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Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   174
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.53" Width: 5.47" Height: 0.46"
Weight:   0.48 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2008
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  080103566X  
EAN  9780801035661  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A timely, clear, and compassionate resource provides biblical and ethical guidance for readers who are looking for a Christian perspective on the immigration issue and speaks to both the immigrant culture and the host culture. Original.

Publishers Description
Immigration is one of the most pressing issues on the national agenda. This accessible book provides biblical and ethical guidance for readers who are looking for a Christian perspective on the immigration issue. As both a Guatemalan and an American, the author has immersed himself in this issue and is uniquely qualified to write about it. Drawing on key biblical ideas, he speaks to both the immigrant culture and the host culture, arguing that both sides have much to learn about the debate. This timely, clear, and compassionate resource will benefit all Christians who are thinking through the immigration issue.

Buy Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible by M. Daniel Carroll from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780801035661 & 080103566X

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More About M. Daniel Carroll

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! M. Daniel Carroll R. (PhD, University of Sheffield) is Blanchard Chair in Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School in Wheaton, Illinois. He is also an adjunct professor at El Seminario TeolOgico Centroamericano in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Carroll previously taught at Denver Seminary, where he founded IDEAL, a Spanish language training program. He is the author or editor of several books and a contributing editor to Prism.

M. Daniel Carroll R. has published or released items in the following series...
  1. JSOT Supplement (Hardcover)

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > General   [17908  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Old Testa   [1604  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Biblical Response to Mexican Immigration  Aug 5, 2009
Before joining in the current national immigration dispute--whether at the water cooler or on a more significant legislative platform--one should read "Christians at the Border". This short, but power-packed, work by M. Daniel Carroll R. provides incredible insight into the current debate our country is wrestling through, especially with regards to the mass emigration from Mexico and other Hispanic countries. As a Guatemalan-American Christian, one who is, in his own words, "living in the hyphen", this author sheds unique light on this controversial topic.

Carroll R. begins his discourse with a brief but comprehensive history of immigration in the US, focusing on the cultural identity and economic factors that fuel the emotions of parties on both sides of this volatile issue. His writing avoids the typical dryness of statistics, however. After all, "It is ideas and feelings" that he is after, "not numbers." Even in this historical discussion, Carroll R. seeks to reach "beyond the usual boundaries" of one's point of view. And he eloquently shows us that "American identity has never been a static entity."

"Christians at the Border" then reveals what the Bible has to say about foreigners and their host country. It is here that one can start to formulate an opinion towards outsiders that reflects God's love and concern: "This book attempts to offer...a biblical and theological framework from which Christians, as Christians, might participate in the ongoing debate." The author starts with the core belief, found in Genesis 1, that all of us are created in God's image. He then follows a beautiful progression of virtues that arise from this profound foundational Truth.

What particularly pulled on my heart, though, was Carroll R.'s description of Jesus' love for others, especially those who are marginalized. He says, "Jesus models a new and different way of looking at persons who are outside the circle of the known and beyond acceptability." The reader is then treated to a fresh look at two of Jesus' famous encounters: the Samaritan woman at the well and the healed leper who came back to express his gratitude to his Savior.

While this author avoids doling out unsolicited advice on how loving one's neighbor plays out logistically, he does provide a strong, biblical basis for moving, as representatives of Christ, into our world. A world that increasingly brings us face-to-face with those from far-away lands and cultures.
Begin Understanding the Issues  Jul 5, 2009
In Christians at the Border, Daniel Carroll addresses a growing concern amongst lawmakers and citizens in the U.S. America is undergoing massive demographical changes with the influx of immigrants from Mexico. The Hispanic population is ever increasing all across the country, while the Latin American culture is growing more ubiquitous with its food, music, and media. But America as a whole has not been warm towards the growing Spanish-speaking population. The purpose of Carroll's book is to begin informing Christians with the issues surrounding immigration.

Carroll is an Old Testament professor at Denver Seminary, born in Guatemala and educated in the United States. His bird-eye view of the two cultures--American and Latin-American, is helpful in presenting a fair view of the cultural dispositions on both sides: in his introduction, he explains why he prefers undocumented immigrants over illegal aliens with the reason being that the former is "a more just label and better represents the present reality" (22). His awareness allows him to avoid bias where possible, and defend views where necessary.

