Strangers and foreigners : developing a balanced Biblical perspective on immigration
We live in a nation that has been marked by much disunity in recent years. One of the issues contributing to the dilemmas we face is what to do about immigration. Society is torn between polarized views coming from both sides of the political spectrum, which has affected the Christian community as well. Initial research showed that the Church of God of Prophecy issued a short but biblically sound resolution on this subject in 2008, but little, if anything, has been published since then. Our silence as a denomination leaves us looking like we are hiding our heads in the sand. This thesis seeks to address this issue by correcting some of the misinformation circulating in the media while answering the question, “Who is my neighbor, and what constitutes authentic expressions of Christlike love and hospitality when it comes to welcoming and ministering to ‘strangers and foreigners’ who live in our midst?” The methodology is based on Richard Osmer’s four tasks of practical theology and includes both a survey of church leaders and interviews with immigrants. The research draws from history, political and social sciences, and theology to guide the church in shaping an accurate view of the immigration crisis while developing a biblically sound response to the issue. The goal is to open the door for honest conversation on the issue, develop a plan of action for ministering to the “strangers” in our midst, and ensure that our ministerial praxis is marked by authentic love for all people.