The World is My Parish 
Illegal Immigration and the Gospel

I look on all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty, to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.
~ John Wesley

At the risk of sounding controversial, let me address the issue of illegal immigration from a providential perspective.

In recent years, the United States has been infiltrated by a large populace of immigrants, many of whom are here illegally. While I have never been a proponent of breaking the law, and still maintain that conviction, I recognized that our all wise God has chosen to use even the disobedience of men and the corruption of our homeland authority to bring the world to us for the sake of the gospel? There is no question that foreigners and governmental officials have violated constitutional law to permit non-nationals to take up residence in the United States. But if we have any appreciation for the sovereignty of God, and believe that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and He can turn it in the direction He wills, then is it not possible for God to work all things after the counsel of His will, including illegal immigration? And is it not possible for Him to prevail over man’s willful disobedience to bring a number of unregenerate foreigners into a cultural context where there is still a semblance of gospel influence?

Before we bitterly react to illegal immigrants and grumble over their presence, perhaps it would do us good to look at it from the vantage of divine sovereignty.

In a recent article by Daniel Darling, who is the Vice President for Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, he says:

I know this engenders a lot of heated opinion. But here is the bottom line. As Christians, called to be on mission with God and to reach the unreached with the gospel – can we honestly advocate a “kick ‘em out” mentality? Can we still be faithful to the Great Commission and still speak of illegal aliens with the angry anti-immigrant rhetoric?

I wonder sometimes if we conservatives are more interested in scoring political points, in seeing the “bad guys” (Democrats, liberals, etc.) defeated than we are in seeing lost souls won to the saving knowledge of faith in Christ.

Once again, if we are determined to maintain our hard line position against illegal immigrants, maybe we should consider that God is seeking to bring a world of lawless aliens to us to expose them to the gospel.

I believe that the words of John Wesley are fitting for us, who said, “The world is my parish.” The only difference between the impassioned Methodist evangelist and Christians in our country is that Wesley went to the world, whereas our sinner – seeking Lord is sending the world to us.

Don is serving as the HeartCry Coordinator for Eastern Europe. As an itinerant evangelist, his pulpit ministry is directed toward preaching on the inner life of the believer and the spiritual need of the lost. With HeartCry, his ministry includes organizing Bible conferences and corresponding with the HeartCry missionaries in Europe. He and his lovely wife Cindy live in Tuscumbia, AL.

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