Five Types Of Dance In Worship Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor. Therefore, we are to praise Him because it pleases Him. Understanding the reality and history of the church and how the enemy has slowly deceived, corrupted, and almost destroyed the gift of spiritual dances, gives us hope for what is possible. (It is unlikely He would have not said dancing is wrong when Jesus made all other prohibitions very clear.) For mankind, the value of freedom has been directly connected with the high price of death.”. The history of dance within the Church is not known to the average Christian, most are unaware of the foundational origins which dance held within Hebrew culture, and how vital it was to God’s people in expressing their worship to Him. Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea, also wrote: We remember those who now, together with the Angels, dance the dance of the Angels around God, just as in the flesh they performed a spiritual dance of life and, here on earth, a heavenly dance. 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. 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. 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. The call and controversy of worshipping through dance. This is something that I have been apart of for the last 5 years. 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. There are a few ways that one can interpret this position. (1982) Focus on Dance X: Religion and Dance. Virginia: A.A.H.P.E.R.D, p.15. A.C. Rome restricted dance Bubonic Plague & the Dance of Death Renaissance "entertainment art" Spread of Christianity across the globe Dance in Different Cultures Irreverent The Catholic Church in Mafuva demonstrates that dance and movement can be integrated into church worship As we have seen the Church evolve through time, somewhere down the line dance has been banned in church settings and has been looked down upon by those who would call themselves “Christians”. These revivals include great masses of people responding to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The ability to lead and guide people is a precious gift, but it can be used in some instances unwisely. Now, what I just described is either an offensive or refreshing description of worship to different Christians. It was not the dancing that caused Moses’ anger to burn but the worship of a false god. 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. It is about a God who desires that we worship of Him from an obedient, broken, and contrite heart. During the Middle Ages the tripudium (‘three step dance’) was popular in celebration times in church and in processions, and they occurred in both church buildings and on the streets. This article attempts to show the view on dancing throughout church history. There are times when I am standing in my pew, and looking up at the Cross, and the impact of what the Lord has done for me causes me to fall to my knees and weep.As we sing about the ‘wonderful cross’, I am once again confronted with my sin and I am broken before Him. A History of Dance in the Christian Church The heritage of the Christian Church is the Hebrew Testament. They would have been rejoicing in His goodness. From the Bible then, we see that God accepts dancing, but this seems to be in a celebratory way, rather than in any liturgical sort of expression. History shows contradicting examples of good Godly worship with others that God despised, and even killed over. Dance in the church should not be the part of the service where the congregation is entertained for a while until the pastor or guest speaker is ready to take the pulpit. [document on-line]. There John accuses the Church of Laodicea of being neither hot nor cold but saying one thing and doing another. In Psalm 149, the psalmist calls us to “praise his name with dancing”. Fallon, D. J. Jesus’ story about the prodigal son, for example, is a beautiful and exciting representation of our lost condition apart from Him and God’s incredible love and forgiveness for us. 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. Clement of Alexandria wrote: And your public assemblies I have come to hate. One last objection to dancing is that it is accused of leading to sin. Throughout history, each follower of Yahweh, has struggled to know and obey the call to worship the One and only Holy God with all his heart, soul and mind and strength. When in reality, the Pharisees were the ones that were blinded to the truth of God’s miracle, because they were so focused on their own agendas. 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. Jesus was scathing with the Pharisees in Matthew 23 where the religious leaders were accused of “straining at a bug while swallowing a camel” and in verse 28 He tells them they “…outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside are full of hypocrisy and sin”. David continues as the writer of the Psalms to express his freedom in dancing and how God desires His people to dance for Him, in fully surrendering everything to Him. From these conclusions, one can automatically connect the status of a non-engaging worshiper with the “lukewarm” Christian found in the letters to the churches in Revelation. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. “Worship” has become a hard word to define in its entirety because of the broad speculations that can encompass “worship”. If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. When the worship team shifts to rejoicing and proclaiming our freedom because of what Jesus did on the Cross, the beat starts my body automatically moving to the rhythm. We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. 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. Accessed 10 March 2009. 