Russell Moore: Jesus was an illegal immigrant. What??

Russell Moore, at his blog http://www.russellmoore.com/ Moore to the Point (and at the Christian Post) Moore published an articled entitled, http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/06/17/immigration-and-the-gospel/ Immigration and the Gospel . Moore is considered by many to be, in the most severe categories, a moderate Evangelical and generally a conservative one. However, in his 20 Jun 2011, article Moore appears to have abandoned historical grammatical interpretation and opted for what might be described as the Jimmy Carter school of theology. Here are some alarming excerpts:

Quote:
This is a gospel issue. First of all, our Lord Jesus himself was a so-called “illegal immigrant.” Fleeing, like many of those in our country right now, a brutal political situation, our Lord’s parents sojourned with him in Egypt (Matt. 2:113-23). Jesus, who lived out his life for us, spent his childhood years in a foreign land away from his relatives among people speaking a different language with strange customs.
Well, Dr. Moore, no. Egypt and Israel, while retaining their geographical designation, were both under Roman rule. And immigration process was not required for such travel. Hence, our Lord and his family were not illegal immigrants.

Quote:
But this issue is far more complicated than that. Yes, undocumented immigrants are violating the law, but, first of all, most of them are doing so in order to provide a future for their families in flight from awful situations back home. Many of them are children (as our Lord Jesus was at the time of his immigration).
So, they are here illegally, breaking the law, but for a "good" reason. So the end justifies the means?

Quote:
There will be a day when the United States of America will no longer exist. And on that day, the sons and daughters of God will stand before the throne of a former undocumented immigrant.
Again, where is it established that our Lord was an undocumented worker? Certainly not from any biblical means.

*A note worth considering. Had anyone outside of the quasi-conservative Evangelical society and its friends (and particularly anyone viewed by them with any degree of antagonism) published this, many of those in this quasi-conservative Evangelical society (or its friends) would have been on it like a bowl of ice cream. But in truth, there is nothing but silence, reprehensible silence. This is demonstration of the very thing John MacArthur finds concerning about TGC/T4G (which of course Moore will be one of its second tier speakers) and like minded groups, their marginalization of doctrine (in effect rigorous hermeneutics).

You won't hear a peep out of any of them about this. Not a bit. It should be alarming to those of you who champion this society.

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Rob Fall's picture

If Our Lord and His family were illegal immigrants to Egypt, so was the Apostle Paul and his party as they traveled around the Eastern Med.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Unbelievable. To be illegal, there has to be a law broken. I suppose the author is prepared to show us the laws Jesus broke when entering Egypt. Of course, if He did break the law, He would no longer be sinless. I guess this really is a Gospel issue, huh.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Rob Fall's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Unbelievable. To be illegal, there has to be a law broken. I suppose the author is prepared to show us the laws Jesus broke when entering Egypt. Of course, if He did break the law, He would no longer be sinless. I guess this really is a Gospel issue, huh.

my bold
Yes, it would be. At least as many interpret the current US immigration laws. However, Egypt and Judea at the time were both part of the Roman Empire. So,there was no international boundary for them to cross. Neither did the Romans have any restrictions on the internal movement of freemen. (Such was the case in the Former Soviet Union and currently is the case in the PRC.) Thus, the idea is without merit.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Rob,

I was agreeing with you that the assertion is ridiculous - apparently badly.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Rob Fall's picture

was agreeing with you. I guess I'm guilty of piling on.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

jlamarcrowder's picture

Many Christian leaders here in Alabama are opposed to the new strict laws we have on illegal immigration especially related to transporting them. I'm of the opinion that these laws are Christian. It is Christian to hold people accountable and to stop people from being a burden on society. How is it Christian to allow someone to work below minimum wage, live in poverty housing conditions, have no means to pay medical expenses, and what little they make go to a foreign nation? This so we can feel good that we are able to feed them in soup kitchens and have a multi-cultural Church. We should instead force Mexico to fix it's problems and the many other nations that send people they don't want to the U.S. I love all people but the feel good stuf is really not teaching a man to fish. We are in serious debt in the U.S. and we need to take care of the many people that have paid in and through no fault are victims of joblessness, natural disasters, or just are old that is who should be helped that is the Christian thing. Instead we ration things so the people that paid in for many years can't get help while new illegal immigrants who I have compassion for do get help. I feel sad that we can't provide for many of these good people that come here illegaly out of desperation but we can't do it and are doing them no favors trying to do it.

christian cerna's picture

This is like the silly arguments some ignorant(liberals) people make, about how the Pilgrims/Europeans were illegal immigrants when they came over to The New World. But they forget that, there were no laws back then that prohibited such travel and immigration. In that case, even the Native Americans were illegal immigrants, when they immigrated here from the Asian continent.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Also, many of the Europeans purchased their land by treaty from the "native" Americans (not all of course) removing any illegal stigma as well.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

christian cerna's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Also, many of the Europeans purchased their land by treaty from the "native" Americans (not all of course) removing any illegal stigma as well.

