One of President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisors, Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, has released a statement in the wake of Trump’s unprecedented words towards North Korea, saying that the U.S. President has spiritual authority to “take out” North Korean President 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.”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Jeffress said he was referring to Romans 13. “That gives the government … the authority to do whatever,” Jeffress said. “Whether it’s assassination, capital punishment or evil punishment to quell the actions of evildoers like Kim Jong Un.”
When asked about the Bible’s other words about loving your enemies and not repaying evil for evil, Jeffress said those words were intended for Christians only, not governments. “A Christian writer asked me, ‘Don’t you want the president to embody the Sermon on the Mount?’ ” he told the Washington Post. “I said absolutely not.”
Not everyone believes the passage Jeffress refers to in Romans means Paul believed all authorities have the God-given right to go around killing people. As famed Christian pastor John Piper once wrote, the Bible is rich with examples of God-ordained people defying political authority (think Daniel, Moses and even the apostles). “The fact that God has ordained all authority does not mean all authority should be obeyed,” Piper wrote. “It is right to resist what God has appointed in order to obey what God has commanded.”