The Evangelical Immigration Table is encouraging Christians to take on a “biblical view” of immigration by loving one’s neighbor and supporting policy that allows undocumented immigrants to earn legal status.
Scripture does not necessarily prescribe “specific immigration policy” to govern any particular nation but the Bible is “replete with stories of immigrants, with specific instructions from God to the Israelites about how to treat the foreigners who came to reside in their land, and with broader principles that have clear ramifications for how contemporary followers of Jesus should interact with our immigrant neighbors,” EIT’s newly released e-book, titled Thinking Biblically about Immigrants & Immigration Reform, says.
The book highlights God’s concern for the world’s most vulnerable and how some of the Bible’s most prominent characters were immigrants themselves. God’s people are told to love immigrants “as themselves” because “they knew firsthand what it is like to dwell in a land that was not their own.”
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong,” the book quotes Leviticus. “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
The 35-page e-book is endorsed by leaders of the eight organizations that head EIT, a broad coalition of evangelical organizations and leaders that advocate for immigration reform “consistent with biblical values.”
Those leaders include Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Samuel Rodriguez, an Assemblies of God pastor and head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; retiring National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson; Edgar Sandoval, president of the evangelical humanitarian agency World Vision U.S.; and Scott Arbeiter, who heads NAE’s humanitarian arm World Relief.
The book comes as a 2015 LifeWay Research poll found that just 12 percent of evangelicals cited the Bible as the primary influence of their opinions on immigration. Evangelicals were more likely to cite the media, local church and national Christian leaders as influencers in their immigration opinions.
Evangelicals in the U.S. are challenged to be guided by Scripture in their approach and thinking about the hot-button issue of immigration policy, one of many political issues dividing the nation.
“Though the Bible certainly includes principles that can help guide lawmakers, the Scriptures also speak to every follower of Jesus as they interact with their neighbors, some of whom are immigrants,” the book states.
“In fact, while applying biblical principles to public policy inherently requires some prudential determinations, biblical teachings about how to interact with immigrants themselves leave less space for differences of interpretation: We’re called to love our neighbors (Luke 10:27) and to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), regardless of where we land on public policy.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith