These conversations are not statements of our doctrine as expressed in the Book of Discipline, nor are they guidance provided by the Study Commission on Doctrine (SCOD), but they are intended to be open and respectful discussions on various present-day topics. Our intention is not to limit discussion but to elevate it by assuring that God’s love and respect is always expressed. For more information click ABOUT.
Browse posts tag by immigration
WELCOMING THE STRANGER:  Faith Communities and Immigration

WELCOMING THE STRANGER: Faith Communities and Immigration

January 7, 2018 By dwayman

In a recent article, Alexia Salvatierra, who is an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary and an immigration activist, wrote a thorough history of the Biblical and American experience with immigration, the sanctuary movement, and current realities.  It is a great resource, but also a call to participate in the care of those who are being harmed.  Comparing the modern sanctuary movement with the “Cities of Refuge” and the “Underground Railroad” the call focuses on the center of Free Methodist biblical commitment and our own history of abolitionist action.

In part she writes:

“In the thirty-fifth chapter of the Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible, the writer lays out a remedy for a social and legal problem. In ancient Israel, the penalty for murder was death, “a life for a life.” Family members of the slain person normally carry out the sentence.  However, the writers of Numbers recognized that it would not be fair for accidental killers to receive the same punishment as those who kill intentionally. Raging family members could not be expected to stop midstream and investigate; the community is instructed to create cities of refuge where the accused can be kept safe until they can receive a fair hearing. The cities of refuge are the solution for people who committed a crime and received an unfair penalty.

This ancient remedy is the root of the sanctuary church tradition. Since the fourth century in England, churches have offered protection and shelter to those accused of a crime but who would be likely to be punished unfairly if left unprotected.



December 21, 2016 By dwayman

en español

SCOD 2013
Bishop David Roller and Bruce Cromwell

At the heart of the arguments surrounding immigration matters is a fundamental tension between our desire to care for all persons and our respect for the rights of the state to establish laws, including economic policy. Both are legitimate impulses but their position, vis-à-vis each other, is subject to God’s principles extracted from the Scriptural narrative. If, as we will suggest below, the desire to care for persons is a different and higher category than the state’s right to restrict immigration, then we monitor laws of the state that create friction with the mandate to care for persons (see “A,” “B,” & “E” from 2011 Book of Discipline ¶ 3221) and we advocate to change the behaviors and laws in question (“C” and “D” from the same paragraph).

Immigration laws are based on citizenship (only non-citizens are subject to a particular state’s immigration laws), which is a concept of the state based, in turn, on birth realities. The two opposing birth realities for granting citizenship are “Jus Soli” (right of the soil or birthright citizenship) and “Jus Sanguinis” (right of blood). In the former, citizenship is based on place-of- birth and in the latter it’s based on parent’s citizenship. Jus Sanguinis was Roman law but has gradually lost favor to Jus Soli, especially in the New World.

Both of these rationales, one’s place of birth and parent’s citizenship,