Pastors Must Lead in Pandemic Response by Asking Most Basic Questions about Authority and Law, Separation of Powers, Says American Pastors Network

As states experiencing increases in the number of patients testing positive for coronavirus, reprisals of mandates arising out of limited duration and questionable executive branch ‘emergency powers’ threaten to become the new normal. Although pockets of Americans continue to dispute the sweeping regulatory powers that non-legislative bodies are wielding, many are blindly yielding to these unlawful demands. Others are asking if resistance is possible or how it should be done.

Pastor and statesman Sam Rohrer says that’s because they’re asking the wrong question.

“The question each human being should start with precedes questions about the efficacy, consistency with medical science and basic truth regarding face masks, church and business closures or social distancing — although asking substantive questions about these policies will certainly illuminate whether mandating those measures is even justifiable.” Rohrer said.

Rohrer, a 9-term former Pennsylvania state representative and the president of the American Pastors Network, says Christians must find the courage to ask — out loud — the most basic questions about the source of civil authority in our American Constitutional Republic and about the foundational moral authority outlined in the Bible which undergirds the duties, extent and  limitations of all civil  authorities and the basic structure of our civil law.

“Any individual — man, woman or child — who wants to emerge from this pandemic with their health and freedoms intact must start by asking, Who or what is the source of authority behind civil orders or directives coming from civil authorities? Where does authority come from in this matter? What is the actual law? Christians know from the Bible that all authority is not merely ordained, (established, ranked and ordered) by God but subject to God — obligated to obey God, and will give account to God including acting in accordance with Natural Law.”

Consequently, America’s federal and state governments were founded and designed specifically to ensure that elected and appointed officials recognize the existence of Revealed law, and the reality of sinful hearts which lead civil authority to become tyrannical and deceive themselves into believing they are the law.

“Separation of powers is one of the obvious and essential principles in recognizing the Rule of Law and preventing tyranny (exceeding lawful restraints),” Rohrer continued. “According to our Constitution, only lawmakers- the Legislative Branch – possesses the authority to make laws. The executive branch is intentionally restricted and therefore lacks this authority. Judges lack this authority. The power belongs exclusively to the legislative branch in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C.

“So-called ‘laws’ not passed through the constitutionally prescribed legislative system are therefore unlawful and illegitimate , regardless of what the executive or judicial branches say. . Most middle schoolers know this — but do their parents? Do their pastors? Do our government officials?”

Rohrer says the preservation of religious liberty hinges on whether America’s pastors will speak up and stand up against unlawful actions imposed on them — in disobedience to the highest civil laws of man and highest moral laws of God.

“The law is the law. Just law starts of necessity with Truth.  When Truth is ignored or redefined and the proper lawmaking process is usurped or violated, it is our duty to morally and constitutionally resist that law or order and to seek a re-calibration to the truth and law,” Rohrer said. “We as pastors, teachers and defenders of the truth, are urging that our legislators and all people begin asking the right first questions: ‘What is the law?’ And ‘What is the authority behind the civil order or directive?’ ”

Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

American Pastors Network’s Note to Fellow Pastors: Denounce Government Overreach Now To Preserve Freedom Tomorrow

Leading conservative Christian voices are calling on Americans to recognize and resist the overreach of elected officials who oppress God-given and constitutionally protected rights by imposing restrictions on businesses, schools, homes and even churches.

American Pastors Network President Sam Rohrer invited fellow pastor and author Matthew J. Trewhella, author of “The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate,” onto the “Stand in the Gap Today” radio show to sound an alarm and to inspire pastors and parishioners to resist tyranny God’s way.

Interviewing Trewhella, Rohrer identified complacent citizens as one of the greatest accomplices of totalitarian dictatorship.

“You know, the greatest ally of tyranny are citizens and pastors and government officials who refuse to confront lawlessness and aggressive immorality in a Biblical and historical way,” Rohrer explained“We’ll either define the problem of tyranny and resist it God’s way and therefore defend freedom, or we’ll embrace tyranny by choosing to work the system to our own selfish advantage.”

Trewhella offered a 1-to-10 scale to gauge how the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the government’s abuse of power and increased the threat to religious liberty.

“[With] 10 being you’re sitting in a gulag or being haunted by the officials for simply trying to live free and faithful and true to Christ, we’re definitely at 8,” Trewhella said. “This is a pernicious evil, this whole COVID thing.”

Rohrer says the preservation of religious liberty hinges on whether America’s pastors will speak up and stand up against authoritarian actions.

