on the FBF and illegal aliens

I am a member and enthusiastic supporter of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International. I am pleased with the direction it is taking and was especially pleased recently by the inclusion of Clarence Sexton as one of the speakers at the annual meeting just a few weeks ago, despite the criticism of naysayers [see my comments in the comments section there].

Having said that, let me offer a criticism of one of the 2007 resolutions as published at the FBF website here. The resolution concerns illegal aliens. I think the general meaning of the resolution is correct, but that the resolution doesn’t go far enough. Here is the resolution in question:

Resolution 07-02: Concerning Ministry to Illegal Immigrants.

Recognizing the New Testament church’s obligation to win and disciple the world, the FBFI acknowledges the responsibility of fundamental Baptist churches to reach the growing number of immigrants in our communities regardless of their legal status. We urge churches to avoid making legal status, in any way, a condition of evangelism. But we also urge churches to practice and teach submission to human governmental authority as an essential aspect of Christian growth. Churches should act consistently in the matter, not treating the legal status of an immigrant differently from other issues of equivalent moral and spiritual import in the lives of church members. We recognize the autonomy of each local church to implement these principles in harmony with its own understanding and application of church polity.

The problem I have with this resolution is the last sentence. Yes, local churches are autonomous, but we as believers ought to call our autonomous brethren into account concerning their obedience to Scripture.

I am especially concerned with ‘Spanish’ churches who claim to be fundamentalist but at the same time knowingly use illegal aliens in any capacity of ministry. Do they ever preach Romans 13? What about 1 Peter 2? Should illegal aliens serve as deacons in any local church? Should they teach Sunday School? Should they serve in any capacity or even be admitted to membership?

There are all kinds of stories offered concerning the hardship that individuals experience in their home countries. I appreciate the difficulty people have in some countries, but these stories of hardship are meant to justify lawbreaking. The solution to problems for believers can’t be to simply flout the laws of more prosperous countries. The excuses of illegal aliens are not persuasive. I recall a chapel speaker many years ago uttering the line, ‘an excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.’

I say this as the descendant of immigrants, as a friend of immigrants, and in particular as a friend and former pastor to some whom I know are persisting as illegal aliens in the USA. I have counseled my friends to get themselves legal. I am told that I don’t know the ‘prejudice’ in the system, that the cost is very high, etc, etc. I really can’t buy that argument. It is right to do right and we ought to do it.

And the so-called Fundamental Baptist churches that tolerate illegal aliens need to read their Bibles and submit to the Word of God. They should encourage converts to get legal, whatever the cost, or go home and serve God there. Excuse making needs to come to an end.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3