Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

Fair Warning: Welcoming Immigrants & Refugees is a “Heaven or Hell” Issue

Growing up Evangelical, we were often warned that some issues were “heaven or hell” issues. While even the most rigid among us recognized that some issues were open to differences of opinion or personal conviction, there are some moral issues where Jesus draws such a hard line that it becomes a “heaven or hell” issue.

Meaning, unless Jesus was just totally bluffing, there are some things that aren’t open to negotiation.

There are some things, according to Jesus, that will either hinder or absolutely prohibit one from entering his Kingdom– because he said so. The flip side of entering his Kingdom is hell– whatever one believes that may or may not be. However one interprets the concept of hell (I have a long series on that here), Jesus does warn of a divine punishment (whether punitive or restorative, permanent or temporary) that will fall upon those who choose to not embrace the principles of his Kingdom.

It’s hard to get around that reality for anyone who believes the words of Jesus are true and authoritative.

Growing up, hell-fire preachers were quick to identify things they thought were a “heaven or hell” issue– issues where being wrong sealed your fate in the afterlife. This most often had at least something to do with where you put your private parts. Or sometimes dancing, too– because we all know what happens if you get to dancing.

Even in the television series Way of the Master with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, these street preachers would correctly tell people that the Bible even says that “all liars will have their place in the lake of fire,” meaning that simply being an unrepentant liar can be seen as a “heaven or hell” issue.

But here’s the funny thing: in all those years growing up Evangelical and hearing all about these heaven or hell issues, I never once heard people focus on the one time Jesus actually warned people about what he considered heaven or hell issues.

I can see why they ignored that critical passage– and I can see why they continue to do so today.

The passage in question is the parable of the sheep and the goats, found in Matthew 25. In this, Jesus says that at the final judgement he will divide the nations into two groups– one on his left, and one on his right. The group that gets into his Kingdom? Well, Jesus says it’s because their faith led them to do some very specific actions.

The group of people Jesus says he will send away into everlasting punishment? Well, that group of people also had faith and claimed to be Christians, but they earned themselves eternal punishment for not doing certain things they should have done.

What are these heaven or hell actions that Jesus listed? Well, it was liberal nonsense if you were to ask some:

Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Visit the prisoner. Welcome the stranger.

When Jesus condemns the group on one side of the room to eternal punishment, they quickly object and remind him that they are Christians. They say, “But we did X, Y, and Z, and did it all in the name of Jesus!”

Jesus of course, tells them “depart from me, I never knew you” and tells them that their refusal to care for the hungry, the needy, and to welcome the immigrant was a personal offense against him. He goes as far as identifying with the marginalized to an extreme– saying that when they refused to welcome the stranger, they were actually refusing to welcome the Son of God himself.

I find it equally sad and amusing that many Christians are so quick to quote Paul’s list of people who will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, but will do the most intense intellectual and hermeneutical gymnastics to avoid the clear and plain statement of Jesus in Matthew 25: those who did not care for the poor and needy, and who shut out the immigrant, will face divine punishment at the final judgement.

They claim we should overturn marriage equality in order to avoid the wrath of God.

They claim we should outlaw abortion in order to avoid the wrath of God.

But they never, ever, ever seem to say, “We should welcome refugees in order to avoid the wrath of God.”

With so many Christians celebrating and supporting President Trump’s new executive orders functionally barring the most needy refugees from the United States– refugees from areas we’ve bombed to oblivion, refugees who could surely die if we do not let them in, I grieve over the number of American Christians who joined the wrong side of what Jesus himself claimed was a “heaven or hell” issue.

If you are a Christian, if you believe that Jesus was the Son of God, that his words have authority, and that some issues of morality are actually “heaven or hell” issues, consider it fair warning that you *might* not want to ignore the direct warning Jesus gives about not welcoming in the stranger.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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104 Responses

  1. Helping refugees is one thing; letting them in and eventually giving them citizenship to vote Democrat and push for moral relativism and central government intervention in my life is another. See you in hell. I’ll bring the meat and refreshments. Your lack of common sense will definitely lead you there eventually.

    1. When you actively support civil wars than you have to face up to the responsibility of accepting the consequences.

      Good to see your more concerned about party politics.

  2. Dr. Corey, I’m a bit uncertain how to interprete this “welcome the stranger”. Must a San Francisco blonde welcome the opportunity to be carred down by a drunk Mexican driver? Or is this not needed? May she protect herself against such an opportunity? (By less intrusive means? By voting for Trump?)

