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Biblical references to dancing WITH Jesus?
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There's loads of places in scripture about dancing for joy, God turning our sorrow into dancing and so forth, and that's great. But I hear a lot of songs talking about dancing with Jesus, dancing WITH God, etc. - is this mentioned anywhere in scripture? Or is it just a reference to us being in sync with God? For better or for worse I'm always sceptical about songs I'm not really sure of in this regard and others, and it always feels a bit weird singing such things personally - they tend to fall under the banner of "Jesus is my boyfriend" type songs in my book!

Hey...

I was chewing over this the other day after a conversation with a friend.

Quite a lot of the time people tend to ask the question, "Where is x, y or z in the bible?" And if it's not there, we start getting pretty worried about it.

I was looking at it from the other side and thinking... if it's not subversive / bad theology, and scripture doesn't speak against it, why not judge it by the heart intention behind it and its fruit?

Appreciate it's not really an answer to your question, but to find that answer, I think you'd have to speak to the person who wrote it. Else, at the risk of being too post-modern, the answer is, "whatever it means to you." And if it's too 'Jesus if my boyfriend', then the song as a whole may not be helpful for ya...

Anyway, my £0.02.

Joe

"One, two, three, here we go..."
... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves

I also feel weird singing of dancing with Jesus.

I would agree with Joe, if it's not bad theology then its not worth getting too worked up over. Personally, I feel being biblical (i.e. able to support a worship song biblically) can make the difference between a good song, and a great song.

I'll be prepared to bet that some of our African brothers and sisters will have far less difficulty with this concept than we will. British Evangelical culture doesn't really do dancing. And we (perhaps?) automatically assume that dancing = us alone with Jesus on the dancefloor. Which *is* pretty wierd.

But, if there's a wedding feast in heaven it will probably have dancing. Now ceilidh dancing with Jesus - that I can imagine.

Saturday Night Fever et. al. is certainly what comes to mind for me... good point Paul.

"I was looking at it from the other side and thinking... if it's not subversive / bad theology, and scripture doesn't speak against it, why not judge it by the heart intention behind it and its fruit?"

I just think this can potentially be a dangerous road to go down, because you could end up getting to the point where you dismiss everything as ok as long as the bible doesn't explicitly say it shouldn't be there. Admittedly that's an extreme case, I'm just a bit weary of it for that reason!

"And we (perhaps?) automatically assume that dancing = us alone with Jesus on the dancefloor. Which *is* pretty wierd."
Yeah, I think the style of the Jesus Culture song I was thinking of in particular does seem to imply that - but perhaps it's just me!

Michael

Don't disagree - I think I was simply arguing against the opposite extreme of your point, which was to say that unless one can give chapter and verse to support lyrics, they shouldn't be allowed.

It removes the potential for some creativity...

Joe

"One, two, three, here we go..."
... follow me on Twitter @JJBHargreaves

Hi all,

Really interesting points raised here. Whilst I agree that songs should be scripturally based, we have to be careful not to apply strict rules on whether a song is theologically accurate based on whether the exact text appears in the bible. The purpose of the bible is to lead you in to an encounter with the author. The bible without the spirit of truth is just words on a page - hence why the devil was able to use 'scripture' to tempt Jesus - he quoted the bible directly to Jesus, but it wasn't true in that instance because it didn't have the spirit of Truth.

In addition - just because something is in the bible, doesn't mean it's good to have in a song - the words of satan, pharoh and pottifer's wife would be great examples! 'you give and take away' is a popular example. 'from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky' would be another example (albeit a tenuous one)

A good example is angels singing. I don't think anyone would have a problem with a line in a song referencing angels singing - however, it doesn't explicitly say anywhere in scripture that angels sing.

"But what about Revelation 5?" I hear you cry... the living creatures and the elders sing, but the greek word 'lego' that is sometimes translated in to 'sing' is actually closer to 'speak' or 'say' - like in Luke 2:13 for example.

however, no-one seems to have an issue with angels singing. I've actually written a song with the line 'angels singing' in it - but the bible doesn't explicitly say they do. Do I think angels sing? yes. Does the bible say they do? No.

Danny Silk summed it up well - all of the bible is in God, but not all of God is in the bible. Even everything that Jesus did wasn't recorded, as it would have taken all of the books in all of the world (John 21:25)

Hi Tom,

Interesting points!

