Non-Christians serving in Church?

Col 3 16 c

(Continued from yesterday)

On the other hand, some have pushed this evangelistic purpose to allow unbelievers to serve in various capacities, on the rationale that some might come to know God through serving. I believe this is going too far, and putting the cart before the horse. A worship service is, first and foremost, to worship and praise God. We are there not to sing before the congregation, nor to listen to a sermon, important as these are, but to honor and praise God, and to use the worship service primarily as a tool for outreach is to misuse it. A seeker can learn about God, but cannot really worship God in spirit and in truth.

A second purpose to gather together is to encourage one another e.g.
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
• Heb 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

How can unbelievers encourage or teach and admonish Christians when they do not have the Spirit or the word of Christ dwelling in them?

Heb 10 25 b

Are there examples of unbelievers serving in ministry, besides being used by God to punish His people? The only example I can think of is Acts 1:15-17 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.” Depending on your theology, some believed that Judas was a believer who renounced his faith, while others believed that he was never a genuine believer in the first place. If the former, then it shows that being a believer is no guarantee that you will finish well. If the latter, then it demonstrates that putting him in a position of leadership has dire consequences. So regardless of your position, this is a negative example and not normative.

What’s the conclusion? If unbelievers have a place in worship, but should not be serving in all kinds of capacities, what is the middle ground? I believe an appropriate place to draw the line is serving in a support versus leadership role. I don’t think any unbeliever should be placed in a public, highly visible, lead role, because to do so would:
• Draw the attention to them, not to God, which is fundamentally flawed.
• Celebrities may draw people to church, but for the wrong reasons. The church’s mission is to proclaim Christ, not to entertain.
• Like it or not, public figures may be viewed as representing the church. We do not want unbelievers as the church’s representatives.
• If they have bad conduct, they may also damage the church’s reputation.
• Confuse non-Christians present as to the separation between the “holy” and the “secular”, the “clean” and the “unclean”.
• Misrepresent the nature of the gospel to other unbelievers by giving the wrong impression that one is accepted on the basis of their talent or ability, not faith in Christ;
• Mislead the unbeliever himself that salvation is earned or merited.

However, for background, low-profile, supportive roles e.g. setting up the drama scenes, as one of many musicians etc., these potential problems are minimized. They can interact with Christians and taste what faith in action is like, and have opportunities to respond to the gospel. So, to summarize, going back to the case of the well-known non-Christian actor, I do not support the church using him in a lead role. The cons far outweigh the pros.

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