A Stranger

considering

STRANGERS
An American Christian’s Theological Examination of Illegal Immigration

re y re ynoso

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Table Of Contents

Introduction ...................................................................................... 4 I. Theological Underpinnings for Consideration 2. What Is A Person?................................................................12 3. Embracing The Human Conscience .........................20 3. The Future and the Dawning Reality ....................30 4. Christian Idealism and the Reality of Sin .........36 The material in this book is oriiginal to the author but free to be distributed. ©coppyright 2009 Rey Reynoso 6. Immigration, Christians and the Law ...................52 7. Reasons for Civil Disobedience .................................60 8. Democracy and the Christian Ruler .....................76 II. Practical Outworking for Application 5. A Thought Model ...............................................................44

III. Moving Forward 9. Closing Thoughts ..............................................................86 10 Recommended Reading ....................................................94

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Then she gave birth to a son,

Introduction
Immigration’s Tough Questions

and he named him Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.” Exodus 2:22

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ith Obama’s Health Care Reform being discussed, special interest groups have started calling for Immigration Reform that would coincide with a public health plan. Noting the finances involved, other interest groups state that this isn’t fair to Americans and have called for stricter Immigration rules. This has reignited old political questions while introducing American Christians to an ethical quagmire. Maybe if Immigration reform was a black and white criminal issue, things might be easier for Christians; but immigration is a civil matter with only potential criminal concerns—and those in respect to national security. Post 9/11, Americans know that being soft in one area may mean some serious repercussions in another; and yet American Christians don’t want to repeat the embarrassing mistakes of yesteryear where discrimination against specific aliens became a matter of public policy. Even if we didn’t talk about National Security in regards to terrorism, we have a very real national
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health concern in regards to vaccination. Americans might be up to code, as it were, but immigrants wouldn’t have had those early life benefits. This cuts two ways: not only can we see a comeback of controlled diseases, but the outbreak would hit the immigrant population the hardest. Thousands upon thousands of people suffering unnecessarily in the midst of a basically healthy modern society reflects poorly on that society. Thankfully, hospitals try to help. In 2007, American Hospitals spent $34 Billion on bad debt and charity cases; a number not expected to change partially due to aliens not having preventative health care and primarily using Emergency Rooms. As of 2006, there was an estimated 12 million illegal aliens living in the United States; that number is expected to grow and the health industry will continue to feel the weight. But even in the midst of all that, Aliens contribute $7 Billion a year to Social Security; a system which they cannot participate in. Giving the aliens Amnesty would fix this but then we’d have the Social Security system, already busting at the seams,
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pushed beyond the snapping point and being unable to provide for the elderly. The issue that Aliens get paid more in America than they would have in their country is small comfort when the income might be much lower than native borns. It’s even less comforting when this strata of society can get pulled into all sorts of abusive practices (be it prostitution, indentured servant hood, being robbed of their days wages, and so on). American Christians struggle with all this and are left wondering: how can we deal with it? What is expected of them and what is their responsibility? Are there any Scriptural principles that can be gleaned by which American Christians can think through these things? What should Christians be doing right now? They’re tough questions to struggle with and answer; I think we should try, though. So I, a Christian—and thus an alien according to Scripture—yet a native-born American citizen and the grateful son of Hispanic immigrants, have spent some time struggling with these questions and is no offering this work to you for your own
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examination and help. The book is divided into two major sections, even though they are inextricably tied. The first major section is primarily focused on certain theological notes that impact the greater overall issue—it is the thinking that might undergird later ideas and their practical outworking. The second major section is focused primarily on developing an approach for dealing with the illegal immigration issue. You will note that this section is just as theological as the first, but at that point it will take for granted certain points that had to be established earlier on. In all, the work is my own with my own errors although there is a list of resources and reading material in the index that, although are not mine, were helpful (especially with the numbers). Soli Deo gloria.

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Theological Underpinnings
A Short Study on the Importance of Humans, Their Responsibility Under God and the Reality of their Accountability

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Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea

Chapter 1
The Importance of Personhood

and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26

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ow would you define a person? You ask people that question and you might notice that personhood looks a lot like themselves. That doesn’t surprise me since there’s some basis of truth undergirding that presupposition, but I have to wonder about the priorities that come to the fore when defining personhood. Maybe personhood is defined on account of the ability to think. But is a person any less a person because they’re mentally handicapped and unable to think? Are you, for instance, less a person if someone comes along and notes that you are incapable of thinking the way they do? Or maybe, others would say, a person is defined by the biophysical: like the ability to run, have sex and process food. But is a person any less a person because they can’t use their legs, penis or digestive system? Can we peel a human’s biophysical layers away and hit a point where we can say “okay, this is no longer a person”? In a world that is increasingly focused on solely the biophysical, the lines of personhood are drawn
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by those in charge of the pencils. Personhood is ascribed and removed with impunity, and always includes the persons doing the defining (how very lucky for them). “Of course,” says the person outside of the womb “the person in her womb is not a person”. “Of course,” says the person who needs the bed “the person in that hospital bed isn’t a person.” Auschwitz’s innkeepers applaud. No, personhood has been established beyond finite whim; it’s just been ignored. God decided to make humans as a reflection of Him: personhood defined by a creative (he made us), social (he interacted with us), generous (he wasn’t obligated to make us), omniscient (he knew everything about us), omni-benevolent (he loved us) and infinite (he transcends us) Master (he made us to be with Him). As sovereign by fact (since everything is contingent on Him creating) he then willfully (his care at work) hands over co-regency to his Children. The first people were Persons, in a community, rightly under God, ruling rightly over (God’s) creation while discovering every facet of (God’s) creation and exemplifying the reflection
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of the person (their master, The Lord God) who made them. Every person is made in God’s image making every act against fellow image-bearers exponentially potent. You’re not only ending a life; you’re destroying a reflection of God who made you. You’re not only destroying a reflection of God; you’re stating that you are the final arbiter (a right that belongs solely to God) of anyone’s right to bear that reflection at all. This is true in every aspect of life. Sex is not solely because parts fit and its fun; rather it depicts God in such a way that necessitated opposites working cooperatively. Art is not merely a lucky additive that lends color; rather it is a reflection of a God who creates under the purview of God who grants aesthetics. Music is not merely a happy accident of sound; we’ve been equipped with the vocal chords and sense of sound to communally blend in our adoration as he provides the very basis for music. Community is not merely people being knit together; it is the image of God corporately gathered under the Lordship of God.
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There is not one stage of a Person’s life, not one aspect of a Person’s being, that should be abrogated to the unimportant, reduced to its own importance, or be compartmentalized as separate from all others. They are all irreducibly humansin-God’s-image and properly expressed only when under God. There is a reason why Christ came as a man, obedient to God, and not a dog or a Martian obedient to self. He came reflecting the image of God perfectly, what man was supposed to look like, and then allowing rebellious image bearers to do what they saw fit with him; we hated him, we took him and we pinned him on a tree to be laughed at as he died, obedient to His Master until the end. We define the Personhood any which way because we hate what the image keeps telling us: we’re doing wrong by ourselves and by God. What we think about God is reflected in the way we treat his image. So we compartmentalize, we trim down, we finagle, we ignore, we redefine until hopefully (yet ironically hopelessly) we’re left condemning ourselves.
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No, we shouldn’t try to define Personhood (who is or isn’t a Person); we should be thanking God for being Persons in His image already. Every human, at every stage of existence, bears this honor whether he likes it or not. One would be forced to wonder what this has to do with the issue of immigration, legal or not. It’s not as if the immigration debate is focused on redefining aliens as non-persons. Of course not. The point is that when we consider our own situation here in America, we should also note the situation of the alien as a person in the image of God. That may not fix the issue, but it should inform us on how we are to tread on the topic.

