SEBTS professor says Christian Bible interpretations incomplete without Latino experience.
A Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) professor urged Christians to reject restrictions on immigration, said Green Cards are unbiblical and promoted Standpoint Epistemology during a presentation for SEBTS. Miguel Echevarria, a professor of New Testament and Greek at SEBTS, attacked restrictions on immigration in a stunning display of open borders propaganda in a video released by SEBTS. The hallmark of this video is its focus on how diversity is the key to understanding the biblical text.
At about 3:25 in the video, Miguel Echevarria asserts Latinos can explain certain things in the Bible that others ethnicities might miss because they lack the Latino life experience. This is a blatant expression of Critical Theory’s focus on lived experience and Standpoint Epistemology.
“One of the things that differentiates us is our context,” Echevarria said at about the 2:52 mark. “It goes without saying that our context drives the concerns which we bring to the text. They drive the questions for which we seek answers. Latinos for instance, come to the Bible with concerns that are relevant to their community such as poverty, discrimination, and immigration. When their interpretations are heard, Latinos can explain truth from God’s word that might otherwise elude someone who does not share in their experiences.”
This is an example of the unique knowledge given to a group that experiences oppression. The focus is on a group and not the individual experience.
As New Discourses explains, “In the Theory of Critical Social Justice, for what turn out to be surprisingly deep and philosophically (almost) sophisticated reasons, lived experience is the overwhelmingly primary way in which knowledge can be obtained. This should not be mistaken to mean one’s firsthand experience, which most of us already recognize to provide a rather weak claim upon knowledge.”
Let’s repeat one sentence for emphasis here: “When their interpretations are heard, Latinos can explain truth from God’s word that might otherwise elude someone who does not share in their experiences.”
Echevarria is clear about the secret to understanding God’s Word is diversity. It is only the experience of the oppressed immigrant that can instruct the rest of the church on the true meaning of the text.
One must immediately ask, But isn’t the role of the Holy Spirit the path to an enlightened understanding of the Bible?
Lived experience that brings special knowledge is the root of Critical Theory and Standpoint Epistemology. However, it is best described as Ethnic Gnosticism.
However, this type of special knowledge raises an interesting issue. Namely, that it would restrict God’s knowledge since God never experienced the oppression of a Latino. Thus, even God, the ultimate inspiration of the text, would not fully comprehend the Bible’s teachings.
Echevarria’s focus makes it clear that while “majority group” Christians might be able to understand the text—it is only through diversity that we can be assured of it. He said, “Christians should be open to being shaped by God’s Word and if it takes Latino Christians to drive us to a biblical understanding of immigration, then we should view this as a service to the church—that will challenge us to see that God’s people have historically been called immigrants.”
The Goal: Change American Immigration Laws into Open Borders
Echevarria accomplishes two things in the video: 1. Undermine our confidence that we can know the Bible, and 2. Undermine American Immigration Law to foster open borders.
His first task is done by spreading the Ethnic Gnosticism of Standpoint Epistemology as we mentioned above.
Then, he suggests in the video that Christians have an obligation to non-citizens and ignores our obligations to fellow citizens. He claims the Old Testament did not have any of the current red tape or Green Cards to stymie immigration.
“The United States this is not our home our primary citizenship is not associated with our present geographical borders. The New Testament underscores that the present status of all Christians regardless of ethnicity color of skin or legal standing is one of immigrants…Do we realize that we have more in common with Christian immigrants Iran, Syria, Guatemala, or Mexico regardless of legal status than with unbelieving Christians or secular members of our respective political parties?”
OK. Does that mean we are absolved of obligation to these people with whom we share America?
What does the Bible teach about obligations to our family? Does the fact that we have more in common with a non-family member believer change that we must provide for our family?
This is a point of repeated confusion by Evangelical Elites demanding we have open borders—they insist we show charity to illegal immigrants and ignore charity to fellow citizens. This is usually accomplished by ignoring responsibilities created by our physical world attachments. In this view, good citizenship as a duty is less important than helping a stranger—even if helping the stranger harms other citizens.
