Much has been said in recent days about the refugee crisis and what should America do about it. Understandably, many Christians are concerned about turning refugees away from our country because of security concerns. There is, IMHO, much unnecessary hand-wringing about this. Much of the angst comes from confusing the biblical mandates and responsibilities of governments, the Church, and individuals.
Scripture has much to say about how we are to treat neighbors/aliens/strangers/the oppressed/the poor/the orphan/the widow/etc. Many will point to our Lord's words in Matthew 25 as our mandate in how to respond "41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 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.' 44 "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?' 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' "
This of course is but only one occurrence of Jesus' directives to how we treat our neighbors. Additionally, there is the OT admonitions about how to treat the alien among you as well as James' admonition on true religion in James 1 "27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." But it must be noted that these instructions are to the individual Christian and more broadly to the Church. They tell us how to be the salt and light that Jesus spoke of. They tell us how to treat individuals who just as we are made in the image of God.
What they do NOT do is tell us how to manage a country. God established the governing authorities to do that. The mandate to governments is different than the mandate to churches and individuals. Romans 13 "3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." The government's responsibility is to restrain evil - in effect - to protect its citizens from harm.
That mandate includes taking necessary and prudent precautions to ensure the safety of the citizens it is charged to protect. Now, does this mean that the US government then has God's blessing to let these people die at the hands of their attackers? Absolutely not! But our own government admits that it cannot with confidence verify that any of those seeking asylum are not themselves terrorists simply seeking passage into our country to inflict harm and mayhem here. Until it can do so then it is proper to not give them entry, but certainly give them protection, shelter, food, etc.
Additionally, none of this would even be happening if our government used its "sword" to put down the terrorists in these refugees' home countries and therefore prevented this crisis in the first place! So, some system is perfectly in order to both offer aid AND maintain the safety of innocents at home. I suggest the following
It seems to me this approach allows all three - the individual, the Church, and the State, to fulfill their God-given mandates.
Once a line is moved or a standard is relaxed or a definition is expanded, it can never again have any real authority or meaning because what was once fixed has now become arbitrary and what was once objective has now become subjective and what was once established by divine design has now become determined by consensus.