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A Christian Response to Illegal Immigrants

 January 25, 2011


How should Christians respond to illegal immigrants?   

church on the rock 


This is a picture of a church literally built on a rock in Colorado.  It illustrates that a church built on a strong, stable scriptural foundation will stand the test of time.  Churches built on the shifting sands of "social justice" have become very vocal but their scriptural basis is not sound.  


Illegal immigration is not a victimless crime.  It comes with high costs that should not be heaped upon innocent Americans in order to help foreign interests.  Simply put, it is not right for a church to participate in robbing the lawful citizen, Peter, in order to pay the illegal immigrant, Paul.  This goes against God's law and man's. 


But there is another approach that honors both God's law and man's.  This short, easy-to-understand article by a Lutheran pastor makes it clear.  I hope you will read this, share it with your friends and legislators as they consider passing immigration laws.

Theological Thoughts on Illegal Immigrants by Rev. Dr. Paul Raabe 




Christ has given His church the commission to reach out to all nations. In Matthew 28, Christ sends His disciples to make disciples of all nations by baptizing in the Trinitarian name and by teaching all of Christ's words. In Luke 24, Christ sends them to all nations to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Christ's name. Therefore, the church's mission must encompass all nations.


So the church in the U.S., in faithfulness to her Lord, reaches out to immigrants in the U.S. As repentant sinners, we lead other sinners to repentance, and we give them the gift of absolution in Christ's name. The church seeks to make Christians of all people, including immigrants.


But there is another word from God that also pertains to this issue, namely obedience to the government. The command and Spirit of Christ moves Christians to obey the laws of the land -- not only those laws one happens to agree with and favor, but all the laws of the land. The only exception is a law that commands us to sin. So, in addition to reaching out to immigrants, the church must exhort people to obey the laws of the land. This means that employers should not illegally hire illegal workers. It also means that illegal immigrants should seek to become legal immigrants by following the established legal procedures. In other words, the Christian life is a law-abiding life. And that holds for immigrants as well as natives.


In short, the church seeks to make Christians of immigrants or to strengthen them in their Christianity, which includes obeying the laws of the United States. The church may not knowingly aid or abet law-breakers who continue in their law breaking. Breaking the law is simply not the Christian way of life.


Furthermore, all citizens in the U.S., including Christians, are to be responsible citizens, and actively participate in the government and the public square. This means that if citizens consider the government's current immigration laws unjust, they should work through proper channels to change those laws.


The Lutheran church encourages her members to be responsible, active citizens. However, on the question of immigration laws, the Lutheran church does not have any special wisdom from the Word of God to determine which laws should be changed, if any, or how to change them. We leave that up to the consciences of individual citizens. But until the laws are changed, all Christians including immigrants should obey the laws of the land.


This means that congregations reach out to immigrants, provide them with food and water, and, more importantly, bring the Word of God to them. But in addition, the congregation encourages them to obey the legal authorities and go through the steps to become legal immigrants. The congregation is not permitted by God to simply embrace illegal immigrants with a kind of "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The Christian life entails obeying the laws of the land. The congregation should help them become legal immigrants. If that is impossible or takes a while, the congregation should help them to return to their homelands, and give material support for the immigrants and their families. Moreover, the congregation, together with other congregations, districts, and Synod, should seek ways to support and strengthen the churches in the immigrants' homelands. For example, Lutheran churches in the U.S. should seek ways to strengthen Lutheran churches in Mexico to support their members and find work for them.


In summary, we show Christian love toward immigrants. This means that, just as we want to obey the laws of the land, so we want immigrants to obey the laws of the land. It also means that we care about their future, whether in the U.S. or in their homelands. It means that we are concerned about them in both their temporal needs and their eternal needs. And it means that we are willing to put our Christian concerns into action.

Share this with your friends and state legislators

emailEmail your own state senator and representative.  Find out who represents you by clicking here.



Did you know...

egghead did you know?

...these facts about illegal immigration?  Use this info in your emails to legislators:


Illegal Immigration costs Indiana $608 million


Foreign-born gain jobs, native-born lose


8.3 million illegals hold jobs in USA


305,000+ unemployed Hoosiers


Map 1. shows 100-200,000 illegals in Indiana

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