A group of more than 1,000 "faith leaders" called on President Obama last week to grant pardons to 11 million illegal aliens and for governors, mayors and churches to create "sanctuaries" for migrants, including those who have committed non-violent crimes.
But not all pastors agree with this approach and are calling for what they believe is a more biblical response to the global refugee crisis.
Advertisement - story continues below
Even if it were conceded that the United States should admit some refugees, how many is too many and under what conditions should they be allowed into the country?
Anyone who engages publicly in this debate had better be ready to be branded a bigot, racist, xenophobe or Islamophobe. It comes with the territory in today's America, where the culture has been captured by political correctness, and may explain why so many pastors avoid the subject all together or approach it from the singular angle of helping the refugees with their material needs.
But Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastors Network, is one Christian leader who is not afraid to take a bold stand. He served in the Pennsylvania state legislature for 18 years and ran for governor in 2010. He's also an ordained minister and hosts the daily news and analysis program "Stand in the Gap Today," which is nationally syndicated.
Rohrer leads a network of pastors who believe in the authority of Scripture as it applies to all of life, including the area of public policy, with immigration being at or near the top of the list.
Advertisement - story continues below
As President-elect Donald Trump famously suggested before the election, the U.S. should call a temporary halt to all Muslim immigration "until we can figure out what the hell is going on."
'Dealing with an anti-Christ spirit'
But to fully understand what's going requires some knowledge of Islam, the faith held by the vast majority of refugees coming to America from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and a host of other countries.
"We're trying to educate pastors, and the reason that's so important is that, ultimately, at the top level this is an anti-Christ spirit so if the pastors don't understand that what we're dealing with is this end-times spirit, and that it's ultimately a spiritual battle, the price is going to be very steep," Rohrer told WND. "At the very minimum, it's going to be persecution of Christians."
Whether it's hard persecution, in the form of ever-increasing terrorist attacks, or soft, such as the increasing incursion on First Amendment rights to free speech, the more Muslims a nation takes in the more persecution that nation's Christian and Jewish population can expect to endure. If anyone doubts that, all they need to do is look at Europe, Rohrer said, and what is happening there after the influx of millions of Muslim migrants over the past two years.
Advertisement - story continues below
Angela Merkel's government in Germany, for instance, is now working with Facebook to arrest and prosecute Germans who speak critically of Islam. This is a back-handed way of applying Shariah blasphemy laws.
The female population has also paid a price. Thousands of German women and girls have been sexually assaulted by the migrants, who see non-Muslim women as easy prey, a form of "booty" as taught by Muhammad in the Quran.
In the north of France this summer, an elderly Catholic priest had his throat slit on the altar by two Muslim migrants while he was saying mass. The two terrorists had planned to slaughter everyone in the church and would have succeeded if a nun had not escaped and called police, who arrived in minutes to kill the perpetrators.
The Christian church in Europe has been in decline for decades as its influence over society has dissipated in the face of growing secularism. In that spiritual vacuum, Islam will become emboldened, making increasing demands for cultural concessions and special privileges not afforded to other religions. In Germany and parts of Sweden, for instance, women have been told to not go out alone at night and to dress conservatively as not to provoke Muslim attacks.
Advertisement - story continues below
'Chrislam' to the rescue?
Without a strong church, the Europeans are vulnerable.
Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, considered to be a frontrunner to succeed Pope Francis, issued a dire warning earlier this year that Europe stands at the precipice of being conquered by Islam.
"God have mercy on Europe and on thy people, who are in danger of forfeiting our Christian heritage," the cardinal reportedly prayed.
If America is to avoid the same fate, time is running short.
Some Christian leaders say the answer is to cooperate with Islam by engaging in interfaith dialogue, perhaps even attempting to forge a new hybrid religion called "Chrislam."
"At the end of the day, what you have is a shepherd not protecting his sheep and there will be harm done to the flock, if that confusion continues and we see the emergence of Chrislam and this belief that all religions are equal and we all worship the same god," Rohrer said.
"But there is a long-term consequence in that more people will be going to hell, because we have been teaching error and not telling our people the truth about what is essentially a satanic ideology," he said.
He'd like to see pastors take a more active role in preaching the truth about Islam. His network currently has chapters in five states – Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee and Kentucky. The goal is to have one in every state with pastors who offer a biblical worldview to public policy issues and are engaged in the training and mobilizing of lay leaders within congregations across denominational lines.
