From Pastor Mews: How is a Christian to view the current Immigration debate in our land?
In this fallen world, there are always hot topics and debates that may not be as clearly defined or easily solved. Our current “immigration debate,” appears to be one. Here are a few thoughts for you to reflect, pray, study Scripture and deliberate on what is the best and most Godly thing to do.
As Christians we are called to “Love our Neighbor, Matthew 22,” and at the same time to “Obey authorities, Romans 13.” So any discussion about this needs to begin with repentant faith and effort.
To begin this discussion, we as Christians are ultimately “sojourners” in this world. As the hymn states, “I’m but a stranger here, heaven is my home.” While we live “in” this world, we are not “of” this world. So being as those who are in many ways “aliens in this world,” Scripture calls us in Leviticus to have compassion and love for the “aliens” amongst us. See Leviticus 19. We are also called to love all, especially those who are part of the household of faith, see Romans 12:13.
At the same time, God’s law for the Government, “ministers of God,” Romans 13, stands. The government protects citizens from criminals, those who threaten national security, or use “immigrants” for human trafficking and cheap labor. Government is called to restrain evil and promote good.
With that in mind; here a few introductory conclusions:
***We can disagree on how to deal with this, but it is non- negotiable that Christians help deal with this.
***Lutheran theology helps us to avoid dealing in the extremes; there is a paradox of love and law.
***We cannot fulfill any vocation “without being involved in sin.” Seek repentance, not polarization.
***Don’t obscure the Gospel, A strong stance of law without insisting on repentance for those who
benefit directly or indirectly from “immigrants” like from cheap labor makes the church look
hypocritical and the message of the Gospel becomes blurred. Avoid labels.
To further clarify this; How does the Bible inform our attitudes towards immigrants today?
**We are mandated to obey civil law and love our neighbor. These don’t contradict each other. How can we minister to those “immigrants” who may be set back amidst economic difficulty or fear of persecution for becoming a Christian in cultures where religious tolerance does not exist? What about splitting up families, the law enforcement’s rights, labor demand and earned paths to citizenship and legalization? Are we naïve to believe that all immigrants care to assimilate into our culture? Justice, which Jesus’ repeatedly insisted is that no one is above the law or can ignore the law.
**We as believers live in two realms, The Church and The State. We are called to live out our faith in our vocation. There are layers of neighbors; Who is my neighbor first? My family, fellow believer, fellow citizen? That might be the case in the realm of the State, but in the realm of the Church all are my neighbor. My hope and prayer is that is rouses you to think, deliberate, Study Scripture and pray as God works through your enlightened conscience for what is best. Most importantly, in repentant faith and hope, thank God for the blessings of faith and life we have in Jesus Christ. Pastor Mews.
(Taken from CTCR document, “Immigrants Among Us.”)