Pastor Andy Stanley addressed the hotly debated issue of refugees and religious liberty during his Sunday sermon, which was not livestreamed and was only released to online viewers on Thursday.
In his sermon — which the church wanted to present “responsibly” and thus chose not to broadcast it online as it usually does — Stanley pointed to the political divide in the country but noted that at the end of the day, everyone believes in human dignity and agrees that nobody should be mistreated or discriminated against.
Moreover, “we all agree that what’s best for people is what’s best.”
“We may never all agree on how you flesh that out but at the the end of the day, that’s where we agree,” Stanley told thousands at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, in his “The (Not So) United States of America” message. “As long as we’re together on that agreement, we as a nation can figure anything out. But if we lose that, then we’re in trouble.”
But the inherent dignity and value of a person is a uniquely American assumption, the pastor noted. And he emphasized where that assumption came from — Christianity.
The United States is without question a “Christianized” nation, Stanley said, while being careful not to say “Christian” nation. And contrary to nations where the government says that it itself or a particular religion is the source of dignity and human rights, both of which result in forms of repression and discrimination, the founders of the United States struck the right tone, he stressed.
While declaring that God is the source of freedom, the U.S. founders stopped short of identifying a specific God — such as the Jewish or Christian deities, Stanley pointed out. Instead, they used terms such as “Nature’s God” and “Creator” in the Declaration of Independence.
The belief that every individual human being is made in the image of God and has dignity no matter his or her station in life is a distinctly Christian value, he added. That ethos is so embedded in our society and is among the reasons why “people flee to countries with a Christian heritage” like European nations, the U.S., and Canada, “and away from countries where that has not been the case,” he said.
Addressing the recent protests over President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order temporarily suspending refugee settlement and the entry of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, Stanley recognized that there was a lot of “anger” out there. But he asked where the outrage was five years ago.
In reality, “the average person in America doesn’t give a flip about refugees,” Stanley said. When civil war broke out in Syria in 2011 and millions were being displaced, nobody in America knew or cared about it. In the first three years of the war, only a few dozen were admitted to the United States as refugees. Yet there was no outcry then.
“You’re about five years late to the protest,” Stanley said to those protesting Trump’s executive order.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post