What about dancing?

The following excerpts come from an article that Mrs. White wrote, titled “Should Christians Dance?” in answer to a letter that asked counsel on this question. The article was published in the February 28, 1882, issue of the Review and Herald. You can access the entire article on the Ellen G. White Estate Web site.

Before answering this question directly, I ask you to consider briefly the position and work of God’s people at the present day. . . . The solemn message of the third angel must be given by those who see and feel its truthfulness. The world [is] going on careless and Godless in the way of error. Ministers are saying from their pulpits, “Be not troubled. Christ will not come for thousands of years. All things continue as they were from the beginning.” Others pour contempt upon the law of God, declaring that it is a yoke of bondage. But while professed Christians are asleep, Satan is manifesting intense earnestness and persevering zeal. His hellish work will soon be ended, his power be chained; therefore he has come down in great wrath, to “deceive, if possible, even the very elect.” Is this a time for us to unite with the ungodly in levity and worldly pleasure? Will they be more inclined to accept the solemn truths we hold, when they see us in the theater or the ball-room? . . .

The true Christian will not desire to enter any place of amusement or engage in any diversion upon which he cannot ask the blessing of God. He will not be found at the theater, the billiard hall, or the bowling saloon. He will not unite with the gay waltzers [“gay” meaning given to pleasure], or indulge in any other bewitching pleasure that will banish Christ from the mind. . . .

In many religious families, dancing and card-playing are made a parlor pastime. It is urged that these are quiet home amusements, which may be safely enjoyed under the parental eye. But a love for these exciting pleasures is thus cultivated, and that which was considered harmless at home will not long be regarded dangerous abroad. . . . [These amusements] destroy all relish for serious thought and for religious services. It is true that there is a wide contrast between the better class of select parties and the promiscuous and degraded assemblies of the low dance-house. Yet all are steps in the path of dissipation.

The amusement of dancing, as conducted at the present day, is a school of depravity, a fearful curse to society. If all in our great cities who are yearly ruined by this means could be brought together, what histories of wrecked lives would be revealed. How many who now stand ready to apologize for this practice, would be filled with anguish and amazement at the result. How can professedly Christian parents consent to place their children in the way of temptation, by attending with them such scenes of festivity? How can young men and young women barter their souls for this infatuating pleasure?

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