"At the heart of it you're dealing with the truth, and the preaching of the truth, and it will ultimately have consequences outside the walls of the church," Rohrer said. "If the people in the pew don't know about it then they are also not going to be salt and light but are going to be complicit with the enemies of the cross."
From his own experience in the state legislature, Rohrer said it became obvious that most politicians will fail to execute their constitutional duties if they don't get the moral leadership that comes from the Church.
"In the absence of moral truth coming from a God-ordained moral position, those in government will trumpet the truths of something else, either themselves, the media, whatever," he said. "That's how God uses His Church, as salt and light to the nations."
What is the proper response?
The Bible has a lot to say about how to deal with "foreigners" in the land.
"The immigrants, orphans, widows, the helpless, that's always a need within any society and God has placed that responsibility on the Church," Rohrer said. "He judged Israel in part because of how they wrongly dealt with the foreigner and the immigrant. There is a responsibility in our country for the Church, corporately, to help the immigrant and others."
But the civil government also has a responsibility, he said.
"And their responsibility is to enact justice, applying the law appropriately, justly, to protect those there according to the law and punish those who break the law of the land, and if they fail to do that, then civil government has failed in the most basic component of their primary God-given responsibility," Rohrer said. "We have laws on the books that regulate immigration, there is a process, they are not following it. We have borders. The globalists don't want borders. The administration doesn't want borders, and the people who come through have an impact, often negative, on the citizens who came in rightly according to the law."
But the church can't fulfill the government's role and civil government can't do the job of the Church. The problem in Europe, and now America, is that the government is trying to cross over and do the church's job, caring for the migrants' needs, without taking care of its own responsibility of applying the laws justly.
"I take people back to 2 Chronicles 6 where you find a series of seven prayers Solomon prays to God in response to where he knows the sins of the people will go but if they return to him he will hear them and respond.
Drawn to assimilate or to destroy?
Out of that comes 2 Chronicles 7:14, the famous passage that most Christians are familiar with.
But in the run up to that passage he speaks of the foreigner or immigrant and how God will respond to them when they fail to respond appropriately to the foreigners when they come "because of your great name."
When immigrants are drawn to a nation, as God said they would be when the light of believers' shines brightly, they should be encouraged to become full participants in that nation's blessings.
"When that happens the foreigner wants to come. They're drawn here, why, because we have religious freedom, freedom of speech, they can own private property, all the things in our Constitution," Rohrer said. "That's why they came. And when they came, they wanted to participate in that holy experiment, that shining city on a hill, partake in that blessing God has provided."
But the key to understanding this passage is to recognize the difference between immigrants who want to assimilate into the culture that offers them freedom and hope for a better way of life and those who want to supplant the culture with that of their homeland.
"So when they come for the right reasons to respect our laws and our people, you should therefore point them to the God of heaven who made this possible in the first place," Rohrer said. "Israel did not point them to the God of heaven, because they were either idolatrous themselves or just didn't share this blessing with the foreigner.
"God said to assimilate them. Point them in the right direction," he continued. Israel did not do that. They pointed them to some other gods. In this country, I believe we are pointing them to the god of government."
Rohrer's viewpoint is backed up by the fact that 90 percent of refugees from the Middle East are placed on food stamps when they arrive in America, and 76 percent are placed on Medicaid. Their needs are met by the government, not the Church, which should be not only meeting their needs but preaching the gospel of Christ to these migrants.
"These are things I fought through long and hard when I was in office, how do you craft a policy that is reflected by the proper execution of the law, which will reflect the biblical principle," he told WND. "When we jettisoned God in the 1960s we jettisoned with it our whole understanding of who we are in God and with it who we permit to enter as immigrants to our nation, so now we are not only looking for those who are coming because they want to join this vision of America but we are looking for those who hate the concepts in our Constitution. It really is truly turning it upside down."
The result is chaos and disorder.
"That's why we are in big trouble because we now have allowed in millions of people who have a hatred for the right view of God," he said. "They will not coexist peacefully. You cannot have Shariah law and constitutional law. We have two competing systems set up in opposition to each other. One will prevail."
So while Trump's idea to build a wall and start enforcing the nation's immigration laws, the disorder in American society will not fully be mitigated until the Church steps into its rightful role – not only providing for material needs but boldly sharing the Gospel of Christ with the foreigner living among us.