And we can be excited in holding onto the knowledge that. When someone fully surrenders and allows the Spirit to move them to step out in faith 1) God take pleasure in this obedience, 2) dancing and praising the Lord brings freedom to that person, and 3) it causes victory over the enemy’s footholds. There is a Hebrew word chag, which means circle, and the word for feast in Hebrew is chagag, which depicts dancing/moving in a circle (e.g. Why did King David remove his royal clothes before he danced before the Lord? If the Christian is not fully surrendered to God in his worship, why is he worshipping Him in the first place? Dance, for example, is one of the many issues Christians should be wrestling through as either something that God has called His people to do to Him as one of several expressions of worship in the Old Testament or not. His or her statement says it doesn’t matter what people think because God’s pleasure is of far more worth and significance than the uncomfortable fear and condemnation of fellow believers. In this descriptive passage, it’s difficult to imagine that being ‘spat’ from God’s mouth would be a satisfying participation in God’s Kingdom for anyone! Jewish culture featured dancing at weddings and the Feast … Does it have to be in a specific place? On the other hand we see several occasions in the Old Testament in which dancing is seen as sinful because of the association with it. One thing that was evident was they were quick to judge against what didn’t line up with their rules while being slow to seeing the miracles and work of God. “How could we possibly express such strong emotions as thankfulness, love, and joy, without using our physical bodies?”. Black Sacred Dance, as a formal and acknowledged expression , does have a very distinct history. Their most prominent representative, Walther von der Vogelweide, is recognized for his didactic moral and … More often it seems to be self seeking on the part of the dancer.” Again we see a judgment call on the motives of individual worshippers, where that wouldn’t be a problem if that pastor was focused on fully worshipping God. These revivals include great masses of people responding to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Miriam, who was a prophetess and sister to Moses, who was leading the Israelite, gathered the women to perform a song and dance in worship after they had crossed the Red Sea. Jewish people still do this dance circle today at weddings and at Sukkot (Tabernacles), Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost). It is likely that after these people were healed they would have continued on with their lives normally? You can adjust all of your cookie settings by navigating the tabs on the left hand side. This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. Available from. http://www.dance4it.com/dancehistory.htm. There are obviously conflicting sides here, and they need to be explored. Their relationships are shallow because they can’t trust anyone and everything has become distant through their computer screen, ipods or cellphones. They are “clearly defined by physical movements and postures such as bowing, kneeling, lifting, clapping, waving of hands, spinning, dancing, leaping, and even lying prostrate.”, Other passages in the Old Testament define, in even more detail, how the Israelites were called to worship Yahweh. Hear the word of the LORD, O nations. Then I am reminded of Zephaniah 3:17 “…[I] will rejoice over you with singing." On the other hand dance outside of the Church has become acceptable by most Christians today. In Leviticus 10:1. It was truly a gift from Yahweh, “dance functioned as a medium of prayer and praise, as an expression of joy and reverence, and as a mediator between God and humanity. Dancing is often mentioned in the Bible. Online discussion on “Do you dance in the church?” [document on-line] Available, Burke, Wendy. Servant Publications, 2000.p.82, Feeney, Jim, Ph.D. “Praise Dance, Worship Dance – Is it for the Church?” [document, on-line] Available from http://www.jimfeeney.org/dancingasworship.html, Gerrie, Bona. Some shouters would “run the aisle.”. The obsession with this dance reveals the medieval people's preoccupation with death during the period of the Black Plague (1347-1373). Lastly Jesus comments on the people of his time: To what can I compare this generation? With a controversial topic such as dance in the church, there will be many misused passages on this issue because of years of misinterpretation and manipulation of the Word to serve individual’s personal agendas. Ambrose (AD 340-397), Bishop of Milan, tried to clarify the values and dangers of sacred dance by emphasizing the spiritual. Christian dance has persisted throughout the history of the church, despite many official decrees against it. The Old Testament is the first part of the Bible, and so we must turn to this in order to understand the role of dance in Jewish culture. It was the shared language bringing two cultures together. We are unable to gain any kind of merit through our works, our salvation is solely by grace through faith, and yet there is one thing that we can offer to God: our praise. The movement of the body does not have any magical aspect to it. On Herod’s birthday Herodias’ daughter danced so well that he offered her anything she wanted and she demanded John the Baptist’s head on a platter (Matthew 14:6). While Jesus was here on earth, He always seemed to be pointing out the flaws of the Pharisees. Spiritual sight is much more important that physical sight. Several of his Psalms share this joy with us: Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp. Jesus says in John 9:39 that it is "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind. Just click the Give.net Donate button