Dr. Darrell Bock, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and author of the new book "How Would Jesus Vote," believes that people on "both the left and the right cherry pick the Bible," saying that this dynamic has led to intense gridlock in contemporary politics.
"The title is provocative on purpose," he recently told The Church Boys podcast, explaining that the purpose of the book is to show how this intense cherry picking by both sides ends up getting in the way of "real political discussions" that need to be had.
"We have, in effect, tribalism going on in our politics right now," Bock said, promising to challenge "simple conclusions about complex issues."
While "How Would Jesus Vote?" focuses on the way in which individuals on both sides of the political spectrum choose to selectively present various issues, Bock did say that some topics like abortion are pretty clear, scripturally speaking.
"The Bible is very clear about the [sanctity] of life and the effort to protect life," he said.
In addition to abortion, the book will cover "racial conflict, economics, poverty, health care, immigration, gun control, foreign policy, war, education, sexuality ... and more."
Listen to Bock discuss Jesus and politics below:
The theologian bemoaned the breakdown in communication between the two major political parties that he said has intensified over the years.
"There used to be pretty solid negations that took place between the two parties," he said. "There are these relationship that exist that help people to talk their way through issues. We've lost that now."
When asked if there is a political party that appears to be more in-tune with the Bible, Bock explained that it really depends on which issue one is speaking about, noting that one party tends to spend more time dealing with the issue of poverty, while the other deals more intensely with the concept of human flourishing.
"What's happened in our country is we've become a politics of the flanks," Bock said. "We've got one end of the spectrum debating with one end of the spectrum."
As for the culture wars that have raged for decades, Bock said that he believes that "all that's done is push the sides away from each other," urging people to move from having the heart of a culture warrior to having one of an ambassador.
"The question is: can we have a society .... in which we do have discussions and I don't force you to bake a cake you don't want to bake?" he said. "Is there a way to civilly disagree with one another in the midst of having differences?"
Find out more about "How Would Jesus Vote" — which releases on May 17 — here.
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