Village Church posted a blog article today informing us that Jesus was a refugee, and that fact should “help us form a Christian posture in the [refugee] crisis.”
The article, written by JT English, stops short of Russell Moore’s assertion that Jesus was an illegal immigrant. And while asserting a historical truism – that Jesus and his family left their country fleeing for his life, the article paints those insisting that the government is obligated to enforce the rule of law in a Romans 13 imperative as “driven by a fear and a desire of their self-protection.”
The article says that “despite these legitimate threats [to our national and personal security], Jesus’ disciples are exhorted to be like Christ and to consider the interests of others before their own (Phil. 2:3-4). We simply cannot be the Church if we are unwilling to love our neighbors, seek justice and combat oppression. We must remember that we follow the One who was a refugee long before He bore a cross.”
Absent from the article is any semblance of the possibility of behaving ethically and morally to the refugee crisis while maintaining national law and order.
As well-intentioned as it might be to use the story of Jesus’ infanthood flight into Egypt to guilt us into opening our borders all lily-nily under the white guilt-fueled guise of being non-judgmental and being compassionate in the face of cruelty, we might ought to temper our pacifist zeal with some photos of massacred French people.
When it comes to real bloody corpses in our streets, the time to pontificate with compassionate nuance is over. Even though opinions in the Huffington Post are billed as big-minded, in fact they are small-minded and unhelpful. Christians are left with two prominent imperatives. So long as we are using Old Testament ethical imperatives to be compassionate to the alien and sojourner (Deuteronomy 10:19) it would make sense we also follow those same imperatives to protect our citizens and property from foreign invaders (Zechariah 9:8). These two principles are not in opposition. Whatever compassion means, it does not mean carelessly opening up our citizens to attack in the name of compassion. Likewise, whatever protecting our citizens and property from foreign invaders means, it does not mean being cruel to the alien or sojourner.
Compassion for the Syrian refugees means destroying the ISIS combatants terrorizing them. It means providing food, aid and medical assistance in their home nation. It does not mean giving masses of unknown people the benefit of the doubt, leaving our own nation vulnerable to terrorist attack. That would not be compassionate, regardless of how the Evangelical Intelligentsia lectures us.
Neither Jesus nor his parents broke any law to seek asylum in Egypt. He was not “undocumented” in any meaningful way, and people need to stop saying that. Furthermore, had Egypt not received him, one would be hard pressed to accuse them of wrong-doing in any way. And for what it’s worth in a biblical context, whenever Israel was exiled to another nation, it didn’t lead them to blessing, but to curses. Compassion, in the context of the Syrian refugees, is best given in the delivery of hell-fire missiles and daisy cutters to their oppressors.
And that’s the type of Christian ethics that many evangelicals are simply too ill-prepared to comprehend.
[Contributed by JD Hall]
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