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A Stranger

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 II. Practical Outworking for Application
but free to be distributed.
5. A Thought Model ...............................................................44
©coppyright 2009 Rey Reynoso
6. Immigration, Christians and the Law ...................52

7. Reasons for Civil Disobedience .................................60

8. Democracy and the Christian Ruler .....................76

III. Moving Forward

9. Closing Thoughts ..............................................................86

10 Recommended Reading ....................................................94

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Then she gave birth to a son,

Introduction and he named him Gershom, for he said,

Immigration’s Tough Questions “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”

Exodus 2:22

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ith Obama’s Health Care Re- health concern in regards to vaccination. Ameri-
form being discussed, special cans might be up to code, as it were, but immi-
interest groups have started call- grants wouldn’t have had those early life benefits.
ing for Immigration Reform that This cuts two ways: not only can we see a comeback
would coincide with a public health plan. Noting of controlled diseases, but the outbreak would hit
the finances involved, other interest groups state the immigrant population the hardest. Thousands
that this isn’t fair to Americans and have called upon thousands of people suffering unnecessarily
for stricter Immigration rules. This has reignited in the midst of a basically healthy modern society
old political questions while introducing American reflects poorly on that society.
Christians to an ethical quagmire. Thankfully, hospitals try to help. In 2007,
Maybe if Immigration reform was a black and American Hospitals spent $34 Billion on bad debt
white criminal issue, things might be easier for and charity cases; a number not expected to change
Christians; but immigration is a civil matter with partially due to aliens not having preventative health
only potential criminal concerns—and those in re- care and primarily using Emergency Rooms. As of
spect to national security. 2006, there was an estimated 12 million illegal aliens
Post 9/11, Americans know that being soft in living in the United States; that number is expected
one area may mean some serious repercussions in to grow and the health industry will continue to feel
another; and yet American Christians don’t want the weight.
to repeat the embarrassing mistakes of yesteryear But even in the midst of all that, Aliens con-
where discrimination against specific aliens became tribute $7 Billion a year to Social Security; a system
a matter of public policy. which they cannot participate in. Giving the aliens
Even if we didn’t talk about National Security Amnesty would fix this but then we’d have the So-
in regards to terrorism, we have a very real national cial Security system, already busting at the seams,
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pushed beyond the snapping point and being un- examination and help.
able to provide for the elderly. The book is divided into two major sections,
The issue that Aliens get paid more in Amer- even though they are inextricably tied.
ica than they would have in their country is small The first major section is primarily focused on
comfort when the income might be much lower certain theological notes that impact the greater
than native borns. It’s even less comforting when overall issue—it is the thinking that might under-
this strata of society can get pulled into all sorts gird later ideas and their practical outworking.
of abusive practices (be it prostitution, indentured The second major section is focused primarily
servant hood, being robbed of their days wages, on developing an approach for dealing with the il-
and so on). legal immigration issue. You will note that this sec-
American Christians struggle with all this and tion is just as theological as the first, but at that
are left wondering: how can we deal with it? What point it will take for granted certain points that had
is expected of them and what is their responsibil- to be established earlier on.
ity? Are there any Scriptural principles that can be In all, the work is my own with my own errors
gleaned by which American Christians can think although there is a list of resources and reading
through these things? What should Christians be material in the index that, although are not mine,
doing right now? They’re tough questions to strug- were helpful (especially with the numbers).
gle with and answer; I think we should try, though. Soli Deo gloria.
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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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 and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over

The Importance of Personhood 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? by those in charge of the pencils. Personhood is
You ask people that question and ascribed and removed with impunity, and always
you might notice that personhood includes the persons doing the defining (how very
looks a lot like themselves. That lucky for them). “Of course,” says the person out-
doesn’t surprise me since there’s some basis of side of the womb “the person in her womb is not
truth undergirding that presupposition, but I have a person”. “Of course,” says the person who needs
to wonder about the priorities that come to the fore the bed “the person in that hospital bed isn’t a per-
when defining personhood. son.” Auschwitz’s innkeepers applaud.
Maybe personhood is defined on account of No, personhood has been established beyond
the ability to think. But is a person any less a per- finite whim; it’s just been ignored.
son because they’re mentally handicapped and un- God decided to make humans as a reflection
able to think? Are you, for instance, less a person if of Him: personhood defined by a creative (he made
someone comes along and notes that you are inca- us), social (he interacted with us), generous (he
pable of thinking the way they do? wasn’t obligated to make us), omniscient (he knew
Or maybe, others would say, a person is defined everything about us), omni-benevolent (he loved
by the biophysical: like the ability to run, have sex us) and infinite (he transcends us) Master (he made
and process food. But is a person any less a person us to be with Him). As sovereign by fact (since ev-
because they can’t use their legs, penis or digestive erything is contingent on Him creating) he then
system? Can we peel a human’s biophysical layers willfully (his care at work) hands over co-regency
away and hit a point where we can say “okay, this is to his Children. The first people were Persons, in a
no longer a person”? community, rightly under God, ruling rightly over
In a world that is increasingly focused on solely (God’s) creation while discovering every facet of
the biophysical, the lines of personhood are drawn (God’s) creation and exemplifying the reflection
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of the person (their master, The Lord God) who There is not one stage of a Person’s life, not
made them. one aspect of a Person’s being, that should be ab-
Every person is made in God’s image making rogated to the unimportant, reduced to its own
every act against fellow image-bearers exponential- importance, or be compartmentalized as separate
ly potent. You’re not only ending a life; you’re de- from all others. They are all irreducibly humans-
stroying a reflection of God who made you. You’re in-God’s-image and properly expressed only when
not only destroying a reflection of God; you’re stat- under God.
ing that you are the final arbiter (a right that be- There is a reason why Christ came as a man,
longs solely to God) of anyone’s right to bear that obedient to God, and not a dog or a Martian obe-
reflection at all. dient to self. He came reflecting the image of God
This is true in every aspect of life. Sex is not perfectly, what man was supposed to look like, and
solely because parts fit and its fun; rather it depicts then allowing rebellious image bearers to do what
God in such a way that necessitated opposites they saw fit with him; we hated him, we took him
working cooperatively. Art is not merely a lucky ad- and we pinned him on a tree to be laughed at as he
ditive that lends color; rather it is a reflection of a died, obedient to His Master until the end.
God who creates under the purview of God who We define the Personhood any which way be-
grants aesthetics. Music is not merely a happy acci- cause we hate what the image keeps telling us: we’re
dent of sound; we’ve been equipped with the vocal doing wrong by ourselves and by God. What we
chords and sense of sound to communally blend think about God is reflected in the way we treat
in our adoration as he provides the very basis for his image. So we compartmentalize, we trim down,
music. Community is not merely people being knit we finagle, we ignore, we redefine until hopefully
together; it is the image of God corporately gath- (yet ironically hopelessly) we’re left condemning
ered under the Lordship of God. 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 hon-
or 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 in-
form 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 never let go of it; my conscience will

Embracing Human Conscience not reproach me as long as I live.

