Are Pentecostals Allowed to Dance?

Pentecostal Christianity has a rich history of valuing conservative ideals. Denominations and churches belonging to the tradition have championed sacred doctrine and holy behavior since the modern Pentecostal movement started in the early 20th century. This fact leads many people to wonder if Pentecostals are allowed to dance.

Dancing isn’t inherently sinful according to Pentecostal convictions. However, believers should be cautious about how, where, and with whom they dance. Pentecostals know of passages in the Bible that describe people dancing, and some even dance in worship, but they avoid certain forms of it.

What kind of dancing is sinful in the Pentecostal tradition? What are appropriate examples of dancing in Pentecostalism? What does the Bible say about dancing? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.

Also, see Do Pentecostals Drink Alcohol? to learn more.

Pentecostal Christians dancing
Why do Pentecostals believe some forms of dancing are sinful? See below

What Kind of Dancing Is Sinful In the Pentecostal Tradition?

Orthodox Pentecostalism doesn’t teach that dancing is always wrong. However, many Pentecostal leaders, like pastors, teach that it could be wrong in some contexts and when it involves specific actions. Below are three examples. (Also see Why Do Pentecostals Fall Down In Worship?)

Dancing is sinful when it mimes unholy sexual activity. Specific forms of dancing have sexual connotations. The movements mimic sexual activity. Some actions involve touching, while others don’t.

Either way, Pentecostals generally agree that these forms of dancing don’t honor God and glorify sexual immorality, even if no literal sexual activity occurs.

Dancing could be sinful, depending on the context and environment. In previous generations, some Pentecostals have argued that Christians should avoid dancing because it’s an activity associated with the world.

In this view, any action, whether inherently sinful or not, out of simply being associated with the world should be avoided.

Similarly, if the “world” goes to movie theatres, Christians shouldn’t do that. If the “world” wears a particular clothing style, Christians shouldn’t do that.

While some Pentecostals still live according to guidelines like these, disassociation with social norms and trends no longer characterizes Pentecostalism. (Also see Pentecostal vs. Apostolic: What’s the Difference?)

It may be wise to avoid dancing depending on the touching involved. For some people, touching another person in specific ways and on certain parts of their body – though not overtly sexual – may jeopardize the purity of their heart or mind.

So even though the particular kind of dance, in this case, isn’t necessarily sinful in itself, it can still lead a person to sin in other ways.

Also, see Pentecostal vs Church of God: What’s the Difference?

married couple dancing
What does the Bible say about dancing? See below

What Are Appropriate Examples of Dancing In Pentecostalism?

While most Pentecostals suggest caution, especially to young people, when it comes to dancing, many agree that there are forms and expressions of it that are healthy and holy. (Also see the full article Do Pentecostals Believe Jesus Is God?)

Specific forms of dancing are good physical activity and can help people steward their bodies. Dancing can also be healthy in terms of being suitable for marriage as a husband and wife are doing an enjoyable activity that promotes wellness and can involve affectionate touching.

  • Weddings may provide an environment for appropriate dancing: While some weddings may involve inappropriate dancing, some include loving traditions like a father-daughter dance, which is pure, holy, and pleasing to God. In Pentecostalism, like in other Christian traditions, a wedding is an essential event in which a woman transitions from the family that raised her to a family of her own. The father-daughter dance beautifully symbolizes this change.
  • Children may appropriately express themselves with dancing: Some children love to move to the rhythm of a song. They instinctively move to a beat or try to join in a chorus of a song that they like. According to orthodox Pentecostal teaching, there is nothing inappropriate about children expressing themselves in such ways.
  • The Bible includes examples of dancing in worship to God: Miriam, David, and others danced for God, so why can’t believers today? Pentecostals, perhaps more so than people in other traditions, may dance in a sanctuary during a worship service. Some churches encourage such dancing without regulation. Other churches, recognizing that not everyone is comfortable with dancing during a service, regulate dancing so it won’t distract others from their worship of God.

Also, see Can a Pentecostal Marry a Baptist? to learn more.

Christian church
What does the Bible say about dancing? See below

What Does the Bible Say About Dancing?

The Bible mentions and describes dancing in several verses. In some scenes, dancing is associated with sin and evil. Yet, in others, it’s associated with joy in the Lord and worship.

  • Exodus 15:20 | Dancing after the exodus from Egypt: “Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.”
  • Psalm 149:3 | Dancing in worship: “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!”
  • Psalm 30:11 | Dancing in worship: “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.”
  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 | Dancing is contrasted with mourning: “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
  • Luke 15:25 | Dancing after the prodigal son returns: “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.”

The Bible also mentions dancing in the context of sin and evil. Some Bible readers believe that dancing is directly connected to sin because it’s a physical manifestation of sin and evil.

Other readers believe the sin mentioned in these passages isn’t dancing. The sin in Exodus 32 is idolatry, and the sin in Mark 6 is the murder of John the Baptist.

  • Exodus 32:19 | Dancing at the worship of the golden calf: “”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 mountain.”
  • Mark 6:22 | Dancing at the death of John the Baptist: “For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.”

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Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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