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From Adventist Review, Sept. 19, 2013

 

 

Recently I participated in an extraordinary homecoming at Sligo church, where I spent three years as associate pastor for evangelism. It was a grand reunion reminiscent of heaven as I reconnected with friends I had not seen in almost two decades and sang of God’s great faithfulness. I was dancing in my heart.

Since joining the Adventist Church more than 30 years ago, I’ve heard the caustic criticism that dancing is the sole domain of the devil. But a review of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy writing shows that there is dancing, and then there’s dancing.

A diligent study of His Word reveals that God loves dancing (see Ps. 149:1-4). He Himself put rhythm in our bodies and the beat in our hearts so that when we hear the sweet music of grace, we can respond naturally to the cadence of holiness and the melodies of salvation.

Dancing was a significant part of community life and worship in the Old Testament. Jubilation or exuberant rejoicing and singing were always accompanied by dancing to the rhythm of tambourines and clapping.  This moving expression of commitment was consecrated as part of a Jewish wedding ceremony and performed by the groom after vows of fidelity to his bride. It inspired the sons of Korah to pen a poem called “A Song Celebrating the King’s Marriage” (Ps. 45).

King David danced vigorously when he restored the ark, despite the denouncement of his wife (see 2 Sam. 6:14-16). Ellen White cautions against conjuring images of worldly dancing when we read or hear this story.* She wrote that there was nothing in David’s dancing that is comparable to or will justify modern dance. The popular dance of our day draws no one nearer to God, nor does it inspire us to purer thoughts or holier living. It degrades and corrupts. It unfits men and women for prayer or the study of God’s Word, and turns them away from righteousness into ways of revelry. Morals are corrupted, time is worse than wasted, and often health is sacrificed.

David’s dance was an act of sacred worship steeped in gratitude with songs of a nation saved by grace through faith in God. It wasn’t some halfhearted moves performed with reluctance like a despised duty. It was a dance full of energy and excitement compelled by the Holy Spirit, energizing David from his head to the soles of his feet. He was inspired from the depths of his soul to the marrow of his mind. His moves were spontaneous with passion as one who is a man after God’s heart and realizes that he is.

When we perform our religious rituals, we should do them with all our might. Conductors have dislocated shoulders while leading orchestras. Singers lose their voice while practicing for a performance. Athletes suffer concussions, break bones, and sprain joints while intensely pursuing their sport. But we seem to lack the passion or purpose to stretch beyond our natural capacities when we worship the Lord.

When we sing, we must sing with all our might. When we pray, we must pray with all our hearts. When we study Scripture, we must do so with all our mind, soul, and spirit. And when we sense the powerful presence of the same Holy Spirit who motivated David to dance, I hope we’ll have the courage to rejoice with mind and body.

The New Testament use of the term agalliao suggests that some of God’s good saints may be in for a great surprise. The word describes the passionate dance of a bridegroom. And Jesus did it, despite the dismay of His disciples (see Luke 10:17-21, where the word is translated “rejoice”).  And the redeemed, it seems, even those reluctant to dance on earth, will dance before the Lord at the marriage supper of the Lamb (see Rev. 19:7-9, where agalliao appears).

I pray that you’ll be at that great homecoming to shake off the awkward fear that inspires frigid sanctity, and dance with Jesus in glory! 

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* See Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1890), p. 707.

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Hyveth Williams is a professor of homiletics at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. This article was published September 19, 2013

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Very nice.  Thanks for sharing this.

You approvingly quote Hyveth Williams,

The New Testament use of the term agalliao suggests that some of God’s good saints may be in for a great surprise. The word describes the passionate dance of a bridegroom. And Jesus did it, despite the dismay of His disciples (see Luke 10:17-21, where the word is translated “rejoice”).  And the redeemed, it seems, even those reluctant to dance on earth, will dance before the Lord at the marriage supper of the Lamb (see Rev. 19:7-9, where agalliao appears).

I'm sorry, I may be a little slow, but, is she saying that this passage of scripture says that Christ's disciples expressed dismay when Jesus did a happy dance over their names being "written in heaven"? That does not even make sense to me. What am I missing? Even if one were to accept her interpretation of the usage of agalliao, (which I do not) what is said in this passage that indicates that the disciples were dismayed?

 Remember, she is the one that wrote the article " How to have sex with God;" she is the one who winks at men walking down the isle when she is preaching and says "get me his phone number" and she doesn't even believe in our fundamental teachings regarding prophecy. 

See Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1890), p. 707.

Surely, you don't mean her?

 Yes, I mean Hyveth Williams.

I am not familiar with her.  Apparently, you are.  Can you explain more adequately what you are talking about?  I know nothing of this person other than the article.

Thanks Jill for posting this! 

That is disappointing.

David danced passionately in the presence of the LORD.

 Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.--2 Samuel 6:14.

That's passion!

Pastor Williams is just explaining what is in the Bible.  You guys act like its all about her, its not.  If you reject dancing before the Lord you are rejecting the Bible.

Exactly. Note that she claims that Jesus danced to the dismay of His disciples in Luke 10:17-21. That verse is about the seventy disciples returning and saying that even demons were subject to them in Jesus' name. And Jesus says in verse 20 (after saying He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven) that they should not rejoice in demons being subject to them in His name but rather rejoice that their names are written in heaven. Then he rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight."

I fail to see where did Christ dance visibly that the disciples were "dismayed" about. Again, assuming it's located somewhere between the lines, did Christ dance like we see David doing, for example? Hyveth Williams is twisting, misinterpreting and adding to the Bible her own things. I'll not engage in ad hominem but I'm not surprised at all it's coming from her.

The only safeguard against such error is an astute commitment to reading the Bible for ourselves. If you sat in a congregation where she was preaching such a sermon and didn't look at the Bible for yourself like the Bereans did, you might easily be swelt away in the emotion of her masterful delivery.

I hope none of Hyveth Williams' students have been taught this falsehood, and if they've been, I hope none is propagating it out somewhere.

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