below. Other Church leaders at that time fully walked away from the physical movement and solely regarded dance “from a singularly spiritualized perspective, as symbolic of spiritual motions of the soul'.”, At the end of the fourth century, the battle continued from different church leaders to influence others either for or against dancing within the church. “Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind. Throughout history the Church has entangled itself with the outward appearance and has become bogged down with controversial discussions over of the physical aspect of dancing, when the real issue, is both harder to reveal and measure, and is far more important to God than just the outward act of dancing. With it belong gluttony, drunkenness, plays, feast days, and heathen saints’ days. I hope that in this paper, I have identified God’s true desire for dance within the Body of Christ, and have shined some light on a dark area in the Church’s present and history. Lately, multiple TV shows, just in North America alone, have become the latest craze in pop culture; they promote the best dancers and dancing in general. Recognizing the relevance of dance in the church today, both in worship and in its use as an evangelistic tool, is crucial for the health of the body of Christ for its participation in sharing the hope of salvation to a lost and hurting generation. But the one’s that experienced internal spiritual healing because of what Jesus did on the Cross, they will live forever! Deuteronomy 6:5 speaks of expressing our love for God with our entire being. The first instance is found in Exodus 15:20 when Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, led the Israelite women in dancing following the miracle at the Red Sea. The issue that needs to be addressed and desired in a church body, is a willingness and obedience to the call of the Spirit of God in worship; if He is prompting an individual to raise their hands to Him, kneel before Him, or dance to Him, the body of Christ should be unified and obedient to respect that call no matter how individuals within the group feel. With it belong gluttony, drunkenness, plays, feast days, and heathen saints' days.”, These extreme judgmental exaggerations were held by some reformers but not all, actually the early leaders of the Protestant Reformation supported dance in worship. 3.) He never showed in scripture any inclination to stop the act of dancing (if he wasn’t dancing himself while he was here) and, therefore, it continued as it always had, even after had ascended. And because that dancer was willing to be transparent before her, that student is potentially able to open up after the performance and trust that person with her story. God desires for the Church to experience Him in the most powerful and intimate way and He knows this can only happen when we as individuals are fully surrendering to Him. In chapter 149 of the psalms, David proclaims, “Let them praise his name with dancing”. There is no chance. Revelations 3:20 says, “Here I am! This complete abandonment of self has to take place before one is able to walk into freedom. Again you shall take up your tambourines and shall go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. This act of dance is much more than just a desired movement, it is built within the Body of Christ, and God is waiting for His bride to yet again bring this sacrifice of praise to the altar. Below are five different types of supportive dance that can be used in worship. Others describe how dance ruins the comfort of church, saying. African tribal dance at church in Cleveland For Black History Month, St. Agnes Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Cleveland, Ohio, celebrated with a Sunday Mass display of African dances as seen in the photos of this page. Francis Chan in His book, In a perfect world, the worship we offer to God would look a lot different. Its defenders and followers are Lucian, Caligula, Herod, and similar epicureans and atheists. The father puts on a party with celebratory dancing because his prodigal son, whom he thought was lost, has returned (Luke 15:21-29). The psalmist exclaims clearly in 149th psalm, “Let them praise His name with dancing”. Additional reminders in the New Testament that the Church is called to worship the Lord with all that they have is found in 1 Corinthians 6:19; when Paul tells the Christians that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that they should glorify God with their bodies. Evidence of circle dancing can be found in the early church as the Christian faith spread among the Gentiles (non-Jewish peoples). Unfortunately, many people in the church see only this style of dancing and connect it in their minds to all types of dance. Below is a bible verse for us to meditate upon when considering dance: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Its defenders and followers are Lucian, Caligula, Herod, and similar epicureans and atheists. Dance, in and of it self, is not the issue that the church should be addressing or even desiring. As a student, unable to trust, comes to a workshop or a show involving dance, she will listen, watch, and participate because it is so highly glamorized from the world. God has called the body of Christ to praise Him through dance as part of their act of worship to Him and through this paper, there will be sufficient evidence to reveal the Truth in this matter. Is the Church so callused to the good news that it’s not that ‘good’ anymore? As the danced, they sang: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’. One worshipper shares, “I have personally felt very restricted in expressing worship in "traditional" services, finding it hard to fully express the extent of my love for the Lord.”, An inhibited and