Verses that undergird my thinking: Gen 1-6, 9:6; Isa 40; Rom 1, 8; 1 Cor 11; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 4; Col 1; Heb 1; James 3.

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I will maintain my righteousness and

Chapter 2
Embracing Human Conscience

never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live. Job 27:6

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onscience is important, everyone agrees, but we’re not sure about how important. Those sticky internal motivations are confusing and put us in an epistemological tailspin. If this was an episode of Star Trek, would both be part of the Federation but grumbling about their internal motivations from different sides of the room. Modernists downplay the internal. Seeking to elevate rationality and reason, they would totally fall in line with the Vulcans. The internal doesn’t matter; what matters is the mind; what matters is how we figure things out: the conscience is subjective and therefore untrustworthy. The objective is only that which we can reason and verify. Postmodernists, not minding rationality but saying that it is all a matter of perspective, seem to be more like the Klingons (Romulans would’ve been better but they’re not Federation). Klingons have a complex system which makes sense to them but not much to anyone else; and they don’t mind that. Postmoderns, like Klingons, see the internal as personally important but don’t see how your in22

ternal is important to them. Rationality is great as long as you acknowledge that all you’re reasoning with is from a specific point of view resulting in no objective truth. The internal is subjective and we can only trust that; we can’t trust anything outside of that. They both are speaking their own language but they’re both downplaying the importance of the internal. The Vulcans suppress the internal; the Klingons say only their internal is important. Both treat the internal as a non-objective reality. Vulcan and Klingon Christians don’t help things. Vulcan Christians take the internal and categorize it all under Jeremiah 17:9: “The Heart is desperately wicked!” and thus everything inside is totally subjective and untrustworthy. Klingon Christians point out that no one can know the mind of God1 ; that each one stands before their master2 ; therefore judge not so you are not judged3 . But Scripture, taking the entirety of a human person as important, speaks otherwise. For exam1 2 3 Rom 11:31 Rom 14:4 Mat 7:7
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ple, the context of Jeremiah 17:9 is that we can’t figure out the heart of a deceitful person followed by verse 10 that God can figure it out. The context of Rom 11:31 is that although God’s knowledge is deep (because Paul had just spilled ink in Romans 9 – 11 describing its depths) it goes even deeper than we thought; not to say that we can’t understand any part of God’s mind. Romans 14:4 is in the context of the importance of the conscience as an objective reality which is a basis of future judgment and Matthew 7:7 is in the context of the internal judger being used as a prosecution witness. Scripture consistently bears this theme. The eyes of the first people are opened and they know good and evil (inside) because they committed it. God tells Cain to control his rising anger so that sin doesn’t overpower Him and result in wickedness4. This coincides with Christ’s words that it is not merely what comes in that defiles a man, but what comes out5. Vulcan Christians might pipe up and say “And
4 5 Gen3, 4 Matt 15:11; Mk 7:20
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that’s why the internal is untrustworthy!” but Scripture would deny that claim. It is because the person knowingly acts on the internal that they find their harshest condemnation. Paul would point out that people internally know God (Rom 1:19) but they refuse to honor Him as God or give thanks (Rom 1:21) as they profess to be wise and cast their minds to its darkest recesses (Rom 1:22-23). Likewise, the people who act according to their conscience on the side of God find that they’re doing the same thing (Rom 2:1) because they’re being stubborn in their refusal to repent (Rom 2:5). Paul would go so far to say that Gentiles, who keep the law without ever having had the written law, are proving that they have God’s law written on their hearts (Rom 2:15) and their conscience bearing witness while their thoughts accuse or defend them on the day of God’s judgment (Rom 2:16). The internal accuses of sin6 and thus one shouldn’t act without the conscience approving7 and yet one should realize that God can judge
6 7 Gen 42:21; 2Sa 24:10; Mt 27:3; Ac 2:37 Job 27:6; Ac 24:16; Ro 9:1; 14:22
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people in the present by attacking the internal. So He gives people over to the lusts of their hearts to impurity (Rom 1:24) or their consciences wind up seared (1 Tim 5:1-3—not in the sense of branded, but more in the sense of calloused like burnt scar tissue) it is God effectively saying “Have it your way.” From then on, the silence of God should be both deafening and frightening (Heb 12:8). Yes, the internal isn’t a perfect guide on its own—for that matter, neither is reason or Law. Paul would state that before the revelation of the risen Christ, he had a clear conscience in respect to his own religiosity (Acts 26:9) and yet, after being illuminated by God his conscience remained clear in his new decision (Acts 23:1) but pricked in regard to his previous decisions (1 Tim 1:13) when he acted in ignorance and unbelief. The writer to the Hebrews would state that the blood of Christ (Heb 10:2-10) must purify the conscience (Heb 9:14) which is evil (Heb 10:22). This conscience, once properly oriented with the objective reality of the crucified Christ, goes from a unit that can be suppressed, broken or
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scarred, to a unit that works in conjunction with the Spirit of God (Rom 9:1) and effectively part of revealed faith8 which resonates in the consciences of other people9. This internal is so important that it should string together a Christian’s actions in everything they do so that there is a grave concern for not offending the consciences10 and minds of others11. So in the end, it is not a matter of being a proper Vulcan (figuring out which internal processes are allowable as part of the reasoning process12) or being a proper Klingon (taking the internal and saying that there’s a part of it that is possibly objective but we don’t quite know which it is). We’re to be humans who come to terms with being fully human; and that means embracing that God has
8 1Ti 1:19; 3:9 9 2Co 4:2; 5:11 10 Ro 14:21; 1Co 10:28-32 11 1 Pet 3:15 12 Modernists sometimes want an objective proof of the conscience. Maybe showing which principles of Conscience prove its God Given nature—sort of like proving the speed of light. I would suggest that although the internal is an objective reality, that it is a transcendent reality that functions but we can’t go around properly proving until a person is presented as conscience-less. It would be like trying to prove the existence of other minds.
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given us both our minds and our inward approval mechanisms. Of course the question of what this has to do with immigration will rise even if the chapter makes the connection fairly evident. This issue is more than a political issue—it is fraught with the reality of, in the case of Christians, freed consciences that are acting underneath the Lordship of Christ. We have to be careful with how we address people on any side of this issue.

