A twitter spat erupted a few days ago between theologian Dr. Russel Moore, who is President of Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist’s, and Jerry Falwell Jr. (yes that Falwell) who is President of Liberty University. You can see the thread here. Dr. Moore had a tweeted condemning the poor treatment of immigrants and refugees at the US Border, and Jerry Falwell Jr. responded by attacking Russel Moore and utterly ignores a massive volume of Scripture on the topic, and by doing so reveals that the Republican party policy is a greater authority to him than Scripture, revealing himself to be a false teacher. Jerry Falwell Jr is also a so-called “pastor” and we can see here how political issues have transversed neutrality, and united with false teaching to infect and damage the church.
But let’s do some math here for a second. There are over 60 Bible verses that command Christians to treat immigrants and refugees with hospitality, with about 25 of those being explicit and direct (see below for the complete list). For comparison only 5 Bible verses directly condemn homosexuality, and ZERO deal with abortion at least directly (and yes, abortion did exist during the Roman era) and only 3 address the subject indirectly. Let this sink in for a moment, the Bible is 10x more interested in how Christians treat immigrants and refugees than condemning homosexuality, and 20x more interested in how we treat immigrants than how we vote on abortion.
Take away 1: How well Christians treat immigrants is a VERY important biblical issue with far greater biblical weight than most “big” issues of today. And this makes sense when you consider that God himself was a Syrian refugee:
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matt 2:13-23
Because God himself was a refugee, how every Christian’s treats refugee sis a directly reflection of how they really feel about God himself. (see Matt 25:31-46).
Which brings up an interesting question, but its worth of asking… is it possible to hate refugees and still love God? Matt 25:31-46 answers that question as a “no”. IF Jerry Falwell Jr. is a Christian, he doesn’t really have high view of Jesus. Jerry Falwell Jr. has utterly ignored scripture on the topic of immigrants and refugees, but he hasn’t ignored the call of the current Republican mantra. By placing the party platform above biblical scripture Jerry Falwell Jr. has revealed himself to be a false teacher.
2nd Takeaway: Jerry Falwell’s attack on Russel Moore was personal. “Who are you @drmoore ? Have you ever made a payroll? Have you ever built an organization of any type from scratch? What gives you authority to speak on any issue? I’m being serious.”
According to Jerry’s world authority doesn’t come from education, knowledge nor from the Bible, but only from the size of the organization you create. If that is true then the Rev. Sung Myoung Moon would have authority to preach on this topic, after all the took the cult of the “Moonies” from zero to over 1 Million followers in only 40 years. Rev. Moon offers a spectacular example of building an organization from scratch. Relying on numbers as validation (also shared by the Mega-Church Movement) is a very dangerous measure of success and authority.
Also, if you dare cross the Dominionist clan fail to march to their drum, no matter who you are, how many degrees you hold, no matter your respect, you will be brutally and personally attacked. There is no one above the wrath of the fascist false Christian alt-right.
3rd Take away: The irony of Jerry Falwell’s Jr’s attack is in his surname: Jr. All the organizations the Falwell’s have built was built by Jerry’s father Jerry Fallwell Sr. Jerry Falwell Jr. owes his position and influence completely to his father and he himself has built nothing from scratch.
So we can see in a nutshell why Jerry Falwell Jr. is a false teacher. He… 1) neglect the full weight of scripture on a topic, or just neglect scripture at all on a topic. But instead he puts the Republican Party platform as his authority that is greater than scripture. 2) When challenged or questioned he responds with personal attacks. 3) Hypocritically enforces standards that he doesn’t even live up to himself.
Anyone who puts the Republican party platform above the 60+ scriptures that command Christians to treat refugees well is a false teacher. What does the Bible say? How do you feel about refugees and immigrants? Are your beliefs in-line with Scripture on the topic? Here are over 60 Bible versus commanding Christians to treat Immigrants and refugees well and its impossible for any Christian to remain true to Christ and believe the mistreatment of refugees is justified:
Leviticus 19:33-34 “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”
Deuteronomy 24:17 “You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge.”
Deuteronomy 27:19 “Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.”
Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter?”
Exodus 23:9 “You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Ezekiel 22:29 “The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice.”
Deuteronomy 23:7 “You shall not detest an Edomite, for he is your brother; you shall not detest an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land.”
Exodus 22:21 “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Jeremiah 22:3 “Thus says the LORD, “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.”
Jeremiah 7:6 “if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin”
Psalm 94:6 “They slay the widow and the stranger and murder the orphans.”
Ezekiel 22:7 “They have treated father and mother lightly within you, the alien they have oppressed in your midst; the fatherless and the widow they have wronged in you.”
Matthew 25:43 “I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.”
Zechariah 7:10 “and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.”
Malachi 3:5 “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the LORD of hosts.”
Galatians 2:14 “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, ‘If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’”
Matt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Rom 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”
Acts 10:2 “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”
1 Tim 5:10. “ and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.”
Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Hebrews 3:12 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,”
Luke 14:12-14 “Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Titus 2:7 “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness”
Matthew 25:42-46 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
1 John 4:19 “19 We love because he first loved us.”
1 Peter 2:17 “show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
Ephesians 4:29-32 “ And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Matthew 7:12 ““So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
1 John 4:20-21 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
Romans 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
Proverbs 24:17 “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles”
Romans 15:1-2 “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
1 Peter 3:8-12 “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
1 Peter 2:17 “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor”.
Colossians 3:12-14 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
James 2:1-13 “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory…. Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?
1 Corinthians 13:4-13 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. …”
Romans 12:17-21 “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all…. To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Mark 12:31 “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Romans 10:12 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.”
Matthew 19:19 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 4:20 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
Galatians 5:14 “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
Luke 6:35-36 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Ephesians 4:2 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”
Leviticus 19:18 “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done in love.”
Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”
Ephesians 5:33 “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
John 15:13 ”Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”