Rebuilding America: Evangelism on Capitol Hill - Part 2 (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Welcome, everyone, to Family Talk. It's a ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute, supported by listeners just like you. I'm Dr. James Dobson and I'm thrilled that you've joined us.

Roger Marsh: Well, welcome back to Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Really glad you've joined us today for part two and the conclusion of this classic conversation with our own Dr. James Dobson and his good friends, Danielle and Ralph Drollinger. They will be continuing the discussion about the work they are doing to serve political leaders around the world with their ministry, Capitol Ministries. As Danielle says, and I quote, "Good laws come from good hearts. Bad laws, from bad hearts." You may agree that we all want good laws. So how do we create good hearts? Well, the answer in part is by getting our political leaders to study God's Word. Danielle's journey in government really took off while working in California Senate and the state capital.

She then held a position at Focus on the Family, ministering alongside Dr. Dobson. Later, she went to work in Washington, DC. And in 1996, she co-founded Capitol Ministries with her husband, Ralph Drollinger. Ralph's background began in sports. He played basketball at UCLA for four NCAA Final Four tournaments back in the 1970s. He went to the NBA Draft three times, but felt led to play with Athletes in Action instead. AIA of course is an evangelistic basketball team that tours the world and shares the gospel. Later, Ralph signed with the Dallas Mavericks. He then went on to co-found Capitol Ministries with Danielle in 1996. Ralph and Danielle Drollinger both have a deep thirst for righteousness and a true calling to share God's Word with the world's political leaders. They really understand how important it is for Godly public servants to shape successful nations.

You know, one more thing to add, Capitol Ministries has recently expanded immensely. Their Senate and House Member Bible studies are continuing to grow, and here's some breaking news, they are also starting the first ever nationwide weekly Governor's Bible Study via Zoom. And something even more exciting, Capitol Ministries is now planting Bible study ministries into local governments in cities and counties all across the country, so good things are definitely happening there. I know Dr. Dobson would ask us to pray for Capitol Ministries and all governmental leaders in these challenging times. So with that let's go to today's program."

Dr. James Dobson: Well, Ralph and Danielle, we were talking about something very exciting at the end of the program, and that has to do with the spread of Capitol Ministries, your ministry, which is really Bible study and devotions for people in Congress and now in the White House. I think you said there are 11 members of the White House cabinet really. I mean, the Lord is blessing it. You're in the House of Representatives. You're in the Senate and in 42 states across the country. And you also told me when we were in my office a few minutes ago that you're international. How many countries are in it?

Ralph Drollinger: 24 federal capitals overseas.

Dr. James Dobson: How do you explain this? You guys started with nothing.

Ralph Drollinger: The Holy Spirit.

Danielle Drollinger: The Holy Spirit.

Dr. James Dobson: You don't look like a wealthy man. Where did the resources come to do all this?

Ralph Drollinger: Well, all those fundraising principles and money follows ministry, and Bill Bright used to tell me big visions inflame the hearts of men. So we've always found that God's work done in God's way does not lack for God's support, so we just keep pioneering, pushing the envelope. And then we watch Him grow our budget accordingly. It's just amazing. And we're not in debt. We never have been. But we never have a whole lot of extra. I'm sure it's like that for you.

Dr. James Dobson: I understand that. I understand that. Now assure me that you're not giving what we call thin soup to these people. Are you really giving them the unexpurgated gospel of Jesus Christ? You're not editing it. You're giving the Word of God to these folks.

Ralph Drollinger: Yeah. I have a seminary background of exegetical precision, as the seminary that I went to taught me to really think in terms of the Great Commission Jesus says, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And Paul, when in Book of Acts, he addresses the Ephesian Elders who come down to the port city of Miletus to visit him while he's hurrying back to Jerusalem. He says, "Elders, I did not ... " He started the Ephesian church, spent three years there. He says, "I did not shrink from declaring to the whole council of God." And so those two passages really inform my ministry philosophy that I need to be about the blocking and tackling every week of preparing a high protein diet, Word of God. That's not only exegetically drilled down deep, but has a custom application to the life of a public servant.

