‘The Best Sermon on Christianity and Politics’

The Story: While preaching his way through the Gospel of Mark, Mark Dever came to that section where Jesus is questioned about paying taxes to Caesar (Mark 12:13-17).

Despite standing in a pulpit five blocks from the Capitol, Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., doesn’t often plunge into politics from the pulpit. He doesn’t believe that to be his calling. The text that September 2010 morning, however, demanded reflection on how believers should think about and relate to the political realm.

Collin Hansen, who attended the service, later wrote that it was “the best sermon I know on Christianity and government.” Likewise, Thabiti Anyabwile described it as “a biblical theology of Christians and the state, at once full of unction, intellectually challenging, and affecting the heart. I’ve heard a lot of Mark’s preaching, but I don’t know that I’ve ever heard him better.”

Dever offered three simple points from Mark 12:13-17. First, Christians are good citizens. Second, no earthly kingdom can be identified with God’s people. Third, Christians are finally accountable to God.

Why It Matters: With election day just around the corner, Dever’s message bears fresh relevance. By listening to the sermon and reading Hansen’s copious summary, you will be well served.

As Americans, it’s often helpful to be reminded that the epicenter of Christ’s kingdom is not located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And the purposes of God have never been thwarted at the hands of men—a streak that’s not about to end on November 6. Such a recognition isn’t quietism or escapism—just biblical Christianity.

President Obama and Governor Romney are, like you and me, feeble creatures of dust. They’re worthy of our honor (Eccl. 10:20; 1 Pet. 2:17), but never our hope.

So pay your taxes, choose your candidate, and cast your vote (politics does matter, after all), but do so as one whose trust is anchored in another world. As citizens of “a better country” (Heb. 11:16; cf. Phil. 3:20), we the people of the risen King await “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:13).

Whatever comes of our quadrennial sojourn to the ballot box, we can rest in the sovereign goodness of a Father who sits enthroned in the heavens and, with majesty and mystery, does whatever he pleases.

  • http://www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com Steve Cornell

    Good timing for a great line: “President Obama and Governor Romney are, like you and me, feeble creatures of dust. They’re worthy of our honor (Eccl. 10:20; 1 Pet. 2:17), but never our hope.”

  • tn

    Indeed it does matter whether or not we participate in government. Someone said “The dead are not raised by politics but the living are served and protected by it.” When we think of the war on the unborn in this country (and around the world), so true.

    • Mark


      But which party is fielding a candidate who is against killing the unborn in all cases?

      • Adam Hawkins

        Agree. And furhter, which candidate is against the slaughtering of born children (ie through drone attacks, etc.)?

      • http://randomremonstrances.blogspot.com/ Roger Patterson

        The Constitution Party is fielding a truly pro-life candidate. Remember that there are not simply two choices (in most states).

  • http://www.lambblood.com Rick Owen

    I love Mark Dever and appreciate his incisive and insightful ministry on many things. Good message — thanks for sharing!

    Homeschool pioneer and pastor-teacher, Gregg Harris, sketches out similar biblical outlines related to the Kingdom of God and our heavenly citizenship practiced on earth. This is a good follow up to Mark Dever’s message.


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  • tn

    then I suggest to those who don’t see any difference between the candidates position on abortion I would ask you to look up our president’s position on abortion and that of let’s say Paul Ryan.

    • mel

      I would vote for Paul Ryan if he were running for president but he isn’t.

  • john

    That a believer in the gospel can support income redistribution and infanticide is beyond belief.

  • Maria

    I remember hearing this sermon as a podcast. I listened to it two or three times at least, and I’m going to do it again. Thank you for posting this!

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  • Zachary Mccoy

    Tim Keller has a really helpful sermon on politics as well (an exposition of the same exact passage):


    • http://twitter.com/mattsmethurst Matt Smethurst

      Thanks, Zachary.

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