President Trump’s Ban on Muslim Refugees in the United States and the Evangelical Response

President Trump’s Ban on Muslim Refugees in the United States and the Evangelical Response

The major crises of American Evangelicalism in the twenty-first century in regard to the American-Islamic relations can be summarized succinctly in three ways: (1) the Evangelical turn to political idolatry, (2) the crisis of (Evangelical) conscience, and (3) Evangelical resistance to express genuine biblical empathy and generous caring hospitality toward those who are suffering and oppressed.  These three important factors are vital to get a better understanding of the Evangelical response to President Trump’s Ban on Muslim Refugees. How have American Evangelicals reacted to this this executive order? Below, we have identified three ways that articulate the attitude of American Evangelicals toward possible Muslim Refugees in the United States and their response to President Trump’s recent executive order of The Ban.

  1. Evangelicals for The Ban (Political American Evangelicalism): This group of American evangelicals is obsessed with political power and dominance. They believe in the expansion of the kingdom of God through active engagement in politics, and therefore cultural and political hegemony is a necessary means to achieve this Evangelical objective. Because Islam is the second largest and growing religion in the world, it is therefore perceived as a threat to the growth and expansion of Christianity in the world, especially in American and Western societies.  This group also fears the possible loss of religious and political power, the inevitable long-range impact of Islam in the American society, and correspondingly, the wide range of effects of Islamic ideals on American ideals and American way of life. In other words, the rapid spread of Islam and Islamic culture in American and Western societies and beyond has become a crucial alarming moment for the evangelicals belonging to this category. This Evangelical group supports President Trump’s Ban on Muslim Refugees in the United States because the members of this group categorically equate these potential Muslims refugees as prospective Muslim terrorist groups who will harm America and alter the American way of life through their religion, cultural traditions and practices, and language.
  1. Evangelicals for Muslim Evangelization: This group of American Evangelicals categorically rejects President Trump’s Ban on Muslim Refugees in the United States. They interpret Trump’s executive order as a precarious threat to Christian evangelization to Muslims and as a disastrous hindrance to Christian mission in Muslim countries. This group of American Evangelicals holds that Muslims are heathens who need to be saved from their devilish religion and detrimental Islamic civilization. The evangelistic zeal of this group is not prompted by the biblical imperative to love the stranger and the non-Christian or is it motivated by the scriptural mandate to exercise sincere empathy and caring hospitality toward the Muslims; rather, their evangelistic outreach is without the challenging demands of the cross of Christ and devoid of the rigorous ethical teachings and practices of the Gospel.
  1. Evangelicals for Muslim Friendship: This group of American Evangelicals interprets President Trump’s Ban on Muslim Refugees in the United States as unwarranted,unconstitutional, discriminatory, and as a human rights violation. While their support of Muslim refugees to immigrate to the United States, they still desire to maintain the hegemony of religion (Christianity) in the public sphere and strongly encourage Muslim assimilation into Western values and American way of life.  This group of individuals do not see potential Muslim Refugees as a possible menace to American democracy and progress nor do they place all Muslims in the same basket—such as radical religious zealots under the influence of radical Islam; however, they do fear that the ensuing full integration of Islam and Islamic culture in the American life and experience will eventually lead to the fragmentation of Christianity and Christian values in the American society.

 

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What does it Mean to say Black Lives Matters? A Biblical Perspective

What does it Mean to say Black Lives Matters? A Biblical Perspective

Allow me to reiterate this thesis statement: Violence or retaliation is not the answer to the racial crisis we’re now facing in this country.As Apostle Paul commands us Christians,”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

We have to learn to sit together, listen to each other, and find a solution to heal this national wound and transcend this national crisis.Simutaneously, we should continue praying for peace, understanding, and reconciliation in this country.

While we should sympathize with the people of France and Turkey at the moment, let’s not turn away from this predicament of human life, and the culture of violence and death in our country. If we remain silent, as we have always been and some of us still are, we will lose more lives and ultimately destroy this country. To destroy this country is to bring destruction upon ourselves. We must tackle the root of America’s culture of violence and death before we can have a genuine conversation about the value of (human) life and racial justice in this country.

The Christian Church in America has a tremendous role to play in the transformation of this culture of death and violence that dishonors God’s image in man and the sanctity of life to a culture that values human life and promotes human dignity. In the same line of thought, we need to cultivate a culture of positive values and be virtuous in our practical dealings with each other. Evangelical Christians  must engage the realm of the human intellect and the sphere of human reason to the glorious praise of the Triune and Eternal God. Correspondingly, we must also challenge the disastrous and unhealthy practices of American Evangelical Christianity in both civil and political societies that slander God’s reputation and his glorious name, as well as hinder the public witness of the Gospel.  American Christianity is a bourgeois faith. Bourgois Christianity is a dangerous religion that produces a culture of isolation and alienation. Bourgeois Christianity is selfish, arrogant, and not salvific. Bourgeois Christianity must die and be replaced by the Christianity of the cross and self-giving. Until we learn to foster a robust and consistent theology of life that is sourced in the doctrine of God and God’s majestic holiness and unconditional love for all people, Christian engagement with culture and in the public sphere will be unproductive and futile.

As we have mentioned in our previous writings, Christianity has the adequate resources to help heal the national wound, improve conversations on race relations and racial injustice,  and contribute to a more promising and constructive American life and humanism in this society. The Christianity we need in America is a transformative evangelical faith that is not afraid to affirm its past sins, its contribution to human suffering and pain, and the destruction of many individuals and families, in our culture. Evangelical Christianity must produce a new kind of species and a transformed community of faith that is  capable of sympathizing with the pain and wound of the victims of racism, racial injustice and inequality, and any type of human-inflicted oppression. Toward the process of racial reconciliation and harmony, American Evangelicals must be intentional in their doings and be ready to mourn and lament, and turn toward God for repentance and cultural renewal.

We have to allow the Word of God penetrate our hearts and pierce through our deepest cultural prejudices , our hidden sins, and human insensibilities–toward a holistic transformation of our hearts and minds, and daily living. It is only through the power of the Gospel of grace that produces sustaining life and hope we can have a change of conscience that honors Christ in our practical living and everday dealing with people.One of the greatest sins of American Evangelicalism today is that many of us know God with our hearts and not with our minds. God wants to be known both with the heart and the mind, and has willed that our knowledge of him should inform our Christian living and relationship with people.

Postcript

In the opening words of a recent sermon entitled, ” A Biblical Response to Race,” Pastor Tony Evans explains why abortion is wrong and correspondingly why racial injustice is unbiblical. His thesis is grounded on the doctrine of God and the doctrine of creation.  Here’s one of the most balanced, powerful, and articulate statements that I have ever heard on the justification of the sanctify of life, and the thesis that all life matters and therefore, black lives matter, rooted in a deep biblical theology that all people are created in the Image of God:

“All life is created in the image of God; therefore, all lives matter. however, underneath the banner that God is created all people in his image, there are equities that must be addressed. For example, the life of the unborn matters; and so, there’s the emphasis on injustice in the womb. But that injustice in the womb must be under the umbrella that is life and because all lives matter that life matters. Black lives matter as a subset of all lives matter, so any injustices to a particular group must be addressed specific to that group but under the banner that all life is created in the image of God.” Pastor Tony Evans