a.) Would you pass it to an unbeliever?
b.) Would you pass it to a person you did not consider in your fellowship?
Who will deny that the Lord’s Supper is for believers? Who will deny that the Lord’s Supper is to be shared among those in the fellowship of God’s dear Son? As a demonstration of belief and fellowship our Lord instituted a supper at which those who are in him eat and drink together in proclamation of his death.
The Greek word generally translated “fellowship” is used to describe the Lord’s Supper. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (koinonia) of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion (koinonia) of the body of Christ? For we, being, many are on bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:16:17).
Partaking of the Lord’s Supper is indicative of belief in Jesus Christ and being in fellowship with God and fellow believers. When you pass the elements of the Lord’s Supper to another person it is a tacit acknowledgment that the person is a child of God. J.B. Phillips translates 1 Corinthians 10:16b, “The very fact that we all share in one Bread makes us all one Body.” When you pass the bread and cup to another person to share with you, you are indicating that you recognize him as a child of God and in your fellowship. Otherwise the sharing is just a mere legalistic ritual which I am sorry to say it has become in many assemblies of the Churches of Christ. Thus I do not think we should knowingly pass it to unbelievers or those we do not consider in the fellowship of God’s dear Son. Yet in almost every segment of the Churches of Christ the practice of extending fellowship to unbelievers and those not considered in the fellowship by passing them the bread and cup is common. I admit I stand with those guilty.
Interestingly, over the years I have assembled with brethren who have blackballed me, yet when they partook of the Lord’s Supper they passed the bread and cup to me. They allowed me to participate in the highest expression of fellowship in the church of Christ. Indiscriminately they “fellowshipped” me yet I couldn’t lead a song or prayer or teach them anything because that would be “fellowshipping” me. Oh yes, they did take the dollar I put in the collection basket when it was passed to me.