And when you do those two things, there's not a whole lot of stuff out there like it. And so we just came out for instance with 52 of my Bible studies. I wrote 52 eight page Bible studies per year, have done that for-

Dr. James Dobson: One a week, I'm holding one of them in my hand. It's unbelievable that you get that done.

Ralph Drollinger: So it's C-A-P-M-I-N, short for Capitol Ministries, is where you can subscribe and get through your email every week, or through our app, the actual Bible study that I'm going to be teaching in DC that week. And actually, these, to tell you the truth, are supplication to when I teach when they're there together. So when they're there together, we open the word. And right now, we're in the second chapter of James. We've been in James now for a year. We spent two years in the Sermon on the Mount prior to that.

Dr. James Dobson: Do you find hunger there?

Ralph Drollinger: Yeah.

Dr. James Dobson: Is there hunger in the leadership?

Danielle Drollinger: Yes.

Ralph Drollinger: Oh, absolutely. The fact that they'll sit there and let me teach without interrupting me. And hopefully I have something to say that I didn't say last week, so I have to do my homework and be prepared because they want a high protein diet. And the high protein diet builds spiritual musculature. So I'm all about expositing the word of God week in and week out, which is a tremendously disciplined life to do that.

Dr. James Dobson: Do you allow them to ask you questions?

Ralph Drollinger: No, not at all.

Danielle Drollinger: Yes.

Ralph Drollinger: And please don't interrupt me, Dr. Dobson.

Dr. James Dobson: You sound like a Bruin.

Ralph Drollinger: Typical Trojans, they're always interrupting me.

Dr. James Dobson: Danielle, what's your role in this?

Danielle Drollinger: A lot of administration, and there's a lot of new members that are women that Ralph would have no way of really intimately knowing and counseling and helping with them, and I'm able to do that. We have quite a few women in all three of the Bible studies.

Dr. James Dobson: Are you thrilled what what's taken place?

Danielle Drollinger: I love it. There's nothing better than watching a member actually digesting the word that you bring from the kitchen, unadulterated. Here's the meal.

Dr. James Dobson: Unexpurgated.

Danielle Drollinger: The there you go.

Dr. James Dobson: I know Bruins don't understand that word.

Ralph Drollinger: That's a good word, Dr. Dobson. I'm going to have to look that up.

Danielle Drollinger: We didn't know that word. Right.

Ralph Drollinger: See if you're using it right.

Danielle Drollinger: And to watch them eat that meal and then implement it in their life, there's nothing like that. We can't expect men and women in office to vote right if they reject the Author of the book that we live by. You just can't. You have to start at the heart of the matter, which is the heart of the man and the heart of the woman. Good laws come from good hearts. Bad laws come from bad hearts.

Ralph Drollinger: That's right. And the Word of God says of itself that it's living and active. And do we really believe that? If we really believe that it's living and active, then to write out a Bible study that not only we look at when we're all together in our respective physical Bible studies, but we can hand these out to thousands of other people. And we walk the halls every week and hand it out to 150 offices that ask for it within the Senate and the House.

Dr. James Dobson: You deliver them yourself?

Ralph Drollinger: Yeah. Then we deliver them electronically too. And I think in our worldwide ministry, we have over 50,000 people that read them in five different languages. We just started an Arabic translation because of all places, Capitol Ministries is going to Iraq because there's a pastor there that wants to be the ministry leader for Capitol Ministries in Baghdad because he's got all these parliamentarians in his church. And that's a long story, another radio program.

Dr. James Dobson: You've got four editions here that you brought in. This is really a compilation of these weekly Bible study materials.

Ralph Drollinger: So of the Bible studies I write every week for the members, I've chosen 52 of my favorites that I think are most pertinent to Christian world view development and put them in a four volume tome called Oaks in Office. And we hope that this becomes materials that a local layman in his own city would use to disciple a couple city council members.

Dr. James Dobson: How do they get it?

Ralph Drollinger: They go to, C-A-P-M-I-N dot O-R-G, and they can order it there. Or they can go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. But I think you'll find them scintillating. Do you know that word?

