May 29, 2010

The Bible and the Current Immigration Debate


I must confess that I have been a bit uncomfortable with how the Bible is sometimes being used in the current immigration debate. Here is an article by Jason Poling at the Washington Post website that exposes just some of the problems.

4 comments:

Justin Dodson said...

Im gonna give this a look when I get the chance, but I just finished The Immigration Crisis by Hoffmeier today, and I thought he argued the texts surrounding the language of sojourner very well, by making a distinction between resident alien and foreigner. And he just runs the issue through to the NT in a very palatable way. Im going to start Carrol's Christians At the Boarder on Monday, so it will be interesting to see how he argues against Hoffmeier's understanding because its pretty solid!

Charles said...

Hi Justin,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I have not read Hoffmeier so I really can't comment on that. What is Hoffmeier's thesis or conclusion?

Justin Dodson said...

He distinguishes the Hebrew ger (alien/sojourner) and zar/nakar (foreigner) to reveal that there is shockingly little thought given to the foreigner and that most if not all is given to the sojourner. He then goes on to show from the Law and the Prophets how they upheld the notion that a sojourner would/should recieve the full benefits of a home grown Israelite, including social, political, judicial, and religious benefits. However, it was because they did according to the law of the land, and didnt just walt's into Israel's territory. He conveys the importance of boundaries in the ANE and how not just anyone could cross a nations boundary without permission. So he makes exegetical grounds for the legal rights of the sojourner, but gives none to the foreigner because they have not done it as they should have. However, in the NT little is given and so he wrestles with the "least of these" and Rom. 13 interpretation to rest his case that we should follow the laws of the land. However, as believers we should help legal immigrants adjust to life here and fight for their rights, and that for those who are illegal we should legally help them find legal status not just throw them under the bus. So I like his even handed exegetical concern and his call for response. However, Im interested to see how Daniel Carroll deals with these and other texts to come up with an opposing view. Anywho... I hope that was helpful. I think once I finish up Carroll I will post a summary response comparing the two. But my initial thoughts are already up on my most recent post, which question how we approach justice and use wisdom to implement it.

Charles said...

Interesting. It sounds like Hoffmeier has taken a very careful and nuanced approach to a very difficult and contentious issue. This is exactly the the kind of thing I find sorely missing in many discussions. It makes me want to read the book. Thanks for sharing your observations. I would love for you to share your thoughts on Carrol's work when you have the opportunity.