by L.R. Hester
Morality alone is not Christianity, but Christianity apart from moral purity is impossible. The Lord commands: “Be ye holy; for l am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). And; “Keep thyself pure” (1 Timothy 1:16).
Adherence to this charge calls for every possible precaution. One seldom, if ever, plays with fire without getting burned. Christianity is a fight against temptation. The body does not cease to make its demand of self-gratification, and many of those demands are immoral and ungodly, Solitude or seclusion cannot make us exempt from temptation; yet, temptation is not overcome by willful exposure. When temptation threatened Joseph’s moral purity, he fled out of the house (Genesis 39:12). And Paul said to Christians “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
As an appeal to sensuality, dancing ranks among the greatest. It tends to strip man of his spiritual armor while his carnal nature is fortified. It stupefies the spiritual senses, dulls the conscience and subjects man to his animal desires. Hence, dancing is often a sure road to adultery and every kind of immoral practice.
Today dancing is sponsored by some religious groups as clean and wholesome recreation. It is taught and encouraged in many schools as though it had a place in constructive education. Even some preachers and elders in the Lord’s church sanction it among the members. All such is sickening to the spiritual-minded. The fact that the dance is sponsored by some religious group, taught in the school, or considered by some as just an innocent school dance does not remove its appeal to sensuality. To sponsor dancing among the young in an attempt to build moral citizens is like striking matches in the vicinity of highly inflammable materials in an attempt to prevent fires.
But someone says, “Only the evil-minded are adversely affected by dancing. I can indulge with a pure motive and clean mind..” If you can honestly make the above statement, it is still wrong for you to dance. It is a well-known fact that dancing encourages many to be immoral. We must not disregard others in our practices. Paul said, “But when ye so sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Corinthians 8:12-13).
Dancing is a mark of worldliness. Even if the dancer’s motive is pure, his practice casts a shadow upon him. It is generally agreed that “birds of a feather flock together.” Mentally, both the church and the world associate the dancer with the worldly crowd. Is it not true that gamblers, drunkards, adulterers, and such like are usually found at the public dances? “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Dancing is sinful because it destroys one’s influence for good. Even the world knows that the most faithful in the church do not dance nor find pleasure or spiritual strength in the fact that a brother or sister does so. Dancing neither leads the sinner to the Lord, nor builds spirituality in the lives of those who have taken His name. There simply is nothing good to say about dancing. Many ask. “Is it wrong to dance?” but we never hear men ask, “ls it good to dance?”
Young Christian, the Lord, the church, and the world are watching you. You are called out of darkness into His marvelous light, that you might show forth the praises of Him who called you” (1 Peter 2:9). The church has received you into its fellowship and the world has noted your professed stand for the Lord. All expect you as an individual of honor to be what you profess to be- a Christian. The sinner and the ungodly church member will try to allure you, but they will not truly respect you for being allured. You may think you must dance because the world dances, but the Lord commands; “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” You have renounced the world to stand with the Lord; now it is your duty to stand. You cannot have both—the Lord and the world,
To the worldly church member, James wrote: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). To engage in the modern dance is to be worldly. Whose friend are you? Are you with the Lord, or with the world?
(From The Preceptor, Vol. 7 November, 1957)
CHRISTIANITY MAGAZINE FEBRUARY, 1984