“I submit that here in America, if we don’t soon begin stepping up, including our pastors in our pulpits and all in positions of authority, then instead of being the home of the free and the land of the brave, America will become the home of the enslaved and the land of the coward,” Rohrer concluded.

Photo by Elias Castillo on Unsplash

Pandemic Places Educational Responsibility on Parents, Allows Pastors to Offer Vital Support

As COVID-19 pushes curriculum content, social issues, and worldviews toward deeper parent scrutiny, the pandemic has opened wide the door for pastors to guide parents through tough decisions about the upcoming school year — and American society is counting on them to do so.

American Pastors Network President Sam Rohrer says that parents — not schools — are ultimately responsible for their child’s education.

“God gave the responsibility to parents for the primary education of their children,” Rohrer said on APN’s “Stand in the Gap Today.” “He told fathers, ‘You pass along what I have done and what I have commanded to your children and pass it along even to your grandchildren,’ so there is a generational responsibility that comes to parents.”

A parent’s responsibility begins with personally knowing the God of the Bible and extends to imparting a “virtuous education”—both of which are vital to America’s experiment in self-government.

“William Penn laid out a frame of government, which actually became a foundational element for all of government broadly, but he made it clear that self-government must function under God, which means our founders had to understand who God is,” Rohrer continued. “Penn also said there had to be a virtuous education of the youth, and that it was the parent’s responsibility. Frankly, the only way you can have a virtuous education is if they’re taught biblical principles.”

As parents attempt to fulfill this responsibility amid pandemic-induced school closures, understanding and evaluating options can be overwhelming. Pastors have the opportunity of a century to guide parents through options such as Christian schools and homeschooling.

E. Ray Moore, co-founder of Frontline Ministries, Inc., and leader of Exodus Mandate, was a guest on the “Stand in the Gap Today” episode. Moore said, “Pastors have a unique opportunity to point families to the Christian school option. The curriculum world for homeschooling and Christian schools is so rich and so manifold that it’s hard for people to make decisions [because] they’ve got so many good choices. But the scripture is clear about pastoral responsibility for the flock, so we see this as falling in that category.”

Photo by Jeremy Alford on Unsplash

Listen to the Stand in the Gap Minute Series “Spiritual Victory” airing this week!

To listen to the rest of the minute programs, please click HERE.

APN President: Pennsylvania Impeachment Controversy a Civics Lesson in Separation of Powers

As states continue to roll back pandemic-induced restrictions, efforts to impeach Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) regarding his use of power during the crisis have escalated. Rep. Daryl Metcalf (R-Butler County) introduced legislation bearing five articles of impeachment that allege unlawful unilateral action by Wolf.

The controversy is a prime opportunity for all parties and members of government to reacquaint themselves with bedrock constitutional principles, according to American Pastors Network President Sam Rohrer.

“Two building blocks of free society in general and constitutional government in particular are the principle of separation of powers and its sister principle, checks and balances,” Rohrer said. “The division of governing authority among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches is an often touted yet often neglected ingredient in the American experiment of self-governance. Our state’s and our country’s founders knew that both the soul of man and the nature of government crave power. Consequently, they equipped each branch of government to contain the other branches.

“The question of whether Pennsylvania’s executive branch overstepped its lawful bounds during the pandemic will likely generate complex argument and discussion,” Rohrer continued. “The discussion can be a healthy one, if only to remind the citizens and elected officials of Pennsylvania, and of the United States, that freedom requires the limitation of all branches government.”

To listen to a Stand in the Gap Today program featuring Rep. Darryl Metcalfe discussing the impeachment legislation, please click HERE.

Photo by Katherine McAdoo on Unsplash

How Fathers Can Help Restore the Family and Unite the Nation

by Sam Rohrer

***This article was originally posted on CNSNews.com HERE.

Where are the fathers? A generation ago, the Supreme Court defied the God of heaven and declared legal the murder of our babies—and our fathers were silent.

When the Ten Commandments were declared to be poison to our children’s minds, our pastors were silent. When the courts and culture continue to attack God’s model for family by redefining marriage and human sexuality, why is there such continuing silence?

At my organization, the American Pastors Network, we believe God’s judgment on our nation is in part because fathers and pastors a generation ago refused to oppose evil and actively resist tyranny. The question is, what will our pastors and we as fathers do now? As Mordecai said to Esther of old, if we are silent now, evil will prevail, and freedom will be lost.

Father’s Day is a good time to consider God’s expectation for fathers.

