Evangelical Pastor Robert Jeffress, of First Baptist Dallas, caused a stir when he claimed earlier this week that God had “anointed President Donald Trump with his blessing to launch a nuclear strike against North Korea.”
The remarks prompted Catholic Pastor Joshua J. Whitfield to issue a response.
In an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News published Thursday, Whitfield used his knowledge of biblical history to shoot down any claim that God has given Trump a thumbs up to unleash “fire and fury” on Pyongyang.
Whitfield writes that early Christians such as St. Paul, who had to live under oppressive, non-Christian governments, viewed the realm of politics as being “demonic.”
He argues that given how much Paul and early Christians distrusted politicians, there is no way they would have claimed that any political ruler was “anointed” by God to do anything — let alone launch a horrific war that would leave millions dead.
“Paul, like other New Testament writers and, of course, like Jesus, thought the political realm the realm of Satan,” he writes. “Political institutions, along with principalities and powers, according to early Christian belief, belonged to the demonic. Hence bloody history, hence violence.”
“For Paul, it would have been unthinkable to consider a political ruler some sort of anointed Christian prince or president waging war on behalf of believers,” he explains.