Evangelical Leaders Urge Christians to Consider the Bible on Immigration

 In Press Releases

Aug. 26, 2020

Evangelical Leaders Urge Christians to Consider the Bible on Immigration

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evangelical Christian leaders are encouraging people to look to the Bible, and not just the headlines, on immigration.

In a time when immigration issues are in the headlines on a nearly daily basis, a coalition of evangelical Christian leaders is urging those who recognize the Bible as the inspired word of God to commit to reading one Scripture passage that relates to immigration each day over 40 consecutive days.

The “I Was a Stranger” Challenge, which draws its name from Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25, was first launched in 2012 as a simple bookmark listing 40 Scripture references. Since that time, the coalition has received requests from thousands of churches to distribute hundreds of thousands of bookmarks. Now, the 40-day Bible-reading challenge is available in digital form on YouVersion’s popular Bible.com app, which allows individuals to participate on their smartphones in thousands of different Bible translations and languages.

“As evangelical Christians, we believe in the authority of the Bible. That’s part of why this challenge is so simply focused on the Scriptures,” noted Evangelical Immigration Table national coordinator Matthew Soerens. “The guide intentionally does not apply these passages to specific public policies or interpret for the reader what the verses mean – we leave that to the individual, guided by the Holy Spirit and the discipleship of their own local churches. We believe, as the book of Hebrews says, that God’s word is ‘living and active,’ powerful enough to change hearts and minds as Christians prayerfully reflect on this often-polarizing theme.”

“For evangelical Christians, the Bible is our top authority, but too often evangelicals have thought about immigration issues – and about immigrants themselves – only from the perspective of their preferred political party or cable news station, rather engaging the many ways that the Scriptures speak to this theme,” said Dr. Daniel Carroll R., the Scripture Press Ministries Professor of Biblical Studies and Pedagogy at Wheaton College and the author of a new book, The Bible and Borders: Hearing God’s Word on Immigration.

A 2015 LifeWay Research survey of evangelical Christians found that only 12% cited the Bible as the primary influence on their views on immigration, a statistic that the Evangelical Immigration Table would like to change.

Toward that end, the Evangelical Immigration Table has prepared shareable graphics for each of the forty passages that are a part of the Bible-reading plan, inviting evangelical Christians to challenge others within their social networks by posting these verses to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media on a daily basis.

“The ‘I Was a Stranger’ Challenge has been instrumental in helping Christians throughout the country to reframe this issue as, first and foremost, a biblical issue,” said Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief and formerly the lead pastor of a large church. “My prayer is that this new digital format allows this perspective to pervade the church at a moment when, more than ever, we need the wisdom of Scripture.”

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