UKIP and UK immigration

by Robert Strivens6 May 2014

A UKIP leaflet has just come through our door, urging us to vote for them in the forthcoming European elections. The party's main concern seems to be immigration - that Britain is being harmed because too many foreigners are coming into the country.

Putting aside economic, social, legal, patriotic and other arguments for one moment (on all of which, by the way, I suspect that I disagree strongly with UKIP), in what ways would a restrictive immigration policy help the gospel? I really can't think of any.

The gospel in Britain today seems to be making most progress amongst those who are not ethnically 'white British'. Many people who come to live in our country are themselves Christian. The variety of ethnic groups represented in many parts of our country gives us a tremendous opportunity to share the gospel with people from all over the world, without leaving these shores. Multi-ethnic churches can display the marvellous grace of God in the fellowship we enjoy together in Jesus Christ.

As citizens of a member state of the European Union, whatever ills that may or may not bring, British people have the right of free movement across most of Europe. Missionaries from the UK who wish to work in other European countries do not need visas and are able to move without significant amounts of red tape. Christians from other European countries who wish to come to the UK to pursue gospel training can do so without completing the onerous formalities which potential students from other countries have to fulfil.

These are all tremendous gospel benefits, which a restrictive immigration policy would harm. For that reason, among quite a lot of others, I won't be voting UKIP.



About the author

Robert Strivens

MA (University of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College)
ThM (Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia)
PhD (University of Stirling)

Having trained for the pastoral ministry at LTS, Robert pastored an evangelical church in Banbury for 8 years. Prior to training for the ministry, he was a solicitor in private practice, working in London and Brussels. He has been involved in training pastors in French-speaking West Africa. He teaches New Testament and Greek and also lectures on Contemporary Issues. His doctoral research was on Philip Doddridge and early 18th century Dissent. He is married to Sarah and they have three sons.