Dr. James Dobson: I'll work on that one.

Ralph Drollinger: But they're very much drilled down exegetically deep, but have a custom application to the specific life of a public servant. And so I'm hoping God will use these to make disciples in city government ministries throughout the nation, which America sorely needs because most of the guys in DC come from state capitals. And most of the guys in state capitals come from local city government. There's 40,000 incorporated cities in America. Virtually none have outposts for Christ. And so we're trying to utilize Oaks in Office as the fodder to develop disciples amongst the political people group as they emerge and start in their career path.

Dr. James Dobson: Danielle, are you proud of this man?

Danielle Drollinger: Oh, so proud. It's really fun to be in ministry with him and see what the Lord's doing by His grace.

Dr. James Dobson: Do you speak or meet with women's groups?

Danielle Drollinger: I haven't that much because we're traveling back and forth every week across the country.

Dr. James Dobson: That's not an excuse. You're good at it. Why wouldn't you do it?

Danielle Drollinger: I don't feel so good at it. But maybe someday, I'd like that.

Ralph Drollinger: We have been so busy with the start of all these ministries throughout the world that it's just been consuming.

Dr. James Dobson: I don't know how you do it, really, I don't.

Danielle Drollinger: Yeah. When your husband says, "Oh, honey, this weekend we're going to Ecuador," what do you do?

Ralph Drollinger: We just started a new ministry in Ecuador.

Danielle Drollinger: It's great.

Ralph Drollinger: And the American ambassador who's a believer is helping us with that. We've got a great Ecuadorian ministry leader. And the assistant to the speaker, the equivalent in their parliamentary system of their speaker, she's a strong believer and she just asked our ministry to come and start a ministry in the capital with all the members. So we're seeing that happen all over the world.

Dr. James Dobson: How about Romania? You told me you-

Ralph Drollinger: Yeah, we're in Romania. We're in Ukraine. We're about to start in Latvia. We have a new guy that we're bringing into the EU. He's going to be the ministry leader in Brussels. One week out of the month, they meet in Strasbourg, France, so you've got to be agile. And he's going to develop ministry amongst the 26 nation EU parliament in Brussels, and from there, be our regional director to start ministries in all the Western European federal capitals.

Dr. James Dobson: God is doing something here.

Ralph Drollinger: It's just wonderful. We can't keep up with it. But it really gets you up in the morning, just like I know you and your ministry, it just so invigorates you when you're doing what God's called you to do. There's nothing better. Is there?

Dr. James Dobson: There really isn't.

Danielle Drollinger: Nothing.

Dr. James Dobson: There's no greater thrill than winning somebody to Christ.

Ralph Drollinger: That's right.

Dr. James Dobson: Or helping to restore a family, a marriage, helping with parenthood. That's exhilarated me for 45 years, I guess. And it just never stops. But what you all are saying is that there is something going on here in the United States that we have not seen before, but it has an international flavor to it. To have the senior person, a secretary of these departments of government, I've never seen anything like that happen before. These are very, very busy people.

Ralph Drollinger: Well, we meet at 7:00 AM on Wednesday mornings because they hardly sleep. You get to that level, you're probably this way too, you don't sleep a lot when you have a lot of responsibility. And I think it's the Holy Spirit enablement. And so we see members coming to the cabinet Bible study 15 minutes early. They'll get there if we're not set up, and we have to because of ethics, we have to serve them with Capitol Ministries china and silverware, and Capitol Ministries buys all the food because we don't want government support and we don't want to use the staff of the government to do that even before hours of employment. And so we have to confine to ethics, but we find if we're not set up in time, they're there before we're set up because they just want to fellowship with one another.

But it's an interesting dimension. It's more so with the White House Cabinet than even the Senate or the House, and that's because the White House Cabinet, because a lot of their confirmations and their department heads haven't occurred because of stoppages in the Senate. They're the only believer in their whole department, and so the only time they get solace from one another, from other believers, is at the Cabinet White House Bible study. So they show up early just to fellowship with one another. And sometimes we have to kind of kick them out and tell them to go to work because they really enjoy one another's company.

