Before writing this article, we asked for the opinions of several brethren in Brazil and abroad. We made a compilation of them, and we transcribe them below, condensed because of limitation of space. One of the elders among our workers pondered wisely: "the good interpretation of the Scriptures and good sense is what ought to prevail for the glory and honour of the Lord!" May this be so.
There are Bible bases for choreography:
The Bible brings mention of some people who danced on occasion of joy and celebration - like Miriam and David - or of the people of God lamenting not being able to dance because the joy of their heart had ceased (Lamentations 5:15). Like all expression of communication, music conveys joy. Therefore the dialectic falls not over dance itself - the "if" - but "to whom" and "what" I am going to communicate through dancing. Those who danced in praise didn't dance FOF THE PEOPLE: they danced TO GOD. Any expression of praise must not be directed TO MEN, but to God. And it is God who judges if the heart of who dances is for Him or not.
There is no reference in the New Testament to say that Christians in the primitive church danced, as there is no referece either to say that they used hymnbooks and printed Bibles, or that they used baptisteries in the churches, etc. The fact that a practice isn't recorded at the beginning of the church doesn't make it an abonimable practice.
But there are also Bible bases to reject choreography:
For God to accept something from us (be it a sacrifice of praise, some service for Him, etc.), besides a correct attitude internally it is necessary to adopt a correct external behaviour. Choreographies are something He did not ask for.
This practice may lead us further away from the simplicity of the model presented in the Scriptures (2 Corinthians 11:3).
It may become a stumbling block to some (1 Corinthians 8:9, 10:32),
The sacrifice of praise is the fruit of lips which confess His name (Hebrews 13:15), therefore in order for us to be pleasing to God the voice must prevail over the sound of instruments.
The choreography introduced in some churches is an imitation of worldly groups, and we shouldn't be conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-2).
The flesh (Galatians 5:13,16-21), the world and satan prevent the perfect worship of God with our body. So we must be careful!
Does the example of David mean that we can follow it?
There is absolutely nothing in the Bible text and in the context that leads us to conclude that David had practised a wordly act when he danced before the Lord. The text in question teaches that he "danced before the LORD with all his might". When his wife rebuked him he answered that he would be even more undignified than this, and would be humble in his own sight before the LORD (2 Samuel 6:21-22). In the nation of Israel dancing was not only used in the context of praising God as it was ordained by Him. We must not forget Psalm 150 when it tells the people of Israel where and how to praise the Lord: "Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; ... Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; ... Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!" Let us remember that all the Word of God is inspired.
Or is the example of David not to be followed?
The word "danced" in 2 Samuel 6:14 comes from the Hebrew word karar, a primary root which means to whirl.
On our part, we ponder the following:
In worship, as well as when presenting the Gospel, all glory must belong to the Lord. Bible doctrine proclaims that all Holy Spirit filled ministry is focused on God, it is modest and not exhibitionist: "we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord" (2 Corinthians 4:5), "… "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30), "… that no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Corinthians 1:29), "I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another…" (Isaiah 42:8).
Nobody may glorify himself in the presence of omnipotent God. Nobody may exhibit himself at the same time as he worships God. In true worship individualism must go to the background and a believer in Christ may never adopt, imitate, amuse himself or be drawn into the vain exhibitionism of this world.
We must always be on guard against the human tendency towards elevating the flesh, over-estimating the man and self-serving, of being "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power." (2 Timothy 3:4).
Dancing was part of the culture of the Israelites (and still is), and is an integral part of their recreation and festivities, but was not of their temple worship. The scholars tell us that whirl dancing were a common activity in the villages, specially among children and young people, requiring coordination and giving an image of energy, action, enthusiasm and joy, and as such they are mentioned in Psalms 149 and 150. The Bible also speaks of women dancing individually or in groups as demonstration opf joy. It should be noted that they had nothing in common with physical contact dancing among sexes, nor with "Christian" coreography and drama of today. We do not therefore have an example of coreography in the temple in the Old Testament to follow, or not, less still in the New Testament.
As to the occasion when it is alleged that king David danced, and which some use as a pretext to dance in the church, we read in 2 Samuel 6:14 "Then David danced before the LORD with all his might", and a little further on, in verse 16 "and saw King David leaping and whirling before the LORD". He was leaping and whirling in the triumphal procession in which the ark of the LORD was taken back to the tabernacle in Jerusalem. Note: it was not a service of worship within the temple, nor was it a rehearsed coreography. He shed his royal robes to put on a simple priestly vestment to jubilantly leap and whirl with the crowd. His wife Michal saw him through a window and despised him in her heart - in her eyes this was not deportment worthy of a king. Michal is called "daughter of Saul" here, perhaps to remind us that her attitude of disdain to the worship of God was like that of her father.
We do, indeed, have a sublime example given by David in this episode: he put aside all pomp and symbols and clothing of his own royalty in order to humbly join the jubilant crowd, giving all glory and honour to the LORD, whose symbol was the arc. May this also be our attitude of spirit when praising our God, Saviour and Lord, putting aside all that might exalt us or make us vain, and joining our brethren with humility to joyfully worship Him.