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The Juanita Bynum-E. Dewey Smith Viral Dancing Video Debate: Who’s Right?

(EEW Magazine) On Nov. 17, Prophetess Juanita Bynum, 55, updated her Facebook status with a video of an Atlanta congregation dancing to secular music in the sanctuary, captioning it, “This is why we have to pray.”

The featured footage belonged to Greater Traveler’s Rest (House of Hope), led by Pastor E. Dewey Smith in Decatur, GA. Bynum’s commentary sparked an online war of sorts.

On one side, there are supporters of the viral dancing video. On the other side, there are detractors. Each side, however, claims to be right.

Who actually is?

Well, if the tension it causes among Believers is any indication, there is no black and white answer.

The decades-old debate about whether secular music has any place within the four walls of the church has never been resolved, with some saying yes and others answering with an unequivocal no.

Dr. Smith checks the yes column as long as, according to him, the music is “non-violent, non-misogynistic, non-vulgar, non-profane, non-degrading and non-sexual in nature.”

Too bad one of the songs, Chris Brown’s “New Flame” is indeed sexual in nature, although the highlighted snippet played on the occasion of the ministry’s 138th Anniversary omitted the egregious references.

Each year, House of Hope has a moment of multi-generational celebration, honoring different age groups and acknowledging their journey of faith. This is an effort to bridge the gap that exists in many churches among “Builders” (born 1945 and before); “Boomers” (born between 1946-1965); “Busters” (born between 1966-1983); and “Bridgers” (born between 1984-2003).

One song represents their past, before Christ (B.C.) and the other is the tune that sets the soundtrack of that generation’s after-deliverance (from sin) days (A.D.).

“New Flame,” which features Usher and Rick Ross, is an invitation to a woman to leave the club with a male suitor and engage in sexual relations—hardly meeting the criteria the pastor set.

Notwithstanding, the intention behind what Smith calls a “moment of fun,” is said to be harmless.

Not if you ask Bynum and many others like her within the black church, known to be highly conservative and anti-secular, depending upon the level of traditionalism inherent in their background.

“I want to thank all for standing with me for the sacred things of God,” wrote Bynum in a response comment on Facebook. “Crying, not judging. Just standing for what I hold dear and sacred and that’s the display of worship.”

Credit: Sirius XMHer thoughts were met with harsh criticism from Twitter users—many who slammed her for being “irrelevant.”

“People can curse at me, call me names. I really don’t care. I’m crying in worship and praise to God for giving me a conviction about what is to be kept holy. I know these are the times when I must choose between popular opinion and my stand for what is holy and sacred. I already died to self. So whatever people say, you can’t kill me.”

Unfortunately, the varying opinions of each sect has created a division within Christendom where the more contemporary Christians claim that traditionalists who disagree with secular music in the sanctuary are “too deep,” “fake holy,” or worse yet, “ignorant.”

Each side would do well to strive to be loving and compassionate, and considerate of diversity within the Body.

For those who regard themselves as “more evolved” in the sacred vs. secular debate, must not so revel in their perceived enlightenment that they become a dismissive “stumblingblock” for their less evolved (for lack of a better term) brothers and sisters.

Whether it is the one giving the tongue-lashing, or the one on the receiving end of it, each party should check their alignment with Biblical conduct.

James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others…”

Throwing verbal—or digital—daggers is not the way to go.

RELATED: Why is E. Dewey Smith re-tweeting a gay Bishop

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Reader Comments (8)

Anything that's not of God will come to nought. But if it be of God, we can't over throw it.

December 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

I don't really understand where the confusion comes from. The Bible is clear that we should "be separate." In doing so, we can't listen to their music, adopt their practices or their ideologies. The problem is, though, that PEOPLE have begun to believe that THEY are the ones who can draw others to Christ; when Christ clearly states that HE will do that if WE only lift Him up. How this practice does that is beyond me.

May 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Johnson

God is not pleased!

May 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFlesh2Spirit

For the author of this article, would u have preferred Bynum to pick up the phone and call Smith. im just trying to follow how u don't want social media used for that conversation, yet u did the same thin when u voiced your opinion. Did you call Bynum and say that speak with Smith one on one. Smith event was posted on social media so she has a rift to respond as such. She has the nerve to say what a lot of people said in social media. She just is the person of influence. Be fair

July 12, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterConnie


July 18, 2015 | Unregistered Commentergail

Often as christians we become judge, and jurors falling into the state of judgement. We tend to forget that God uses all of our experiences as a mean to draw us close to him. Our past, present and future experiences play a significant role in our Christian maturity stage. Jesus came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. The word of God encourages us to choose life. How are we to understand good, if we don't and didn't experience the bad. The word or this event is not sin, but, Balance.

July 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDinah

Often as christians we become judge, and jurors falling into the state of judgement. We tend to forget that God uses all of our experiences as a mean to draw us close to him. Our past, present and future experiences play a significant role in our Christian maturity stage. Jesus came that we may have life, and have it more abundantly. The word of God encourages us to choose life. How are we to understand good, if we don't and didn't experience the bad. The word for this event is not sin, but, Balance.

July 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDinah

One thing I have learned on this journey no one likes to be corrected, rather in private or public, but a mature Christain may not like it but will say ouch, except the correction, learn from it and move on allowing themselves to grow in God, not holding a grudge. I say there are standards that must be held when it come to the things of God. If we understand the sanctuary and the purpose of it many things we allow we would not allow. The sanctuary is not for fun(read the Old Testament which is the type and shadow). The sanctuary is a place of worship, and sacrifice laying out lives at the altar before the almighty. If you want to have fun do it at home or a civic center or some other place, but not the holy place of God. When a prophet see an injustice they have to cry out regardless of how it make others feel. We as saints we are judges. 1Cor 6:2 Do ye not then know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters. know ye not that we shall judge Angels? How much more things that pertain to this life. Vs 4 if then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. We are to judge, else how would we separate the clean from the unclean and distinguish what is allowed in the house of worship. I know it doesn't feel good to be cut on. But if he really wants to be obedient to the father he will hear what the proper is saying and not make it personal but adhere to the what is to presented in the sanctuary.

August 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTena

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