29 September, 2007

Thank You Mrs. P: More Thoughts on Aliens

For those of you who do not follow comments: hidden under the post with the great Lloyd-Jones quote lies a buzzing comment section concerning the church's duty to illegal immigrants. My position is that the church has a spiritual duty to minister to them and part of that duty is calling them to repentance for their violation of the 10th commandment. Others feel differently.

To give some spiritual widsom to this heated conversation, I would like to ask those interested to read the OPC position paper on illegal immigrants and church membership. I would be interested in reading other's thoughts on this issue as well.

28 comments:

Read here said...

http://www.acton.org/commentary/commentary392.php

(Sorry--don't know how to post links well....you can click my name, too.)

This is something I just read. I say read the comments also. Gives us more to ponder on.

-Lydia

steveandjanna said...

I honestly couldn't give two hoots what the OPC has to say about much of anything. The fact is, we are bound by God to follow the laws of the state and laws concerning these illegals are not immoral and therefore we have no basis to undermine them.

From a practical standpoint, unless you're going to start some sort of ministry dealing with illegals this entire debate is pointless. Talking about what the church should do is cheap, just like complaining about what the church isn't doing is cheap. If you want to do some sort of ministry, go do it and defend it. Until then the debate is irrelevant.

An Eshelman said...

Steve
One hoot, or two, as much as I have read is pretty good in the paper.

I understand that this is a theoretical discussion- I do not know if I have even met an illegal alien let alone ministered to one.

Andrew Duggan said...

Steve, the point of the OPC report was just that, the OPC does and is facing this very real issue, and the report is just the defense of it you require. The OPC report was not done because of theory, it was done because there are OPC churches that minister to aliens.

Oh, thanks for making me be an apologist for the OPC!.

And finally, have you ever studied (even a little bit) the political history of immigration laws in the US? Passing laws to enforce one's eugenics views is hard, but immigration laws were an easier sell. While unabashedly passing laws to pander to the baser sort of xenophobic racists, doesn't necessarily make such laws unmoral, it doesn't give one the feeling that they live in a nation who's laws are based on righteousness, now does it?

I'm all for a fence, and for aliens registering to come into the country. What I am apposed to is limits on who and how many can come in especially when those limits are steeped in racism.

It seems exceedingly hypocritical to me to have restrictive immigration laws and still try to engender a sense of national pride over the monument known as the Statue of Liberty.

steveandjanna said...

The history of American immigration law is generally sound. The goal usually has been to make sure the immigrants already here become Americans before we let more of them in. This is the main reason why almost all immigration was banned in the 1920's. By the time immigration was allowed again in the 60's, two to three generations of Americans had been made out of the 20's immigrants. We need to do the same thing again, ban nearly all immigration and fence out these Mexicans so they can't come here illegally.

steveandjanna said...

Oh and if you want to bring up outright banning the Chinese back in the 19th century, a good case can be made for banning pagans from being allowed to immigrate en masse to a Christian nation.

Andrew Duggan said...

Yeah, banning the Chinese in the 19th century really worked in keeping the US a Christian country. Nice try.

steveandjanna said...

Whether or not the plan worked isn't the point, the reasoning behind it was Christian in nature. In order to preserve a Christian society, it is wise not to allow foreign pagans to freely come into the country. Had Chinese immigration not been banned in the 19th century, perhaps America would be even less of a Christian nation today.

Andrew Duggan said...

So you are suggesting that the banning of the pagan Chinese has kept us a better country? Better insofar as we only permit abortion, we don't require it like the Chinese?

The other thesis I see in your remarks is that good social and immigration policy can keep America Christian, or at least slow the slide down the slippery slope.

Do you really think it is that which goes into a country (immigrants) that corrupts it? Or is it rather that which proceeds out the hearts of its citizens that corrupts a country?

Is there any other rational explanation other than it appear you think the Holy Spirit can't handle the load? So we need to help out by controlling immigration?

Is the power of God really diminished because of demographics?

Just to be clear I'm not talking invasion here, only immigration.

Andrew Duggan said...

Steve,

One more thing. Your opendiary is now marked private. That comes across as amusingly oxymoronic.

Mark said...

I think the OPC paper addresses both of your concerns nicely. The state does have a right to enforce its borders, and should make every effort to do so. We also have a duty to minister to those who come across our paths. The report suggests that we work with illegals who come to church to make them legal citizens, I think that's an excellent way to help them with reconciliation.

steveandjanna said...

The fact that China has moved from simply a pagan country to a 20th century Communist country doesn't change the analysis one would have made in 19th century America. In 19th century Christian America, it wasn't prudent to allow mass immigration from pagan countries, such would have had a negative influence on our Christian culture. The fact that in the 20th century that Christian culture was somewhat abandoned doesn't change anything from the 19th century perspective.

If we allowed Muslims to immigrate into America like the Euros are, we would be watching the last of our Christian culture flush down the toilet, just like Europe is. Immigration has a great influence on culture, it can be both positive and negative. When a Christian nation allows masses of pagans into their country, it should come as no surprise that those pagans have a negative influence on culture. Likewise, if a Christian nation opens its borders to other Christians, those Christians will have a positive influence.

If we want to do good works for poor people of foreign persuasion, let's fund missionaries to Christianize their homelands. But let's not open up our borders to the masses of pagans who have no intention on becoming part of our culture, who have no intention on becoming Christians.

Andrew Duggan said...

Steve that's a interesting remark you make about the Euros and their immigration policy. Don't you think the decline of Christian culture among the Euros is due more to fact that the bulk of Euro Christians came to America?

