Jeffress’ statement on Tuesday, August 8, followed the president’s warning earlier in the day that North Korea would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if the North Korean leader continues to threaten the United States.
The Texas preacher, who leads a congregation of about 10,000 people in Dallas, has been an outspoken Trump supporter since early in the presidential campaign. He is one of the dozens of conservative evangelical leaders who have been getting what one of them described as “unprecedented access” to this president, who they say seeks their views on policy.
In a written statement released early Tuesday evening, Jeffress said he believed the Bible makes clear that “God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil.”
“I’m heartened to see that our president will not tolerate any threat against the American people. When President Trump draws a red line, he will not erase it, move it, or back away from it,” Jeffress said. “Thank God for a president who is serious about protecting our country.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Jeffress cited the biblical verse Romans 13, saying it “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.”
Trump, who was raised as a Presbyterian, has gone out of his way to embrace evangelicals. White evangelicals gave him 81 percent of their votes in November, a higher percentage than any other religious group.
This article originally appeared in Religion News Service.