Job 27:6

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onscience is important, everyone ternal is important to them. Rationality is great as
agrees, but we’re not sure about how long as you acknowledge that all you’re reasoning
important. Those sticky internal mo- with is from a specific point of view resulting in no
tivations are confusing and put us in objective truth. The internal is subjective and we
an epistemological tailspin. If this was an episode can only trust that; we can’t trust anything outside
of Star Trek, would both be part of the Federa- of that.
tion but grumbling about their internal motivations They both are speaking their own language but
from different sides of the room. they’re both downplaying the importance of the in-
Modernists downplay the internal. Seeking to ternal. The Vulcans suppress the internal; the Klin-
elevate rationality and reason, they would totally fall gons say only their internal is important. Both treat
in line with the Vulcans. The internal doesn’t mat- the internal as a non-objective reality.
ter; what matters is the mind; what matters is how Vulcan and Klingon Christians don’t help
we figure things out: the conscience is subjective things. Vulcan Christians take the internal and cat-
and therefore untrustworthy. The objective is only egorize it all under Jeremiah 17:9: “The Heart is
that which we can reason and verify. desperately wicked!” and thus everything inside is
Postmodernists, not minding rationality but totally subjective and untrustworthy. Klingon Chris-
saying that it is all a matter of perspective, seem tians point out that no one can know the mind of
to be more like the Klingons (Romulans would’ve God1 ; that each one stands before their master2 ;
been better but they’re not Federation). Klingons therefore judge not so you are not judged3 .
have a complex system which makes sense to them But Scripture, taking the entirety of a human
but not much to anyone else; and they don’t mind person as important, speaks otherwise. For exam-
that. Postmoderns, like Klingons, see the internal 1 Rom 11:31
2 Rom 14:4
as personally important but don’t see how your in- 3 Mat 7:7

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ple, the context of Jeremiah 17:9 is that we can’t that’s why the internal is untrustworthy!” but Scrip-
figure out the heart of a deceitful person followed ture would deny that claim. It is because the person
by verse 10 that God can figure it out. The context knowingly acts on the internal that they find their
of Rom 11:31 is that although God’s knowledge is harshest condemnation. Paul would point out that
deep (because Paul had just spilled ink in Romans 9 people internally know God (Rom 1:19) but they
– 11 describing its depths) it goes even deeper than refuse to honor Him as God or give thanks (Rom
we thought; not to say that we can’t understand any 1:21) as they profess to be wise and cast their minds
part of God’s mind. Romans 14:4 is in the context to its darkest recesses (Rom 1:22-23).
of the importance of the conscience as an objec- Likewise, the people who act according to their
tive reality which is a basis of future judgment and conscience on the side of God find that they’re
Matthew 7:7 is in the context of the internal judger doing the same thing (Rom 2:1) because they’re
being used as a prosecution witness. being stubborn in their refusal to repent (Rom 2:5).
Scripture consistently bears this theme. The Paul would go so far to say that Gentiles, who keep
eyes of the first people are opened and they know the law without ever having had the written law, are
good and evil (inside) because they committed it. proving that they have God’s law written on their
God tells Cain to control his rising anger so that hearts (Rom 2:15) and their conscience bearing wit-
sin doesn’t overpower Him and result in wicked- ness while their thoughts accuse or defend them on
ness4. This coincides with Christ’s words that it is the day of God’s judgment (Rom 2:16).
not merely what comes in that defiles a man, but The internal accuses of sin6 and thus one
what comes out5. shouldn’t act without the conscience approving7
Vulcan Christians might pipe up and say “And and yet one should realize that God can judge

4 Gen3, 4 6 Gen 42:21; 2Sa 24:10; Mt 27:3; Ac 2:37
5 Matt 15:11; Mk 7:20 7 Job 27:6; Ac 24:16; Ro 9:1; 14:22

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people in the present by attacking the internal. So scarred, to a unit that works in conjunction with
He gives people over to the lusts of their hearts to the Spirit of God (Rom 9:1) and effectively part of
impurity (Rom 1:24) or their consciences wind up revealed faith8 which resonates in the consciences
seared (1 Tim 5:1-3—not in the sense of branded, of other people9. This internal is so important that
but more in the sense of calloused like burnt scar it should string together a Christian’s actions in
tissue) it is God effectively saying “Have it your everything they do so that there is a grave concern
way.” From then on, the silence of God should be for not offending the consciences10 and minds of
both deafening and frightening (Heb 12:8). others11.
Yes, the internal isn’t a perfect guide on its So in the end, it is not a matter of being a
own—for that matter, neither is reason or Law. proper Vulcan (figuring out which internal process-
Paul would state that before the revelation of the es are allowable as part of the reasoning process12)
risen Christ, he had a clear conscience in respect or being a proper Klingon (taking the internal
to his own religiosity (Acts 26:9) and yet, after be- and saying that there’s a part of it that is possibly
ing illuminated by God his conscience remained objective but we don’t quite know which it is). We’re
clear in his new decision (Acts 23:1) but pricked in to be humans who come to terms with being fully
regard to his previous decisions (1 Tim 1:13) when human; and that means embracing that God has
he acted in ignorance and unbelief. The writer to 8 1Ti 1:19; 3:9
9 2Co 4:2; 5:11
the Hebrews would state that the blood of Christ 10 Ro 14:21; 1Co 10:28-32
11 1 Pet 3:15
(Heb 10:2-10) must purify the conscience (Heb 12 Modernists sometimes want an objective proof
of the conscience. Maybe showing which principles
9:14) which is evil (Heb 10:22). of Conscience prove its God Given nature—sort of
like proving the speed of light. I would suggest that
This conscience, once properly oriented with although the internal is an objective reality, that
it is a transcendent reality that functions but we
the objective reality of the crucified Christ, goes can’t go around properly proving until a person is
presented as conscience-less. It would be like trying
from a unit that can be suppressed, broken or to prove the existence of other minds.