Definitely agree that not every piece of scripture is good to have in a song - no arguments there.

Whilst I don't think anything not explicitly stated in the bible should be banned, I do think when we enter this territory we need to be very careful. Generally speaking, when a congregation is really into their worship time they'll sing anything that appears on the screen, biblical or not - and while I think there's somewhat a responsibility on them to think about what they're singing, it also works the other way and there's definitely a responsibility on worship leaders and song writers too.

Certainly not all Jesus' works were recorded in the bible, as you point out that's biblical in itself! But I think when we're entering into the territory of what is in essence the unknown, we enter into a territory of far greater risk. We can alleviate that somewhat by staying as close as we can to scripture and doing out best to portray the essence of it, but inevitably people will disagree on what the "essence" of that is.

Take the line:

"Crying ‘Father God, forgive them,
Place their punishment on Me.’"

...as a prime example. Jesus never said those words, or was at least never recorded saying them, and I know more than one person who hates that song for that reason. Personally I think in essence that's exactly what Jesus was saying so I'm quite happy with it.

In terms of revelation 5, doesn't the quote (ESV) say "they sang a new song, saying" - so even if you interpret the last word to be saying rather than singing, the previous words are still in place. Either way, I think this is such a strong implication it's pretty much there as given.

Others though, such as dancing with Jesus I'm honestly not so sure on - ok in terms of your Ceilidh-like situations, totally, but in my mind if you're trying to imply it's in that context a slow, quasi-romantic like song isn't the best one to pick...

Hey Michael,

Thanks for your response -

I absolutely agree that we should stick to scriptural truths - my concern is that someone's views on what is truth may be completely different to the next. A good example would be the use of 'dad' or 'daddy' in reference to God. Coming from a stream that places a high priority on the Father Heart message - this is a concept we are very familiar -
having said this, I know a lot of churches would throw a song out due to the use of 'dad' or 'daddy' in the song - even though it's completely biblical.
The issue is interpretation.

The context of the original post was around the idea of Jesus dancing with us in a romantic way - as soon as I remove the sexual connotations of this idea, it is a beautiful picture of an intimate relationship between the bride and bridegroom.

Anytime we reduce an idea down to something we're 'comfortable' with, like ceilidh dancing with Jesus - we've potentially reduced God down to a level where we're comfortable with him.
John reclining in the bosom of Jesus would be another example of an overtly intimate setting.

Also, one of the translations of 'El Shaddai' is 'the many breasted one' - it refers to the nurturing heart of God- yet I know many people who struggle to think of God like this - does this mean it's not true? Of course not!

What I'm saying is that I never want me being uncomfortable with something to be the driving force between throwing it out - I want Holy Spirit to lead me all truth.

In terms of revelation 5, the original words all translate into 'speak' or 'proclaim', not actually to sing.

Blessings,

Tom

Hi Tom,

Good points there. It's entirely right that people's interpretations on scripture will differ, and yes the direct implication of this is that people's views on the "truth" will differ too.

I agree, we shouldn't reduce God down to a level where we're "comfortable" with him as a character, but I also think equally we shouldn't necessarily seek to change God's character based on works around scripture, rather than sticking with scripture itself (unless of course those works can be fundamentally accredited as being correct.)

You pick up interesting points in terms of the translations; not being a biblical scholar (or even close) I wouldn't be able to debate with you on those in the slightest - though I'm inclined to go with the fact that if it's been translated that way in multiple revisions of multiple versions, there must be a reason why it's generally translated one way more than the other. Sure, that reason might not be universally correct, but I'm willing to trust those who do it for a profession to get it right!

I think the difference for me is that a lot of those points you make can be argued a bit ambiguously based on translation, but there's no doubt that in some way shape or form, they're in scripture. With this particular example, you have to go further than that - to arrive at the conclusion that it's biblical you have to analyse and extrapolate ideas from scripture and then apply those loose ideas to the context of the song. *That's* the point where (for me) we start to get into iffy territory. But as you've already correctly pointed out, that point will be different for different churches and people, and there's not necessarily anything wrong with that.

It must be starting to sound like I have a huge theological issue with this song - I really don't, I've seen far worse and I wouldn't go as far as saying it should never be played. I do agree with Marc though that (at least in terms of lyrics!) the difference between a good and a great song is one that can be well supported biblically.