Jim Garlow

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Jim Garlow is the pastor of Skyline Church located in La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego.[1] Garlow is often cited as an evangelical leader in the political arena, quoted on issues such as the 2012 Republican presidential primary.[2][3] He is a leader in the "pulpit freedom" movement, which insists that pastors should be free to carry out political advocacy from the pulpit in defiance of Internal Revenue Service regulations.[4]

Political activities[edit]

In 2008, Garlow and Skyline Church were noted for their leading role in organizing conservative religious groups to support California Proposition 8, which affirmed marriage to be between one man and one woman in California.[5][6]

In 2010, Garlow was appointed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as chairman of Renewing American Leadership, a non-profit organization Gingrich created.[7] [8] Renewing American Leadership is a group founded by Newt Gingrinch after he left Congress. When accepting the leadership of Renewing American Leadership, Jim Garlow explained "As noted on the organization’s website, “The mission of Renewing American Leadership is to preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage by defending and promoting the three pillars of American civilization: freedom, faith and free markets. ReAL is dedicated to educating, organizing, training and mobilizing people of faith to renew American self-government and America’s role in the world.” Cited on the website is a scriptural question: “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3, NIV)" [8] Jim Garlow addressed the issue of political partisan activity in his comments, expressing an opinion that he would be neither Democrat or Republican: "My hope is not in the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. My hope lies in God and his unchanging truth. Some may (wrongly and falsely) accuse me of doing this for a political party or even a person, but they will be so totally incorrect. Any candidate and any political party has value only so long as one is fully committed to scriptural integrity and biblical truth." [8] This gesture toward non-partisanship seems to have been reconsider by Jim Garlow later.

Jim Garlow has been cited by many observers as falling in the extreme right wing of the Republican Party and has often preached messages that seem more political than religious. [9] He has also been involved in work to sway public opinion on US foreign policy. Recently Jim Garlow criticized President of Taiwan by praising President Trump for violating established US foreign policy by calling the President of Taiwan rather than the Premiere of China, by saying: "However, while the fact that a US President Elect talked with a Taiwanese leader is a good thing, it is NOT good that it was THIS leader. President Tsai Ing-wen is the "Hillary Clinton of Taiwan" - hellbent on destroying natural, orthodox, historic, tradition (biblical) marriage. Churches - that is, authentically biblical churches - are under severe attack. Legal challenges are underway. So - while it is good that the US recognizes Taiwan, it is NOT good to give President Tsai Ing-wen any credibility. We need to pray her out!" [10]

Prior to the 2016 election, Jim Garlow went on the campaign trail for Donald Trump. One appearance was on the "WallBuilders Live" radio program. Jim Garlow explained that "Religious Right pastor Jim Garlow was a guest on today’s episode of the “WallBuilders Live” radio program, where he told host Rick Green that any Christian who has prayed and decided that they cannot vote for Donald Trump needs to 'pray some more' because by refusing to vote for him, they are helping to elect 'Jezebel 2.0,' Hillary Clinton." [11] [12] Jezebel was a figure in the bible who is reported to have led the people to abandon the worship of Yahweh and instead worship the deities Baal and Asherah. [13] Jim Garlow went on to explain that Christians who don’t support Trump are comparable to those who failed to resist Nazism in Germany. “It’s like the Christians in Germany who eventually knew what was happening to the Jews as they were being gassed,” Garlow said. “They knew it and they stayed silent.” History remembers people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Garlow said, but there is eternal shame on “all those silent Christians that didn’t say anything about the Jews being killed [because] they had no guts, they had no courage, they had no boldness and they would not stand for truth.” [12] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is remembered for leaving the safety of his seminary in New York to travel to Germany to resist the Nazi's. Bonhoeffer explained that “By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” [14] He also stated “In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.” [15] Due to his opposition to the Nazi regime, Bonhoeffer was arrested and executed at the Flossian concentration camp, during the last month of the war. He remains an important symbol of opposition to Hitler, and his views on Christianity increasingly influential. [16]

Message and Beliefs[edit]

Jim Garlow participating in a "Washington - A Man of Prayer" event at the US Capitol with Republican Congresspeople, compared himself and the others present to a re-embodiment in their persons of the "Burning Bush". [17] The Burning Bush is a reference in the Bible to God manifesting Himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai. [18] Jim Garlow continued by saying that their gathering was likely to change policy in Heaven as well as on Earth by declaring that future historians just might look back on the prayers that had been offered by dozens of members of Congress and conclude that they had caused a “shift in the heavenly realm” that led to nationwide revival. [17] Garlow has previously claimed that his prayer gatherings led to the passage of California’s Proposition 8, the anti-gay amendment that was later overturned by the courts. Garlow has previously claimed that his prayer gatherings led to the passage of California’s Proposition 8, the anti-gay amendment that was later overturned by the courts. [17]