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Chapter 3
The Eschatological Significance of Romans 7

So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Romans 7:12

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omans 7 has a long, messy history of interpretative clashes. Some interpreters say that although the Believer struggles with Sin nature in the present, Romans 7 isn’t addressing the issue at all. Another view says that the Believer has no sin nature and the struggle is with habits. Yet another view dictates that the entire experience in Romans 7 is preconversion: dealing with the struggles of a person that is coming to enlightenment and finally conversion. Another view likes to split the chapter in two so that the first half deals with pre-conversion and the following section deals with a post-conversion hypothetical without the empowering of the Holy Spirit; essentially a rhetorical hypothetical to establish Paul’s point. Now, I didn’t want to bother addressing all those interpretative elements but I did want to address this one theological note that could permeate pretty much all the views (though I guess it can pose problems to the hypothetical sans-Spirit view). All the positions are using a form of tunnel vision that theologically focuses in on this chapter’s
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struggle to the exclusion of what came before and what is coming after. Romans 8’s theology soars to the eschatological (future/end-times/last-day) heights of a renewed creation, of a humanity conformed in the image of Christ, of God in all three persons altogether on the side of the believer. It does this after having long established the theological necessity of wrath, of justification, of peace, and of entrance into a proper sanctifying salvation. In other words, it’s all going Somewhere. The eschatological ramifications of this salvation are tied up throughout the Gospel: from the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the bringing in of the Gentiles with the Jews, and the overloading of grace on the side of Christ over Adam, and the cutting off of Sin’s Power—it rings through each of the chapters. Paul doesn’t go through the nature of tribulations resulting in hope for the mere purpose of saying our character will get better in a couple of weeks; it all has a goal tied into the impending Future….the Eschaton. The Last Days began at the resurrection from
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the dead, were further evidenced by the outpouring spirit, and further evidenced by a community that is the Temple of God, and further evidenced by individuals that are the Temple of God. This is the real struggle of a person who has noted all of those eschatological facets in the present and realizing that they are now standing at the edge of that future. This theological ramification winds up having application in just about every interpretation: an unbeliever about to be saved realizing God has inaugurated the Last Days; a believer looking at the nature of the Law pointing to Christ who is the Promised Messiah; a believer noting his or her own life in the shadow of the cross and empty tomb heralding the promise of Daniel 12; and a believer looking at the brightness of the coming Dawn by the down-payment of the Holy Spirit. In all cases the individual, standing at the edge of the Eschaton, finds him or herself saying “who shall deliver me from this ruination? I thank God, it is Jesus Christ our Lord!” So, what does this have to do with the topic of
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illegal immigration? Well, in short (without getting into supporting one eschatological schema over another) it is all going somewhere. There will be a time where Christ will return and set things right. There’s different ways this might look like, but all in all it means that God will be in charge in a perfect future. We live today with the expectation of that coming future but we don’t live today with the horror of relying on our fixes (or programs, or policies, whatever) to ensure that the future is better. That’s God’s job, not ours. Ours is the job that comes with being a person living in the Now with the expectation of a real future Then. We might not be able to iron out everything with immigration, or health, or national policy; but we don’t live with the expectation that we’re supposed to.

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Chapter 4
Christian Idealism and the Reality of Sin

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

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like to look at situation and, no matter how rough, consider what would be ideal. I think that’s important. In circles with friends or family I have convincingly argued for The Ideal and then stood there as someone asks “That’s awesome; how do we get there?” only to shake my head and respond “I honestly don’t know.” Now the fact is that I do know that the impending ideal of a dawning future reality will establish a system that we, of our own power, can’t possibly implement. But people don’t get that so I want to talk about why that’s important. Sin, like the words naughty or bastard, is a fallen word, bereft of her previous glory, power and horror. When used it invokes images of chocolate, forbidden (and really fun) sex, or scandal—while the notion of the abject depravity of sin remains immaculately untouched; virginal in comparison. A definition of sin begins to be found in the falling short of doing good: the person who knows to do good and doesn’t is sinning (James 4:17); the person who acts apart from conscience and faith in God is sinning (Rom 14:23); being unrighteous,
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not-upright, is sin (1 John 5:17). It only starts with the falling short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23) But it progress from there. Sin is what happens when personal desire acts (Jas 1:15 it is contrived in the mind and intent (Gen 8:21); it spews out of the heart (Matt 15:19); it is evidenced in action (Rom 1); it is ultimately defiling (Prov 30:12) and an outright rebellion against God (Psalm 50-51). And lest we think that sin is about Them and surely not about Us (Me and all Christians included) we discover that no person, except Christ (2Co 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1Jo 3:5) is without sin (1Ki 8:46; Ec 7:20); all are under the system of sin (Gal 3:22); all people are shaped in sin (Ps 51:5); all people are born in sin (Ge 5:3; Job 15:14; 25:4; Ps 51:5); no man can cleanse himself from sin (Job 9:30,31; Pr 20:9; Jer 2:22); and no man can atone for sin (Mic 6:7). We. Are. Sinners. It is part of reality until God decides to realize that dawning future (1 Cor 15). We can’t, of our own, do anything to get rid of it. Want to know if sin is still around? Check the graveyard because that is the ultimate end of all sin (Gen 2:17, Eze
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18:4, Ro 6:23). Sin is here until God says enough. Now the reason I draw that tight circle is to show that no matter what program we people implement, no matter what governmental solution that we come up with, no matter what level of education we enforce, no matter what religions we absolve (or create), no matter how much resources (money, food, information, help, staff) we throw at any given problem the biggest problem is that sinful people (that’s me, that’s you, that’s them) are involved. All we do is under the system of sin. Sure we do good (Acts 10 for an example) and it is really good; but if we hold up our goods before God we find that we just aren’t up to snuff; he does infinitely better. This isn’t to say that we’re to give up but it is to say that as flawed and rebellious creatures we will mess things up and, often, skewing things in our favor (our God isn’t stuff; it’s Us). Democracy sounds great in theory but sinful people will screw it up; Socialism sounds effective in principle but sinful people will mess that up too; Nationalism isn’t that bad until sinful people get involved: we
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are our own worst enemies. So I move forward with hope, and expectation based on my conscience, but doing so with the knowledge that we will mess things up; but that brings me back to the Gospel. The fact is that we have messed things up but God has taken it upon Himself to renew all things. The hope and goal of any given situation isn’t these policies or laws or way of running government: these hopes are ultimately temporary and flawed. My hope is in Christ and the Gospel of God, which ensures a final victory over sin, but currently I am working with the knowledge that God has me (us) where He wants me to be. And that’s infinitely important.

