American Pastors Network: Pastors Should Impart to Church Members Basic Biblical Teaching That Civil Authority Is Limited

Officials keen to enforce coronavirus-related mandates imposed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf have issued another spate of citations to businesses allegedly in violation, drawing criticism from faith leaders who point out Wolf’s rules were never approved by state lawmakers, which the constitution requires.

When officials flout the limitations of their offices, it’s up to citizens — led by their pastors — to hold them accountable, according to Pastor Sam Rohrer, a nine-term former state representative and the president of the American Pastors Network.

“When Executive Branch officials demand changes in the lives of their citizens which affect their duty to God or violate their constitutional guarantees of freedom, these same officials are guilty of violating their oaths of office and the constitutional Separation of Powers, and usurp the authority of the Legislature.” Rohrer said. “Pastors should guide and lead citizens in identifying these violations of moral and civil authority and seek to hold  these officials accountable to the Constitution and to the Bible, both of which make plain that all authorities are subject to God and are obligated to use their power with fidelity. In the United States, this starts with obeying constitutional limits for each branch of government.

“Many Christians assume that the Bible commands people to yield blindly to authorities or to follow every command of every person in office, but this is not true.” Rohrer continued. “America’s pastors must lead their flocks to properly understand the principles of basic authority, which demand ordered submission insofar as they uphold the Revealed Law of God, which is then reflected — in our nation — in our state and federal Constitutions.

“Christians need to grasp from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans in the New Testament that authorities who rebel against God’s authority undermine the basis of their own authority,” Rohrer concluded.

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 objective truth — God’s moral Truth, and in our nation the precepts of the State and Federal Constitutions as our highest civil truth,” Rohrer said. “When either body of truth is ignored or redefined, both the moral and civil law are violated. It is then the citizen’s duty led by others in authority — in either civil government or the pulpit — to biblically and constitutionally resist that law or order and to seek a re-calibration to the truth and law. 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?’ ” 

To see what Pastors in Pennsylvania are doing to hold their officials accountable, please click HERE.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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.