Politics According to the Bible–Foreign Policy

Posted: December 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

Wayne Grudem opens his chapter on foreign policy in his new book Politics According to the Bible (Zondervan 2010) by asking the question, “How should the government of a nation relate to the other nations of the world?”

Grudem answers the question by looking once again to Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 arguing that if the God-given role of government is to “praise those who do good” and “punish those who do evil” then it should do so on the international scale as well as within its own borders. 

But how should a government seek to help other countries? Grudem does not place a great deal of faith in the United Nations handling problems and with good reason, its history is littered with inaction and corruption.  Nor does Grudem support efforts such as Jubilee 2000, which sought to eliminate all debt held by 3rd world countries.

Grudem points out that 5-years after many lenders were coerced into forgiving debts, the poor countries who received this aid are just as poor.  The forgiveness of debts does not change the internal political situation of nations, which is the real cause of their poverty. 

So far, I am in agreement with Grudem.  He then goes on to argue that Israel, despite its rejection of Christ, holds a special place in the eyes of God.  I disagree but, that being said, Grudem still takes Israel to task for its human rights abuses and makes the practical argument that America should support Israel because it is a democracy surrounded by totalitarian regimes.  Here, Grudem and I fall into agreement once again. 

Finally, Grudem touches on immigration policy and argues against amnesty and for tighter border control.  He cites James Hoffmeirer’s 2009 book The Immigration Crisis (Crossway 2009),  to support his assertion that when the Old Testament refers to “sojourners” it means foreigners who entered the nation legally as opposed to others who automatically treated as spies.  I am not familiar enough with Hoffemeirr’s work to comment but I imagine he received push-back from his contention and that Grudem will as well.

Certainly, there is a practical argument to be made for tighter border controls in the shadow of the horrific drug wars that currently plague the border.  Also, Grudem is right that the last amnesty plan, which was passed in 1986, was an abysmal failure in that it failed to assimilate into our greater society the illegal aliens who were granted citizenship.  Thus, while I am a cautious amnesty supporter, I agree that we need to learn from earlier failures.  Perhaps, amnesty should be granted only to those who pass a rigorous citizenship exam complete with an English language competency component.

Tomorrow, we will look at freedom of religion and freedom of speech.


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