Dr. James Dobson: I'm going to ask you a provocative question. Without being overtly political about it, talk about what you're seeing with President Trump. You think he's growing spiritually?

Ralph Drollinger: I do.

Dr. James Dobson: He is ... Just take a run at that without-

Ralph Drollinger: I don't want to divulge pastoral confidentiality, but he writes me back notes on my Bible studies quite often.

Dr. James Dobson: Does he really?

Ralph Drollinger: And they're really great notes of encouragement to me. And he says, "I really enjoyed this Bible study." And this happened to be one I remember. It's called "Are You a Tritutionalist or a Pentetutionalist?" And I won't go into that. That's a whole nother half hour. But basically, he likes the Pentetutional view of God's-

Dr. James Dobson: Does he know that word?

Ralph Drollinger: He does now. I could teach it to you, too, even though you're from USC. I think you'll catch on. But anyway, basically relates to how God mediates His reign through five institutions today, one being government, one being the church, one being the family, you're familiar with that, one being commerce, and the other being marriage. And I can go into that, but I have a whole Bible study on that. And it really helps, if I can only teach one Bible study for one hour to a person, especially the president, it would be that Bible study. And Trump wrote me back on that one, saying how much he likes it because it helps you to think clearly through difficult issues.

Dr. James Dobson: I would like you all to give me and give us your vision, best case, for America.

Ralph Drollinger: Wow. You want to go first, honey?

Dr. James Dobson: Have you been asked that question before?

Danielle Drollinger: No. No one has.

Dr. James Dobson: I bet you've thought about it.

Danielle Drollinger: To see men and women, disciples in Christ, running for office at every level, and that seasoning their institutions, whether it be the state level, the county level, the city level, or government at the highest levels.

Ralph Drollinger: I would add to that a quote that I think codifies the answer to that in my heart. Earl Radmacher, the past president of Western Theological Seminary in Portland, Oregon, a good Baptist school seminary up there, he once said, and I've always remembered this from my college days, "Right actions begin with right thinking. And right thinking begins with thinking right about God." So how can you expect right actions in terms of the course of a nation unless your nation's leaders think right? And how can you expect them to think right if they don't know the word of God? And we're in a Biblically illiterate America, increasingly so. And so if we don't get our best Bible teachers on the campuses rubbing shoulders with not only our present, but our up and coming political leaders, it's all for naught. Making America great again will soon be reversed. There has to be a spiritual dimension to this, and it comes through the church doing its job of teaching the Word of God to political leaders. And so that's what Capitol Ministries is all about.

Dr. James Dobson: You and Danielle were talking earlier about your views on the Apostle Paul's ministries. Speak to that.

Ralph Drollinger: Well, it's interesting when you survey the Book of Acts, first of all, the Apostle Paul was ordained by Christ for ministry or converted. In Acts nine, we call it the Damascus Road Experience, Acts chapter nine. It's interesting to see that He blinds, Jesus blinds Saul, and then He sends a surrogate messenger named Ananias to go to Saul to explain why he's been physically blinded. And in Act 9:15, Jesus says, "Go, Ananias, for he, Saul, is a chosen instrument of mine to declare my glory before the house of Israel and kings and the gentile nations." So if you pick up on that one specificity of Basileus and the Greek kings, and you trace that forward from Acts nine, you see that Paul basically on the three missionary journeys, goes to capital cities. 14 of the 18 cities that he planted churches in on the three missionary journeys were capital cities. And Luke, who's writing the Book of Acts, recording all this, of the 14 individual conversions that are recorded in the Book of Acts, nine of them are politically related people.

Dr. James Dobson: Really?

Ralph Drollinger: Yeah.

Danielle Drollinger: Yeah.

