You Mean To Tell Me That We're Supposed Let The Unconverted Into Church?


Charles Spurgeon in his book: The Soul-Winner : or How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour, said

“To introduce unconverted persons to the church, is to weaken and degrade it; and therefore an apparent gain may be a real loss.”


Andy Stanley, in his book: Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend, said

“It’s a shame that so many churches are married to a designed-by-Christians-for-Christians-only culture.”


So, which is it?  Are we supposed to let the unconverted into church or not?

 Or, is there a different question we should be asking?

0 thoughts on “You Mean To Tell Me That We're Supposed Let The Unconverted Into Church?

  1. How about, do either of these men, both mightily used of God, have a biblical foundation to stand on for what they say?

    • Miguel says:

      Marty, I was going to include those exact words, “both used mightily by God.” I forgot. Thanks for adding them. And, the question you raise is valid. I hope this conversation can get to the heart of the issues.

  2. Jonathan says:

    I don’t see the contradiction between Spurgeon and Stanley here. Spurgeon and Stanley share the view that the church is composed of the redeemed. Stanley is referring to a church culture that is inward focused.

  3. Mark Guinn says:

    If you view church as primarily revolving around weekly teaching and worship you’re going to go around and round on that one, for sure. 🙂 In our community we (mostly unintentionally) have solved that tension by having a variety of elements to our monthly rhythm – eating together, movie nights, worship, smaller group discipleship, simple prayer times, and extended prayer/worship times. The primary biblical mandate in my view is to practice hospitality, not just of home and food but of our lives and our family (relational) spaces. Since there’s a gradation of intensity and any given month our friends can share as much of our life with Jesus as they want (which also gives an indication of where/how the Spirit is drawing them) and the core community still has space to press into God with intensity.

    I don’t know if that’s “correct” but it’s what has happened naturally in our community as we’ve de-cluttered our time and moved away from the focus on a weekly service.

  4. Wes James says:

    The church must have very clear boundaries for those who are disciples of Christ and those who are not. Biblically this rite of passage is baptism (Matt. 28:18-20).

    The church is supposed to be “unstained” by the world and unrepentant sin should not be tolerated in the church community for “a little yeast leavens the whole lump” (Jam. 1:27; 1 Cor. 5:6-13). Therefore, no sinful pagan activities should be allowed in churches.

    In other places Paul says that the church should be mindful of unbelievers in the midst of a church meeting and they should allow only practices that will work toward repentance (1 Cor. 14:22-25). This means that unbelievers or “inquirers” should be permitted into meetings to observe (not participate in the meeting I would argue).

    Ultimately it’s a complicated issue that needs to be solved situationally but I believe those are some of the principles in scripture. 1) We need a clearer designation of those who are claiming the name of Christ and those who are not. Western Evangelicalism has not come down firmly on baptism to make sure people know that it’s not what actually saves you but it has worked to pollute the body and blur the distinction between sons and enemies of God. 2) The church needs to maintain its purity of doctrine and practice and 3) unbelieving “inquirers” should be welcomed but not permitted to participate (in the context “prophesy”).

    • David Woods says:

      I’ve got to wholeheartedly disagree here Wes. These are the problems that are caused, and theologies assumed by the defining of the church as an organization. This is in fact, a prime example.

      Biblically, the church is the people, we are the temple of God, not the building, the gathering, the assembly, or the organization. The Scriptures you quote about the church being unstained by the world, sin not being tolerated, only allowing things that work toward repentance, maintaining purity of doctrine and practice, etc. is directed at each person as an individual. These are guidelines by which we must judge ourselves to make sure we are living Scriptural lives, not ground rules by which we are to judge others, and certainly not criteria for including some, and excluding others.

      There can be exclusive “mature Christian only” gatherings of different types that are safe for the kids, or where things are discussed that “newbies” wouldn’t quite understand if need be, but the classic, Sunday morning worship services under a steeple are no place for that. They are FOR the unchurched, ungodly, and even sometimes unruly among us who need to find their place in the Lord. They are the places with a Baptismal tank (as you mentioned) for a reason.

  5. Peter says:

    What did Charles Spurgeon mean by church?

  6. David Woods says:

    I’d say, in a perfect world, the pews would be full of the unchurched, The pulpit, video room, sound board, secretaries desk, etc. would be full of those at differing levels of discipleship maturity, and those learned, and elder in the faith would each be doing what God called them to do, whether that be an apostle or prophet leading the church (through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, of course), evangelists bringing in the unsaved, teachers helping to disciple the congregation in small groups, missionaries being sent to other countries (or being urban missionaries such as Bill Johnson and others), or various other duties as the Lord leads, in and outside of the organization commonly referred to as church.

    Of course we all know the people ARE the church (the temple of the Holy Spirit), but as I’ve said before, if we want our daughters married, our dead buried, our nursing homes and jails visited, our churches open all day every day for the hurting and lost, and various other things that we expect of our churches, then there needs to be a building in town with a steeple on it, and a paid pastor in it during the day, so that people will know where to go when they are at the end of their rope.

  7. Kat says:

    I love the uns, so easy to talk with about Jesus. Far easier.

  8. Marshall says:

    the stadium-seating, pews, etc., of organized venue can make for a “plethos”, if only Christ could present even as Simon Peter did from Acts 2. Yet most often, something else (i.e., a philosopher’s forum or a me-centered event; the mention of a watered-down gospel) is more likely to recur in church buildings each week.
    Should not surprise us how an unbeliever would feel a little strange to be among ekklesia. It’s not of this world, and that should rattle any man whose not yet in Christ. Historically, visitors have been few… even to associate with true Christians is at the risk of persecution or death; if not by association, then by becoming a follower of Christ, taking up your cross, etc.

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