Sanctuary Cities and Christ
By Hal Lindsey
For many, the question of sanctuary cities and a border wall have become a theological debate. Many professing Christians have become part of the open border movement. They cite scriptures like Leviticus 19:33. “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.”
Recently on NBC’s Meet the Press, California Governor Jerry Brown said that a border wall is not a “Christian thing.” He said, “We are going to do the right, human and I would even say the Christian thing from my point of view. You don’t treat human beings like that. That is not what — Trump’s supposed to be Mr. Religious Fellow and I thought we had to treat the least of these as we would treat the Lord. So I hope he would reconnect with some of his conservative evangelicals and they’ll tell him that these are human beings and they’re children of God, they should be treated that way.”
These arguments and others raise an interesting question. What does God think of borders?
Nehemiah was an Israeli captive in Babylon. He served as King Artaxerxes’ cupbearer. By his time, some Israelis had returned to Jerusalem. But Nehemiah learned that things weren’t going well.
He wrote, “Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, ‘The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.’” (Nehemiah 1:2-3 NKJV)
Nehemiah was horrified by the news — the Jews in Judah are “in great distress,” and “the wall of Jerusalem is broken down.” He said, “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4 NKJV)
That’s a strong reaction. Nehemiah wept and mourned “for many days.” He fasted, and cried out to God. Why was his reaction so extreme? Because he loved Jerusalem and his countrymen, and he knew what it meant for the walls to be down.
Borders represent a nation’s sovereignty, and lawful authority. The strategic implications of fallen walls are severe. Without border control, the enemy comes and goes at his will. Fallen walls mean the enemy has reign. Broken walls equal defeat.
When I say that broken borders allow enemies to come and go as they please, I’m not talking about a race or nationality. I am talking gangs, drugs, and terrorists.
One-world utopians long for a planet where there are no borders. A world without borders goes hand in hand with their desire for a one-world government. But most Americans still believe that to abolish borders would introduce the world to a new level of lawlessness and terrorism.
It boils down to a question of law versus anarchy. Since anarchy rewards the ruthless, and destroys the vulnerable, you can be sure that God stands on the side of law. And, in this case, that means borders.
Of course, you can be for sanctuary cities without wanting to completely abolish borders. But to destroy or ignore the laws protecting borders, tends to amount to the same thing as erasing border lines from the map. Erase the lines and you erase the nation.
When God told Israel in Leviticus 19:33 to do no wrong to the “stranger (who) resides with you in your land,” He didn’t mean to ignore law where the stranger was concerned. And He didn’t mean Israel should invite an invasion army into their land.
Deuteronomy 10:19 says, “Show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” This idea is reflected several times in the Old Testament. Not to put too fine a point on this, but the Israelites were not in Egypt illegally. They were there at the specific invitation of Pharaoh.
None of that means we should be harsh or cruel to those who are here illegally. God remains merciful and kind. He wants Christians to reflect this — not by destroying the rule of law, but by treating every person with dignity and respect. God loves the “stranger” in your land just as much as He loves you.
I do believe that many of those crossing into the United States illegally have been wronged, but not by those who want an effective border. They were wronged by those who put out a welcome mat at that border. They were wronged when American politicians and activists encouraged impoverished people to see the United States as the answer, then gave them the impression that their journey would be safe, their legal violation minor, and their rewards enormous.
I applaud Christians who are making a special effort to minister to illegal aliens in the United States. Every church with the means and opportunity to do so, should reach out to these people with material and spiritual help.
But, while we must treat everyone with care and dignity, it is consistent with God’s laws and His character to protect a nation using effective borders.