Franklin Graham’s recent call to end Muslim immigration in the U.S. has brought immigration policy to the forefront of many evangelicals’ minds. Although we respect Mr. Graham and the work he has done through Samaritans Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we disagree with his stance on closing U.S. borders to Muslims. My colleague and Executive Director of our affiliate ministry Arrive Ministries, Bob Oehrig wrote a gracious response to Franklin Graham, that I’d like to share with you.
-Carl Nelson, President of Transform Minnesota
[dropcap]W[/dropcap] e are sorry Franklin, but there are many, many Christians who don’t agree with you. Here is why:
- Your comments do not reflect the Spirit of Jesus and his mandate, the Great Commission, to reach the world with the Good News of Jesus.
- Your comments also do not reflect the tremendous desire and interests many churches in the United States have to welcome those who are fleeing persecution regardless of religious affiliation.
- Refugee resettlement is a vital lifeline that rescues some of the most vulnerable and persecuted peoples.
- It is through this program that we have seen hundreds of individuals come to know the Lord. In addition persecuted Christians are given an opportunity for a new start as they rebuild their lives in freedom and dignity.
- The United States resettles less than half of one percent of the world’s refugees. The refugee resettlement program is one of the most rigorous, secure programs in which every single refugee is interviewed in person by a trained Department of Homeland Security officer and undergoes additional, extensive security, medical, and biographic screenings. While the actions of a few extremists can cause fear and concern, the resettlement program helps to rescue those who were the victims of terrorism, not terrorists themselves.
- We stand with you in grieving for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ living in the Middle East and elsewhere. We also grieve for the many Muslims who are often painted with a broad brush as in favor of extremists when they themselves are being targeted and have never heard of the Good News.
- We believe that God can redeem all people and that His grace extends to even our enemies. God’s kingdom is often advanced through brokenness and suffering.
- We believe this means that the church in the United State should be more emboldened in reaching out and helping their fellow neighbors integrate into their communities. We should continue to rescue those who are persecuted regardless of their religion knowing that some will seek and find Jesus in the process.
Bob Oehrig is the Executive Director of Arrive Ministries, an affiliate ministry of Transform Minnesota.