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given us both our minds and our inward approval
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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So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is
Chapter 3
The Eschatological Significance holy and righteous and good.

of Romans 7 Romans 7:12

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omans 7 has a long, messy history struggle to the exclusion of what came before and
of interpretative clashes. Some inter- what is coming after. Romans 8’s theology soars
preters say that although the Believer to the eschatological (future/end-times/last-day)
struggles with Sin nature in the pres- heights of a renewed creation, of a humanity con-
ent, Romans 7 isn’t addressing the issue at all. An- formed in the image of Christ, of God in all three
other view says that the Believer has no sin nature persons altogether on the side of the believer. It
and the struggle is with habits. Yet another view dic- does this after having long established the theologi-
tates that the entire experience in Romans 7 is pre- cal necessity of wrath, of justification, of peace,
conversion: dealing with the struggles of a person and of entrance into a proper sanctifying salva-
that is coming to enlightenment and finally conver- tion.
sion. Another view likes to split the chapter in two In other words, it’s all going Somewhere.
so that the first half deals with pre-conversion and The eschatological ramifications of this salva-
the following section deals with a post-conversion tion are tied up throughout the Gospel: from the
hypothetical without the empowering of the Holy death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Spirit; essentially a rhetorical hypothetical to estab- to the bringing in of the Gentiles with the Jews,
lish Paul’s point. and the overloading of grace on the side of Christ
Now, I didn’t want to bother addressing all over Adam, and the cutting off of Sin’s Power—it
those interpretative elements but I did want to ad- rings through each of the chapters. Paul doesn’t go
dress this one theological note that could permeate through the nature of tribulations resulting in hope
pretty much all the views (though I guess it can pose for the mere purpose of saying our character will
problems to the hypothetical sans-Spirit view). get better in a couple of weeks; it all has a goal tied
All the positions are using a form of tunnel into the impending Future….the Eschaton.
vision that theologically focuses in on this chapter’s The Last Days began at the resurrection from
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the dead, were further evidenced by the outpouring illegal immigration? Well, in short (without getting
spirit, and further evidenced by a community that into supporting one eschatological schema over
is the Temple of God, and further evidenced by another) it is all going somewhere. There will be a
individuals that are the Temple of God. time where Christ will return and set things right.
This is the real struggle of a person who has There’s different ways this might look like, but
noted all of those eschatological facets in the pres- all in all it means that God will be in charge in a
ent and realizing that they are now standing at the perfect future. We live today with the expectation
edge of that future. This theological ramification of that coming future but we don’t live today with
winds up having application in just about every in- the horror of relying on our fixes (or programs,
terpretation: an unbeliever about to be saved real- or policies, whatever) to ensure that the future is
izing God has inaugurated the Last Days; a be- better.
liever looking at the nature of the Law pointing to That’s God’s job, not ours. Ours is the job that
Christ who is the Promised Messiah; a believer not- comes with being a person living in the Now with
ing his or her own life in the shadow of the cross the expectation of a real future Then. We might
and empty tomb heralding the promise of Daniel not be able to iron out everything with immigra-
12; and a believer looking at the brightness of the tion, or health, or national policy; but we don’t live
coming Dawn by the down-payment of the Holy with the expectation that we’re supposed to.
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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for all have sinned and
Chapter 4
Christian Idealism and fall short of the glory of God

the Reality of Sin Romans 3:23

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like to look at situation and, no matter how not-upright, is sin (1 John 5:17). It only starts with
rough, consider what would be ideal. I think the falling short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23)
that’s important. In circles with friends or But it progress from there. Sin is what happens
family I have convincingly argued for The when personal desire acts (Jas 1:15 it is contrived
Ideal and then stood there as someone asks “That’s in the mind and intent (Gen 8:21); it spews out of
awesome; how do we get there?” only to shake my the heart (Matt 15:19); it is evidenced in action
head and respond “I honestly don’t know.” (Rom 1); it is ultimately defiling (Prov 30:12) and
Now the fact is that I do know that the an outright rebellion against God (Psalm 50-51).
impending ideal of a dawning future reality will And lest we think that sin is about Them
establish a system that we, of our own power, can’t and surely not about Us (Me and all Christians
possibly implement. But people don’t get that so I included) we discover that no person, except Christ
want to talk about why that’s important. (2Co 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 1Jo 3:5) is without sin
Sin, like the words naughty or bastard, is a (1Ki 8:46; Ec 7:20); all are under the system of sin
fallen word, bereft of her previous glory, power and (Gal 3:22); all people are shaped in sin (Ps 51:5); all
horror. When used it invokes images of chocolate, people are born in sin (Ge 5:3; Job 15:14; 25:4; Ps
forbidden (and really fun) sex, or scandal—while 51:5); no man can cleanse himself from sin (Job
the notion of the abject depravity of sin remains 9:30,31; Pr 20:9; Jer 2:22); and no man can atone
immaculately untouched; virginal in comparison. for sin (Mic 6:7). We. Are. Sinners.
A definition of sin begins to be found in the It is part of reality until God decides to realize
falling short of doing good: the person who knows that dawning future (1 Cor 15). We can’t, of our
to do good and doesn’t is sinning (James 4:17); the own, do anything to get rid of it. Want to know
person who acts apart from conscience and faith if sin is still around? Check the graveyard because
in God is sinning (Rom 14:23); being unrighteous, 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. are our own worst enemies.
Now the reason I draw that tight circle is So I move forward with hope, and expecta-
to show that no matter what program we peo- tion based on my conscience, but doing so with
ple implement, no matter what governmental the knowledge that we will mess things up; but that
solution that we come up with, no matter what brings me back to the Gospel. The fact is that we
level of education we enforce, no matter what have messed things up but God has taken it upon
religions we absolve (or create), no matter how Himself to renew all things.
much resources (money, food, information, help, The hope and goal of any given situation isn’t
staff) we throw at any given problem the biggest these policies or laws or way of running govern-
problem is that sinful people (that’s me, that’s you, ment: these hopes are ultimately temporary and
that’s them) are involved. All we do is under the flawed. My hope is in Christ and the Gospel of
system of sin. Sure we do good (Acts 10 for an God, which ensures a final victory over sin, but
example) and it is really good; but if we hold up our currently I am working with the knowledge that
goods before God we find that we just aren’t up to God has me (us) where He wants me to be.
snuff; he does infinitely better. And that’s infinitely important.
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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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; For that, we need to construct a thought
it makes things easy. We weigh in on model.
an issue by citing a verse (or five) and A thought model is a device that allows us
we’re done—ding! Next problem? to examine ideas. First you build the thing based
So it is with immigration. We surf through our on what you know, and then you see what makes
New Testament and then pause, sighing thankfully it work. When you understand how it works you
that there is a verse that seems to deal with illegal might be able to understand your driving force in
aliens, or at least strangers: “The stranger that you another area. The material for our thought model
invited inside, fed, and clothed his nudity…it was will come primarily from the Old Testament
me, Jesus. When you rejected that stranger and left First, what couldn’t immigrants in Israel do?
him imprisoned; you rejected me, Jesus1.” These are actually unsurprising. They couldn’t be
Well, we blush; it’s not as good as an explicit kings2 (duh); they couldn’t take the Passover3 (un-
command. The passage is totally about interaction less they became part of the Covenant community
at the personal level and it doesn’t offer anything and thus nationals4); they couldn’t blaspheme (but
in the way of “thou shall”—especially not on the neither could a native born national5); they couldn’t
national level. eat blood (and neither could the native born na-
Ignoring the other book-worthy problems, tional6); and they were free from certain restrictions
I think there’s a proper goal in finding what in the Jewish Law (like in Deut. 14:21 where they
Scripture says in regard to immigration. Surely, could eat an animal that dies on its own; something
not for the purpose of finding a new law (wrong- the Jews couldn’t do) though not all of them (like
headed, that), but for the purpose of discovering 2 Deut. 17:15
3 Ex. 12:45
operating principles. 4 Ex. 12:48, 49; Num. 9:14; 15:14, 15
5 Lev. 24:16
1 Matt. 25:35, 38, 43. 6 Lev. 17:10

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they had to keep the Sabbath7 and they were barred to be treated with fairness and justice16. Indeed,
from eating the “holy food”8) one benefit was derived as a consequence to Israel
Next, we’d have to look at what Jews could do being cursed for disobedience—foreigners would
with aliens which they couldn’t do with their fellow increase in the Land and overpower the Israelites
nationals. Jews couldn’t exact interest on a loan to (Deut 28:43–44)!
their kinsmen; the restriction was waived in regard With our thought-model in place, we can now
to aliens9. Jewish slaves would be released during try to examine the operating principles.
the year of Jubilee; an alien slave was permanent Certain things jump to the fore. The foreign-
property10. er was important to God, even in the context of
Now, to look at the foreigner’s benefits in Is- slavery. Most of these efforts were focused on en-
rael. They were to be loved11 and not hated12 even suring that the foreigner was afforded protection,
when those aliens came from their worst enemies. help, kindness, mercy and justice. We notice that
They were afforded equal protection (with the Jew) the point of welcoming the foreign national was to
by the cities of refuge13 and at one point they even eventually integrate him into the theocratic nation
had rights to Israel’s inheritance14. They weren’t to with the hope of making them fellow nationals and
be mistreated; people were to be kind to them15; thus partakers in the national benefits. Of course,
not to be wronged; not to be oppressed; justice on this would mean that they would then bear respon-
their part was not to be perverted; and they were sibility in an Israelite tax burden, but they would
7 Ex. 20:10; 23:12 effectively be Israelites.
8 Lev. 22:10, 12, 25
9 Deut. 15:3; 23:20 Stepping back from it, we can say that the Is-
10 Lev. 25:44, 45
11 Deut. 10:18, 19. raelite situation was very different from our own.
12 Deut. 23:7
13 Num. 35:15; Josh. 20:9
14 Ezek. 47:22, 23 16 Ex. 22:21; 23:9; Lev. 19:33, 34; Deut. 1:16; 10:19; 24:14, 17;
15 Lev. 19:33, 34. Deuteronomy 23:7 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 shedding even more light on our thought-model.
culmination of the promises of God; America is Christ didn’t come as the king of heaven, open-
democratic awaiting no such thing. ly declaring his lineage and divinity; he came as a
And yet, we see this spirit of kindness to our humble servant and as a stranger. If it were other-
fellow men inherent in such documents like the wise, the rulers during his day wouldn’t have cruci-
Declaration of Independence and the Constitu- fied him; but they did crucify him and thus exposed
tion. This spirit of kindness is explicated in our their blackened hearts for what they were (1 Cor
thought-model reflecting a care for the foreigner 2:8).
that is concerned for his or her oppression, rights, Enter the alien/stranger. Christ stands in his
justice and situation. This surely derives, not on ac- place awaiting mercy, righteousness, justice and
count of the person being a foreigner but, on ac- kindness. Every person reflects the image of God
count of the foreigner being a human person made (Gen 1:26) so treating that image poorly speaks, ul-
in the image of God. timately, about our attitude toward God. Love peo-
Applying it to our own situation, Christians ple, especially those strangers, because it is when
should be especially concerned for the oppression, you love the apparent unlovable that you reflect the
victimization and the lack of rights towards the for- love of God.
eigner. Christians should be concerned with their As a national policy in a democratic society this
own fellow nationals as well, true, but they should would be difficult to pass as law (and even more
care with more than material concerns. It is in the difficult to enforce) but I think it does help me un-
treatment of strangers, the unknown and unloved, derstand how a Christian is to look at the immigra-
where the true heart of a person, indeed a nation, tion issue—looking at the people through Scriptur-
is most clearly seen. al principles; not solely the apparent problem.
Christ’s words in the New Testament wind up
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Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every

authority instituted among men: whether to the

Chapter 6 king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors,
Christians, Immigration,
who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong
and the Law
and to commend those who do right

