From a Conservative Point of View:
What is the primary job of the state? From my point of view, our government exists to uphold the Constitution, protect personal freedoms, maintain the public infrastructure, and provide a more than adequate defense. Yes, my government is to be limited in its responsibility and power. Consequently, there are many things my limited government ought not be involved in. It ought not to educate my children. It is not the institution charged with the duty to feed and clothe the poor. My limited government is not responsible to deliver sex education, condemns, or the day-after pill to my children. It is also not responsible to redistribute my personal wealth and replant dangerous people in my neighborhood. Therefore, from a conservative political point of view, it is understandable how I might not be interested, at all, in bringing a group of potentially dangerous terrorists across the sea to infiltrate the land that I love.
From a Charitable Point of View:
It is also understandable that I, someone touched by the compassion of Jesus Christ, might long to show charity to the many needy families suffering on the other side of the pond. Would I not desire the same if it was my precious family struggling to exist? So while I, the conservative American citizen, might not be interested in my government bringing exiles here, and while I might not be interested in seeing my government send funds- it really does not have- to thuggish governments they cannot manage, it does make sense that charitable individuals, like me, might choose to redistribute my own funds. Perhaps I ought to send money to one of the better vetted ministries already at work in the Middle East.
That being said, what am I to do now as Uncle Sam, or Uncle Barak, chooses to redistribute my money and use it to import and replant Muslim individuals in my backyard? Scripture is not silent on this matter.
From a Christian Point of View:
In Exodus, godly citizens were to teach aliens about the one true God. They were to insist that their business dealings were curtailed on the Sabbath. The hope was that these imported aliens might come to worship the one true God alongside them. Diligent believers were to assist aliens by teaching them the truth and hoping to convert them from their false religion. This would then be followed by circumcision, baptism, and bringing them into the assembly as converts. Yes, the ultimate goal was that these foreign aliens might worship with them on the Seventh Day until they worshiped with them in paradise. Perhaps it would be good for me to see the imported Muslim aliens as Ruth or Naaman.
In Jeremiah, godly citizens were to treat aliens with justice; they were also to expect that justice was honored and practiced by the aliens in their midst.Oppression was not to be tolerated by either God’s people or the foreign alien within the gates. Similarly, Christians are to be just and equitable in the treatment of outsiders, and at the same time they are to expect their imported guests to submit to the laws of the land. Swift justice is to be shown to anyone — host or guest — who dismisses the law of the land. I must be fair and equitable to them. I must demand my government uphold their rights as our guests. I must elect officials who will lower the boom if and when the law of this land is spurned by our invited Muslim guests.
In I Chronicles, foreign aliens were put to work. Just like the Israelite, any fool who would not work was not to eat. It is not the duty of Christians or the government to offer free rides to those who are lazy. I must pursue the election of government officials who are disinterested in distributing the wealth and encouraging slothfulness. I must also seek to assist my new neighbors in finding gainful employment that contributes to their health and the health of the community.
In the New Testament, Christians were reminded that they too were once aliens who received undeserved mercy and grace from the King. Christians should be so humbled by the gracious treatment of their former enemy — Jesus Christ, that they reciprocate the charity. Christians must remember how much joy Christ finds when his people love, clothe, feed, and shelter the “least of these.” Christ even finds joy when we note our enemy, and still provide them food. (Romans 12:20)
So, what am I to do? I find myself torn.
I abhor Islam.
I recognize the folly of Middle Eastern governments.
I recognize the folly of my own American government. I despise the redistribution and waste of my personal wealth. I am not interested in bringing militant terrorists, clothed in the garb of need, into my backyard.
I recognize my responsibility to make prudent decisions and protect my country, my neighborhood, and my family.
I would rather find someone and some way to minister to legitimate needs while keeping potentially dangerous Muslims in their own war-torn, God-forsken, region of the world.
I will vote my conscience and my preferences.
However, as a Christian and a theologian, I must let the doctrine I believe shape my thinking and practice. Friends, this is what I know:
- God has not given me the government I desire. Instead, he has ordained and installed the government he desires. Right now, he is the one who is changing American policy and redistributing my wealth. (Romans 13)
- God moves people and plants them in the places he would have them live. God is the one who sovereignly redistributes his population. No one arrives in my neighborhood apart from the sovereign decree of God. God is decreeing all that is coming to pass; even that which I deem to be very bad news. (Acts 17:26)
- God, though he may kill me and my family, is in the process of bringing the Gospel to the nations. In the past, Assyrians and Babylonians found their place in God’s paradise because of the disaster he poured out upon Israel. In heaven today, Greeks and Romans are worshiping beside Jews because the Gospel was spread in the face of enemies.
Therefore, as I have already stated, I am torn. With my vote I will seek to protect my country and my family. But with my practice, I will seek to show charity in deed and word. They might be bringing their Muslim beliefs to this country. They might even be bringing their Muslim extremism to my backyard. However, I am sitting here, and my Gospel-gun is loaded. Perhaps this is God’s way of bringing new converts into my church. Perhaps new brothers and sisters in Christ are coming my way.
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