As a father of six and grandfather to fourteen, I’ve thought much about my role and the fact that fathers create a child’s first image of God. Men, are we demonstrating that God is faithful, loving, patient, and kind?

Is our discipline consistent and just?

Are our children learning God’s protection and provision of needs?

Does the love we show for our wife model Christ’s love for the Church?

Do we teach the fear of God in our home by living in the fear of God ourselves?

Do we focus on building character in our children to live and think like Christ so His character and nature will be seen through them?

Imagine the impact in our homes and our culture if we did.

Fathers hold the key to our families and nation. In Deuteronomy chapter 6, God told parents to teach our children five things:

  1. We must lead our children to faith in the LORD because He is the only God.
  2. We must lead our children to a fervor for the Lord by loving Him with all their heart, soul and mind.
  3. We must lead our children to fear the LORD because that is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.
  4. We must lead our children to a familiarity of the LORD by learning of Him daily and diligently.
  5. And then, when God blesses—and He will—we must lead our children not to forget the LORD and what He has done.

If we as fathers would teach our children these things, our homes would be healed, families restored, and the nation united. The more fathers emulate God—the heavenly Father—the better the husband and father we will be. As our fatherhood model, God is the wise Father. He is the Great Counselor and Comforter—just, kind, merciful, and patient. He is the Instructor, Guide, Protector, and Shield. He firmly disciplines, but does so in love. He loves so much, He gave His Son—the perfect sacrifice—to save our souls. He is the humble servant, yet the greatest leader. He is the model—in every way—of what an earthly father should be.

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Nationwide Unrest Over Tragedy in Minneapolis Reveals Deep Moral Chasm in America

With a police station burned in Minneapolis, calls for the National Guard and a nation in turmoil after the death of George Floyd, American Pastors Network  President Sam Rohrer says the unrest has revealed America’s ongoing moral problem.

“In the absence of moral restraint, sin begets sin,” Rohrer said. “The very word ‘sin’ is not popular in our current culture. But until we acknowledge the reality of evil, sin and lawlessness, we can never obtain what most people want—love, peace and joy. It was sin and evil for the police officer to take the life of George Floyd. It is sin to view any life as less sacred than another. It is sin to destroy other’s property, to be in rebellion to authority and to break any number of laws. It is sin to justify angry rebellion as legal ‘protesting’ or ‘peaceable assembly.’ It is sin for public officials to justify rebellious rioters as ‘understandable’ actions arising from the sins of previous generations. It is sin to excuse destruction of people’s livelihoods by burning their neighbors’ businesses to the ground. It is sin for public officials to incite lawbreakers and encourage further division among Americans by their callous and incendiary comments. It is sin for the Chinese Communist Party to issue propaganda in worldwide social media by characterizing Americans as hypocrites for condemning the rioters in Minneapolis as wrong while encouraging the protestors in Hong Kong who wish not to live under the iron fist of Communist leaders. It is sin for all people not to condemn these evil actions we see as sin!

“This is the time for all Americans to ask: Do we want freedom to remain in America? Do we wish that civility and respect for others returns to our nation? Do we long to be secure in our homes, property and persons? Do we hope for a return of justice where there is an objective standard for truth, justice and equality? Do we wish for leaders who renounce the sins of lying, deception, bribery, corruption and selfish pursuits? I do.”

For those also answering “yes” to these questions, Rohrer said there is only one solution—and in today’s culture, it’s about as unpopular as “sin.”

“That is God, the Bible and the Ten Commandments,” he continued. “As stated by William Penn in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and later by other founders, unless the citizens and leaders of this nation voluntarily submit their thinking, desires and actions to the limitations of the Ten Moral Commandments of God, then freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness cannot endure. The choices before us today broadly are these: God or no God? Truth or no truth? Right and wrong or no right or wrong? Sin or no sin? Jesus Christ as the Way, Truth and Life or no Jesus Christ, in any way, and death and bondage? The former choice brings love, healing and redemption. The latter brings hatred, death and condemnation. This is the choice for all people, children and parents, pastors and pews, politicians and constituents, police officers and military, governors and president, judges and juries. This is not my opinion. It is what God says, what our founding pastors preached, what our Founding Fathers believed and what our government buildings proclaim from the engravings of truth. As engraved on the ceiling of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is a verse from the Bible that is a very clear reminder: ‘And ye shall know the Truth (God, Jesus Christ and the Bible) and the Truth shall set you free.’ May we as a people see, hear and understand the reality of the day. Time is not on our side.”

