Biblical Limits of Hospitality

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on January 15, 2013

As evangelicals get pushed into liberal immigration policies, too few Christian commentators have voiced much reason. They're typically long on emotionalism and anecdote and short on analytical rigor.

But one recent voice did reflect a degree of thought, balance, and use of the sense God gave him.

Writing for World, D.C. Innes noted that immigration based on biblical notions of hospitality has limits. He essentially said that America isn't required to become the world's doormat in order to reflect Christian principles:

God has given us a good land and the grace to build a humane (though all too human) society on it. One of a number of ways we can share this is by opening our doors to the persecuted, the suffering, and "the huddled masses yearning to breathe free." But according to that same moral imperative, immigration though generously permitted must be controlled so we maintain the goodness of the gift to be shared. For example, the welcome must be proportional so that we don't admit so many so fast that the country the arrivals find here becomes indistinguishable from the countries they left.

In contrast to what smacks of opportunism and the self-serving efforts to get their denomination its share of immigrant parishioners that usually comes from religious scolds, Innes understands that there are limitations to what a blessed nation must do to integrate aspects of Christian hospitality into its immigration policies:

If all the needy and the crushed from the far reaches of the globe were to flow into our nation, the good we attempt to share with "the tempest-tost" would get lost in the flood. In attempting to give to too many we would fail in our efforts and at the same time rob our neighbors, our children, and our descendents.

Granted, Innes doesn't fully understand our nation's immigration history and policies (many dating back to colonial times and set on a well-founded biblical basis). But the point remains that the aggressive amnesty advocates are twisting Scripture and unabashedly playing on Christian citizens' emotions with anecdotes.

Topics: Evangelicals