September 2018

by Catherine Cory, Ph.D. / Theological Council Member

Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Chuch & the Bible by M. Daniel Carroll R.

Today, the political and moral landscape of the United States and the developed world have been occupied, and sometimes overwhelmed, with issues around immigration, refugee resettlement, and asylum seeking. These can be deeply emotional issues because of how they affect the social fabric of local communities and how they impact people’s understanding of national identity.

But what are we, who identify ourselves as Christians and who want to live the Word of God in thought and action, called to think about these issues? M. Daniel Carroll’s timely and accessible book,Christians at the Border, seeks to provide us with a non-partisan and faith-based look at these questions. He begins with a short history of migration to the United States, with special attention to the role that religion has played in the formulation of immigration policy and procedures. Chapters two and three focus on what the Old Testament has to say about immigration issues today, specifically, what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God and what the Law and the prophets tell us about hospitality to the sojourner in a foreign land. Chapter four focuses on what the New Testament tells us about welcoming the stranger in our midst. The book is rich with biblical stories that demonstrate these themes, and every chapter ends with a section called “Implications for Today.”
The final chapter entitled “Where do we go from here?” does not prescribe a particular set of actions related to this issue. Rather, it urges us to engage one another in conversation that takes seriously “a biblical and theological framework” from which Christians might contribute meaningfully to modern debates about immigration. In the end, whether you agree with M. Daniel Carroll or not, I think you will find this book to be a compelling and thought-provoking read.

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