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The Disappearing HOLY DANCE Among "Neither Hot Nor Cold" Pentecostals. Forum Index -> Acts-Celerate Post new topic   Reply to topic
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Post The Disappearing HOLY DANCE Among "Neither Hot Nor Cold" Pentecostals. doyle

THE ONLY DANCING I was ever close to when young was in church, joyous times when somebody, sometimes many, "Danced in the Spirit." Sadly, it seems that in many places, the pure underlying and abiding joy that motivates Holy Dance, is drying up. Is that a WARNING SIGN the once red-hot Pentecostal "Movement" is cooling and solidifying into a Monument of what "used to be?"

Even the most delicious, lip-smacking, scrumptiously-delicious candy or cake mix, stays dry unless you pour in milk and stir it. Religion is dry anyway, so unless the freshness of the Holy Spirit it is poured in regularly for spiritual stirring, it becomes DRY AS CRACKER JUICE.

If ya ain't got the WANT TO... I know, we're OLDER now, more MATURE now, more seasoned; ORDERLY now in what we do...well, you know...more SATISFIED with NOT HAVING the pure joy inside necessary for wanting to dance

When Linda and I decided to move from Cleveland, TN to Long Island, New York, it was the inner voice of God telling us to go. The task before us was to keep a church there from closing because of internal upheaval.

From the human perspective, it was a demotion in every way. I had a nice office at church headquarters. The church in New York had no money. Most people had left. Only eight remained, but doing what God says is never a demotion.

Many, many times over the years as a child, teen and young adult, I lay in an altar of prayer and wept before the Lord saying, promising, committing, "Where you lead me I will follow."

When God has a mission that needs to be accomplished, He chooses those who are willing. "Not my will but thine be done." UNLESS we do what God says, how can we have any integrity with Him?

ABOUT A YEAR before God spoke to us about New York, Linda and I had bought a new home in Cleveland, TN. We planned to live there for many years. We loved that little house, the work in Cleveland and Cleveland itself.

The people we met there and were honored to service alongside, were the finest people anyone could ever hope to meet. We struggled with leaving, but made just enough profit from the home to make the move and sustain us for the first three months.

IN NEW YORK, the Charismatic Renewal was sweeping through the Catholic Church. We were totally surprised to learn about God blessing Catholics. We didn't know that, but remembered where Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If ANY man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to sup (have a feast) with him, and he with me."

During our radio programs, I did not preach against Catholicism. Jesus and him crucified, was the message. Catholics began to attend our worship services. They heard me on the radio, liked the program and turned out in mass so-to-speak

When they were still in "the world," they loved to dance. After accepting Christ, they wanted to dance EVEN MORE!

"Now, we have something to dance about," they joyously exclaimed. "Pastor, the problem with 'yous' from the South is the only time you can enjoy dancing is when you are in some kind of trance. We Spirit-filled New Yorker's can dance for Jesus-joy at any time," and they did. Their joy was wonderful, uplifting, contagious, and our attendance boomed.

Now listen, the New Yorker's knew the difference between bar-room bump-and-grind dancing, and the joyous, gleeful, heart-felt dancing with joyous praise. It did not happen every song or every service. Sometimes we had "regular" church.

From the Pulpit a couple of times, I mentioned "Regular Church." However, each time I did, some people couldn't help snickering. After church, one of them apologized.

"I'm sorry Pastor. I wasn't making fun, but have you seen the ads on TV (product not named) about becoming 'regular' if you are blocked up inside?" Regular meant something very different to them than to me, but I took the hint.

THE LAST THING our New Yorker's wanted was "regular church." They came expecting something to happen. They longed for the Spirit to move. They rejoiced and cheered when somebody "Got Saved!" After all, don't the Angels do the same thing (Luke 15:10)?

Nobody knows "Timing" like God does. Galatians 4:4 proclaims, "In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son." Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, "There is a time to dance," which strongly indicates there is a time not to. There are times "to weep, to mourn," and to have regular church.

HOLY DANCE was not some high-strung attention-grabbing person "busting-a-move" to show out. That would have turned everybody off instead of it being a blessing.

Actually, there didn't seem to be a lot of pre-planned moves at all, but what Biblical admonition is there against planning or practicing? We have Choir practice. For our New Yorker's, it was mostly gently jumping around for joy, hands lifted in praise and glorifying His presence. Sometimes they would hold out their hand to others and invite them to join in.

