And God Is Also...
God is not just interested in "spiritual" things. He's interested in everything. God is also not just interested in "his" people. He's interested in everyone.
And God is also not just a God of mercy and compassion. He's a God of justice, too.
Of course, God is full of mercy and compassion, "the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:6).
But this is just one facet of God. We must also wrestle with the fact that
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked (Psalm 146:7-9).
This is an equally valid description of the kind of God he is.
So, we're called to become increasingly more and more like him. That means we should become more and more merciful and compassionate. It also means we should be more and more concerned with justice and fairness for those who are marginalized in our world.
And I'm not just talking about us as individuals. And I'm not just talking about us as churches.
I'm talking about a corporate, federal, governmental level as well.
Have you ever read the Book of Amos? This Old Testament prophet from the southern kingdom was sent to his northern cousins with a blistering message of judgment (Amos 2:4-8. But before he delivers it, he pronounces God's judgment on the surrounding nations (Amos 1:3-2:3). He criticizes Syria -- as a nation -- for their cruelty. He criticizes the Philistines for the practice of slavery. He criticizes Tyre for breaking their treaty. He criticizes the Edomites for their hostility. He criticizes Ammon for war crimes. He criticizes the Moabites for desecrating the bones of a neighboring king.
Each of these criticisms was made against a nation for actions taken by their governments.
Have you ever read the Book of Nahum? It contains a message of judgment for the people of Ninevah -- not just because they were enemies of God's people (Nahum 1:9ff; 2:2ff) -- and not just because they practiced idolatry (1:14). The city of Ninevah was a "city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims" (3:1). The government itself had become corrupt, so God says, "I am against you" (2:13; 3:5).
Now, if we believe that God isn't just concerned with "spiritual" things but with everything -- and we believe that God isn't just concerned with "his" people but with everyone -- and we believe that God isn't just concerned with offering mercy and compassion to people but ensuring justice and fairness on individual, corporate and national levels -- why would we think Christians absolutely shouldn't be involved in politics?