True. And I have heard Mexican use this type of argument, when they say that the white man took land that rightfully belonged to Mexico. But they forget that it was Mexico that sold that land to the USA.

ChrisC's picture

maybe "illegal immigrant" wasn't the best choice of words because it wasn't really against the law, so maybe "undocumented worker" would be better? the point is not these semantics, but that ancient countries worked fine without such strict laws about immigration, and we should consider whether these strict laws really show christian charity. was there even such a thing as "illegal alien" in biblical times?

  • is it right that the legal route to immigration costs thousands of dollars and years of uncertainty while a thorough background check for firearm purchases takes 5 days?
  • is it right that a statue in ny harbor beckons to the underprivileged while we try to keep out migrant farm workers?
    Quote:
    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
  • is it right that we make excuses for mistreating people who are not citizens?
  • should we re-write our immigration laws to better reflect a biblical view of foreigners? (exod 22:21, deut 10:18-19, deut 24:14-15, ezek 47:21-23, etc)
  • how does our current framework for treating foreigners relate to our presentation of the gospel in light of the biblical imagery of citizens/foreigners and their relationship to the kingdom? even if the gospel remains intact, does our insistence on prosecution of the law prevent us from showing grace?
christian cerna's picture

ChrisC wrote:
maybe "illegal immigrant" wasn't the best choice of words because it wasn't really against the law, so maybe "undocumented worker" would be better? the point is not these semantics, but that ancient countries worked fine without such strict laws about immigration, and we should consider whether these strict laws really show christian charity. was there even such a thing as "illegal alien" in biblical times?
  • is it right that the legal route to immigration costs thousands of dollars and years of uncertainty while a thorough background check for firearm purchases takes 5 days?
  • is it right that a statue in ny harbor beckons to the underprivileged while we try to keep out migrant farm workers?
    Quote:
    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
  • is it right that we make excuses for mistreating people who are not citizens?
  • should we re-write our immigration laws to better reflect a biblical view of foreigners? (exod 22:21, deut 10:18-19, deut 24:14-15, ezek 47:21-23, etc)
  • how does our current framework for treating foreigners relate to our presentation of the gospel in light of the biblical imagery of citizens/foreigners and their relationship to the kingdom? even if the gospel remains intact, does our insistence on prosecution of the law prevent us from showing grace?

I understand what you are saying. And if this we were living in the 1950's, and America were the prosperous nation that it once was, and jobs were plentiful, and the cost of living incredibly low, then 'yes', I would agree with most of your points.

But unfortunately, America is not the growing nation(economically) that it once was. It is in decline, with jobs rapidly disappearing or being exported to foreign countries, gas prices criminally high, the cost of living impossibly high. If we allowed any person to enter this country, and become a Citizen, what would become of those people? Where would they find jobs? Where would they live? I believe metropolitan cities would become slums(just take a drive through downtown Los Angeles), and crime would go up, people would live on the streets, more families would depend on government assistance, etc.

ChrisC's picture

gas prices? spend some time in europe, and then we'll talk. for that matter, just compare our prices to any other first-world non-opec country.

and jobs? when the jobs dry up, immigration slows. just this week, this was in the news. net mexican immigration is currently moving back into mexico. besides, america should be focusing in education instead of paranoia. educated americans have a world of options that, for a variety of reasons, are not available to illegals.

right now, we're mostly talking about illegal from mexico because the legal process is out of reach for most. mexicans are ready to make deals with mobsters in order to cross through the most dangerous parts of the desert, find a job with fake documents and live every day with the risk that everything falls apart and they get deported. some will find undocumented jobs and also have to deal with all the problems of that power dynamic to avoid getting turned in and deported. and all this craziness seems more reasonable to them than dealing with our convoluted system for legal immigration or the mexican economic structure.

honestly, there are a lot of ways imaginable that have been proven in other countries like a functional guest worker program. unfortunately, many are caught up in ideologies that think a wall will keep these highly motivated people out.

christian cerna's picture

Well, I speak from experience when I say that unlimited immigration is a bad idea. I live in Los Angeles. And as you can probably guess, it is a magnet for illegal immigration from Mexico. It is also a city full of poverty, joblessness, gangs, drugs, homelessness, violence. The high schools in the this city have some of the lowest graduation rates in the country. Hispanic young women are known for getting pregnant young, and raising kids by themselves.

You see, when discussing a political topic, one must look at it from a practical/realistic perspective, rather than a purely theoretical perspective.

In theory, welcoming people into this country with open arms, sounds ethically good and right. But in practice, there are real consequences when we turn a blind eye to the situation. And often, it is the children and youth of these cities that will suffer the most.