Question:

Hi,

I have two questions for now from reading your web site, I am sort of looking for the why and wherefore from you and God’s word.

  1. With your invitation to join the congregation for Sunday worship and Bible study; do you have any restrictions on who can and cannot join you for worship and the partaking of the Lord’s supper? For example, could same-sex couples or a non-believer, who has little interest in changing their lifestyle, come to worship?
  2. Can a person join the congregation for Sunday worship, the partaking of the Lord’s Supper with the giving of their means while not being forthcoming in any or limited information pertaining to themselves?

Thank you,

Answer:

Being present at a Bible study or worship service doesn't indicate whether a person is saved from their sins or whether the congregation approves of what they are doing in their life. That unbelievers can be present in the worship is shown by:

"So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you" (I Corinthians 14:22-25).

While the miraculous gifts are no longer present among the believers, there are several points that can be drawn from this passage.

  1. Unbelievers were sometimes present in worship assemblies.
  2. That while present, the things that are done may convince the person that they are in sin and need to change.

Thus, we don't practice closed worship. We don't interview people before welcoming them to join us in the worship of God. However, our worship both praises God and teaches those who are present. "What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification" (I Corinthians 14:26). Therefore, liars may hear statements about why lying is wrong and that they cannot continue to lie, homosexuals may hear statements about why homosexuality is wrong and that they need to leave their sin to be pleasing to God, and fornicators may hear that sex outside of marriage is wrong.

This is not the same as becoming a member of the congregation. Members are believers and are expected to follow the teachings of God. Those who live in sin are withdrawn from (no longer considered members) (I Corinthians 5).

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