Thursday, September 24, 2015

Christian Love and the Refugee Problem

What is Christian love? Answering this question is essential to how we answer the question regarding our response to Islamic refugees. For one thing, according to Jesus, it is essential to forgive as we have been forgiven:

  • For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)
Forgiveness is not optional. It is integral to the Gospel itself. Love too isn’t an option:

  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. (Romans 12:14-19)
Consequently, on a personal level, we must be loving and forgiving even to members of ISIS. We cannot take revenge but must leave matters of justice to God and to the authorities He has ordained. This is how we “leave room for God’s wrath” and how He avenges:

  • Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:1-4)
It is God and His officials who punish, not us! Instead, this division of responsibilities frees us up to love, while we respect and uphold the system of justice that He has instituted.

God embodies both justice and love. Therefore, we cannot reject one in favor of the other. Besides, if we are assured that He will bring justice, we need not take the law into our own hands. Consequently, love and justice go together, like the two wings of a plane.

Although we are not the agents of justice, we have to affirm God priorities and uphold justice. Therefore, by approving of bringing jihadists into the country, we demonstrate an unbiblical disdain for justice and an aberrant understanding of love, one that rejects the need for justice, order, and social peace. It would be no different than springing murderers and rapists lose from prison, arguing that this is the duty of Christian love. Instead, this love upholds justice and seeks to protect the innocent against avowed murderers.

What does love look like? If your wife is raped, love does not take personal revenge but refers the matter to God’s authorities. And we must! Would it be right to subject our neighbor to this rapist? Of course not! Love would require that we bring criminal charges to stop the rampage. To not bring charges against the offender would bring disrepute upon Christianity and call into question our wisdom. Likewise, would it be wise to unleash jihadists on the innocent? Of course not!

Meanwhile, pray for the perpetrator and do good as you seek justice through the ordained channels. We support those who bring relief to refugees but not those who would unleash destruction by indiscriminately bringing them into our neighborhoods.

Also, the church should proactively love those Muslims who are already here. Why? Because such love in no way further endangers our neighbor! Instead, it works to bring repentance.

While we always forgive wrongdoing within our hearts, complete forgiveness and restoration can only be achieved through confession and repentance:

  • So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." (Luke 17:3-4)
According to Jesus, complete forgiveness and restoration require repentance. We cannot disdain matters of righteousness and justice for the sake of love. Nor can we disdain love because of an overriding concern for justice. Instead, these are complementary rather than oppositional. Excommunication (judgment) might be required to bring about true restoration and love, as Paul suggested:

  • …Some have rejected these [faith and obedience] and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:19-20)
Excommunication can be an expression of love. Paul advocated this form of tough love in hope of restoring blasphemers. Love is not a matter of giving everyone what they want but what they need.

What does the Muslim refugee need? How do we best serve them? At the very least, the Muslim refugee should be required to renounce those Koranic passages about jihad, sharia law, wife-beating, and rape. Perhaps the most loving thing to do is to clearly demonstrate that many of the tenants of their religion will not be tolerated.

Meanwhile, those who are left of center are appalled at the suggestion of requiring the refugee to disavow murder and rape. Instead, they enable them to continue in moral and spiritual bondage.

In contrast, Christian love is not just a matter of soft-fuzzies – those things that feel good and buy a temporary peace. This love also requires firmness and discipline. God chastens those He loves:

  • Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7-11) 
Christian love also requires correction, which is often painful. While Jesus reserved His harshest comments for the religious leadership – they required harsher words – He issued far more words of censure than praise for His own disciples:

  • Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:23) 
Because Jesus loved, He also warned about the impact of false teachings:

  • "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:15-16; Mark 8:15; Rev. 2:14-15; 1 John 4:1)
We too must denounce dangerous false teachings. What did Christian love require during the rise of Hitler? At the least, warning! Had the West powers intervened earlier, they could have stopped the coming Nazi horrors and the destruction of many millions. Had the Church exposed Hitler’s false conception of Christianity, Hitler might have even been stopped earlier.

However, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that those Christians who did oppose Hitler would be labeled as “Communists,” “bigots,” “fundamentalists,” and “haters of the German people.”

