Way back in May 2016 I posted a series called “On Sojourners, Walls and Illegal Aliens.” I’m going to repost the 7-part series and then extend it by just a post or two — all running concurrently with the present series on N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began.
I thought the series might spark a thoughtful conversation about Christians and immigration — and obviously I have failed. I mean, if Facebook is any indicator of contemporary evangelical thought, there are two camps. Either you believe the government has a duty to protect its citizens against the dangers of terrorists and other criminals who might enter the country as immigrants (It does. Rom 13 is quite clear.) or you believe that the government should be open to immigrants because of the many sojourners passages in the OT and the many hospitality passages in the NT (Kudos on reading and trying to live those passages. They mean what they say.)
What I don’t read on Facebook is any effort to honor both concepts. I mean, both the left and the right are proof-texting their preferred positions rather than seeking a comprehensive understanding of what the Bible really says. We ignore the inconvenient verses and pound on our enemies (often fellow Christians) with proof texts. It’s hard to avoid the impression that we make up our minds and only then thumb through our concordances looking to “prove” what we’ve already concluded — and this is true of both sides.
My view is that the Scriptures actually have quite a lot to say on the subject, but the texts have to be read in historical context and within the overarching narrative of Scripture. This is a lot more work then proof-texting what you already believe, but it’s far more likely not only to find God’s truth but also to establish an understanding that both sides can agree on. We should at least come closer to finding common ground.
Now, that does not mean that I think I have all the answers. I’m sure that I don’t. But I do think we might be asking the wrong questions.