What Would Jesus Say to an Illegal Alien


About the author: Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, where he provides expertise on a range of public policy topics. Described by the New York Times as a "talk-radio natural," he hosts the "Focal Point" radio program on AFR Talk, which ... [read 's FULL BIO]

The George Soros-funded Evangelical Immigration Table is beginning to unravel, as it most certainly should, as noted author Eric Metaxas has pulled out with word coming that others are likely to follow.

The EIT has claimed that evangelicals must support amnesty, and that any Christian who does not may be one of the goats Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25 and thus may be headed “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

The EIT position turns biblical theology on its head by granting a huge reward – a guaranteed path to American citizenship – to those who are guilty of criminal trespass. Rewarding those who break the law is hardly an evangelical value.

In response to the EIT, it’s worth asking if we can find a New Testament perspective, an explicitly Christian perspective, on this issue. I believe we can.

A young man by the name of Onesimus found Paul in Rome, where Paul was in prison for the crime of preaching about Christ. Onesimus became a Christ-follower through Paul’s influence.

The sticky part for both Onesimus and Paul was that Onesimus had no legal right to be in Rome.

Onesimus was a slave, and had run away from his master, a man by the name of Philemon, who lived in the city of Colosse. (Christians and Christian influence ended the practice of slavery, but that’s a topic for another day.)

So the challenge for Paul was quite simple: he had, in effect, an illegal alien looking to him for counsel. What, Onesimus, wondered, should he do? What was his moral obligation?

Paul was quite clear and direct: his moral responsibility was to obey the law and return home. In other words, it was his duty to self-repatriate.

Slave owners at that time in history had the power of life and death over runaway slaves, so for Onesimus to return entailed severe risks, just as illegal aliens may face today. Paul wrote a cover letter for Onesimus, a letter which became the New Testament book of Philemon, urging Philemon to receive him back, “no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother” through their common faith in Christ.

Onesimus was not to stay where he had no legal right to be; he was to return. Said Paul, “I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart” (v. 12).

The last phrase reveals that there was no lack of compassion in Paul’s heart toward this undocumented immigrant. He wasn’t motivated by some angry, nativist energy but by a sense of responsibility to counsel Onesimus to do the mature and noble thing. He loved Onesimus as he loved himself, and he describes Onesimus as “my child…whose father I became in my imprisonment” (v. 10).

In point of fact it was his very compassion for Onesimus which prompted him to urge Onesimus to return to his homeland. Compassion for others always includes appealing to them to do the right thing, and the right thing was for Onesimus to go back. He had no right to be where he was, and genuine compassion – not the soft, empty fake kind that passes for charity these days – directed Onesimus to act with maturity and strength.

As historian William Barclay put it, “Christianity is not out to help a man to escape his past and to run away from it; it is out to enable a man to face his past and to rise above it. Onesimus had run away. Well, then, he must not be allowed to evade the consequences of his misdeeds. He must go back, and he must face up to the consequences of what he did; and then he must accept the consequences and must rise above them. Christianity is never escape; Christianity is always conquest.”

So what would Jesus say to an undocumented immigrant? Return home. Obey the law. Leave the place where you have no legal right to be and return to the place where you do.

And what should the Evangelical Immigration Table be saying, instead of trying to guilt-trip fellow evangelicals? The EIT should imitate the example of the apostle. “We are sending you back,” they should say, because compassion compels us to.

(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)

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  • biggiewmn

    Give unto Ceasar, what is Ceasar’s, and unto God what is God’s. In other words, you have to obey the law of the land. Coming here illegally is a no no.

  • astrojohn

    I believe I read in our church bulletin that Jesus was an illegal immigrant – in Egypt I presume…It’s amazing how far the social justice crowd will go to distort the truth.

    • Rob Pobe

      Jesus was hardly an illegal alien, Jesus was one without sin. To portray Jesus as a criminal is to subscribe to false doctrine

  • marineh2ominer

    They certainly reflect my views . Illegals are criminals until they go home and come back LEGALLY or not at all .

  • marineh2ominer

    Soros is not only a betrayer of his own people ( the jews in Nazi Germany ) he hasn’t the slightest idea , nor does he care , what Jesus or Christianity about , his only guide is GREED .

  • jenniewalsh

    George Soros is one of the head honchos in the Satanic Illuminati’s globalist organized New World Order crime syndicate.

  • Robert S Moulds

    I’m not religious but I like to believe Jesus would welcome the poor souls with open arms.

    • Rob Pobe

      After they had rendered unto Cesar what is Cesar’s.

  • Rob Pobe

    Jesus would say to an illegal alien, the same thing he said once before, “Render unto Cesar what is Cesar’s… .” In other words follow the law and be law abiding, do not smuggle illegal drugs, do not become a prostitute, do not loot your neighbors to the North for their wealth.

  • sha49tn

    Jesus would tell them to go back home, & do it LEGALLY

  • junkmailbin

    go and sin no more IE go home and quit breaking Americas laws

  • poptoy1949

    He would say “GO GOME”.