1 Peter 2:13-14

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y thought model sort of works. 9). Saul (a doofus of a man) is the people’s choice
It allows me to see the driving award winner, yet he was appointed by God and is
principles that ran through Is- called anointed (1 Sam. 9:15–17; 10:1). David, an
rael’s treatment of immigrants adulterer and a murderer whose sins sometimes af-
while yielding some information about how those fects the entire nation, is also God’s anointed (1
principles might be applied today; but it keeps Sam. 16:1, 7, 13; 2 Sam. 7:13–16; Psa. 89:19–37;
catching on one snag. America’s problem isn’t im- Acts 13:22) and is called the Son of God (Psalm
migration—it’s illegal immigration. 2).Paul, who had suffered at the hands of ruling
Because of that, I must reflect on human laws, authorities, would have the cheek to tell us that
authority and a Christian’s responsibility. rulers are actually ministers and servants of God
First, note how God held people account- (Rom 13:1,4,6). The Old Testament is pretty open
able for other people. In Gen 9:6 (and earlier), in viewing God as appointing Kings (1 Kin. 14:14;
mankind had to punish killers. In Gen. 41:25–57, 16:1–4; 1 Chr. 28:4, 5; 29:25; Psa. 22:28; Prov. 8:15,
Pharaoh was informed by God about what was go- 16; Dan. 2:20, 21, 37; 5:20–24) and the New Testa-
ing to happen in the land so that Joseph could care ment follows suit (Rom 13).
for the people and Egypt would prosper—Pharaoh Second, note how eople also have to obey
was essentially a vehicle for God’s care of the the ruling authorities—even the evil ones—be-
people. This makes sense, since God (much later) cause disobeying authorities would be to disobey
depicted Nebuchadnezzar (his King and servant God. Compare the two incidents in Numbers
Dan. 2:37, 38 and Jer. 27:6) as a glorious tree that (Num. 12, 16) where God’s authority was chal-
provided shade, fruit and shelter (Dan 4:9-17). Pha- lenged by attacking God’s chosen vessels of au-
raoh 2.0 was made king by God specifically for the thority. Ecclesiastes 8 illuminates wisdom as a man
purpose of reflecting God’s power (Exo 6; Rom 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. to be a factor as in the case of the Jewish Mid-
The author to the Hebrews says that the believers wives, when told to slaughter the Jewish male ba-
are to obey those who rule over them (Heb 13:17). bies, feared God more than they feared Pharaoh:
Paul would tell believers to pray for their rulers, and their decision (with subsequent disobedience and
submit to them, so that they can have a quiet and lie) was viewed favorably by God (Exo 1:15-21).
tranquil life (1 Tim 2:1-2; Titus 3:1). His example Refusing to break God’s as Hananiah, Mishael and
is fairly evident when he retracts his condemnation Azariah refused to follow the political decision to
of the then ruling High Priest on the grounds that bow down to an image; God justified them before
he didn’t know he was High Priest (Acts 23:1-5) the eyes of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 3).
but then fairly confusing when he throws the whole Christ often broke the commands of the rul-
proceeding into chaos. Peter says to submit to hu- ing authorities (Mat 15, 16, 21, and plenty more in
man authorities as a testimony to unbelievers (1 Pe- the Gospels) for the express purpose of showing
ter 2:13-15) and then actually goes so far to say that their callousness, hypocrisy, and their façade of ho-
a mark of haters of God is that they are despisers liness—but I’m not sure that is a calling for believ-
of authority (2 Pet. 2:10)! ers. And yet, when filled with the Holy Spirit, Ste-
phen refuses to shut up when the authorities were
Civl Disobedience angry at him (Acts 7). Indeed, Peter and John go so
And yet, even in the necessity for civil obedi- far to say, in the face of their ruling authorities, that
ence, Scripture makes it clear that there are prin- they must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29—a
ciples that override a ruler’s authority. A direct case which some might chalk up to having a heav-
command from the Lord can override obedience enly command beforehand).
to civil rule as these rich migrants who visited the But civil disobedience seems to be used in oth-
Lord discovered (Mat 2:8, 12). Fear for God seems er surprising cases as well. Paul, after being beaten
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publically, then privately released, refuses to leave Daniel 1 or Daniel 6? On what grounds does some-
the prison until the magistrates publically exoner- one like Paul submit himself to a beating and bring
ate him (Acts 16:37). His legal rights were violated up his rights; or submit to a beating and prison and
and he made sure to make a fuss about it but in so then enforce his rights?
doing he protested by sitting in prison. In another The evidence here needs further examina-
situation, civil disobedience was used to derail the tion. I have to look at the driving influence for civil
injustice of a secret murder where Paul escapes disobedience.
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 peo-
ple 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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Peter and the other apostles replied:
Chapter 7 “We must obey God rather than men!
Reasons for Civil Disobedience
Acts 5:29

