The story is told of four couples who rented a summer house for two months. Each couple in turn took their two-week vacation there and kept the combined thirteen children of the four families with them. One of the couples was bragging about this clever plan to a friend when the friend said, “I don’t think two weeks in a cabin with thirteen kids would be much of a vacation.”
“You’re right,” was the reply. “Those two weeks were absolutely terrible. The vacation was the six weeks at home without the children.” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
"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." (2 Co 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
[Our study begins with a close look at a word not familiar to many...]
I. THE SIN OF LASCIVIOUSNESS
A. LASCIVIOUSNESS CONDEMNED...
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)
B. LASCIVIOUSNESS DEFINED...
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
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...]
II. THE SIN OF DANCING
A. NON-CHRISTIANS RECOGNIZE DANCING AS LUSTFUL...
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
says: "No man who is sober dances, Cicero
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
B. COMMON SENSE TELLS US THAT DANCING IS LUSTFUL...
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
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...]
III. COMMONLY RAISED OBJECTIONS
A. "DANCING MAY `TURN ON' OTHER PEOPLE, BUT I DON'T REACT THAT
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
B. "I CAN'T CONTROL WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK..."
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; 1 Co 8:13;
b. Otherwise we fall into grave condemnation - Mt 18:6-7
C. "HOW CAN ANYTHING WRONG GO ON, IT IS TIGHTLY SUPERVISED...?"
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."
D. "DANCING IS GOOD EXERCISE..."
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?
E. "DANCING IS MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE..."
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 - 1 Sam 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
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..." -
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
in the 12th Century." Provence
- Encyclopedia Britannica, "The Art Of Dance", Vol. 5, p.
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)