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Illegal Immigrants in the Church?
Image: Illustration by Amanda Duffy

Mark DeYmaz, directional leader at Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas), Old Testament professor at Denver Seminary, and Matthew Soerens, the U.S. church training specialist for World Relief, debate what churches should do about illegal immigrants in their midst.

Do Everything Legal

Mark DeYmaz, directional leader at Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas

In the earliest days of Mosaic Church, one of our members was issued a traffic ticket. Later we learned he was undocumented. A year or so after this incident, he received a second citation from local police, who discovered that he'd had a fraudulent driver's license obtained with a fake Social Security number.

In every other way, the individual was a law-abiding member of the community and a follower of Christ. Yet he soon received a letter from the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services requiring him to leave the country within 30 days. However, he chose to ignore the letter and remain in Little Rock.

When it comes to meeting the spiritual, material, and physical needs of immigrants, there is strong biblical precedent for getting involved (Ex. 22:21; 23:9; Lev. 19:33-34; Deut. 27:19). But New Testament teaching also makes it clear that as followers of Christ, we are to honor the law and respect the rulers of our land (Luke 20:23-25; 1 Pet. 2:13-14). How should we resolve this apparent tension?


For instance, there is nothing illegal about giving undocumented immigrants rides to and from church or providing them with benevolent assistance such as food, shelter, and clothing.

In fact, a church may invite undocumented immigrants to serve voluntarily in any capacity within the church. At Mosaic, however, we have ...

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Illegal Immigrants in the Church?
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February 2011

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