    Are there any limits to “welcome”?
    Being a Doctor of Intercultural Studies you certainly can answer these questions.

  3. One could make the argument that the mandate was for individuals, not governments. That seems to be the sentiment I see regarding these types of things. Jesus was talking to people, not Caesar.

    1. Yes, this is indeed a common loophole that U.S. Evangelicals use to deny Jesus and The Greatest Commandment.

    2. Two problems with this:
      1. America is a democracy and politicians are people: if you vote for someone whose platform is that they will bar the door to strangers in need or persecute them in need you are voting for someone deliberately so as to enable them to commit a serious sin on your behalf.
      2. Apparently, different rules apply where governments legislate “sinfully” on matters of sexual morality, making the cop out entirely hypocritical.

      1. 1. is rather beautifully stated. I don’t think I have heard of these polls happening recently, but I remember 15-20 years ago, pretty much any time there was an election, there would be exit polls asking people if their vote was dictated by morality. I was never asked myself, but hearing of these things always really irritated me. The assumption was always that if one’s vote was about morality, that meant that one was voting for the conservative Christian platform. Why in the world did they think I was voting the way I was voting?

      2. Obligations for individual action are not the same as obligations on government actions. The government, for example, has the God given duty of establishing law and order, but individuals do not.

        1. We are not talking about obligations on government. We are talking about governments actively intervening to prevent refugees from fleeing persecution, and indeed actively preventing individuals from fulfilling their duty to welcome strangers.

  4. I think the one I most struggle with is welcoming the stranger….I was thinking about this recently, I will soon be living on my own. I’ve been considering which neighborhood I will be moving to, where I can afford. None of the places are very low in the crime aspect. The thought of someone I don’t know coming over makes me fearful. I don’t have any problem with meeting stranger, but I do feel reluctant to just let anyone in…I guilty for this. Dose anyone else have similar feelings?

    1. I have frequently been in situations that I was not prepared for. Even before I knew the Lord had to rely on my gut feelings. In a situation that feels dangerous I simply pray “help me Jesus!!” It might help to learn about what codependence means and try to evaluate how prone to being codependent you are. Don’t be afraid!! In my humble opinion you may be going to learn that God is a very present help in time of trouble!! I found it odd and unsettling to learn that we are sent as sheep among wolves. When I first heard of it I resented it!! It still doesn’t set well with me!! But I’m still here after 65 years of trying to live life on life’s terms.

  5. Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

    Ok Corey, here’s the deal. Sell everything you have (house, furniture, electronics, and all your clothes except for a couple of sets to wear), give the money to the poor, and resign yourself to a lifestyle of traveling and helping people/preaching wherever you go. Then I’ll concede that you have the right to pass the judgements on your fellow men that you so hypocritically make now on a daily basis.

    But you won’t do that. At the end of the day your not about Jesus. You certainly don’t love anyone who doesn’t think like you. I highly doubt you ever carry out any of Jesus’s commands for giving in your own life (content as you are to pass judgement on tens of millions you’ve never met or known from the safety of the Internet). At the end of the day you’re nothing but a partisan hack, same as Franklin Graham.

    1. Ye Gods! Someone’s been peeking through Corey’s back window, reading his emails and practicing reading his thoughts! It is scary how much you know about the man’s personal life! You’re not CIA, are you?

        1. Andrew I totally Don’t Come Away with the same message you are apparently coming away with from Ben Corey’s blog. I think you may be incapable of a nuanced discussion. All or nothing, black and White, stinking thinking is apparently all you know!! Another interesting discussion would be why and how you and those like you are hidebound in this fashion and how you could become more patient, tolerant and loving. Perhaps this should be another discussion that Ben Corey could write about in his blogs.

        2. If you are not interested in Dr Corey’s views on Christian morality and theology, why are you reading his blog?

        3. You just go on people’s blogs and tell them they are not correct Christians for not following your US jingoism.

  6. “Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Visit the prisoner. Welcome the stranger.”

    I am in full agreement with your interpretation of Matthew 25 and hell for that matter. I have wrestled with it for many years. But can’t one be against policies for illegal immigration into our country and still love them unconditionally when they are here? I have taught school in Georgia for 26 years and Hispanic children( I never questioned their being here legally) were and still are some of the best and most respectful kids that I ever taught. I really love them and they know it. I am still for immigration laws.

