During the Worship Gathering this past Sunday, January 29, Pastor Adam lead our church in a time of prayer over the recent immigration and refugee executive order signed by President Trump on Friday, January 27. Pastor Adam acknowledged that within our church there are naturalized citizens of the USA as well as green card holders legally living and working in our community. Many persons in our church also have friends or personally know persons from other countries studying on education visas or who are citizens of predominantly Muslim countries that are affected by the executive order. We prayed for direction, wisdom, and comfort.
Caring for the “Least of These”
You may be at a loss or unsure how to process this news and what it may mean for those within our church who are affected by the executive order, or those friends, classmates, and coworkers you know who are here on visas. Thankfully, God’s Word speaks clearly to how God’s people are to show hospitality and care for the alien and sojourner, as well as the vulnerable and the “least of these”–the most vulnerable of which include refugees.
As citizens and residents of the United States of America, we must carefully weigh our responsibility to obey God’s clear commands in Scripture to pray for our governing leaders and to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” It is truly an interesting time to be a Christian in the USA, and we must be faithful citizens of the Kingdom of God while on our own pilgrimage through this fallen world.
4 Ways to Respond
The following are 4 ways our pastors are encouraging Metanoia Partners to respond to the recent immigration executive order and to other social, political, and community concerns in general. The theological underpinning for these suggestions comes from Pastor Adam’s recent sermon “The Christian in the World” (CLICK to listen).
Before Queen Esther approached the King of Persia to overturn the anti-semitic law that called for the execution of Jews, she and the Jews prayed and fasted for several days. We must begin with prayer and fasting! We must get our own hearts right before the Lord, and we must seek the council of our Father. Our God is sovereign and nothing takes him by surprise. Therefore, we must implore the eternal council of the Trinity for guidance.
Before the great spiritual revival in Ezra’s time–and, indeed, before every great revival–there was a return to the primacy and authority of Scripture. God’s Word was read, people repented and returned to the clear teaching of the Word, and they aligned their lifestyles accordingly. We must be deep in God’s Word personally, we must radically conform our lives to the Word, and we must “read” the current events at hand in light of God’s Word.
Before Nehemiah began working on the wall of Jerusalem, he spent time researching the project and surveying the destroyed wall with his own eyes. We must inform ourselves in the following manner:
(1) Consult multiple diverse news and media sites
All news is biased either politically conservative or liberal. There is no “neutral” news outlet. Your news sources should include both conservative and liberal perspectives, and even international (non-USA) perspectives as well.
(2) Read what thoughtful, doctrinally sound Christians are writing
Some Southern Baptist leaders have written fantastic articles addressing a Christian response to the executive order. Additionally, the Southern Baptist Convention (our denomination) addressed a Biblical response to refugee ministry last summer.
Links to Southern Baptist responses and resources are provided here for your benefit:
- “The letter Russell Moore will send Trump about the refugee order”, by Russell Moore (via The Washington Post)
- “Evangelicals, we cannot let alternative facts drive U.S. refugee policy”, by Ed Stetzer (via The Washington Post)
- “Dear Fellow Christians: Its Time to Speak Up for Refugees (If we are pro-life, we are pro-refugee),” by Ed Stetzer (via Christianity Today)
- “How to Respond to the Refugee Crisis”, by David Platt, president of the International Mission Board (via The Gospel Coalition)
- “On Refugee Ministry” resolution from the Southern Baptist Convention, June 2016
- Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) — the public policy ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. The ERLC is a great place to read Biblical and thoughtful responses to this and other current issues.
- Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore is a “must read” for anyone desiring to learn principles and Biblical teachings for Christians living faithfully in our culture.
Pastor Adam wrote an article on his website that includes some broader Evangelical responses beyond our denomination. Also included in the article is a definition of “Evangelical.” You can find it here: “How Should Evangelicals Respond to the Immigration Executive Order?”
Take the time to dialogue with your Community Group, with others in the Metanoia Church community, with your neighbors, coworkers, and classmates, and also with those who disagree with you. If you have questions, if you want to go deeper, or if you need help processing your own internal response, please reach out to one of our pastors or to another mature believer in our church. Consider attending the “Going Deeper” sessions with our pastors scheduled for 1/29, 2/12, and 2/26 (6-8pm @ RCCC).
Dialoguing with one another is the arena through which we learn to listen better, become more adept at responding more thoughtfully and Biblically, and grow in confidence as winsome voices for the Kingdom of Heaven in our generation.