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Evangelical Pastor Matt Trewhella Defies Government Order to Close His Church

matt trewhella and family

Most Evangelical pastors have prudently shut down their churches due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While this blog features critiques of Evangelicalism and often ridicules the excesses found within Fundamentalist Christianity, I do want to thank these pastors for putting the health and welfare of their congregants and communities first. Even some of the churches who, at the start of the pandemic, refused to close their doors, have now caved to the reality that their continued obstinance was putting people’s lives at risk. Better late than never, but I am not inclined to forget the churches and pastors who put their politics and theology about the health of family, friends, and neighbors.

A handful of Evangelical pastors continue to hold church services despite government suggestions or orders that they refrain from doing so. One such man of God is Matt Trewhella, pastor of Mercy Street Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I learned about Trewhella’s behavior from a blog post written by uber-Fundamentalist and anti-government extremist Susan-Anne White. I have written about Ms. White several times in recent years:

That White thinks Matt Trewhella is a “courageous” pastor should come as no surprise. White thinks that the Coronavirus pandemic is much ado about nothing; a government plot to meant to take away civil liberties. On March 11, 2020, White posted a link to an article that suggested the coronavirus was little more than “fake news.” It is clear, at least to me, that Trewhella and White are two peas in a pod; fellow conspiracy theorists who are watching the world burn while pretending there’s no fire.

Trewhella operates the Defy Tyrants website. Trewhella, father of eleven children, calls himself a missionary to the pre-born.

Trewhella’s church bio page states:

In addition to being pastor of Mercy Seat Christian Church (founded in 1989) in the Milwaukee, WI area, Pastor Trewhella is also founder of the pro-life organization Missionaries to the Preborn, author of the book The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates: A Proper Resistance to Tyranny and a Repudiation of Unlimited Obedience to Civil Government, and lectures frequently on righteous resistance and the lesser magistrate doctrine.

Pastor Trewhella has been a passionate leader and laborer within the body of Christ since his conversion at age 17 in the inner city of Detroit. His integrity and innovative leadership within the pro-life movement [and now within the abolitionist movement] have inspired a generation to “love their neighbor as themselves”.

Though much maligned in the liberal media for his effective pro-life work, Pastor Trewhella’s reputation as a man of principle and great courage shine brightly to a generation so desperately in need of godly leadership. He and his wife Clara live in the Milwaukee, WI area. They have eleven children.

While the governor of Wisconsin has wisely ordered all churches to close their doors, Trewhella refuses to abide by the order. Instead of meeting at their normal gathering place, the Zoofari Conference Center, Trewhella has moved his carnival act to his home. You can, if you dare, view Trewhella’s recent sermon on the COVID-19 virus below.

Video Link

Just today, the good pastor said on Facebook:

God’s Word speaks to all matters of life, including the matter of quarantining. The Lord speaks of this in His law in Leviticus 13. And when we look at the law of God we see one thing that comes through loud and clear – you do NOT quarantine the whole of society – rather you quarantine the sick.

There is also a process in God’s law to follow to determine who is sick. You do not abridge the rights and freedom of everyone and shut down the whole of society. In this we see the goodness and grace of God’s law. God’s law is more gracious and protects freedom more than man’s law. God’s law doesn’t destroy the economy and lives of others. God’s prescription was intended to protect society not only from the disease, but from economic hardship upon those who weren’t diseased. You don’t abridge every other person’s freedom – you quarantine the sick.

Perhaps it time for me to pray an atheist imprecatory prayer:

Dear Lord,

We live in a day and hour of extreme ignorance and stupidity. Countless Evangelical and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastors are putting the lives of their congregants, families, and neighbors at risk Lord, all because they hate the governments you have ordained (Romans 13) and think you are commanding them to keep the doors of their churches open.

Since it is evident that these so-called men of God are immune to reason, science, and common sense, Lord I ask that you inflict them with the COVID-19 virus. Don’t kill them Lord, just make them wish they were dead. Please protect everyone around them from their Trumpian stupidity, Lord. No need for others to suffer due to their ignorance. May everyone see their affliction, Lord, as your judgment upon their lives. And when these monuments to ignorance recover Lord, may they testify to the world that they were wrong and that Lord Science and his Son Reason alone rule this earth.

To your name, I give all the glory,


Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    “11 kids and no health insurance,” he brags. Might as well say “I’m an irresponsible idiot and a bad husband and father.” And sadly, it will be the children who will suffer the most from dad’s stupidity.

