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Syrian Refugees

Open Boarder, Open Hearts – A Preacher’s Position on the Refugee Resolution

The Confederate Flag resolution has been the dominating take away from the Southern Baptist’s 2016 Annual Meeting in St. Louis, but there was another amazing resolution I hope does not get covered up by a flag.  This resolution was titled “On Refugee Ministry.”  Opening our nation to accept refugees has been a passion of mine for some time.  I have written twice on the support of accepting refugees.  One was our responsibility in Syria since we are directly involved in the conflict, and the second, was in praise of our government’s job of vetting refugees and our continued responsibility to minister to others.  I was overjoyed to learn that my denomination stood tall on this issue and cried with one voice to open our boarders, our churches, our homes, and our hearts to minister to the displaced in this world through war and tradgedy.

Again, this is an extradinary stand by denomination that I am still trying to process.  To help you to undestand my surprise, I must share that many, if not most of the resolutions, passed at the Southern Baptist Annual Meeting and the Goergia Mission Board Annual Meeting are boring.  We pass resolutions like, “Drugs are bad,” “Parents should be involved in children’s education and educate them in a Christian manner,” or “We should tell people about Jesus.”  The resolutions are often so obvious, avoiding controversy, that their passing is barely a blip on the schedule.  That is NOT so in 2016.

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I Am A Moron – A Preacher’s Position on Refugees 2

imageI saw this meme with a picture of Jeff Foxworthy saying, “If you think it’s a good idea to bring in refugees who hate your country, your religion, and your culture…you might be a moron!”  This meme made me feel the need to address this mindset and discuss Syrian refugees again.  First, there is absolutely zero evidence that Jeff Foxworthy ever made this statement, and I doubt he did esspecially since he didn’t say what has been attributed to him about Muslims.  Now, as a lover of history, let’s allow some facts to help shape our opinions.

First, there are many Muslims in Syria.  That is true, but are you aware that Syria is one of the most ancient seats of Christianity.  Much of the foundation of Christianity was laid in what is modern day Syria and the surounding area.  They have loved Christ for a millennia and a half before America was discovered.

The Syriac Orthodox Church has been active from the earliest stages of Christianity.  There is evidence that several books of the bible were written in and around modern day Syria such as Matthew and Luke.  The Apostle Paul gave his life to Jesus in Syria.  Also, there are other early significant Christian writings from the Syrian area such as the Didache, Gospel of Thomas, and the Diatessaron.  In fact, the Diatessaron is quite possibly the earliest translation of the Gospels (that were written in Greek) into the common language of the people, Syriac, in the 2nd century.  To put that into some context, the Western Church strangled William Tyndale to death and then burned his body for translating the bible into English, the language of his people, in the 16th century because they did not want commoners to be reading the bible.

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The Danger of Responsibility – A Preacher’s Position on Syrian Refugees

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Like most in the world, I mourn over the terrorist attacks in Paris.  Also, I mourn over the war Syria.  I mourn over the unrest in the Middle East that has given rise to terrorists groups and individuals.  The hatred, the violence, the war, breaks my heart.  Out of this complicated and horrific war in Syria that has spilled across multiple nations in the Middle East and involved other countires around the world, we in the United States and around the world have another complex question…what should be our response to Syrian refugees?

I have been torn over this issue.  I have wrestled with thoughts of safety and thoughts of compassion.  I have prayed.  I have spent time in God’s word.  Here are the simple thoughts of a simple pastor on a very complex issue.

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