APN Applauds President Trump: Governors Must Do the Right Thing and Reopen Churches

President Donald Trump called for churches and other houses of worship to open over Memorial Day Weekend, and branded them as “essential.” He ordered governors across the nation to reopen churches and said he would override those who would not comply. American Pastors Network President, Sam Rohrer said today, “The President is to be complimented on his decision to declare all churches to be open and that the governors who remain restrictive will have to deal with him. Churches are essential to the well-being of our nation and our people.“Neither the governors nor any person in state or federal government has the Constitutional right to order any church to close or decide how they should order or arrange their worship or manner of service. For governors to single out churches and order their form of worship is for them to declare themselves above the Constitution and God. It is religious discrimination and a violation of their Constitutional oath.” Following Trump’s announcement on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for communities of faith on how to safely reopen. Photo by History in HD on Unsplash

Regathering the Church: Obedience—Not Civil Disobedience

The past few Sundays marked the first times many church congregations gathered together—in person—in weeks.

“Across America, churches have been declared unhealthy and physical worship dangerous,” said Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastors Network (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.net). “Pastors who seek to carry out the practice of the New Testament Church and implement their love and concern for the spiritual and physical lives of their people find themselves in a difficult position. Obey God? Submit to the governing authorities? Where does one draw the line? Where does the authority of a governor or local police officer start and stop? Where does the authority and duty under God of the pastor, the employer, the father, the citizen begin and end? How does the increasing arrest and fining of pastors and church members for calling for a physical regathering or even meeting in their cars in a church parking lot increase the need for a biblical and constitutional response? It is indeed past time for choosing. But what is the choice? How do we determine our choice?

“If you feel like we’ve stepped into a twilight zone here in America—and around the world—where reality has become surreal and sci-fi has becomes reality, you’re not alone,” Rohrer continued. “Down is up. Up is down. Justice is subjective. Freedom is negotiable. The Constitution outmoded. Socialism is in vogue. Spending without constraint is novel. And looking to ‘experts’ rather than eternal principles, history and wisdom is the desire of the sheep and the mantra of the elite.”

Rohrer explored these questions with his fellow “Stand in the Gap Today” radio hosts on a recent program titled, “Regathering the Church: Obedience—Not Civil Disobedience.”

“Obedience is not willfulness; civil disobedience can be obedience,” Rohrer said. “What is the roadmap to obedience and blessing? For our nation and as individuals, or individuals within key positions of authority such as pastors and church leadership, we are in a time of choosing—choosing between right and wrong, freedom and bondage, God or Caesar, work or not to work, mask or not to mask, gather to worship or not gather are all choices. We must understand that.”

On the program, Rohrer said that when it comes to these choices, certain key principles must be understood if God is to bless them and view them as obedient.

“In difficult times, as increasingly seen in America, when that decision rubs against the sword of justice given by civil authority as described in Romans 13, a person can be cut, wounded or even killed,” Rohrer said. “Being in submission to authority and being under authority is perhaps the most important duty of each individual. Knowing the lines of authority in all circumstances is essential for God’s blessing. It is operation within these lines of authority and jurisdiction that, if known, produce peace and lead to freedom. Choosing based on emotion, peer pressure or anything other than biblical principles can lead to disobedience, God’s judgment and bondage as did the experience of Adam and Eve and Cain right in the beginning.

“In the context of biblical principles regarding civil obedience or what might be referred to as civil disobedience, the concept of highest authority must always be determined,” he continued. “There is the concept of jurisdiction or area of authority that must be considered. Then there is the choice based not on emotion, willfulness, or some survey or vote. A choice made within the hierarchy of authority as laid out by God, a choice carefully made, wisely made will result in God’s blessing even though it may result in judgment by a civil authority, as in the case of Peter who chose to preach the Gospel—a direct command of God—and ultimately was martyred for his faith.”

Knowing how to navigate these choices, Rohrer added, starts with a carefully and biblically established roadmap.

“Through this plague, certain physical needs have been exposed,” he said. “Making certain policy and personal adjustments are wise. Yet, our greatest need is spiritual and revolves around which god we will trust and conform our lives to. If our sick and divided nation is ever to be restored, our broken and hurting families healed, prosperity renewed, security from our enemies and God’s favor on our land returned, God’s people must choose God and then lead the way.”

Rohrer also outlined 10 needs all must understand and live out, as listed in a recent commentary published by The Stream (read the list here).

