an independent Tea Party group in DuPage County, IL
A compelling and well-cited letter from Cindy Yurachek, regarding the Christian attitude toward illegal immigration:
Dear Pastor Bugh and Pastor McElwee,
I listened to your conversation with Mark Elfstrand on Thursday, September 24 re immigration and Danny Carroll speaking at our church this Sunday, October 25. I have watched a video of his speaking of immigration as well as read his book, Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible and I am very concerned about him speaking at Wheaton Bible Church this Sunday.
A strong theme that Carroll talks about in his book is that since “man is made in the image of God,” this trumps Romans 13 re obeying the government and its laws.
Carroll does not know what being “made in the image of God” means. It means we are to be imitators of God, holy and righteous (Eph. 4:24) as He is and to be examples to the unsaved. We are to be “conformed to the likeness of Christ” (Romans 8:29). Therefore, we are to be obedient to the government and its laws (Romans 13).
In Chapter 2 of his book, Christians at the Border, Carroll mentions Abram, Joseph, Daniel, etc. but he does not mention the circumstances in Numbers 20:14-21 and 21:21-26. Why not? Should these passages be ignored? How are we to interpret them hermeneutically in light of people crossing America’s borders illegally?
Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the King of Edom… (Numbers 20:14a) requesting permission to pass through their country. And again in Numbers 21:21 Israel sent messengers to say to Sihon king of the Amorites: 22 “Let us pass through your country…” America has laws against crossing our borders illegally and since we are “made in the image of God,” we are to obey them.
Carroll’s arguments should be applied to the unborn re “made in the image of God,” and protection for them and this is where it is applicable to break the law by not killing the unborn, not to people who cross into another country illegally.
Why is the law in Romans 13:1-7 so less important in Carroll’s thinking? Why is the “image of God” theme the number one issue, therefore, the highest priority? Again, following Carroll’s line of thinking is like saying we don’t kill someone during wartime between countries because they are “made in the image of God.”
Quoting Carroll from his book: “Different concepts of law….Because Hispanics come from another culture, their concept of law will differ from the way it is understood in this country.” p. 107
Latin America has laws too which are to be obeyed. “Cultural difference” does not justify sin.
Laws applied equally to both the alien and the native-born Israelite:
Exodus 12:49 “The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.”
Leviticus 17:10 “’Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood—I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people.”
Leviticus 16:29 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or an alien living among you---“
Leviticus 22:17 The LORD said to Moses, 18 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘If any of you—either an Israelite or an alien living in Israel—presents a gift for a burnt offering to the LORD, either to fulfill a vow or a freewill offering,”
Again quoting Carroll from his book: “The majority culture should anticipate that the adaptation by immigrants to the laws and legal ethos of the United States will take time. Hispanic immigrants, too, will need to listen to and acquaint themselves with the law of the land (cf. Deut. 31:10-13).” p. 108
Didn’t people who cross our borders illegally break “the law of the land?” What do we do in the meantime while we are waiting for them to adapt? How much time? What would be a reasonable amount of time? And if people from another culture with “different concepts of law” continually come into our country, how long do we wait before we press any charges? Is there a guarantee they will adapt to our laws? Our jails have American citizens who did not “adapt” to our laws. Do we let those in our jails who are not American citizens out because they didn’t adapt to our laws yet because it wouldn’t be fair to them? Is it fair to the American citizen to give the new immigrant a pass?
Will the American citizen want to get a pass to on breaking the law? After all, they were born here and made in the image of God.
Didn’t Moses spend forty days and forty nights on Mount Sinai with God to receive the Ten Commandments and over 600 laws? My understanding is that laws were and are very important to God and Jesus (sermon on the mount).
Didn’t Israel have the laws read to them and God was a witness and there were blessings and curses that went along with obeying God? (Lev. 25, Deut. 28)
Or did God give them a pass because they were new laws to them and He was going to give them time to adapt?
Once again, Carroll’s reasoning is neither biblical nor sound.
In his Introduction on page 22, he writes, “I prefer the word undocumented rather than illegal for several reason. Illegal can carry a pejorative connotation, suggesting by definition that the person is guilty of some act, has few scruples, and is prone to civil disobedience.”
They are guilty of some act, they broke another country’s laws. I believe the term undocumented infers they have no documents yet and subtly getting away from the fact that they broke laws.
“No one interprets in a vacuum: everyone has presuppositions and preunderstandings. Dr. Basil Jackson, a leading Christian psychiatrist, learned this hermeneutical lesson during his youth when a Plymouth Brethren elder in Ireland told him, ‘Wonderful things in the Bible I see, most of them put there by you and me.’ (B. Jackson, quotation from a lecture at Denver Seminary, March 1991) To what extent is this a problem? 1
“…no one should approach biblical interpretation with only preunderstanding. Those who read the Bible only from the perspective of their immediate personal circumstances, who forget that the passage was originally written to somebody else, cut short the interpretive process and, thus, miss some of what the text says. They understand the message strictly in terms of the events going on in their own lives and ignore the perspective of the text and its original recipients. This results in serious misunderstanding…” 2
As a side note, it is proper to write the possessive form of Jesus as Jesus’ and not Jesus’s as Carroll repeatedly does in his book because of Who Jesus is. (pgs. 118, 120, 121 for examples).
And Carroll writes on page 115 of his book, “Herod had been told by the three magi that they were on their way to see the newborn king of the Jews (2:1-8).” The Bible does not say how many Magi came from the east. The Bible does say in Matthew 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem. The Bible does say in Matthew 2:11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” There were three different kinds of gifts presented to Jesus, not the number of Magi who came to visit Him.
1 INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION, William W. Klein,
Craig L. Blomberg, Robert L. Hubbard, Jr., p. 7
2 Ibid., p. 7