Part I: Building a Scriptural Foundation for Effective Public Service
Part II: Scriptural Authority
Part III: Godliness in Public Service
Part IV: Building Biblically Based Convictions about Today’s Issues
Part V: The Public Servant: An Evangelist to His Colleagues
Part VI: Sustaining Effectiveness in Office
Foreword by Mike Huckabee
Staying true to one’s faith and following Jesus Christ is difficult enough, but to do it while serving in the shark-infested waters of public office requires the help and encouragement of mentors whose only agenda is to provide spiritual counsel in total confidence. Ralph Drollinger is not a household name and that’s the way he likes it. Although he walks and talks with the most powerful men and women in the nation and leads three separate weekly Bible Studies for Members of the White House Cabinet, Senate, and House in Washington, he does it behind the curtain so as to protect the confidence of those he ministers to.
Drollinger’s new book, Oaks in Office, gives the reader a glimpse into what can make a powerful person yield to Christ and seek to live with integrity and honor. But you don’t have to be a White House Cabinet Member, Senator, Congressman, or a Governor to be blessed by Oaks in Office. Jump headfirst into this great series and get a blessing intended for rulers, but applicable to all.
— Mike Huckabee, AR Gov 1996–2007, Author, Host of Huckabee on TBN
As laborers in glass houses, Public Servants are often intimidated into hiding their faith under a bushel. Sadly, this is dishonoring to our Lord, who has enlarged our borders for opportunities to influence. Sad, because it diminishes our ability to communicate the reason for the faith, hope, and love that is hopefully flowing from us to those who watch us. Ralph Drollinger’s Oaks in Office: Biblical Essays for Political Leaders provides a road map whereby men and women come to understand the role and responsibility we have as believers in the public arena. His deep-dive studies, born of years of Biblical studies and interface with Public Servants at all levels, teach us how to become more effective missionaries, irrespective of partisanship or political views, in our own sphere of influence. I can unequivocally recommend Oaks in Office to those who want to know more about how a Christ follower can be true to their Lord while being effective in their public duties.
— SONNY PERDUE FORMER GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA
Oaks in Office is a wonderful gift from Ralph Drollinger, who has dedicated much of his life to Public Servants who wish to maintain and enhance their faith and character while navigating the often complex landscape of government life. It is a scholarly yet easily understood tome with great lessons for everyone.
— DR. BENJAMIN S. CARSON SR., MD
I was a successful Eagle Scout because a Scoutmaster guided me through the Boy Scouts of America manual. I was a proficient Air Force pilot because an instructor taught me how to use a checklist. Ralph Drollinger is my life instructor, leading me and many other Public Servants through the most important checklist in history. Capitol Ministries’® work delving into Biblical truths is creating mighty Oaks in Office around the world. I suppose Ralph’s figurative cultivation, fertilization, and watering is making him the equivalent of a Biblical Johnny Appleseed!
— RICK PERRY FORMER GOVERNOR OF TEXAS
The political noise in our nation’s capital can often distract us from what’s really important. Ralph Drollinger’s Oaks in Office, and the Bible study Ralph and Danielle lead every week, help keep us focused on God and His direction.
— U.S. SENATOR DAVID PERDUE, GA
Oaks in Office works through the difficult issues and the awesome responsibility of representing Him while holding public office. From the basic question, should believers be involved in politics? to informing public policy with Biblical principles, to practical issues involved with living a public life, Oaks in Office gives thought-provoking insights.
— U.S. SENATOR WILLIAM CASSIDY, LA
The best hour of my week is the Senate Bible Study. In a world starved for truth, we desperately need more Oaks in Office. I’m grateful for Ralph and Danielle’s faithfulness to do just that.
— U.S. SENATOR STEVE DAINES, MT
Praying for those in authority is a Biblical mandate, just like the mandate to make disciples. There is no question that it is easier to pray for a leader than it is to help him become a disciple. This book is about the tough and joyous work of making disciples of all nations and the leaders of those nations. When leaders have a solid Biblical core, their family, community, and decisions are forever changed.