Hear the entire “Regathering the Church” program here, and view a recent webinar from the American Pastors Network and Pennsylvania Pastors Network on “Regathering: A Conference Call for Pastors and Churches” here.

To download a PDF file of a manual for Regathering the Church, please click HERE.  This manual is provided by the Faith Baptist Church in Altoona, PA, pastored by the Executive Director of the PA Pastors Network, Dr. Gary Dull.

America—Christian in Name Only?

Is America really a Christian nation?

Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastors Network, says that how people answer that question is more often determined by what they would like America to be than what America is.

Rohrer explored this complex topic with well-known social science researcher George Barna on Friday’s episode of APN’s popular, live, daily radio program “Stand in the Gap Today.” On the program, Barna, a monthly guest to the show, discussed new research he has conducted about Americans’ biblical worldview as well as their views on the Bible and Christianity.

“The atheist insists America is not a Christian nation, nor ever was,” Rohrer said. “The patriot and most Christian citizens would resist that statement and insist that indeed America is a Christian nation. Just look at our history, all the engravings of Scripture in our government buildings and the motto ‘In God We Trust’ on our coins. With over 70% of all Americans claiming they are Christians, the argument sounds convincing, and many would say those evidences prove it. But is America truly Christian or Christian in name only? What does the evidence show?

Barna shared on the program the “big picture” about the incidence of biblical worldview in the United States—that just 6% of adults have that perspective. This, he says, stems from some dramatic shifts in the relationship between peoples’ faith and their worldview.

The most incredible changes relate to how Americans view the Bible. These insights come from the first annual nationwide worldview survey conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, titled the “American Worldview Inventory 2020.”

“A biblical worldview, by definition, is based upon belief in and application of the truths, principles and exhortations contained within the Bible,” Barna said. “However, the results of the American Worldview Inventory point out that the changes in perceptions and acceptance of the Bible have facilitated the continuing decrease in the incidence of a biblical worldview in America.”

Barna noted that research suggests that more than eight out of every 10 Americans own at least one Bible. As many as four in 10 adults claim to have read the entire Bible. Two out of every 10 adults say they read the Bible on a daily basis.

“Clearly, the Bible is a book with a broad presence and substantial influence in the U.S.,” Barna said. “As would be expected, the AWVI survey revealed that peoples’ beliefs about the Bible are directly correlated with whether they develop a biblical worldview.”

For instance:

* 41% believe the Bible is the word of God and contains no factual or historical errors; 14% of those have a biblical worldview. While that percentage is low, it is more than double the national average.

* Among the 13% of adults who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God but contains some factual or historical errors, only 2% possess a biblical worldview.

* 23% possess a positive view of the Bible but do not believe it is the literal or inspired word of God, or that it is completely accurate. (They see it as a “holy book” of religious teachings or as a valuable guidebook for societal development.) Less than 1% of these people develop a biblical worldview.

* 13% are indifferent to or dismissive of the Bible, citing it as merely a descriptive narrative of how its authors viewed the ways and principles of God, or as an unrealistic book of fables and myths. Not quite 1% of the people in this category hold a biblical worldview.

* The remaining 9% of the general public do not know how to describe the nature or value of the Bible. About 1% of that segment has a biblical worldview.

“Describing these data differently, only half of the nation’s adult population (54%) believes that the Bible is the word of God,” Barna said. “Even fewer—just four out of 10 (41%)—believe that the Bible is totally true in all of its empirical and historical statements. Stunningly, when comparing the current data with that from 2000, there has been a 21 percentage point decline in the proportion of adults who believe the Bible is the word of God (from 75% to 54%) and a 17-point drop in the number who believe the Bible is without error (from 58% to 41%).”

Adds Rohrer, “In Luke 18:8-9, Jesus said this, ‘Nevertheless when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous yet treated others with contempt.’ This verse ties in with the warnings Jesus gave to the Disciples in Matthew 24 about the evidences before Christ’s second coming. In Matthew 24:4, Jesus’ first warning and first greatest indication is deception—where people are fooled or deceive themselves. He said, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you, for many will come in my name, professing to be Christians, but are not, and they will deceive many.’ As such, and knowing this warning by Jesus Himself, and based on the findings of George Barna’s latest research, I ask the question: Is America really a Christian nation? Even though the majority of Americans say they’re Christians, does that make us a Christian nation? Or does the evidence suggest that we are deceived and are Christians in name only?”

Barna, currently in a leadership role at the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University (ACU), has filled executive roles in politics, marketing, advertising, media development, research and ministry.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash