HELENA, Montana — A Wisconsin pastor presented a sermon before the Montana legislature this past weekend, teaching on what is known as the Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates, a historic and biblical doctrine that dates back to the times of Moses and Daniel.
Matt Trewhella, pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, had been invited by the group Project Liberty Tree to present this year’s election sermon at the Montana state house in Helena following the release of his book “The Doctrine of Lesser Magistrates.” The book focuses on the refusal of civil magistrates to obey laws that are immoral or ungodly, believing that divine laws trump human commands.
With numerous social issues and court rulings in recent years that seek to force Christians to violate the law of God, Trewhella preached a message to those gathered entitled “The Duty of the Lesser Magistrate in the Face of Tyranny.”
“The cold-blooded murder of the preborn, the imposition of homosexual marriage upon our states, no-fault divorce, the decriminalization of adultery, the phalanx of laws created by the State to invade our domestic affairs, disarm the people, seize our property, and harass our persons—all point to the growing tyranny in America,” he declared.
Trewhella then pointed to numerous biblical examples of interposition where the people of God refused to commit evil and chose to obey God rather than men—from the midwives who refused to kill the firstborn male children in Egypt contrary to Pharaoh’s command to Daniel’s refusal to obey a decree issued by King Darius that prohibited him from praying to God.
“Understand, God is the ultimate authority. The Bible says plainly, ‘The Most High rules over the realm of mankind,'” Trewhella preached to the more than 30 lawmakers gathered. “He created us, and thus knows best how we are to be governed. God is the ultimate Law-Giver and Ruler.”
“As God’s minister’s you are to govern according to His rule,” he continued. “You are—as it says in [Romans 13]—to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. You are not to make law or policy which contradicts His moral law or His word.”
Trewhella said that the majority of the problems in America today stem from moral relativism out of its abandonment of God.
“God’s moral law as the ‘higher law’ provides an objective standard whereby one is able to discern right from wrong, or good from evil. The ‘higher law’ exists independent of the authority of any government, and all governments of men are accountable to it,” he explained. “It is the tyrant state that abhors an objective standard. It does not want to be accountable. It flourishes in a subjective environment. And that is why you are watching Western Civilization crumble before your eyes.”
“May God help you do right by Him,” the pastor and author exhorted.
Trewhella told Christian News Network this week that he believed his sermon was “vitally important” for current times, and noted that such invitations to pastors were commonplace in early America.
“People from the community and the legislators and magistrates would come to hear the word of God,” he explained. “So to see that it’s being revived and actually practiced again after over 100 years plus of it not being done, you see how important it is.”
Trewhella, who founded the organization Missionaries to the Preborn in 1990, said that he received a warm reception from lawmakers.
“I had many [legislators] come up to me and tell me, ‘This is something we need to look into more and learn more about,'” he explained. “When people are taught for the word of God regarding civil government, they are able to see the purpose, functions and limits of civil government,” he said, adding that when citizens remain ignorant of these matters “it makes it much easier for the state to do things beyond its biblical or constitutional limits or restraints.”
While some media outlets demonized Trewhella for the content of his speech and his stance on biblical morality, he states that God used the negative publicity for good.
“[The mainstream media is] at war with Christ. They promote everything evil and licentious, and they actually make evil look good and good look evil,” he stated. “So, I’m not surprised by them attacking what we’re doing. I pay very little attention to it.”
“I see the good that God brings even from that because while they mean their attacks for evil, again and again, I’ve seen God use it for good, arousing the hearts of the people and rallying them towards this effort to see the interposition of the lesser magistrates take place in our country,” Trewhella continued. “So many people have the teaching in their hands now who wouldn’t have heard it had it not been for what the press did.”
Following the presentation of the sermon on Sunday, Trewhella also taught at meetings throughout the week in various cities, including in Plains, Missoula, Butte and Bozeman. In addition to the attendance of local residents, several government officials were present at the meetings as well.
“It’s been really good what’s happened here,” Trewhella said.
Photo: Monty Johnson