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PRACTICAL Outworkings
An Examination of the Biblical Principles to Establish a Working Vision of the Immigration Issue

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Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding,

Chapter 5
for she is more profitable than silver

An Immigration Thought Model
and yields better returns than gold Proverbs 3:12-14

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hristians love Scriptural commands; it makes things easy. We weigh in on an issue by citing a verse (or five) and we’re done—ding! Next problem? So it is with immigration. We surf through our New Testament and then pause, sighing thankfully that there is a verse that seems to deal with illegal aliens, or at least strangers: “The stranger that you invited inside, fed, and clothed his nudity…it was me, Jesus. When you rejected that stranger and left him imprisoned; you rejected me, Jesus1.” Well, we blush; it’s not as good as an explicit command. The passage is totally about interaction at the personal level and it doesn’t offer anything in the way of “thou shall”—especially not on the national level. Ignoring the other book-worthy problems, I think there’s a proper goal in finding what Scripture says in regard to immigration. Surely, not for the purpose of finding a new law (wrongheaded, that), but for the purpose of discovering operating principles.
Matt. 25:35, 38, 43.
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For that, we need to construct a thought model. A thought model is a device that allows us to examine ideas. First you build the thing based on what you know, and then you see what makes it work. When you understand how it works you might be able to understand your driving force in another area. The material for our thought model will come primarily from the Old Testament First, what couldn’t immigrants in Israel do? These are actually unsurprising. They couldn’t be kings2 (duh); they couldn’t take the Passover3 (unless they became part of the Covenant community and thus nationals4); they couldn’t blaspheme (but neither could a native born national5); they couldn’t eat blood (and neither could the native born national6); and they were free from certain restrictions in the Jewish Law (like in Deut. 14:21 where they could eat an animal that dies on its own; something the Jews couldn’t do) though not all of them (like
2 3 4 5 6 Deut. 17:15 Ex. 12:45 Ex. 12:48, 49; Num. 9:14; 15:14, 15 Lev. 24:16 Lev. 17:10
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they had to keep the Sabbath7 and they were barred from eating the “holy food”8) Next, we’d have to look at what Jews could do with aliens which they couldn’t do with their fellow nationals. Jews couldn’t exact interest on a loan to their kinsmen; the restriction was waived in regard to aliens9. Jewish slaves would be released during the year of Jubilee; an alien slave was permanent property10. Now, to look at the foreigner’s benefits in Israel. They were to be loved11 and not hated12 even when those aliens came from their worst enemies. They were afforded equal protection (with the Jew) by the cities of refuge13 and at one point they even had rights to Israel’s inheritance14. They weren’t to be mistreated; people were to be kind to them15; not to be wronged; not to be oppressed; justice on their part was not to be perverted; and they were
7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Ex. 20:10; 23:12 Lev. 22:10, 12, 25 Deut. 15:3; 23:20 Lev. 25:44, 45 Deut. 10:18, 19. Deut. 23:7 Num. 35:15; Josh. 20:9 Ezek. 47:22, 23 Lev. 19:33, 34. Deuteronomy 23:7
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to be treated with fairness and justice16. Indeed, one benefit was derived as a consequence to Israel being cursed for disobedience—foreigners would increase in the Land and overpower the Israelites (Deut 28:43–44)! With our thought-model in place, we can now try to examine the operating principles. Certain things jump to the fore. The foreigner was important to God, even in the context of slavery. Most of these efforts were focused on ensuring that the foreigner was afforded protection, help, kindness, mercy and justice. We notice that the point of welcoming the foreign national was to eventually integrate him into the theocratic nation with the hope of making them fellow nationals and thus partakers in the national benefits. Of course, this would mean that they would then bear responsibility in an Israelite tax burden, but they would effectively be Israelites. Stepping back from it, we can say that the Israelite situation was very different from our own.
16 Ex. 22:21; 23:9; Lev. 19:33, 34; Deut. 1:16; 10:19; 24:14, 17; 27:19; Jer. 7:6; 22:3; Ezek. 22:29; Mal. 3:5
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After all, they were a theocratic nation awaiting the culmination of the promises of God; America is democratic awaiting no such thing. And yet, we see this spirit of kindness to our fellow men inherent in such documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This spirit of kindness is explicated in our thought-model reflecting a care for the foreigner that is concerned for his or her oppression, rights, justice and situation. This surely derives, not on account of the person being a foreigner but, on account of the foreigner being a human person made in the image of God. Applying it to our own situation, Christians should be especially concerned for the oppression, victimization and the lack of rights towards the foreigner. Christians should be concerned with their own fellow nationals as well, true, but they should care with more than material concerns. It is in the treatment of strangers, the unknown and unloved, where the true heart of a person, indeed a nation, is most clearly seen. Christ’s words in the New Testament wind up
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shedding even more light on our thought-model. Christ didn’t come as the king of heaven, openly declaring his lineage and divinity; he came as a humble servant and as a stranger. If it were otherwise, the rulers during his day wouldn’t have crucified him; but they did crucify him and thus exposed their blackened hearts for what they were (1 Cor 2:8). Enter the alien/stranger. Christ stands in his place awaiting mercy, righteousness, justice and kindness. Every person reflects the image of God (Gen 1:26) so treating that image poorly speaks, ultimately, about our attitude toward God. Love people, especially those strangers, because it is when you love the apparent unlovable that you reflect the love of God. As a national policy in a democratic society this would be difficult to pass as law (and even more difficult to enforce) but I think it does help me understand how a Christian is to look at the immigration issue—looking at the people through Scriptural principles; not solely the apparent problem.
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Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the