2.) Within the Church, dance is an incredible gift that God has given us to worship Him. Knowledge of the biblical period is mostly from literary references in the Bible and post-biblical sources. 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. We don’t need more ‘Christian songs’, ‘Christian bands’, or ‘Christian actors’, doing poor replicas of secular originals. Dance now, and be glad O Sion. 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. And because of that, God will vomit them from His mouth; that choice of living is disgusting to God. "(John 9:39)”. As the authority of the church grew stronger “there were an increasing number of edicts and considerable legislation which reformed church liturgy. 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. By the Middle Ages the clergy would process around the altar and the congregation would watch, but ring dances still occurred at weddings and on festival days. The biblical stance for most prayers included raising arms and hands above the head (1 Timothy 2:8).”. 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. God warns teachers that “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”(James 3:1) Therefore, teachers need to take a position of learning as well as teaching when leading a congregation. Throughout history, the Church has seen the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in different parts of the world which have resulted in grand revivals. Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing. Dancing is often mentioned in the Bible. So, what are the reasons that are stopping us from experiencing that full worship that God wants us to fulfill? God is a jealous God, He wants all or nothing. 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). Through fully surrendering and humbling ourselves, we are able to experience true freedom. Moses was angered by this rapid fall into idolatry: When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned’ (Exodus 32:19). There are pockets of dance ministry happening all around the world. It was accompanied with clapping of the hands. Their relationships are shallow because they can’t trust anyone and everything has become distant through their computer screen, ipods or cellphones. “The Lord bids us dance, not merely with the circling movements of the body, but with the pious faith in him. There are twenty-two references to dance in the Old Testament, mostly in a positive way, but in a few cases in a negative way. Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings. 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. And I picture God dancing over me. This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. But this accusation can quickly become void with a clear definition of the words ‘praise’ and ‘worship’ in the Hebrew and even Greek languages. King David was a musician who radically transformed the music and worship amongst God’s people and today we still speak of Davidic Dancing when we mean a joyful celebration of God’s victories. . ", God warns people who look upon others with judgment through different passages in the Bible. Methodius, bishop of Olympus, died in AD 311. 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. This complete abandonment of self has to take place before one is able to walk into freedom. Just as the stories told by “the world” in Jesus’ day, were not full of truth, our generation is being fed its own brand of lies. In Genesis, "The dance began with God (moving over the face of the waters)!" Part of the heritage of the Hebrew Testament is dance. The actions and extreme celebration found in these revivals were similar to the descriptions of the celebrations of the Hebrews thousands of years prior. We can feel equipped with an accurate knowledge of the past; of God’s dealings with the Hebrew culture and of the beauty that came from their holy, God-honoring dances. Again you shall take up your tambourines and shall go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. 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! & Wolbers, M. J. eds. Coleman, Lucinda. The Psalmist speaks about such worship in Ps 149:4: “For the LORD takes delight in his people”. The recent stage of dance popularity for many people has become something that they desire and aspire to, to the point of actually becoming an idol in their lives. Some dancers believe that formal dance is a natural outgrowth of the shouting and physical experiences of the Holy Spirit in Pentecostal and similar churches. Exodus 5:1, Exodus 12:14, Leviticus 23:41, Numbers 29:12, Deuteronomy 16:15). The psalmist exclaims clearly in 149th psalm, “Let them praise His name with dancing”. 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. It can happen spontaneously or, it can be thought out and planned intricately. Knowing God does call the Body of Christ to dance for Him in worship, and that He has “given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2Corinthians 5:18) we can move ahead in our creative gifts and use something like dance—which needs to be reconciled to the church again—as a tool to connect with teenagers and point them to Christ. Later, in the early Christendom, the bad leaven of pagan heathen dance led the Church … God used dance then and moved people to resume it once again after it had been lost for so long. “Christians were accustomed to celebrating, in dance, at worship and festivals because the Hebrew tradition of dance was so strong.”, During the time where dance started being used in the theater, it also became something of a structured order in worship services. 1.) Available from. There are many reasons for this condemnation of dance, and these reasons will be discussed throughout this paper. After centuries of dance becoming something uncontrollable and spontaneous, the Renaissance era was a time for substantial change. Dance is seen everywhere around the world. Fully surrendering to the Lord in our worship “creates a unifying or consummation of spirit between man and God. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. Dance has always been an integral part of daily life in Africa. These towns would have been celebrating for days after what Jesus did. INTRODUCTION – WHERE DOES DANCE BELONG IN THE CHURCH? Jewish people still do this dance circle today at weddings and at Sukkot (Tabernacles), Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost). Accessed 10, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04618b.htm, http://bonasdancesite.homestead.com/objections.html. 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. And yet they are not. Many attribute the integration of this practice into worship services to two major influences. In Leviticus 10:1. They may see something like dance and be quick to call it sin while totally missing the evidence of God’s work in that person’s life which is causing them to dance. In fully surrendering, our new security is then found in Christ alone not by what others think of us. In the same way, we need Christians who are willing to dance in the world and let the light of Christ shine through them. 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. There is a rich variety of dance movements that can communicate the Christian message from traditional ballet to street dance. It is for each church to think through for itself following the guidelines of Scripture. Just as Paul went into different circles to proclaim the gospel of Christ, using Greek poetry (that originally described Greek gods! Germany - Germany - Music and dance: In the 12th and 13th centuries, German poets and musicians known as minnesingers, influenced by the troubadours and trouvères of France, composed and performed songs of courtly love for the Hohenstaufen dukes of Franconia and Swabia. In moments of extreme injustice and frustration the most impactful art is born. The reality is God calls all people who are lost to come to Him as they are and repent of their sin. 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. We must rejoice in the God of our salvation. For there are excessive banqueting, and subtle flutes which provide lustful movements, and useless and luxurious anointing, and crowning with garlands. 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. On the other hand dance outside of the Church has become acceptable by most Christians today. Christian dance has persisted throughout the history of the church, despite many official decrees against it. And we can be excited in holding onto the knowledge that. And the few that do seem to be swamped by others that don’t. 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. 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. Then we may as well be worshipping the people around us because we would be holding our peer’s worth higher than God’s. And then I hear His voice, whispering to my heart, ‘come and worship me with the gift I have given you’. The term ‘dance’ is hard to define at times but personal account describing the Cane Ridge Revival depicts “shouting and heartfelt singing, hand shaking and clapping, alter calls and dancing, “jerks” and “falling in the Spirit”—all these extraordinary responses to God’s presence soon seemed ordinary in the “agitations” to God’s Spirit working .”, “Shouting was praising or rejoicing in God. The Church celebrated its festivals with dance as part of their worship to God. And they danced around the altar they had made. 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. Let’s take a look at how dance evolved over the years. “The concern shifts from getting the liturgy “right” to letting the liturgy speak freely in the local language through words, symbols and dance. Coleman, Lucinda. One man boldly claimed that, “God’s people should reject anything that could cause another’s mind to lust and become guilty of sin.” Unfortunately, with this way of thinking we would lose pastors because of pride, worship teams because of jealousy, all youth work because of. It has nothing to do with my ability to dance, or even what song is being sung. This gospel truth is made real to them by the Holy Spirit. But there was no response; no one answered. Hampton Institute organized a creative dance group and dance spiritual for the first time in 1925. We have to ask the question ‘why do so few people genuinely find real joy and pleasure in their relationship with God?’ Our worship begins with all God has done for us, and continues with our response back to Him. The early church seems to have practiced two types of dance, as expressed by Epiphanius: geranos, which is the Greek for ‘circle dance’ and leaping, as did King David when the Ark of the Covenant was restored to Jerusalem. And because it is something so precious to Him, wouldn’t we want to do it with all our heart, soul, mind and strength because He is worthy to be praised? The story continues by describing the Father’s house filled with “music and dancing” because of this celebration. “Worship God in Dance”. Internet. You can adjust all of your cookie settings by navigating the tabs on the left hand side. [document on-line], Appleton Company, 1908. 