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Published on 24 November, 2015

Syrian refugees: how should the Church respond?

BGR_Syrian refugeeS family

Madhi’s friends and neighbors didn’t stop the attacks. When ISIS drew close, local Muslims turned on Christians. As Madhi gathered his family and fled, his heart broke. Only God could heal that pain, but we could offer him food.
(Photo, caption courtesy BGR)

International (MNN) — Syrian refugees are showing up in North America, whether they’re wanted or not.

Central American smugglers are reportedly helping Syrian refugees sneak across the southern U.S. border. After flying from the Middle East to countries like Brazil or Ecuador, they pay locals to smuggle them into the U.S.

“There are so many people leaving Syria now,” migration expert Shaina Aber tells The Washington Post. “It’s not surprising that some are making their way around the globe the best they know how.”

Heated debate surrounds Syrian refugees and their admittance into “safe haven” countries. In Europe, some countries are building fences to keep refugees out. State governors in the U.S. are taking similar measures, but on paper instead of on-the-ground.

This conversation isn’t limited to the political arena. In evangelical churches throughout the U.S., Christians are asking themselves, “What would Jesus do?”

Syrian refugees: a political or biblical topic?

The refugee issue is complex, and Christian thought-leaders on both sides have valid points.

“Let them in”

BGR_Syrian refugees

(Photo courtesy BGR)

“You can’t look at what happened in Paris, you can’t look at what happened in Mali, you can’t look at what happened in Lebanon and NOT be moved with emotion,” observes Jeff Palmer with Baptist Global Response (BGR).

“My fear is that we will miss what God is doing in the midst of all of this.”

More of Palmer’s thoughts here.

“We are in danger of a globalized indifference, of letting concern for our own safety completely blind us to the perils and pains facing our brothers and sisters, and to our obligation as Christians to help these people,” pens Gracy Olmstead, a contributor to The Week.

Christian blogger Marty Duren shapes his response in a well-known framework: Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan.

“Keep them out”

(Photo courtesy BGR)

(Photo courtesy BGR)

“The government should major on security; the church should major on compassion,” states Dr. Michael Brown, the president of FIRE School of Ministry.

“The government should do its very best to shut the doors on any potential terrorists, even if that means slowing down the process of absorbing refugees.”

Janie B. Cheaney, a columnist for WORLD Magazine, asks here, “Jesus embodied sacrificial love, and expects the same of His followers…but does Jesus expect my self-sacrifice to endanger others?”

Syrian refugees and you

Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, God’s Word gives clear direction: no matter where vulnerable people are located, whether “here” or “there,” we are called to respond to their needs in love.

BGR_Syrian refugees kids

You can help change circumstances for refugee children whose families are trying to find safety.
(Photo, caption courtesy BGR)

“Let’s look at this through God’s eyes: we’re always praying for those unreached areas…. Right now, we have unparalleled access,” says Palmer. “It’s not ‘us going to them,’ it’s them coming to us.

“This is a great moment for the Church to stand up and say, ‘We want to take the stranger in’ and love them in the name of Christ.”

Through Baptist Global Response, you can give help and hope to Syrian refugees.

4 responses to “Syrian refugees: how should the Church respond?”

  1. Anne says:

    As many of the videos show, many of the refugees appear to be men of fighting age, and many are not even Syrian. When the refugees won’t accept food from infidels and if it’s not prepared Halel, we have a problem. Those are are not true refugees, or at least not desperate. When Australian government rules in favoring a rapist because of cultural differences, we have a problem.

    In order to house, feed and care for them wouldn’t then we have to convert to Islam? Obey sharia law? We would have to conform to the guest instead of the guest respecting the host.

    How can we know who are true refugees? Everyone says to vet them. How? Who are you going to call back home to vouch for him? He has no papers, many are forged/fake/bought documents.

    If we had really cared, why didnt we help the Christians in Eritrea and those slaughtered by Boko Harem? What about all those oppressed all over the world? Bringing them here doesn’t change a thing. All it does is dry up our resources and change our culture and laws. We need to reach them in their own countries first.

    I am willing and glad to help those truly in need. When our government turns Christians away, what am I to think or do? God willing, I will not become a Muslim to feed someone or myself.

    The Samaritan is used as an example. What did the man do? He brought him to a hotel and paid for his needs. The beaten man did not demand special religious foods or housing. He was just grateful to be alive.

  2. Pat says:

    Thank you, Anne. We need, and call for, wisdom, not emotion. We need to pray, BELIEVING God will give that wisdom when we ask (See James 1:5.) We need to pray with others. God DOES have the answers, He will NOT forsake us, but we have to LISTEN to Him and TRUST Him — and DO the next thing HE shows us to do. Lord, YOU have the Words of eternal life. Amen.

  3. D.M. Zuniga says:

    Pat, your response to Anne is condescending. What, accepting a Trojan Horse is ‘wise’, but using simple prudence is ’emotional’?

    Indeed, you should listen to the LORD as you are preaching others should do. Heed the facts and lessons of history, rather than typing pat, useless platitudes!

    This is not a new battle. The LORD told Hagar that her son Ishmael would make enemies of all men; that he would live by the sword. The followers of Mohammad have indeed done so.

    However:

    For the past 125 years, the U.S. military industrial complex (‘MIC’; oil, banking, natural resource, and military industries) has used our presidents as their salesmen for war. According to the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clauses 10-16) the full-time professional US Army created by the butcherous Mr. Lincoln is illegal — always has been. Yet, presidents ever since Lincoln have used this gargantuan killing machine (includes all military industry branches) to plunder foreign lands.

    The key asset to be plundered was oil (and its distillates), so the MIC has plundered and destroyed Arab lands disproportionately. If the Chinese or Russians were running America — controlling our streets, pumping our oil, destroying our homes and killing our men (and many of our women and children, too) we would hate them, generation after generation — just as those that the US war machine has decimated, hate us.

    So. THAT is what caused all of this blowback (a term coined by Chalmers Johnson in his eponymous book) from the Islamic world.

    How should we then live? First, we stop this MIC monster, by which the lawless D.C. city state runs our lives, and those of the rest of the world where resources are found. Second, we defend ourselves against potential infiltration by agents of Jihad — which actually are just seeking retribution for what “America” has done to their countries. It is not America that has done this; it is the lawless D.C. city-state that with Lincoln at its helm, first captured these sovereign States, before turning its guns on more distant resources.

    Yes, the LORD does have the answers — but most Christian ‘ministries’ in this republic are fundamentally cowardly, self-serving, and useless to true repentance. May the LORD bring repentance first to those who call themselves ‘ministers’ but who are useless ‘whitewashed sepulchers’ and ‘sons of Hell’ — to use Christ’s terms.

  4. Scotty says:

    Thank you, Anne. I found a post by Christian Post helpful and you may too. Please go to: http://www.christianpost.com/news/6-facts-syrian-refugee-debate-150741/ for “6 Facts You Should Know about Syrian Refugee Debate.

    Blessings

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