Pastor Authors Book Encouraging Government Leaders to ‘Obey God,’ Resist Tyranny

Lesser Magistrate BookMILWAUKEE — A pastor from Wisconsin has authored a book advising state and municipal government leaders that when they are forced to make a choice between obeying God or the federal government, they must always obey God rather than men.

Matt Trewhella pastors Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has long been a proponent of the lesser magistrate doctrine, which teaches that “when a higher authority makes an unjust law, the lower authority must resist it.” He says that he first became interested in the concept while considering the plight of the millions of unborn children that are aborted in the nation with the permission of state and local governments.

Trewhella believes that states civil government leaders should have resisted the ruling in Roe v. Wade and fought to protect innocent life within their borders.

“They should have defied the federal government and said, ‘We don’t care what the Supreme Court has ruled; this is an immoral, unjust law, and there will be no preborn babies slaughtered in our state,'” he said. “Unfortunately, of course that didn’t happen because people are ignorant of this doctrine.”

In Trewhella’s book, The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates, the non-denominational pastor outlines that the belief that leaders must obey God rather than man is not only sound in Scripture and is reflected throughout history, but it is also practical for the crossroads that Americans face today. He noted that some civil magistrates are already acting upon the doctrine whether they realize it or not.

“You can pick up the newspaper and find sheriffs who are making open declarations against the federal government regarding the Second Amendment. You can even see whole state legislatures like Wyoming that have taken a stand against federal actions to disarm or infringe our Second Amendment rights,” he outlined. “You can also see states taking action on immigration and a host of other things.”

He said that the same concept must be played out in regard to abortion and homosexual “marriage,” among other issues.

  • Connect with Christian News

Therefore, Trewhella wrote the book to educate civil magistrates across the nation and around the world about the doctrine, and to inform Christians that when leaders defy immoral edicts to take a stand for truth, that their actions are “proper, right and legitimate.”

When asked why the majority of Christians frown upon civil disobedience and believe that men must unconditionally obey every law imposed upon them, he opined that churches often have an improper hermeneutic regarding Romans 13.

“It’s a lie,” Trewhella stated. “I think a lot of people just like to go along to get along. They just want to be able to continue to pursue their goods and their ease, and they don’t want to be bothered by anyone who upsets the apple cart, so they turn a blind eye, and they create a false theology to accommodate the form of Christianity that they have adopted.”

“Romans 13 makes it clear that a civil magistrate is to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil,” he said. “When they subvert their God-given function and begin to reward those who do evil and punish those who do good, we have a duty to obey God rather than man. And that’s been the standard teaching throughout history.”


Even Scripture chronicles Christians who were faced with the choice of following man’s law or God’s law, Trewhella outlined.

“There are many passages and stories like the three Hebrew children [Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego] and Daniel, where the people of God disobey the civil government and are commended by God for doing it,” he stated. “The three Hebrew children were part of the civil government there in Babylon, and of course Daniel was one of the governors directly under the Babylonian emperor himself.”

“And so, they interposed against these unjust or immoral laws as lesser magistrates,” the pastor and author continued. “[They were] willing to hazard their own life and perhaps take some suffering upon themselves by doing what was right rather than what was expedient.”

However, in today’s day and age, Trehwella noted, Christians often throw their brothers and sisters in Christ under the bus if they refuse to obey earthly laws that contradict the law of God. He recalled how Judge Roy Moore of Alabama was belittled when he refused to remove the Ten Commandments from the premises of the Alabama Supreme Court.

“When he took a stand in Alabama, he was abandoned by and large by Christians and [he had] Christian leaders condemning him because of this mindset that we should always obey the civil government no matter what,” Trewhella remembered. “And because people didn’t understand that what he was doing was proper, right and legitimate, they left him blowing in the breeze. And the story is well-known regarding what took place there.”

But Trewhella states that Christians need to know better. He said that he wrote his latest book to both educate the body of Christ and encourage civil magistrates that take a stand in the face of tyranny.

