Church of God’s Position on Immigration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, February 2, 2017

Church of God’s Position on Immigration

CLEVELAND, TN:   Due to the recent political discussions and developments concerning the immigration laws of the United States of America, the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), through its elected leaders, offers the following statement: Dr. Timothy M. Hill, General Overseer of the Church of God stated, “After receiving comments and questions from many different people within our church regarding the recent decision of President Donald Trump affecting who should or should not be allowed into the United States, I have reached the conclusion that our church constituency is just as diverse in opinion and also as concerned about this crucial immigration issue as is our nation as a whole. As this critical matter plays out in Washington, D.C., there remains a harvest that we must not lose sight of. We also must not lose focus on the mission of the Church of God – to tell everyone, regardless of race, color, national origin, or ethnicity, about the saving grace of our Lord and Savior. In the Church of God, our FINISH Commitment to carrying out the Great Commission is not limited to those born and raised within the borders of the United States. The way I read Matthew 28:19, our mission is to go and make disciples in all the nations.” Hill continued: “As early as 1990, the General Assembly of the Church of God issued a resolution regarding immigration. The resolution noted that immigration provides ‘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.’ The 1990 General Assembly resolution recognized clearly that in some cases to fulfill the Great Commission we would have to go to the nations of the world – but in other situations, the nations of the world might actually come to us. Regardless, in either situation, our mission as the church is to reach the lost, hopeless, and dying, regardless of their legal status.” In taking a firm stand on the issue of immigration, the 2012 General Assembly of the Church of God adopted the following extensive resolution: 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.”

Hill concluded: “The wording of the General Assembly Resolution is clear and concise. Our hope and prayer is that our elected and appointed governmental leaders will recognize that every man, woman and child – again, regardless of race, color, national origin, or ethnicity – is a child of God and deserves respect since we all were created in the image and likeness of God, and that our governing laws will reflect such.”

The Executive Leadership of the Church of God calls upon everyone to unite in prayer for this matter. ###

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