It is easy to paint with a broad brush and speak in generalities that are not exactly accurate; and as a result we misrepresent God’s Word and lose credibility with people. For instance, we have probably all heard a preacher or Bible class teacher say “dancing is sinful.” Is that true? I would suggest the statement needs some clarification.
Not all dancing is sinful. Solomon said there is a “time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). Dancing was used in worship (Psalm 149:3; 150:4). Miriam danced in praise to God (Exodus 15:20), as did David (Psalm 30:11). Furthermore, Jesus spoke favorably of dancing in connection with rejoicing over a repentant sinner (Luke 15:25). See the point?
On the other hand, however, some dancing is sinful. Promiscuous dancing between people who are not married certainly classifies as “lasciviousness” (Galatians 5:19, KJV), which is a work of the flesh and will keep people from inheriting the kingdom of God (v. 21). “Lasciviousness” is lewd or licentious behavior. It includes unchaste bodily movements that are provocative and vile.
Dancing that involves motion or contact that would not be appropriate if the music were turned off is clearly wrong. “Dim lights” and “enticing lyrics” do not change the boundaries of decency with God.
Promiscuous dancing has led to lust, fornication, adultery, and even murder. You may recall that the daughter of Herodias “danced” for Herod causing him to lose his head (figuratively), which resulted in John the Baptist losing his head (literally). Such dancing was obviously not innocent.
There is also something to be said about influence. Christians are to let their light shine (Philippians 2:15). We are to behave in a way that points people to the Lord. How can that be done while dancing? T.A. Vogner, the former supervisor of the Dancing Academy in California, once said, “No woman can waltz well and waltz virtuously.” I dare say the “waltzing” at that time pales in comparison to the bumping, grinding, and shaking that passes for dancing today.
So, it is important that we clarify ourselves. Not all dancing is sinful. There are passages in the Bible that speak favorably of dancing. There is nothing wrong with a husband and wife dancing in the privacy of their home, young children dancing together as they watch Barney on television, or elderly folks line-dancing in an exercise class. However, some dancing is sinful. Promiscuous dancing between people who are not married is a violation of God’s law. Clarification on this and other matters allows us to be true to God’s Word and builds credibility with people.