Every year, millions of high school students across the nation gather together with their classmates in a social event known as the prom. Usually, the students will get dressed up, go to dinner together, and then meet at a venue, where, traditionally, a dance is held. As Christians we can find nothing wrong, scripturally speaking, with an evening of fun for high school students. Additionally, there is something to be said for our young people sitting around a dinner table together in an effort to get to know one another. Dressing up in formal attire can be enjoyable and memorable. However, believing the prom is completely innocent and should not give Christians concern, is misguided. Associated with the prom are a number of worldly pleasures that are oftentimes indulged in and even celebrated as rites of passage.
First, traditionally speaking, the prom is known for the immodest dress of attendees. Certainly we live in this world and will encounter immodesty outside of our control. However, to willingly subject our young men to several hours of close proximity with many immodestly dressed girls would certainly not help them keep their minds pure. To send our daughters to a place where hormones are raging and where they easily become objectified by many of the male attendees could not be deemed as wise. Job “made a covenant with [his] eyes” (Job 31:1); our young men would do well to do the same. Unnecessarily sending them (or allowing them to go) into a war-zone with copious amounts of skin revealed would be unfortunate, to say the least.
Secondly, traditionally speaking, the prom is known for indecent dancing. By way of clarification, it would be a stretch to say that all dancing is sinful. However, the dancing that is most often associated with the prom would most definitely fall under the umbrella of ‘lasciviousness’- which is condemned as a “work of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19). Lasciviousness is the unchaste handling of males and females and indecent bodily movements. To deny that lasciviousness is prevalent on the dance floor of prom would be to ignore the obvious. Even those of the world clearly recognize this as evidenced by one of my former high school classmates who commented that the dancing at our prom was nothing more than “vertical sex.” And while we’re on the subject, did you realize that many make it their goal to lose their sexual purity (or take someone else’s) on prom night?
Finally, traditionally speaking, the prom is known for the ensuing drunkenness. For many of the world, prom night is more about the party to follow. Even school districts and parent groups are going to great lengths to provide safe, “post-prom-parties,” in hopes that the student’s evenings will be alcohol-free. Aside from the illegality and danger of high school students imbibing in alcohol, for the Christian, abstaining from the influence and damning nature of alcohol is a must (Pro. 20:21; I Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:19-21).
So what is the Prom Alternative? The Prom Alternative is not a “Christian Prom.” The evening is exactly what the name describes: an alternative for our young people to the traditional prom: an evening for our young people to get together in nice attire, share a meal together, and spend some time engaging in fun games and fellowship. Understandably, some have a concern about calling the evening the “Prom Alternative” because they believe that it does not create enough distinction between the traditional prom and the alternative activities. Instead, some have suggested calling the evening the “Spring Formal.” In my estimation, if the concern was to avoid confusion about what the evening is about by calling it something that does not use the word “prom” in the title, then calling it “Spring Formal” will not fully suffice either, as there is also a dance traditionally associated with school-organized “Spring Formals.”
Ultimately, parents would be well within their right to say, “sorry, you’re not going to prom, AND there’s no reason to plan anything alternatively for you because sometimes that’s life: you don’t always get to participate in the same things that the world participates in.” However, I do believe that it is wise to provide wholesome alternatives to the things of the world in order to more properly occupy the time of our children. By doing so, teachable moments are made available and friendships and bonds are founded in Christ, rather than the things of the world. We encourage your support in providing an alternative to the traditional prom.