Every year, so it seems, a group of people in Big Eva or apostate circles always use Christmas as an opportunity to advance a political agenda at the expense of the true meaning of Christmas. What may seem like mostly biblically true statements about Jesus are applied in a postmodern context to advance open borders and identity politics. Two of such takes took the cake this Christmas. The first comes from The Gospel Coalition and their woke writer, Jenny Wang. She writes:
The warm and cozy feelings we often associate with the Christmas season belie the cold, harsh, and unwelcoming environment in which Jesus Christ was born.
I do not know what she is suggesting here. The innkeeper would have violated hospitality to evict someone from a room he has rented to house Joseph and Mary in a room. Providing the manger was an act of kindness and hospitality. The angels sought nearby shepherds and thus gave Jesus a grander welcome to the world in which he created. Wang continues.
The journey that Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus took is not altogether unfamiliar to the millions worldwide who are forcibly displaced from their homes every year––40 percent of them children. We do not hope in Christ abolishing all the conflict and injustice that force people to flee their homes, but in the knowledge that he came in the midst of suffering himself.
And here we have a glaring hermeneutical issue. She is conflating the birth of Jesus with an event in his early childhood. In Matthew 2, Joseph and Mary are not only living in a house, Jesus is a child. Thus, Christmas and Epiphany are two separate events. Although in contemporary culture we conflate the two events due to their close proximity, the birth of Jesus though lowly was a welcoming one, while Epiphany is the story with a less happy ending.
God’s incarnate Son was both a downwardly mobile migrant––he left the realms of heaven and pitched his tent among men (John 1:14)––and a refugee fleeing a genocidal edict (Matt. 2:13). He intimately knows what it feels like to be a stranger in a foreign land. He identifies so much with strangers that when we welcome them, we are welcoming him (Matt. 25:31–46). Elsewhere, we learn we could even be entertaining angels unaware when we enter into relationships with strangers (Heb. 13:2).
Wang quotes John 1:14 to make a point that Jesus was a migrant. But John 1:3 states “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (NASB 1995). Therefore, it cannot be said that Jesus was a migrant. He was visiting his own creation, and it would not be the first time Jesus had done so either, if we want to delve into Christophanies. The second half of the statement is equally as flawed. King Herod’s edict was murder but not genocide, as genocide is about killing people based on genetic qualities to erase these qualities. Wang is misusing this word for the strong connotation it provides. Secondly, this act does not make Jesus a refugee. He fled from one province within the Roman Empire to another. The contemporary nation of Israel today is roughly the size of New Jersey or New Hampshire. The Holy Family would have needed to travel between 30 and 50 miles to escape Herod’s jurisdiction, a journey that was comfortably doable in 2-4 days. Now how far they ventured into Egypt and how long they stayed is a separate debate. The Holy Family were fugitives under King Herod, not refugees. The wicked vassal wanted to kill the Messiah. The Senior editor of Relevant magazine tweeted this
This “Christian” media head clearly missed the part where the Holy Family could simply flee to Egypt and be safe because the imperial province was uninterested in enforcing King Herod’s pet projects. The article continues to say:
Every Christian is led by a Middle Eastern refugee who faced the daunting pressures of exclusion and insecurity and yet carried forth his duty to obey his Father and love his people. Jesus’s birth gives us hope that despite the challenging circumstances we face personally or societally, we can always find healing––and a home––in him.
Where does one find in the Bible Jesus facing daunting pressures of exclusivity in the context of being a refugee? No where, because this author and The Gospel Coalition in general are promoting an immigration agenda and are reducing the humanity of Jesus to serve this purpose. To them Jesus is a brown skinned Palestinian refugee.
But the fate of our salvation does not rest in the color of Jesus’s skin or how identity politics reinterprets Scripture today. It does rely on an accurate depiction of events and the fulfillment of prophecy. The eisegesis of Scripture that The Gospel Coalition employs here stems from a low view of Scripture in comparison to identity politics. Thus, they have no qualms about reducing Jesus to a postmodern day intersectional box checker. This reductive Christology is a major issue with the Social Justice Gospel and a contributing factor to why this movement is heretical. As Christians we do not oppose this movement because we want power in faith-based institutions or to advance Trumpism, as our detractors say. Rather, we love Jesus and have a high view of Scripture.