Dear Pastor Friend,
Last Thursday, April 23, 2020, additional SBA “Guidance” was distributed in relation to accepting CARES Act funds from the federal government. Certain warnings then were issued by various law firms to carefully evaluate the requirement to certify the ‘necessity’ of the funds under penalty of fraud. And, if any doubt all funds could be repaid by May 7 with no harm, no foul considerations.. My concern has long existed in regard to whether it is advisable for churches to pursue and accept loan assistance from government. My own fellow deacons and church leadership have grappled long and hard with this decision. But my experience as 18 years in the PA General Assembly and studying history, law and biblical teaching on God’s order of jurisdiction has taught me that entanglement is easy. Getting caught in a trap is easy. Getting out is hard.
I would like to pass along two specific lines of comment on this entire deliberation. First,regarding the need to be cautious in regard to this deliberation, I previously sent cautionary notes to our Deacons and Pastor’s staff on April 3, April 14, and April 21. In each of these
notes, I expressed a range of concerns: there is no such thing as free money; strings are always attached; there are no Biblical precedents for accepting civil authority aid; it challenges a church’s reliance on God; it sets a negative precedent for the future. The list goes on.
Secondly, upon closer examination of the legislation itself, my concern became even stronger. Within the language of the law, definitions are purposefully vague; the use of ‘guidance’ by government bureaucracies is left incredibly open. Clearly invasive ‘strings’ or ‘entanglements’
are rarely included in the actual text of law; otherwise, it would be easily identified and rejected out of hand. “Strings” happen most often through regulations and rulemaking of enforcement entities, in this case the SBA, in conjunction with the Treasury and likely the
IRS. Prompted by atheist organizations who bring lawsuits that end up in liberal courts, these ‘strings’ can become hanging ‘ropes’. The strings of this bill end up as a result of the open ended “Guidance” and to a lesser degree the ‘Sense of the Senate’. The strings, however, can only occur where there is ‘linkage’.
Unfortunately, linkage with government already exists with churches who took 501c3 non-profit status when Congress and the IRS created
this Treasury Department designation. Secondary linkage occurs when government money is pursued and accepted by a church.
According to this CARES Act, a free-standing church (non-501c3) would not be qualified for any of this financial aid. The law states that only non-profits as a 501c3 can apply. The ‘business’ designation is the existing linkage/category that makes a church ‘qualify.’ Ignored by most
attorneys, however, is the fact that churches are tax-exempt because they are churches. The linkage of the 501c3 status is the only ‘legal’ way the IRS can leverage churches and the pulpit.
This linkage is a problem because all business entities—corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships, non-profits—are by law “creations of the state.” And what the state creates, the state has a right to regulate. Pursuing and accepting money places every church in a position of not only potentially committing fraud under the regulations, but defacto confirms this linkage before the law as a ‘creation of the state,’ not a distinct, separate body of God-created jurisdiction. I am therefore, firmed in my sense that we should decide as a body of elected leaders to decline any acceptance of funds from the CARES Act. It is our responsibility to understand this issue and refuse entanglement.
Thank you for your consideration of these thoughts. If I had not worked through details like this in my 18 years in office, I would not be laying out this thought process. But I learned much and feel I must pass this along.
May God add His blessing and Guidance to us.
The Hon. Sam Rohrer is an 18-year veteran of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and president of the American Pastors Network. He also co-hosts nationwide radio and television programs, Stand in the Gap Radio and Stand in the Gap TV. Learn more at AmericanPastorsNetwork.net.
With the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) occupation in Seattle dissolving after gunshots left one dead, protestors in many U.S. cities are emboldened to knock down or deface monuments of national founders or heroes such as Teddy Roosevelt, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Francis Scott Key, and others. Authorities seem paralyzed to protect and preserve public property.
The demonstrations that have led to the militant takeover of blocks of Seattle and the toppling of statues from east to west support the growing suspicion that civil war is imminent, according to American Pastors Network President Sam Rohrer.
“It is important to confront what is happening in America’s streets,” Rohrer said. “This is particularly important in light of this month’s Rasmussen poll findings that over 34% of all Americans and 40% of registered Republican voters believe the U.S. will experience a second civil war within the next five years.
“The open anarchy in the streets is one problem,” Rohrer continued. “But the toppling of monuments across the country is another troubling action. With the toppling of monuments of people who fought to end slavery in America, and then the toppling of the statue of Francis Scott Key the writer of the national anthem of the United States—“The Star Spangled Banner”—there is more happening than meets the eye.
