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Hungarian Christians pursue biblical balance in refugee crisis

The FOCL organised a webinar with Hungarian pastors Ádám Szabados and Dávid Hamar, to discuss about “our responsibilities as followers of Christ in the refugee crisis.”

SOURCES Evangelical Focus, FOCL AUTHOR Belén Díaz, Evangelical Focus BUDAPEST 09 OCTOBER 2015 18:31 h GMT+1
way, chemin, camino, forest, bosque Photo: MH (Unsplash, CC)

Europe is facing one of the biggest crisis of its history since the Second World War. Thousands of people cross the European borders every day, looking for asylum, leaving everything in their countries in conflict.



Europeans are divided as to what a proper response should be to this political crisis. Liberals and Conservatives debate whether compassion or restoring law and order has priority over the other.



As Christians, what is our role? Does the Bible has something to say to this conflict?



On Thursday, the European Evangelical Alliance released a statement that encourages churches to come out of their “comfort zones” and “embrace the stranger.”



 



EUROPEAN MIGRANT CRISIS, IS THERE A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE?

The Forum of Christian Leaders has also shed light on this issue, organising a Webinar called “European migrant crisis, is there a Christian response?”, with the aim of “facilitating healthy Christian dialogue in order to have more clarity about our responsibilities as followers of Christ” in the refugee crisis.



The speakers of the webinar were Ádám Szabados, Pastor at Evangelical Christian Church in Veszprém, Hungary, and Dávid Hamar, Senior Pastor of Agora Church of Budapest.



Szabados started the talk stating how difficult this issue is because “migration does not have an end, and we cannot know how many will come to Europe, it is impossible to estimate.”



Besides, “security policy experts say that radical Islam groups have also entered Europe through migration, at least 4,000, and the business of smuggling people is very lucrative for many.”



 



POLITICAL CRISIS, A GOSPEL OPPORTUNITY



According to Szabados, there are four points to consider while looking at the refugee crisis with a biblical perspective:




  • A political crisis is a gospel opportunity: Due to this crisis, many has lost their home and  everything has changed for them, so “people might be more open”. For many years, Christians were not allowed in some countries, because of religion, but now “they are coming to our countries, and we need to be there”. The speaker recognises that “this can be risky”, but being in a risky situation “has always been normal for Christians.”

  • Law and compassion must go together: Compassion is an essential part of biblical Christianity, God is merciful, “in James we read that we cannot practice mercy without some kind of order, and Jesus, when fed 5,000, he did it in order”, the Hungarian pastor explains. It is not cruel to set conditions, it is unrealistic to invite millions into Europe without some order, probably the laws need to be changed”, he concluded.

  • The role of the government and the role of the individual: As Christians, “we are under the rule of God”, and our lives have to show it, but that does not mean to act irrationally when we are in position of power. Szabados puts the example of “a judge whose job is to give a verdict in a trial. As an individual, he is called to forgive others, but the judge cannot forgive criminals if they are guilty, God asks us to be wise”, he argued.

  • Christians need to be critical with some ideologies: “One is nationalism”, and also all those theories that have minimised the sin: “in Europe we have lost the Christian conception of law and sin, sin is seen only as violence, and that’s very superficial and dangerous”, the speaker affirms. “Some victims cannot be criticised and that make very difficult to handle this situation; the Bible protects victims but, most important, it speaks about never disregard the law”, he adds.



 



A CRISIS OF THE HEART



Dávid Hamar believes that “the real big crisis is in the heart of people.” We need to be careful because “our identity as Christians is being questioned.”



Everybody is talking about this issue, and we are bombed with all kinds of different arguments, but, as Hamar says: “We need to grab the word of God and believe that God have a way for this, we do not need to follow any other arguments.”



Our hope must be in the certainty that “God is approaching this situation, as He has always approached any kind of poverty and exclusion, like in Deuteronomy 10:19”, the pastor states.



“It is sad when the human heart is indifferent to something that is so close to God´s heart, because God´s personal mercy is real, and He gives us the gift of mercy too, if we ask Him.”



Besides mercy, “God also calls us to think, people are blind and we have to show them the word of God with love, but also wisely, like in Timothy 5:9-10, when Paul cared about the widows, but he also set up conditions of how to help them”, Hamar explains.



 



THE DANGERS OF MULTICULTURALISM



“Because of globalization, Islamic societies seem to be more similar to the western ones, and the idea of multiculturalism emphasised that fact, it is used as a glue and that is very dangerous”, the speaker warns.



Sometimes, the term vcultural respect” is used to defend the indefensible and “ the Bible tells about cultural conflicts, so we need to know there will be there”, Hamar says.



“I expect that European Christianity will be an starting point to make good decisions regarding the migrant crisis”, Hamar concludes.


 

 


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