Harlem Shake: Christians Losing Self-Control

The Harlem Shake. In churches!?!

The house of God is sacred. It's not a circus or a playground!


Don’t Bring That 'Harlem Shake' To My Church!

The three month itch is back and most fad driven churches are buzzing with the latest fad in town. The rumor is if you do this (enter name of which ever church marketing strategy you fancy Gangnam style, Harlem Shake e.t.c), people will like your church or if you do that you will be considered a ‘relevant’ church. So every three months or less you will find all these self styled church growth gurus keeping a hand on the pulse of culture so as to keep the church looking trendy. The fads just keep coming and today it’s the ‘Harlem shake’ (see video clip below)! With all this craziness going on in church (just like when Kundalini and Slaying in the Spirit was a fad) there’s hardly any time for Bible study and hey don’t even speak about having reverence for the Lord or his house.

These relentless overtures
to make the church more hip or more culturally savvy are in themselves a danger to any church. They downgrade the gospel, make people seek excitements as vehicles for their silliness and pander after entertainment instead of seeking Christ as a Savior for their sins. These excitements are a judgement to any church. Believers come seeking for bread and to be fed and you offer them stones! Oh brood of vipers, and you call yourselves Christ-ian (Christ-like)!

Ah, it’s just harmless fun in the sanctuary. No one is being hurt you reason – but some of these very antics only harden the hearts of many sinners to the gospel. (Let me take a deep breath here and add…) these antics when done in church actually blur the line between what is sacred and the profane. In the Bible such antics are called ‘abominations’ and at times ‘false fires’ and at other times ‘foolishness’. I cannot for the life in me imagine the Apostle Paul saying to the Corinthians, ‘When I came to you I chose to know nothing else but Christ and Him crucified the ‘Corinth Shake”![Gasp!]

Please Mr. Worship leader guy or youth pastor or church growth consultant (wheeeew …. there are so many titles in church these days) do not darken the face of my Lord by trying to bring these endless fads to your local church or church youth group. Instead relentlessly and faithfully point the sinners and kids entrusted to you to the cross. The message may come forth with weakness and trembling but the gospel in itself has the demonstration power of the Holy Spirit (who is greater than any ‘Harlem Shake’). In the words of Edward Mote (the hymn writer) show me that my hope should be built on nothing less than Christ the Solid Rock so that I too can say:

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
~Edward Mote (1797)

Unfortunately, words alone don't quite express why the Harlem Shake in churches is a problem.



Your Crazy Reverend At Crossroads Community Church



Maranatha Baptism



St. Peter's Baptist Church


Harlem shake from St Peter's Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Ivy MCR Church



Inspiration Church



Ignited Cornerstone Church

No reverence whatsoever! Wake up church! And that's just the tip of the iceberg, folks.

Surely, this is crystal clear evidence that contemporary Christianity is in danger (1 Corinthians 9:25).

Self-control is crucial to victory. The word which is rendered "is temperate" in 1 Corinthians 9:25 (ἐγκρατευεται egkrateuetai) denotes "abstinence" from all that would excite, stimulate, and ultimately enfeeble; from wine, from exciting and luxurious living, and from licentious indulgences. I don't see any of that exhibited in these Harlem Shake church videos.

This desire to gain the world's approval by appearing as "cool" as possible each and every time a church and/or youth group creates their own Harlem Shake video is embarrassing behavior for ambassadors much less "ambassadors for Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:20) and it violates Scripture (Galatians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Peter 1:4-7).

No self-control. No desire to please Him more than pleasing themselves or the world.

What would Jesus do? Would He approve of, or engage in, the Harlem Shake? Absolutely not! His reaction would be fierce.



Like I said, those churches partaking in the Harlem Shake are showing no reverence whatsoever.

I'm reminded of the Psalmist's heartfelt concern and genuine frustration.


Psalm 11:3 (KJV) 3If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

These are the words of a committed, but confused saint. His philosophical problem is, "In view of the crumbling of the theocratic society, what can one righteous person, out of a shrinking remnant, do?" So is the sentiment today I'm afraid.

In Paul's day (as in Peter's), self-control was used of athletes who were to be self-restrained and self-disciplined. Thus, a Christian is expected to control the flesh, the passions, and the bodily desires, rather than allowing himself to be controlled by them. A Christian is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, not by the flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27; Galatians 5:23).

Virtue, guided by knowledge, disciplines desire and makes it the servant -- not the master -- of one's life.

Seeing the Harlem Shake being performed in churches is proof that Christians are losing self-control. Then again, maybe we should be prayerfully considering whether they ever really had any to begin with.

Of course, the Lord told us to expect times like this, especially as we got closer and closer to His Second Coming.


2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV) 1But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

Godlessness in these last days.

Just stop and seriously ask yourself what any of this nonsense has to do with honoring, praising, revering, serving, and worshiping the holy Lord.

The answer should be immediately obvious. If not, then please prayerfully consider the problem with Christians doing the Harlem Shake.

In the never ending quest maintain relevance, the Christian Church is only spiraling down in to the abyss as evidenced by these examples of debauchery and licentiousness on full display inside the holy sanctuary.

Keep looking up (Luke 21:28)!

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