The next When Heaven and Earth Collide podcast interview is up with Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Akin and I have a wide-ranging conversation about how loving and ministering to immigrants coming to America relates to Scriptural commands involving the Great Commission and loving our neighbor. Dr. Akin calls upon Christians to engage immigrants with the gospel, with service and sacrificial love, and to put aside fear of others and trust Christ in what God is doing in the people movements around the world.
I asked Dr. Akin what he thought should be done about immigrants who are here illegally – if he could change the laws to address this situation, what would he do? He referred to both the previous head and current heads of the ERLC, Richard Land and Russ Moore. He says that both claim that a safe, wise, compassionate path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is what Christians should advocate for. He reiterates that we should seek something safe, legal, and compassionate for undocumented immigrants. He doesn’t want the path to be hard. It should be easier than many would try to make it. While some would want to throw the borders open (he rejects that view) and some would shut the door completely (he rejects that as well), he said that we should try and juggle the balance between the two and develop a solution that incorporates safety and compassion. He said that the believes that this would be the Christ-like response to this situation.
Dr. Akin then said that “We want to love the nations well whether they are ten thousand miles away or right across the street.”
This was an inspiring and informative interview. I am grateful for Dr. Akin joining me and for his perspective. I see pastors and churches all over the country pivoting to engage the immigrants in their midst who have come to them with the gospel and advocacy. It is because of leadership of men like Dr. Akin that this message is getting out and changing churches and communities.
A further example on what churches and associations can do can be seen in the North Carolina convention with their People’s Next Door North Carolina initiative. We are trying to launch a similar initiative in Alabama and I am hearing that other state conventions are considering efforts along the same lines. Much of this will be discussed at the upcoming Reaching the Nations in North America Conference in Brentwood, TN, August 26-27.