“Instead of destroying monuments, Americans and especially Christians should leverage God’s purposes for monuments by reflecting on God’s provision and blessings in this nation and thank Him for how He blesses this nation with greater justice and more freedom when we follow God’s moral law, and how He judges this nation with a great evidence of injustice and less freedom whenever we reject God’s moral law—just as God instructed Joshua and His people after He freed them from 400 years of Egyptian slavery,” Rohrer concluded.
With the advent of the Coronavirus—COVID-19—pandemic, the world is facing an increasingly challenging time. This biblical pestilence is taking lives, altering lifestyles, impacting our economy, and challenging our families and culture. Beyond anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes, this pandemic’s impact, while seemingly draconian for the moment, could well extend for many months. This means that our civil and church leaders are not only immediately faced with difficult choices, but may be facing a longer-term challenge as the U.S. and world population is faced with a deadly and invisible enemy.
Last month, the administration of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced it wanted to start a “conversation” about legalizing marijuana in the Keystone State through a series of townhall-style meetings.
The Sharon Herald reported that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, “himself an advocate of legalizing recreational use of the drug,” will hold “listening” sessions in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in the coming months.
The Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN) and American Pastors Network (APN) are expressing concerns that legalizing marijuana is not the right move for the state, dangerous to residents and families, and certainly not biblical.
“As pastors’ networks, we are extremely concerned about legal marijuana coming to Pennsylvania,” said APN and PPN President Sam Rohrer. “Marijuana can be a ‘gateway drug’ and leads to harder and more dangerous substances. Beyond that, youth in our state are already faced with a variety of temptations that can affect them long into their lives. Why state leadership would push for the legalization of a drug that can harm our residents and our families is not only perplexing but also irresponsible.”
The Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI) is calling the listening sessions a “weed tour” that serves as a public relations ploy aimed at giving the Wolf administration cover to support recreational marijuana and says that the lieutenant governor is trying—poorly—to hide his desire to legalize weed. Also, just as with expanded gambling, some state officials are motivated by money in supporting marijuana legalization, PFI reports. (Read PPN’s insight on a proposed casino in Morgantown HERE.)
Have you heard what pastors and radio listeners are saying about our ministry?
Here’s a quote from a recent letter we received:
“I applaud your leadership of the American Pastors Network. In an age when far too many pastors are becoming ambassadors from the World to the Church, rather than ambassadors from Christ’s Church to the World, a resource such as the APN is critically needed. John Wesley’s wise observation that, ‘In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church’ is often forgotten.’”
Here’s another comment from a thankful pastor in PA:
“I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and the American Pastors Network for everything you are doing for pastors and our beloved country. The men and women on APN who offer wise words, helpful advice, and – most importantly – much needed encouragement, have been very valuable to my daily calling as a pastor… Please continue to lead this effort as you so effectively do every day. You have made a huge difference not only in my life, but I know in others too! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! God bless you and APN. I will do my best to support you and APN, especially considering what APN has done for me!”
These words of encouragement confirm the vital need for an organization like ours.
It’s been five years since the American Pastors Network was born under God’s grace and
guidance. Much has been accomplished, but there’s still much more to do.
Over these past five years, God has bestowed His divine blessings on this ministry and our mission to encourage and equip pastors and Believers to “Stand in the Gap for Truth.” None of what’s been done is possible without Him – or without you. God is alive, and He provides direction and wisdom for our friends, donors, TV viewers, radio listeners and all those who commit in obedience to serve Him.
In 2013, God led us to form a ministry that would serve as a nationwide framework for biblically faithful pastors and their church members to encourage and equip the Remnant with a goal of building a permanent infrastructure of like-minded and committed Christians who:
- affirm the authority of Scripture
- take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture
- encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary cultural issues
- examine public policy issues from a biblical worldview perspective.
We’ve stayed true to that mission, and God’s blessings have been miraculous. So much has been done with so little. There have been no single deep pockets, no large benefactor and certainly no government funding. Yet God has done great things in five years.
Can I share just a few of the miracles with you?
Over the past five years, God has permitted APN to start and expand three distinct national radio programs: Stand in the Gap Today, Stand in the Gap Minute and Stand in the Gap Weekend. Each started on just a few stations and God has grown this distribution to over a thousand radio stations nationwide and reaching millions each week! These very popular and well-received programs analyze headline news and the most important cultural concerns facing our world from a biblical and constitutional perspective.
