Inside Out 267: Evangelicals & Immigration

01.23.13 | Martha Manikas-Foster

A commitment to Jesus is a commitment to transformation: often gradual, sometimes dramatic, and usually uncomfortable. The goal—God’s goal—is that we become more like Him, which, for the majority of us, means becoming less like who we were. Maybe, for you, God will use a life-or-death encounter or an angelic visitation along your journey toward transformation. For most of us, though, God’s most Holy Spirit will work through the tools at hand--His tools: the Bible and prayer.

Right now, at the start of President Obama’s second term, the US is poised to enter another round of conversations about if, or how badly, our nation’s immigration policy is broken. There will be a lot of talk in Washington—and perhaps also in your living room—about what’s right and what’s fair. Before we fortify our positions, a coalition of evangelical Christian leaders is asking that we dedicate ourselves to discovering God’s heart on the matter. The coalition—the Evangelical Immigration Table--is asking us to read our Bibles and pray. For 40 days. The verses chosen for what they are calling the “I Was A Stranger” challenge are only a fraction of what the Bible has to say on the topic of God’s heart for immigrants—the people the Bible often calls “the stranger.”

This Bible reading, this prayer—it could change us. Those who populate the Evangelical Immigration Table know this; the group is made up of pastors and authors and leaders from the National Association of Evangelicals, Focus on the Family, Fuller Theological Seminary, Wheaton College and the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, as well as many other denominations and organizations.

If we do this—if we read and pray--we take a chance that we’ll discover that our confirmed opinions on immigration are not, in fact, in line with God’s perspective. And that could be unsettling. But what if changing our minds—changing our behavior, changing our opinions—ends up taking us one step closer to becoming more like Christ?

They are asking that we read the Bible and pray. We each need to decide if it’s worth the risk.

Click on the “Listen” button above to hear our Inside Out interview with Matthew Soerens of World Relief on the topic of the 40-day challenge. You’ll also hear him talk about what he sees as good options for immigration policy reform.

Click here to learn more about the “I Was A Stranger” 40 Days of Scripture & Prayer challenge.

You can also watch a video of members of the Evangelical Immigration Table reciting a portion of the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, from which the “I Was A Stranger” challenge takes its name.


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 01.23.13 Jim Southwick commented

We must take care not to take matthew 25 out of context. When JESUS says brothers of mine he's refering to believers not immigrants. Though i believe we must love our neighbor!

on 01.25.13 Matthew Soerens commented

Hi Jim... That's a valid concern. I didn't have time to address it on the air, but I wrote a bit about it here:




Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


More podcasts...