Echevarria abuses the Old Testament text to argue the Bible does not allow Green Cards or other limits on immigration. However, as Dr. Hoffmeier showed in his excellent book The Immigration Crisis: Immigrants, Aliens, and the Bible (and a shorter free essay) that the Old Testament was far more dynamic in its treatment of foreigners than Woke, progressives like Echevarria pretend.
Hoffmeier provided a detailed study of the legal terms and different legal treatments of immigrants under Mosaic Law—there were various elements of treatment and restrictions based on legal status that Hoffmeier elucidates based on different Hebrew words used in the Law. Echevarria ignores the evidence to find his preferred progressive, pro-illegal immigration, open borders propaganda in the Old Testament.
And Echevarria finds a significant amount of such support for open borders in the Old Testament.
“One of the concerns that many Latinos living the United States come to the Bible with is immigration,” Echevarria said. “Many Latinos are immigrants themselves, come from families that have migrated to the United States or pastored churches filled with people who have come to this country looking for a better life. What they find the Scriptures is rather comforting—that God’s people have historically been immigrants.”
Echevarria claims that love of neighbor binds the Christian political view on immigration.
However, this tells us nothing.
If illegal immigration harms the guy down the street because he loses his job in construction, then do I love my neighbor by allowing illegal immigration? Further, what is the right way to love someone? Does it include allowing hundreds or perhaps even thousands of COVID-19 infected immigrants into the country while locking down citizens to prevent the spread of the disease?
Presumably, COVID-19 can only be used to close churches—but not the border.
While Echevarria’s video was posted remotely during the summer COVID-19 crisis of 2020, it is worth noting that today, it was reported that the current surge of illegal immigrants are bringing large number of COVID-19 infections to America.
Echevarria teaches that because of the eschatological implications of Christianity that American Christians must shun duties to America and its citizens in favor of the family ties to other Christians regardless of where they live and their citizenship status.
“Do we understand that members of our Christian family people with whom will stand before the throne of Christ are from ethnic groups outside the United States many of whom have come to this country without prerequisite paperwork and may be returned to places or they’ll be placed in harm’s way like Cuba or Venezuela?”
And again, he “argue(s) that our primary familial allegiance should be to a kingdom that has yet to be fully revealed one that comprises people from all nationalities,” Echevarria said.
Lastly, Echevarria presents a view of Christian political theology that would have the Christian disobey unjust immigration laws.
“Christians only submit to laws that agree with and do not conflict with God’s will,” Echevarria said in explaining I Peter 2:13-17 and Romans 13:1-7. “Blind obedience is never an option. Historically, Christians have not followed governments into sin.”
And as Echevarria helpfully presented in the video, restrictions on immigration like Green Cards are not biblical.
Thus, we are led to an inescapable conclusion: that such restrictions are unjust and we Christians probably do not have an obligation to obey them.
This is an invitation to lawlessness.
Every Christian would agree that unjust laws must be disobeyed. Christians must always oppose murder—it is a binding moral teaching. However, is immigration policy of the same type?
Certainly not. Governments have power over their borders and have since antiquity restricted access. Even Israel under the Mosaic Law imposed restrictions on immigrants—requiring conversion to enjoy full benefits of citizenship and allowing usury to be charged to outsiders as Hoffmeier demonstrated in his book.
Conclusion: Danny Akin’s SEBTS is hotbed of Standpoint Epistemology
On Monday, a video was revealed of SEBTS President Danny Akin promoting Standpoint Epistemology. In the video, Akin demanded white evangelical Christians sit down and let minorities into leadership positions. (So far, Akin has not resigned as SEBTS president. He’s hanging on to his chair of power.)
This new video is further damning evidence of just how far Standpoint Epistemology that preaches Ethnic Gnosticism has infected the Southern Baptist Convention.
It is why conservative Southern Baptists must get to Nashville and vote against the SBC Elites like Al Mohler and Ed Litton—who will do nothing to stop the spread of this disease or will actively help it spread.