WHEREAS, the church’s interaction and dialogue with the laws and policies of the nations of the world must be founded on the Word of the Lord, and the earliest Scriptures reveal that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26, 27; 5:1); and,
WHEREAS, Abraham, Sarah, and the patriarchs “sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country” (Hebrews 11:9); “confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (v. 13); and “when they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people, God permitted no one to do them wrong; yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes, saying, ‘Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm’” (Psalm 105:13-15, NKJV); and,
WHEREAS, when Joseph was sold into a foreign country as a slave, God himself providentially directed so that: “The king sent and released him, the ruler of the people let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his possessions, to bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his elders wisdom” (Psalm 105:20-22, NKJV); and,
WHEREAS, when God led His people of Israel out of Egypt, He specifically instructed them: that they were never to forget that they had been strangers in Egypt (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33, 34); that God “loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing”; and said to His redeemed children, “Therefore love the stranger” (Deuteronomy 10:18, 19); and,
WHEREAS, the Word of truth reveals that the deliverance of the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt was a foreshadowing of the redemption of believers today out of the bondage of sin (1 Corinthians 10:1-11); and,
WHEREAS, the family of Jesus sought sanctuary in the foreign nation of Egypt when Herod determined to kill the child who was born to be the Christ (Matthew 2), and Jesus revealed that He will judge His brothers and sisters by his words, “I was a stranger, and you took me in,” and, “inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:35, 40);
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Church of God reaffirms its commitment to the following principles of a just process for immigration: “that immigrants be treated with respect and mercy by churches; that governments develop structures that safeguard and monitor national borders with efficiency and respect for human dignity; that governments establish more functional legal mechanisms for the annual entry of a reasonable number of immigrant workers and families; that governments recognize the central importance of the family in society by reconsidering the number and categories of visas available for family reunification; that governments establish a sound, equitable process toward earned legal status for currently undocumented immigrants; that governments legislate fair labor and civil laws for all; and that immigration enforcement be conducted in ways that recognize the importance of due process of law” (from Memo on “Immigration Concerns,” April 30, 2010).
1990 Church of God Resolution on Immigration
BECAUSE OF social, political, and economic circumstances, people from various parts of the world are immigrating in unprecedented numbers. These immigrants provide an evangelistic and discipleship challenge which must be recognized. This is an opportunity for the church to exemplify love and compassion as the gospel is ministered to these newcomers.
THEREFORE WE RESOLVE
To receive these new arrivals with open fellowship, regardless of nationality, race, social or economic status
To create an awareness among the constituents of the Church of God of the needs of these immigrants, both physical and spiritual
To develop a liaison between sending and receiving countries, thus building bonds of respect and trust
To recognize the leaders among the immigrants and to disci-ple others to work within their own cultural group
To make existing buildings available for more than one lan-guage group
To pursue a vigorous emphasis of planting churches by every means possible
To recognize cultural differences and to allow for expressions of worship in the tradition of the immigrants
To weld the international church together by providing a systematic process for transfer of members from one country to another
To give ourselves to prayer, diligent research, and witnessing, to reap this great harvest during this last decade of the 20th century (63rd A., 1990, pp. 66, 67).