Weak teaching from American church pulpits, a counterfeit religion posing as Christianity that massacres the gospel, and believers misunderstanding politics and the Bible on a grand scale — Ralph Drollinger didn’t hold back on the Frank Sontag show last week.
Ralph Drollinger, President and Founder of Capitol Ministries, discussed believers and politics and the failings of the American church among other topics, during an hour-long interview with Frank Sontag on his popular Los Angeles, CA drive-time talk show Friday, Dec. 18 that is aired on 99.5, KKLA.
This story is in question and answer format and has been edited for clarity and space considerations. For the verbatim discussion, listen to the full interview here.
Sontag: Tell the listeners about Capitol Ministries.
Drollinger: Capitol Ministries exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ in the political arena throughout the world.
We’ve been at it twenty-four years. Danielle and I started in the California Capitol building relationships with elected public servants, having Bible studies with them, trying to mentor them in their personal lives and impute the Word of God so they would begin to think biblically not only personally but professionally. We franchised in other state capitols much like CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) on college campuses, planting ministries with our best Bible teachers to who are equipped to share Christ not only evangelistically, but to teach verse by verse the whole counsel of God.
Today we face on a national level, the fallout of a secular world view that everyone does what is right in his own eyes rather than what 2 Corinthians 10:5 teaches, to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Ten years ago Danielle and I went to Washington, D.C. and started a ministry to members of the House of Representatives. Some of those guys got elected to the Senate, so in 2015 we started a separate ministry to the Senate. When President Donald Trump was elected, some of those guys were appointed to the Cabinet, so four years ago we started a Cabinet Bible Study and just this year we started a White House Senior Staff Bible Study. I teach four studies in D.C. and run the ministry. We have started ministries in 43 U.S. state capitols and 24 foreign federal capitols.
Some people say there hasn’t been a cabinet study for 100 years, I don’t know if that is accurate. We have a really good following and I think it is Vice President Mike Pence who started choosing all these strong believers to be in the Cabinet. It’s a shame if this all goes away. I’m praying it won’t. If not, maybe Trump and all his cabinet members will come back in four years when we have paper ballots.
Sontag: President Trump is making grumblings that if this doesn’t turn around, he may run again. In our previous hour, listeners called in and talked about election tampering and fraud. My position is if we can’t ensure free and fair elections, we are setting a dangerous precedent here. I’m all for hashing this out, but I even hear from Christians who say, “It’s time to move along. Trump is not a Christian; he has horrible character and on and on and on and on.”
Drollinger: I don’t buy that simply because in the wisdom literature in Proverbs, Solomon says to his son Rehoboam, who would be the next leader of Israel, where there are no oxen the manger is clean, but remember this, much increase comes through the strength of the ox (Proverbs 14:4). The fact is, we are in a fallen world and everyone has character deficiencies. If you live in a fish bowl like the White House those weaknesses are in clear view especially when you are being hounded by the media.
So I don’t think those issues are especially theological.
God created five institutions on earth. Government is just one of them and that institution doesn’t have, exegetically speaking, a litmus test as to character qualifications for holding office.
Certainly, 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 give quite a litmus test for those elevated to church leadership. But you don’t see that in the Bible for the state. What you do see in the New Testament is that God’s purpose for the state is to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. Or, as it says in Romans 13:4, government does not bear the sword for nothing.
And so suffice it to say if God’s purpose for the state is to punish evil, or be a moralizing force in a fallen world, which is actually a form of restraining grace when you think of it. Who can best do what God ordained that institution to do should be your choice for president.
As Systematical Theologian Wayne Grudem points out, that doesn’t mean there is no floor board for character, but the bar is not set as high for character qualifications as it is church leadership.
Sontag: So what does it say about those of us who are Christians who don’t examine the biblically positions and policies that these administrations affirm or deny?
Drollinger: Matthew 7:16 says you will know them by their fruit.
To be objective, not political, you have to say, what is the fruit of each party platform? Which one measures up biblically better than the other? What candidate will best manifest biblical precepts vs. the secular precept of every man doing what is right in his own eyes?
And when you start thinking through that lens, I don’t see how you can possibly vote for the Democrat platform no matter who represents it just because it is so foul biblically.
Sontag: Capitol Ministries has been in the cross hairs of the media.