Ralph Drollinger: And if that's not enough, who is Luke writing Acts to? And who does Luke write the gospel of Luke to? To most excellent Theophilus. And we know from our Greek thesaurus that basically, most excellent in the Greek means a political leader. So he's writing Luke and Acts to convert one political leader to Christ. And if you do a word count because Luke is kind of a doctor who's long-winded, not that all doctors are long-winded, he basically, if you take a word count of Luke and Acts together, it's one third of the total word count of the New Testament. So you could reason that one third of the total New Testament word count is written to influence one political leader to come to Christ. And so I say theologically that the key to the Great Commission, the key even as it says in 1 Timothy 2: How are you going to have a nation that's really on the right track? It's to convert political leaders and to build them to Christ.

Dr. James Dobson: And to pray for those in authority over us.

Ralph Drollinger: That's right. First of all, then, which is [foreign language 00:19:33], first of importance, Timothy, Pastor Timothy, is that you pray prayers, and we know from verse four, evangelistic prayers, for kings and those who are in authority, so that, and this is called the Hina clause in the Greek, if you pray evangelistically for political leaders, in order that the Hina clause, you may live a tranquil and quiet life in all Godliness and dignity. And that's a here and now promise. If you want to make American great again, the Biblical formula is to evangelize political leaders because God's Word promises us that if we evangelize and disciple political leaders, which Paul Acts 9:15 was called to do, and we see him carry out that calling in the proceeding chapters of the Book of Acts, then that's the way you create a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity in the here and now.

Dr. James Dobson: What do you say to the pastors out there who say, "Politics is dirty, and we have the separation of church and state, and I really don't want anything to do with what happens in politics or those political leaders"? And how do you link what you just said with this aversion to it?

Ralph Drollinger: I would say this. Well, Mr. Pastor out there, if you just heard what I said, that is that Paul was evangelizing political leaders. Why in the world are you not doing so also? The key to your city's future, the key to your state's future, the key to our national future is for you to start discipling political leaders. And that's what 1 Timothy 2 says is the key to a successful nation. And of course, that has nothing to do with eternal ramifications of God's kingdom, which we're all about primarily. But if you want effect for the here and now, then be about getting outside the walls of your church and go down to city hall, find a couple city council guys that you can win to Christ and start maturing them in the faith. And then buy Oaks in Office, which will give you probably two years of really good Bible study specifically related to them to mature them in Christ.

Dr. James Dobson: One of the most important things Martin Luther King wrote was Letters from a Birmingham Jail, sent to government in essence. So there's something a little weird about this unwillingness to be influential in the culture.

Ralph Drollinger: Even look parallel to Philippians. At the end of Philippians, Paul, he sets up Prison Epistles. He's gone up the peninsula of modern day Italy. And we know from Acts to witness to Cesar. Cesar doesn't come to Christ. But the other people of Cesar's household did. It says the brethren of Cesar's household greets you also. So he was about his Acts 9:15 commissioning to the end, where he's reaching kings and those who are in authority.

Danielle Drollinger: And Dr. Dobson, I would challenge pastors to read through the Bible, Genesis to Revelation, and look at the heart of God when it comes to kings. It's consistent all the way through.

Dr. James Dobson: He sets them up, doesn't He?

Danielle Drollinger: Yes.

Dr. James Dobson: Give your website where people can contact you, or help you, or get these weekly Bible studies.

Ralph Drollinger: Yeah. They can get these Bible studies and pray, and not only study for your own edification, but pray that these would be adhered to by the life of our public servants throughout the nation. And it's at That's capmin, short for Capitol Ministries, That's all the address you need.

Dr. James Dobson: God be with you guys.

Ralph Drollinger: Thank you.

Danielle Drollinger: Thank you, Dr. Dobson.

Roger Marsh: Wow. Well, Ralph Drollinger just presenting the task for all of us to evangelize our local public servants. One of the most important steps we can take in the pursuit of changing the hearts of our leaders is in prayer. You've been listening to Family Talk, and that was the conclusion of a classic two-part conversation Dr. James Dobson had with Ralph and Danielle Drollinger. I'm Roger Marsh, and I hope you've enjoyed the discussion over these past couple of days. If you'd like to learn more about the work of Capitol Ministries, by the way, be sure to visit our website at Again that's

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