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    I wholeheartedly agree with your prayer. People who are getting others in groups are ending up infected with the novel coronavirus, AND passing the virus along. I usually don’t wish illness or suffering on others, but these ignoramuses are going to get people killed.

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    ... Zoe ~

    When I look at these innocent children a Bible verse comes to mind. Something about having a millstone hung around your neck rather than lead one of these astray. If your God is real Matt I don’t think he’ll have mercy on your soul for the damage done to your children.

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    What on earth is wrong with these people? God gave us common sense. Apparently, they’ve either NEVER used it, or patently refuse to do so!!!! GREAT!!! Just what the world clearly does NOT need: YET ANOTHER cretinous jackass!!!!

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    Brian Vanderlip

    Spoke with my evangelical, religio-infected brother today and he emphasized that all news is fake news and none of it tells true, that the numbers are wrong, inflated. Dear Trump the bully-baby Christian gets a back-pat.
    Matt Trewhella does the same kind of wash of Reason in any form that might stray from his narrow evangelicalism. Matt shows us just how addled ‘belief’ is capable of making us. He takes on the government and vilifies it so that he can own his crowd and force them to comply, coming to his home to praise his resistance to Reason. Pastor Paranoid needs meds.

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    I’ve seen a lot of “don’t let the government take away your liberty in the interest of temporary safety” on social media. Yet I know they see the posts by healthcare acquaintances we have in common begging people to stay home, begging for equipment to keep them safe as they treat others. Where’s the disconnect?

    Oh, and it’s funny how when it suits them they refer to Levitical laa but when it doesn’t, Jesus fulfilled the law. Which is it, follow the law or we don’t have to because of Jesus?

      • Avatar
        Hugh D. Young

        Actually, I’d much prefer they just go on ahead and send ’em my way if they don’t intend to use ‘Tha Debboolz Money’!!! 🙂

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        Yulya Sevelova

        Here’s an interesting take on liberty, and what happens when you lose it : there’s some long- standing order to digitize the he U.S. Dollar, making it cashless permanently. One bank officer from my bank that I had to go see recently said that by 2025, banks will go cashless. I was in a hurry that day, or I’d have asked him just how did HE know this is true. Inwardly I was horrified, being from a country where people are controlled from cradle to grave. I’m researching this subject to find out more. Now, does Matthew Trewhella know about THIS yet ?? He has at least 10 children, maybe more by now- it’s been a few years.

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        David Treibs

        I sent mine back. Apparently that is too short a response, so I have to make it more wordy, so here are some more words and words and words. But, it’s really a simple answer. I sent back my checks.

  7. Avatar
    Michael Mock

    “With the shekels come the shackles” …? Wow. So on top of everything else, the virus is a Jewish conspiracy to take away their Freedom(tm)? I can’t see any other way to read that.

    These are, quite simply, horrible people.

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    I am weary of you misrepresenting me, slandering me and putting words into my mouth Mr. Gerencser. I am NOT an “anti-government extremist” nor am I a “conspiracy theorist.” I am opposed to anarchy and long for righteous God-fearing government that is strong on law and order. You frequently write falsehoods about me. You attribute words to me that I did not say. Where did I say that Covid-19 is “much ado about nothing, a government plot meant to take away civil liberties.” These are all YOUR words, not mine, and if you had a conscience you would not behave so wickedly towards another human being. In your blasphemous “prayer” you speak of “their Trumpian stupidity.” What are you talking about? It is President Trump who is ordering the lockdown which is causing economic devastation and deprivation of liberties.I would not have voted for Trump anyway so whose stupidity are you referring to?You are very concerned about the coronavirus,so it is legitimate for me to ask, where was your concern for the multiplied thousands of your fellow countrymen and women who died of the flu in recent years?

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Your works precede you, Ms. White. I don’t like you, so it doesn’t take much effort on my part to wind you up. It’s a good day when you are pissed off. You are vile hater of the human race. I wear your anger at me as a badge of honor.

      The things you have posted on your blog you supposedly “weren’t going to be writing” tells me everything I need to know about your anti-government views and conspiratorial beliefs about the virus.

      Trump is a vain, narcissistic , ignorant idiot, thus Trumpian stupidity.

      I’m concerned when anyone dies. Deaths from flu have become normalized. Death from COVID-19 is stalking me. Flu? I get my flu shot and hope for the best. Besides, people who die from the flu almost always have comorbidity issues. COVID-19 is killing young and old, sick and healthy.

      Have a wonderful day, Ms. White. All praise be to Loki, our one true Lord and Savior. May his blessings shine upon your face and irritate the hell out of you. ?

