Thinking about Immigration as Christians

I don’t have considered opinions on the policy specifics of immigration. I’m struck, however, by how often discussions are driven by corrupted values — parties gaining seats in upcoming elections, crafting proposals to please this or that angry voting group, etc.

Our contested cultural climate shapes the way many Christian people to consider this issue, unfortunately. We think from values that don’t come from the gospel, but from this or that economic theory, this or that party platform, or simply from grasping selfishness.

Flight Into Egypt

Jesus & his family fleeing across the border (“Flight to Egypt,” Rembrandt)

Russell Moore argues that regardless of policy specifics, Christians must think about immigration as Christians. A few paragraphs from his blog post:

The larger issue is in how we talk about this issue, recognizing that this is not about “issues” or “culture wars” but about persons made in the image of God. Our churches must be the presence of Christ to all persons, regardless of country of origin or legal status. We need to stand against bigotry and harassment and exploitation, even when it’s politically profitable for those who stand with us on other issues.

And, most importantly, we must love our brothers and sisters in the immigrant communities. We must be the presence of Christ to and among them, even as we receive ministry from them. Our commitment to a multinational kingdom of God’s reconciliation in Christ must be evident in the verbal witness of our gospel and in the visible makeup of our congregations.

Immigration isn’t just an issue. It’s an opportunity to see that, as important as the United States of America is, there will be a day when the United States of America will no longer exist. And on that day, the sons and daughters of God will stand before the throne of a former undocumented immigrant. Some of them are migrant workers and hotel maids now. They will be kings and queens then. They are our brothers and sisters forever.

We might be natural-born Americans, but we’re all immigrants to the kingdom of God (Eph. 2:12-14). Whatever our disagreements on immigration as policy, we must not disagree on immigrants as persons. Our message to them, in every language and to every person, must be “Whosoever will may come.”

See his entire post here, reprinted here.

One thought on “Thinking about Immigration as Christians

  1. Andrew T.

    While some wild olive shoots [Rom 11:17] of the ‘Kingdom of God’ were grafted in (substituting “grafting” for “immigrating for the sake of remaining consistent with biblical language [Rom 11:23]) it cannot be concluded biblically that ALL the citizens of the Kingdom were ‘grafted’ in. That is not logical or valid exegesis.

    Therefore it is not true there were no natural ‘children of the promise’, or children of God. Paul himself noted to exiled Israelites of Galatia having ‘faith’ was evidence of being a child of the Promise. Therefore these Galatians were sons of Abraham. (Note: Galatian or Γαλα-τικός meant “having the character of an exile (from -τικός and Γαλα (H1540) as in [Amos 7:11]. Clearly there were Israelites in Galatia, paganized from the House of Israel, just as there were Jews in Judea who were non-Israelites, because of the Edomite conversion of John Hyrcanus’ [Rev 2:3; 3:9].

    Paul wrote that faith was a hallmark of being a ‘child of the promise’ Israelite (vs being an Edomite say [Rom 9:13]). Paul also said that the children of the promise were counted as offspring [Rom 9:8]. “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.” [Rom :9:4].

    Therefore you could distinguish true Israelites, as sons of Abraham, from all other pretenders, since they shared the same faith as their forefather Abraham: “Know therefore, that those of faith, these sons are of Abraham.” [Gal 3:7]. To contextualize this claim Paul quoted (in [Gal 3:8]) Israel’s’ OT promise from [Gen 12:3; 18:18; 22:18].

    Finally, Christ’s quote in [Matt 15:24] (or [Matt 10:6] can be taken to mean that His purpose was to reclaim these natural born ‘Children of the Promise’ (who clearly exhibited the same faith as their forefather ([Lev 26:12]) – such as those Paul addressed in [Gal 4:28].

    Those wild olive shoots grafted in should not be jealous of the root that supports them [Rom 11:17-18] so too should they not claim there was no root to be grafted into. David’s thrown, and Abraham branch (Isaac, Jacob, Joseph) was that Kingdom Christ claimed and upon which He built his Holy Mountain.

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