New announcement. Learn more

ColemanGrace ChurchLower North Island1 Peter 1:1PeterCitizens of heavenJobRedeemerGraham AshbyPrime Time ConferenceJH Baldwin ScholarshipForest LakesThe Anchor ChurchAlan ThompsonSydney Missionary & Bible CollegeManurewa Bible ChurchChurch campGrant BirksTroubleSydneyStewards AustraliaKatoombaMMMHoward RobinsonRoosevelt Road Bible ChurchRotoruaSisters HuiHuiAlan AitkenTe MaruThank youDan TylerBrian RopitiniNew Plymouth Community ChurchManawatūComfortHoly SpiritConsolationUnited with ChristRomans 6:5PreachingTheological studiesLincoln Road Bible ChapelNorth BeachThe EmbassyDeathOBH Camp ProjectStewards TrustStaff ConferenceEAUKSTestimonyWaitangiJoyTom McIvorPaul SamuelsGraduationIan PaynePapatoetoe Bible ChapelSalvationMatthew 1:21UnitedTītahi Bay Community ChurchEphesians 2:14KidsChristmas outreachMission Without BordersTōtara Springs Christian CentreManawarū Bible ChapelBearing fruitColossians 1:6Sefton MarshallFarewellStuart BayOnekawa Bible ChurchGod's willCalendarGlentunnel ChapelNick GoodwinKoinoniaGratitudeFellowship1 Corinthians 10:16 DunedinNew buildingCornerstone International Bible ChurchDoctrinePastoral Theologians FellowshipExamine ourselves1 Corinthians 11:28Children and FamiliesKaitaia Bible ChapelNextGen Summit1 Corinthians 11:27CommunionBethany TrustDoug BennFamily FiestaFinlay ParkNarrows ParkTotara SpringsRaleigh Street Christian CentreLight PartyRedemption ChurchMark DramaFenton Park Bible ChurchOctober 7IsraelHeretaunga Christian CentreLazarusLifeJohn 11:43Peter AllenGovernanceIan Elliott ScholarshipWhite SundayBaptismsWeepingJohn 11:33Holiday ProgrammeChurch-centric campingAuckland Leaders DinnerThe Street ChurchPathway Christian CentreBroderick Road ChapelVivian Street Gospel HallInternational ServiceChurch on IngestreGriefJohn 11:35Joel BirkinHolidays ProgrammeSouth IslandComfortedConfrontedJohn 12:5Growing leadersServing the communityInvercargillCelebrationThanksgivingFranklin Bible ChurchKing JesusHosanna!John 12:13Prayer breakfastWorking beeCrossGod's powerColossians 2:15North Beach Christian FellowshipTe Awamutu Bible ChapelCity to CityMoirs Point Christian CentreMangonui Bible ChapelCoopers Beach Christian Youth CampKaitaia Bible ChapeTōtara North Bible ChapelRaumati Crescent ChapelFar NorthJesus is LordCaptivated by ChristColossians 2:6Tim HodgeCCCNZ Board75th AnniversaryMissionaryMovement of the WordKaipaki Bible ChurchAlpha CourseDave FirthLast WordsHopeDavidPsalm 139:23Jesus knows usPathways CollegeLichfield LandsScholarshipsLiz HodgeSuffering ChristiansElisabeth ElliotRevelation 6:10CampsitesEl RanchoRoss BayMiCamp TaupōExodus 29:42Church-Camp PartnershipHousing ProjectOrwell Street ChurchEden Community ChurchPakuranga Christian FellowshipAnniversaryRukumoana MaraeKids programmeKelston Community ChurchPapakuraLive the gospelEmergency housingKarakarikiWhitioraNew