    1. We have immigration laws, and we generally enforce them. When they aren’t enforced, it’s generally for capitalist reasons – businesses want a source of cheap, powerless labor.

      The whole idea that we have no restrictions on immigration is nonsense. We have some of the tightest restrictions in the world. We don’t have open borders. When illegal immigration is winked at, it’s due mostly to the desires of conservative businessmen. What here would you change?

    2. I don’t think this message was about immigration, but about the refugee ban. As for the illegal immigration issue, I agree, there are many wonderful hispanic individuals in this country, but we should have secure borders. The part I don’t like is how Trump have to be mean and decisive in going about it. We know the border should be safer, but lets do it with dignity. We know we are not going to throw out 11 million people, so lets deal with it. Both political parties are just using the issue as a football.

    3. There’s a case for immigration laws, sure: pressure on social services, concern re international crime and terrorism, what have you, may mean you need to keep an eye on it, and welcoming strangers doesn’t mean letting anyone at all freeload when they can look after themselves. I think it’s blanket bans on desperate people from entire countries that Dr Corey is objecting to.

  7. For somone who’s interested in taking into historical context, you seem to ignore it in this case.

    You seem to be focusing specifically on the phrase “I was a stranger, and you invited Me in.” Let’s consider what that meant in 1st century Palestine. Did it mean that they were to have open immigration, all people should be allowed to have full citizenship in the nation? No, of course not. To make that interpretation is to totally twist the meaning of the verse.

    It was referring to foreigners traveling through your town or city. Instead of shunning them or oppression them because of their foreign status (or even racism), you are to help them and let them stay with you. It’s also good to note that staying in people’s homes as a traveler was common back then. There wasn’t the same dependence on hotels. So it was important that these people had a place to stay and Christians were called to provide it.

    It’s also a total misuse of the text to apply all individual commands to government. The government has obligations, like the application of law and order, that individuals don’t have.

    this line:

    refugees from areas we’ve bombed to oblivion,

    Is also plain non-sense. The refugees are a result of the war between Assad, rebel groups, and ISIS, not our bombs.

    1. Shock and Awe were our first bombs. We have been bombing in Iraq and Syria ever since, including today.

      Syria would not have blown up if we would have paid closer attention to their three year drought that Assad could not fix as a totalitarian government.

      All you have written above is from a self-serving perspective which is not an example of carrying your cross in the example of Christ.

      1. F*ck you-why should I “follow Christ”?
        And if I don’t follow this “Christ”, why should anything you say have any worth?

    2. We don’t have anything like open immigration. We restrict immigration more than most other countries. ‘Open borders’ appears to be a straw-man argument, i.e. misrepresenting what someone has said, in order to attack that misrepresentation. Am I misunderstanding? What did you mean by ‘open borders?’

      When we tolerate illegal immigration, it’s most often because specific businesses want a pool of cheap, powerless labor. Agriculture is the most common, but meat-packing, chemical processing and fisheries are also culprits. To address it, we’d have to crack down on those businesses and their owners/operators. No one is seriously proposing that. How do you see that being done?

    3. “Did it mean that they were to have open immigration, all people should be allowed to have full citizenship in the nation? No, of course not”
      Leviticus 19:33-34:
      “When a foreigner lives with you in your land, you shall not oppress him: as a native among you shall the foreigner be to you who is living with you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.”

    4. So you are arguing that America’s refusal to accept Jewish refugees from the MS St. Louis aka the “voyage of the damned” in 1939 was sound Christian practice?

      Good to know.

      1. I’m saying the verse being quoted doesn’t apply to governmental immigration policy. I didn’t argue one way or the other on actually letting in refugees.

    5. That’s so funny! So you are saying we don’t have to give refuge to the suffering? Or maybe you are saying, only if they are Christian, or maybe you mean, its a different world now, so Jesus shouldn’t expect christians to have the same views as in the days when there weren’t hotels! I’m trying to get your point. And to clarify, we did bomb some of the refugees. The ones from Iraq that will also be banned. the Ones that gave intelligence to our soldiers so that they could stay alive and get the bad guys, even those good samaritans will be ban from entering. Across the board ban is un-american and un-christian like. Case-by-case review for our safety is needed, not this ban.

        1. He’s trying to weasel around it by banning refugees from Muslim-majority countries *with the exception of religious minorities*. It’s a de facto targeted ban on Muslims (except those from countries he has business dealings with).

