Current Events

Q/A Friday: What Should a Christian Think About President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigrants and Refugees?

Last week’s executive order signed by President Trump was nothing short of controversial for both Christian and non-Christian. The executive order was titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” and if you want to read a summary of all the policy changes, I recommend you read Joe Carter’s summary called “The FAQS: President Trumps’ Executive Order on Immigrants and Refugees” on The Gospel Coalition website.

What is controversial is not that Pres. Trump did this, because he said he would during the campaign. What is controversial is the questions the order has raised with the church and how Christians should respond to it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before I mention what the Bible says to us as Christians regarding the refugee and immigrant.

KEEP IN MIND

  • Pres. Trump is not banning ALL refugees. 50,000 immigrants are being allow per year, which is the same as both Pres. Bush and most of Pres. Obama’s eight years.
  • Muslims are not the only target. They may be in the majority of those impacted, but they are not the only religious people. Even Christians from other nations are being forbidden from entering.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

First, God is sovereign (Isaiah 46:10; Daniel 4:35; Job 42:2). This means that nothing is outside of God’s reign and direction. Nothing surprises God or is not being ordained of God for His glory in some way. Everything and everyone is under His kingdom of sovereignty. God is sovereign over ISIS; God is sovereign over Pres. Trump and Pres. Obama; God is sovereign over Planned Parenthood; God is even sovereign over Satan (Job 1). Thus, the displaced refugee or the immigrant is also part of God’s sovereign plan.

Second, our government’s core purpose is to protect its citizens (Romans 13:1-5). So, the government of the U.S.A. must weigh what is and isn’t safe for its citizens. It is prudent and praise-worthy of our government to act cautiously with immigration and refugees, because we know there will be some who come here to bring harm to our citizens. Our governing authorities must protect us “from all enemies foreign and domestic.” The government does not have the same purpose as the church; it’s focus is not on taking the Gospel of Jesus to people (Matthew 28:16-20). Nor is the church’s purpose like the government. The church is not called to form militias to fight terrorist cells.

Third, God loves refugees and immigrants. He does because they are made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). And He loves them, because, like the orphan or widow, immigrants and refugees are likely to be abused, taken advantage of, not cared for, and mistreated in a myriad of ways. There are a plethora of Scripture that demonstrate to us the hospitality we are to show the immigrant or refugee (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 19:33; 23:22; Deuteronomy 10:19; Luke 10:25-37). In short, because God loves the immigrant and refugee, we too are to show love by showing mercy.

NOW WHAT?

First, if you know someone who is here illegally, I would encourage you to encourage them to go through the legal process of immigration, because we are commanded to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1; I Peter 2:13-17), unless the government seeks to mandate us to disobey God (Acts 5:29). Especially the professing believer who is here illegally needs to be above reproach in their character and reputation (Proverbs 28:6; Daniel 1:8; II Corinthians 8:21; I Peter 3:16). Encourage the illegal to trust God to provide for them as they seek to keep a clear conscience.

Second, the government is not forbidding the church from showing mercy to the immigrant and refugee. Our mission of mercy is unchanged. In fact, Jesus even characterizes the genuine believer as one who would even visit the inmate in prison as a sign of Christlike mercy (Matthew 25:31-45). Thus, I would encourage every Christian to always show mercy to the refugee and immigrant – no matter if they are here illegally, standing in line to become citizens of our country or in prison for trying to cross the border without documentation. Mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).

Third, remember our mission of spreading the Gospel is still critical and maybe more urgent than ever. With the millions around our world disillusioned from their country and their country’s major religions, there is more need to give a reason for the hope that is in us (I Peter 3:15). David Platt remind us in a talk he gave last July that the refugee’s greats need is not water, food, clothing, medicine or shelter; it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fourth, when you are given the opportunity, be a good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Don’t walk by the refugee or immigrant in need and think, “I know someone will show this person goodwill.” Be the agent of goodwill for that person is need. That is mercy. That is what God did for us in our greatest need. He stopped, gave us the redemption we needed, delivered us from the bondage of sin and guaranteed an eternal inheritance. Be just. Be fair. Be merciful.