ZealandActs 17:24FearIdolsActs 17:16Gospel MinistryChurch Camp PartnershipMararikiJob 9:9Ruth 1:20God's purposesMaraNaomiRuthHorsemenLambRevelation 6:1Rally NZTauwhare MaraeAGMRevelation 1:12-13HM RageJesus' salvationJohn 18:10Community connectionsYouth groupServing SundaysInvercargill Combined Bible SchoolFurnaceMatthew 26:46Matthew 26:42Police chaplainsHumilityPhilippians 2:7Known unto GodJohn 15:13Willow Park Christian CampKids CampLifeSwitchChurch @ CedarwoodKingston Community ChurchRomans 1:14-15Ambassador's WrapRomans 1:18God's wrathLakeland Park CampNorm and Liz SilcockRegional summitNorthgate Community Church1 Corinthians 1:18Sarah ChalmersStewardsDoors openColossians 4:4Genesis 1:12-13Ian RoweThird-Day GardensMatthew 5:16Natural disastersFamily campLighthouse ChurchChurches working togetherOrdinary peopleJohn 1:43John 1:29The LionThe LambWho are you?Who is He?John 1:21-221 Peter 1:13Psalm 13:11 Peter 1:1-2God's realitySober-mindedFrustrationPastorCampsCycloneCampsiteHowick Community ChurchHaggai 1:3-4Psalm 46:1God is our refuge and strengthLuke 2:10Good NewsIn the beginningJohn 1:1-5Luke 1:27Titus 1:9MarkLuke 1:28Psalm 31:1-5Romans 12:15Matthew 1:1Road to EmmausLuke 24:29John 20:16Mark 10:45Queen Elizabeth IIHorizon of HopeThe Mark DramaLamentationsGraceSecond windSwedish Method1-2-1 Bible ReadingPreach the WordRiccarton Community ChurchInternshipsPsalmsCreativityHoliday CampRiverbend Bible ChurchPaengaroa Bible ChapelPalmerston NorthChurch on VogelThe House Next DoorSchoolLaunchpadLifewalkAmos 5:8MatarikiBad GuysTitus 3:1-2Auckland Bible ChurchDarrell BockLeanne BrownCrossroads ChurchKaipara Bible ChapelDargaville Gospel ChurchMarsden Bay Christian Camp2 Timothy 2:21 Corinthians 1:18-31James 1:2-42 Timothy 2The Orchard Church Te PukeEvangelismChurchesSupport MinistriesEasterThe cross-shaped life2 Corinthians 1:8-9IsolationLast SupperWestChurchGeoff StarkUkraineRobert MitchellTasman ChurchChurch LeadersRevelation 2-4Psalm 31Ezra 31 Timothy 6:11-21Galatians 2:10The gospelThessaloniansAotearoa, NZEphesians 2Waitangi Day 2022Working TogetherCCCNZ AucklandAmatakiloa Bible ChurchTongan TsunamiLeslie ScottRebekah ReeveConnectionsSummitTop of the SouthEaster CampRegional ConnectionsCCCNZ Children and Family MinistriesRutland Street ChurchManawaru Bible ChapelYouth Reachout RoadtripWord of LifeConnectionPartnershipRichard DavisLawson ScottRegionalChristchurchEphesians 12 Timothy 2:1-131 Peter 12 Peter 1HarvestActs 8Psalm 24:1-2Acts 27:23–26Resurrection1 Corinthians 15:14Ezra-NehemiahPsalm 231 Corinthians 15:8-111 Corinthians 15:3-81 Corinthians 15:3-5CCCNZ PrayerHillcrest ChapelPeaceConflictWearyEldershipCOVID-19 Protection FrameworkWoven TogetherAnnual Report 2020-21FaithfulnessAPARichard FountainIndianChristian radioJeewan DhaaraPsalm 146Ambassador's BlogHeavy ladenEmily TylerBaptismWhitiora Bible ChurchLifeChurch