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. There is no power in a person physically dancing in the front of the church during a service without the prompting of the Spirit, anymore than a preacher preaching, or a worship leader leading without the guidance of the Holy Spirit guiding direction him. The seeking soul, therefore, will watch a presentation intended to show God’s eternal searching love for her. As dance has really been brought into the spot light and the professionals have distanced themselves from those average people ‘who don’t dance’, an amazingly creative opportunity has risen among a few courageous Christians—willing to deal with the opposition—who see the power in a ministry involving dance in this generation. It was not involved with storytelling as we see it today. They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. Online discussion on “Do you dance in the church?” [document on-line] Available, Burke, Wendy. Dance Church® Go is a live-streamed movement class that offers a fun and inclusive approach to dancing, brought to you by DANCE CHURCH® Due to international law surrounding music licensing and streaming rights, we have unfortunately been forced to mute the audio stream temporarily for dancers outside the United States. Dance in the Church as an act of worship has become controversial, although some charismatic, Messianic (Jewish Christians) and orthodox churches practice this. Nashville, Tennessee. This statement is far greater than just a given opportunity or permission to dance. Not a lot of people hold strong passionate views of dance within the church, either for or against. I believe this needs to be seen in churches more often, and I am going to present a structure for churches, youth groups or lovers of God who want to begin a ministry to reach the lost through dance. This view of automatically connecting all dancing to worldly sin is a very sad and narrow view of what dance was intended to be. “Culture in the Church.” Creative Ministries Website. You can now give with Gift Aid if it applies. 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. Mass misunderstanding of the reason for dance. Their most prominent representative, Walther von der Vogelweide, is recognized for his didactic moral and … The Amalekites’ dancing in 1 Samuel did not prevent David from dancing in 2 Samuel. Out of all the reasons to dance, the greatest one is because God loves us dancing for Him out of a pure heart. If the Christian is not fully surrendered to God in his worship, why is he worshipping Him in the first place? 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. Spiritual sight is much more important that physical sight. Dance was an Old Testament expression of worship and is seen only a few times in the words of the New Testament. 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. But where believers are concerned, throughout the Bible, we see God creating strict guidelines as to His specifications for worship. This thought is that in our society, most dancing occurs in bars, on disco floors, at proms, dance clubs, social parties, weddings, etc. Many countries around the globe express themselves through their own unique cultural dances which may range back hundreds of years. 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. The reality is David knew his clothes didn’t change who he was, “His royal clothes carried no significance before God, and so he took them off to dance.”. Completed in 1889, this former place of worship is now home to dance worshippers and … As the Roman Catholic liturgical Mass became prominent the clergy tended to be the focal point and congregational participation in movement began to disappear. The movement of the body does not have any magical aspect to it. 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’. One of the trademarks of this generation is that they have everything they want, and yet are never satisfied. “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. 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. 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. In the New Testament there are only five references to dancing, some of which are repeated in the Gospels. A Long Interlude The sixth-century pope Gregory I implemented musical reforms in the Roman church which were to influence the western church … So, as a student watches a dancer, she will connect with him because of that vulnerability and feel like the dancer knows her in a way, even though he usually be unaware. All of these questions need to be wrestled through by every Christian, because if God has called the Bride of Christ to a full expression of worship, and the Church is choosing to continue on in it’s limited ‘traditions’, she may be ignorantly missing a crucial part of her role before Him. This is where dance comes in. 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. There is a warning here for ‘spiritual leaders’ who want to control their church with their own agendas. That was the kind of God-honoring dance that was both Holy Spirit inspired and Holy Spirit anointed. The Church is an old church that was bought and converted into an iconic Denver nightclub. In John 9, Jesus heals a man born blind by putting mud in his eyes on the Sabbath. Hebrew “language contains no less than eight verbs to express the idea of dancing and many of the allusions found in the Bible point to mere spontaneous expressions of merriment by leaping, circling, or otherwise.”, Dance was not hindered in any way, as some may think, as Jesus stepped into this world. As long as dance is worshipful, God-focused, and … A powerful and effective tool of evangelism. People like Martin Luther (c. 1525) “wrote a carol for children entitled, As years passed, there seem to be a silence to the Spirit of God moving. In Acts, the Hebrew word for ‘ joy over ’ is,! 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Unifying or consummation of Spirit between man and God for approval more about which cookies we are urged “... ’ anger to burn but the dance was an Old church that was bought and converted an. 1982 )  Focus on dance X: religion and Dance. Virginia: A.A.H.P.E.R.D,.! The Pharisees with it BELONG gluttony, drunkenness, plays, feast days, and yet are never satisfied Aid... This website you will be discussed throughout this paper is to seek, the value freedom...
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