WASHINGTON, DC – Since CBN News broke the story that members of President Donald Trump's cabinet are gathering weekly to pray and study the Bible, the pastor who leads them has come under attack. Now he's responding to claims he says are blatantly false.
Ralph Drollinger believes the attack originates from a grave misunderstanding of what's being taught, or perhaps even something simpler.
"Maybe it's because Christians are gaining some new turf, maybe that's the bottom line of it all," Drollinger tells CBN News.
Drollinger, the founder of Capitol Ministries, and one of the most influential pastors in America, has been on the receiving end of a number of personal and professional attacks since CBN News first reported in July about his newest Bible study in Washington.
The attacks include labeling Drollinger as a "Christian Nationalist," or someone who wants to establish Christian dominion over government, creating a Christian theocracy that replaces civil law.
Drollinger says that's blatantly false.
Synonyms for Christian Nationalism, he says, are "Christian Dominionists," Christian Reconstructionists," and "Christian Theonomists."
"Jesus and the apostles never talk about constructing Christian nations, they're about building the kingdom of God," says Drollinger.
He's just released an 11-page Bible study called "Better Understanding the Fallacy of Christian Nationalism" to offer clarity.
"Dominionism and Christian reconstructionism, theonomy is very frightening to the secularist and rightfully so, but since we're not trying to change the form of government, we're just trying to build men and women in Christ - they have really no founding in their fears," he says.
Drollinger leads the cabinet members in a verse by verse study of the Bible and also gives them a lesson he personally writes each week. All of his Bible studies are available on Capitol Ministries' website.
The weekly gathering has attracted the ire of some atheists who filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the agencies run by the cabinet members who attend to find out if government resources are being used for the Bible study or if staff is being coerced into attending.
Drollinger says those are reasonable concerns, but completely unfounded.
"We actually meet before the workday starts at 7 AM and staff aren't invited, so no staff are being coerced to come to a Bible study, it's certainly at your own will that any cabinet member show up," he explains.
Ethics rules cap gifts for cabinet members at $10 and Drollinger says he's very careful to keep the cost of any food or beverages he provides under the cap.
The fact that the cabinet Bible study has raised so many eyebrows is surprising given that less than two miles down Pennsylvania Avenue both the House and Senate open each session with prayer, both houses employ taxpayer-funded chaplains and Drollinger leads weekly Bible studies with members of both chambers – something he's done for years.
In fact, Drollinger personally thinks taxpayers shouldn't be the ones footing the bill for the chaplains and their staffs.
"I really think 501C3's should pay for all the ministry duties on the capitol campus," he says.
He adds false labels of "Christian Nationalism" against him and others are simply an effort to marginalize Christian leaders.
"I think that if you can get the voting populace to fear that the White House cabinet members, there being so many Christians, they're meeting behind closed doors every week to have Bible study and that they're plotting a Christian overthrow of the country - creates fear in the voting populace," he says, "But I can go on record saying we're not doing that whatsoever. We're just trying to build men and women in Christ like character and then they carry that character into their vocation."
"We stand for all religions to be able to compete with one another for the souls of men and we have no problem with that," he concludes.