Monday, August 14, 2017

Christianity Does Not Justify Trump’s ‘Fire and Fury’

From The New York Times-

Following President Trump’s initial threats of “fire and fury” toward North Korea on Aug. 8, Robert Jeffress, the evangelical pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, and a presidential adviser, released a statement claiming that God had given the president authority to “take out” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Jeffress was the president’s selected preacher at the traditional pre-inauguration liturgy at St. John’s Episcopal Church and claims to speak with Mr. Trump “on a variety of issues.”

Regardless of his political credentials, Jeffress’s theology is shockingly uninformed and dangerous, and it is a sobering reminder of the power of misguided moral statements to influence matters of life and death in policy. President Trump’s language, which he intensified a few days later, evoked apocalyptic nuclear war. Despite what either of the men claim, there is no possible Christian justification for provoking such a conflict.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Jeffress backs up his argument by citing Paul, in Romans 13, a famous passage on the relationship between earthly and divine authority. Yet even the casual reader of the Bible will be hard-pressed to recreate this interpretation of Romans. In order to reach his desired conclusion, the pastor rips this passage from its context; Paul is telling Christians to obey the Roman authorities in temporal matters such as taxation, not justifying the authority of one ruler over another.

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