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                           "SHALL WE DANCE?"


1. When one becomes a Christian, everything takes on a new perspective:

   "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things
   have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2Co 5:17)

2. This also applies to certain social activities...
   a. Which before we may have considered harmless
   b. But now understand may not be proper for Christians - cf. 1 Pe

3. One such activity is dancing...
   a. Especially in its modern and popular forms
   b. Involving unmarried couples

4. What is wrong with dancing?  In this lesson, I wish to...
   a. Explain why dancing is unbecoming of those who call themselves
   b. Address commonly raised objections by those who seek to approve
      of dancing

[Our study begins with a close look at a word not familiar to many...]


      1. As a work of the flesh - Ga 5:19 (KJV, ASV)
         a. Translated "lewdness" in the NKJV
         b. Translated "sensuality" in the NAS
         c. Translated "debauchery" in the NIV
         d. Translated "licentiousness" in the RSV
      2. As that which defiles a man - Mk 7:21-23 (KJV)

      1. The Greek word is aselgia, defined by Thayer as "unbridled
         lust...wanton acts or manners (including) filthy words,
         indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and
      2. The English word lascivious is defined "exciting sexual
         desires; salacious"
      3. Anything which excites the lust of the flesh (words, bodily
         movements, unchaste handling) is therefore considered sinful
         a. Of course, this applies to the stirring up of sexual
            desires and sensual pleasures outside the bond of marriage
         b. The Bible recognizes the place for sexual expression, but
            limits such to those who are married - cf. He 13:4
         c. The excitement of lust between those not married is sinful,
            condemned by Jesus in Mt 5:28
            1) It is wrong to lust for another person
            2) It must therefore be wrong to arouse lust in another

[Having defined the sin of lasciviousness, one must now ask:  "Does
popular dancing arouse the lusts of the flesh, and therefore qualify as
lasciviousness?"  My reply would be yes...]


      1. "The popular teen-age dances of the mid20th century have no
         set steps; the dancers respond spontaneously to the beat of
         the musicians. The degree of satisfaction attained by young
         people "twisting" or "shaking" to the blare of amplified music
         in dance halls, further enlivened by psychedelic lighting, is
         different from the pleasure derived by their elders waltzing
         to the `Blue Danube' - but it is only a difference of age and
         time.  Fundamentally, both age groups are enjoying the
         pleasure of dancing in their own way...The end product is
         doubtless the same - physical pleasure in the activity of
         dancing and sexual awareness of a partner, whether embraced or
         half-consciously observed." - Encyclopedia Britannica, "The
         Art Of Dance", Vol. 5, p. 455-456 (1979 edition)
      2. "...The social dance has usually been the result of joint
         physical exuberance and sex stimuli..." - Collier's
         Encyclopedia, "Dance", Vol. 7, p. 683 (1964 edition)
      3. "Another motive for the dance is the sexual motive - the dance
         has always been used as a means of expressing sexual desire
         and as a means of wooing...We find this same sex motive in
         the modern ballroom dance, which has now degenerated into dull
         and stupid forms, but it is a legitimate opportunity for
         contact." - Dance We Must (1938, reprinted 1950), p. 6 (from a
         series of lectures given by Ted Shawn at George Peabody
         College For Teachers)
      4. "All ballroom dancing in pairs looks toward intercourse.  In
         this respect the Puritans were dead right....The development
         of no-contact dances has come about because one doesn't now
         need a social excuse to embrace a girl, but as an excitant it
         need not involve contact at all - in fact, dances like
         flamenco or the twist are far more erotic than a clinch
         because you aren't too close to see one another.  At its best
         this sort of dance is simply intercourse by remote control."
         - The Joy Of Sex, Alex Comfort, p. 162 (1972)
      5. The Roman orator Cicero says: "No man who is sober dances,
         unless he is out of his mind, either when alone or in any
         decent society, for dancing is the companion of wanton
         conviviality, dissoluteness, and luxury." - New Unger's Bible
         Dictionary (1988)

      1. What would be your reaction if you saw an entire dance floor
         with people of the same sex dancing together?
         a. If dancing was morally neutral, having no sexual overtones,
            there would be no reaction at all!
         b. But most would be shocked, suspecting they had stumbled
            into a "gay" dance
      2. Listen to what is simply common sense:
         a. If we would expect such a dance to be an expression of
            "gay" sensuality...
         b. ...how can we deny that people of opposite sex dancing
            together is an expression of heterosexual activity?

