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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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  Now you trounce Paul too ? 

 The school counselor needs a counselor.

If you study the Book of Acts, it is crystal clear that Saul (Paul) prior to his conversion was a Zealot.  

Sarah;

 When you lead out with "Paul" instead of Saul it gives impression that you are talking about  Paul and not unconverted Saul. Who were you implying is like Saul ?

My children participated in worship dance at New Hope in Maryland and elsewhere. However - I find that the churches that promote that activity - on Biblical grounds - tend to be the least Biblically grounded in terms of teaching and practice. They appeal to the Bible and Ellen White for defense of worship dance but on almost everything else - they tend to have a low-information level exposure to the Bible and Ellen White.

That has turned me away from the worship dance subject - treating it with a big caution light - until we get to heaven. Because in all of the references I have seen so far - the worship dance is not done in the temple or the synagogues.

 By their fruit ye shall know them.

I used to be a member of New Hope  when it was in Burtonsville in 1994-1995.  We did a lot of things then that the Bible and SOP forbids.  The worship dance is not biblical no matter how much so many people want to do it.  I have quoted several of passages where the temples were being set up in the wilderness, David's and Solomon's and even when the temple was being restored.. Each one, never included as a part of the worship, dancers.  This is what the idolatrous nations do for their God. there were singers, cymbals, trumpeters.no dancers mentioned.

You are so right, the people who want to do have a low information level to the Bible and Ellen White.  I know, that at least two of the people posting in this thread are truly against her writings.  

 Aquilla;

 Then there are a few who seem to go to each extreme, from the extremely faithful to those who are extremely worldly and then move to the middle ground. The fence, in some instances.

 There are many in the church who at heart belong to the world, but God calls upon those who claim to believe the advanced truth, to rise above the present attitude of the popular churches of today. Where is the self-denial, where is the cross-bearing that Christ has said should characterize his followers? The reason we have had so little influence upon unbelieving relatives and associates is that we have manifested little decided difference in our practices from those of the world. Parents need to awake, and purify their souls by practicing the truth in their home life. When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach, worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, straight-laced extremists. "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men."  {RH, January 9, 1894 par. 10} 

Physical Movement in Celebration

 

The participation in the Celebration should be internal, but "Must be, on the other hand, external also, that is, such as to show the internal participation by gesture and bodily attitudes, by the exclamations , response and singing."  Documents of Vatican II page 84

"Another Perspective on Dancing in the Review

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.

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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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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