  8. The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (NASB).

    Emphasis mine. The parable is insisting upon the care of our own. That is, of believers and for believers. There are, of course, other Scriptures with strong statements about the treatment of foreigners (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 10:19), which I think speak better to your point.

    But while we’re on the treatment of “these brothers of mine”, perhaps it should be asked, should Christian bloggers create and nurture a virtual space in which the stranger’s voice is welcome?

    1. What about those Christians who consider all humanity their brethren? (Doesn’t matter if they’re “Biblically right or wrong” in your eyes) – in their eyes, it’s potentially everyone?

      I’m a pretty useless person, myself – but I guess I’m in the clear on the “visiting prisoners” bit, at least. I spent a few years visiting someone in prison and that guy was *literally* my brother, by my parents. Personally, I think I would have been a better person if I were visiting random people to make their lives better rather than just practicing nepotism.

      1. Shadsie to R/R 2016:
        What about those Christians who consider all humanity their brethren? (Doesn’t matter if they’re “Biblically right or wrong” in your eyes) – in their eyes, it’s potentially everyone?

        I’m a pretty useless person, myself – but I guess I’m in the clear on the “visiting prisoners” bit, at least. I spent a few years visiting someone in prison and that guy was *literally* my brother, by my parents. Personally, I think I would have been a better person if I were visiting random people to make their lives better rather than just practicing nepotism.

        Ronny to Shadsie:
        I am one of those Christians, who considers every person my brother or sister, a member of the family of God/Jesus Christ. 🙂 And one day, each person, from Adam on down, will know that. And we will all be spending eternity together! 🙂 A good webpage on this, is tentmaker.org.

      2. My first thoughts: (1) I would question whether they actually believed that. (2) If they did believe that, I’d surmise they had a poor grasp of evil and its grip on world history.

  9. To all those saying the Biblical references to welcoming a stranger do not refer to governments’ immigration policies, there is a very good reason for this: the whole concept of immigration controls over national borders didn’t even exist until the rise of nationalism in the 19th Century. Even the idea of nation states at all does not pre-date the renaissance. You are drawing a distinction which would have been incomprehensible to anyone for at least 15 centuries after the Bible was written.

    1. The Walls of Constantinople
      The Antonine Wall
      The Hadrian Wall
      The Great Wall of Qin
      The Great Wall of Han

      Of the cuff. That’s not to mention censuses and expulsions. Besides, if what you say is true, and the authors really wrote with no concept of border management, why is one’s opinion on the matter, then, of any biblical consequence?

      Edit: To be more direct, would you then agree that the author of Matthew 25 is writing irrespective of the immigration issue, and therefore Ben’s application of the parable is a poor contextual fit?

      1. Walls: Defending yourself against invading armies and bandits is slightly different, as is raising revenue through e.g. customs duties, and expulsions of e.g. the Jews from a country is precisely the mistreatment of strangers the Bible forbids.
        Your take on Matthew 25 (which to be fair to you is not your own but an ongoing Evangelical distorted to justify selfishness which you are repeating) is a complete distortion of the text. You make the point that the Son of Man says “these my brothers”: but who is he addressing? Verse 32 is clear: it says “all the nations shall be gathered before him”. When he says “these” my brothers he is referring to the people gathered before him, as there is no-one else to refer to. He refers to the entire of mankind – every nation of it – as his “brothers”. Matthew 25 is exactly apposite: when we refuse shelter to the least of any of any of the nations of the world we refuse Christ.

        1. Could you answer my question?

          “Walls: Defending yourself against invading armies and bandits is slightly different…”

          Walls: Also for establishing boundaries and for the monitoring of commerce and people flow. Walls restrict entry and exits to designated locations with overwatch. In fact, as in the case of the Hadrian Wall and of the Roman limites, checkpoints were established and travelers were subject to customs searches and taxes from patrolling legionnaires.

          “When he says ‘these’ my brothers he is referring to the people gathered before him…”

          Very wrong. What is “clear” is that the inclusion of “brothers” and of “the least of these” is not universal. He is bringing the nations into judgment, and of those nations, not everyone is brought into the fold of his fellowship due to their poor treatment of the king’s “brothers”.

