on the FBF and illegal aliens – reprise

I received the latest copy of Frontline today. This is the one that includes the articles accompanying the annual resolutions. Earlier, I was quite critical of the last sentence of the resolution.

The article is much better than the resolution and clearly spells out some of the ethical (and possibly legal) pitfalls dealing with illegal aliens who might be converted and attempt to be involved in a local church.

Nevertheless, I still remain convinced that the concluding sentence of the resolution is too weak.

Ministry to illegal people of any kind involves huge stumbling blocks immediately. If a person repents and comes to Christ, they must really bring forth works fit for repentance. For a person guilty of a crime (any crime, including illegal immigration) the number one stumbling block is to make their crime right, whatever the consequences to themselves.

Ministry to illegal aliens is fraught with difficulty at the point of conversion because of this stumbling block. In my view, real faith in Christ will evidence itself if the convert is willing to repent of his lawbreaking and make things right.

Ministry to professing Christian illegal aliens is hard as well – they may be genuinely converted, but may have foolishly justified illegal activity for one reason or another. Regardless of the situation, I don’t believe tolerating these offenses is any help to brethren guilty of them.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3


  1. Andy Efting says:


    A couple not-so hypothetical questions.

    Would you take into membership an illegal? Would the answer change if a familiy wanted to join but one spouse was legal but the other not?

    Would you give benevolence to such a family to help them pay their rent/mortgage?

  2. Don Johnson says:

    Hi Andy

    I don’t think I would knowingly allow someone who was illegal to be a member of a local church. I wouldn’t knowingly allow an unrepentant thief to be a member either.

    If one spouse was legal but the other not, I might allow the legal member to join. I suppose if the family exhibited no attempt to secure legal status for the illegal member, I couldn’t wholeheartedly support their membership, however.

    Giving benevolonce… in that area, I think that we need to be careful not to remove pressures that God is putting on them concerning their illegal status. I would be far more willing to help someone with the costs of getting legal than I would the costs of perpetuating illegality. And of course, if someone is literally starving, I would give him food. I haven’t noticed too many suffering from starvation, however.

    The question for these folks is, who is God? Is God the Lord Jesus Christ who calls us to obey every ordinance of man, or is god the almighty dollar? Those of us who are blessed with resources should not be stingy, but we shouldn’t be gullible either.

    Let the tests of life manifest the reality of faith.

    Don Johnson
    Jer 33.3

  3. Kent Brandenburg says:

    We live in the land of the illegals if there ever was. We have “suffered” for our position on this.
    First, I don’t believe in a Spanish only ministry. If they come to this country, our ministry to them should be to learn English. We lost 80 Spanish over this. We preach the gospel to every creature. When in an English speaking country, if you are a Christian, you learn English. I can’t say we lost the 80 as much as we never had them in the first place. They come to this reason for the wrong reason, and if they get saved, their reasons should change.
    2. We have had this policy: if you are illegal, you become legal. We will work at you becoming legal and as long as you are willing to work at that, that stands as repentance.