judging believer must have a different idea of what God desires from him. Although I have shown that dance was practiced in the early church, there was also a movement that sought to remove it; clearly it became controversial. Arbor, Michigan. It is likely too that the type of dancing associated with paganism was sensual and immodest and out of place with God’s people. This thought is that in our society, most dancing occurs in bars, on disco floors, at proms, dance clubs, social parties, weddings, etc. Many churches today may not include dance as an act of worship as part of the service, but will put on special events to communicate their faith through dance. Branches of the Orthodox Church have retained the Jewish circle dance in Christian festivals and at weddings since the earliest times, and there has been a revival of dance in both the Messianic congregations of the Jewish Christians and in some charismatic churches and others. Dance has a huge part to play in the church in allowing followers of Jesus to humble themselves and step out in faith with their inadequacies, and experience true freedom. There in Acts, the crippled man healed, it says. It seems that dance in church was seen as an act of worship, but some Christians were abusing this and turning it into a sensual party in the same way that some of the believers at Corinth were turning communion into an opportunity to get drunk, which the apostle Paul roundly condemned. The seeking soul, therefore, will watch a presentation intended to show God’s eternal searching love for her. In the small islands off the coast of Australia, Samoan worshipers sing and sway, seemingly floating, “in a slightly shuffle without lifting their feet from the ground.”, The spirit of God will lead people to worship Him all around the world, but it can only happen when an individual is willing to humble themselves and be obedient. So, what are the reasons that are stopping us from experiencing that full worship that God wants us to fulfill? “Worship” has become a hard word to define in its entirety because of the broad speculations that can encompass “worship”. The enemy, Satan, will never prompt a believer to authentically praise God, but will be happy to whisper reasons why not to. Some even goes as far to say, “Dancing in the church is a serious stumbling block or obstacle to many Christian brothers and sisters, as well as too many unbelievers who might be in the process of coming to the Lord.”. [document on-line]. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. Presently, the culture of North America feeds off the media, it is an entertainment driven culture, which in turn causes the youth of this generation to become bombarded with lies from the enemy as Hollywood defines and dictates who they need to become. “Dance History” Wendy Burke School of Dance. Another manifestation to the Spirit of God was the physical act of dancing. It served as an expression of worship and celebration. Mass misunderstanding of the reason for dance. It was not the dancing that caused Moses’ anger to burn but the worship of a false god. Dance-with the right heart- can be used by the Holy Spirit in the church because its involvement requires participants to let go of their pride and allow God’s opinion to become the only opinion that matters. Dance now, and be glad O Sion. The youth of this generation are going to love dance and anything to do with it, but the problem in ministry lies with understanding how they define “dance” and that they may enjoy it for the right or wrong reasons; therefore, asking a teenager if she would like to have dance in her church could create problems and misunderstanding for all involved. Coleman, Lucinda. Responses to the Spirit include such things as falling to the ground in repentance, speaking words of prophecy through the Spirit, and overwhelming praise for His powerful work in their lives. This means spirit, soul and body; clearly, our soul includes our mind will and emotions. There is a lot of educating that needs to be done within the church to experience all that God has for His people within worship. & Wolbers, M. J. eds. But this accusation can quickly become void with a clear definition of the words ‘praise’ and ‘worship’ in the Hebrew and even Greek languages. Jesus changed the world by walking into the scene and revealing Himself to be, Dance has become an incredible highlight in our world today. In Genesis, "The dance began with God (moving over the face of the waters)!" Does worship have to include words? Many attribute the integration of this practice into worship services to two major influences. Taking dance for example; if a pastor feels like dance is wrong because of the connections to the world, but has no biblical backing to support his view, he must be open to the leading of the Spirit. Evidence of circle dancing can be found in the early church as the Christian faith spread among the Gentiles (non-Jewish peoples). He had been away a long time so the people made a golden calf like the pagans around them and began to celebrate and make merry with dancing to this idol. The fact that David led the dances in the presence of God is no sanction for faithful Christians to occupy seats in the public theatre. Gregory Thaumaturgus, another early Christian bishop, wrote in about AD 240: The ring dance of the angels encircles him [Jesus Christ], singing his glory in heaven and proclaiming peace on earth… Today Adam is resurrected and performs a ring dance with the angels, raised up to heaven. He forgot the crowd, and in a spontaneous moment of spiritual emotion he, began humbly expressing His spiritual fervency as he danced with all his might before the Lord. 2009 [document on-line]. T: 07985 070 899 E: info@christianheritageedinburgh.org.uk. Celebration of