Dallas megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress has claimed that God gave President Donald Trump the "authority to take out" North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
Jeffress, one of Trump's spiritual advisers, issued a statement early Tuesday evening, saying he believed the Bible makes clear that "God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil."
The megachurch pastor's remarks came shortly after the president warned that North Korea would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it threatens the security of the U.S.
The Texas preacher, who leads a congregation of more than 10,000 members at First Baptist Church in Dallas, commended Trump for not tolerating North Korea's threats.
"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," the pastor said, according to The Christian Post.
"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," he continued.
Trump's warning to North Korea came amid reports that the communist regime has successfully developed a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.
The U.S. government calculated last month that North Korea controls up to 60 nuclear weapons, while some independent experts believe that the number of bombs is much smaller.
The communist regime has long ignored calls for it to halt its nuclear activities, and it has stated on Wednesday that it is "carefully examining" a missile strike on Guam, a U.S. territory in the Pacific.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Jeffress claimed that Romans 13 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 noted that some Christians might cite Romans 12 to point out that the Bible says not to "repay evil for evil," but he argued the verse only refers to Christians, not leaders in power.
The pastor's remarks drew the ire of some conservative Christians, including Ryan Anderson, a senior fellow at the conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C.
In a Twitter post linking to an article about Jeffress' remarks, Anderson claimed that the argument that God has granted leaders "full power" to use whatever means necessary is "heresy."
The Rev. Chuck Currie, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who teaches at Pacific University, accused Jeffress of promoting a "dangerous theology of war that goes against Prince of Peace who preached just peace." "I see nothing Christian in your remarks," tweeted in reply to Jeffress.
Jeffress, a member of Trump's evangelical advisory committee during the 2016 presidential election, has attended several meetings of prominent evangelicals at the White House, including a dinner ahead of the National Day of Prayer.
The Texas pastor also recently hosted a Fourth of July concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., where the First Baptist choir and orchestra premiered a musical arrangement of Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."