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The Christian and Social Dancing
by Buell H. Kazee
1900-1976

Social dancing is a subject which will leap forward in any discussion of worldliness and occupy the chief place in the forum. Most Christians will show no enthusiasm about the great doctrines of our faith and will respond with little or no appreciation of the blessed things God has put at our disposal, but when the matter of social dancing emerges in discussion, we will hear voices that have no comment on the really great things. When the matter does come up, most people go at it as if to say, "If we can solve this problem, we can easily handle all the rest." From our experience in church life, we are quite ready to agree that this is so.

As we have seen it, social dancing is not necessarily the worst sin which church members commit. Why, then, is it always singled out in any discussion of worldliness as a thing to be condemned by some so fiercely and defended so vehemently by others? The answer to this question has many facets.

There is something about dancing which makes it more useful to Satan than many other forms of worldliness. For one thing, it has a wide popular appeal. It is adaptable to any level of society. The rich, the poor, the middle class can all indulge in it with equal freedom and skill. No intelligence rating is required for participation in it. It can be the very nicest thing for those who do not want to go into open sin, or it can be the lowest-down, most degrading thing imaginable for others. It can be most innocent (from all appearances) or it can be most vile. It can put on clothes which make it appear innocent enough to sit in the "amen corner" of the church, or it can take off enough clothes to make it the leading amusement of the night club.

Furthermore, because of its great adaptability to age, class and intellect, and thus because of its great popularity, it becomes the leading representative of the social world's activity. It is, therefore, identified definitely with "this present, evil world" (Gal. 1:4). Its entire association has nothing to do with Christ except to crucify Him. It is absolutely impossible to find a dancing Christian who can give a convicting testimony for Christ. No sensible person would ever argue that social dancing (boy and girl dancing) originated with Christ or ever had anything to do with the development and growth of a Christian. On the other hand, there is positive proof everywhere that those who follow dancing, even though some may be saved, are always spiritual dwarfs, church problems, and dead weights to the witness of Christ through His churches. Since the dance did not originate with Christ, there is only one place from which it could have come, and that is from those who would crucify Him. How can it be identified otherwise? A true church of Jesus Christ would never touch it. It cannot by any means be classified with that of which Paul says, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Col. 3:17). Dancing fits perfectly with the world which crucified Jesus Christ and fits nowhere in any of His churches.

Of course, dancing has the popular approval of almost all social groups and organizations, and especially that of the great educational leaders of our country. One who opposes dancing in that realm is the worst of "squares" in their eyes, and they have reached the place now where they can hardly understand the thinking of any one who would oppose it. Their great weight of influence puts fear in the heart of many a Christian parent, and the school rides over the weak opposition of such parents with a scorn that silences any objection to their "cultural program."

The "dead give-away" in this connection is the universal insistence from all educators that the dance must be "properly chaperoned." Now, why does it have to be chaperoned? Did you ever hear of a basketball or football game being chaperoned? Isn't the dance just as public as a game? Why does it have to be chaperoned? Because all decent people know that it can get "out of hand" if somebody doesn't watch it. In other words, it is dynamite, and must be carefully handled or it will do damage. Of course, this "chaperone business" is often just a label. It is to assure the parents who might doubt that the thing will be carried on decently, but it by no means assures that it will.

But this is not the approach for a Christian in examing the dance. It has always seemed strange that there are Christian people (if they are) who want to see how far they can go with sin without getting into sin. "Is there any harm in it?" should be substituted by "Is there any good in it?" Does it ever lead a child of God into a closer walk with Him? Has it ever raised the spiritual tone of any Christian’s life or made anybody a better witness for Christ? Has it ever raised the spiritual tone of a church? Does it not rather do the opposite? Is it not rather a "pitch toward Sodom" for any Christian who participates in it? Would it not have to be classified as of the world? Can we associate it in any way with that for which Christ died and for which the martyrs whose glory we sing gave their lives? Do we not know "in our hearts" that its association is at least in the direction of sin, and that it definitely is a true representative of the world and the world mind?

Thus, because of the nature of social dancing — its great adaptability to all classes and ages and intellects — and because of its definite worldly connection and association, it becomes the most useful instrument of Satan in prying open the door of the church, so that gradually all its attendant evils may come in and demand recognition. It is uniquely qualified to be the tie of the world to the church or of the church to the world.

To those who cannot see the end from the beginning, it provides a first so-called harmless enjoyment of the flesh, makes the introduction to bodily familiarity which should be reserved for the marriage relationship, opens the door to a worldly sophistication which makes light of "old fogey" moral restraints and definitely identifies the child of God with the world. In the dance, bodily familiarity becomes the normal thing, and the thoughts of the dancer are directed to the prospect of more exciting adventures in sex, thereby introducing him or her to a whole new realm of evil to which dancing is the direct pathway.

Everybody knows that if we separated the sexes in dancing, the institution would die. People who dance would laugh to scorn any idea of dancing at all if there were no mixing of the sexes.

If it be defended on the basis of "charm and poise" or "social graces," let it be said that these are no requirement for a citizen of Heaven either in this world or the next. Granted that dancing may make one more graceful, nearly all girls and boys who speak honestly will tell you why the dance is appealing. We should all be honest enough to admit that if people dance for the sheer joy of musical rhythm, they could do it better alone than hugged up in somebody's arms.

This is the institution which can reach over into the church with apparently clean hands, take hold of the weak child of God and draw him or her away into a world of sin. It can likewise take professing Christians who are not willing to give up the world, work them into the church life and gradually place them where they can exercise a voice in defense of worldliness in the membership. At first it appears to be weak and insignificant, but suddenly, once it is in, it rears its head among us and demands that we negotiate for "peaceful coexistence" with it.

If we lived near a dangerous precipice, we would not try to tell our children how near they could go without falling over it; rather, we would build a high strong fence to be sure that not even once there would be any danger. If we tolerate dancing in our churches, we would do better to disband and let those who demand this indulgence go where it fits — namely, into the world. If we are to remain on spiritual grounds, we must build a strong fence to protect our weak ones. If one member who dances hurts the witness of the church, how can we walk with the Lord and tolerate it?

Much else could be said on this subject, but it should be clear why dancing occupies the forum in any discussion of worldliness.
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{From a tract]


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