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Monday, October 12, 2009

Serve God, Not INS: Pastor Boese on Immigration, Outreach, and Separating Church and State

Pastor Shel Boese wins my praise for separation of church and state done right.

Today on his News, Thoughts, Theology, Teaching blog, Pastor Boese addresses immigration and the church. The National Association of Evangelicals has called for immigration reform and justice and compassion for immigrants. The Christian and Missionary Alliance gets its undies in a bunch and makes clear that membership in its congregations is contingent on proving legal residence in the U.S. of A.

Pastor Boese smells a Caesarian rat:

I assumed as a church our goal was to reach as many people for Christ as possible, and our first allegiance is Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. Our job is NOT enforcing state laws that may conflict with Scriptural commands to welcome the alien and stranger among us. If the Alliance is first and foremost an arm of the state I have serious reservations as this news blurb seems to indicate.

...At Mercy Church, we do not screen members based on education, race, nationality, ethnicity or citizenship in the United States in our membership process at Mercy Church. And we will not start doing so [Pastor Shel Boese, "I guess I am more Evangelical than Christian & Missionary Alliance," News, Thoughts, Theology, Teaching, 2009.10.12].

Pastor Boese and I probably disagree on the creation of the world and other business. But we both have read enough Exodus to know that the church has a certain obligation to migrants of all sorts, not just the ones who have the king's stamp of approval.

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