Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 15, 1962
NUMBER 44, PAGE 10-11

A Christian And Dancing

Kenneth A. Sterling, Napa, California

The following article is printed verbatim as it appeared in the Napa Register, January 3, 1962. Author is Bob Thomas, Associated Press Film Writer.

"Ginger Rogers Says 'Twist' Is Obscene"

Hollywood — Resist the twist, urges Ginger Rogers, who hopes the dance will ring out with the old year.

Such a prospect is not likely, but at least Ginger can raise her voice in dissent. And who is better qualified? Wasn't she the pretty half of the most successful dance team, of all time?

She puts her protest pretty strongly: "The twist is ungraceful, vulgar and exhibitionism personified. I think it's terrible."

There are those who agree with her but they are in the minority. The rest of the nation has gone twist-nutty. Three features films on the craze are flooding the theaters. The ailing night club industry has taken a twist for the better and is staking a comeback with the new dance.

"I think it's a scandal," Ginger reiterates. "It is the most obscene dance I've ever seen, worse than the shimmy ever was. If people realized how bad they looked while doing the twist, they would not do it."

Ginger said she was introduced to the twist on the golf course, of all places. She met a friend who said her 20-year-old son had been out until 6 a. m. doing the dance, which employs maximum movement of the hips and minimum of the feet.

"She demonstrated it for me and I was astonished!" Ginger said. "I was embarrassed for all of us — my husband (William Marshall), a girl friend and the three young caddies. And for the woman, too, because she didn't realize how obscene she looked."

She is often asked about a reunion with her famed partner Fred Astaire."

COMMENT: There are many members of the body of Christ who seek to defend dancing — who say they find nothing wrong with it and do not feel that Christians (and preachers particularly), should oppose it. Is it not significant that a very popular movie star, herself a famous dancer, is opposing a modern dance? "Well, yes," someone says, "but only a particular dance, not dancing in general." While this may be so, it is still true that the things she says of the "Twist" may be said with equal force and justification against other modern dances.

"Drawing The Line...."

I have known instances of members of the church giving their children dancing lessons and defending, or attempting to defend, their action with, "Well, what harm is there in it? At their age they are not thinking of anything but having a good time; there are certainly no evil thoughts in their minds when they are dancing." I have always wondered, "How do you know what is in their minds?" and "how do you know what is in the mind of their dancing partner?" But even if it were to he granted for the sake of discussion, that there were no evil thoughts on the part of teen-agers dancing together, still dear parent, you have started something you cannot stop! What I mean by that is simply that I do not want my children to learn to dance because if they did, they would surely want to do so — and where could I ever draw the line?

Could I draw it at the "jitterbug," "cheek-to-cheek dancing,' the "Twist," and many other highly questionable (to put it mildly) dances? dances that even worldly professionals admit are vulgar, indecent and immoral? "Oh, well, my children wouldn't ever want to engage in such dances anyway," one replies. Oh? Either you are very naive or just don't know teen-agers very well. The point is, you have unleashed something which you cannot control — particularly in later life. If they learn to dance, they will want to dance and to try all the forms of dancing and there will be little if anything you can do about it! You will not be able to "draw the line."

The Appeal Of The Dance

What is the basic appeal of the dance anyway? Just a desire to "move with music?" No; it is more than that for people could "move to music" alone without a partner (and such would not be wrong as long as the movement was not lewd or suggestive, etc.). No, my dear friend, it cannot be escaped, denied, or circumvented, that the basic appeal in the dance is an appeal to the lust of the flesh! Why do so many keep trying to dodge this when the evidence is so overwhelming? If the basic appeal is not to the lust of the flesh, then please answer:

(1) Why do not men dance only with men and women only with women all of the time?

(2) Why will a man and woman who are husband and wife soon tire of dancing only with each other all the time?

If the appeal in the dance is only to "move to music" then certainly either of these above would suffice. But again:

(3) Why is it that a man will not come home after a hard day's work and dance nearly all night with his own wife, but will do so with another man's wife?

No, the evidence is too plain to miss. It speaks for itself. In fact, I believe the dance is self-indicted in many ways. Some of the songs written by various worldly-minded are indeed noteworthy. The words of one song say: "I warm so easy so dance me loose, dance me loose, dance me loose...." Another says: "Well I don't mind my baby dancin', but I wish she wouldn't dance so close; she's in the arms of a perfect stranger and I wonder if she loves me most...." These words speak for themselves; but notice in this latter instance that jealousy (a work of the flesh, Gal 5:21) is also a product of the dance. "....I wonder if she loves me most...." I know one thing; I don't want any other man holding my wife in his arms just because there is music playing! But why is it wrong to embrace another man's wife, put your arms around her and hold her hand, when there isn't any music playing, but flip on the music and start dancing and it becomes right — and what's more you can go on for hours! Who can believe it? If the Lord were here, would he engage in it?

