Johnson: Flake, McCain stand with Evangelicals, show courage on immigration reform; House must display similar leadership - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Johnson: Flake, McCain stand with Evangelicals, show courage on immigration reform; House must display similar leadership

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Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013 2:24 pm

I feel deep empathy for our elected leaders in Congress as they navigate the contentious issue of immigration, and I respect the courage Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have demonstrated as they have attempted to find solutions on this difficult issue.

Our House members must show this same courage, and local Evangelical leaders will stand with them when they do.

A broken immigration system breaks God’s heart as it exemplifies injustice and breaks apart families. To solve it, we do not support amnesty, nor mass deportations. Instead, we follow scripture’s lead and believe reconciling a nation of laws with a nation of immigrants is possible if we pass laws that show compassion to the most vulnerable. 

People of goodwill and leaders of conscience can and will find reasonable solutions if they try in good faith to do so. But it will take courage and guts, and we pray for our leaders every day to this end.

At Redemption Church, we serve everyone who comes to worship with us in each of our six congregations. No one asks for the papers of people who come to hear about a welcoming and compassionate Savior who calls those lacking status, those kept out and deported, His most precious ones. 

We engage this issue not as partisans or politicos but as pastors who are called to love our neighbor and our neighborhood. We are simply responding to the needs of our congregations. The families being separated by a broken immigration system worship and weep in our churches. If one part of the body suffers, every part suffers with it.

We join thousands of Evangelical Christians around the country who are praying for fair and reasonable solutions to this immigration crisis — and calling on Congress to see these solutions through into law.

An Evangelical statement of principles for immigration reform does include a call for an accessible path to earned citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans — along with the elements nearly everyone agrees upon: border security, protecting taxpayers, addressing future flow, and providing for family unity. We pray fervently that such reform becomes law.

We can assume that our House members will be attacked for demonstrating courage and leadership, as our senators have been. If this were easy, we would have solved it already.

But we didn’t become pastors and they didn’t run for office to do the easy things. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind.” And so we thank our senators for being 2 Timothy-type leaders, and we pray that our House members likewise demonstrate this kind of leadership.

Arizona has received a big black eye for our inability to lead on immigration, which impacts us greatly. What a redemption story it would be if Arizonans and our elected officials led the way now in truly solving these problems. 

Our senators have gotten us off to a great start. Now our House members have to do the same.


• Tyler Johnson is the lead pastor of the multi-congregational Redemption Church. In addition to locations in Phoenix and Flagstaff (, Redemption Church also has sites in Gilbert (, Tempe ( and two in Mesa (

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