However, there is evidence in the New Testament that unbelievers, and new converts were present in the
assemblies of the church. How did they arrive? Again, based on the evidence before us we will have to exclude invitations to Sunday morning church service, simply because there is no example. More than likely it was the appeal of the Gospel that drew people to meet with the church in order to learn more.
Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word - Acts 8:4
19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. - Acts 11:19-21
The church of the New Testament was spreading the Gospel! A compelling reason why new converts and unbelievers would have been in the midst of the assembly of the New Testament church.4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. - 1 Thessalonians 1:4-8
Consider the following from 1 Corinthians 14:16, 23 (NKJV):
16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the *uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?
23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are *uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
Those translating this passage into English must have been challenged not to offend. Looking at the various translations, I find it quite humorous. It also goes to show how language can change over time. Idiotes must not have been a highly offensive term for the Apostle Paul to use in writing the above to the Corinthian church; for that matter, at the time it was harmless. In English, 'Idiotes' is more accurately translated as 'idiot', which many would find offensive as it is used mostly in a derogatory sense. Here are some of the various English translations: unlearned (KJV); Uninformed (NKJV); ungifted (NASB); Outsiders (ESV); people ... who are without understanding (ERV). I believe the ERV, NKJV, and KJV have the best translation for this word, in that it keeps within the proper context of what Paul is writing about this group of people in the assembly. The ESV ('Outsiders'), and the NASB ('ungifted') are disappointing, especially considering they are my two personal favorite translations.*idiotes (id-ee-o'-tace); an ignoramus (compare "idiot"): KJV - ignorant, unlearned.
I don't think we will ever refer to new converts in the church as idiots. The term, used in it's proper context, refers to a group of people in the midst of the assembly that is ignorant, or unlearned (KJV). It simply means that there is a group of people who do not yet have a full understanding. With all that being said ...
Why do I say that the unlearned in the above passage are new converts? For one, the other group mentioned (v 23) is "unbelievers". They are not both the same. Second, Jesus tells us there is a need to teach new converts:
Who would be the "them" in the above passage? The newly converted; those that have been baptized. The same ones who need to be taught more; the unlearned; the uninformed; people who are without understanding.19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. - Matthew 28:19-20