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raised some surprising issues of civil dis- of Paul’s citizenship rights1 to the officials, accord-
obedience which were: (1) Paul’s refusal to ing to Luke, is when they’re about to released (Rom
obey the Philippian magistrates (Acts 16:37); 9:35-37).
(2) Paul escaping arrest at Damascus (Acts Paul may have had several reasons to speak now.
9:23-25; 2 Cor 11: 32, 33). I didn’t mention another He might not have had a chance to speak when he
surprising case and that is (3) Esther (Esther 4:13- was naked and beaten. He might have wanted to
16; 5:1). ensure that respect to the law was restored—at the
very least in the public eye, but likely in the eyes of
I’m A Roman Citizen (RE:1) the magistrates. He might have wanted to show that
In Acts 16, a mature letter-writing Paul, is seen they couldn’t about casting off the laws of the land
on his second missionary. His act of civil disobedi- by rejecting the law s that exists.
ence seems, at first blush, petty: the magistrates had Those seem unlikely though. It wouldn’t ex-
him and Silas beaten and arrested; now Paul de- plain why Paul didn’t shout it early on. It could be
mands that the magistrates personally release them just as possible that Paul brings up the matter here
because they’re Roman citizens. because the injustice is more than casting off the
Luke doesn’t record Paul speaking up during law of the land; it is the callous disregard of any
his public beating or arrest. We see them singing justice whatsoever. These guys did this, not in re-
hymns, praying and eventually telling the Jailer that jection of the higher authorities, but without any
they hadn’t escaped before preaching the Gospel.
1 Citizens were equipped with certain rights: the
No mention of the Roman rights issue at the jailer’s right to appeal to Caesar (from any local court)
and the right not to face torture, scourging, long
house or at their return to prison. The first mention 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 an- ing the spirit of divination. They’re beaten and im-
gry impulses. This is more than the injustice to citi- prisoned and remain in prison until an earthquake
zens, it is an injustice that was being propagated as hits. The jailer, expecting everyone to have escaped,
a normal course of action without even bothering is about to off himself when Paul and Silas prove
to find out if it was in their power to do such a that all the prisoners are still there. Instead of chaos
thing: humanity run rabid. ensuing, these guys proved orderly to the point of
I also think several other stories within this welcoming a new person to the Kingdom of God.
section are important in understanding the depth So much so that they go clean up, have a meal, and
of what’s going on. You have two stories going on then go back to the prison to await the morning.
in Acts 16 which culminate with civilian activity un- The two stories stand next to each other offer-
der the law of the land. ing a striking parallel; one reflecting how the minis-
Story arc one is sparked by the possessed for- ters of The Only Powerful God handle themselves
tune telling slave girl who was a source of income in society and with the Gospel; the other reflect-
for her masters. Ignoring her spiritual condition, ing how those under the power of darkness handle
her masters saw her only as a source of income to themselves in society when their idols are attacked.
support their lifestyle. Once her power is attacked, Luke essentially is saying “Do you see? Chris-
chaos ensues: the masters attack Paul and Silas, tianity has no reason to buck the laws of the land;
they bring them to the authorities, the magistrates we know who wins in the end so we don’t have to.
immediately execute a decision without trial and When we buck it’s to show that you have rejected
throw the two preachers into jail. your own system for the sake of whatever power
Story arc two is sparked with the two preach- has taken control of you all.”
ers, working under the power of God, growing So this first case of civil disobedience reflects
tired of the slave girl’s proclamations and remov- that Christians should be reflecting the power of
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God over and above the kingdom of men and actu- disobedience.
ally underscoring the importance of those rules— Saul, a trained rabbi (at the feet of famed Ga-
even when the rule makers have cast off the rules maliel), should have had a theology of civil respon-
for the sake of their own idols. It might require sibility already in place; Christianity wouldn’t have
a form of civil disobedience (refusal to leave the changed it, it would have refined it underneath the
prison without public acknowledgment of wrong- headship of the risen Lord. This is why Paul can
doing) but it is not anarchist in its activities; rather come to belief and then, fairly quickly, preach the
it is whatever social system at its best. word. Heck, the followers themselves should have
had a theology of civil responsibility on account of
I’m Outa’ Here (RE:2) the Disciple’s hard learned schooling during Jesus’
We might be tempted to chalk up Paul’s basket time on earth3.
escape to lack of knowledge. Paul is a new be- The Jews had gotten involved with the local au-
liever2; the followers, the main motivators of the thorities under governer Aretas IV, the vassal king,
escape, don’t have well distributed teachings of Je- and they wanted to capture and kill Paul. The in-
sus. We might even try to write the passage off as tent here was murder under the veneer of authority
descriptive, not prescriptive, with the main point with no mention of legal charges being brought up.
being that Saul, the hunter of Christian fugitives, This was cowboy law and Paul and gang wouldn’t
wound up running away as a Christian fugitive. deal with it—they escaped.
That contrast remaining true, there are some This wouldn’t be the first time that Paul es-
definite points of departure from an off-hand capes from cowboy law.
disqualification of the passage in regards to civil Festus, wanting to do the Jews a favor, decides
it best to have Paul stand trial in the Jewish prov-
2 That is, if we go with a date before his 3 year
disappearance referred to in Gal 3:17-18 3 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 escaping the law and the other time by using the
was a definite plan to kill the man. I’m not sure law. And yet, he blatantly uses the situation to pro-
that Festus knew about the plot (since his problem pel the Gospel.
with the whole appeal thing was that it was a matter
of Jewish religion and a dead man that Paul pro- The King and I (RE:3)
fessed to be alive—Acts 25:19-20), but Paul took Esther’s situation was dire. Not only was Mor-
the chance to remain within the Roman system and decai asking her to appeal to the King—a fact that
employed the Appeal to Caesar escaping the death could result in death if the King didn’t initiate the
penalty by Jewish hands. meeting4—he was asking her to do this during a
Paul, speaking to Roman Jews, explains that politically dubious time for Esther: she hasn’t been
his reason for appealing to Caesar had little to do summoned to come to the king for thirty days (Es-
with bringing an accusation against his kinsmen but ther 4:11). She knows what could happen to her if
everything about bearing witness about the Hope the King doesn’t approve, but after being given a
of Israel. This allows him to speak to these Ro- message by Mordecai, she courageously capitulates
man Jews with a freedom he couldn’t before. Heck, and says she is off to break the law.
Roman Officials didn’t think it was a matter worth What’s interesting about the situation here is
appealing but Paul used it anyway and the law al- that law-breaking was not being justified as the
lowed it. 4 Heroditus does make mention that a meeting
could be initiated via letter and, later on in the
Going back to the earlier escape then, I don’t book (Esther 6:4) we see that Mordecai is awaiting
audience in the outer court, without a kingly sum-
know that we can make any solid conclusions. Paul mons. Esther is very specific about the regulations
regarding the visit to the king. It could be that this
rescues his kinsmen from performing further aw- is an interview in the inner court, or maybe some
other young lady has gained the King’s favor—but
ful violence (like they had done with Stephen) and either way, Esther knows to come barging into the
inner court could result in death unless the King
does that by rescuing his own life twice: once by holds out the golden scepter.

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lesser evil. If there was a moment when the Jews Mordecai did not appeal to Esther on the
could have some justified civil disobedience, you grounds of the wrongs being committed, or her
would think it would be this time—and yet Mor- own moral duty to uphold what is right; rather on
decai, wearing sackcloth and weeping, stops short the grounds of personal conviction as being a ve-
of the King’s gate because it was against the law to hicle for God’s goodness and mercy in whatever
do that beyond that point (Esther 4:2). Indeed, the situation one is in. He pointed out her vocation and
Jews would weep in every province, but there’s no her conscience.
strikes, no appeals; just a sad resigned expectation. This argument is actually helpful to all the pre-
Mordecai makes a point of highlighting sev- vious examples of civil disobedience. Paul could
eral truths: the Jews were on the verge of a great have remained in Damascus and suffered much (as
culling; Esther might not escape the wrath anyway; the Lord had promised) or he could have ignored
deliverance and relief would arise for the Jews, the plot to seize him, and allow himself to be low-
with or without Esther’s help; individuals don’t ered from the city walls in a basket. Paul could have
know God’s plans for them as individuals. He was gone to the Jewish court or he could have appealed
confident in the promises of God (that he would to Caesar and allow the message to carry on in dif-
protect his people as a group) but was open to the ferent channels5. Esther could have remained quiet
idea that the reason Queen Esther was in the posi- and allowed deliverance to arise from another chan-
tion she was in was specifically so that she could do nel or she could try to stand up and be the means
something about it. That might not be true but is for God’s deliverance among her people.
it better to ignore the position God has placed one
5 Indeed the whole situation with Agabus the
in and expect sure deliverance elsewhere or to take Prophet and the Four Daughters of Phillip seems
to give Paul a real option: go to Jerusalem and you
a stand and maybe become that vehicle for God’s will be arrested or escape now and you will not be
arrested. And yet, the whole point, for Paul, is to go
plans? off and (in this situation) be arrested (Acts 21)