I too am called a “hater” and a “bigot” because I oppose Islamic emigration to the West. However, what can we say to a young man who wants to join ISIS and defends his decision by citing verses of the Koran? Wouldn’t we then have to challenge the Koran? Wouldn’t Christian love require that we attempt to rescue the sinner from sin?

At this point, many would call me an “Islamophobe,” saying:

  • You cannot criticize an entire religion because of some extremists. Muslims interpret the Koran differently, and you are no Islamic scholar! 
However, if I am to love this young man, I must address his Koranic rationale for wanting to join ISIS, despite the predictable leftist charges of “bigot.” However, Jesus, the epitome of love, was called worse.

What would be the influence of receiving many thousands of additional Islamic refugees? What would Christian love require of us? In the past, refugees to the USA were grateful to their host country and wanted to repay the debt. However, Muslims instead want to replace our government with sharia law, which subjugates all non-Muslims and condemns any criticism of Islam. There is no gratefulness, only demands!

If we have any doubts about this inevitable outcome, we need look no further than Western Europe, where Islam has already created their own “states” – no-go-zones - within their host countries. Meanwhile, rapes of the filthy infidels has exploded. What is our responsibility? To defend the innocent!

Both history and Koran testify that the Muslim rarely adopt our system of justice. In every country where there is a sizable Islamic minority, there is also a demand for Islamic law, often accompanied by violence.

If Christian love would have required the Church to warn against Hitler, it also requires us to warn against Islam. Why? It is Islam’s intention to dominate the world, violently if need be. The Koran reads:

  • “Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion [Islam] reigns supreme, (Surah 8:37)
  • “When the Sacred Months are over, kill those who ascribe partners [like Jesus] to God wheresoever ye find them; seize them, encompass them, and ambush them; then if they repent and observe prayer and pay the alms, let them go their way’.” (Surah 4:5)
  • “…kill the disbelievers wherever we find them” (Koran 2:191) and “murder them and treat them harshly” (Koran 9:123), and “Strike off the heads of the disbelievers” (Surah 8:12, cp. 8:60).
Well, aren’t there also good Muslims? There are some, but can we identify them? Not without great difficulty! In light of their doctrine of Taqiyya, the Muslim is authorized to deceive the infidel, even with false demonstrations of friendship, in order to promote Islam.

What then does the West do with the many needy Muslim refugees crashing the boarders of Europe? Resist the influx! They are passing through the Islamic nation of Turkey. Why doesn’t Turkey grant them safe haven? Many are offering Turkey assistance. Why not Iran or Saudi Arabia? Why should this fall upon the West, which is held in the highest contempt by the Muslim?

Meanwhile, the West is turning away those most in need of a refuge, those who would be most grateful for one – the Christians! Middle East scholar, Raymond Ibrahim, writes about this horrible irony:

  • Why are Christian minorities, who are the most to suffer from the chaos engulfing the Middle East, the least wanted in the United States?
  • To the Obama administration, the only "real" refugees are those made so due to the actions of Bashar Assad. As for those who are being raped, slaughtered, and enslaved based on their religious identity by so-called "rebel" forces fighting Assad -- including the Islamic State -- their status as refugees is evidently considered dubious at best.
  • The Obama administration never seems to miss an opportunity to display its bias for Muslims against Christians. The State Dept. is in the habit of inviting scores of Muslim representatives but denying visas to solitary Christian representatives. While habitually ignoring the slaughter of Christians at hands of Boko Haram, the administration called for the "human rights" of the jihadi murderers.
  • In Islamic usage, the "cause of Allah" is synonymous with jihad to empower and enforce Allah's laws on earth, or Sharia. In this context, immigrating into Western lands is a win-win for Muslims: if they die in the process somehow, paradise is theirs; if they do not, the "locations and abundance" of the West are theirs.
  • Muslims all around the U.S. are supporting the Islamic State and Muslim clerics are relying on the refugee influx to conquer Western nations, in the Islamic tradition of Hijrah, or jihad by emigration.
What does Christian love require? How are we to love our neighbor? By bringing assassins or by bringing in those who will love their neighbor? Love should not enable violence and insurrection. Rather, love should favor the protection of the innocent.

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