          In fact, back up to Matthew 24, and you’ll see that Jesus gives this parable to his disciples in private. That’s his audience. So, this could either be a warning about the conduct of their leadership, or it could be Jesus’ promise to right the wrongs they (his brothers?) suffer (starvation, thirst, imprisonment). Compare this language of suffering with that of Matthew 10, where Jesus warns the disciples of poor treatment suffered in his name.

          It’s called exegesis. Not selfishness.

    2. U.S. Evangelicals merely use it as their primary excuse to deny actually following Jesus and The Greatest Commandment. They have no problem with government services such as the Military Industrial Complex.

      The intellectual sloth of Evangelicals following Trump in his crusade against refugees and undocumented laborers is just thinly veiled self-worship of the kind that would make Anton LaVey blush.

      1. The intellectual sloth of religious people makes anyone blush.
        It’s all nonsense, it’s all made up, it’s all a waste of time, talent and trouble. And a tax scam to boot.

  10. Anyone who threatens another with “hell” regardless of the reasons maybe in jeopardy themselves. It’s a tight rope I wouldn’t want to walk myself!

    1. But how else can you threaten anyone with someone/something that’s invisible and inaudible?
      The Fundiegelicals and the “progressives” both have to shout louder and louder for anyone to even hear what they say. Pathetic.

        1. Please, don’t say that so loud, they think they’re in heaven. It would be hell for all of us if they ever found out that they’re not.

  11. Wrote to Samaritan’s Purse this morning:
    I’ve been a donor in the past, but I will no longer associate myself or my giving with Samaritan’s Purse. I will actively encourage others to put their donations elsewhere.

    I find it utterly incomprehensible that an org with a long page of “refugee needs” and a stated goal to be like the Good Samaritan of Scripture is led by a man who said recently, ““It’s not a biblical command for the country to let everyone in who wants to come, that’s not a Bible issue. We want to love people, we want to be kind to people, we want to be considerate, but… there are laws that relate to immigration and I think we should follow those laws. Because of the dangers we see today in this world, we need to be very careful.” (Franklin Graham) This is inconsistent with the mandates of Christ and Scripture to “welcome the stranger.”

    Christ, not fear-driven laws, should be our model. His words are specifically that if we do not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoner, and WELCOME THE STRANGER, he does not know us. We are “goats” and have no part in the kingdom of God.

    I urge the board of Samaritan’s Purse to re-consider the leadership of Graham and whether his personal views are consistent with the organization’s values. If NOT welcoming the stranger, in fact, deliberate unwelcoming of the stranger is what you are about. If not, I urge you to ask him to step down as his words continue to taint the reputation of your organization and call all of it’s ministries into question. Frankly, it makes you appear as hypocritical as non-believers accuse Christians of being. If Graham’s views are consistent with Samaritan’s Purse’s values… well, I have nothing else to add to Jesus’ words.

    1. Well said, Dalaina. Here in Wales, some of us had filled thousands of shoeboxes for Op Christmas Child for years. We were horrified to learn tracts aimed at muslim children were put in the boxes and that the organisation took some persuading to admit it. Fortunately, there is a charity here which takes 30,000 boxes a year to Rumania. They are distributed appropriately and indiscriminately. Graham’s obscenely large salary is disgusting too.

  12. In my posts, I work to distinguish Jesus from the Antichrist. I believe conservative Christianity is Antichrist as described in John 1, and the treatment of refugees is one place where we can clearly see the fruit of Antichrist. Conservative Christians don’t want a nation which welcomes refugees–that goes against Jesus’ clear teaching; therefore, Antichrist.

    I don’t think progressives need to keep reaching out our hand to conservatives as if the hand is trying to make nice with the eye–we’re not part of the same body. Progressives need to start naming the Antichrist and invite people to come out of Babylon. Conservatives will end up in the place of torment while Lazarus sits with Abraham–and we need to witness to that reality.

    America under Trump has drunk the wine of the passion of her immorality.
    The kings of the earth were immoral with her, and the merchants of the
    earth have grown wealthy through the extravagance of her luxury.” Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins or contract any of her plagues. For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.…

    1. Overall I agree with you but even with an Antichrist (or a follower of such), I believe we should love and pray for them (which may be what you are getting at in inviting people to come our of Babylon). Part of loving someone is accepting the reality of where they are and what they believe about themself. Of course it is very important to point out the bad fruit of their theology.

