Make the Prom Promise--Promise not to Go!

by B. J. Clarke


Every year I see signs and advertisements encouraging young people to take "The Prom Promise."  The essence of the promise is that they will not drink and drive.  I hope that young people will promise not to drink at all, whether they intend on driving or not.  But there is another Prom Promise that young people need to make, and that is the promise not to attend the prom at all.  I realize that some young people already have attended.  I hope they will read this article and promise never to go again.  I pray that those young people who have never attended the prom will promise that they never will.  The reasons for such a prayer are explained in this article, which is a compilation of notes I have taken across the years.

Of course, dancing has been a very popular amusement for many years.  In fact, anyone who dares to speak out against the modern dance (and its associated evils) is definitely not pursuing the pathway of popularity with young people who dance, or parents who condone such.  The opponent of the modern dance is considered an old fogy or an ancient fossil.

Look around and you will see a growing laxity in society.  Standards of conduct have been lowered.  Many things that were formerly considered wrong by almost everyone are being engaged in freely.  One of these things is dancing.  The majority of parents, teachers and preachers used to oppose dancing.  The evils, dangers and sin of dancing were fully recognized and exposed, both at home and in the pulpit.  Many schools that used to oppose dancing are not sponsoring it.  The purpose of this article is to examine dancing in light of the scriptures.  It may be that you've never thought dancing to be wrong, and you may not be fully convinced when you have completed this article.  However, I sincerely ask you to consider honestly what is written, not according to your desires, but according to the light of Divine Truth.


In the first place, I do not question the need and value of recreation.  Second, I am not speaking of dancing that takes place between a husband and a wife alone in the privacy of their own home.  Third, I am not speaking of "dancing" that takes place among members of the same sex.  For example, women doing aerobics together alone, in a private place, would not necessarily be sinful.  Moving to the rhythm of the music is not, in and of itself, a sin.  However, it can become wrong depending on whom you dance with and where you dance.  Some dancing in some forms may be acceptable, BUT NOT THE MODERN DANCING of MIXED SEXES COMMON TODAY.  Let it be clear that the mixed dancing condemned in this article would include the cheek-to-cheek waltz between unmarried partners.  Such close proximity of the bodies moving together is certainly capable of arousing unholy desires.


The question is this:  Is lustful dancing between mixed sexes an acceptable form of recreation in God's sight?  Does the Bible condemn mixed dancing?  (Exodus 32:6, 9, 18; Matthew 14:6-7)  In reply, we would point out that:

  1. DANCING IS VIEWED AS QUESTIONABLE EVEN BY THE WORLD.  If it weren't we wouldn't be dealing with it in this article (Romans 14:23).  Many worldly people, even many who dance, see the evils of it and confess that it is wrong and they know what it can lead to.  "The difference between wrestling and dancing is that some holds in wrestling are barred."  That statement wasn't made by a preacher.  It was made by Arthur Murray, a popular dance teacher as quoted by Readers' Digest.
  2. DANCING IS LASCIVIOUSNESS.  Galatians 5:19-21 reads, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."  One of the words in this passage includes dancing as a part of its meaning.  The word is lasciviousness.  The following definitions are given of lasciviousness
    1. Having wanton desires; lustful; lewd.
    2. Tending to produce sensual desires.  (Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary)
    3. Characterized by or expressing lust or lewdness; wanton.  Tending to excite lustful desires.  (Webster's New World Dictionary)
    4. Wanton (acts or) manners, as filthy words; indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females.  (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament).

From these definitions, it is obvious that anything that tends to produce lewd emotions, create evil thoughts, or excite unlawful sexual desire is lasciviousness.  Does dancing do such things?  In a study in which 44 boys who danced were interviewed, 41 of them admitted that dancing caused them to have immoral thoughts and desires!!!  This word strikes at the very root of the dance, because dancing does create lustful desire.  The testimony of thousands who have gone astray make this plain (Galatians 5:16-17).