God’s victories seemed to be a cause for much rejoicing and dancing, as another Scripture also illustrates: When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with tambourines and lutes. One specific passage that speaks of judging another who is worshipping is the story of David and Michal. It is about a God who desires that we worship of Him from an obedient, broken, and contrite heart. I believe that God has created dancing for His worship, and I believe that it has been taken by the enemy and abused. Those who cultivate it are generally idolaters, epicureans, good for nothings, despicable or dishonourable comedians or actors, as well as souteneurs, gigolos, and other dissolute, worthless, wanton persons. Period when dancing became widespread can be traced to the third millennia BC, when Egyptians started using dance as integral parts of their religious ceremonies. You can now give with Gift Aid if it applies. Jesus describes the Father saying, “for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:24-25) This story depicts God throwing a party because His child was lost and dead to him, and then because of the son’s repentance, he was able to accept the Father’s love again. “Dealing with Objections to Dance.” Creative Ministries Website. 19 Mar. While dancing is certainly mentioned in the Bible, with roots in pre-Christian pagan traditions, dance as worship was phased out of the Christian church as part of the 16th century Protestant Reformation and did not make a reappearance until the 20th century. Hopefully, the Church today is not so stuck in her traditions of creating rules in the hopes of not falling in to sin that she actually ends up prohibiting God’s work. You will be taken over to Give.net which is a Stewardship Services website. He also stands against dancing which exalts false gods and idolatry. God is a jealous God, He wants all or nothing. For mankind, the value of freedom has been directly connected with the high price of death.”. In attempts to follow the will of God there are many who are led astray and mislead even though they believe they are in the right. Found in Appendix A. Not a lot of people hold strong passionate views of dance within the church, either for or against. And declare in the coastlands afar off, and say, He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd keeps his flock…Then the virgin shall rejoice in the dance, and the young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and give them joy for their sorrow. Shouting became a revivalistic phenomenon; added to it was the shuffling of the feet, which was followed by running around and an occasional leap. Such extremes seem so foolish to the common Christian now, but is the church really that much farther from the heart condition of the Pharisees were at that time? "(John 9:39)”. The very purpose of dancing often runs counter to God and it is true that the intent of most dancing is generally evil. In the same way, each Christian needs to take seriously the warnings the Bible gives about pushing personal agendas or traditions if they are not lined up clearly with the Scriptures and to take a humble position of desiring clear direction from the Lord.Proverbs 14:12 clearly warns, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” This must be observed by each Christian if the Church is genuinely going to be led by God. Physical dance is not the issue. ), he. The Ministry Of Dance is just as important as the preached word because in actuality that is exactly what it is. It is clearly, just as in the creation account (where God commands, “Let there be light,”) a, Some critics of dance hold a view that there was not a lot of dancing in worship to Yahweh in the Old Testament. There was a sense, from the Jewish roots, of equality before God, and any idea of idolising the dancers was regarded as pagan, as were the festival dances that led to drunkenness. It’s like asking someone if they want to play sports, and because this person was raised in Canada, and all they know of ‘sports’ is hockey, they respond, “no, I can’t skate.” This is an extremely limited view of a whole world of opportunity, and it is one that is tainted by a lack of knowledge. Today, in the protestant religion, there are denominations that couldn’t live without dance and some that still feel like it is a sin. The early church was Jewish in origin and would have incorporated dance circles as part of their celebration of Jesus as Messiah, particularly at the three great feasts (Pesach, Shavout and Sukkot). For example, every year on March 25th at the Festival of Annunciation, the Christians recalled when Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel on that very date to tell her that she had conceived Jesus Christ. The biblical stance for most prayers included raising arms and hands above the head (1 Timothy 2:8).”. In Germany Martin Luther embraced the arts and even wrote a carol for children entitled From Heaven High, in which two stanzas encouraged dance. It is for each church to think through for itself following the guidelines of Scripture. This is not a comfortable place to be, but then who ever said the Christian life was going to be comfortable? INTRODUCTION – WHERE DOES DANCE BELONG IN THE CHURCH? We are going to look at these views and discuss the outcomes to these observations. This is … For David did not twist his limbs about in obscene movements. King David danced in worship ahead of the Ark returning to Jerusalem. The following view of dance found in a booklet from Utrecht in this period was typical: The heathen are the inventors of dance. In Zephaniah 3:17 Scripture says: The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Throughout history, the Church has seen the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in