Change is afoot. The evangelical response to the national immigration debate has swelled, and for the first time since 1986, comprehensive immigration reform is a real possibility. Behind the scenes, many have been laboring for years. My friends in Colorado (Dr. Danniel Carroll of Denver Seminary and Michelle Warren of the Evangelical Immigration Table) have brought a deeply biblical perspective to the generally politically-driven conversation. One of the unsung heroes of the push for immigration reform is Matthew Soerens, co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate.
Matthew’s book is one of the best introductions to the thorny immigration debate available on the market. He not only gives a very human perspective to the issue (he’s served as legal aide for undocumented immigrants for years), but he also gives a great introduction to the history of immigration, what the Bible says about immigration, the policy debate, and how Christians can practically “welcome the stranger” in their communities.
During the interview, I asked Matthew four questions:
1. In your book, you speak a bit about your personal journey. How did you become interested in the topic of immigration?
2. You’ve done a lot of work with undocumented immigrants. Let me ask you a tough question: Why don’t they just come the legal way?
3. What does the Bible have to say about immigration?
4. What can local churches do to “welcome the stranger?”
Matthew will be speaking at the upcoming G92 Conference in Denver, along with Danny Carroll, and Dr. Carlos Campo, President of Regent University. If you have a chance, come and check it out.
This blog is about faith and work, and rarely delves into issues of politics. Having served as a pastor of a Latino church, I have a personal interest in the issue. But more than that, immigrants affect all aspects of American life. America is unimaginable without immigrants. And in a heated national debate, especially one on which the Scriptures are not silent, I believe its incumbent upon each Christian to examine the words of Scripture for truth. This movement is a supreme example of directly applying the Christian faith to the issues of our day; it is applying the gospel to the work building a just society.
Discussion question: What is your opinion of immigration?