Introduction to Immigration
Our primary lens for viewing immigrants is as fellow image bearers, those created in the image of God and having dignity. Our primary lens for understanding immigration should be biblical and missional, not political. Principles that govern our thoughts and actions toward immigrants since they are created in the image of God, fellow image bearers, include sacrificial love, hospitality and missional opportunity.
It is a natural, though sinful, human response to fear outsiders and diminish their humanity. Just as, in and by the Spirit, we counter the sin of pride with the disciplines of humility and gratitude, we must also counter the sins of xenophobia and ethnocentrism with the disciplines of hospitality (Gen. 18) and missional courage (Acts 10). The word of the year in one of the word lists in 2017 was xenophobia, a “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.” This is contrary to the exhortation from the writer of Hebrews who writes to Christians, “do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers “philoxenia”(Heb. 13:2). Christians do not exude fear of others, xenophobia, but rather extend love to strangers, philoxenia.
As with any other issue related to sin, sanctification and mission, our movement and our pastors need to speak boldly and clearly about what the Bible says and how that influences every facet of belief and behavior.