      1. GuyN to Ashpenaz
        Overall I agree with you but even with an Antichrist (or a follower of such), I believe we should love and pray for them (which may be what you are getting at in inviting people to come our of Babylon). Part of loving someone is accepting the reality of where they are and what they believe about themself. Of course it is very important to point out the bad fruit of their theology.

        Ronny to GuyN:
        Amen Guy, amen! 🙂 For we are to love and care about all people, even while at one and the same time, we can hate somethings they do, that hurt others!

    2. I want an America that’s grown up enough to determine its population needs without Bronze Age ravings.
      How about a Moment of Science?

    3. So which nation will then be in Heaven? Let’s see here..How about North Korea? Iran? Saudi Arabia? Egypt? Somalia? Afghanistan? Sudan? Angola? Libya? Yemen? Ya getting it yet? — better stick with the homeless, fatherless, widows, & prisoners, vetting refugees from countries that want to harm us does not the list. Quoting scripture out of context…you better be careful…If any man shall add to…like.. “America under Trump”

      1. The nation of disciples who answer only to the authority of Christ, by any name but all of, with and in the same Holy Spirit, will inherit life eternal as children born of God, who is spirit only.

        you better be careful” for yourself that you understand that mankind placed those words at the end of the Bible they compiled, not God. The word of God is not the Bible but the one Teacher is the Word of God. The context of God and Their united will is summed up in Matthew 7:12 and 22:37-40 in context.

      2. Beware of false evangelicals. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.…

        The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, p@@@y grabbing, impurity, and debauchery; 20idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy, and rage; rivalries, divisions, factions, wall-building, 21and
        envy; drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I did
        before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom
        of God.…

        But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no Law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.…

        This is a trustworthy saying: If anyone aspires to be President, he desires a noble task. 2A leader, then, must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not dependent on wine, not violent but gentle, peaceable, and free of the love of money.…

        1. Well, to be fair, he isn’t dependent on wine (unless one counts the fact that he sells it). One out of 11 isn’t bad, is it? 🙂

    4. Wouldn’t it be something if U.S. White Evangelicals following Trump (81%) proved you wrong by living the teachings that Jesus actually taught? Let’s watch and see.

      1. Trump is proving to be just as divisive among Evangelicals as he is in America. Watch, I think we will see some major soul-searching for Evangelicals come out of the next 4 years. The Fundie side (Falwell, Piper, Grudem, Franklin Graham) will further harden their stance (they have a lot at stake in keeping the Culture wars going), but a large percentage I think will change a great deal of their thinking about social interaction. I’m already seeing some serious concern being voiced in CT magazine, and of course, Fuller Seminary.

        1. Good to know. I (think?) I told you once that it was my father’s time at Fuller that saw the beginnings of his fundamentalism (at least as I observed it). He also carried a lot of baggage that fed that and I think often found comfort in a veneer of hardness. Inside though he had a capacity for empathy I have never known in another person. When he was at his best, I think there was a great ambivalence in his convictions. God did reach him in crisis moments and I wonder what he would make of things today if he were still with us.

  13. These Strangers, in a foreign World,
    Protection asked of me —
    Befriend them, lest Yourself in Heaven
    Be found a Refugee —
    -Emily Dickinson

      1. Many people have made the compelling case that, if this life is all we have, that is all the more reason to love others with abandon. I cant imagine anything more dismal than living a life of fear and protectionism and letting the weak among us suffer and die and then lie down in our graves and cease to be. Why the hell not make the blip of accidental consciousness in this universe be something at least worthy of the great religions it spun up?

        1. Really? Name them. Because if they can make this case without religious threats and pretending that someone invisible and all-powerful will punish those they disagree with, why bother with churches/religion?

  14. Apparently Trump”s business friends the Saudis are exempt.

    That’s pretty funny given their role in promoting terrorism.

  15. “Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Visit the prisoner. Welcome the stranger.” You have proposed that these imperatives are said to be heave or hell issues: “I never once heard people focus on the one time Jesus actually warned people about what he considered heaven or hell issues.”

    “But they never, ever, ever seem to say, “We should welcome refugees in order to avoid the wrath of God.” You propose that “the stranger” is the same as “refugees.”
    While they may be in the same circumstance strangers encompasses a wider field of people.

    You did not differentiate between individual conduct and government’s conduct.
    I believe Jesus is talking to individuals. There are many ways for an individual to help strangers.. There are not many ways for an individual to move Government to do the same and even less to have Government physical harbor refugees. That requires political activism. But it can be done too.

