National Association of Evangelicals’ Immigration 2009 Resolution

Last week the National Association of Evangelicals, in which The Christian and Missionary Alliance has long maintained membership, adopted a resolution in support of comprehensive reform in our nation’s immigration laws.* It has erroneously been reported on the internet that this resolution calls for amnesty for illegal aliens and that, as a member of the NAE, The Christian and Missionary Alliance is doing the same. This report is untrue. The NAE Resolution does not call for amnesty. It does suggest that an equitable means should be sought to enable persons to earn legal residency.

The C&MA is a leader in the evangelical community in ministering to immigrant populations in the United States. More than one third of our churches are found within immigrant populations, and almost 40% of our constituents live in these communities. Alliance churches throughout the nation are called upon to proclaim the gospel to everyone. In obedience to the Great Commission, we must minister to people without regard to their legal status. God’s Word enjoins believers to treat all persons with equal dignity and respect, and to care for those in need regardless of their national origin or ethnicity.

At the same time, we also recognize our biblical responsibility to live in submission to the civil authorities which govern us. The Christian and Missionary Alliance does not knowingly grant an official worker license to any person who does not have an appropriate visa which permits him/her to be employed as a religious worker in the U.S.. Alliance churches commonly include a large number of people who are not formal members of the church. But, most Alliance churches are also legally constituted as non-profit corporations in the state where they are found. Thus, our policy does not permit persons who are residing in the United States illegally to be received knowingly into the formal membership of the church, since such action may compromise the congregation’s ability to continue its ministry and to serve the spiritual needs of the larger community.

We recognize the responsibility of government to control its borders and protect its citizens. We also understand that the issue of illegal immigration into the United States is both a complicated and volatile political issue on which sincere believers may disagree. However, we believe that the responsibility God has given to The Christian and Missionary Alliance is to proclaim the forgiveness of God in Christ’s redeeming work, so that every man, woman, and child may be given an opportunity to respond to His grace.

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*(2/15/17): A policy statement concerning the membership eligibility/status of undocumented persons living in the United States, issued on October 9, 2009, assumed that foreign nationals could not be legally accepted into membership in a non-profit corporation or hold positions on the board of directors of a non-profit corporation in the United States. That assumption has since been proven to be incorrect. To our knowledge, there is no federal or state statute preventing a foreign national from holding membership in a non-profit corporation or a church. Similarly, there is no known legislation prohibiting a foreign national from serving on the board of directors of a non-profit corporation or church.

In the Alliance, people are received into membership on the basis of a personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ, an affirmation of the Four-fold Gospel, and their agreement with mission and vision of our fellowship. The church is not a political entity but a spiritual one. Undocumented persons who meet the above requirements may be received into church membership and benefit from all of the attendant privileges without violating any law. Thus, the position articulated in 2009 is no longer held by The Christian and Missionary Alliance. Licensing, ordination and consecration do have implications relating to employment in the United States. We will therefore continue to require evidence of legal residency and/or citizenship for all members of the clergy.


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