Drollinger: Yes, often, just because we stand on “thus sayeth the Lord.” It’s not my opinion, I’m just trying to be a good waiter bringing the meal out from the Chef’s kitchen. If the media want to eat it or not is up to them, but I’m not going to change the diet on the way out of the kitchen.
Sontag: Is this an indictment of the western church and, in a sense, many years of getting away from the true doctrine? Now we’ve got progressive Christianity, Theological Liberalism infiltrating the church and people think they are Christians, but they look to the Bible and they think well, this was written 2000 years ago, maybe it doesn’t apply so much today.
Drollinger: Yes, I think you are really on to something there. You’ve seen my studies, I have quite a few on Theological Liberalism and what it is and that it is not Christianity whatsoever.
For example, Raphael Warnock who is running against Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Georgia, he is just a rank apostate. He is a theological liberal.
I guess the best way to explain the difference between the real thing and the false thing is to look through the lens of J. Gresham Machen, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary 120 years ago. He and his colleagues left Princeton when the school went into Theological Liberalism and they founded Westminster Theological Seminary. J. Gresham Machen was the main person standing up against the wide-spread ingestion of Theological Liberalism in the American church, especially our mainline protestant seminaries. Prior to that, mainline seminaries had a high view of Scripture.
There were a lot of confluences that theological liberals use, one was supposedly a lack of biblical archaeology to support the Scriptures and another was called higher criticism which questioned the legitimacy of evidence for the manuscripts.
These confluences came together and they powerfully formed a view that basically is not biblically in any of its doctrines. They have a different view of Christ, that He is not salvific, He is just a good person, a humble humanitarian. They have a different view of sin, that it is ecological or environmental, and not really personal, and on and on. So J. Gresham Machen says at the end of the war that Theological Liberalism has nothing in common with Christianity, much like Confucianism or Hinduism or Muhammadanism, that it is a totally different religion. But the problem, he says, is it claims the same name — Christianity — and therein lies the huge confusion.
When you look today, almost to the person in D.C. where I have ministered for 10 years, anyone who names the name of Christ and is a Theological Liberal in their understanding of biblical precepts is pretty much a Democrat. And anyone who holds to a high view of Scripture, in the inerrancy of Scripture, which is the watershed issue of all doctrine, is probably a Republican. That is almost true to the person. I have some Democrats in my Bible studies, but very few, and there are very few who would digest the Democrat platform and yet say they have a high view of Scripture because Scripture is not informing their political views.
Sontag: I want to share a story and I’m looking for feedback. I have no agenda here, but before the elections I started tracking pastors. I received one email in the aftermath and it was something I suspected. The email said, “My pastor said, ‘I know good Christians who are going to vote for Donald Trump and I know good Christians who are going to vote for Joe Biden. As a pastor of a church, I’m not to take a political position, I’m just here to share the gospel.’” That said, what do you think of the Christian who believes he is supposed to be political illiterate or not even involved because Capitol Ministries is just the opposite of that.
Drollinger: The Scriptures should inform every area of your life and especially how you vote.
The Scriptures inform me that I should love my wife, the Scriptures inform me that I should not rob banks and so on. If you say the Scriptures don’t inform you relative to your vote, you are not being true to having biblical discernment, especially if you are in a pulpit ministry.
The problem I think, Frank — and let’s just get to the nuts and bolts of this.
Sontag: Yes, please do!
Drollinger: The problem is we built these megachurches in America which, when you look at the book of Acts, I don’t think is biblically normative. When you build a building that comes with a $50,000 electric bill every month, you get trapped and you can’t all of a sudden start taking sides as a pastor and lose half your congregation and expect the whole boat to float.
And I think that is a problem with the basic construct of the church today. When we get to about 200 people, we should be looking to start another church and consider who in that 200 would make a good pastor. Or maybe start home churches. I am becoming increasingly disenchanted with megachurches because they tend to become trapped in not preaching the whole counsel of God because convictions cost something.
Sontag: Is the western church in trouble?
Drollinger: Oh yeah. We are almost dissolute now.
The church is not influencing culture, culture is influencing the church. It is a sad, sad day in the American church that we don’t have more gumption.
The very fact of what we are talking about it illustrates that.
It is so clear when you look at what Scripture says about prolife or homosexuality or all these major issues that are mediated every day. If you can’t see those issues through the lens of Scripture, then it says something about those who are teaching you or lacking in teaching you.