ManurewaQSMNational CCCNZ Youth TeamRob MortonWhat Comes Next?BoardAbortion Legislation BillPandemicMark GraceResponsePhilippiansChurch response to COVID-19Church response to coronavirusCoronavirusCOVID-19Worship EnablerYvonne HengNorthcross ChurchGC3AppealBushfiresSophia McCrindleCCCAustAustralian BushfiresPacific CommunityAne PonifasioLui PonifasioQueen's Service MedalNew Year's HonoursPasifikaTāmaki Community ChurchThe Riverside ClubIdeasIntergenerational ministryMassey Community ChurchBirkenhead Community ChurchBitternessThe Greatest SaviourPrayer GatheringCCNZChristian Camping NZTeapot Valley Christian CampNancy Jean Forbes Training CentreWoodend Christian CampCanterburyChurch PlantingJackie MillarPrayingDanielle DiproseAdministrationFinance60 yearsCamp ministryChristian CampingLakeland Park Christian CampPreparationChristchurch Mosque AttacksHealingTraumaWhat's Next?Julie McKinnonUnityHospitalityCultural diversityOrosiusImmigrationTeenagersGiftsYoung leadersSummer SchoolChildrenParentsChildren and Family Ministries75 JubileeGirlsBoysNZ RallyRestCCCNZ PastorLinkGrowthOrewa Community Church2019God StoriesChapel Hill Community ChurchEncouragementFriendshipEldersSuccessionGod's faithfulnessGospelFireHope Community ChurchNelsonTogether Works BetterFIRST TrainingYouth SummitCampingCommunity MinistryChildren's MinistryRallyAuthenticityMillenialsMinistryYoung AdultsLeaving HomeStudentsCampusStudent ministry at OtagoUniversity of OtagoO WeekJesus ChristStudent LifeTSCFStudent ministryTreaty of WaitangiPākehāMāoriTreatySpiritChristianityWaitangi Day 2019ColombiaRosedale Bible ChapelSouthlandInternational StudentsTimaruChurch Street ChapelIan ElliottTeensCalledTauwhare Gospel ChapelCompassionWaikatoRefugee MinistryCambell ForlongCity Bible ChurchInternationalLiving GodGlobalisationDr Merv CoatesEngagingRongopaiMulticultural ministryHaggaiPlanningPrayerJeremy SuistedInconvenienceJosephMaryLoveSaviourO Holy Night LyricsLyricsChristmas CarolO Holy NightDiscipleshipClark Road ChapelVolunteerEducationCitizens Advice BureauTe Ao NgākauCommunity CentreJames 1:26-27OutreachMaungarei Christian Community TrustMt Wellington Community ChurchMurray BrownChrist-centredHealthy youth ministryYouth leadershipHukanui Bible ChurchBible readingFreshLearningDevotionsFamilyCommitmentBible in a yearCarolsLightsOnslow Community ChurchMusicTheologyPathwaysWorship leadingWorshipPathways School of Worship LeadingSOWLChristmas messageJesusEventsAucklandGlow in the ParkAdventChristmasSupportRespiteCareRetreatLeadersPastorsPastorLinkKerry RickardSpiritual formationCross-culturalChristianGap YearHeadspaceKiwi24-7 YouthWorkCommunityFaithYouthTrainingCCCNZ YouthYoung peopleChurchChristYouth ministryCCCNZScriptureLeadershipChristian CoachingCoachingBiblePaulFaithfulOrdinary ChristianExtraordinary GodComfort ZoneGodHadfieldMissionNZWellingtonRegional Enablers
TAGS