- In April, God miraculously opened the door for APN to begin a new weekly television program, which considers transcending cultural issues – those controversial issues which seem to have no solution – and provide solutions from the pages of God’s Word and a Biblical worldview perspective. Stand in the Gap TV first aired on WBPH in Philadelphia, in April 2018, and has expanded to VCY-TV and Upliftv. And praise God, more than 27 million households have access to this program – in fewer than 6 months!
- APN leaders continue to have editorials and interviews featured in both secular and
Christian media each week. These leading publications and outlets, consisting of
radio, television and print media, reach over 25 million people monthly with APN’s
biblical and constitutional perspectives on key cultural issues.
- APN is blessed to be working with eight state chapters – Arkansas, Michigan,
Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia – and
three others are now preparing to launch!
Over the past five years, God has established a national platform and foundation on which to meet the challenges facing our culture, the church and the nation. Through all the efforts, projects and accomplishments listed above, God has blessed APN with the credibility, and the dedicated people and opportunities to equip pastors to assist families struggling with such issues as deteriorating traditional marriage, pornography, rampant sexual permissiveness, the undermining of a biblical worldview in our public schools, abortion and other evils that seek to destroy the core teachings of our Christian faith. He has opened doors and prepared us “for such a time as this.”
This miraculous platform of state chapters, radio, TV, print and leadership has produced a framework for how we feel God is leading APN for the next five years and beyond. I believe as well that – if the Lord tarries – that He desires an even greater leadership role in expanding our voice for the Truth. I pray that God may use you to be a critical part of the next five years.
Not only do I ask that you as a previous partner and friend and listener pray about what you can do in an increased financial capacity, but if you’ve partnered with us, to start right now. In addition, I would ask you to consider walking with us daily in prayer and monthly in finances and 24 hours a day as “boots on the ground” and Stand in the Gap for Truth where you are.
Regardless of what level of commitment you choose, we – as God’s faithful – must now move ahead with boldness and faith, and not shrink and fade away. While God has done great things, He wants to do more “very good things,” and if He tarries, permit us and those like you to companion with us in these most critical days.
I likely don’t have to point out why this is all so important. After all, you are witness to everything that’s happening in our culture daily in your communities, workplaces, schools, churches and families. It’s no secret that America is in deep trouble morally. Our families are broken, our government system is derailed, our people divided. We are deep in debt; our enemies have surrounded us and have infiltrated our society. America has rejected God in practice and in law and has become arrogant.
Likewise, the American Church is lethargic, silent and mostly adulterous. The next generations are God-rejecting, feelings-oriented and devoid of a relationship with Christ. They are incapable of “keeping the Republic,” as Benjamin Franklin warned. Based on all this, APN and the Stand in the Gap family of programming is specifically designed to “Stand in the Gap for Truth” and to provide the leadership from the pulpit for truth.
Looking to You
If God has shown us one thing over the past five years, it’s that He’s not done with us yet.
There is still so much more on the horizon for the American Pastors Network and Stand in the Gap Media. Specifically, we are looking to God for His provision using you and our other friends, partners and listeners to meet these immediate and future needs:
- CORE MINISTRY NEEDS: To meet the internal growth needs related to radio, TV and direct work with pastors, we need a fresh commitment of $10,000 per month. Your scheduled monthly giving can help with this basic need and ensure our basic operating costs.
SPECIAL PROJECT OPPORTUNITIES
- REACHING THE NEXT GENERATION: To be able to effectively reach 18- to 35-year-olds with the unchanging truth of biblical principles, as addressed on our Stand in the Gap Radio and TV programs, APN is in need of $100,000 to launch a newly focused social media campaign that digitizes our content and delivers it to the next generation.
- RADIO EXPANSION: To enable more listeners to hear the timeless truths we provide through our daily radio programming, Stand in the Gap Today radio airtime purchases will cost roughly $75,000. No other media outlet is providing a biblical and constitutional perspective to our current issues, and our culture desperately needs these truths.
- BOOK LAUNCH: APN leadership is planning to publish a new book titled, Grand Design: Recovering God’s Extraordinary Blueprint for Government. Funding of $25,000 is necessary to complete this critical project.
These are the four areas of need and opportunity where we see God leading APN, and we hope you’ll join us.