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This tells me that the grounds for civil disobe- given conscience which has been properly realigned,
dience are not merely because of the greater moral and the Spirit of God are all working in concert for
good (since God is working all things to good, a purpose. I speak more about the principle of con-
whether we like it or not) but because an individual science elsewhere, but here it would be important
might personally realize that they might be the ve- to say that all of these things are seriously being
hicle for God’s working good in any given situa- used by God—even the evil situation (like the mag-
tion. In other words, the situation in which they istrates, or the Jews planning to murder, or Ahasu-
have been called compels them to act accordingly. erus allowing a law to pass that results in senseless
violence) for good. This does not negate personal
Putting the Pieces Together involvement; rather it mandates it.
Admittedly that sounds odd. People might Even in the midst of a very bad social situa-
hear “I disobey government because God told me tion, like slavery, Paul could send back a slave (now
so” but that’s not what I’m saying at all. All the ex- a believer) to his master saying “treat him like a
amples I listed above were situations where people brother”; and elsewhere write that it is better, as a
acted in a certain way with the expectation of God slave, to become free—but everyone is to work for
working through the situation but personally wish- God in the situation in which they were called and
ing to say something that speaks into the situation. that sometimes will mean remaining a slave.
The person is personally convicted to act a certain As for the immigrants, they should obey the
way and does so, not as an anarchist who shirks laws of the land but for some of the individuals it
the laws (note the first story above) but as a sober- might be that God has placed them in that specific
minded individual who understands where God situation to disobey the laws of the land for some
stands in relation to everything. purpose that is evident in their situation. For the
This is where time, space, situations, the God 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 some-
thing 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 report-
ing 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 se-
riously 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 sol-
id 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.

StrangersConsideringStrangers.indb 74-75 8/26/09 4:54:52 PM
Was any man called when he was already circum-

cised? He is not to become uncircumcised. Has

anyone been called in uncircumcision? (R)He is not

Chapter 8 to be circumcised.
Christians Rulers and
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is
their Responsibility
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 has to be run past the people before it becomes law.
won’t explain the nature of the constitu- Individual citizens don’t declare war, but they do
tional republic (which protects the individu- vote for the President, the Senators and the Con-
als) and how it operates via a representative gressman that would decide those actions accord-
democracy. I’m not even going to touch on the nu- ingly.
ances of power balance (technically) ensures that This unlocks a Pandora’s box of Biblical prin-
no group in the United States has absolute control. ciples that usually apply to rulers but now extend to
If you want an exact overview of United States the people of a democratic society.
democracy, you can read through these documents Drawing from our old thought model, we wind
online ( up gathering these helpful ideas about rulers and
I will say that a representative democracy im- finding their application in the US. God stands be-
bues its people with certain powers that make them hind the authorities that exist, and that would mean
ultimately responsible for much of what goes on he stands behind a democratic republic—including
within our countries policies. Sure, a majority rule its members (Rom 13). Prayer should be made for
with constitutional protections of individuals is the the elected leaders as well as the voters going out
modus operandi, but the powers of the people are to vote (1 Tim. 2:1, 2). Rulers (and so the people of
vast. Lincoln rightly called the United States a gov- a democratic society) should be impartial in their
ernment of the people, by the people, and for the decisions (note how this even applies in a jury of
people. peers— Ex. 23:3-7). Any rule should reflect the
The people don’t personally write the laws, but fact that God has set up the authority—else wise it
they do vote for the people who will write those is a repudiation of the one who has established the
laws. State constitutions, approved by the people, kingdom. Even the wisdom for kings and proper
are structured in such a way that certain legislation rule becomes applicable to the people (Prov. 24:23-
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26 25:2; 28:16). on realigning the embraced evil.
All this underscores the responsibility of citi- Anyone reading this series will understand that
zens within a democratic society but it especially these things might not only apply to immigration;
cranks up the Christian’s burden. it might apply to the unborn, the elderly and mi-
The Christian can’t sit back and point to his or norities just as well. In the case of Immigration
her need to obey the authorities (or not); ultimately, though, I think that Christians shouldn’t be solely
the American Christian is part of that governmen- approving all illegal aliens nor barring them from
tal authority. If they vote, they use their political the country but rather trying to figure out the best
power as a co-ruler; if they don’t vote, they are means to get the illegal to act with respect to our
abrogating their decisions to someone else while laws but with an understanding of their situation
remaining rulers. As citizens, they are automati- and seeking their improvement.
cally co-rulers, and they should be concerned for This should mean that illegal aliens are person-
the laws of the land as well as the mistreatment of ally cared for and motivated to report their status to
those who are not currently protected by the po- follow a proper track of residency. If the laws are
litical umbrella. Christians should be appropriately overly harsh, the Christian rulers should be con-
concerned for the citizens as well as the name of cerned about rectifying the laws so that they are
the country which they are rulers over because as not cruel—the things that reflect poorly on the so-
part of a representative society it reflects, in some ciety, reflect poorly on its people. If the laws don’t
part, on their own sovereignty. properly address concerns across the board, then
Of course, majority decides, but if the major- the Christian rulers should be considering how
ity’s decision is evil, the margin should reflect that to make the rules better but always with an eye to
the Christian rulers opposed the move toward evil. compassion coupled with justice. They are not to
Moreso, the response by the Christian should focus be ruled by anarchy, but governed by what is ethi-
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cal, what best represents God, what gives proper
respect to persons, and what is not a revolt against
When majority overrules and embraces an out-
right evil by running toward an idol, then I think it
might call for some benign form of civil disobedi-
ence, such as in Acts 16 or in Exodus 1. For exam-
ple, in Nazi Germany, the citizens representing the
true Germany should have been performing civil
disobedience in protecting human life and defend-
ing the oppressed; they shouldn’t have been sup-
porting 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 citi-
zen, 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 flexibil-
ity and an Esther-like thinking with situations.


