Perhaps I should have said a whole lot less or a whole lot more.
In last week's message, while describing God's will as "less Checklist and more EKG," I described how God's will for our lives is expressed more by His heart for matters than by a simple 1-2-3 checklist of things to do. To illustrate, I asked several rhetorical questions about God's heart on various issues: for the church, for the runaway Onesimus, and so on.
The last example was one from our own day: the immigrant.
I didn't clarify legal vs. illegal. I didn't say what God's heart was or wasn't. I didn't promote a particular view. Just a rhetorical question, "What is God's heart for the immigrant?" I believe that is the right question to ask for this issue, as with all other hard issues.
But it was a preaching error.
I chose a current and provocative example on purpose. I want us to wrestle with the hard questions. But because that one issue is so divisive, I should have either not mentioned it as a quick example or I should have taken a lot more time to unpack it. (And since it was not the main issue, it would have taken too much time on that day to unpack it, so I should have just left it out.) It's too complex and emotional to be used as a quick, rhetorical example.
I did not intend to imply that one view or another was the more godly view. I did intend to give an example of how we need to go about discerning God's will - namely, by asking what God's heart is about the matter.
It would have been better in that moment to leave that one out. I apologize for making the wrong call on that.
We do, however, need to step into issues like this one in the right time and place. Not for me to promote a particular view, but a particular method. There is among the American church in our day a too common approach to issues like this, in that there are believers who do not start with the Kingdom first and God's heart first in order to wade through a tough, complex issue. We may start with our own presuppositions, our own interests, or our own agendas, rather than God's heart. I do want to walk into the question of method sometime - we must address it. We may still end up with a variety of opinions, but we (the Church) need to be sure of our method.
But that's a bigger topic that didn't have enough room within the message on Sunday.