Regathering the Church: Obedience—Not Civil Disobedience
American Pastors Network President Sam Rohrer: We Are in a Time of Choosing; How Do We Determine Our Choice?
May 18, 2020
PHILADELPHIA—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.”
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.
Listen to “Stand in the Gap Today” archives here. Rohrer also hosts the daily short radio feature “Stand in the Gap Minute, and “best of” shows from the week are broadcast on “Stand in the Gap Weekend.”
View the media page for APN here. For more information on APN, visit www.AmericanPastorsNetwork.net, its Facebook page or follow APN’s Twitter feed, @AmericanPastors. For information about forming a state chapter of APN, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
To interview an American Pastors Network representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.