06 January 2006

[KOER Synthetica Radio Transcripts]
(As a part of all commmercial Friday, KOER is pleased to bring you this public service announcement from a dead person. Actually, it advertises a book with limited availability at amazon.com. Take it away, George.)

Hello, I'm George C. Heckman. Not Hellman, Heckman. I died some time ago, but in 1879 I was the President of Philadelphia's Presbyterian Board of Publication. Ah, 1879, I remember it well. No tango, no lambada, nothing like that. But even then, before God had to strike Dick Clark down, there was a problem with dancing. Here's part of what I said back then:

When any social amusement, fashionable custom, secular business or heretical propagandism threatens the Church with injury and society with demoralization, it is the right and duty of the Christian pulpit or church-court to use all proper means in a proper spirit to confront, expose and resist the threatening danger....

Honest appeal has been made to the authority of Scripture in favor of this amusement. It has been found in such a passage as this, "There is a time to dance," and in the example of such worthies as Miriam and David. A reliable writer, whose criticism my personal examination sustains, says: "I have consulted every passage in the Bible which speaks of dancing, from all which it appears—1. That dancing was a religious act, both in true and also in idol-worship. 2. That it was practiced exclusively on joyful occasions, such as national festivals or great victories. 3. That it. was performed on such great occasions by one ,only of the sexes. 4. That it was performed usually in the daytime in the open air—in the highways, fields and groves. 5. That men who perverted dancing from a sacred use to purposes of amusement were deemed infamous. 6. That no instances of dancing are found upon record in the Bible in which the two sexes united in the exercise either as an act of worship or amusement. 7. That there are no instances on record in the Bible of social dancing for amusement, except that of the ‘vain fellows’ void of shame alluded to by Michal, of the irreligious families described by Job, which produced increased impiety and ended in destruction, and of Herodias’ daughter, which terminated in the rash vow of Herod and the murder of John the Baptist." The sum of this biblical testimony is that the dancing approved was in every respect very different from the modern amusement bearing the name, that it was performed on great national and religious occasions by the sexes separately as a spiritual exercise, that its perversion to amusement was regarded as a sacrilege, and that in every case where it is mentioned as a social amusement it is associated with condemnation or circumstances of horror....

It has been argued that dancing is not expressly forbidden in the Bible. I think that is true; and yet even if it be true, of what force is the argument? Must we have an express declaration of the Bible to know the moral nature and lawfulness of every action, sentiment or custom? Have we any such declaration as to the slave-trade or arson or gambling or the theatre or obscene literature? And yet what mind enlightened by Scripture can hesitate to believe that these things are as forcibly forbidden by the spirit and implications of the Bible as they could be by direct declaration? Now, if dancing is hostile to the spirit of the Bible and to that life which the Bible enjoins, then it is forbidden by the Bible.

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