Ed Stetzer on Refugees, Immigration, and Christianity

The full version of this article first appeared May 5, 2017 at Christianity Today as “My Stance on Refugees and Immigration, and How They Intersect with Christianity” by Ed Stetzer.

I have always believed that good discussion and debate over critical issues is helpful for those willing to engage in it. In the past few months, I have written quite a bit on the refugee ban and what I believe should be the Christian response to it. I, along with about 50 other Evangelical leaders, even signed an important letter to President Trump, crafted by my friends at World Relief, decrying his ban and calling for love and compassion for those who are marginalized and hurting.

I am firmly committed to what I have said, but at the same time I know that many of my Christian friends may believe differently.

In fact, I have been having a lively debate with a friend lately about the refugee issue and my interaction with him has encouraged me to write this post. I want to clarify where I stand on a few issues, and when and where I believe it’s okay for Christians to agree to disagree regarding this refugee ban. (Yes, I am calling it a ban, like President Trump did.)

Do I believe that Christians who support President Trump’s ban on refugees are wrong or unbiblical?

The simple answer is, no, I cannot judge people’s hearts. What I can say is that I believe many people are thinking wrongly about this issue because they have either (1) been given wrong information or (2) let fear guide what would otherwise be factually-grounded, reasoned thinking. The reason I have written so much about the refugee issue is not because I believe in extreme vetting or open borders (see questions to follow for more on each). Instead, I write because we have gotten wrong information and people are being hurt because of it.

The refugee system in the U.S. was not broken.

It takes 18-24 months for someone to come in under refugee status. And by all known facts, there has not been a single person killed by a terrorist in the U.S. who came in under the refugee program. There are much better ways for someone to come into our country if he or she wanted to harm us. Let me reiterate what I said in a previous post: there is a 1 in 3 billion chance of being killed by a terrorist attack by the hands of a refugee in our country. We should not allow untrue rumors to spread and slander a system that has worked.

Only when we are all working from the same facts and have been able to put fear to the side can we begin to ask, “Is your belief wrong or unbiblical?” That is a question that I believe we cannot even answer since fear and mis-facts are stalling our reasoning and conversation. Continue Reading>>>

Read the full article at Christianity Today.

About Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.