Is dancing a sin? Is it a sin to go to the prom? Is it a sin to participate in ballet?
This is a question, like so many decisions that we have to make in our personal life, which is not directly answered in the scriptures. In other words, there are no scriptures that say, “Dancing is sinful.” And when it comes to questions such as this one, they are largely answered based upon our attitude toward the word of God. So the first thing that we need to ask ourselves in answer to this question is this: am I going to have an attitude that seeks to avoid any questionable decisions in my life and the appearance of impropriety? Or am I going to have an attitude that seeks to try to get away with as much as possible? If we have the attitude that we are just going to do the minimum and get away with doing as little as possible for the Lord and focus on trying to gratify ourselves then we will not come to the right conclusion regarding this question and toward many questions that will arise in our life. On the other hand, if we have the attitude that we are going to go the extra mile in our service to Christ (Matthew 5:41), to be a living sacrifice for Him (Romans 12:1), and avoid the appearance of evil (1 Thess.5:22), then we will ultimately be better off.
Before we answer the question, let us define what we are discussing when we talk about dancing. I am not speaking about the companionship that a husband and wife may share together in the privacy of their own home. I am not even necessarily speaking about moving one’s body in rhythm with music such as children do or such as an adult might do when he or she is happy about something and is enjoying listening to music. There is nothing inherently wrong with moving rhythmically to music. As I am defining dancing in answer to this question, I am speaking of the modern dance and the circumstances that surround it. The modern dance is a social function. It is an effort on the part of those who organize and participate within it to bring members of the opposite sex together in a social way so as to stimulate sexual attractiveness. The modern dance places a single man and woman together in a very close and intimate way in a very public setting. The modern dance encourages men and women to move in ways that are lewd and suggestive. The attire at a modern day dance usually has young women exposing a large part of their body in a suggestive and sexually attractive way. Also associated with the modern dance is the consumption of alcohol; whether done legally or illegally there is usually someone who will bring it in on the side. In addition to alcohol, the modern dance often leads a young couple to perform more intimate activities subsequent to the dance such as petting and even in some cases, fornication. It is therefore the whole situation about which I am discussing in answer to this question.
Now while the Bible does not come out and directly say “dancing is a sin,” there are some scriptures that indicate that participating in such actions do not become one who would name himself a Christian. Let’s look at a few of these scriptures. The first is in 1 Peter 2:11. There Peter writes, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul�.” Peter was writing to Christians who were being tempted to follow after the ways of the world to fit into society. He tells them that they need to abstain from fleshly lusts. Fleshly lusts are evil desires that come from a love of the world and not a love of God. These fleshly lusts are said to war or fight against the soul. By this we understand him to say that by fulfilling these lusts, these desires, we will put ourselves into a situation where our Christianity will be challenged–where Satan will have opportunity to tempt us and where we will be discouraged from trying to do what is right. Now if the modern dance does not fall into this category, I do not know what does. Those who participate in the modern dance will be challenged in their Christianity, they will give Satan an opportunity to tempt them and they will be discouraged from trying to do what is right. Why would a Christian want to place oneself into such a situation?
Look also at 1 Thessalonians 5:22. In the King James Version we read, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” If it even looks like it might be wrong, then we need to keep away from it. There can be no doubt that some of the movements in the modern dance have the appearance of evil and so we should abstain from it.
Notice also 1 Peter 4:1-4 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” We notice from this passage that Christ ceased from the sins of the flesh so that we might be saved. Would we put ourselves into the presence of the very things from which He ceased in order for us to have a momentary time of pleasure and enjoyment? Peter lists the things that he is specifically talking about. These things include lasciviousness, revellings, and banquetings. These are activities that in the ancient world were associated with sexual promiscuity. The modern dance is also one of those things.
Notice Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” The real interesting item in this list is “such like.” That is, if there is anything in the world that is similar to the types of things that have been mentioned in this passage which Paul says are the works of the flesh, we should not have anything to do with it. Certainly the modern dance places one in a situation where one is tempted to indulge in the works of the flesh and so we should abstain from it.
John writes to the Christian in 1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” The modern dance is a thing of the world and when we demonstrate that we love things of the world more than we love God, God’s love no longer abides in us. Why would we want to remove ourselves from the love of God for an hour or two of worldly pleasure? James 4:4 states “�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.” Why become the enemy of God for a few hours of social interaction?
Finally, we should take heed to the admonition that Paul gives to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived, evil companionships corrupt good morals.” Those in the world who go to and participate in the modern dance go there expecting to engage in something enticing and titillating. They go with evil purposes in mind. The Christian who chooses to go to the dance surrounds himself with these evil companionships. Why should a Christian purposefully want to ignore the inspired words in this passage?
The modern dance holds many dangers for the Christian both young and old. I once knew a Christian couple who would go to clubs with the intent of “picking each other up” at these different establishments. I suppose that they got some measure of enjoyment and a certain thrill out of doing this. However, it was not very long before one of them was engaged in an adulterous situation and the church was moved to withdraw fellowship from this person. Their marriage ended in divorce and their children separated from mother and father. Oh how that couple wishes that they had never gone to such places and participated in such reckless abandon with their Christianity. Let us resolve not to make the same mistake in our lives and avoid the modern dance.