Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, one of President Trump’s evangelical advisers who preached the morning of his inauguration, has released a statement saying the president has the moral authority to “take out” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“When it comes to how we should deal with evildoers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil,” Jeffress said. “In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.”
Jeffress said in a phone interview that he was prompted to make the statement after Trump said that if North Korea’s threats to the United States continue, Pyongyang will be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
The biblical passage Romans 13 gives the government authority to deal with evildoers, Jeffress said. “That gives the government … the authority to do whatever, whether it’s assassination, capital punishment or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong Un,” he said.
He said that many pacifist Christians will cite Romans 12, which says, “Do not repay evil for evil,” but Jeffress says that the passage is referring to Christians, not to the government.
“A Christian writer asked me, ‘Don’t you want the president to embody the Sermon on the Mount?’ ” he said, referring to Jesus’s sermon. “I said absolutely not.”
In his sermon on the morning of Trump’s inauguration in January, Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, compared Trump to the story of the biblical leader Nehemiah, who helped rebuild the city of Jerusalem.
The first step of rebuilding the nation, Jeffress said, was the building of a wall around Jerusalem to protect its citizens. “You see, God is not against building walls,” Jeffress said in his sermon at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington.
Jeffress is no stranger to controversy. He has said in the past that former president Barack Obama paved the way for the Antichrist and drew wide attention for calling Mormonism a cult during the 2012 Republican primaries. Jeffress knows his comments on North Korea could be considered controversial, even among fellow evangelicals. His megachurch in Dallas is a prominent Southern Baptist church, one where evangelist Billy Graham had membership for many years. In 2016, the church reported an average weekly attendance of about 3,700.
“Some Christians, perhaps younger Christians, have to think this through,” Jeffress said. “It’s antithetical to some of the mushy rhetoric you hear from some circles today. Frankly, it’s because they are not well taught in the Scriptures.”
Over the past two years, Jeffress said, Trump has been “very measured, very thoughtful in every response.”
“People instinctively know that this president is not going to draw an imaginary red line and walk around it like President Obama did,” he said.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Sarah Pulliam Bailey