Chapter 6
Christians, Immigration, and the Law

king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right 1 Peter 2:13-14

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y thought model sort of works. It allows me to see the driving principles that ran through Israel’s treatment of immigrants while yielding some information about how those principles might be applied today; but it keeps catching on one snag. America’s problem isn’t immigration—it’s illegal immigration. Because of that, I must reflect on human laws, authority and a Christian’s responsibility. First, note how God held people accountable for other people. In Gen 9:6 (and earlier), mankind had to punish killers. In Gen. 41:25–57, Pharaoh was informed by God about what was going to happen in the land so that Joseph could care for the people and Egypt would prosper—Pharaoh was essentially a vehicle for God’s care of the people. This makes sense, since God (much later) depicted Nebuchadnezzar (his King and servant Dan. 2:37, 38 and Jer. 27:6) as a glorious tree that provided shade, fruit and shelter (Dan 4:9-17). Pharaoh 2.0 was made king by God specifically for the purpose of reflecting God’s power (Exo 6; Rom
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9). Saul (a doofus of a man) is the people’s choice award winner, yet he was appointed by God and is called anointed (1 Sam. 9:15–17; 10:1). David, an adulterer and a murderer whose sins sometimes affects the entire nation, is also God’s anointed (1 Sam. 16:1, 7, 13; 2 Sam. 7:13–16; Psa. 89:19–37; Acts 13:22) and is called the Son of God (Psalm 2).Paul, who had suffered at the hands of ruling authorities, would have the cheek to tell us that rulers are actually ministers and servants of God (Rom 13:1,4,6). The Old Testament is pretty open in viewing God as appointing Kings (1 Kin. 14:14; 16:1–4; 1 Chr. 28:4, 5; 29:25; Psa. 22:28; Prov. 8:15, 16; Dan. 2:20, 21, 37; 5:20–24) and the New Testament follows suit (Rom 13). Second, note how eople also have to obey the ruling authorities—even the evil ones—because disobeying authorities would be to disobey God. Compare the two incidents in Numbers (Num. 12, 16) where God’s authority was challenged by attacking God’s chosen vessels of authority. Ecclesiastes 8 illuminates wisdom as a man keeps the king’s command. Our Lord tells us to pay
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our taxes (Matt 22:17-21; Luke 20:25) in obedience. The author to the Hebrews says that the believers are to obey those who rule over them (Heb 13:17). Paul would tell believers to pray for their rulers, and submit to them, so that they can have a quiet and tranquil life (1 Tim 2:1-2; Titus 3:1). His example is fairly evident when he retracts his condemnation of the then ruling High Priest on the grounds that he didn’t know he was High Priest (Acts 23:1-5) but then fairly confusing when he throws the whole proceeding into chaos. Peter says to submit to human authorities as a testimony to unbelievers (1 Peter 2:13-15) and then actually goes so far to say that a mark of haters of God is that they are despisers of authority (2 Pet. 2:10)! Civl Disobedience And yet, even in the necessity for civil obedience, Scripture makes it clear that there are principles that override a ruler’s authority. A direct command from the Lord can override obedience to civil rule as these rich migrants who visited the Lord discovered (Mat 2:8, 12). Fear for God seems
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to be a factor as in the case of the Jewish Midwives, when told to slaughter the Jewish male babies, feared God more than they feared Pharaoh: their decision (with subsequent disobedience and lie) was viewed favorably by God (Exo 1:15-21). Refusing to break God’s as Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah refused to follow the political decision to bow down to an image; God justified them before the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3). Christ often broke the commands of the ruling authorities (Mat 15, 16, 21, and plenty more in the Gospels) for the express purpose of showing their callousness, hypocrisy, and their façade of holiness—but I’m not sure that is a calling for believers. And yet, when filled with the Holy Spirit, Stephen refuses to shut up when the authorities were angry at him (Acts 7). Indeed, Peter and John go so far to say, in the face of their ruling authorities, that they must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29—a case which some might chalk up to having a heavenly command beforehand). But civil disobedience seems to be used in other surprising cases as well. Paul, after being beaten
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publically, then privately released, refuses to leave the prison until the magistrates publically exonerate him (Acts 16:37). His legal rights were violated and he made sure to make a fuss about it but in so doing he protested by sitting in prison. In another situation, civil disobedience was used to derail the injustice of a secret murder where Paul escapes from prison by means of basket (2 Co 11:32-33). Well, all of this is fairly complex. The initial principles that I can draw from it all is that God is in charge, that authorities are placed there for a reason that is ultimately for our good, that these authorities are held accountable for their decisions, and sometimes their actions put the people of God in direct opposition. And yet this overview really doesn’t yield the complete basis for disobeying the civil authority. It would be easy if it were only when commanded; but Scripture is rife with examples of disobedience without commands. I mean, Daniel 1-6 is pretty much example by example of civil disobedience without command and exemplified in different forms—on what grounds does someone react as
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Daniel 1 or Daniel 6? On what grounds does someone like Paul submit himself to a beating and bring up his rights; or submit to a beating and prison and then enforce his rights? The evidence here needs further examination. I have to look at the driving influence for civil disobedience.

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Peter and the other apostles replied:

Chapter 7
Reasons for Civil Disobedience

“We must obey God rather than men! Acts 5:29

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raised some surprising issues of civil disobedience which were: (1) Paul’s refusal to obey the Philippian magistrates (Acts 16:37); (2) Paul escaping arrest at Damascus (Acts 9:23-25; 2 Cor 11: 32, 33). I didn’t mention another surprising case and that is (3) Esther (Esther 4:1316; 5:1). I’m A Roman Citizen (RE:1) In Acts 16, a mature letter-writing Paul, is seen on his second missionary. His act of civil disobedience seems, at first blush, petty: the magistrates had him and Silas beaten and arrested; now Paul demands that the magistrates personally release them because they’re Roman citizens. Luke doesn’t record Paul speaking up during his public beating or arrest. We see them singing hymns, praying and eventually telling the Jailer that they hadn’t escaped before preaching the Gospel. No mention of the Roman rights issue at the jailer’s house or at their return to prison. The first mention

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of Paul’s citizenship rights1 to the officials, according to Luke, is when they’re about to released (Rom 9:35-37). Paul may have had several reasons to speak now. He might not have had a chance to speak when he was naked and beaten. He might have wanted to ensure that respect to the law was restored—at the very least in the public eye, but likely in the eyes of the magistrates. He might have wanted to show that they couldn’t about casting off the laws of the land by rejecting the law s that exists. Those seem unlikely though. It wouldn’t explain why Paul didn’t shout it early on. It could be just as possible that Paul brings up the matter here because the injustice is more than casting off the law of the land; it is the callous disregard of any justice whatsoever. These guys did this, not in rejection of the higher authorities, but without any
1 Citizens were equipped with certain rights: the right to appeal to Caesar (from any local court) and the right not to face torture, scourging, long imprisonment, or death without legal due process (which included the right to appeal to a higher court). You ignore those rights, you’re not merely messing with a citizen, and you’re messing with law and government.
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consideration of any authorities but their own angry impulses. This is more than the injustice to citizens, it is an injustice that was being propagated as a normal course of action without even bothering to find out if it was in their power to do such a thing: humanity run rabid. I also think several other stories within this section are important in understanding the depth of what’s going on. You have two stories going on in Acts 16 which culminate with civilian activity under the law of the land. Story arc one is sparked by the possessed fortune telling slave girl who was a source of income for her masters. Ignoring her spiritual condition, her masters saw her only as a source of income to support their lifestyle. Once her power is attacked, chaos ensues: the masters attack Paul and Silas, they bring them to the authorities, the magistrates immediately execute a decision without trial and throw the two preachers into jail. Story arc two is sparked with the two preachers, working under the power of God, growing tired of the slave girl’s proclamations and remov64