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    Susan Anne White’s remark about “deprivation of liberties” makes me wonder what she is doing in her neck of the woods right now. Walking all over the town doing her shopping, visiting multiple stores thus endangering multiple people, while the British govt has strongly advised people to do the most straightforward shop they can and for basic supplies only. Endangering multiple people AND putting herself at greater risk than if she went into a single shop and then right home? Such people are a public health hazard.

    Susan-Anne, yes, people have died of flu and will continue to do so. That is sad. But there IS a flu vaccine which many people make sure they get. (Presumably this is deemed to be government interference as well?) THAT is the major difference between Covid 19 and flu. Oh, and Covid 19 kills proportionately more people who have been infected than flu does. The National Health Service (note to American readers: this serves England, Wales, Scotland and also Northern Ireland which is where Ms White lives) has a serious shortage of ventilators at a time when people who are very sick with Covid 19 might well need the help of a ventilator. These facts and many more are easily at Ms White’s disposal yet there she is on her blog downplaying everything and praising Matt Trewhella above for being “courageous.” He is putting the wellbeing of people at risk, even his own children, what is remotely courageous about that? (While being an enthusiastic “pro-life supporter; there is a disconnect there.)

    Unfortunately, it is only too true that “you cannot fix stupid.”

  10. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Susan Anne White is a blight. She reminds me of so many believers who could care less about viruses and people. In her view, God should kill them all and then bring back only her version of the righteous to visit with her in glory. She really really believes her bullshit and it hurts this heart to have to bear the weight of her. What a hateful grinch she is! What is wrong with Jesus that he allows her such bandwidth? When I think of you, Susan, I think of an elastic band that has been left stretched too long in the world and begins to fall to pieces in the light of the everyday. You couldn’t quench the thirst of a misquito. Yuck! I spit you out…

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    Frederick Douglass is rolling over in his grave as this asshole claims to be a leader “within the abolitionist movement”.

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    How my heart goes out to this despicable man’s children. In the UK, he would have raised enough red flags with Child Protection Agencies for the authorities to be legally able to go into his home, and investigate and ask why he’d never taken any of them for any sort of NHS medical checks that everyone here normally uses for their little ones for the first 5 yrs of their lives….and the children would be questioned without parents being present if this were deemed necessary. I too think of the millstone verse when odious fundies play down and cover up such behaviour – and cover up child abuse too, funny how it’s rarely mentioned by them whilst they cherry pick other verses about the sins of others.

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      Karen the rock whisperer

      Yes, but you UK people are SOCIALISTS! That’s the same as being COMMIES! The NHS and Child Protection Agencies are TOOLS OF SATAN! EVIL all around and dedicated to PERSECUTING CHRISTIANS!!!

      As over-the-top as that rant above sounds, I guarantee you that there are far too many US Fundagelicals who would agree with it, even down to the shouting. These people have been conditioned by their religious environment to think no harder than figuring out where to get brunch after church on Sunday. They’re like Pavlov’s dogs; anything someone labels “socialist” or “progressive” or “liberal” or “secular” gets immediately rejected without examination. Government services beyond emergency first responders (and maybe road maintenance) are evil by definition, and throwing a few buzzwords around any issue is enough to get them to enthusiastically vote AGAINST SATAN and not so coincidentally vote against their own best interests. Some of my husband’s distant relatives fall into this category. We don’t talk much since Husband and I are Eeevil Librul Commie Atheists and can therefore not say anything truthful by definition. (And no, we’re not actual communists; we’re merely Not Republicans.)

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      Michael, I had 2 children and that was enough to radically change my body, girl parts and all. How browbeaten does a woman have to be to have that many children??

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      Yulya Sevelova

      Michael, it appears that Trewhella turned his wife’s vagina INTO a clown car. Whether she wanted I that way or not. Take a good look at the expressions on those kids’ faces. They don’t seem to happy. It makes me wonder if Trewhella beats them in order to control so huge a brood. Because this is usually the case with Quiverfull families.

  13. Avatar
    David Treibs

    Sir, you are a coward and a traitor. You have no understanding of the times, nor of God’s character. You fight against the one God has sent to deliver you. The end will be that you will have the government you deserve. Unfortunately, the rest of us will also have the government you deserve. But, we will not go away silently.

