Mark Dever – Liberty University Convocation – What the Bible and Jesus teach about human government

Mark Dever

Mark Dever – Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington D.C. speaking at Liberty University.

Mark 12:13-17

Paying Taxes to Caesar

13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances,[a] but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius[b] and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.

Too many people admire Jesus rhetorical dexterity here and miss what He is actually teachingThis is more than simply a clever answer. In this short answer, Jesus picked up a biblical theology of government  and He applied it to the new phase in the history of God’s people that Jesus Himself was commencing. And while it’s going to far to say that, here, Jesus’s statement established a wall of separation between Church and State, or made the state secular, I think, Jesus’s affirmation of paying taxes to the Roman government does show that a pagan state may be legitimate. Jesus looked at His followers and, speaking of Rome, He said, „Pay for it.”

I remember once being asked by a friend who is president of the Libertarian society at Cambridge University where I was studying in England, 20 years ago. He was asking me to give a Christian view on ‘does society need a state’? And so, I spent time and as I studied for that, I was impressed by what a deeply biblical thing human government is. Human government is not legitimate, fundamentally, because it controls the army and the police, kind of like ‘might makes right’. Human government is not legitimate, fundamentally, because it makes a social contract somewhere back in the mystical myth of time. Human government is not legitimate, fundamentally, because of an election. You know, vox populi, vox dei – The voice of the people is the voice of God. Human government is not legitimate, fundamentally, because of a marxist idea of inevitability or merely for economic necessity. Or some psychological need that we all need to be controlled.

Now, let’s think  for a moment what the Bible teaches about human government and put Jesus’s teaching here, in the larger context of what God has revealed. The story of government begins as soon as human history does, in the first chapter of the Bible. What we find there is that human government reflects God’s initial charge to fill the earth and subdue it… (Transcript from the first seven minutes, with aprox 35 min remaining from this message.

VIDEO by Liberty University

4 comentarii (+add yours?)

  1. Cristina
    feb. 18, 2016 @ 23:19:43

    De ce, atunci, crestinii folosesc statul pentru altceva decit pentru ce vrea Dumnezeu?

    • rodi
      feb. 18, 2016 @ 23:25:06

      trebuie ascultata toata predica … crestinii se cam feresc de a suporta statul, dar si el trebuie sa existe dupa principiile lui Dumnezeu. Nu stiu daca am mai auzit vreo predica despre acest subiect. Doar stiu ca Wayne Grudem a scris o carte despre crestinul si politica, adica, rolul crestinului in guvernarea unei natiuni.

      • Cristina
        feb. 18, 2016 @ 23:28:15

        Crestinii depind de stat mai mult decit de Dumnezeu. Creștinii doresc ca statul sa faca mai mult decit ii este permis de Dumnezeu. Nu se predica despre acest subiect pentru ca nu este popular. Cum sa spui unui crestin sa renunțe la toate ajutoarele sociale oferite de stat?

        O sa caut cartea, mulțumesc pentru informație.

        • rodi
          feb. 18, 2016 @ 23:34:01

          cu placere, Cristina,
          uite, aici un ‘book review’ de apologetul Michael Patton din (2010)
          Michael Patton
          September 12, 2010 ·
          Politics According to the Bible (Dan Wallace)

          I received in the mail last night a new book by Dr. Wayne Grudem, research professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary. Politics – According to the Bible is Grudem’s latest offering, published by Zondervan. It’s a thick book—weighing in at more than 600 pages.

          What I find fascinating in this book is that it is—that it exists. Conservative theologians don’t usually dive into politics with the fervor of their left-wing opponents (think seminary-trained, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Jim Wallis). To be sure, there are plenty of conservative Christians who speak and write about political life from the right—Chuck Colson, Marvin Olasky, Ann Coulter, Britt Hume, Cal Thomas, Kerby Anderson, to name a few. But these folks are not theologically trained; Mike Huckabee is (one year at Southwestern Baptist Seminary), but he’s the exception to the rule. But to have a full-fledged conservative theologian offer a serious volume on American politics is exceptional.

          Grudem has been for a long time an outspoken defender of conservative thought—both theologically and politically. He has impeccable credentials—Harvard BA, Westminster MDiv, Cambridge PhD. Many readers of this blogsite will recognize his name from his well-known and justly-revered Systematic Theology. Whatever else one wants to say about Grudem’s take on politics, he or she must wrestle with the fact that Grudem is a serious theologian who desires to ground his views in scripture at every turn. In other words, this is a book not to be taken lightly, not to be dismissed, not to be rejected as though it comes from a Fox News pundit.

          Grudem takes on the theological right-political left capably (for example, Jim Wallis is discussed or cited on 24 pages). Characteristic of his writing style, he is clear, forthright, and biblical. Grudem has been a lightning rod on numerous issues—the role of women in the church, the continuation of the gifts, and now conservative politics. I am interested in seeing the responses to this book. It no doubt will engender much heated debate. In the end, I hope that evangelical Christians will measure it against the Bible as our ultimate authority.

          From what I’ve read so far, I can tell you that this will be a fascinating read. It’s a book I would recommend to any Christian concerned about the state of American politics today, regardless of where he or she stands on the political continuum.

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