The first chapter, poignantly titled "Hispanic Immigration: Invasion or Opportunity?" gives the bulk of the content on immigration in the U.S. with its history and impact. Historically, various people groups have come to the States: the Chinese, Irish and Southern Europeans, and Africans. Carroll briefly looks at the impact and the sobering realities of displacement.

Previous immigration focused on assimilation, a convergence toward a kind of "Americanism." Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations, explains how the Hispanic immigration differs from the previous flow of immigrants: 1) immigration from Latin America is not an ocean's way, 2) the number of immigrants exceeds any previous people group, and 3) the enclave of immigrants, called barrios, slows the assimilation process. Huntington reports that the lack of assimilation leads to "declining levels of English language acquisition, less educational achievement, and poorer socioeconomic success" (41).

The Hispanic communities go through an identity crisis themselves--what to do with their beloved Latin American heritage. To them, America means consumerism and individualism. Internal tensions rise as Latin Americans hold on to fond memories of their distant, native land.

Common objections to the immigration are that: 1) they add financial burdens on the local school systems, 2) many are criminals, 3) they drive down the income of American citizens, 4) health care is affected, because hospitals cannot legally turn away patients, and 5) the billions of dollars sent back to Latin American countries are a net loss to the U.S. economy.

Policy makers have proposed various internal and external measures for controlling the flow of immigrants (e.g. internal would mean pressure on employers not to hire undocumented immigrants, and external would focus on controlling the borders or even the flow of money outside the U.S.) Another option has focused on allowing better educated and highly educated foreigners into the country. These range of options and the issues they each target represent only the tip of the iceberg when addressing the complexities of Hispanic immigration.

The purpose of Carroll's book is not to merely describe the multifaceted problems of immigration; Carroll also offers a starting point for Christians to look at different sides in light of a biblical worldview. The OT is contains a plethora of theological underpinning for the value of human life, as well as illustrations of movement and displacement of individuals and people groups. The Hebrew for identifying foreigners in the OT are varied: nokrî and zr (foreign people of other faith), tôsab (hireling or sojourner), and gr (resident alien).

The NT offers reminders of Jesus as one who sought refuge himself. He also later associated with the social outcasts. Carroll recalls the church's new identity in Christ that looks forward to a world beyond the earthly; the believers, now strangers on earth, no longer belong to this world. Christians are also called to be hospitable.

Anyone hoping to find the final word on Hispanic immigration will be left frustrated and wanting. The author's intent in writing this short work is not to offer an extensive discussion of the topic. Carroll makes this very clear in his introduction as well as his conclusion. The intent, instead, is to get Christians to consider a brief history of immigration, an understanding of economic implications as well as those of faith convictions.

For what the work sets out to do, it achieves a great deal. Reading it, I gleaned much regarding the social and cultural dimensions of immigration. Christians at the Border begins to give a coherent biblical worldview as a starting point for a Christian response. Though some examples from the OT may not have complete analogical connection to the contemporaneous situation at hand, Carroll offers glimpses of the larger picture, for which Christians hope and affect others. This larger picture of the gospel message keeps our thoughts churning and reminds us that wisdom does indeed await us as we seek to understand and form thoughtful views on Hispanic immigration.
Good Insight  Dec 16, 2008
I enjoyed this book. It helped me to see through the eyes of our Latino brothers and sisters a little better. Having worked in Latin America for some years now as a missionary, I have an understanding of these people's desire for better life. This book helped me to bring better vision to the way I feel.
examining the border  Dec 16, 2008
Daniel Carroll is the best professor from whom I've never taken a class. I became acquainted with him during my graduate work at Denver Seminary, where he teaches Old Testament. And yes, I never had the privilege of sitting through one of his seminars. Where we built our friendship was in the days when I was the general manager for the bookstore and he would come in with his warm and engaging demeanor. And it is from this, and many subsequent discussions, that I can classify him as such.

What makes Carroll unique in his discussion regarding immigration and Christian response is that he comes from both American and Guatemalan cultures. He has never abandoned one for the other and has ministries stemming from both of these backgrounds.

The book itself is a much needed dialogue for American Christians who are seeking to find a way forward through the overwhelming amount of socio-cultural and political rhetoric which surrounds us. One of the main points which emerges in this discussion is the very sad reality that many American Christians have decided to build their understanding and approach to the issue of immigration upon popular cultural and political opinion rather than relying on Scripture. As he references another work in this area, Carroll puts it this way: ". . . the Christian church has lost its way and is captive to the culture" (138). In his attempt to right this ship, Carroll advocates for a movement toward a more biblical understanding of immigration, refugee and sojourner before entering into the political equations (so, go figure that he would want us to look to the Bible first. . .one must wonder what kind of oddball theologian he must really be?!?!?).