Jim Garlow, explaining his position to the far right of evangelicals in America, has suggested that the term "evangelical" should be abandoned by religious conservatives in favor of the term "authentically biblical Christians." Garlow questioned whether liberal evangelicals truly believe in the Bible. “I would question whether or not everyone believes the Bible in the way they may have at one point,” he said. “Just look at how they’re capitulating on the definition of marriage and their view of homosexuality. There’s a lot of capitulation, a lot of Neville Chamberlain evangelicals out there.” He suggested that religious conservatives may have to “abandon” the term “evangelical” altogether and “coin a new phrase” like “ABC, authentically biblical Christians.” [19]

While most evangelicals reject jointly working with or combining forces with Mormon church activities, rejecting Mormonism as "non-Christian", leading many to reject a rally in which Glenn Beck who is a Mormon and who invited Mormon leaders to participate. Jim Garlow has taken the position that working with Mormon leaders and church activities is appropriate and Christian. Garlow - who partnered with Mormons in California to help pass Proposition 8, the state's gay marriage ban, via ballot initiative in 2008 - is one of several high profile evangelicals on the defensive about participating in Beck's rally, called Restoring Honor. [20] The rally, which is to be held near the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, is to be headlined by Sarah Palin. Christian critics of the event have taken specific aim at some evangelicals' participation in a prerally event Friday at the Kennedy Center called Glenn Beck's Divine Destiny. Beck, who many evangelicals say is not a Christian because of his Mormon beliefs, says on his website that the Friday event "will help heal your soul." "Guided by uplifting music, nationally-known religious figures from all faiths will unite to deliver messages reminiscent to those given during the struggles of America's earliest days," his site says of the event. "Glenn Beck is being used by God - mightily," Garlow wrote in the memo, which was obtained by CNN. "The left loves to slam him and do so viscerally and often with vulgarities. Glenn is not perfect... But his expose on America's sins is stellar." [20]

Jim Garlow's use of the name "Wesleyan" in his church's name is both interesting and puzzling. The name comes from the religious movement started by John Wesley, an Anglican cleric and theologian who founded Methodism. Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines that dominated the Church of England at the time. Moving across Great Britain and Ireland, he helped form and organise small Christian groups that developed intensive and personal accountability, discipleship and religious instruction. Most importantly, he appointed itinerant, unordained evangelists to travel and preach as he did and to care for these groups of people. Under Wesley's direction, Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day, including prison reform and the abolition of slavery. Wesley was a believer in lay leadership and lay preaching, appointing lay persons to minister to small groups of like believers. Methodism is well known for its emphasis on caring for the poor, the sick and the imprisoned. The Methodist preachers took the message to labourers and criminals who tended to be left outside organised religion at that time. In Britain, the Methodist Church had a major effect in the early decades of the making of the working class (1760–1820). In the United States, it became the religion of many slaves who later formed "black churches" in the Methodist tradition.

Jim Garlow has preached that instead of relying upon the government to provide medicine or medical care, the poor should look to God to provide medicine; if God does not provide medicine then the poor simply are undeserving. [21] On “Janet Mefferd Today” recently, right-wing pastor Jim Garlow suggested the government should stop assuming responsibility for providing “health and welfare” services so that churches can take over the social safety net and eliminate “freeloaders.” [21] Jim Garlow went on to explain that he has little patience, or even love, for the poor: "He opined, “The fact to the matter is, I’m not proud of it and it’s not the best solution but it is what it is, our society today is based on a monetary economy. That means that if you want to acquire something, you have to pay for it. Like I said, it’s not the best solution but there’s no escaping it. And I’m terribly sorry to have to say this, but the fact that we have poor people even in this kind of society means something. It means that those people must not be worthy of the good life if God made them poor. And it’s the same with medications – if they deserved them, God would have given them the money for them through some mysterious way known only to Him.” “So, I’m sorry for all the poor people who are on welfare, who are struggling, who are suffering and who are not ashamed of taking half of our national budget to buy Mars bars and Evian bottled water,” the pastor said. “But at the end of the day, ask yourselves why you’re poor. Perhaps you have done something to deserve such a life, perhaps you’ve made mistakes. Bottom line – God doesn’t make mistakes and he sees everything. So, if you’re going through hardships and poverty and can’t afford medications, the man upstairs probably has a good reason for doing that.” [21]

Views on Tax Laws & Role of Churches[edit]