Teen-Agers Are Not Physically Immature

As stated earlier, many parents seem to feel that teenagers could not possibly (or at least not likely) have evil thoughts when dancing. I am convinced that many parents have forgotten how physically alert and mature they were when they were teen-agers. In fact, while at this age social maturity is wanting, physical maturity (sexually speaking) is not. As a matter of fact the sexual senses are very keen and alert and easily aroused. Realizing this, is it right for me to encourage or allow my children to engage in activity which by it's very nature will stimulate and arouse unlawful desires either within them or their partner? To ask is to answer. Actually, "necking" is wrong for the same reason. Think back, parent.

Starting Than Down The Wrong Road

Now, even if it could be granted (for the sake of discussion), that teen-agers have no evil thoughts when dancing, when they become more mature and continue dancing, what then? Furthermore, if you start or allow them to start dancing, where will they go after high school and the "supervised" (as if you could supervise anyone's thoughts) dances? Where will they go to dance then? They have learned to dance; they want to dance, and they are going to dance — make no mistake about it. They will want better dance floors, "name bands," etc. and where will they go to find these? — to the public dance halls, the road houses, night clubs, and other such places where will invariably be found drinking, gambling, petting, dirty jokes, cursing, scanty clothes, dim lights, late hours, and a host of other evils repulsive to the true child of God! No Christian parent wants to see his children ever associated with any of these things — but by encouraging or permitting them to dance you are starting them down the road. Paul said: "Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals, (I Cor. 15:33-AVS), and again: "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (1 Thess. 5:21)

... Every Good Tree Bringeth Forth Good Fruit ..."

Jesus made this statement in the sermon on the mount. (Matt. 7:17) If dancing is a good, wholesome activity, it will be productive of good; for again, Jesus said in verse 18: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit..." What are the fruits of dancing?

In the Jewish dispensation when Moses "delayed to come down out of the mount" (Ex. 32:1) where he received the commandments of God, you will recall that the people said to Aaron, "....Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this man Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." (Ex. 32:1b) And Aaron did make a golden calf and the people worshipped it. And notice when Moses came down from the mount: "And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount." (Ex. 32:19) Notice verse 25: "And when Moses saw that the people were naked...." So what do we have here? Dancing, nakedness, and idolatry.

In the New Testament we find another example of the fruit of dancing. John the Baptist had told Herod that it was not lawful for him to have his brother Philip's wife, (Herodias), and for this she seems to have hated him greatly (people rarely like to be told the truth). On Herod's birthday, Herodias's young daughter danced before Herod and stimulated him so much that he promised her anything to the half of his kingdom. "And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John the Baptist's head in charger." (Matt 14:8) Thus, another "fruit" of the dance.

In the present day, what good fruit has the dance ever brought forth? It is associated with so much that is evil — how can a member of the body of Christ have anything to do with it? We have already pointed out that drinking, gambling, cursing, petting, dirty jokes, etc., etc., are associated with dancing — along with jealousy and infidelity. "Yes," someone says, "but these things do not necessarily have to be associated with dancing." The point is, dear friend, they are, and those who engage in these things frequent dances. Nearly every dance-hall sells liquor and almost all have their "bouncers." No, the fruit of dancing has not been and is not today "good fruit" and therefore it must be a "corrupt tree."

If dancing is good, clean, wholesome Christian recreation, then it would be a good thing for the preacher and the elders to engage in. Why not have dances in the homes of the various members, thereby keeping the environment good? This still would not eliminate the fact that the basic appeal in the dance is sinful of course, and the truth is that those who want to defend dancing do not want the preacher and the elders to do it I Why not? Because it is not looked upon as a spiritual activity and because you would not have any confidence (be really honest now), in a preacher or in elders who engaged in this activity. And think! What would be the fruits of this in a few years? Do you honestly feel it would be good fruit? Dancing is not conducive to holy thoughts and pure living.... it has never brought forth good fruit, but rather only evil fruit and remember the words of Jesus: "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." (Matt. 7:17, 18)


The very fact that so many frequently ask "Is it wrong to dance?" indicates the highly questionable nature of this activity. Paul said concerning doubt about eating meat offered to idols: "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." (Rom. 14:23) While this concerns the eating of meat offered to idols, the principle still obtains and applies with equal force to dancing.

Again, dancing is a stumbling block. The very fact that thousands have stumbled thereby attests to the truth of this. Paul said: "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God." (1 Cor. 10:32)

Finally, who will deny that dancing is of the world? To Christians John wrote: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in hint For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (1 John 2:15-17) Paul wrote to the Romans: "I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom. 12:1, 2) And finally, we read in Titus 2:11, 12: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."