Summary: Is it okay for Christians to dance? Are rules against dancing just silly man-made rules or are they right? If dancing is okay, what kind of dancing would be right?
the Christian Church has a long history of making up rules that are not in the Bible. Is this right? Is dancing biblical or forbidden? What is the answer?
Jesus criticized the Pharisees for making up religious rules that are not in the Bible. One example of this among Christians is the topic of dancing. To ban all dancing is contrary to the Bible. Not all dancing is lewd “dirty dancing.” Some dancing is holy and right and even encouraged in the Bible. Dancing that God encourages is for triumphal celebration, joy, praise, gladness and merrymaking. Let’s look at a few verses in the KJV Bible:
Triumph: As a part of the triumphal celebration of Israel’s freedom from Egypt, they danced (Exodus 15:1, 20 Then sang Moses and … Miriam … and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.)
Joy: Dancing is pictured as a joyful response to God (Psalm 30:11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing … 1 Samuel 18:6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.)
Praise: Some people forbid dancing and contradict the Bible which encourages praising his name in the dance (Psalm 149:3 Let them praise his name in the dance; Psalm 150:4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance …).
Rejoicing: How dare mere human beings ban what God approves! God turns mourning into dancing (Jeremiah 31:13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance … I will turn their mourning into joy …)
Gladness: Perhaps those who ban dancing are more like Michal than David (2 Samuel 6:14 David danced before the Lord with all his might … And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. 1 Chronicles 15:29 And as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David dancing and celebrating, and she despised him in her heart.)
Merrymaking: When God blessed Israel and she was again to be rebuilt he encouraged dancing with joy. How dare we ban what God encourages (Jeremiah 31:4 Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry)!
To ban all dancing because it can be abused is just plain legalistic Pharisaism. We Christians are not called to be worse than the Pharisees, but more righteous. We do not add silly rules to the Bible that neither Jesus nor the Apostles taught, but we teach principles. We do not dictate how people apply those principles. We do not judge or try to control those who may apply the principles differently than we might. We let the Holy Spirit lead and allow people the freedom to dance before the Lord as their faith leads them.