In light of recent executive orders issued in the United States and decisions by other world governments regarding the status of refugees, the Board of General Superintendents for the Church of the Nazarene urges governments everywhere to quickly put into place systems whereby eligible and legitimate refugees can find refuge and safety in our countries. Further, we urge the President of the United States, Congress, and other state departments to make this temporary order a matter of urgency so that the United States may continue to be known as a nation of compassion and hospitality to those who are oppressed, vulnerable, and marginalized.
We echo our statement from November 2015, when the significant global immigration and the divisive political debate in many nations compelled us to speak clearly and biblically to this challenging topic, inviting all Nazarenes to express Christian love to immigrants who live among us:
The Hebrew word, gēr, and the Greek word, xenos, can be defined as “immigrant.”
“If an immigrant dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The immigrant who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:33–34, NKJV). Our Lord quoted, “Love him as yourself,” as part of the Greatest Commandment!
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Jesus said: “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was an immigrant and you invited me in” (Matthew 25:35, NIV).
“Do not forget to show hospitality to immigrants, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels” (Hebrews 13:2, NIV).
While we recognize the complexity of immigration laws in various nations, the Board of General Superintendents calls on Nazarenes around the world:
- To treat immigrants with love, respect, and mercy.
- To participate sacrificially in local, national, and global compassionate ministry responses to assist refugees and immigrants.
- To encourage their respective governments to approve equitable laws that will allow for family reunification, legal work permits for productive immigrants in the workforce, and pathways for undocumented immigrants to be able to obtain authorized immigrant status.
- To follow the clear biblical mandate to love, welcome, assist, evangelize, and disciple the immigrants near us.
–Board of General Superintendents