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?’ ”