Serving God in a Migrant Crisis: Book Review

"The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members." -William Temple

Serving God in a Migrant Crisis by Patrick Johnstone with Dean Merrill seeks to explain why that is, and should be the case when it comes to refugees and migrants. Unfortunately, Christians, and especially evangelical Christians, are some of the biggest voices promoting fear and inaction in response to the current migrant crisis. With grace and humility Patrick Johnstone explains why such a response is actually the exact opposite of how Jesus Christ would want his followers to act.

Johnstone begins by explaining the facts and statistics of migration. He addresses both the push and pull factors that cause people to leave their homes and the trajectory of history which shows us that what we're seeing now in the Middle East and Europe is only the beginning. He goes on to summarize the Bible's teaching about refugees and immigrants, pointing out that Jesus himself was a refugee who was forced to flee to Egypt with his parents shortly after he was born. Finally, he lays out in great detail what Christians can and should be doing in response to the migrant crisis, and he lists clear action steps for individuals, churches, and Christian agencies.

Patrick Johnstone served as a missionary evangelist for many years and also birthed the major resource Operation World back in the 1970's. Though he is exceptionally qualified to write about the church and refugees he explains his beliefs about the migrant crisis simply and with heart-felt conviction.

I would recommend Serving God in a Migrant Crisis to every Christian. Those who have fears and questions will find them gently addressed, those who have a desire to serve will be given concrete ideas for moving forward, and those whose hearts are filled with anger and suspicion toward refugees and immigrants will be convicted.

I would also recommend the book to non-Christians. Because of the un-Christ-like response of many Christians to the migrant crisis, those of other faiths may look on us with suspicion, or even contempt. If that's you, read Johnstone's book and be assured that many of us are striving to respond to the migrant crisis as he recommends, in ways that will remind others of Jesus's own love and compassion.

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