I recently wrote a Christian Apologetics piece for my other gig, over at The Resurgent, regarding North Korea, President Trump’s statements of “fire and fury,” and the Christian response to the concept of a “just war.”
Is there such a thing? Is aggression and war ever the answer, and how should Christians respond?
The short answer is “yes.” There are times when war is just and necessary. My response, however, was meant to address Dr. Robert Jeffress, the “spiritual leader” of Trump and the First Baptist Church, in Dallas, Texas.
For those who missed the original posting from The Resurgent, I’m presenting it again, here, for your consideration.
It is impossible to rightly discern what is evil if our measuring stick is our own flesh.
Proverbs 14:12 NIV “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
On Tuesday, when asked about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, President Trump delivered an off-the-cuff, severe message to the rogue nation.
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
I believe the United States should take a firm stance against tyranny in the world, and make no mistake, Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, is a tyrant.
Trump drew a red line with his statement, but he did not clear the statement with his staff, apparently.
“President Trump’s comment was unplanned and spontaneous,” said a senior administration official who deals with the Korea issue and who requested anonymity.
The comment was “all Trump,” said another administration official who, like the first, requested anonymity.
Both officials said Trump, known for his off-the-cuff remarks, had not run that language by his senior aides beforehand.
North Korea’s response was to threaten Guam.
Does any of this mean war is imminent?
Not necessarily, but it certainly ramped up tensions in the region.
Trump later expanded on his statements, saying they weren’t strong enough.
While some were shocked that the president could so casually toss out such a provocative statement, others were thrilled.
That brings me to my main point: Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, in Dallas, Texas, and breathless Trump supporter.
While appearing on the Church of Trump broadcast (Fox News) Wednesday, Jeffress was asked about Trump’s statement. Rather than speak words of peace over the situation, or even calm reason for standing firm, the pastor did what he’s done since he decided a twice-divorced, adulterous, owner of gambling houses and strip joints, and serial con artist was “God’s man” for the White House: He cheered the behavior on.
In fact, Jeffress insisted the Bible gave Trump the authority to use any means necessary to take out an “evildoer” such as Kim Jong-un, whether by war or assassination.
.@robertjeffress: "The Bible gives @POTUS the moral authority to use whatever force necessary… to take out an evildoer like Kim Jong-un." pic.twitter.com/UQZTE8fwzS
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 9, 2017
Make no mistake, Jong-un is a bad guy. His priorities are royally screwed up, as he chases after nuclear dominance, while his people starve.
Jeffress pointed to the book of Romans as his proof that God had given moral authority to Trump to declare war on North Korea.
Actually, it is Congress that authorizes war powers, but let’s examine Jeffress’ claim and the concept of a “just war.”
There are several concepts to consider if you are to consider a war “just.”
- Proper authority – This would probably be the point of Jeffress’ argument, as Romans 13:1-8 speaks of the authority given to rulers by God. Trump, as a duly elected president certainly has the authority, but he must pass it through Congress. Under our system of government, they have authority, as well, so taking Congress into account should go hand-in-hand with the notion of a “just war.”
- Just cause – War is only permissible to defend the helpless or yourselves.
- Just intent – Are you going to war to restore peace and justice? If not, your intent is wrong.
- Last resort – Every diplomatic mean of restoring peace should be given a chance, such as sanctions.
- Limited goals – If the goal is to annihilate or enslave, then the war is not just.
- Proportionality – Is this a war that can be won, and are the goals of the conflict comparable in good to the costs to the combatants?
In other words, while there may be some basis for threatening war, there is much to consider, not the least of which is remembering that Trump is not a king. He is a president of a free Republic, and he answers to co-equal branches of government.
Another point to remember, that you would expect a pastor to know, is how does God view evil? While it’s easy to compare Jong-un to Trump and say, “Kim Jong-un is the evil one! He starves his own people!”
God looks at both sets of actions and sees evil: One starves his own people and the other left his marriage bed, cheated multiple people out of their hard earned money, took services and didn’t pay for them, lies, is abusive to others, and maintains houses of ungodly pursuits, leading countless souls to stray from a path that would lead them to salvation.
Jeffress forgets that our God is a holy God, and as a holy God, He cannot look on sin. Evil is abhorrent to Him. He does not rank sin. Every sin is wickedness to our God.
To be clear, I understand just how horrible the regime of Kim Jong-un is, and how concerning their goals are, from a political standpoint, but I’m talking about a spiritual leader rejecting sound doctrine to support one form of sin over another.
Jeffress is a symptom of an American church that has attached itself more to political saviors than the saving grace of Jesus Christ. How can he lead when he is so split between loyalties?
I must point out, this is also the pastor whose choir rejoiced in the glories of the State, with an anthem to Trump at the “Celebrate Freedom” rally in early July.
Dr. Jeffress is a deceiver, and his message is corrupt. If he’s not praying and speaking peace into this world, he has ruined his witness to the world.
Colossians 2:8 NLT “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ.”