Questions

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please it to charlesheck@cox.net or pose your question in the comments section of this post.

The King’s Business

Glen Kenecht, the former minister of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, was approached to contribute a sermon to a book which was a collection of sermons and it was given the title, this collection of sermons, “If I Only Had One Sermon To Preach.”

And the editor of this volume, a famous preacher said, “Dr. Kenecht, would you give the sermon that you would preach if it were going to be your last sermon?”  And if you look at this collection by the way, you will see that these preachers clearly pulled out the best sermons that they had ever preached, including him.  Glen Kenecht, however, pulled out his next Sunday’s sermon.  He discussed this and prayed over it and talked with his staff and he said “Well, I guess if that’s the sermon that I’m going to preach the next Lord’s Day, it better be the last sermon that I’m willing to preach if I’m going to die.  It was his sermon on tithing that year.  You know, all these glorious sermons on the finished work of Christ and the second coming and the virgin birth, and here’s his sermon on stewardship.  But what consistency.  I guess if that’s the sermon I’m going to preach next Sunday, that better be the sermon I’m prepared to preach if it’s the last sermon of my life.”

In other words, he said, “I will just do the next thing.”

That is my mindset this morning after the surprising results of yesterday’s selection. I am ready to just do the next thing.

This is where we as believers must be.

Consider the example of Daniel. In Ch. 8 of his book, he is given a vision of the coming Antichrist. Imagine being told about this fierce ruler who is capable of misleading and betraying good men and women. Imagine getting a glimpse of this figures great power and hatred for Israel. Imagine the ego of this man who, like Antiochus Epiphanes, thinks of himself as the ruler of this world.

Would you freak out if you were told this was coming? Daniel didn’t.

We read in Daniel 8:27, “… Then I rose and went about the king’s business. …”

That’s where I want my mindset to continue to be. I want my pursuit of knowing God to be unwavering regardless of who wins a Presidential election. I want my commitment to making disciples to be steadfast regardless of who controls Congress. I want my love for preaching God’s Word to deepen regardless of what justices are issuing decrees.

Let’s get about the King’s business!

kings-business

A Psalm to Pray on Election Day

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! (Ps 146)

People voting in polling place

People voting in polling place

4 Truths to Consider Tomorrow (and the rest of your life)

This is one and only “political post” for 2016 (I think). I do not plan on telling you who to vote for or whether you should vote at all. I don’t want to talk about the various political platforms and their pro’s and con’s.

What I will simply post are 4 thoughts I shared with my congregation yesterday. I didn’t preaching an “Presidential election” sermon yesterday, but I did aspire to equip their thinking for the next few days, and this is what I shared.

electionFirst, don’t have unrealistically high expectations of government. Romans 3:23 tells us all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Every man and woman is displeasing to God before they meet Christ. And our government is run by mostly men and women who are not redeemed. Don’t expect your government to always make the right decisions or pass the right laws or make the correct judgments on court cases. Our government will always be foolish if it has not committed itself to listening to God.

Second, no matter what happens, God is still sovereign. God’s sovereignty means He guides and governs all events and circumstances. It means He directs everything to its appointed goal, for His own glory. In eternity past he knew how to use men like Trump or women like Clinton or men like Hitler or Nero to accomplish His greater agenda! Psalm 93 reminds us, “The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.” Since God is sovereign, then we are safe … no matter the President. Far worse kings and dictators and Presidents have ruled Christians and the church has always survived because it’s Creator is sovereign.

Third, honor the President-elect. Slander or gossip are not permissible just because you vehemently oppose whoever is elected. Consider these verses: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work” (Tit 3:1). “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme” (I Pet 2:13). “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment …” (Rom 13:1-4). And one of the best ways you can honor the President is to …

Fourth, pray for the President-elect. I Timothy 2:1-2 reads, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Pray for their families, decision-making, listening to counsel, listening to God speaking, salvation.

It’s will be fine – no matter the level of persecution or freedom. God “has the back” of the church. He won’t abandon His bride to corrupt governments or rulers.