A Gospel-shaped attitude to immigration

By Chris Northcott

Cultural diversity is a fact of life in 21st century New Zealand. Cultural unity, is not.

For some New Zealanders, immigration is something that raises anxiety. The mosque shootings on March 15 highlighted the worst side of this attitude toward immigrants. “They Are Us” countered this, by asserting a common heritage of all who live in New Zealand: Whether by waka, sailing ship or passenger jet, we are all immigrants to these islands.

This is a well-meaning claim, but doesn’t change the fact that many people feel some level of unease about large numbers of new people moving into the country. Concerns about immigration are not unreasonable, and working through these concerns together is what is needed to have a diverse and unified nation. “They Are Us” is a commendable plea but it appeals to a basis for unity that is insufficient to actually unify.

True power to unify

The gospel has sufficient power to unify a culturally diverse society. But it needs to conform attitudes into its image first. As Christians the gospel should shape our values and perspectives on all things. But too often we are shaped more by the values of our culture or our own desires.

Paulus Orosius was a Christian thinker and historian who lived during the early 400s AD, when the western part of the Roman Empire was beginning to crumble under the barbarian invasions and mass people movements were happening all around the Roman world. “Immigration” was a very big issue of his day. It is evident that he valued his culture and took no pleasure in his civilization’s decline. But for him, that was not the most important thing.

Here is what he wrote:

“If only for this reason have the barbarians been sent within Roman borders, that the church of Christ might be filled with Huns and Suevi, with Vandals and Burgundians, with diverse and innumerable peoples of believers, then let God’s mercy be praised—even if this has taken place through our own destruction.”

These words display an astounding attitude. Hearing the reports of unchecked invasions, he asks: Perhaps God is behind this? He detects purpose may be in play—that people could come into the Christian faith who would never have heard of it otherwise. He acknowledges the cost: life as his civilization knows it is coming to an end. His response to this might be surprising to us; he does not complain angrily or fall into despair. Instead, he celebrates—rejoicing that the mercy of God can extend where it had not before.

Is the gospel calling us to go further?

Do we ever suspect that the gospel might call us further than we are prepared to go? That it might ask us to change some of our most cherished assumptions about life?

I once shared this statement of Orosius with a young Christian and Trump supporter. We had been discussing Trump’s policies on immigration. He immediately understood the implications of Orosius’ words and confessed that his faith was not ready for this. Orosius’ attitude toward immigration was indeed molded and shaped deeply by the gospel.

Orosius’ words provide reason to look past the fear of difference, or of loss, or of change that can foster unkind attitudes toward immigrants. In the events of his time Orosius saw possible providence and certain opportunity. He was less concerned with what immigration might cost the “us” of his day, and more concerned with how immigration might benefit the “them”. He recognised that
in this there was the opportunity to fulfil the obligation (Rom 1:14-15) of all of Christ’s people—to share the priceless spiritual treasure that is the gospel. Even if it interfered with one’s rights and privileges.

An attitude of hospitality

This is one way the gospel fosters an attitude of hospitality and welcome rather than fear and exclusion. It is, of course, an attitude that comes from Jesus himself, and it is one that all his people should seek to emulate. A gospel-shaped attitude can build the kind of unity a culturally diverse society like New Zealand needs. With Jesus as our common centre nations really can be united. That is how the vision of Revelation 7:9-10 comes about. That vision is not only a future or heavenly reality but one that is to be made present now, and is one that Paul worked to make happen in the churches he served and shepherded (Eph. 2:11-22; Col. 3:11; Rom. 10:12).

The best basis for unity a progressive secular culture can call upon is that of our common humanity. We who are Christ’s call upon a stronger basis for unity. Ours is based not on creation but on redemption—a common Saviour. As redeemed people we are called to imitate our Redeemer in generosity and self-sacrifice in order to extend this welcome to others.

Saved to serve

The gospel is bigger than our personal salvation. It is the power of God for salvation, but the gospel first saves and then creates a new way of life among those who are saved. We find that the boundaries that might naturally exist between us are erased since we share a common spiritual life grounded in and bestowed by the triune God. Many immigrants to New Zealand already share in the Christian faith with us. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ. As for those who are not and where the boundaries still exist, a gospel-shaped attitude will have us see these boundaries as frontiers that our gospel requires us to cross.

Is the gospel we believe strong enough to do this today? Do you believe this gospel wholeheartedly enough to let it move you to reach over the barrier of race to offer friendship and welcome in the name of Jesus? To welcome others to share in the benefits of living in a civilization like ours? If it does, even despite misgivings you might have on immigration, then the mindset spoken of so splendidly by Paulus Orosius lives in you. It is the mind of Christ.

I know a man who does a lot of ministry with immigrants to New Zealand. He has said that most of the people he works with have never been inside a Kiwi’s home, let alone been invited in to come share a meal with them. After saying ‘hello’, perhaps such an invitation might be a great place for you to start. That is how the gospel has the power to bring about cultural unity in a diverse nation like New Zealand.

Chris Northcott is a youth pastor at Lincoln Road Bible Chapel.



 

This product has been added to your cart

CHECKOUT