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The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible

Overview

An estimated twelve to fifteen million people now reside illegally in the United States, posing a major social and legal challenge to the nation. Americans are divided over the best course of action in dealing with these illegal immigrants, and Christians are using the Bible to stake out different positions.

The Immigration Crisis addresses this complex issue through a comprehensive look at the Bible. By a careful study of relevant materials in the Old Testament, in combination ...

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The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible

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Overview

An estimated twelve to fifteen million people now reside illegally in the United States, posing a major social and legal challenge to the nation. Americans are divided over the best course of action in dealing with these illegal immigrants, and Christians are using the Bible to stake out different positions.

The Immigration Crisis addresses this complex issue through a comprehensive look at the Bible. By a careful study of relevant materials in the Old Testament, in combination with archaeological and sociological materials, the author forms a clear definition of an alien in Israelite society. This understanding is an important starting point in the current debate.

The book concludes by suggesting how the Bible might assist Christians in thinking about the problem of legal and illegal immigrants, and in developing the implications of the biblical teaching for public policy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This short volume attempts to apply biblical teachings to the present-day U.S. immigration crisis. Hoffmeier, a professor of Old Testament and archeology who was born in Egypt, argues that the Hebrew Bible's many legal and ethical proscriptions against mistreating the "alien" were addressed to a class of people who in this day and age might be thought of resident aliens or permanent residents-not illegal immigrants. He also argues that the so-called "sanctuary movement," in which church leaders have on occasion sheltered illegal immigrants from imminent arrest, is "twisting biblical statutes and subverting federal law." The book offers little in the way of sociological, political or economic insight into the circumstances surrounding modern-day illegal immigration, beyond advocating for a law-and-order approach. Missing from this analysis is an understanding of the Bible as a prophetic document more concerned with larger issues of justice. Still, Christians looking for a biblical justification for strict federal enforcement of immigration laws may find much to like. (Apr. 30)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433506079
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 908,293
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

James K. Hoffmeier (PhD, University of Toronto), who has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels for more than thirty years, is now professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern archaeology at Trinity International University. Born and raised in Egypt, he has been a refugee from war and an alien in two different countries, making him sensitive to immigration issues.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Book Review - The Immigration Crisis

    It has been almost a year now since one of the most high profile elections of recent history. With all the news in recent months about the economy and the debates over climate change, we forget that eleven months ago one of the hottest topics in the news was immigration reform. Many of us Midwesterners may have moved on to other debates, but I imagine that for many of our fellow Americans to the south immigration is still a daily concern.

    Concerned citizens have listened to the arguments from both the conservative and liberal points of view. But how should we who hold to a Biblical worldview look at this debate? Dr. James K. Hoffmeier, professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern archaeology at Trinity International University has recently added an under-represented perspective in his book The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible.

    In this very helpful book Hoffmeier surveys the practices of Ancient Near Eastern peoples as well as relevant Old Testament texts as a guide to how 'immigration' was handled in those days. One of the themes that recurs throughout Hoffmeier's discussion is the distinction that is made between legal and illegal immigrants in the Bible. The laws and traditions of the Ancient Israelites and their neighbors reveal that immigration was as a complex issue then as it remains to be today.

    Not only does Hoffmeier offer a comprehensive overview from both ancient texts and archaeology, he also presents his conclusions with great wisdom in how they might be applied today. Obviously nations such as our own would be unwise to adopt every law and practice of these ancient theocratic systems. Yet it is hard not to see how adopting some of these principles might move this country forward in finding a solution for the current crisis.

    Pick up a copy of The Immigration Crisis at your local Christian bookstore or order it from your favorite online retailer.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    Aliens among us

    The introduction shows why the author has some interest and authority in the topic of immigration. Then the author establishes the foundation for the issues. Next he shows how resident aliens and foreigners are differentiated and treated in the Old Testament history and law. He also provides suggestions and conclusions about how these factors should guide our thinking about immigration issues.

    I found the book very interesting. The distinction between resident aliens and foreigners was helpful, as was the description of the many benefits afforded resident aliens in Israel. I have recently read the Pentateuch but was surprised to see how often the aliens were included in the laws, including social benefits like gleaning and receiving part of the tithe, as well as participating in the feasts and offerings. He discusses Matthew 25:31-46 so well that it caused me to go reread it and rethink how I have applied it. I also agree with his discussion on the practice of sanctuary.

    I recommend the book as a study of the topic and how it addresses the treatment of legal immigrants and gives some good thought toward how we should treat the concept and the reality of illegal immigrants.

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