After setting forth a few introductory comments, Chapter One gives background and outlines a broad history of Hispanic immigration. Here Carroll also reviews current data and figures regarding the cost (both real and imagined) of undocumented immigrants as well as the contributions of those who have become citizens. Chapters Two and Three then review Old Testament perspectives regarding foreigners, citing portions from Torah, Ruth and such. Chapter Four then turns to the New Testament, focusing mostly on the ministry of Jesus among the Samaritans before briefly mentioning 1 Peter and Romans 13. Chapter Five acts as a summary, conclusion and brief outline for moving forward.

The book itself is quite accessible, both in content as well as size (@140 pages, no pictures though). Carroll has succeeded in providing a primer for those interested in engaging this topic further, and a solid introduction for those who need a compass to navigate through a sea of political lunacy and idiocy which constantly surrounds us. While there are a couple of points where I might question Carroll's conclusions or propositions, they are too minor to introduce here and in no way cause me to abandon his overall thesis and aim. More prevalent is his charge to the church to emulate the repeated calling of Scripture to exhibit hospitality - for this all is God's land and he desires us to care for it and its inhabitants in this manner (98-99ff).

Hopefully this book will continue to spark discussion as it already has throughout the evangelical community and allow us to be followers of Christ first before we are followers of our culture.

Having spent much of my ministry reaching across racial and ethnic lines, and having studied what the Bible has to say, I have become quite passionate on these matters and have been a bit outspoken in this blog, as well as elsewhere.

I am saddened by the fact that many of my Christian friends hold views that I feel are unbiblical and sometimes even downright unchristian. Some feel that these issues are political and/or economic and have little to do with our Christian faith. This is especially the case in regard to illegal immigration. That is why I was overjoyed to find the book, Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible, by M. Daniel Carroll R.

I have known Dr. Carroll for over 25 years, and though I would not consider him a close friend, I have known him well enough to be impressed by his deep and humble walk with Christ.

Dr. Carroll is presently Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary and is adjunct professor at El Seminario Teologico Centroamericano in Guatemala. He is the son of a Guatemalan mother and an American father and in a real sense has a foot in each culture.

He tells us the title to his book is a double entendre. Yes, there is a literal physical border to our southwest which divides the United States from all of Latin America, but he tells us that "for Christians there is an additional border. It is a metaphorical decision point." We must choose whether our stand in the debate is "based on the Word of God" or "on other grounds" (page 23). We "Christians must think about and act on Hispanic immigration as Christians."

Before diving into the biblical teachings on the issue, in the first chapter the book gives us some background: a brief history of Hispanic immigration, questions of identity and questions of economics. The book also points out the impact of Hispanic immigration on the churches.

The second chapter is devoted to showing that much Old Testament history is the story of immigration. Peoples were on the move from Genesis on: Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. ( Was Ruth an "illegal alien"? See the book of Ruth, cf. Deuteronomy 23:3.)

The third chapter deals with the Old Testament teaching on hospitality - care for the stranger. The various Hebrew terms for stranger or sojourner are discussed. Provisions were made for the alien along with those for other at-risk people: widows, orphans, hired workers, servants and the poor. Dr. Carroll sums it up in a rather eye-opening statement: " ... the arrival and presence of sojourners were not a threat to Israel's national identity; rather, their presence was fundamental to its very meaning. The people of Israel could not be who there were supposed to be before God and the world if they forgot who they had been and from where they had come" (pages 109, 110). See Leviticus 19:33, 34.

In chapter 4, we are taken to the New Testament to see Jesus' attitude toward outsiders. We also see Peter's teaching on Christians as sojourners. Each section is concluded with "implications for today."

I especially appreciated the fact that Romans 13 was dealt with in this chapter, albeit only briefly. For many of my Christian friends, the mantra on this issue is Romans 13. Dr. carroll answers that "Discussion on legality cannot be limited just to questions about complying with the present laws" (page 133). Though I agree, I wish he had dealt with it at greater length.

The book concludes with some final thoughts and the repeated admonition that we must approach this matter of immigration as Christians.

This is a brief book and can be read in a few hours, though it will take longer if the reader checks out all the Scripture references.

If anyone who reads this is forming or has formed an opinion on the immigration question, I would beg you, read this book before you set your ideas in concrete.

Bill Ball


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