Jim Garlow has led the right wing evangelical movement to defy US law and the tax regulations by using his non-profit 501(c)(3) registered charity, Skline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, California, to name specific candidates and urge his parishinors to vote as he directs. [22] [23] He acknowledges that his intentions, and indeed his past actions, are illegal, and make his church ineligible for tax free status; the church skips millions in annual property taxes to San Diego County by being a 501(c)(3) charity). A charity can take a position on policy issues but cannot act "on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." To cross that line puts the $7 million mega-church's tax break at risk. A charity can take a position on policy issues but cannot act "on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office." To cross that line puts the $7 million mega-church's tax break at risk. [23] In spite of his pursuing this illegal conduct since 2008, Republican Congresspeople have successfully twarted any attempt to enforce the law with regard to Skline and Jim Garlow. [24] The movement, which now includes hundreds of churches and pastors is responsible for the loss of more than $25 Billion in tax revenue each year. [24] This does not include the additional billions in property tax revenues lost by cities, counties and states. [24] Although the IRS started an enforcement effort in 2004 against such abuses, the program ended in 2009 after being taken to court by the Alliance Defense Fund, a right wing conservation organization created to defeat enforcement of laws prohibiting anti-political action by churches. [25] [26]


Garlow got his start in ministry at the First Baptist Church in Concordia, Kansas.

Garlow grew up in Concordia, Kansas.[7] He earned a Ph.D. in historical theology from Drew University, a Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary and Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, bachelor's and master's degrees from Southern Nazarene University, and an associate degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University (originally as Miltonvale Wesleyan College, now closed).[1] Garlow later served as a professor at Oklahoma Wesleyan.[27] Garlow has written 11 books, including the New York Times best-seller Cracking DaVinci's Code.[7]

Jim's wife of 42 years, Carol, died of cancer in 2013. They were adoptive parents of four children. He married his current wife, the former Rosemary Schindler, in 2014. Between them, they have eight children and nine grandchildren.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Skyline's Lead Pastor - Dr. Jim Garlow". Skyline Church: Where Heaven Meets Earth. Skyline Church. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Updated: Evangelicals' backing gives Santorum major boost,". CNN. January 26, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Conservative activists scramble to stop Mitt Romney". Washington Post. January 10, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Clergy warned about ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’". Iowa Independent. September 30, 2011. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ Strom, Stephanie (September 30, 2011). "The Political Pulpit". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ Garrison, Jessica (June 26, 2008). "Pastor rallies clergy against gay marriage". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "Former Concordia resident chosen by Gingrich". The Salina Journal. March 27, 2010. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "New Chairman of Renewing American Leadership - JimGarlow.com". www.jimgarlow.com. 
  9. ^ "Jim Garlow - Right Wing Watch". www.rightwingwatch.org. 
  10. ^ "Jim Garlow". www.facebook.com. 
  11. ^ "A New Book: Well Versed". wallbuilderslive.com. 
  12. ^ a b "Jim Garlow: Christians Who Won’t Vote For Trump ‘Need To Pray More’ - Right Wing Watch". rightwingwatch.org. 
  13. ^ 1 Kings 16:31
  14. ^ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
  15. ^ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
  16. ^ "Dietrich Bonhoeffer Biography -". biographyonline.net. 
  17. ^ a b c "Jim Garlow: Future Historians May Look Back On Our Prayer Gathering As The Moment That Restored America - Right Wing Watch". rightwingwatch.org. 
  18. ^ Exodus 3:1-6
  19. ^ "Jim Garlow: God May Be Raising Up Donald Trump - Right Wing Watch". rightwingwatch.org. 
  20. ^ a b "Some evangelicals on defensive over partnering with Glenn Beck, a Mormon". cnn.com. 
  21. ^ a b c "Pastor Garlow: “If God Doesn’t Give Poor People Money For Medications, I Guess They Don’t Deserve Them” - Newslo". www.newslo.com. 
  22. ^ Article by Nanette Byrnes, Reuters: Field Trip to Skyline Wesleyan Church, Skyline Wesleyan Church
  23. ^ a b "Humanist Fellowship of San Diego". Meetup. 
  24. ^ a b c "As churches get political, IRS stays quiet". 21 June 2017 – via Reuters. 
  25. ^ "Religious Right Groups Plan Rallies to ‘Stop the HHS Mandate’ - Right Wing Watch". rightwingwatch.org. 
  26. ^ "Alliance Defense Fund - SourceWatch". www.sourcewatch.org. 
  27. ^ Jim Garlow: Curriculum vitae. Accessed 26 Feb 2017.

External links[edit]