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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 other; another man considers every day alike. Each
Closing thoughts
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 would have a process by which aliens can come in,
I’m expected to systematize all I’ve covered be given work with a proper salary that fulfilled ar-
and come up with immigration reform in eas that people aren’t currently jumping on board
America. I’ve looked at the subject about with (and still addresses the skill set of the Aliens)
every which way: I’ve examined the problems; I’ve while offering them government sponsored health
worked through a thought model based on the Old benefits which they partially pay for with some sort
Testament; I’ve looked at reasons for civil disobe- of tax. As part of their involvement in the country,
dience; the reality of Christians under rulers and they would also be steeped in an integration pro-
the further reality of Christians as rulers; I’ve ex- gram where they are taught the lingua franca, some
plained the importance of conscience; and finally I basics about economics (banking, smart shopping,
looked at the reality of living in a world where sin coupons, etc), supplied some sort of housing with
still reigns—so a solution is expected, right? cultural support, with the end goal being that they
Don’t hold your breath. become citizens. As citizens they would be af-
Ideally (within the realm of my intended pur- forded a basic public education (that would include
pose of this book; we can always conceive of college, if they want to go there) and hopefully be-
something even better. For example, I can conceive come a productive part of American society. All of
of a way that every immigrant gets a twinkie but that would be ideal.
can make it better with two twinkies, and so on) Realistically all of that wouldn’t be possible
there shouldn’t be a problem of illegal immigration in a fallen world. Cultural support neighborhoods
at all. It would be great if people from other coun- might look more like the ethnic barrios we have
tries could come to America to better their own now. Realistically, I think that America should
situation and America would comply in fulfilling have a public health plan that offsets the costs of
that dream. As part of this openness, Americans emergency room visits by illegal aliens via offering
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a public health plan for all aliens and people who better be paying the person how he would pay an
can’t afford health insurance. In this way, the un- American, be concerned for the alien’s health, and
documented aliens would still hit the hospitals but be concerned about getting the alien to become
the costs have been curbed by addressing all the documented.
other people who also hit the hospitals instead of The American Christian should be seeking to
doctors or clinics. I think there should be some sort integrate this person while respecting their culture,
of background check process for undocumented constantly reflecting the Gospel imperative with
aliens to see if these folk are criminals before try- the balm of loving one’s neighbor—even these dis-
ing to integrate them in society. I think that com- tant neighbors. A Christian in a different situation,
panies should have a citizen integration program who sees that there’s someone hiring undocument-
that allows them to hire undocumented workers ed workers and mistreating them, should be simi-
to perform what they need doing at a wage-to-skill larly concerned for them and (I say this carefully)
equivalent pay grade but with a program that simi- report the person who is mistreating the aliens. I
larly looks at making these folk Americans. don’t think this reporting should be done blindly
Christians though should think realistically though. I think that the Christian should first speak
about all this since I don’t think that the problem to the aliens (and their managers), get to know
of illegal immigration will be properly addressed them, speak to them about the importance of get-
at the governmental level without hurting loads of ting documented and of getting away from the mis-
people. I think that a lot of this sort of thinking treatment. It may be that the situation will be dealt
should come from American Christians. with by the employer himself. It might not.
So, I think that it is up to the Christian’s con- The point is that American Christians should
science if he will hire the illegal alien or not, but be concerned about this in the national level, be
if he does hire one (against the state’s laws), he willing to act on their conviction, and concerned
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enough to seek to properly reflect how the nation As for me, I started this whole thing thinking I
looks like under the Lordship of Christ. There’s a wouldn’t have any suggestions of what we should
fair amount of nationalism in my statement but it be doing and at the other side of it; I have sug-
is a nationalism that is Christ centered—that seeks gestions and the kernel of a conviction forming. I
the betterment of others and the best representa- think the importance of the image of God should
tion of itself in the now only insofar as it hinges its inform a lot of our thinking on this issue; and
existence on the resurrected Christ. Of course the yet I also think that the importance of individual
nation will not achieve this on its own because it is conscience and vocation is something not to be
not Christian, so each Christian will have to deal shrugged aside with blanket statements (be it about
with each illegal immigration situation personally the image of God or about the mandate to obey
and in the place that they have been found. governments or whatever).
This post has concessions , concerns and quali- As we continue dealing with this situation, it is
fications; but it’s all fraught with the problems of my prayer that Christians continue examining the
looking through a dirty window. We’re mired in sin depths of it: honestly, without fear, and expecting
so any solution won’t be pat and proper. to change or solidify based on the Word of God
In other words, this is a tough spot. At this side and the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
of eternity Christians will have to choose between I’m not sure if this book has accomplished
choices in the grey that are very much sullied with that. There are definitely more words that should
of sin. Sometimes Christians will have to choose be spoken. Perhaps your words will add to collec-
between supporting a war and allowing attacks on tive thinking on this subject.
citizens; sometimes Christians will have to choose
between denying an alien citizenship and denying
the government the right to send the alien home. S.D.G.

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Where there is no guidance the people fall,But in
Index abundance of counselors there is victory.
Recommended Readings
Proverbs 11:14

StrangersConsideringStrangers.indb Sec8:94-Sec8:95 8/26/09 4:54:54 PM
Books Surveys

Tienda, M., & Mitchell, F. (2006). Multiple origins, un-
certain destinies: Hispanics and the American future.
Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. c9fef57852dc066cfe16a4cb816838a4

Free online:
Smith, J. P., & Edmonston, B. (1997). The new Americans: compensated-care.pdf
Economic, demographic, and fiscal effects of immi-
gration. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Laws

Free Online:

Groups and Sites
News Articles

StrangersConsideringStrangers.indb Sec8:96-Sec8:97 8/26/09 4:54:54 PM
VERSE SAMPLING BY TOPIC: To be loved: Deut. 10:18, 19. Not abhorred: Deut. 23:7

Israel and the Stranger Will achieve more and more in the land among
them: Deuteronomy 28:43–44.
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 Kindness required says Jesus: Matt. 25:35, 38, 43.

Religious privileges extended: Ex. 12:48, 49; Num. 9:14;
15:14, 15
Christians and the law of the land:
Jews Authorized to take interest loans from: Deut.
15:3; 23:20 Romans 13

Authorized to make slaves: Lev. 25:44, 45 Titus 3:1

Not allowed to be Kings: Deut. 17:15 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Forbidden to take Passover: Ex. 12:45 Hebrews 13:17

Partial exemption from Law: Deut. 14:21 1 Peter 2:13

Many aliens in land during David and Solomon’s Citizenship: Matt. 22:17–21 Luke 20:25. Rom. 13:1–7; Tit.
time: 2 Sam. 22:45, 46; 2 Chr. 2:17; 15:9. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13–17

Had rights: Num. 35:15; Josh. 20:9; Ezek. 47:22, 23 Paul enforces rights Acts 16:37

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)

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