Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How Would Jesus Vote?, by Darrell Bock

If Jesus were walking the earth today, for whom would he vote for president?  That is, assuming he was in the U.S. and able to vote.  Assuming he even would vote.  On the one hand, we have a professing Christian who thinks it's OK to kill unborn babies.  On the other hand, we have a professing Christian who is married to his third wife and is not sure whether he needs to ask God for forgiveness.  Far be it from me to definitively determine whether someone else is a Christian or not, but, well, neither of these characters is very inspiring to me.

But what about Jesus?  In How Would Jesus Vote? Do Your Political Positions Really Align with the Bible?, Dallas Theological Seminary professor Darrell Bock looks at several policy areas and provides a solid, biblical discussion of each.  Does he tell us how Jesus would vote?  No.  Not at all.  What he does is help followers of Jesus to examine their political views in light of Jesus' teachings and the Bible as a whole.  His thoughtful examinations will challenge believers to think outside of party politics of left and right, and to think in terms of mutual respect and valuing human life.

Knowing that Bock teaches at Dallas Seminary, which is very conservative theologically, I expected his conclusions to lean to the right.  While his analysis is decidedly nonpartisan and leans on scripture, not party platforms, his conclusions have a much more Democratic than Republican flavor, tending toward the evangelical left.  On almost every issue, Bock comes down on the side of--no side.  "Be willing to listen."  "Sorting through competing concerns demands a civil and respectful conversation to find a way through."  "The to-and-fro of genuine debate and reflection with mutual respect is what we need."  "Lets' give space to conscience in how we resolve to live together in light of our differences. . . ."  Talking about how Jesus would have voted, Bock is talking about "having fruitful conversations that are helpful and in the right tone."

So voters looking for a "Jesus voters' guide" will be sorely disappointed in How Would Jesus Vote?  But voters seeking a thoughtful examination of hot-button political topics from a biblical perspective will be enriched.  Readers just need to be prepared to be challenged; it may be that Bock will shake up what you thought was the "Christian" position.  So, D or R?  God help us all.  I'm so glad the He is in control.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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