Every few months or so an angry church visitor storms the stage after the service demanding an explanation for why I didn’t provide a detailed warning to non-Christians to not take the Lord’s Supper.
With a scowl on their face they’ll wildly start flipping through the pages of their Bibles until their finger lands on 1 Corinthians 11:27-29,
“So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.”
“Do you understand what this is saying?” they’ll angrily ask.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure I do.”
“Well, I have news for you: you don’t.”
“Please,” I’ll eventually say. “I have a question for you: do you believe non-Christians are going to hell?”
“Oh absolutely,” they’ll quickly respond.
“Then if they take communion,” I’ll ask, “do they go to a hotter part of hell?”
[followed by awkward silence]
“I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m pretty sure you don’t understand what that scripture is talking about.”
Why I Don’t Discourage Non-Christians from Taking the Lord’s Supper
Typically after a conversation like this, I will give these three reasons why I don’t discourage non-Christians from taking the Lord’s Supper.
- 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 addresses the lack of seriousness with which Christians approach the Lord’s Supper, not non-Christians.
- For almost every non-Christian guest that walks through our doors (60-80% former Catholics who haven’t been to church in 15-20+ years) the Eucharist is a spiritual experience that is familiar, comfortable, and often draws them closer to a relationship with Christ. If there’s no biblical prohibition against it, why would we discourage non-Christians from participating?
- Not providing a blanket warning to non-Christians at communion time is just one of the many things we do that purposely flushes out the legalistic Christian subculture bottom feeders who couldn’t care less about the spiritual plight of non-Christians as they hop from church to church to church.
If our seemingly lax approach to the Lord’s Supper doesn’t cause them to never come back, explaining reason #3 usually does the trick.
Self-serving immature Christians hate being called out, and unfortunately, in almost all churches, rarely are.