Welcoming the Stranger
Academy of Parish Clergy Top Ten List
Immigration is one of the most complicated issues of our time. Voices on all sides argue strongly for action and change. Christians find themselves torn between the desire to uphold laws and the call to minister to the vulnerable.
In this book World Relief immigration experts Matthew Soerens and Jenny Yang move beyond the rhetoric to offer a Christian response to immigration. They put a human face on the issue and tell stories of immigrants' experiences in and out of the system. With careful historical understanding and thoughtful policy analysis, they debunk myths and misconceptions about immigration and show the limitations of the current immigration system. Ultimately they point toward immigration reform that is compassionate, sensible, and just as they offer concrete ways for you and your church to welcome and minister to your immigrant neighbors.
This revised edition includes new material on refugees and updates in light of changes in political realities.
"A fresh, compelling call from Scripture to live out the gospel with boldness and courage in the twenty-first century. A significant pivotal guide for the church in these times."
"In the next forty years there will be an estimated 132 million Latinos in this nation, and a critical concern for our community is fixing our broken immigration system. Welcoming the Stranger is a must-read that helps us to embrace a biblical response to this critical issue."
"Biblical, urgent, readable. An excellent introduction to this complex moral issue. All thinking evangelicals should read it."
"Immigration stands as the metric of whether or not America embraces social justice in the twenty-first century. In Welcoming the Stranger Jenny Hwang and Matt Soerens contextualize the narrative of an issue that requires analysis and discussion not from the extremes of political ideology but rather from a platform of truth, justice and compassion. Jenny and Matt equip us with the necessary acumen to reconcile Romans 13, the rule of law, with Leviticus 19, treating the alien as one of our own. Accordingly, the universal Christian symbol is the cross. The cross is both vertical and horizontal, redemption and transformation, conviction and compassion. This book will challenge us to meet at the point of convergence, the great intersect, where John 3:16 meets Luke 4, immigration via a biblical worldview."
"Drawing from their experience in the trenches, Soerens and Hwang challenge their readers to move beyond the all-too-contentious and simplistic debate and think critically and biblically about what it means to love our immigrant neighbors. Clearly written and theologically informed, Welcoming the Stranger combines evocative stories of real people and the complexities of their lives with lucid explanations of immigration policy. Soerens and Hwang's book offers balanced yet impassioned analysis that is so rare but so essential to help Christians bring their faith to bear on this vexing policy issue."
"Here is a book for every Christian and every church leadership team interested in one of the greatest mercy/justice issues of our time: how will the church care for immigrants in our midst? The authors write with sensitivity concerning the volatile emotions on all sides of the debates as they offer essential information designed to help us formulate responses to this very complex issue. Welcoming the Stranger inspired me to expand my heart of compassion and take action."
"My friends Jenny Yang and Matthew Soerens have done the church a service by pointing our attention to the biblical expectation that we should care well for the stranger among us. Rather than reducing this conversation down to talking points, they have provided a thorough, researched, and biblical examination of a topic that's often hotly contested. I would encourage you to take the time to read and consider the explanations they offer. I think you'll find it practical as you attempt to live out a Christian calling in a challenging culture."
"This work by Yang and Soerens is vital for our time as it maps out a pathway of hospitality for those who are seriously seeking a biblical response to issues of immigration. Confusion abounds as we wrestle with issues that are extremely complex with no simple solutions. Opposing voices are polarizing, leaving Christians in need of a guide that helps us reflect Christ well to a world that is watching. This is that guide!"
"Matthew Soerens and Jenny Yang have put the 'rubber to the road' for Christians when it comes to the topic of immigration and refugee policy. Welcoming the Stranger has become a widely read explanation of a biblical response to immigration. It's refreshing to read Christian authors address a global crisis in a decidedly Christ-like manner. Soerens and Yang lead the reader through a logical argument for a compassionate policy shift on this volatile topic. I can genuinely say after reading this book, that maybe there is hope that the church will once again welcome the stranger."
"Every Christian leader seeking an informed, biblical response to this urgent issue should read this book."
"Welcoming the stranger is a test of our relationship to God—that's what the Bible says. There is now an increasing and urgent need for people of faith across our nation and political lines to speak up on behalf of the immigrant, the refugee, and the stranger, showing love and kindness in God's name to our brothers and sisters in our own communities and from across the world. This book highlights the need for truth, justice, and compassion in the immigration debate, alongside comprehensive information on every aspect of the current problem, its roots, and commonsense solutions. Every Christian seeking an informed response to this critical issue should read this book."
"Welcoming the Stranger gives the body of Christ a clear, scriptural foundation of the Christian's heart posture in the discussion on immigration. Jenny and Matthew set us on the course of a third way that embodies biblical justice, redemption, and compassion. This book calls us to take a deep look at our worldviews and belief systems to understand what systems are influencing them the most. It is a must-read for those wanting to have reform and a biblical response to a critical issue that will affect the church for generations to come."
"While Sorens and Hwang may not answer all your questions about the correct response to current immigration policies and, indeed, may even raise more complex questions, they do show us that, if we are to act justly, we will have to consider all its complexities."
"Welcoming the Stranger offers an introduction to the many aspects of immigration and the controversies surrounding it."
"Welcoming the Stranger lays the groundwork for and practically equips Christians to continue practicing what it means to follow Christ's commandment to love God and love neighbor in a fallen world."
"Soerens and Hwang argue persuasively that immigration has been and is valuable to the United States."
"Soerens and Hwang advocate a generous, biblically based invitation to all immigrants to take part in America. This book will not persuade all Christians to support liberalized immigration laws, but even the skeptical should find the authors' approach useful."
"Soerens and Hwang have injected justice, compassion, and truth into what needs to become a new conversation on immigration--values that are often in short supply in this debate."
"Soerens and Hwang do an impressive job making a complex and charged issue accessible for the average reader."
"In this highly engaging, well researched and documented book, Soerens and Hwang team up to survey and analyze the history of immigration in the United States and attempt to solve many of the problems that immigration faces through well-reasoned argumentation and personal experience. Most importantly, they do all of this not through the eyes of partisan politics, but rather through the lens of the Christian worldview. Welcoming the Stranger is a timely and important book at a point in America's history where the immigrant population is considerably growing and many Americans seek to 'do something about it.'"
Foreword by Leith Anderson
1. The Immigration Dilemma
2. “Aliens” Among You: Who Are Undocumented Immigrants?
3. Nation of Immigrants: A Historical Perspective on Immigration to the United States
4. Immigrating the Legal Way: Our Immigration System Today
5. Thinking Biblically About Immigration
6. Concerns About Immigration
7. The Value of Immigrants to the United States
8. Immigration Policies and Politics
9. Immigration and the Church Today
10. A Christian Response to the Immigration Dilemma
Appendix 1: Discussion Questions
Appendix 2: Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform
Appendix 3: Ministries and Organizations Serving Refugees and Other Immigrants in the United States
Appendix 4: Ministries and Organizations Addressing the Root Causes of Immigration
Appendix 5: Selected Resources for Learning More About the Immigration Issue
Appendix 6: Tools for Political Advocacy