— U.S. SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD, OK
Elected Public Servants have been given a great responsibility and charge—to care for their fellow man. Whether a first-time member of the county livestock board or the United States House of Representatives, the tasks and challenges that arise can seem daunting. As Ralph Drollinger proclaims throughout Oaks in Office, grounding in the truth of God’s Word and teachings builds a deep-rooted foundation that will stand up to the most challenging of days and events in office. Through the studies contained within Oaks in Office, Drollinger teaches that a deep understanding and relationship with God is an asset unlike any other. It provides counsel in times of need, joy and motivation in times of great distress. In an ever-increasingly convoluted world, Drollinger’s framework grounds and guides development not only as a Christian, but also as a Public Servant.
— STEVE PEARCE U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, NM, 2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
I am deeply appreciative of Ralph Drollinger for the insights he offers in Oaks in Office. He eloquently writes that ministering to those in public service is not only about evangelizing, but also about the continued individual spiritual growth for those called to serve. Spiritual growth is always a journey. The special circumstances and challenges that face Public Servants require nurturing, similar to that which allows a fragile acorn to one day become a mighty oak. Such reflections of personal growth through study and prayer are found in Drollinger’s Oaks in Office.
— GLENN “GT” THOMPSON U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, PA, 5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Ralph Drollinger’s Oaks In Office is a must read for any Public Servants, especially those who believe that faith and freedom are inextricably linked. I have sat under Ralph’s spiritual mentorship for most of the last eight years, and his unique ability to show how God’s Word speaks to the many intricate policy issues facing America today has served to inform my work as a Member of Congress. From what the Bible says about basic human rights, to the characteristics of true leaders, to national security, to mundane policy issues like budgets, taxes, and formulating laws, his insights remind me that faith and freedom do, indeed, go hand in hand. I commend Oaks In Office to any Public Servant who truly desires to positively influence the cities, states, nations, and world around us in a Godly manner.
— BILL JOHNSON U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, OH, 6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Ralph Drollinger is the best Bible teacher I’ve studied with, and I’ve been blessed with many great teachers over three and a half decades as a Christian. Studying the Bible with Ralph and his wife, Danielle, is the highlight for me every week when I’m at the United States Capitol. Paul told the Corinthians that he gave them “milk” and not “solid food” when he ministered to them. Ralph never serves milk in his studies but delivers a huge serving of steak! I say this literally as he does serve us steak each week, but more importantly, his Bible studies are the most spiritually and intellectually challenging I’ve participated in. For starters, while I can listen and understand some five-syllable words, he speaks them fluently and with the utmost precision. I know the book Oaks in Office will help many elected and appointed political leaders grow in their faith in Christ and will make better disciples in our national and state capitals. We need more lights shining bright and more ambassadors for Christ in government, and Oaks in Office will help many of our leaders get off the milk diets and eating solid foods!
— DON BACON U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, NE, 2ND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Public Servants are uniquely positioned to influence culture, both through legislation and as they live their lives under the microscope of public scrutiny. Ralph Drollinger understands the pressures and challenges facing public officials. Over the years, Ralph has offered consistent encouragement and spiritual insight through his Bible studies, counsel, and prayer. Ralph has gained great esteem and respect from elected officials all over the U.S. and indeed all over the world. I pray that Oaks in Office will be used to bring a spiritual reawakening to those in public office, and that Public Servants might be a part of rejuvenating the heart and soul of the United States of America.
— DOUG LAMBORN U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, CO, 5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
I appreciate Ralph Drollinger and Capitol Ministries®. The Bible studies go in depth on issues we as legislators face daily; always referring back to the foundational principles contained in the Scriptures. And for this I am grateful.
— MIKE MORRELL MEMBER OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE SENATE, 23RD DISTRICT
Our nation was built upon the Word of God. Our founders and the people they governed understood they must be led by godly people, who while imperfect themselves, strived to build a country based on God’s perfection. Today, in a country where God’s Word is under constant attack, we need mighty Oaks to serve in all levels of government. Men and women of courage and commitment who will stand for the principles and values our nation was founded upon. Ralph Drollinger’s book, Oaks in Office, clearly lays out who is needed and what is needed to guide our nation to greatness so we can be the light of the world that God intended us to be. Matthew 20:26
— DAN PATRICK LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, TX
From the perspective of a city councilman who is somewhat controversial because I stand up for “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (property rights),” this book should be mandatory reading. Knowing that God is the originator of property rights, and not government and not a majority of voters, allows me to stand firm against what I refer to as the noisy minority. Imagine if people couldn’t keep the fruits of their labor, or if your neighbors could decide whether you could remodel your kitchen! Knowing God’s design for government is what Oaks in Office is all about. Every Office Holder ought to have this book.
