Letter to America?Posted: November 18, 2015
This was written by Rhys Llwyd, a pastor friend in Wales. I asked his permission to copy and paste it here. He makes some good points, I think.
“Over the past few years I have had the privilege of getting to know quite a few Americans through our Church’s partnership with some Churches in the US. As a Church we have benefited greatly from these partnerships and for that I will be forever grateful. And please hear these words as my personal thoughts, not the words of my Church, not the words Pastor Rhys either, but the words of me as an individual, citizen of the world we all share.
“I always knew that politically and culturally we had some differences but in the name of Christian unity I always avoided discussing political and cultural issues. But some of the things I have read this week from American Christians has forced my hand to say something. I should also say from the outset that these words are not in response to anything specific I’ve read by anything written by any one of my friends here on Facebook. It was actually reading the responses to Dr Ben Carson’s statement last night that spurred me to say something on the subject.
“First of all, all refugees AREN’T muslims. Secondly, all muslims AREN’T terrorists. In fact, most refugees are actually fleeing FROM terrorists. The Bible has a lot to say about how we should treat these kind of people. In fact I think how we treat these people is one of the ways of seeing if we’ve really believed the Gospel at all. Yes, we’re saved by faith alone, but as James says ‘faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.’
“Through large parts of the Old Testament God’s people were refugees, that is why God instructs his people in Deuteronomy 10:19 – “You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
“Our Lord Jesus himself spent parts of his childhood as a refugee in Egypt fleeing from the tyranny of Herod. Matthew 2:13 – “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.””
“There is a wider issues here I think for American and Western Christians in general. Are we letting the Gospel and the Bible offer a critique of our culture and society? Or are we using our dated ‘Christian Nation’ ideology to justify our world view? Do we really get our “values” from our understanding of the Gospel? Or do we get them from our culture (which we assume is Christian) and then sprinkle some choice Bible verses in here and there?
“My personal belief is that Western Christianity has become one big compromise, it’s all syncretism, a mixture of, yes, some Gospel but a lot of materialism, individualism and fear. The response to the refugee crisis is a sign of this.
“We all, and I include myself in this, should take our cultural tinted glasses off and then take a long hard look at the Bible then a long hard look at ourselves and be humbled.”
Thank you, Rhys.