THE ONLY PERSON it bothered, was me. What would new people coming in think? I almost stopped it, or at least started to calm it down. Several of them left as a result and it nearly killed me inside. They didn't make a fuss about it but found another place and preacher, less stuffy.

Not all of my decisions in life have been wise ones, but there in New York, I made one that was. The decision was that instead of COOLING them down, I needed to turn up the HEAT on my lukewarm approach to joyous worship.

Some of our New Yorker's did not participate in the dance. They enjoyed being in a joyous atmosphere were they could if they wanted to. Even if they never danced, their worship was just as Holy.

New Yorker's had grown up in a Rock music culture. Honest to goodness, sometimes the volume was five decimals past the threshold of pain, but it was glorious. They came from a lifetime of quiet, whisper-like worship and wanted to experience the joy of Pentecost. It's one of the few places I pastored were the people said, "Turn it up!." I did.

WHEN IT WAS TIME for the preaching of the Word, they were just as enthusiastic. They HAD NOT grown up with or around the Bible. Catholics have what is known as the "Prayer Missal." It is a book containing instructions, and some Scripture texts, necessary for the celebration of Mass.

Most had never before even held a Bible. My wife Linda, involved with Precept Upon Precept Ministries begun by Teacher Kay Arthur, taught Bible in five different locations on Long Island. She often made trips with them to purchase their first Bible. They learned to love and respect God's Word. It was a joyous group to preach to; hungry to know the Scriptures.

VOLUME IS NOT the same as spirituality. Tarrying as is commanded in (Luke 24:49 KJV) is not always noisy. At Pentecost, "While they were sitting..." the Spirit came upon them. They didn't dance the Spirit down. The Spirit came and got them on their feet.

THOSE WONDERFUL New Yorker's broadened my understanding of Psalms Chapter 149:1-4, which encourages joyous praise-dancing. "LET them praise his name with dancing..." The Bible is full of God's people dancing.

Psalm 150:4 "Praise him with dance..." (Almost sounds like a command).
Psalm 30:11 "You turned my mourning into dancing..."
Ecclesiastes 3:4 "A time to dance..."

CAUTION: Be careful Pastors, because some churches will not be open to such joyous expressions of praise. BUT NOTICE the first two words of Psalm 149:3.


Don't make a big announcement that the church is now going to start a dancing program. But if during some joyous service, somebody begins to rejoice, if you know them as is instructed in I Thessalonians 5:12, LET THEM.

Yes, in some churches, if anything happens that is not in the bulletin, some people go into shell shock. LET THEM. If they decide to leave because the joy is too much for their hardened attitudes, shed tears over it, but LET THEM.

If you have to choose between the concrete Christians and joyous, spontaneous worship, BLAME the Holy Ghost for prompting people to break the mold like He did at Pentecost.

Turn it back on them. "Thank you for sharing your concern. Tell me what bothers you about it. What would you have me to do about it?"

At Pentecost, some were critical of the enthusiasm, but God went with the BOTHERERS instead of the BOTHERED.

CONCLUSION: While this article discusses Praise Dance, it is actually not about the dancing. We can worship every day of our life and never take one dance step. "God looks on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7), not on how much our body is moving. Dancing is not required.

Faithfulness and service is required, but the Holy Spirit has a history of breaking into our routines. Acts 2:2 proclaims, "SUDDENLY there came a sound from Heaven..." (It wasn't in the Bulletin).

THIS ARTICLE IS about DESIRE FOR FIRE, longing to experience AGAIN, or for the very first time, the joyous worship that came to FAITH at Pentecost.

As the fabled preacher Ray H. Hughes once proclaimed (I'm paraphrasing),
Pentecost shows us that we no longer have to eat religious cold cuts, but we can now FEAST on Manna cooked up hot in Heaven's Kitchen.

"Lord Jesus, RESTORE to us, to me, the 'WANT TO,' the desire for the presence of the Holy Ghost and joyous, spontaneous worship; an openness to the unexpected. SPEAK LORD for thy servants are listening."

The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.

Last edited by doyle on 9/24/21 1:30 am; edited 16 times in total
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9/12/21 9:03 pm

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Post georgiapath
Good post Doyle, as always. Hon. Dr. in Acts-celeratology
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9/13/21 3:50 am

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Post Carolyn Smith

My kids discovered this kind of worship when they were teenagers at an AG church not too far away that held a no-holds-barred type of music/worship outreach youth ministry. Then another teenager started a non-denominational ministry that was even closer to where we lived, and they became a part of this ministry till they left home.