  1. People danced in Bible times with God's approval.  Answer:  Exodus 15:20.  This wasn't mixed dancing.  It was done by women.  Furthermore, it wasn't modern dancing.  This "dancing" consisted of a whirling and jumping with joy.  It was an expression of religious rejoicing.  Also, the dancing of 2 Samuel 6:12-16 was done by David alone.  There is no mention of mixed dancing in this Bible account.  What we read here is nothing like an incident that occurred in Dallas, Texas a few years ago.  After communion had been given, a picture was made depicting the Methodist Chaplain and an attractive college co-ed dancing up and down the aisle.  The young girl was wearing shorts that revealed her thighs, not leaving much to the imagination.  In the early 70's a dance was advertised by the 2nd Presbyterian church in Memphis, TN.  Girls who wore hot pants were to get in at 1/2 price.  The boys and more modest girls had to pay full price.  The advertisement read, "Come and enjoy the scenery."
  2. "But I don't think evil thoughts when I watch others dance-Some people just have dirty minds."  Even if this was true, what about others who are watching you or snuggling up close to you?  (1 Corinthians 10:32)  Don't be a stumbling block (Luke 17:1).
  3. "Well, I won't dance, I'll just go to the prom and watch others dance."  Answer:  A father finally gave in to his daughter's request to go to the dance on the condition that he must drive her to the dance.  On the way to the dance he stopped at a coal mine and told her to walk through before going to the dance.  She complained and said, "But even if I don't touch anything I can't help but get dirty."  It is impossible to participate in worldly activities without being stained just as it is impossible to journey into a coal mine without getting a white shirt dirty.  A boat can be in the water and sail safely, but when water gets into the boat there's going to be trouble.  (2 Corinthians 6:7, 1 Peter 2:11, James 1:27, 1 Thessalonians 5:22, 2 Timothy 2:22)
  4. "But, if the dance is supervised, wouldn't that make it all right?"  Answer:  Supervising the dance cannot make it right.  Supervision cannot control the minds of the dancers.  The close embrace of the sexes will arouse unholy thoughts (Matthew 5:27-28).  "All the police and school teachers in town cannot control the thoughts and desires of the dancers and keep dancing from being lascivious.  Neither can the surroundings make it right.  Whether in the parlor or in the school gymnasium, dancing is wrong because the charges herein set forth against it are true-regardless of where it is done.  Sin cannot be made right by supervision!!"  (Tract by A. G. Hobbs)
  5. "But I won't be popular if I don't dance."  Answer:  It is better to be tall in the eyes of Jehovah and small in the eyes of man.  Besides, it's not true that you can't be popular unless you dance.  Many young people, and some parents, think dancing is essential to popularity.  But many of the most outstanding, respected, and popular young people do not dance.  Some years ago, Teenage Christian magazine carried an inspiring story of a teenage girl who was elected Queen of her high school.  The tradition was for the Queen and King to host a Coronation Dance.  The Christian girl did not believe in dancing.  When she was told she would have to give the dance she refused to violate her convictions and offered to surrender the Queenship.  Members of the school board did not feel she should be penalized for refusing to violate her convictions.  Thus, the Coronation took place as planned, but there was no dance following.  Instead, there was a reception at which the Royal Party received their guests, and it was a tremendous success.  Many honors were bestowed upon this young lady.  In addition to being named Queen, she was named Cutest Girl, President of the Girl's Recreation Association, P.T.A. Sweetheart, a member of the Student Council, and a member of Future Teachers.  During her junior year she had been selected as Class Favorite and Junior Sweetheart.  This teenager is very active in church work, and regularly teaches a Bible class.  She has proven that a person can be a Christian and refuse to participate in questionable activities with no loss of popularity.

In conclusion, consider the following questions.  Does the dance incite me to unlawful thoughts and desires?  Does it provoke such thoughts in the mind of my partner?  Does the dance serve to arouse emotions that were intended by God to be aroused only in the marriage relationship?  Does the dance serve as a stepping-stone to baser things?  Does the dance increase the respect which good people have for me?  Does the dance make me delight more in reading the Bible?  Does participating in the dance increase my love for God?  Does the dance lead me to want to pray more to God?  ("A dancing foot and praying knee don't grow on the same leg.")  Does the dance increase my zeal for the spread of the Lord's church?  Can I honestly say that the dance helps me to be a better Christian?

The modern dance as generally practiced by young people today is sinful in itself and leads to numerous other sins as well.  As such, Christians should have no desire to participate in nor to view these activities.  Parents owe their children the right to protection from these evil influences, even if the young people don't want such protection.  There are plenty of things which our young people can do that are not sinful.  They may not want to do them because they would rather DANCE-but God has seen to it that no one has to engage in sin for entertainment purposes.  Christian parents and young people, ABSTAIN FROM THE MODERN DANCE AND THE EVILS ASSOCIATED WITH IT.


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