The Bible and Immigration

Don’t get taken by out-of-context citations

If you follow the news, more than likely you have heard much of the emotional outrage in regard to the matter of children being separated from parents who cross the United States border illegally. And you have probably heard or read some emotion-charged statements from social commentators and politicians about the moral aspects of such a policy, I would argue that such are often offered hypocritically, but that’s not the point of this post.

The Christian must begin with the Bible as his authority and much hay has been made over the matter by the use of out-of-context quotations from Jesus about children and strangers by those who pretend to have a biblical worldview all while supporting lifestyles that are clearly opposed by the revealed word. But here we like to use our minds to consider matters in light of God’s word. So, to that end, I offer this interview over at The Gospel Coalition.

In an interview titled, “What Does the Bible Teach About Immigration?” the author, Justin Taylor, interviews Old Testament scholar James Hoffmeier. Excerpting his bio from the article,

James K. Hoffmeier, professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is a leading Egyptologist. …

His latest book, published by Crossway, addresses the intersection of an ancient issue and a contemporary debate: The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible.

If you have been following the series here on the blog where we have been looking at the book of Deuteronomy then this question of Justin’s and the reply are enlightening,

I know this is a massive question, but what are some guidelines you use to take the laws from the Torah and apply them to our very different context today?

Hoffmeier replies,

Direct application of OT laws is not easy, nor even desirable in a secular society. Christians are not under the OT law as were members of the old covenant community, but as Paul reminds us regarding the events recorded in the OT: “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction” (1 Cor. 10:11). Minimally one can look for the theological or moral principles behind they laws, and then apply them through the lens of NT doctrine.

In the brief interview, Hoffmeier directly addresses certain key Old Testament terms that are necessary to handling the biblical questions. Be sure to check out the entirety of the interview.

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