On Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, Jim Garlow preached his final sermon as senior pastor of Skyline Church in the San Diego, California, area. Garlow closed out 50 years of pastoral ministry at the church where he served for the last 23 years.
Through some of that time, he mixed pastoring with education, as he completed three master's degrees and a Ph.D. in church history and historical theology.
"This is not a retirement," Garlow emphatically stated.
To the contrary, Garlow is now the CEO and founder of a new ministry called Well Versed that is "meeting humanitarian needs ... differently."
The phrase "well versed" comes from his 2016 book titled Well Versed: Biblical Answers to Today's Tough Issues that lays out the scriptural underpinnings to 30 political topics.
Garlow and his wife, Rosemary Schindler Garlow, will now focus full-time on governmental ministries in Washington, D.C., New York City and Jerusalem, as well as other global cities.
"God has used all of our lives to this point to prepare us for this moment, for God's kingdom-purpose," Rosemary says.
The ministry helps national and international leaders become "well versed" in God's principles for the governance of nations. They do so by establishing relationships with political leaders and assisting them in understanding the scriptural principles of government by hosting special gatherings in the centers of influence.
"To the extent that scriptural principles are violated in national principles and policies, human suffering, pain and poverty increases," Garlow says. "To the extent that biblical principles of governance are followed, human suffering, pain and poverty decrease. God designed the Bible not merely to address personal, family and church issues. It clearly addresses governmental issues as well, instructing us in principled community and national life."
The ministry to members of Congress in Washington, D.C., is not new to Garlow, as it launched in 2014. Well Versed team member Pastor Rick Scarborough leads Bible studies for members of Congress and at various agencies or departments.
These meetings are known as "The Jefferson Gathering." Though its namesake, Thomas Jefferson, is often portrayed as a deist, he approved and regularly attended Christian worship services in the U.S. Capitol Building when he was president. These services began in 1800.
In New York City at the United Nations, Garlow founded a ministry in 2017 that has been led by former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Well Versed has a three-pronged strategy in the United Nations:
- Weekly Bible studies and worship times for persons who work in the United Nations building led by attorney and Bible teacher Phillip Jauregui.
- The Hammarskjold Society, named after Dag Hammarskjold, the highly visible secretary general of the U.N. from 1953 to 1961, who was a Christian. These meetings are designed to bring biblical principles of governance to ambassadors through specialized seminars.
- The Wallenberg Society, named after Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of 100,000 Jews in 1944 before he reached his 33rd birthday. Its goal is to reduce anti-Semitism in the U.N., stand in solidarity with the Jewish people and the state of Israel. Both the Hammarskjold and Wallenberg meetings have been co-chaired by Congresswoman Bachmann and Garlow.
The Bible study in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, in Jerusalem is quite different from the ministries in Washington, D.C., and the United Nations. In Israel, Rosemary, who is related to Oskar Schindler, co-sponsors The Schindler Society with her husband. Rosemary has made 67 trips to Israel.
The Garlows launched The Schindler Society with the help of Knesset Member Robert Ilotov, who leads the Christian Allies Caucus. The couple partnered with Israel 365, a Jerusalem-based organization, and now lead Tanakh studies in the Knesset regarding biblical governance and other key issues.
These studies are taught by prominent Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a member of the Knesset and leader of The Knesset Caucus for the Encouragement of Bible Study, along with Rabbi Tuly Weisz and others.
Rosemary observed that studying the Hebrew Scriptures in Jerusalem is a partial fulfillment of Isaiah 2:2-3 (and Micah 4:2), "And it will be in the last days, the mountain of the LORD's House will be established in the top of the mountains and will be exalted above the hills, and all the nations will flow to it. And many peoples will go and say, Come and let us go up to the Mountain of the LORD, to the House of God of Jacob, and He will teach us His Ways and we will walk in His paths: for the Torah (Teaching) will go out from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (One New Man Bible Translation).
In addition to the Well Versed ministry, the Garlows will be involved in what has been labeled "faith diplomacy." During the 2016 election, Garlow served on the Trump Faith Advisory Board, now referred to as the "White House Faith Leaders Initiative."
From time to time, small delegations of these White House faith leaders have traveled to various countries to meet with heads of state, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, King Abdullah II of Jordan, President Jimmy Morales of Guatemala and others. They recently met with President Juan Orlando Hernandez when he was in Washington, D.C.
Although the White House Faith Leaders do not formally represent the president or any governmental agency in these meetings, the "faith missions" have proved to be highly beneficial.
In the upcoming months, Garlow and his wife, along with a small delegation, will be meeting with heads of state in some Eastern European and Latin American countries. In addition, the couple is scheduled to be at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, and the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as in Africa and Asia.
Garlow says he is looking forward to the future.
"We will be bringing groups of people to Washington, D.C., and New York City to see what God is doing in restoring biblical truth in governmental places, and bringing people to Jerusalem to see the ways in which Christians can stand in solidarity with Israel and the Jewish people," Garlow says.
Rosemary will continue to focus on assisting young adults to get to these three influencer cities, as she has seen many Millennials impacted with a fresh understanding of the scriptural foundations for government.
"This is a thrilling moment for me, a type of fulfillment of something that occurred when I was very young," Garlow stated. "On August the 13, 1956, as a 9-year old, I sensed a 'governmental anointing' come upon me, even though I did not know what to call it until many decades later."
Jessilyn Justice @jessilynjustice is the director of online news for Charisma.
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