The Danger Of The Dance
America is tottering on the brink of moral decay. This fact becomes evident to anyone who would carefully observe the unmistakable trend of the times. One out of every four marriages in this country ends in divorce. According to the F.B.I., one million illegitimate children are born annually. Not long ago a doctor who lives near one of the largest universities in the land said that he was convinced that at least 90 per cent of the young men and women of that far-west university had had sex relations before marriage. All of this points to an obvious conclusion; our generation is speeding toward the abyss of moral debauchery.
Our great concern is that the worldliness so prevalent today is even threatening to engulf that last citadel of virtue -the church of the living God! The time has come for elders, preachers, teachers, all Christians to cry out courageously against the sins of the day. As the clarion voices of the prophets rang out in the long ago denouncing the sins of a hard-hearted people, even so the elder, or the preacher, who would be true to his God and to his charge must speak out plainly in condemnation of worldly, ungodly living, Not only must we teach and preach against the sins that all too often leave an ugly blemish on Christ's bride, but incorrigible offenders must be disciplined according to God's word. (I Cor. 5:1-13). How we need shepherds in Israel who love the Lord, the church, and the truth enough to courageously lead the people of God to "purge out the old leaven."
The modern dance is a potent factor in the production of the immorality that has already been mentioned. Because of this, we want to make it the specific point of consideration in this article.
The Bible does not deal with the question in a specific "thou shalt not." The Bible rather is a book of principles and, therefore, it deals with this matter in principles. The following principles, worded in the form of questions, will apply to the dance as well as to other forms of recreation:
1. Does it (the dance) destroy your identity as a Christian? Rom. 12:1, 2; James 1:27. The Christian is to be unspotted from the world - not conformed to it. Whatever mars this transformed quality of a Christian is in opposition to this principle.
2. Does it have a weakening influence on others? I Cor. 8:8-13.
3. Does it take you into a bad environment and into the midst of bad associates? I Cor. 15:33. Remember Lot could get his girls out of Sodom, but he couldn't get Sodom out of his girls.
4. Does it have even the appearance of evil? If so, don't flirt with it- flee from it! I Thess. 5:22.
5. Does it come under the Bible condemnation of reveling? Gal. 5:21.
6. Does it tend to produce lewd (base, illicit, sensual) emotions? Gal. 5:19. Lasciviousness (anything that tends to produce lewd emotions) is catalogued by Paul among those fleshly works that will keep that one who persists in them outside of heaven.
If you must answer "yes" to any of the above questions, then Christ through his word is earnestly pleading with you to cease the dance or whatever recreation prompts such an answer.
To these questions we would add one more: "What would Jesus do?" I Peter 2:21. Peter tells us that Christ died, "leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps . . ." Since I am to follow his steps, many times each day I should confront myself with the question, "What would Jesus do?" In regard to the dance, "What would Jesus do?"
Let us consider two of the principles just presented at greater length. First of all, let us notice the word "reveling". Remember that Paul listed it among the works of the flesh of which he said, "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal. 5:21. What is reveling? Liddell and Scott's Greek English Lexicon describes it in these words: "A jovial festivity with music and dancing..." M. R. Vincent, the author of Word Studies and one of the translators of our English New Testament says that reveling was festial entertainment accompanied by carousing and dancing. The Century Dictionary uses this sentence to illustrate its meaning: "We always have revels, which indeed is dancing." In the light of the foregoing, the careful, objective student will quickly admit that reveling clearly embraces the dance. Remember Paul's inspired words, "they that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Lasciviousness, another work of the flesh (Gal. 5: 19), is (defined as "tending to produce lewd (base, sensual) emotions." Does the dance do this? Remember Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." What are the fruits of the dance "tree" ? Does it bear illicit, sensual desires as its fruit? Let's see:
1. Dr. Thomas C. Whitfield: "The modern dance is condemned precisely at this point. It is not wrong solely because it might lead one to the physical act of fornication, but it is sinful to the degree that it arouses unrestrained desires that cannot be fulfilled under present relations and conditions. When such desires are aroused, the dancing is within itself sinful because it is then a lascivious act."
2. J. Edgar Hoover: "Most juvenile crime has its inception in the dance hall, either public or private."
3. Prof. W. C. Wilkerson of Chicago University analyzed the modern dance as "a system of means, contrived with more than human ingenuity, to excite the instinct of sex action."
4. Dr. Lita Hollingsworth, Professor of Education at Columbia University, in an article in defense of the modern dance: "Dancing is an exciting and pleasurable recreation as it affords a partial satisfaction to the sex impulse."
5. "The Source Book of Social Origins" by Thomas affirms that without doubt "dancing came as an aid to sex stimulant. It retains its original purpose today."
6. The Chicago Vice Commission asked three hundred prostitute girls, "What led you to do wrong, what led you to become such a sinner, what led you to become what you are today, a scarlet woman?" Eighty-five per cent, of them said, "My first step wrong was caused by the modern dance."
7. Speaking primarily to parents, Prof. Guyon, owner and operator of Guyon Paradise Ballrooms said, "When you are told that youth of both sexes can survive this experience (the dance) without moral, mental and physical pollution you know the teller lies. If you can believe youth is the same after this experience as before, then God help your child or your charge, for you are not mentally fit for your responsibility."
The foregoing conclusive statements from objective sources should convince us all that the dance is productive of lewd, illicit desires and even overt immorality. It is thus lasciviousness - a work of flesh that will keep one outside the eternal kingdom. This alone should awake us to the danger of the dance. It should cause young people (and old alike) to flee from it. Also this fact should motivate the teacher of the Word to boldly and plainly condemn the dance.
Young person, remember that the Savior died for you, "leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps." Ask the question sincerely, "What would Jesus do?" Don't do anything that would mar your relationship with your Savior. Don't do anything that would tarnish your hope of heaven, weaken your influence or dull your spirituality. Do not follow a course that will cause you to carry guilt scars to your grave.
Apply the words of Heaven given in the long ago: "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil."
Truth Magazine I:1, pp. 6, 16, 18