—SCOTT PEOTTER CITY COUNCILMAN, NEWPORT BEACH, CA
The Great Commission is all about making disciples in all nations. God has used Ralph Drollinger and Capitol Ministries® to provide a strategic initiative to infiltrate all the world capitals with an exciting disciple-making ministry. Oaks in Office provides national ministries in these capitals with significant resources to make disciples among the Public Servants in capitols around the world.
— PAUL CEDAR PAST EXECUTIVE CHAIR, LAUSANNE MOVEMENT
Oaks in Office provides a Biblically grounded expression for Public Servants to be salt and light in the public square. It is a guidebook for all who have a passion to expand Christ’s kingdom and to further the public good. Ralph Drollinger has tested and integrated these Biblical truths so they can be applied in the halls of Congress, the steps of the Capitol, and even the gathering places in your home. I pray for the courage of public leaders to read, examine, and engage in living out the challenges of this book, for the good of all and the glory of God.
— TOM DE VRIES PRESIDENT/CEO, WILLOW CREEK ASSOCIATION
Evangelical pastors as a whole have largely overlooked the importance of building effective ministries that disciple local government leaders for Christ. With over 40,000 local governments in America we need to birth ministries similar to what Youth for Christ and CRU are doing on high school and college campuses. If we are to truly “Make America Great Again,” initiating these kinds of outposts is essential. Statistics indicate that most of our political leaders in state capitals and Washington D.C. were once city council members. In Oaks in Office Ralph Drollinger provides an invaluable tool to equip pastors and laymen with pertinent Bible studies to initiate discipleship ministries with those serving in local government. I highly recommend this excellent resource.
— DR. ROBERT JEFFRESS SENIOR PASTOR, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, DALLAS, TX; BIBLE TEACHER ON PATHWAY TO VICTORY
Isaiah 61:3 says, “… So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Our country may have many issues today that need immediate attention, but we do have one huge advantage: followers of Christ occupying governmental positions that provide opportunities to make a positive difference in our society. If you serve as one of these public officials, regardless of office, you should read and apply the sound Biblical teachings found in Oaks in Office. As you do so, you will grow into a strong oak of righteousness that brings much glory to God because you will begin to serve as His representative, exerting a godly influence on our country.
— DR. BILL JONES CHANCELLOR, COLUMBIA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
Ralph Drollinger’s book, Oaks in Office, is based on his many years of impactful ministry with key state and national political leaders. The chapters are carefully Biblical, theologically correct, and strategically practical. Highly recommended.
— DR. LARRY PETTEGREW PROVOST AND DEAN, SHEPHERDS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Ralph Drollinger’s Oaks in Office is a wonderful collection of 52 leadership Bible studies on pertinent issues of the day from “The Remedy for Racism” to “Sexual Sin and the Aphrodisiac of Power.” This book is not just for those in elected office; I recommend it for anyone in leadership who wants to leave a legacy for the next generation. From tiny acorns, great oak trees grow and the weekly lessons in this book will be the light, water, and soil you need. If you want to be an oak in your position, get this book and apply it regularly.
— GORDON ROBERTSON CEO, THE CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK
Serving as a Public Servant requires dedication, excellent skills, and godly wisdom. In his book, Oaks in Office, Ralph provides invaluable Biblical studies that will encourage Public Servants to increase their understanding of godly wisdom. Ralph skillfully applies Biblical themes and principles to the challenges that Public Servants face on a regular basis. His insightful and trustworthy explanation of the Biblical teaching is another strength of this book. I recommend pastors who have Public Servants in their congregation also read Ralph’s book so they can gain a better understanding of how to minister to these servants of God.