In fact, the young man that started that ministry has written a great book on David's Tabernacle recently. It is by Matthew Lilley. Check it out on Amazon.

I'm not much of a dancer but I love to see it happen. And now that my church is multicultural, there is a lot more of it. My pastor is quick to "give a praise."

LET THE people dance!
"More of Him...less of me."
Hon. Dr. in Acts-celeratology
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9/13/21 4:31 am

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I think we should be careful not to label Pentecostals who don't dance as lukewarm. That doesn't mean their whole life is boring and unpalatable to the Lord.

For part of my youth, I went to a Pentecostal church that was against rock music and dancing. They might have been okay with falling into a trance and dancing in church or just dancing in church along with the music, a little moving around. I never really learned to dance partly because of this. I can do the shaggy doo thing where I kick my legs up, or could. I haven't tried recently.

I went to an Indonesian church party, and one of the GBI preachers (COG, and this was in the US, too, so it was US COG also) danced to some of the cultural music there. I haven't encountered the heavily anti-dancing preachers in Indonesia. I haven't heard preaching against alcohol, but haven't noticed Pentecostals drinking, either, unless there was a tiny amount in the communion wine.

I agree we don't have to go into a trance to dance-- what I suppose some mean by 'dance in the Spirit'. I can't find that in the Bible. In Psalm, the Psalm says to dance, so I suppose the people did it, without having to fall into a trance.

Some Charismatic churches have dancers with praise banners. Messianic churches will kind of dance around behind the Torah (which can be tough on your back since it is heavy if you are tasked with carrying it) or dance the hora. Fortunately, the Torah dance is more of a march and requires little to no dancing skill.

If dancing is important, let's have dance classes, teaching kids to dance from a young age, so they don't kick over the grandmas when they get bigger and try to dance in church.

Btw, I am skeptical of some of the interpretations of 'tabernacle of David.' I take that reference to refer to the little booth of David's house (a different word for tabernacle than the one they talk about in the teaching.) The house of David had become weak. But in the last days, God raised up Christ from the house of David, as James alluded to in Acts 15 when he quoted from Amos. Along with this comes Gentiles being added in, upon whose name the LORD is to be called. I interpret it that way instead of a prophecy about restoring dance and praise. I think enthusiastic praise and dancing to the LORD are good things, btw.
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9/17/21 8:51 am

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I believe in dancing in the Spirit but I guess what turned me off was the dancers who wore tight white or black pants (men) and the women wore dresses with tights on and then they would be on their toes doing ballets and showing the whole length of the tights (hope that is clear enough). How can God get any glory out of displaying the body in such a fashion? I remember seeing all this in a former COG church. I was almost sick at my stomach. It became a "fad" in a lot of churches, then they went to flags and Lord knows what else. The Praise team singing the next song from another church as if in competition. They replaced the anointing with loud music. Some even offered ear plugs for the people. I have never been in a church that has used the fog machine. If I did, I would find my way out. I remember the old fashion Holy Ghost convicting power of God that began with prayer, singing, praising God and good anointed preaching. NOTHING can replace a move of God. The anointing makes the difference. Friendly Face
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9/19/21 12:42 am

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Post I, too, grew up in the "only shout if moved on by God." Aaron Scott
There is some validity to shouting/dancing only if you are moved on by God. That is no doubt the IDEAL.

However, consider how many sermons you wouldn't have heard preached, how many songs you wouldn't have heard sung, how many testimonies you wouldn't have heard given...if everyone just waited around until they couldn't HELP but act.

We ought to be worshiping, feel like it or not. Praying, feel like it or not. Reading the Word, feel like it or not.

Why? Because Jesus is there, feel like it or not! When we meet to worship, Jesus is not there because we feel Him, for sometimes we don't. No, He's there because HE SAID HE WOULD BE.

If I can detect sincerity, I want to encourage them to shout/dance on.

Yes, I will always prefer the overflowing joy, dancing, and shouting when the Holy Ghost is coursing throughout a service. But I don't imagine that Job felt much like worshipping when evil befell him...and yet don't we recognize that as something very powerful and special?
Hon. Dr. in Acts-celeratology
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9/20/21 11:23 am

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