Should seating for observers at assembly meetings and for those in the fellowship be separate?

Should seating for observers at assembly meetings and for those in the fellowship be separate?

We will find no scripture specifically commanding this, yet any thoughtful reader of 1 Corinthians 14:15-25 will recognize this separation in seating can be helpful to the observer who needs to learn God's order in the assembly. A physical separation in seating demonstrates the distinctions the Spirit of God makes between "the whole church" met together and others present who are "unlearned (untaught) or unbelievers."

Initially, it is easier to observe" from without than from within a company. The Christian who first learns truth regarding the assembly while looking on will continue to learn more when he becomes part of the fellowship. Even an observer who is unsaved may be instructed by the Spirit as he observes the distinction between the saved ones in the circle and his own place before God. "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew ("announce" or "proclaim") the Lord's death till He come" (I Corinthians 11:26). While we declare His death to the Father, the Supper can also proclaim gospel truth to the lost!

Most important, Paul states, "Let all things be done decently and in order" (I Corinthians 14:40). A separate seat preserves order in the gathering. One seated outside the "circle" will be less apt to participate publicly or to partake inadvertently of the emblems at the breaking of bread. For this reason, a separate seat is most appropriate at the Breaking of Bread.

J. Slabaugh