Geaux Therefore

Why Ministering to Refugees is a Morally Good Choice

By Steve Morgan

Some of my Christian friends tell me they can’t in good conscience minister to refugees, because when faced with a choice between ministry and country, the morally right thing is to choose neither (and instead post opinions on Facebook). They don’t actually tell me that, but their Facebook slactivism, aka inaction, does.

About eight months ago, my wife and I began praying about moving to Germany so that we could minister to refugees. Upon announcing our intentions to family members and friends, we received a mixed bag of replies. Many were positive, gleeful responses of excitement promising prayer, money, and visits. Some were more mission minded, desiring to collaborate with us in ministry through trips and formal agreements. Yet, others were worried and concerned about our safety. Those who feared for us usually disliked the entrance of refugees into the West. They interpreted our call to ministry as a tacit endorsement of Germany’s, and other western countries’, refugee policies. It is for this reason that I have decided to argue that ministering to refugees is a morally good choice.

1)    It is a Christian duty to spread the Gospel.

“Go therefore and make disciples all nations.” Jesus

Part of the Christian life is declaring the goodness of Christ through the good news of Christ. Jesus Christ said, “Go!” and so we go! The going, however, has less to do with places and more to do with people. Christ did say nations, but it was the people of the nations that were the target of his command, not the abstract idea of a nation. Christ’s aim in the command was to facilitate union and bond between God and man, as well as between man and man. It is always good and right to spread the Gospel to any and every man.

2)    It is a Christian duty to minister to the hurting.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Paul

Christ found us in our pain and suffering. According to His example, we look at others who are hurting and minister to their ailments. It is in the context of the Good Samaritan that Christ illustrates how to love the Lord our God and how to love our neighbors as ourselves. Regardless of our political positions and opinions, the facts facing us now are eternally more important than the debate over policy. There are hurting people in need of the Gospel and physical help and we ought to empathize with their position in life and minister them in their need.  

3)    It is a Christian duty to die to self.

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It is highly likely that a number of terrorists have made it into western countries disguised as refugees. This fact threatens our lives and futures; however, our survival has already been sealed by the Spirit. That is why Paul calls us “more than conquerors.” Christ ended it at the cross. Based on the assurance that we have in the Spirit and the victory of Christ, we have no fear of death. What is death to those who follow Him who died for us already? Loving our neighbor means looking at others and saying your life is more important than mine. I often live as though my life is the most important in the world. Loving my neighbor reverses that mindset.

4)    It is a Christian duty to serve.

“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” Jesus

Christ calls us to an abundance of service to our enemies and allies alike. Jonah was faced with a similar problem. Why should he seek the betterment of those who have persecuted his people? Yet, God deemed it proper for Nineveh to find redemption. And Jonah pouted! Here’s the lesson, Jesus demands we spread the Gospel to all as part of our Christian service and refuse to become bitter over who God saves. Are we to end like Jonah, angry that wartime and economic refugees find salvation? Or, shall we revel in the salvation of God who gives us the ability to minister in and through the Gospel to those in need of a savior? Further than that, Jesus commands that we serve those who are in need around us. This is our duty.

Based on these four points it is a morally good choice to minister to refugees. Some may fear that they may interact with a terrorist through this ministry. Praise God if they do! I pray that God in His providence sees fit to wrought salvation in the hearts of all terrorists who have slipped into the West. Note that this blog is not a comment on the proper policy of Western nations and refugees. The right policy for the refugee crisis is an entirely different discussion from the necessity of Christian evangelism and empathy in the face of reality.

Steve Morgan is a graduate student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Morgan also serves as the Digital Communication and Marketing Coordinator at NOBTS.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in individual Geaux Therefore blogs are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.