ing the spirit of divination. They’re beaten and imprisoned and remain in prison until an earthquake hits. The jailer, expecting everyone to have escaped, is about to off himself when Paul and Silas prove that all the prisoners are still there. Instead of chaos ensuing, these guys proved orderly to the point of welcoming a new person to the Kingdom of God. So much so that they go clean up, have a meal, and then go back to the prison to await the morning. The two stories stand next to each other offering a striking parallel; one reflecting how the ministers of The Only Powerful God handle themselves in society and with the Gospel; the other reflecting how those under the power of darkness handle themselves in society when their idols are attacked. Luke essentially is saying “Do you see? Christianity has no reason to buck the laws of the land; we know who wins in the end so we don’t have to. When we buck it’s to show that you have rejected your own system for the sake of whatever power has taken control of you all.” So this first case of civil disobedience reflects that Christians should be reflecting the power of
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God over and above the kingdom of men and actually underscoring the importance of those rules— even when the rule makers have cast off the rules for the sake of their own idols. It might require a form of civil disobedience (refusal to leave the prison without public acknowledgment of wrongdoing) but it is not anarchist in its activities; rather it is whatever social system at its best. I’m Outa’ Here (RE:2) We might be tempted to chalk up Paul’s basket escape to lack of knowledge. Paul is a new believer2; the followers, the main motivators of the escape, don’t have well distributed teachings of Jesus. We might even try to write the passage off as descriptive, not prescriptive, with the main point being that Saul, the hunter of Christian fugitives, wound up running away as a Christian fugitive. That contrast remaining true, there are some definite points of departure from an off-hand disqualification of the passage in regards to civil
2 That is, if we go with a date before his 3 year disappearance referred to in Gal 3:17-18
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disobedience. Saul, a trained rabbi (at the feet of famed Gamaliel), should have had a theology of civil responsibility already in place; Christianity wouldn’t have changed it, it would have refined it underneath the headship of the risen Lord. This is why Paul can come to belief and then, fairly quickly, preach the word. Heck, the followers themselves should have had a theology of civil responsibility on account of the Disciple’s hard learned schooling during Jesus’ time on earth3. The Jews had gotten involved with the local authorities under governer Aretas IV, the vassal king, and they wanted to capture and kill Paul. The intent here was murder under the veneer of authority with no mention of legal charges being brought up. This was cowboy law and Paul and gang wouldn’t deal with it—they escaped. This wouldn’t be the first time that Paul escapes from cowboy law. Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, decides it best to have Paul stand trial in the Jewish prov3 John 18:36; Luke 22:36; John 16:2; Mk 12:17
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ince, under the chair of the Procurator, where there was a definite plan to kill the man. I’m not sure that Festus knew about the plot (since his problem with the whole appeal thing was that it was a matter of Jewish religion and a dead man that Paul professed to be alive—Acts 25:19-20), but Paul took the chance to remain within the Roman system and employed the Appeal to Caesar escaping the death penalty by Jewish hands. Paul, speaking to Roman Jews, explains that his reason for appealing to Caesar had little to do with bringing an accusation against his kinsmen but everything about bearing witness about the Hope of Israel. This allows him to speak to these Roman Jews with a freedom he couldn’t before. Heck, Roman Officials didn’t think it was a matter worth appealing but Paul used it anyway and the law allowed it. Going back to the earlier escape then, I don’t know that we can make any solid conclusions. Paul rescues his kinsmen from performing further awful violence (like they had done with Stephen) and does that by rescuing his own life twice: once by
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escaping the law and the other time by using the law. And yet, he blatantly uses the situation to propel the Gospel. The King and I (RE:3) Esther’s situation was dire. Not only was Mordecai asking her to appeal to the King—a fact that could result in death if the King didn’t initiate the meeting4—he was asking her to do this during a politically dubious time for Esther: she hasn’t been summoned to come to the king for thirty days (Esther 4:11). She knows what could happen to her if the King doesn’t approve, but after being given a message by Mordecai, she courageously capitulates and says she is off to break the law. What’s interesting about the situation here is that law-breaking was not being justified as the
4 Heroditus does make mention that a meeting could be initiated via letter and, later on in the book (Esther 6:4) we see that Mordecai is awaiting audience in the outer court, without a kingly summons. Esther is very specific about the regulations regarding the visit to the king. It could be that this is an interview in the inner court, or maybe some other young lady has gained the King’s favor—but either way, Esther knows to come barging into the inner court could result in death unless the King holds out the golden scepter.
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lesser evil. If there was a moment when the Jews could have some justified civil disobedience, you would think it would be this time—and yet Mordecai, wearing sackcloth and weeping, stops short of the King’s gate because it was against the law to do that beyond that point (Esther 4:2). Indeed, the Jews would weep in every province, but there’s no strikes, no appeals; just a sad resigned expectation. Mordecai makes a point of highlighting several truths: the Jews were on the verge of a great culling; Esther might not escape the wrath anyway; deliverance and relief would arise for the Jews, with or without Esther’s help; individuals don’t know God’s plans for them as individuals. He was confident in the promises of God (that he would protect his people as a group) but was open to the idea that the reason Queen Esther was in the position she was in was specifically so that she could do something about it. That might not be true but is it better to ignore the position God has placed one in and expect sure deliverance elsewhere or to take a stand and maybe become that vehicle for God’s plans?
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Mordecai did not appeal to Esther on the grounds of the wrongs being committed, or her own moral duty to uphold what is right; rather on the grounds of personal conviction as being a vehicle for God’s goodness and mercy in whatever situation one is in. He pointed out her vocation and her conscience. This argument is actually helpful to all the previous examples of civil disobedience. Paul could have remained in Damascus and suffered much (as the Lord had promised) or he could have ignored the plot to seize him, and allow himself to be lowered from the city walls in a basket. Paul could have gone to the Jewish court or he could have appealed to Caesar and allow the message to carry on in different channels5. Esther could have remained quiet and allowed deliverance to arise from another channel or she could try to stand up and be the means for God’s deliverance among her people.
5 Indeed the whole situation with Agabus the Prophet and the Four Daughters of Phillip seems to give Paul a real option: go to Jerusalem and you will be arrested or escape now and you will not be arrested. And yet, the whole point, for Paul, is to go off and (in this situation) be arrested (Acts 21)
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This tells me that the grounds for civil disobedience are not merely because of the greater moral good (since God is working all things to good, whether we like it or not) but because an individual might personally realize that they might be the vehicle for God’s working good in any given situation. In other words, the situation in which they have been called compels them to act accordingly. Putting the Pieces Together Admittedly that sounds odd. People might hear “I disobey government because God told me so” but that’s not what I’m saying at all. All the examples I listed above were situations where people acted in a certain way with the expectation of God working through the situation but personally wishing to say something that speaks into the situation. The person is personally convicted to act a certain way and does so, not as an anarchist who shirks the laws (note the first story above) but as a soberminded individual who understands where God stands in relation to everything. This is where time, space, situations, the God
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given conscience which has been properly realigned, and the Spirit of God are all working in concert for a purpose. I speak more about the principle of conscience elsewhere, but here it would be important to say that all of these things are seriously being used by God—even the evil situation (like the magistrates, or the Jews planning to murder, or Ahasuerus allowing a law to pass that results in senseless violence) for good. This does not negate personal involvement; rather it mandates it. Even in the midst of a very bad social situation, like slavery, Paul could send back a slave (now a believer) to his master saying “treat him like a brother”; and elsewhere write that it is better, as a slave, to become free—but everyone is to work for God in the situation in which they were called and that sometimes will mean remaining a slave. As for the immigrants, they should obey the laws of the land but for some of the individuals it might be that God has placed them in that specific situation to disobey the laws of the land for some purpose that is evident in their situation. For the law enforcers, God has placed them in a situation
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where they must enforce the laws of the land but if they find that enforcing the law is doing something which stands as a revolt against God, they may have to not enforce the law. And citizens, who have no real role in enforcing the law (like reporting people), may have to report people when they note that they are in a position to do something for God (if the idol of money is demanding illegal alien sacrifices, for example). And yet in all these situations, there should be a real concern for both the law of the land and the respect of persons. Christians aren’t to be thrown into the rabid rage of those under the power of darkness, but with illumined minds they should seriously struggle with the situation and realize the various shades which permeate the entire thing. Shutting down illegal immigration or opening the doors wide might both be wrong. In the end of this chapter, I don’t have any solid conclusions though I am convinced about our personal involvement with the thing being integral. More so when God’s calling finds us as part of a democratic society where we’re (sort of) the rulers.
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Was any man called when he was already circumcised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has anyone been called in uncircumcision? (R)He is not

