It seems that there are times that as Christian leaders, people look to you and expect answers. In those times, we can be tempted to say something. Anything is better than nothing. But that is not true and Christian teachers should have the Bible speaking rather than themselves. This should be the judge as to whether what is being said is correct. This is the problem I have with what David Platt has recently said concerning immigration.
The Christian Post reports:
Newly elected president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Pastor David Platt, recently charged that there is a biblical foundation for treating illegal immigrants with dignity and love, not knowing that just days later a federal judge on Monday would block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration expected to give legal protection to five million illegal immigrants.
“We’ve got to begin to think about immigrants whether legal or illegal not as problems to be solved but as people to be loved and to think through how can we address what is clearly out-of-date legislation with the current labor market in our country, to think through how do we work to establish and enforce just laws that address immigration which I think should include securing our borders,” said Platt in an interview with Dave Ross, KIRO Radio morning news anchor, published on Saturday .
Now, when we first read that, it sounds good right? And I wholeheartedly agree. There is a biblical foundation for the treatment of not just illegal immigrants but all people. We should always think through these issues in a biblical manner. But Platt seems to know this without stating what these principles are. If he does know, he doesn’t say.
The issue, it seems to me, is the fact that has been brought out time and again. Why are we making new laws and regulations if we do not intend to abide by them? The immigration issue is the force feeding of the American people an elephant one bite at a time. We have tried what the President has ordered, and this is what we have ended with, more immigrants coming to our country illegally.
“I think there are ways to do that. Holding business owners accountable for hiring practices, taking steps that ensure fairness to taxpaying citizens of our country … I’m not saying it’s simple by any means or there is easy answers. But there are biblical foundations that drive how we think about this issue,”
I want to be clear. I like Platt and have read several of his books. He is a man who gives all evidence for a great love for God’s word. Yet, here he should have passed. Or at the very least confessed that though the Bible speaks to every situation, he was unsure what it says concerning this issue. Platt has said the same thing and still has not given us this foundation.
I harp on this because Platt, whether intentionally or unintentionally, leaves us with the impression that we should allow these people in the country. That though they have broken our laws and continue to work illegally, we should simply assume they will be good, law abiding citizens. Surely the biblical foundation is not that love is turning a blind eye to lawlessness, is it?
I will assume this is not what Platt meant by what he said. Maybe he assumed that we would know that is not what he meant. Maybe he thought that the people listening to the interview would be biblically literate enough to know this biblical foundation. We can hope.
In either case, the thing that concerns me the most is this idea that we cannot obey laws and still love. Is it possible that we see love and law as antithetical to one another? If this is what Platt means then he would have to say that God did not love Israel. If he said such a thing, then he would make himself or scriptures a liar.
I am sure that is not what Platt was doing.