— DR. CRAIG WILLIFORD PRESIDENT, MULTNOMAH UNIVERSITY
And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
(Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4 The Four in One Gospel of Jesus)
In 2016 Nordskog Publishing had the pleasure of publishing Ralph Drollinger’s work, Rebuilding America: The Biblical Blueprint. That practical how-to book explores an important Biblical principle for restoring a nation, with insight and perspective from Scripture. I have been gratified to watch as Ralph and his wife Danielle’s ministry has expanded as a vital presence in our nation’s capitol, in most state capitols in America, and now pursuing capitols in other nations of the world. These are times of great challenge for our country, with revelations of misconduct exploding onto the headlines, and the ever-present war on Christianity steadily growing.
The timing of the publication of this book, Oaks in Office: Biblical Essays for Political Leaders, could not be more perfect. Indeed, here lies a remedy for all that ails our nation, and every nation. It is a systematic teaching of Christian doctrine, with an eye toward the unique concerns and challenges of public office. Public Servants seeking God’s guidance through this book can rest assured that they are being tutored and shaped with the help of an author who stands securely and resolutely on the Word of God. There is no more firm foundation on which to stand than the truths that come forth from the mouth of God Himself.
My wife Gail and I, and son Daniel, visited Ralph and his wife Danielle Drollinger at their home to discuss this book program. Also present was Deborah Mendenhall, long-time friend of Danielle, and Capitol Ministries’® outstanding writer and editor. At that meeting I posed the question, why the title of the book, Oaks In Office? You can read his fascinating response, as he has eloquently laid it out in the Preface to this book. But I note that oaks also made an appearance in the Bible, and we can glean additional meaning from what God has to say about them in Isaiah 61:1–3:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (emphasis added)
In Isaiah 61 we find a beautiful description of the Messiah that is to come, a vision of whom is granted to the ancient prophet some seven hundred years before the birth of Christ. Isaiah looks forward in time and sees a special individual who is to have the Lord’s Spirit upon Him, and because of this anointing He will “bring good news to the afflicted,” “bind up the brokenhearted,” “proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners,” and “comfort all who mourn.”
Rather than leave those who faint and mourn in the depths of their bondage, affliction, and brokenness, as in ashes, this loving Servant of God is to exchange their degradation for “a garland,” “the oil of gladness,” and a “mantle of praise.” Thus these poor souls are to become beneficiaries of God’s favor. They will be called “oaks of righteousness,” “the planting of the Lord.” With nothing to bring to the equation, they are yet embraced and transformed by God such that they take on the attributes of the mighty oak tree, with its sturdy trunk, bountiful foliage, and steadfastness.
Seven hundred years after Isaiah wrote these words, when Jesus begins to minister in Galilee, he teaches in the synagogues, and indeed, the power of the Holy Spirit is upon Him. One day as He teaches in the synagogue of His hometown of Nazareth, it happens that the book of Isaiah is under discussion. He opens the book and reads this passage from Isaiah 61, and tells those assembled, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21).
As you Public Servants pursue righteousness in your positions in office, may your eyes be opened as you study the truths of the Christian faith throughout this book, to see that Jesus Christ is indeed God’s anointed, sent for the purpose of bringing good news, freeing prisoners, and binding what is broken. May your eyes also be opened to see that we are those wretches so deeply in need of His ministry. Without God’s redemptive work we are afflicted, brokenhearted, and held captive by sin, but with His intervention we rise above our limitations to stand firm and stretch forth fruitful, joyful, eternal abundance of life, as “oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
This is no less true for those who are called to public service as office holders. You have something special to bring to your office, and it is bigger than yourself. Should you choose to represent God’s vision for civic government, you will become a part of the fulfillment of His purposes and His will for the nation. We who follow God’s Word crave to see America return to the godly principles of our founding. As Supreme Court Justice David Brewer well documented in the Supreme Court case 143 U.S. 457 (1892), our nation was founded based upon Christianity and the Holy Bible. We have truly gone astray from those roots, but we are not without hope. If a generation rises up that is willing to earnestly seek the eternal truths of God and apply them in leadership, we may yet see revival and all the blessing that comes from obedience to God’s will.
Will you not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? (Psalm 85:6)
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. (Psalm 19:7)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. (Hebrews 4:2)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Readers learning and applying these fifty-two in-depth Bible studies by Mr. Drollinger are Scripture-students in process of truly becoming Oaks in Office.
Gerald Christian Nordskog
Easter Sunday 2018