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Question and Answer

What should we do about the presence of unbelievers in church meetings when Christians celebrate the Lord’s Supper?

First, we should thank God that unbelievers are present. Second, we need to be sensitive and careful to reflect Christ’s heart for the lost. Third, before the distribution of the elements, I suggest that the pastor, or someone who has skill in the public reading of Scripture, read 1 Corinthians 11:23–31. Such a reading will benefit Christians and unbelievers alike.

Finally, as we explain the biblical parameters of participation, why not extend an invitation to unbelievers to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior? If they trust the Lord, then invite them to join us as a part of God’s family and participate with us. Still, even if an unbeliever does participate in the Lord’s Supper, the Lord may use their very participation to convict them of sin and bring them to Himself. The Puritan preacher and pastor Solomon Stoddard, who was the grandfather and pastoral mentor of Jonathan Edwards, converted to Christ while he was receiving communion. We can trust that God will assess the hearts of all who are present and His Spirit will bring conviction, judgment, and salvation as He wills.

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is currently working towards his third degree in at the University of Bristol, England. An ordained minister and full-time professor of pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute, Winfred has served churches across the City of Chicago, the near west subburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren. 

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