Q. In the church I attend, there is an invitation to everyone present to share in communion when we have it. This includes visitors and non Christians and I know it is so they won’t feel conspicuous or awkward by abstaining. I feel uncomfortable by it and my thought is that non Christians shouldn’t partake of the Lord’s supper since it has no meaning for them. Does scripture address this?
A. In 1 Cor. 11:27-29 Paul said we ought to examine ourselves before celebrating communion, and that those who eat or drink without recognizing the body of the Lord bring judgment upon themselves. By the phrase “body of the Lord” I think Paul was referring to His sacrifice for our sins and our responsibility to acknowledge this in a manner that reflects our gratitude. Obviously unbelievers don’t recognize this and and in my opinion shouldn’t participate.
But Paul’s admonition was for each of us to examine ourselves. I think pastors should explain why communion is for believers only, but these verses say its up to each individual to make the decision whether or not to participate.