In recent times, I have encountered a new phenomena which is the use of liturgical dances in public worship. This kind of thing is sometimes included in churches as a means of facilitating the worship of God. But does it actually achieve its intended purpose? I have never personally seen this in the West, but while our family served oversees, I found it to be a common occurence in Kenya. Why would good churches go down such routes?
In talking to various people, ones who have observed churches sliding away from biblical faithfulness by introducing such novelties into public worship, there appear to be two primary causes of this phenomena.
1. Some churches become more concerned about people outside the church than those already in the church. Therefore, they seek ways to attract non-Christians, while abandoning their duty to feed the sheep.
2. Pragmatism drives the agenda rather than by searching the Scripture for biblical directives.
On a pragmatic level, watching a bunch of amateurish women performing a choreographed dance, dressed in lively colors, would seem at best a distraction, at worst a cause of stumbling. This is not the apostolic method and in my opinion it acheieves nothing in communicating the gospel to a lost and dying world. These liturgical dances move the church on deviant paths trod by the church in the Middle Ages, ones which sought visual means to communicate instead of preaching. Let us ask two questions.
1. Did Jesus and the apostles use such methods in their ministries? The plain answer is no, but they could of. In Ancient Greek cities there were always amphitheaters which were used for dramas and visual performances, but these worldly methods were never used.
2. What does the Scripture teach regarding liturgical dances in public worship? There are no references of such things. Yet many well meaning Christians sit in churches which conduct themselves in ways not becoming of the church of God. In my experience when churches seek such methods such as dances, puppets, handing out balloons and free hair cuts, then there is a slide away from a confidence in God's primary method for gospel advance. This is the preaching of the gospel. If you are sat in a church that talks about sharing and not preaching, perhaps you should consider seeking out a church that is committed to preaching sound doctrine instead.
Listen to three passages from the Book of Acts.
Acts 8:5: "Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them Christ".
Acts 17:2-3: "Paul went in, as was his custom and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying 'This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ'".
Acts 28:30-31: (Paul in Rome) " He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance".
Preaching the message of the gospel was the primary means for extension in the New Testament church and it should be ours also today. There is no mention of novelties such as liturgical dances in the New Testament, so why would any church that is faithful to the Lord God even consider such a possibility? May congregations return to solid paths using solid methods which is a joyful commitment to preaching in our worship services in season and out of season.