One of President Donald Trump's spiritual advisers, Dallas megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress, said God has given the president the power to take out evildoers like North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
Shortly after Trump warned on Tuesday that North Korea would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it threatens the security of the United States, Jeffress felt compelled to issue his support for the president's comments.
Jeffress, the 61-year-old pastor at the 12,000-member First Baptist Dallas who was one of the first well-known evangelicals to align himself with Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign, issued a statement through his public relations team that was shared with The Christian Post on Tuesday evening.
"When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, 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' statement reads. "In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un."
According to the press release, the point of Jeffress' statement was to commend Trump for his "resoluteness against the regime and affirming his role as defender of the American people."
"I'm heartened to see that our president — contrary to what we've seen with past administrations who have taken, at best, a sheepish stance toward dictators and oppressors — will not tolerate any threat against the American people," Jeffress added. "When President Trump draws a red line, he will not erase it, move it, or back away from it. Thank God for a president who is serious about protecting our country."
North Korea has claimed that it's working on developing capabilities to strike the United States and has long ignored calls for it to halt its nuclear activities. Reuters reported on Wednesday that North Korea has said that it's "carefully examining" a missile strike on Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific.
North Korea's state-run news outlet KCNA reported that a spokesperson for the Korean People's Army said that once Kim makes a decision, such a strike will be put into practice in a multi-current and consecutive way any moment."
In an interview with The Washington Post, Jeffress explained that it is Romans 13 that gives government the authority to take out evildoers.
"That gives the government to the authority to do whatever, whether it's assassination, capital punishment or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong-Un," Jeffress was quoted as saying.
Jeffress added that even though some Christians might cite Romans 12 to point out that the Bible says not to "repay evil for evil," that verse only refers to Christians, not leaders in power, like Trump.
"A Christian writer asked me, 'Don't you want the president to embody the Sermon on the Mount?'" Jeffress replied, "absolutely not."
Jeffress' comments did not sit well with some conservative Christians, like Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at the conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C.
Anderson posted a tweet that linked to a CBN News article about Jeffress' comments. In the tweet, Anderson claimed the argument that "God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary" is "heresy."
"Cannot use evil means to good end," Anderson wrote.
Jeffress' comment also drew the ire of many progressive Christians.
The Rev. Chuck Currie, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who teaches at Pacific University, posted a tweet in reply to Jeffress.
"You promote a dangerous theology of war that goes against Prince of Peace who preached just peace," Currie wrote. "I see nothing Christian in your remarks."