Is it Biblical?
Dancing in the Spirit must be clearly distinguished from social dancing and from choreographed or orchestrated dancing, even if the latter were to take place in the church sanctuary. Instances of dancing in the Spirit, as seen in the 20th century Pentecostal revival, have generally involved a single participant spontaneously “dancing” with eyes closed without bumping into nearby persons or objects, obviously under the power and guidance of the Spirit. But again, this manifestation by itself is not an indication of greater spirituality, or a pattern that all worshippers are to seek. If the experience happens, it is because the worshipper has become so enraptured with God’s presence that the Spirit takes control of physical motions as well as the spiritual and emotional being.
The biblical account of David dancing before the Lord is not an example of dancing in the Spirit. Scripture says “David danced before the LORD with all his might (2 Sam. 6:14), thus describing the personal joy and thanksgiving that David consciously expressed to the Lord. Based on this account in Scripture, some contemporary charismatic churches have instituted orchestrated and rehearsed dancing as part of the worship service. Traditional Pentecostals, like those in the Assemblies of God, regret the replacement of an edifying, spontaneous, beautiful manifestation of the Spirit by a humanly planned and executed natural dance. Some justify choreographed dancing in the worship service as a restoration of the Old Testament “Davidic dance”; however, such teaching selectively omits the unrehearsed spontaneous manifestation of the presence of the Holy Spirit that represents a higher expression of worship.
To deal with a long list of other manifestations would be unproductive. The list would be out of date in short order. But the principles outlined above hold true for those that have already appeared and for those that have yet to be seen. In every instance they are human responses to a conscious realization of God’s immediate presence. They are not marks of spirituality, nor will they in themselves guarantee Kingdom growth. It is the genuine presence of God, not human responses to that presence, which will empower a victorious Church in these end-times before Christ returns.
A move of God which includes manifestations of the Holy Spirit, must always be welcome in the Church. Yet we must be careful to keep our focus and desire on Jesus Christ rather than on any manifestation. In our seeking we must willingly obey God’s Word in everything we do. We must also realize that when God creatively pours out His Spirit on a person in a way that is not recorded in Scripture, it is not intended to be a normative experience for either the individual or the church.
How can we recognize a Spirit prompted and controlled manifestation?
Does it bring glory to Jesus and edify the Body? The confirmation that a spiritual experience is real and biblical lies in the spiritual growth of the believer. Is there a humility that lifts up Jesus? Is the believer becoming more and more like Jesus? Are the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control—increased after a personal experience in the presence of our Lord? These fruit will have a direct effect on one’s testimony and will ultimately draw others to Christ.