Friday, June 17, 2011

Was baby Jesus an illegal immigrant in Egypt?

That is part of the argument made by Russell Moore in an essay this morning about the Southern Baptist Convention resolution on illegal immigrants, Immigration and the Gospel. Here is part of what Dr. Moore had to say.

Um. When you say that "First of all" and then claim an equivalnce between Jesus being whisked away to Egypt to avoid the assassins sent after Him and the economic and legal issues surrounding illegal immigrants in America, you are making a very shaky argument.

First, I question whether the bulk of illegal immigrants in this country are here fleeing the political situation in their country or if they are here because there are much better job prospects in America. Second, what was going on with Herod and the birth of Christ was not a political situation per se, it was an attempt by the Enemy to stop Christ in infancy from going to the cross. Third, is that even an accurate representation. I don’t think that it is. The rest of his argument is much better although ultimately weakened by that statement. Here is what I posted as a comment:

This would have been a better post without the Jim Wallis-esque claim that Jesus was an illegal immigrant in Egypt, an argument along the same lines of claiming that Joseph and Mary were homeless. I am not sure what the immigration laws of Egypt were in the first century or if they even had them. I do question the comparison between Mary and Joseph taking the promised Messiah and fleeing from the executioners hand versus those who come to the United States, knowingly breaking the laws of this land, for better job opportunities. That is not to discount the rest of your argument based on a proper recognition of our duty to see each person as an image bearer of God deserving of love and respect or to reject the very real reasons that people sneak into this country. It is to say that the “Baby Jesus was an illegal immigrant” is a flawed and emotion driven attempt to draw an erroneous equivalence between two completely unrelated situations separated by fact as well as 2000 years of history.
This is a serious question that demands a serious discussion. Illegal immigration is going to be an increasingly polarizing issue in America and Christians need to be thinking “Christianly” about it. That doesn’t mean aiding and abetting people breaking the law to sneak into America. Nor does it mean advocating for razor wire and machine guns on the border and rounding people up. We need to be careful to avoid mixing political positions with Gospel priorities. We are called to love all people, even our enemies, and illegal immigrants are far from our enemies. We are also called to submit to the governing authorities and those authorities have made it a crime to be in America without following the proper legal process. We need to find a proper balance here and that is not helped by reinterpreting the historical events of the Bible or hiding behind politically correct titles like “undocumented worker” or in making over the top statements about image bearers who have broken the law.
This is a gospel issue. First of all, our Lord Jesus himself was a so-called “illegal immigrant.” Fleeing, like many of those in our country right now, a brutal political situation, our Lord’s parents sojourned with him in Egypt (Matt. 2:113-23). Jesus, who lived out his life for us, spent his childhood years in a foreign land away from his relatives among people speaking a different language with strange customs.

1 comment:

Aussie John said...


Do we need any more convincing that genuine Christ centered revival is our greatest need?