Please consider walking with us in the days ahead by providing a generous one-time financial gift today, or even better, by becoming a monthly partner as God guides us to move forward. Please consider including us in your year-end giving as well. Know that we also immensely value your prayers!
We know we’re changing hearts and minds. Will you be a part of the future of the American Pastors Network and Stand in the Gap Media?
“Standing in the Gap for Truth,”
American Pastors Network President
After the election came somewhat of a stunned silence among those, both for and against Donald Trump, who never thought he would be elected president of the United States. Then, reality set in. Many embarked on a buoyant, hopeful journey for what was ahead for the nation, while others took to the streets in anger and fear.
Regardless of how divided the country may seem, pastors and churches will be a key component to renewal, restoration and revival in America.
“The process for renewal of our nation must be led on our knees in prayer,” said APN President Sam Rohrer, “as we humble ourselves before God and seek His blessing. It also involves a commitment by the pastors in the pulpits of America to once again preach the whole counsel of God and reteach our people that the biblical principles that made America great are the same principles that can restore and heal our nation—one nation under God.”
One fact the country must realize, Rohrer said, is that half of voters did not choose Donald Trump for president, and are now in despair and despondent. The other half, however, feeling forgotten and desperate for change, did cast a vote for Trump, and are feeling hopeful and perhaps relieved. Rohrer commented that this dichotomy marks one of Christians’ greatest chances to tell the life-saving story of Jesus’ love and grace, in this relatively small window God has granted us again; He has given us a stay.
“How we think and act as believers,” Rohrer said, “will be crucial in not only how our nation will ultimately be united, but how the message of Christ will be furthered. The voters today who are in despair were seeking and searching for something, but they did not find it in the outcome of this election. This is an incredible time to share the hope and the truth of the Gospel. And we must remember that when we have a disagreement with someone, we must pray for them. It’s impossible to remain in strife with those for whom we are praying. This is biblical truth. Therefore, true unity is only possible when we come into agreement with God’s commandments and with His plans—both for our lives and for this nation.”
Rohrer hosts the daily, live, one-hour “Stand in the Gap Today,” the news and commentary radio program from APN that airs on about 425 stations nationwide daily at noon ET. Social science researcher George Barna is a regular guest on the show and recently shared election insight from his organization, American Culture & Faith Institute (ACFI). (Read more: “God Uses Strong Christian Support to Place Donald Trump in the White House”)
This election season, Barna’s surveys of SAGE Cons—Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservatives—focused on voting trends, polls and the issues that were important to evangelicals. The latest research shows that the largest segment of support behind Trump was the Christian conservative vote.
While the Institute found that Trump was not the preferred option of SAGE Cons, they were the most reliable base of support he had. In an election night survey of 1,000 SAGE Cons, ACFI found:
- More than 90% of them turned out to vote.
- 94% of them cast their ballot for Donald Trump.
- More than half (52%) didn’t expect him to win.
- Two-thirds (67%) said they preferred his stand on key issues.
- Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) said they disliked Hillary Clinton.
- Key issues for these opinions were the candidates’ stands on abortion (53%) and Supreme Court nominations (49%).
On Thursday’s “Stand in the Gap Today” program (listen here), Rohrer and Barna discussed several key questions, including: What role did Christian conservatives play in the outcome of the election? What role did God play? Where do we go from here?
“God has given us a narrow window of opportunity,” Rohrer said. “Now we ask ourselves, what must be done in that window? God has given us grace and mercy, so what can we do with that gift? God answered the pleas and the prayers of His people and provided a reprieve. His continued blessing will be linked directly to our level of obedience. Yes, He has given us a stay, but the length of that stay is dependent on whether God’s people will be obedient or will go back to sleep. We will very easily return to the same comfortable, status quo ways if we fail to lead appropriately. This is about much more than winning an election; it’s a complete lifestyle shift and a change in the hearts of God’s people. And it starts at the pulpits of America’s churches.”
Dr. Ben Carson appeared on Stand in the Gap Today radio program on October 28th to speak to those who feel they can’t vote due to principle. Listen to this audio clip to hear his message about making choices in this election.
The American Family Association has published the 2016 Voter Guide on their website HERE. You’ll get a “sneak peek” at your federal and state ballot and find candidate comparisons all in one place!
Michele Bachmann, recent guest on Stand in the Gap Today, gives advice in this audio clip to those planning to vote 3rd Party or not vote at all. To listen to the entire program, please click HERE.
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