Chapter 8
Christians Rulers and their Responsibility

to be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is (T)the keeping of the commandments of God. 1 Corinthians 7:18-19

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will not examine forms of democracy. I won’t explain the nature of the constitutional republic (which protects the individuals) and how it operates via a representative democracy. I’m not even going to touch on the nuances of power balance (technically) ensures that no group in the United States has absolute control. If you want an exact overview of United States democracy, you can read through these documents online (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/coredocs.html) I will say that a representative democracy imbues its people with certain powers that make them ultimately responsible for much of what goes on within our countries policies. Sure, a majority rule with constitutional protections of individuals is the modus operandi, but the powers of the people are vast. Lincoln rightly called the United States a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The people don’t personally write the laws, but they do vote for the people who will write those laws. State constitutions, approved by the people, are structured in such a way that certain legislation
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has to be run past the people before it becomes law. Individual citizens don’t declare war, but they do vote for the President, the Senators and the Congressman that would decide those actions accordingly. This unlocks a Pandora’s box of Biblical principles that usually apply to rulers but now extend to the people of a democratic society. Drawing from our old thought model, we wind up gathering these helpful ideas about rulers and finding their application in the US. God stands behind the authorities that exist, and that would mean he stands behind a democratic republic—including its members (Rom 13). Prayer should be made for the elected leaders as well as the voters going out to vote (1 Tim. 2:1, 2). Rulers (and so the people of a democratic society) should be impartial in their decisions (note how this even applies in a jury of peers— Ex. 23:3-7). Any rule should reflect the fact that God has set up the authority—else wise it is a repudiation of the one who has established the kingdom. Even the wisdom for kings and proper rule becomes applicable to the people (Prov. 24:2379

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26 25:2; 28:16). All this underscores the responsibility of citizens within a democratic society but it especially cranks up the Christian’s burden. The Christian can’t sit back and point to his or her need to obey the authorities (or not); ultimately, the American Christian is part of that governmental authority. If they vote, they use their political power as a co-ruler; if they don’t vote, they are abrogating their decisions to someone else while remaining rulers. As citizens, they are automatically co-rulers, and they should be concerned for the laws of the land as well as the mistreatment of those who are not currently protected by the political umbrella. Christians should be appropriately concerned for the citizens as well as the name of the country which they are rulers over because as part of a representative society it reflects, in some part, on their own sovereignty. Of course, majority decides, but if the majority’s decision is evil, the margin should reflect that the Christian rulers opposed the move toward evil. Moreso, the response by the Christian should focus
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on realigning the embraced evil. Anyone reading this series will understand that these things might not only apply to immigration; it might apply to the unborn, the elderly and minorities just as well. In the case of Immigration though, I think that Christians shouldn’t be solely approving all illegal aliens nor barring them from the country but rather trying to figure out the best means to get the illegal to act with respect to our laws but with an understanding of their situation and seeking their improvement. This should mean that illegal aliens are personally cared for and motivated to report their status to follow a proper track of residency. If the laws are overly harsh, the Christian rulers should be concerned about rectifying the laws so that they are not cruel—the things that reflect poorly on the society, reflect poorly on its people. If the laws don’t properly address concerns across the board, then the Christian rulers should be considering how to make the rules better but always with an eye to compassion coupled with justice. They are not to be ruled by anarchy, but governed by what is ethi81

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cal, what best represents God, what gives proper respect to persons, and what is not a revolt against conscience. When majority overrules and embraces an outright evil by running toward an idol, then I think it might call for some benign form of civil disobedience, such as in Acts 16 or in Exodus 1. For example, in Nazi Germany, the citizens representing the true Germany should have been performing civil disobedience in protecting human life and defending the oppressed; they shouldn’t have been supporting the Germany that had embraced the idol of super-nationalism. The question that American Christians have to answer is if society has embraced an idol on whose altar the illegal alien (or the elderly American citizen, or the silent young, et. Al) must be sacrificed. If that is the case, the Christian is required to point out that idol, but to do so sanely and without being carried away by sheer passion. The Christian has to be a Josiah witha Pauline mine a Daniel-like flexibility and an Esther-like thinking with situations.
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III Moving Forward
Closing thoughts and some recommended reading for your consideration

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One man considers one day more sacred than an-

Chapter 9
Closing thoughts

other; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. Romans 14:5

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’ve arrived at the point of this book where I’m expected to systematize all I’ve covered and come up with immigration reform in America. I’ve looked at the subject about every which way: I’ve examined the problems; I’ve worked through a thought model based on the Old Testament; I’ve looked at reasons for civil disobedience; the reality of Christians under rulers and the further reality of Christians as rulers; I’ve explained the importance of conscience; and finally I looked at the reality of living in a world where sin still reigns—so a solution is expected, right? Don’t hold your breath. Ideally (within the realm of my intended purpose of this book; we can always conceive of something even better. For example, I can conceive of a way that every immigrant gets a twinkie but can make it better with two twinkies, and so on) there shouldn’t be a problem of illegal immigration at all. It would be great if people from other countries could come to America to better their own situation and America would comply in fulfilling that dream. As part of this openness, Americans
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would have a process by which aliens can come in, be given work with a proper salary that fulfilled areas that people aren’t currently jumping on board with (and still addresses the skill set of the Aliens) while offering them government sponsored health benefits which they partially pay for with some sort of tax. As part of their involvement in the country, they would also be steeped in an integration program where they are taught the lingua franca, some basics about economics (banking, smart shopping, coupons, etc), supplied some sort of housing with cultural support, with the end goal being that they become citizens. As citizens they would be afforded a basic public education (that would include college, if they want to go there) and hopefully become a productive part of American society. All of that would be ideal. Realistically all of that wouldn’t be possible in a fallen world. Cultural support neighborhoods might look more like the ethnic barrios we have now. Realistically, I think that America should have a public health plan that offsets the costs of emergency room visits by illegal aliens via offering
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a public health plan for all aliens and people who can’t afford health insurance. In this way, the undocumented aliens would still hit the hospitals but the costs have been curbed by addressing all the other people who also hit the hospitals instead of doctors or clinics. I think there should be some sort of background check process for undocumented aliens to see if these folk are criminals before trying to integrate them in society. I think that companies should have a citizen integration program that allows them to hire undocumented workers to perform what they need doing at a wage-to-skill equivalent pay grade but with a program that similarly looks at making these folk Americans. Christians though should think realistically about all this since I don’t think that the problem of illegal immigration will be properly addressed at the governmental level without hurting loads of people. I think that a lot of this sort of thinking should come from American Christians. So, I think that it is up to the Christian’s conscience if he will hire the illegal alien or not, but if he does hire one (against the state’s laws), he
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better be paying the person how he would pay an American, be concerned for the alien’s health, and be concerned about getting the alien to become documented. The American Christian should be seeking to integrate this person while respecting their culture, constantly reflecting the Gospel imperative with the balm of loving one’s neighbor—even these distant neighbors. A Christian in a different situation, who sees that there’s someone hiring undocumented workers and mistreating them, should be similarly concerned for them and (I say this carefully) report the person who is mistreating the aliens. I don’t think this reporting should be done blindly though. I think that the Christian should first speak to the aliens (and their managers), get to know them, speak to them about the importance of getting documented and of getting away from the mistreatment. It may be that the situation will be dealt with by the employer himself. It might not. The point is that American Christians should be concerned about this in the national level, be willing to act on their conviction, and concerned
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A STRANGER CONSIDERING STRANGERS

BY REY REYNOSO

enough to seek to properly reflect how the nation looks like under the Lordship of Christ. There’s a fair amount of nationalism in my statement but it is a nationalism that is Christ centered—that seeks the betterment of others and the best representation of itself in the now only insofar as it hinges its existence on the resurrected Christ. Of course the nation will not achieve this on its own because it is not Christian, so each Christian will have to deal with each illegal immigration situation personally and in the place that they have been found. This post has concessions , concerns and qualifications; but it’s all fraught with the problems of looking through a dirty window. We’re mired in sin so any solution won’t be pat and proper. In other words, this is a tough spot. At this side of eternity Christians will have to choose between choices in the grey that are very much sullied with of sin. Sometimes Christians will have to choose between supporting a war and allowing attacks on citizens; sometimes Christians will have to choose between denying an alien citizenship and denying the government the right to send the alien home.
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As for me, I started this whole thing thinking I wouldn’t have any suggestions of what we should be doing and at the other side of it; I have suggestions and the kernel of a conviction forming. I think the importance of the image of God should inform a lot of our thinking on this issue; and yet I also think that the importance of individual conscience and vocation is something not to be shrugged aside with blanket statements (be it about the image of God or about the mandate to obey governments or whatever). As we continue dealing with this situation, it is my prayer that Christians continue examining the depths of it: honestly, without fear, and expecting to change or solidify based on the Word of God and the illumination of the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure if this book has accomplished that. There are definitely more words that should be spoken. Perhaps your words will add to collective thinking on this subject.

S.D.G.
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Where there is no guidance the people fall,But in

Index
Recommended Readings

abundance of counselors there is victory. Proverbs 11:14

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Books Tienda, M., & Mitchell, F. (2006). Multiple origins, uncertain destinies: Hispanics and the American future. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. Free online: http://www.nap.edu/catalog. php?record_id=5779 Smith, J. P., & Edmonston, B. (1997). The new Americans: Economic, demographic, and fiscal effects of immigration. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Free Online: http://www.nap.edu/catalog. php?record_id=11314

Surveys http://www.jpands.org/vol10no1/cosman.pdf http://www.uscis.gov/propub/ProPubVAP.jsp?dockey= c9fef57852dc066cfe16a4cb816838a4 http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis http://www.aha.org/aha/content/2008/pdf/08-uncompensated-care.pdf Laws http://library.findlaw.com/1999/Jun/1/127033.html

Groups and Sites News Articles http://www.fairus.org/ http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/ business/05immigration.html http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003265139_imprices19.html http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12581798/ http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-0121-immigrant-healthcare_N.htm http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ article/2005/07/25/AR2005072501605.html http://www.cnsnews.com/PUBLIC/content/article. aspx?RsrcID=46021 http://www.nclr.org/ http://www.borderstories.org/ http://www.ccis-ucsd.org/

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VERSE SAMPLING BY TOPIC: Israel and the Stranger Justice for the Alien: Ex. 22:21; 23:9; Lev. 19:33, 34; Deut. 1:16; 10:19; 24:14, 17; 27:19; Jer. 7:6; 22:3; Ezek. 22:29; Mal. 3:5 Religious privileges extended: Ex. 12:48, 49; Num. 9:14; 15:14, 15

To be loved: Deut. 10:18, 19. Not abhorred: Deut. 23:7 Will achieve more and more in the land among them: Deuteronomy 28:43–44. Kindness required says Jesus: Matt. 25:35, 38, 43.

Christians and the law of the land: Jews Authorized to take interest loans from: Deut. 15:3; 23:20 Authorized to make slaves: Lev. 25:44, 45 Not allowed to be Kings: Deut. 17:15 Forbidden to take Passover: Ex. 12:45 Partial exemption from Law: Deut. 14:21 Many aliens in land during David and Solomon’s time: 2 Sam. 22:45, 46; 2 Chr. 2:17; 15:9. Had rights: Num. 35:15; Josh. 20:9; Ezek. 47:22, 23 Eating things offered in sacrifice: Ex. 29:33; Lev. 22:10, 12, 25 Conscience and submitting to authorities Blaspheming Not Allowed: Lev. 24:16 Acts 5:29 Eating blood Not Allowed: Lev. 17:10 Romans 13:5 Obey Sabbath: Ex. 20:10; 23:12 Romans 14 Might offer oblations: Lev. 17:8; 22:18, 19 1 Cor 8 – 10 Kindness required: Lev. 19:33, 34. Deuteronomy 23:7 1 Peter 3 (particularly 16-21) Romans 13 Titus 3:1 1 Timothy 2:1-2 Hebrews 13:17 1 Peter 2:13 Citizenship: Matt. 22:17–21 Luke 20:25. Rom. 13:1–7; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13–17 Paul enforces rights Acts 16:37

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