    “But they never, ever, ever seem to say, “We should welcome refugees in order to avoid the wrath of God.” The point here is that as an individual you can do many things and be comfortable that you are following Christ’s command. There are far fewer things you can do to change Government policies that seem to be in opposition to His command.

    1. Bob, if you want to say that Christ was only talking to individuals, fine. Guess who makes up “government”? Government is simply an institution that is operated by individual people, many of who claim to be Christian. So, fine, He wasn’t talking to “governments”, but He absolutely was talking to His followers that may find themselves working for the government. We, as Christians, don’t get to put Christ’s teachings on the back-burner so we can carry out the antichrist policies of government. It doesn’t work that way.

      So, sure, say that government can make these restrictions all you want. We, as followers of Christ though, have an obligation to stand and speak against them. We certainly shouldn’t be endorsing them. It seems like Christians act as though they found a loophole to be exclusionary and led by fear…..just have government do it then scream Romans 13.

      As a side note, this is also a great example as to why many early church leaders not only condemned government service, but if that service required violence, would remove believers from the fellowship if they continued to perform in that role.

        1. Bob, please don’t worry about it. If the plight of refugee families doesn’t meet your definition of the stranger or the foreigner in our midst then no one here is going to convince you otherwise. The government’s job is clearly to make you feel safe and comfy. Those others, well that’s their problem for being born in that area of the world. God blesses those who help themselves. America first. Let’s make America great again!

    2. Amazing how all of a sudden jesus isn’t talking about government like Bob thought he was talking obout the satanobamahitler.

      Jesus doesn’t talk to governments unless it’s to do with gays and abortions.

  16. Today, when I heard the National Anthem; I heard it as a lament. “And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”. There has been nothing brave about our government and its treatment of the weakest and most vulnerable citizens of the world. It is a reaction of the craven to unfounded visceral fears of those who don’t fit the mold of this new America Donald Trump and his cronies are building. Shall we soon hear the word ubermensch soon in the American vocabulary?

  17. So this man, his wife, and his newborn child arrive at the US border riding a donkey. “We’re here because we’re being hunted by a dictator who wants to kill our baby.” Trump says, “Well, you can’t come here–you might be terrorists.”

    1. That’s the reply from Trump and his White Evangelical followers (81%). And it tells us all we need to know about their theology.

  18. for anyone who believes the words of Jesus are true and authoritative.-But what about if you don’t? How are you going to emotionally manipulate people into doing what you want them to then?
    Genuflect more? Another liturgy?

    1. Social responsibility and activism is not the sole responsibility of Progressive Christians. This article was addressing the hypocrisy of the Religious Right. There is usually some sort of social concept of fairness within all social groups and countries, including America. I’m not quite sure what your point is as genuflection and liturgy are not a means of addressing social ills. Oh, wait, you were being sarcastic. You meant to say that social problems would go away if we’d just drop the whole “religion thing,” as if religion causes all of society’s problems. Dang God! He just spoils everything doesn’t He?

      1. No, I was making fun of the “mainline” who somehow think their nonsense superior to the fantasy invisible friends of the Fundiegelicals.
        But thank you for playing.

  19. Christian stupidity at its finest. You would also argue that Jesus implied we should bare our collective necks to the machete of the conquering army of Islam, when He said to turn the other cheek, right? Jesus spoke in parables and riddles so only those meant to understand would do so, not everyone. You don’t understand.

    1. Jesus spoke in parables and riddles so only those meant to understand would do so, not everyone.

      Who told you this? Was it possibly those who told you that they understood what you could not? That is not true. You can understand for yourself if you, in honest and sincere humility, seek God’s counsel, ask in challenge for a straight answer and knock on heaven’s narrow gate, all by way of the Spirit of truth.

      There, isn’t that good news that God wants to, can and will speak to you directly if you only open your spiritual eyes and ears (heart and mind made in you in God’s image) to see to accept Him and thereby Them, Father and Son? That wasn’t so stupid after all.

    2. Actually, yes, if it were to come to that. Would you prefer the conquering army of Christendom? That has been tried but it never brought about the Kingdom of God. It is antithetical to God’s kingdom and is anything but spreading good news.

      (edited for punctuation)

  20. Dr. Benjamin L. Corey,

    Honestly tell me…such people are already available in your own city..

    Did you applied what you wrote in your ow life?

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