Some friends at World Relief and prominent church leaders like Tim Keller, Bill Hybels, and Max Lucado (along with over 3000 other Christian leaders) have signed a petition to be presented to President Trump and Vice-President Pence. I like the tone of this petition. Rather than being full of inflammatory speech, it quotes the words of scripture which show that welcoming refugees is what God expects of people.
The churches have spent millions, possibly billions, of dollars trying to take the “Good News” to the nations. Now when God brings the nations to our doorstep, we try to stop them from coming. From a Kingdom perspective, it makes no sense. Perhaps people are driven more by fear than faith. In Acts 17 Paul tells the people of Athens that God made all men from one man and that God determined the times and the places that they would live. He did this, according to Paul, so that men could find God.
I remember as a young missionary reading Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Missiologist, Ralph Winters wrote an article: “The Kingdom Strikes Back: The Ten Epochs of Redemptive History.” Winters recounted the “in-voluntary go” mechanism of God reaching out to all mankind. When people and nations hoarded God’s blessing, God would intervene, sometimes allowing them to be overthrown so the good news would spread. Persecution came to the church in Jerusalem and the blessing spread throughout the Roman Empire. Winters writes, “While the Romans lost the western half of their empire, the Barbarian world, in a very dramatic sense, gained a Christian faith.” Charlemagne eventually consolidated Western Europe only to have it attacked by the Vikings. The Vikings, largely unevangelized from further north, carried off monks as slaves and women as wives. The result? The vikings learned of and received God’s blessing. Winters notes that the Vikings would not have been attracted to attack the monasteries or churches “had those centers of piety not to a great extent succumbed to luxury.” This story repeats itself time and again, at least according to Ralph Winters.
So if God determines the times and places that people live, we should not have to ask why all of these “foreigners” are coming to our cities. God is calling us to share His blessings with the world. He has already given the church in North America about 400 years to prepare for such a time as this. We can either embrace what God is doing, or we can, in rebellion, hoard the blessings. But if we stiff arm these refugees, these neighbors in need, if we choose to abandon our Christian principles, we very well may find ourselves fighting the very hand of God.
I wonder what God thinks when Presidents and God’s people plead, “God bless America”? I wonder if He thinks, “I already have. Now its your turn to bless others.”