In his blog for People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, writer Peter Montgomery has labeled Pastor Ralph Drollinger a Christian Nationalist, and in doing so has libeled him.
By its very definition, a Christian Nationalist supports the creation of a theocratic form of government, one which is under the control of the Church. Nowhere in Drollinger’s writings does he promote or even agree with Christian Nationalism, or any of its ugly cousins known by other names. In fact, he vehemently disagrees with such philosophies and has written a Bible study to address the biblical perspective of this issue, Better Understanding the Fallacy of Christian Nationalism.
If Drollinger does not harbor those motives, he is not, by definition, a Christian Nationalist. This has been pointed out to Montgomery, yet he persists in falsely labeling Drollinger as one.
A correction has been requested of Right Wing Watch, but Montgomery insists his reporting is fair and accurate because he mentions in his stories that Drollinger does not believe himself to be a Christian Nationalist, and because he provides links to Capitol Ministries website where people may read the Bible studies and decide for themselves. He further says he is simply disagreeing with Drollinger.
Capitol Ministries agrees that Montgomery has every right to disagree with Christian theology as understood and preached by Drollinger. However, by calling him a Christian Nationalist, Montgomery is accusing Drollinger, in essence, of treason, the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to overthrow the government.
This is not debating theology, it’s accusing Drollinger of a serious crime.
Where is the proof? Montgomery says it’s in Drollinger’s Bible studies.
In writing the Bible studies, Drollinger investigates Scripture to determine what the Word of God teaches about current issues such as racism, government spending, sexual sin, and capital punishment, among many other topics. Their purpose is to mature the Christian leader in his faith through a better understanding of God precepts on specific matters. Nowhere in these studies is there a charge to change the existing political system. In fact, many Bible studies teach the contrary.
By refusing to accept the acknowledged definition of Christian Nationalist and contorting it to another meaning entirely to fit his purposes, Montgomery is being neither fair nor accurate. He is falsely labeling Drollinger in an effort to silence a strong Christian voice because he doesn’t like what Drollinger preaches, where he preaches, and to whom he preaches.
A primary issue that Montgomery seems to not understand is that there is a major difference between teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to change the hearts of leaders, which is missionary work – and endeavoring to change the structure of existing governments, which is Christian Nationalism.
They are not the same, they are polar opposites, yet Montgomery blends the two.
He writes that by the very act of preaching a “very conservative brand of Christianity” Drollinger is trying to create Christian nations at home and abroad:
“According to Capitol Ministries, “Drollinger does not believe in Christian-run nations because that concept is not Biblical.”
“Really? The assertion that Drollinger “does not believe in Christian-run nations” is a remarkable one coming from a ministry whose purpose is to convert public officials around the globe to Drollinger’s “very conservative” brand of Christianity, with the apparent belief that having “righteous” Christians as lawmakers and judges will lead to policies that reflect his particular biblical worldview, and thus bless the nation.”
In interpreting missionary work as political take-over attempts and assigning ill-intent, Montgomery has greatly misrepresented the intentions of Evangelical Christians in general and Capitol Ministries and Drollinger in particular.
Montgomery fails to recognize, or perhaps he doesn’t understand that the foremost role of a missionary is to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, which is also the primary purpose of the Church. The work of missionaries has long been supported, respected, and embraced by society.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus Christ said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
This is the stated, open mission of Capitol Ministries – to reach the world’s leaders for Christ, teach them the Word of God, and help them mature in their faith.
Yes, the desire of Drollinger and Evangelical Christians alike is that many in the world, especially leaders, will embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that their heart-change will be reflected in the laws that they make. This is the hope of the Christian heart.
But resulting good government is the effect, not the goal. Drollinger is working to reach the hearts of individuals for Christ within existing government systems and without treasonous desires or plans to change their structures.
The Bible promises good governance when leaders embrace God’s precepts. Among many Scripture that teach this is Proverbs 29:2:
“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when a wicked man rules, people groan.”
To substantiate his claims that Drollinger is working to establish Christian nations, Montgomery quotes passages from his Bible studies that are certain to inflame the liberal heart of the Right Wing Watch donor. He writes:
“In his first written Bible study of 2018—he produces them weekly for public officials—he says, “Governments and their leaders must send a constant message that sin will be punished.” In another study he said that the Bible not only permits but requires the death penalty in some situations, writing, “as a lawmaker it is incumbent on you to stand for the death penalty.””
“In his January 23 study on the sinfulness of homosexuality, he concludes, “Legalizing same-sex ceremonies in any state is a very, very serious matter in the eyes of God … such ‘progressive thinking’ eventually evokes His wrath.” He tells public officials that not voting “pro-life” is “wrong according to the truths of scripture.” He says entitlement programs lack “any basis of biblical authority.””
“Drollinger may not believe that the Church should be running the country—he says he believes in institutional but not influential separation of church and state—but he clearly wants his kind of “righteous” Christians in positions of power. Once there, he says, they should not “compromise biblical absolutes in [their] policies or interactions with others.””
What Montgomery leaves out is that these passages are based upon Scripture, and by doing so, he gives the impression that they are Drollinger’s opinions when in fact, they are anchored in Biblical precepts.
Evangelical Christians believe the Bible is inerrant, current for today, and holds the answers for all of modern society’s problems. In these Bible studies, Drollinger is educating the Christian to what God’s Word says about specific societal issues.
By cautioning against compromising biblical absolutes, which most Evangelical Christians believe in, Drollinger is advising leaders to live what they profess to believe – a life according to God’s precepts – and to not yield on matters of principle.
This is how pastors teach. It is discipleship. It is fundamental Evangelical Christianity, and Drollinger has the background, the knowledge, and the experience to teach the Bible with authority, having earned a master’s degree in theology and spending decades studying Scripture.
Many misunderstandings about fundamental, conservative Evangelical Christianity may be why Montgomery continues to unfairly label Drollinger as a “Christian Nationalist” despite evidence to the contrary. But Montgomery himself may have revealed the true reason for his ongoing, unfair attacks. He wrote:
“Drollinger insists he is not a Christian nationalist. Others may draw a different conclusion from reading his writings, which we have linked to extensively and which Capitol Ministries, to their credit, makes freely available online.”
In other words, Montgomery feels his opinion of what Drollinger believes is more valid than what Drollinger says he believes. This is disingenuous at best.