. Another topic is so called contemporary christian music. (Not christian rock or alternative). I find it funny that so many IFB preachers preach against it but actually use those same songs as specials in their church but just played with only piano, accoustic guitar or even a banjo! If the words are good and glorifying to God it is the music (beat and sound) that can make it wicked - not just the fact that it was written or sung by a contemporary artist. Just my opinion.

DariLolis said...

I assume, there are two Tammys here. Let me know if I am wrong.

Well, to the Tammy who answered today to this post.

You said is just your opinion, but is truthful.

I love this part of your answer,

"One thing that will take care of inappropriate dancing is listening to correct, godly music. It is pretty hard to move sensually when the words are singing about the Lord."

I will say an AMEN!!! You said it well!!! Praise the Lord!!!

I thank God for godly & biblical answers!!!

Love in Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Lolita.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tammy,

This was a very interesting post. I am a like-minded Baptist but was not bred that way. I was very surprised a few months ago to be told by a woman at church that all dancing is sinful. I certainly agree that some is sinful, but her statement seemed a bit unbalanced to me. Your post confirmed what I was thinking. I'm glad not all Baptists think the way my friend at church does.

Amy

Mrs. Bridget G. said...

I love this post! I've always wondered about people restricting dancing, but I'm used to dancing in worship so I was never really sure.

Bro. Daniel said...

I would like to comment here and say I have seen some "dance" teams or groups organized by churches. They are usually dressed immodestly and have everything down to a fine art and I dont really see that the Holy Spirit had anything to do with it. We will never have teams or groups like this...but if you have never had Jehovah our God do something Great in your life when you break forth into dancing before the LORD ...I am sorry for you. With that said ...I believe there are many churches that put on a show in what many will call "shout'n baptists" ...where they are just trying to outdo the next guy and say that it was the Spirit moving them...I must call that not of GOD and using His name in Vain!

OH, ANOTHER LITTLE SAYING WE HAVE AROUND HERE IS THAT " we are Baptists ...we dont wine!"

Daniel...Tammy's Husband and Pastor

DariLolis said...

Amen! Praise the Lord for your answer, Bro. Daniel!

I live in an area where Pentecostal churches dominate among Spanish people. It's very strong, as the Catholicism is in my country Mexico.

People comes to our Independent Fundamental Baptist Church, to the Spanish Ministry, but they don't remain. After some weeks, they leave. They don't like the music, they don't like the dress codes, they want to dance, and jump. Our leaders teach us with the Bible, but they say they don't feel the power of the Holy Spirit just because we don't dance, because we don't have a group of young girls dancing for the Lord while we sing the hymns, and all that show, and they leave because we don't jump, and faint, and we don't dress as we feel more comfortable... It's really sad!

Now, after a great study about what is wrong with Pentecostal doctrine, some decided to leave, and to go back to their Pentecostal churches because they are offering, now, a course about how to speak in tongues. They just had learned about what the Bible says, and they left anyway. They don't realize about the contradiction of their own doctrine. It's really clear!

I praise God for those who remain!

I would love you to join us in prayer, if you feel that in your heart. I will appreciate it so much, as we keep spreading the gospel, no matter what. For sure we need the power of prayer, as you need it, too.

I have been discouraged! That makes me be sad, of course! But God is ALWAYS good, He speaks to my heart through His Word every single day. What a blessing is to have His DIVINE Word!

I praise the Lord for families like yours! You have a wonderful family, a wonderful & wise wife! God uses her in my life to encourage me to be more like the woman in Proverbs 31!
God has blessed me so much through her! Aleluya! Gloria a Dios!

Because HE IS WORTHY,
Lolita.