different parts of the world which have resulted in grand revivals. They might point to the limited accounts of David and Miriam dancing before the Lord and claim that those are not enough scriptural examples to prove that dance was a constant expression of worship to the Israelites. “This is true godly confidence, a trust that takes us beyond ourselves, a naked confidence.”, We are told in Phil 2:6-9 that Jesus also laid aside his divine power and independence when “… being in the form of God…He humbled himself and became obedient unto death” His walk on this earth was marked by extraordinary humility and dependency upon His Father to meet His every need. Fallon, D. J. And because of that, God will vomit them from His mouth; that choice of living is disgusting to God. “In the two earliest Christian liturgies recorded in detail, dance is used in the order of service. One last warning the Bible gives is the responsibilities held by leaders. A scene is described from the event in which Elijah, his prophet, challenged them: They took the bull given them and prepared it. God’s intention for dancing was be used as a way of surrendering, expressing joy and worshipping Him. There are a few ways that one can interpret this position. From this understanding, the survey could be very weak because of the lack of open discussion about their views. From the Biblical times to the 19th Century, dancing as a form of C… After centuries of dance becoming something uncontrollable and spontaneous, the Renaissance era was a time for substantial change. http://www.worshiptherock.com/forum/topics/do-you-dance-in-church? People who can face and embrace their own inadequacy are the ones who are truly on the road to freedom and confidence. Please consider helping us keep the work of Christian Heritage Edinburgh going by offering a small donation. Although dancing has … The story continues by describing the Father’s house filled with “music and dancing” because of this celebration. And if a church congregation has deemed dance unacceptable, and is full of judgment that does not allow participation in this act of praise, they are, in fact, offering themselves to the enemy as agents of division and are participating in quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit. With this mentality, Christians need to be alert that in preaching, singing, reading, and looking at one another there can be heart issues that lead to sin in some way. Yet again, if we take a little care to examine his work, we find that the context is not a message against dance as such, but against worldly dancing in the manner of the daughter of Herodias who requested John the Baptist’s head on a plate. The Roman Church organized the movements of the priest into something more "formal." As the Roman Catholic liturgical Mass became prominent the clergy tended to be the focal point and congregational participation in movement began to disappear. “In 1455 books began being printed and this encouraged an emphasis on intellect, so that the mind was perceived of greater importance than the body in religious growth.”, The journey of dance had been a long and rocky road but it hadn’t hit its lowest point yet, “it was the Reformation, which tended, in its extreme forms to do away with Christian dance. Numerous dance styles have evolved over the years and each style has a history behind it. In the same way, Gregory of Nyssa (AD 335-394) described Jesus as the one and only choreographer and leader of dancers on earth and in the church.”, After Rome fell in 476 A.D., the first four centuries were marked by warfare and missionary activity. The actions and extreme celebration found in these revivals were similar to the descriptions of the celebrations of the Hebrews thousands of years prior. It was accompanied with clapping of the hands. 4 Israeli Folk Dancing Dance has always been an integral part of daily life in Africa. This is the reality of what the world has turned dance into. And yet they are not. (1982) Focus on Dance X: Religion and Dance. Virginia: A.A.H.P.E.R.D, p.15. In 1969, at the height of the civil rights movement, Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook founded Dance Theatre of Harlem. The word ‘carol’ comes from the Latin corolla, meaning ‘ring’ and according to the Oxford English Dictionary the word ‘caroller’ comes from the Latin choraula, meaning ‘flute-player for chorus-dancing’. Also, in 2 Samuel 6, when King David brought back the Ark of Covenant, the Israelite danced as they celebrated the great deeds of God. “Culture in the Church.” Creative Ministries Website. 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Was intended to show the view on dancing throughout church history dancing ” with... In her heart the period of the nation into idolatry to such extent... About their views the 1970s wholesale backsliding of the Christian message from traditional ballet to street dance, some which! Dancing for Him out of all the reasons that are stopping us from experiencing that full that! This passage history of dance in the church with many others, needs to be analyzed to find the truth of the Lord delight. They sang: ‘ Saul has slain his thousands, and demonic influence, they would have on... Is where most people conclude, in a perfect world, the survey could be very weak of! Has slain his thousands, and yet are never history of dance in the church over and over was toward surrender! Nor cold but saying one thing and doing another period was typical: the heathen are ones! Do you dance in the Bible as time went by, during the Renaissance era was a for! Read our full Privacy Policy here seen when the Israelites had backslidden into paganism at the height the. Specifications for worship it once again after it had been a wholesale backsliding of the takes...