    11 Then three thousand men of Judah went to the top of the rock Etam, and said to Samson, Knowest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? what is this that thou hast done unto us? And he said unto them, As they did unto me, so have I done unto them.
    12 And they said unto him, We are come down to bind thee, that we may deliver thee into the hand of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them, Swear unto me, that ye will not fall upon me yourselves.
    13 And they spake unto him, saying, No; but we will bind thee fast, and deliver thee into their hand: but surely we will not kill thee. And they bound him with two new cords, and brought him up from the rock.
    14 And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands.
    15 And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Coward and traitor I am not. I just so happen to have a different view of government and the world 🌎 than you do.

      I understand the times quite well, knowing we must push back on your beliefs if we want to maintain a liberal democracy. As far as God’s character, I’m an atheist, so there is no God.

      If I were to judge God’s character, I would judge it by the actions of his followers. You know, people such as yourself who threaten strangers with violence.

      The “one” God sent to deliver me? Jesus or Trewhella?

    • Avatar
      Yulya Sevelova

      Treibs, who is this deliverer you are going on about ?? You don’t mean Trew- hella, do you ? And for Bruce to soldier on,after all he’s been through, that’s NO coward, bub. As for traitor, anyone who votes in laws that resembles Russian ones, like Reagan’s Martial Law Exec.Oder Rex 1984, or Bush’s Patriot Act, and his NDAA, Clinton’s NAFTA- there’s a few traitors for real, among other presidents. All those laws chip away at liberty daily ! And now there’s this looming digital dollar no one wants to talk about.

  14. Avatar
    David Treibs

    Ah. I see, you are not a Christian. Probably you never were one. But, I know atheists who have better sense than you, and who would agree with Matt Trewhella’s ideas about the fake Wuhan “pandemic,” even though they would disagree with his religious views.

      • Avatar
        David Treibs

        Nothing in particular you said, but just from other ex-Christians who give their explanations, and with it their understanding of the Bible and God. A number of them have had very erroneous views.
        I don’t happen to believe once-saved-always-saved, so there is the possibility that you really were a Christian. I was just thinking out loud.

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          David, it’s a fact that people can indeed believe something with great intensity but then lose their faith. While they believed they were what they believed themselves to be, and the depth of their understanding of their former belief system is not a valid reason to discount someone’s testimony.

          Please strive to rise above the “You were never a true Christian” rhetoric – It may be troubling to consider that a beloved belief can fail, but accepting that reality is a necessary part of understanding where non-believers are coming from.

  15. Avatar
    David Treibs

    It seems I fired that email a bit too soon. I thought you were a Christian. It’s my fault for not reading more thoroughly. I generally save my harshest comments for people who call themselves Christians, but do things that contradict what I consider to be strong Christian tenets.
    Then I read, former Christian, or atheist, or whatever it said. Oops.
    I still think you are wrong in your views on Trewhella, the Wuhan, etc, but at least I don’t consider your views to be inconsistent with what I think should be core values.
    By the way, I know at least one atheist who is strongly against the vaccines, the false info on the “pandemic,” etc.
    There is not necessarily a connection between faith, and an understanding of government lies, etc, although if I were inclined to argue (which I’m not; don’t have time), I might posit that your side is more prone to be deceived.
    But, maybe some other time.
    Good day.

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      David, Covid 19 is not the conspiracy theory that you appear to be suggesting – just ask the relatives of the nearly 7m who died worldwide, or the 20m (minimum estimate) worldwide suffering long Covid. As for vaccinations, fewer than 100 people in the UK (where I live) died as a result of adverse reaction to the vaccine, and I know that the rate is similarly low in other countries, including the US. Of those who did die, all were by definition highly vulnerable had they contracted the virus. The anti vaccination lobby is, to my mind, a terrorist organisation, given the damage it has wreaked.

      • Avatar
        David Treibs

        I disagree, but don’t wish to argue. If you would like, you may consider an alternate source, such as:
        If you look up his stuff there and elsewhere, he will contradict much of what you claim.
        He and many others say 85% of the deaths were needless, caused by the medical system refusing to use effective early treatment, use of the deadly Remdesivir death protocol, and the deadly vaccines.

        • Avatar

          If I want to believe in a flat earth it takes about 5 seconds of Googling for me to provide sources to support my claim. The internet is rife with nonsense and it takes intelligent discernment to be able to distinguish between the nonsense and the legitimate sources. You for some reason choose to quote the nonsense.

  16. Avatar

    As a former member of Mercy Seat, I chuckled at “carnival act.” You have no idea how accurate that is. But Pastor Matt isn’t pretending the world isn’t burning. He wants the world to burn. He is itching for war and destruction so he and his community can rebuild the world in their image.

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