I also said I was talking about immigration not invasion. Technically speaking Muslims are invaders not immigrants. Islam isn't even a religion in the same sense that Christianity or even other pagan religions are. Rather it is primarily a geo-military philosophy and organization with a minor religious component used to sure up the morale of the troops.

Finally, how can you in good conscience recommend breaking the absolute right (as you maintain) of nations to prevent entry to undesirables, which in this case would be the missionaries. What you are recommending in some cases (depending on the particular nation) is classically defined as an act of war.

steveandjanna said...

Nations don't have to let missionaries in if they don't want to and they'll be judged accordingly by God for their actions. This is an issue for God to sort out, not us. Coming up with theoretical declarations on the rights of missionaries and statements declaring Iran must let missionaries in are utterly pointless when in fact Iran isn't going to let them in. At that point, it's in God's hands and all the keyboard thumping in the world isn't going to change that.

Andrew Duggan said...

Steve,

Do you recall my comment from the other thread yesterday 30 September, 2007 10:19 where I said "Lest we get off track, saying that no nation has the right to refuse entry to missionaries, doesn't mean they lack the capacity." Nice that you can echo that with your comment timestamped at 01 October, 2007 07:21.

You maintain a state's absolute right to control its borders, and denied scripture has even a hint of a person's right to immigrate. I have shown from scripture that your overstated your case. No one here so far has denied the state has considerable rights to control its borders, but you've really produced no scriptural evidence of that as an absolute right.

When it comes to rights, God alone has absolute rights. Every power and right man enjoys individually or corporately (e.g., as in nations) is delegated from God.

I think your position (taken to its logical conclusion) on this matter will ultimately put you at odds even with Jefferson in the US Declaration of Independence, and English Puritans that denied the absolute authority of the king. The 5th commandment has never been properly used to justify tyranny, no matter how much you might like it to be so.

So keeping in mind Christ's words to Pilate regarding authority, care to produce a scriptural defense of the absolute right of nations to their own borders?

Remember we're talking about authority not capacity.

steveandjanna said...

You're proven absolutely nothing from scripture, all you've done is jumped to conclusions based on a few passages in which people are shown moving freely from one country to the next. Just because a few people move about countries in scripture doesn't prove that God has given us an absolute right to immigrate to foreign lands.

Andrew Duggan said...

Steve,

Let's deal mathematically OK. I said I showed that you over stated your case. I don't need to prove the general case to disprove a theorem. To prove a theorem one needs to prove the general case. To disprove a theorem one only needs to show (at most) one specific case where the theorem is false. I showed a couple of instances of people moving freely about, which is the specific case that your theorem (State's absolute right to control its borders) is wrong.

If I can show one case that casts doubt on your alleged absolute state's right (which if you read my previous, you know that only God has absolute right to anything) [Ever read Gen 1, Ps 24 or Ps 50?], then I have disproved your theorem.

It seems to me that you think that (NOT) State's absolute right to control borders == one's absolute right to immigrate. However that is false. I don't have to to prove an absolute right to immigrate to disprove your theorem. (See above).

FWIW, if it makes you feel any better, I don't think anyone has an absolute right to immigrate.

Anyone want to play name the logical fallacy?

steveandjanna said...

Thanks for the logic 101 lesson, unfortunately for you I'm not the one around here who needs it.

Once again, just because some people in scripture are shown to be immigrating to other places doesn't prove that people have an absolute right to move nor does it disprove my position. But apparently that doesn't matter to you and I'm frankly tired of debating the subject with arrogant 'theologians'.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Interesting discussion. I only wanted to point out that I think we should all approach the discussion with Christ-like love, both for our fellow debaters and for the subject-matter "aliens." This should have began by not correlating undocumented immigrants with an image of Alf, which I found offensive.

Andrew Duggan said...

I think you should re-read the record. I have not suggested an absolute right of immigration. How about you come up with just one scriptural justification for a state's absolute right to do anything.


Thanks for the compliment, nobody ever called me a theologian before ;-)

TV Guide said...

I believe in the TV show that Alf was in fact an alien as well as undocumented.

steveandjanna said...

Calling you a theologian wasn't meant to be a compliment, it was meant to be an accusation.

As for those who find offense in the ALF picture, seriously get a life. The last thing we need is to eliminate all humor in the name of political correctness.

Anonymous said...

Oh Steve, I would never expect you to respect another human being -- especially not a non-white, non-republican one. Why'd your political blog go private? It was so full of your Christian love and mercy, and above all, your unending intellect.

Oh shoot, was that politically correct?

An Eshelman said...

I step in to very few discussions, but I am going to do it here:

Please do not name call and be rude. If anyone has a problem with Steve, I am sure that he would be glad to publish his personal email address for you to attack him. Please keep off of my peace loving little blog.

Anonymous said...

Peace-loving? Nate, I believe that is one of your goals, and I do appreciate your articles and comments, but your readers do NOT foster peaceful discussion. I proffered one honest suggestion and was told to "get a life." I will kindly stay away from your blog, though it confuses me why you have an public blog. At least include a warning label, cautioning all who come near that honest expression from outsiders is not welcome (at least by your frequent readers). Best wishes to you and your family.

An Eshelman said...

I meant keep IT off, not YOU keep off... sorry.

Andrew Duggan said...

For the record I am not the author of any of the anon comments in this thread.

Plus, Steve, yeah I knew you didn't mean it as a compliment. The adjective that preceded it made that clear. You'll notice I appended a "winking" emoticon to indicate I "got it". Perhaps you are disappointed I didn't take offense?

All of that notwithstanding, I'm sorry it it seems you've not enjoyed our conversation as much as I have. :-)

I still think the subject matter is important and I hope we can all

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and not any kingdom of this world.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I'll refrain in the future from name-calling. Sometimes my temper gets the best of me.