Immigration Resolution

Whereas, all persons are  made  in  the  image  of  God  and  therefore  have  innate  value  that  cannot  be  diminished  (Gen.  1:26-27),  and should  be  treated  with dignity (James 3:9-10);  and   

Whereas, the  command  of  our  Lord  and  Savior  Jesus  Christ  to  love  your  neighbor  as  yourself explicitly  transcends ethnicity, nationality, sex, social class, religion, and every division which  separates  God’s  image-bearers  from  one  another  (Luke 10:25-37);  and   

 Whereas, the  effects  of  the  Fall  are  so  pervasive  that  sin manifests  itself  in personal rebellions along with  the miseries of corruption in government, unjust economies,  religious  and  political  persecution,  war  and  violence,  famine,  and  other  circumstances that  lead  families  and  individuals  to  migrate,  voluntarily  and  involuntarily,  for  their  own  safety  and  well-being (Genesis 3:14-19);  and   

Whereas, our Lord Jesus himself suffered religious and political persecution unjustly from infancy, and was taken by his parents to Egypt to live as a refugee (Matthew 2:13-18), and then returned to Israel only to live hidden away for safety in Galilee far from his birthplace, in the humble and despised community of Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-23; John 1:45-46); and

Whereas, some of our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and members of our churches, live among us because they were brought here by their immigrant or refugee families, and may be either lawfully residential or undocumented, and some live in fear of being deported from the only home and culture they have known, and live in fear of being separated from their families; and

Whereas, churches in our Presbytery have been directly affected by the current immigration crisis, and members of our churches live in fear of being separated from their families; and

Whereas, we who  are  many  are  one  body,  for  we  all  partake  of  the  one  bread (1  Corinthians  10:17),  and  Christ  has  encouraged  his  church that  if  one  member  suffers,  all  suffer  together (1  Corinthians  12:26);  and   

Whereas, our Lord Jesus will say to the righteous who ask “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.” (Luke 25:37-40); and

Whereas, God, the  Supreme  Lord  and  King  of  all  the  world,  hath ordained  civil  magistrates,  to  be,  under  Him,  over  the  people,  for  His own  glory,  and  the  public  good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defense and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers (WCF  23.1);  and   

Whereas, the jurisdiction  of  Church  courts is only ministerial  and  declarative, and  are altogether distinct from the civil magistracy, and have no jurisdiction in political or civil affairs (BCO  11.1 and 11.2);  and   

Whereas,  Synods  and  councils  are  to  handle,  or  conclude  nothing, but  that  which  is  ecclesiastical:  and  are  not  to  intermeddle  with  civil affairs  which  concern  the  commonwealth,  unless  by  way  of  humble  petition  in  cases  extraordinary  (WCF  31.4);  and   

Whereas, the  Word  of  God  compels  ministers,  and  other  church  officers,  to  proclaim  the  whole  counsel  of  God  (Ac.  20:27);

Therefore be it resolved,  that  Hills  and  Plains  Presbytery  declares  that  we  suffer  along  with  our  brothers  and  sisters  who  are  suffering, and  we  mourn  the brokenness  of  our  world  that  creates  such  circumstances.   

Be it further resolved, that  Hills  and  Plains  Presbytery  encourages  its  sessions  and  churches  to  do  justly,  to love  mercy,  and  to walk  humbly  with  our  God (Mic.  6:8),  and to let brotherly love continue, not neglecting to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares, and remembering those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body (Hebrews 13:1-3).

Be  it  further  resolved,  that  Hills  and  Plains  Presbytery  reminds its  sessions  and  churches  that  it  is  the  duty  of  people  to  pray  for magistrates,  to  honor  their  persons, to pay them tribute or other dues, to obey their lawful commands, and  to  be  subject  to  their  authority,  for  conscience's  sake (WCF  23.4),  and  exhorts  sessions  and  churches  to  be  praying  specifically  for  kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Timothy 2:2), and for wisdom  for  our  elected  leaders in  the  complex  matters concerning immigration and refugees. 

Be  it  further  resolved,  that  Hills  and  Plains  Presbytery  explicitly  refrains  from  commending  specific  legislation  to  our  elected  officials, but  recognizes that  sessions  and  churches  may  consider  this  an  extraordinary  case,  and  therefore  may encourage  elected  officials  to  govern  in  ways  that  uphold  the  God-given  dignity  of  every  human  being, and  may remind our  elected  officials  that  they  have  been  placed  by  God,  under  him,  over  the  people,  for  His  own  glory,  and  the  public  good (WCF  23.1),  and  that  all  nations  and  rulers  are  ultimately  judged  not  by  their people,  but  by  God  Himself (Psalm 2:10-12).

Passed by Hills and Plains Presbytery, October 9, 2018.