by Indiana Wesleyan University President David Wright, 2/3/17.
Just as IWU has been guided by our faith community, The Wesleyan Church, in its views on other controversial social issues under debate today, so we are guided by and will be faithful to our Church’s teaching on the matter of immigration. I encourage all members of the IWU community—students, employees, alumni, trustees, and friends—to read our Church’s teaching on immigration in its entirety.
You will find the full document here:https://www.wesleyan.org/237/a-wesleyan-view-of-immigration.
This document gives us at least two central guiding principles. First, IWU affirms the responsibility of the government to protect national borders, to protect the safety of citizens, and to uphold orderly and legal processes for foreign visitors and immigrants to enter and live in our country.
Second, IWU calls upon our government to recognize that its authority comes ultimately from the God who made and sustains us. Human societies thrive when their governments recognize and act according to the principles of justice and well-being embedded by God in the creation and revealed to us in the Word of God.
With those two guiding principles in mind, let me quote here the action steps that our Church calls us to follow as we think, pray, and act on immigration.
Action Step: Understanding that all are made in the image of God, as Wesleyans we will seek to treat all people humanely and with dignity, regardless of race, class, nationality, gender, or legal status.
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will give of ourselves in wholehearted love to others without intolerance, judgment, favoritism or disrespect, and in spite of who they are or what they have done to live among us.
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we view immigration as an aspect of God’s larger plan to bring salvation to the world. Immigration can be used through God’s wisdom to introduce many to Jesus who might not otherwise hear the gospel message.
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will exercise awareness of the laws as they pertain to immigration and will endeavor to obey them, and encourage all immigrants to do the same, unless these laws are contrary to God’s Word as interpreted by the collective wisdom and authority of the body of Christ. We support the rights of those who engage in civil disobedience against harsh and unjust laws, policies and measures on the basis of biblical principles.
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will encourage one another to engage in acts of kindness and compassion (i.e. providing food, shelter, clothing, and other resources) toward immigrants who are in need regardless of their immigration status (documented or undocumented).
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will unashamedly engage in both evangelizing and discipling immigrants in our communities, training and appointing immigrant persons as pastors, lay leaders, and workers, with respect for applicable employment laws as we do.
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we will show God’s grace by accepting those less fortunate than us. We will seek to have a welcoming heart to those that are strangers in our land, showing them acts of kindness and doing our part to understand other people’s cultures to better serve them through God’s love.
Action Step: As Wesleyans, we oppose and condemn all unjust and harsh laws, policies and measures directed against immigrants among us, whether documented or undocumented. We will act as advocates for just and humane policies for all people by all levels of government and in all parts of society.
I ask that we let these steps shape our discussions and actions as a Christ-centered academic community.
DAVID WRIGHT, PH.D.