In the midst of unprecedented waves of migrants pouring into Europe from war-torn Syria and increasingly hostile political tirades about Hispanic immigration to the United States, there is no better time for Christians to pause and ponder the biblical perspective on the matter of immigration. In order to discern what the Bible has to say about this complex issue, I highly recommend the following work by Dr. M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas), distinguished professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary:
Carroll R., M. Daniel, Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2013. Paperback. 170 Pages. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-58743-351-1.
In chapter 1, Carroll provides a brief, but very beneficial, historical overview of Hispanic migration to the United States. The first chapter also tackles two of the most common concerns about undocumented immigrants, namely, their alleged adverse effect on national identity and the economy. Lastly, the initial chapter raises the relevant, but often ignored, role of Christianity in the lives of the majority of Hispanic immigrants. In chapters 2 and 3, Carroll examines Old Testament teachings that pertain to the issue of immigration such as the image of God, migration stories, exile narratives, the practice of hospitality, and legislation concerning sojourners. In chapter 4, he considers some germane guidance from the New Testament. Specifically, he investigates a few examples from Jesus’s life and teachings, the foundational metaphor of Christians as foreigners and sojourners in this fallen world, the continuing practice of hospitality in the church, and Paul’s teaching about submitting to authorities in Romans 13. In the final chapter, Carroll draws together all the implications of the biblical material for today, which were offered throughout the book, and concludes with a challenge to embrace the “other” – “the majority by the Hispanic and the Hispanic by the majority culture” (134).
My hope is that Christians will allow the Bible to unequivocally inform their politics and courageously pursue this kingdom way of living in the world.