Christian Cosmopolitanism: The Church between Refugees and Nation-States Open Access

Roth, David (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/t148fh16n?locale=en
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Abstract

My thesis topic concerns the role of the American church in responding to refugees and asylum-seekers. In a world defined by nation-state borders and rising levels of displacement, my purpose is to articulate a role for American Christians to play in the protection of refugees. In four chapters, I engage this task at the level of theory, biblical foundations, political challenges, and practices. Throughout this engagement, I describe, use, and recommend the paradigm of Christian Cosmopolitanism for American Christians seeking to respond compassionately and justly to those fleeing violence or danger. Integrating the insights of each chapter, I offer a practical theology of Christian Cosmopolitanism that is simultaneously rooted in the biblical witness, responsive to contemporary political challenges, and able to recommend specific actions for Christians and church leaders. Using Christian Cosmopolitanism as a frame, I describe the theological foundations, political relevance, and specific character with which American Christians can offer hospitality and advocacy on behalf of refugees and asylum-seekers. I also consider how these practices simultaneously relate to the established communities of which American Christians are a part. My hope is that this paper will provide future church leaders with a better foundation from which to engage contemporary concerns about refugee protection and immigration.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction......................................................................................................................... 1

Chapter 1: The Political Theology of Christian Cosmopolitanism...................................... 5

Liberal Cosmopolitanism.................................................................................................... 6

Communitarianism............................................................................................................ 9

Christian Cosmopolitanism.............................................................................................. 12

Chapter 2 – Biblical Foundations for Christian Cosmopolitanism.................................... 21

Israel in Exile and Lessons about Community..................................................................... 23

The Church’s Mandate to Care for Refugees........................................................................ 30

Summary......................................................................................................................... 38

Chapter 3 – Political Challenges to Christian Cosmopolitanism....................................... 41

Seyla Benhabib and a Normative Political Framework for Today’s World............................. 44

David Miller’s Caveat: A Concern for Social Trust that Cannot Be Ignored............................. 48

Summary......................................................................................................................... 55

Chapter 4: The Lived Practice of Christian Cosmopolitanism........................................... 59

Hospitality....................................................................................................................... 60

Advocacy......................................................................................................................... 76

Summary......................................................................................................................... 86

Conclusion.......................................................................................................................... 87

 

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