[Both common sense and the testimony of people in the world confirm
that dancing is an activity which has the arousal of sexual desires as
its main appeal.  Should Christians be making provision for the flesh,
to fulfill its lusts?  Not according to Ro 13:14...

   "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the
   flesh, to fulfill it lusts."

But almost invariably, those who desire to dance or allow their
children to dance raise some objections...]


      1. For the sake of argument, let's assume that some people
         a. Do not have strong sexual urges
         b. Have grown spiritually to the point they can keep their
            urges under control
      2. The dancing under consideration involves two persons
         a. Even if one is not so affected, the other may be!
         b. In which case, the "spiritual" person becomes a stumbling
            block to the other person, an instrument for the other
            person's indulgence in fleshly lusts

      1. Just because we can't force a person to think right...that is
         no reason to encourage them to think wrong!
      2. We have a responsibility not to contribute to one's moral
         a. We must not be a stumbling block - Ro 14:13,21; 1Co 8:13;
         b. Otherwise we fall into grave condemnation - Mt 18:6-7

      1. Bodily actions may be well-supervised, but no one can
         supervise the inward thoughts
      2. Chaperons can inhibit only what happens on the dance floor...
         a. What about afterwards...on the way home?
         b. When there is no one to restrain expressing the desires
            that were aroused during the dance?
      3. As stated by Ann Landers:  "When you turn a guy on, he can be
         awfully hard to turn off."

      1. There are many alternative forms of exercise that do not
         excite the lusts of the flesh in yourself or others
      2. Are you willing to become a stumbling block to others, just so
         you can get some exercise?  Isn't that rather selfish?

      1. There are four categories of dancing mentioned in the Bible
         a. Religious dances of the Old Testament - Exo 15:20-21; 2 Sam
         b. Expressions of great rejoicing - 1Sa 18:6
         c. The play of children - Job 21:11; Lk 7:32
         d. Passionate dances, like that of Salome, before King Herod
            - Mt 14:6
      2. Do the first three categories justify Christians engaging in
         the modern dance today?
         a. No, for these are nothing like what is being discussed in
            this lesson
         b. There is no trace in the Bible that men and women danced as
            1) "While the mode of dancing is not known in detail, it is
               clear that men and women did not generally dance
               together, and there is no real evidence that they ever
               did.  Social amusement was hardly a major purpose of
               dancing, and the modern method of dancing by couples is
               unknown." - Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia Of The
               Bible, "Dancing", Vol. 2, p. 12 (1977)
            2) "Social dancing, as we now understand it, was almost, if
               not altogether, unknown in ancient times..." - Hastings
               Bible Dictionary, p. 550
            3) "Women seemed generally to have danced by themselves...
               Of the social dancing of couples in the modern fashion
               there is no trace." - International Standard Bible
               Encyclopedia, "Games", p. 1170
         c. In fact, dancing in the form of mixed couples did not exist
            before the 12th Century A.D. - "There is no evidence of
            couples dancing together, however; that was to happen much
            later, probably in Provence in the 12th Century."
            - Encyclopedia Britannica, "The Art Of Dance", Vol. 5, p.
              452 (1979)
      3. The only thing close to the modern dance today that is
         mentioned in the Bible is the dance of Herodias' daughter,
         Salome (and look what happened!)


1. Shall we dance?  There are two things we can be sure of...
   a. It is wrong to lust in our hearts after others - Mt 5:28
   b. It is wrong to conduct ourselves in any way as to excite the
      lusts in others; that is lasciviousness, which is condemned as a
      work of the flesh - Ga 5:19-21

2. That popular dancing involving unmarried couples is condemned, can
   only be denied...
   a. By those ignorant of the Scriptures
   b. By those hardened by the deceitfulness of sin

3. Again, let me read what others have said:

   "Because of its physical appeal, dance lends itself to erotic
   purposes and has been practiced to these ends by both sexes."
   - Encyclopedia Britannica, "The Art Of Dance"

Let us also remember the words of Paul:

   "The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us
   cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of
   light.  Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and
   drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
   But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the
   flesh, to fulfill its lusts."  (Ro 13:12-14)
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