Some 500 illegal migrants crossed the English Channel on June 11th (1). 8,500 migrants have made the crossing this year (as at June 13th) (2). On May 10th 2023 in the House of Lords Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, attacked the Government’s attempts to deal with the ever-continuing problem of small boats illegally bringing asylum seekers into southern England from the coast of France. 

He argued that Britain should only deal with the crisis by means of international agreements, not by acting independently as a sovereign nation trying to protect its own borders. He referred to migrants coming into the country without any right to do so as ‘refugees’ who were escaping conflict and the effects of climate change. He described the Government’s proposed legislation to stop this never-ending flow, and to deport those entering illegally, as a failure by Britain to meet its moral responsibilities (3). His views, supported by other bishops, must be challenged, using the authority of God’s word to do so. 

Justin Welby appears to have no regard for the clearly stated Biblical principle that all people are under an obligation to keep the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-4, 1 Peter 2:13-14), and that those laws include respecting a nation’s borders. In other words, to deliberately attempt to bypass Britain’s immigration laws is sinful in God’s sight. 

As a Bible-believing Christian minister, I must denounce the virtue-signalling and tedious playing of the compassion card by the liberal establishment, including church leaders, concerning the crisis which is the premeditated criminal activity, taking place almost every day, across the English Channel. 
Are illegal migrants who have already found the financial resources, and exercised the planning and diligence to travel enormous distances across various countries, really those whom it is our absolute moral duty to help? It is an obvious and oft-repeated fact, but France is a safe country from which there is no necessity to flee. The migrants choose to come to Britain, because they know that we are a soft touch. 

Concerning the argument that asylum-seeking is all about fleeing persecution, if someone is trying to escape from a rampaging bull in a field, he runs to the next field. He does not carry on running across four or five extra fields. Having reached the fifth field, to claim that he was still running for his life would simply not be truthful.  

One cannot help but notice that politicians, the media and church leaders are happy to condemn the people smugglers, but few appear willing to acknowledge the fact that the people smugglers only operate because they have willing customers. In terms of the sinfulness of actions before God, there is actually no difference between running a people-smuggling service and choosing to employ and pay those who run the service in order to benefit from it. 

Furthermore, I would like to ask if the church leaders who speak much about the need for compassion are willing to condemn the criminal act of asylum seekers in destroying their identity papers before they reach the shores of southern England? As the Migration Watch website informs us, “Deliberate destruction of documentation by tens of thousands crossing the Channel in boats without prior permission must be treated as prima facie evidence of asylum abuse” (4).

The Home Office is saying that illegal migration across the Channel this year could reach 85,000. There is currently a backlog of processing asylum claims in excess of 100,000 cases. The destruction of their papers by asylum seekers (along with the disposal of their mobile phones) obviously exacerbates this problem, but the Crown Prosecution Service ‘seems increasingly unwilling to prosecute (such) offences’ (5).

The migrants of course know that even if their claim is finally rejected, the chances of their being expelled from the country are very low indeed. Out of 20,605 migrants who have had their claims rejected, only 21 people have actually been deported (6). 

This problem of ongoing illegal entry into Britain is taking place against a background of enormous and continuing levels of legal immigration. In 2022 net migration reached 606,000 (7), and if this rate continues, projected rises in population would reach nearly an extra 16 million people by 2046, requiring the building of 15 new cities the size of Birmingham (8). Yet the sophistication of the debate, if there is any at all on this issue, is usually on the level of we must keep quiet and “rejoice in diversity”. 

Just where are all the arrivals expected to go in this small and already densely populated island? What about the pressures on our housing stock? We live in age when many people are concerned environmentalists and eco-activists. May we ask, How many more of Britain’s green fields must be concreted over to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of new arrivals each year? What about the strains upon the NHS and our infrastructure? What about the ever-growing bill for the British taxpayer? Do not these concerns come under the scope of Christian compassion?

In his speech in the House of Lords the Archbishop stated, ‘In Matthew chapter 25 Jesus calls us to welcome the stranger’ (9). This statement sadly represents an abuse of Scripture in order to conform to the fashionable agenda of Britain’s new religion of cultural Marxism. Our Lord was not remotely referring to a situation whereby thousands of illegal migrants were arriving every year. Nor was He arguing that the stranger has a special exemption to ignore the laws of the land, which is exactly what the unauthorised entrants into this country are seeking to achieve. In Matthew 25 the Lord is actually referring to those who were ostracised in society precisely because they were Christians, not to those who were seeking a better life by moving to a different country. 

This article is not an attack upon the Archbishop of Canterbury’s person, but upon his theology, and upon the abuse of Biblical concepts such as ‘compassion’ to condone the deliberate breaking of our law, and the rewarding of that law-breaking with generous taxpayer-funded benefits, such as hotel accommodation amounting to £6 million a day. One speaks in love, but Mr Welby’s woke ‘social justice’ message must be rejected, for it is not Biblical, but rather represents conformity to the spirit of the age, and such conformity is explicitly condemned in God’s word, in Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 3:19 and Colossians 2:8.

Pastor Peter Simpson

Penn Free Methodist Church


1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXpw4Drymg8

2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuaSO2hqgCg


4 https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/news/2021/12/20/deliberate-destruction-of-identity-documents

5 Ibid.

6 https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/channel-crossings-tracker

7 https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/press-release/705/migration-watch-uk-responds-to-606000-net-migration-in-2022

8 https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/press-release/706/record-immigration-to-increase-uk-population-to-well-over-80-million-by-2046


By Pastor Peter Simpson

Pastor Peter Simpson is Minister of Penn Free Methodist Church, which upholds the historic Christian faith according to the Scriptures and the Reformation principle that the Bible, God's inspired and inerrant word, is the Church's only authority.