“It’s important that this doctrine be taught to the magistrates of this nation and people of this nation,” he said. “We have the time and opportunity to inform the magistrate of the legitimacy, right and duty to resist the higher authority [when it impugns the law of God].”

Trewhella’s book, The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate, is available at

Become a Christian News Network Supporter...

Dear Reader, has been of benefit and a blessing to you? For many years now, the Lord has seen fit to use this small news outlet as a strong influential resource in keeping Christians informed on current events from a Biblical worldview. Despite Facebook's recent algorithm changes, which has limited our readership, and, as a result, has affected operational revenue, we continue to strive to bring you the news without compromise and to keep Christ in focus. If you have benefited from our news coverage, would you please prayerfully consider becoming a Christian News supporter by clicking here to make a one-time or monthly donation to help keep the truth widely and freely published and distributed? May Christ continue to be exalted through this work!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Thom Dunbar III

    Author is correct – we must obey God rather than man. And the leaders should stand up and do this first. The federal government is going to steamroll right over us all if we don’t stand up for God’s Law and our rights based on it.

    • Jim Jones

      Thom Dunbar III is correct. As soon as Sharia law becomes the law of the land Allah will triumph and the world will be at peace.

      Allahu Akbar.

      • Will Pharoe

        I find Jim Jones comments confusing. The idea that he supports the author, which draws his conclusions from the New Testament, is contrary to Islamic teaching. They do now recognize the New Testament. Sharia Law attempt to usurps power, and persecute or simply kill those who practice free will. Free will is God’s gift to mankind, and therefore salvation is offered by choice and not by threat of death. It is a gift.

  • Gene L.

    Thanks for the interesting review.

    Theoretically, putting God above man in all human transactions sounds great. The problem occurs with differences of interpretation, differences of understanding, and different gods. In a mob controlled secular democracy, my God of the Bible is no better than your God of Money.

    The government would have so much chaos that it would cease to exist, which might not be a bad idea.

    Even among well meaning Christians, there are differences in the application of “Thou Shall Not Kill”. Most Christians believe that it is OK invade other countries and kill the their innocent to satisfy their illusion that it will stop terrorism. But others believe that we are making more enemies by invading foreign countries and that gives them the right to invade us in turn. Still others believe that terrorism does not exist to the degree of other crimes and we should concentrate our limited resources in other areas.

    How about Thou Shall Not Steal”? Most Christian votes put politicians in office that run a crime syndicate that steals under the softer name of taxes. But some Christians disagree with that stealing.

    Even Roe V. Wade brings on differences in opinion concerning giving an evil government the ability to physically punish confused young mothers versus limiting the discipline to the churches.

  • Patriot1

    The late Dr. Francis Schaefer understood this. He wrote a book in the early 1980’s title “A Christian Manifesto” where he expounded on this exact topic, in fact he even used the terms “greater and lesser magistrates.” Chuck Baldwin is another pastor who understands this, he has written and spoken of it many times. And the preachers during the American Revolution understood this better than anyone else. They were referred to as the “Black Regiment” because of the black clerical robes they wore. The British government hated them even more than the political leaders because they spoke the truth in God’s name and were viewed as more of a threat. If you look online, you can find many sermons from those days by men such as Samuel West, Jacob Cushing, and many more. In fact, Samuel West preached as sermon titled “On the Right to Rebel Against Governors.” They used Scripture to back it up, and in my opinion, they understood the Bible better than most pastors of today do. This Matt Trewhella guy certainly gets it, in fact you could consider him to be a modern “Black Regiment” preacher. This is all part of our true history which they no longer teach in the government schools, and unfortunately, it seems to be lost on most of the churches as well. Pretty much all of our troubles we have in this country nowadays stem from the silence of the pulpits, the pastors don’t educate their congregations on these matters and are basically silent on all the evils going on around them. We need more pastors like Matt Trewhella and Chuck Baldwin to step up to the plate and get on the ball.

  • Mike

    It frustrates those of us who hear our brethren make constant reference to Romans 13 as justification to nullify God’s laws. Romans 13 applies to a righteous government only, and doesn’t allow a government to supersede the laws of God.