Baptists belong to the Christian Protestant denomination that dates back to the 16th century, they represent one of many denominations. The core beliefs of Baptism include faith in the Bible as the inspired Word of God, salvation through Jesus Christ, the priesthood of all believers and the autonomy of local church congregations. It is worth noting that these characteristics are general to most Baptists, but there can be a diversity of practices and beliefs within different Baptist denominations. Baptist traditions have different denominations and different approaches to various aspects of life, including dancing.
Baptists can dance, but the approach to dancing may vary depending on individual beliefs and congregation. Some Baptist churches may be more conservative and discourage or restrict dancing. Beliefs about dancing may stem from religious beliefs about morality or the importance placed on modesty.
Baptists are a Christian group with a variety of beliefs and practices, but in general there are no theological or doctrinal obstacles that prohibit them from dancing. Many Baptist communities around the world have dance groups that use dance as a form of artistic expression and worship. Some Baptist churches prefer more traditional forms of worship, such as singing hymns and prayers, but there is no explicit prohibition of dancing within Baptism as a whole. Whether a community is for or against this form of self-expression and affection, it is worth approaching specific members of a particular Baptist church directly to get information about their dance practices and beliefs.
Why do Baptists/Christians dance?
It is not uncommon for Christians, including Baptists, to be seen dancing during services and other celebrations. Some Baptist communities encourage dancing as a form of expressing joy and praise to God. However, the approach to dancing among different Baptist groups can vary. Some may be more conservative and limit dancing to certain styles and contexts, while others may be more open-minded and allow for more variety in dancing.
In some places, the Bible describes dancing as part of the act of worshiping God and expressing joy. Examples of positive interpretations of dance in the Bible include:
Let them praise His name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!Psalm 149:3
In the Old Testament one can find references to dances performed by the Israelites in various cultural and social contexts we read that King David danced with all his might before the Lord during the introduction of the Arcade of the Covenant into Jerusalem:
Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might2 Samuel 6:14
The Bible also describes dances as part of joyful celebrations and festivals, such as weddings and other jubilees:
It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord2 Samuel 6:21
Why don’t Baptists/Christians dance?
There are also Christians/Baptists who may be more conservative in their beliefs and reject dancing as a form of religious worship. The motivations of some Baptists who adhere to the ban on dancing may stem from their interpretation of biblical principles including the pursuit of holiness.
Several Bible verses are often cited that are interpreted as condemning certain forms of dancing, such as erotic dancing or dancing as part of seduction. Some Baptists believe that dances of a certain nature may be inappropriate or introduce moral impurity, associated with sexuality or sinful behavior.
In addition, some of them strive for simplicity, restraint and a focus on spirituality. They believe that dancing can lead to an exaggerated ego, distraction or too much focus on the body. Instead, they focus on simple forms of prayer, contemplation and devotion.
Although the Bible does not contain direct verses that unequivocally condemn dancing as such, there are some passages that can be interpreted as critical of certain aspects of dancing e.g.:
And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountainExodus 32:19
I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.Amos 5:21-23
Bible verses on dancing
There is no direct prohibition of dancing in the Bible, but there are many verses that address the context and purpose of dancing. It contains both verses that refer positively to dancing as a form of worship and joy, and verses that can be interpreted as negative or critical of dancing practices.
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to DanceEcclesiastes 3:4
Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.Psalm 149:3
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,Psalm 30:11
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.Psalm 150:3-5
I will build you up again and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your timbrels and go out to dance with the joyful.Jeremiah 31:4
Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrowJeremiah 31:1
Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them:Exodus 15:20-21
“Sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
he has hurled into the sea.”
When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.Exodus 32:19
When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.”Mark 6:22
Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.Lamentations 5:15
To dance or not to dance?
The Bible refers to dancing in various ways. It presents verses that can be considered both positive and negative aspects of dancing and its interpretation can vary depending on context and individual beliefs. It is worth considering an understanding of the Bible’s overall message, prayer, reflection and consultation with spiritual leadership or the community to make a decision that is consistent with our own conviction and conscience.
The Bible emphasizes that our actions should be in the spirit of obedience to God, love for God and other people, and moral purity. When we make a decision about dancing, it is important to consider these values and strive to make our actions consistent with them.
It is essential to be guided by conscience, prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures. Finally, remember that the foundation of the faith is love and mutual respect therefore respecting the diversity of beliefs and practices among Christians should be a paramount value.