03 May 2012

Christians & The Prom

Greetings to anybody still subscribed to or still stopping by this blog.  We’re back to where we were when I got “Back At It” last June – 4 months now with no posts.  Again, it’s not that I haven’t had lots of things to write about or the desire to write about them.  (I have an Evernote notebook full of ideas.)  It’s just that I’m still struggling with making the time to do so amid all of life’s responsibilities.

Much has transpired in our lives since we ushered in 2012 by putting up the Bible Reading Companion (hope that’s been a blessing to many):

·       2012 Bible Conference – Luke Chapter 4: January 18-20
·       Caroline Elizabeth born: March 11
·       2012 Youth Rally – More Love to Christ: March 16-17
·       Riley turned 2 (how the time flies!): March 23
·       I continue to approach 30: April 11

Now that we’re all caught up, the topic at hand is a pertinent question that every pastor and youth worker sincerely wishes more Christian parents and Christian teens would ask and give some consideration to about this time of year: “Should a Bible-believing Christian go to the prom?”

Before we lay out our answer to the question, we must observe that the deciding factor will be (1) What does the Bible have to say?  and (2) What is in the best SPIRITUAL interest of our young people? 

It seems that many parents, even in Bible-believing churches, are guided by a parenting philosophy that basically says, “Well, I did it when I was a teenager, and I turned out OK.”  If that is the basis of the decisions you make for your children, you seriously need to stop and rethink your approach. 

Others seem far too concerned with their children “not fitting in” or “being weird” – even when the Bible says that God has called us to be a peculiar people (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:9).

The goal of Christian parents ought to be far higher than their children “turning out OK.”  It should be much more than making sure their children “don’t stand out.”  The goal of Christian parents should involve something other than considerations of college, career, and salary.  Our objective should be to do everything we possibly can to make it as easy as possible for them to do what is right and as difficult as possible for them to do what is wrong. 

Every child has a free will, and every young person will ultimately choose what path they follow, but more than anything what I want is for my children to fall in love with Jesus Christ and serve Him with all their hearts.  By the grace of God, I will push and encourage the things that lead in that direction and protect them from the things that would send them any other way. 

What does all that have to do with the question we started by asking?  Well, before we answer the question, we must  address how we answer the question; how we make parenting decisions; what factors into the choices we make for our kids.  If we really believe Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Genesis 18:19; and if we really accept the duties contained in those verses, then WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS will completely trump any considerations of how we were raised or what the world (or anybody else, for that matter) finds acceptable.

Having established that, we grant that there’s a not a single verse in the Bible that answers our question directly.  As with most decisions we make in life, we are called upon to exercise a bit of wisdom and apply the crystal clear principles of God’s word to the choices before us and proceed accordingly.

So let me answer the question by simply asking some questions and pointing out some simple truths.

What is the prom?  The prom is a dance.  There is a purpose for stating the obvious… 

What do we know from the Bible about dancing?  There is a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4).  Dancing is a valid way to praise the Lord (Psalm 149:3; 150:4; Exodus 15:20).  David did such a dance (2 Samuel 6:14ff; 1 Chronicles 15:29).  People danced in celebration of great victories, both military (Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; 1 Samuel 18:6; 21:11; 29:5) and personal/spiritual (Psalm 30:11; Luke 15:25).

All of this is, for the most part, positive.  What else does the Bible say about dancing?

Well, dancing was a part of the false worship of false gods (recall the golden calf incident, Exodus 32:19).  Then there was Salome – Herodias’ daughter who danced a seductive and deadly dance before Herod (Matthew 14:6; Mark 6:22).  It is also interesting to note that the one organized dance referred to in scripture resulted in girls being captured and being made the wives of those that captured them (Judges 21:21). 

My question is this: Into which of these categories would the prom dance fall into?  Is the dancing done before the Lord, as an act of praise to worship Him?  Or is the dancing done before a different audience and for a different purpose?  Surely we can all honestly answer this question.

If we should, for any reason, need help answering this question, perhaps it would be beneficial to ask another…

What kind of music is danced to?  The musical selection for the child of God is provided in Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 – psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  Is that what they’re playing at the high school prom?  Is the music played designed to give glory to the Lord?  To direct the thoughts and hearts of all to His truth; His righteousness; His grace; His love; His judgment?  Our dedication to His service?  Would it be out of place in a Sunday morning service at a Bible-believing church? 

Music is a powerful thing.  Its influence over and on our emotions is so much stronger than we often realize.  In what direction would the music played at the high school prom – music that glorifies “love” (as the world defines it) and rebellion and everything carnal – lead the one who is under its influence? 

What are the participants wearing?  Yes, I know that God looks on the heart, but the same Bible passage also makes it very clear that man looks on the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).  And the Bible declares what we all know to be true: he is greatly affected by what he sees (Lamentations 3:51). 

The Bible is very clear as to how a Christian is to adorn him/herself – MODEST apparel (1 Timothy 2:9).  The meaning of the word is not difficult, though it seems to give people problems.  Modest means proper; restrained by a sense of propriety; not bold or forward; not loose or lewd; moderate; not excessive or extreme; not extravagant. 

You and I both know that the dresses worn to this dance in no way match the Biblical instruction.  They are not proper or restrained; they are bold and forward; often loose and lewd; excessive and extravagant.

Of course it is possible to attend without being immodest, but please wake up and realize (1) that the pressure on all the young ladies making their plans to go is to be anything but, and (2) how difficult it is for a young man to keep his mind and thoughts and heart pure and clean when surrounded by such a fleshly display of immodesty. 

What other activities are generally associated with the prom?  Since 78.6% of statistics are made up on the spot, I don’t want to go there with this.   What I do want to ask is why do communities and “churches” seem to be big on providing “safe” and “alternative” after-prom activities if the majority of after-prom activities are safe and innocent.  Is it really any surprise that such an event (fleshy music, fleshy dress, fleshy activity) so often leads to drinking and immorality? 

The Biblical instruction.  With all that in consideration, please give your attention to these simple pieces of instruction from the word of God.

The inevitable response to the points raised above goes something like this: “That’s not why I want to go,” or “That’s not what my child will be doing.” 

My question is, “Then why do you want to go/want your child to go?  Why would you surround yourself/your child with those people dancing to that music wearing those clothes and doing those things?”

Here is what the Bible says: Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof (Romans 13:14).  Have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).  Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11).  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24).  Keep thy heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23).  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33).  Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away (Proverbs 4:14-15).  If we put ourselves in a place of temptation, we can be sure that God is not the one who led us there (Matthew 6:13).

Can you, parent/can you, young person honestly read those verses and believe that attending the prom is a good way to obey them? 

In my opinion, it boils down to the human desire to be accepted; to fit in; to be liked; to be cool; to not be weird.  May God help us get past all of that and subject our desires to the plain, simple principles of His word so that our lives can be blessed and used by Him.

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