Robert Jeffress says that Christians who support DACA (including the signers of this letter and Pope Francis) err on the side of compassion. The court evangelical who is often found standing at the immediate right hand of the POTUS claims that God is not an “open borders” guy.
In this Fox News interview, Jeffress says that Christians are “confused about the difference between the church and government.” For Jeffress, “government’s real responsibility is to protect its citizens.”
The interviewer, Ainsley Earhardt, concludes the interview by saying, “It’s tough because the Bible does tell us to honor our authorities, to follow the rule of law, to follow all of the laws–and the laws are clear in this situation–but also have compassion for others. So it is a tough topic.” Jeffress responds with a hearty “yes” to this statement.
Though Jeffress does not mention it in this interview, his idea of government seems to arise from his interpretation of St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans, chapter 13. Here is the pertinent part of that chapter:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Does anyone know where I can find a book or article or sermon where Jeffress develops his theory of government or interprets Romans 13? Every time he mentions this text he sounds like he is an 18th-century Loyalist invoking Romans 13 in opposition to the American Revolution. I wonder if Jeffress would go so far to say that the American Revolution–a rebellion against the God-ordained governing authorities of England–would have been carried out in violation of this biblical principle. I wonder if he would agree, for example, with evangelical pastor John MacArthur‘s conclusion that “the United States was actually born out of a violation of New Testament principles, and any blessings God has bestowed on America have come in spite of that disobedience by the Founding Fathers.” Somehow I don’t think he does.