DALLAS (Christian Examiner) – Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, said in a sermon Sunday that while many Christians are confused as to how they should respond to the attacks carried out by Islamic State terrorists in Paris, there should be no confusion about how the U.S. government should respond – by bombing the "you-know-what" out of the terrorists.
While Christians are called to love, forgive, pray and share the Gospel, Jeffress said the government is given a role by God that requires none of those things.
"Government is never called upon to forgive. Government is never called upon to turn the other cheek. The responsibility of government, according to the word of God, is to protect its citizens. And one way the government protects its citizens is by securing the borders. ... Having secure borders is not anti-Christian, as some people would have you believe," Jeffress said, adding that the Bible says God established borders for the nations in Acts 17:26.
"Not only that. It is government's responsibility to punish evil doers. Romans 13 says God has empowered the government, the military, to bring wrath against those who practice evil. You may not agree with everything Donald Trump says, but Donald Trump was absolutely right when he said (during a campaign rally), 'It is time to start bombing the you-know-what out of ISIS.' That is a biblical response," Jeffress said.
"If we do not confront and defeat the evil of radical Islam, the evil of radical Islam is going to confront and defeat us. It is time for our government to step up and do whatever is necessary militarily to rid this world of the cancer called radical Islam. It is time for us to act," Jeffress said, prompting cheers and a standing ovation from the congregation.
As for how Christians respond, Jeffress said they should be praying for the victims and the victims' families in Paris and around the world. Psalm 34:18, he said, makes it clear that "the Lord is close to those who are broken hearted."
But he added that Christians should also cast aside political correctness and make a clear statement about what is behind the attacks – "the evil, evil religion of radical Islam."
"It is absolutely impossible to defeat an enemy you are unwilling to identify," Jeffress said. "Make no mistake about it. Islam is just not another way to approach God. Islam is a false religion. It is inspired by Satan himself, who Jesus said came to steal, kill and destroy."
The attacks in Paris are "the fruit of Satan's destruction," he said.
Jeffress contrasted Islam with Christianity and said there was not a single verse in the New Testament asking Christians to kill in the name of God or their religion, but the Quran – which Muslims regard as holy – is "laced with" commands to kill infidels.
"That's people like you and me," Jeffress said.
Another Baptist minister in Jackson, Miss., however, said Sunday that, if not for the grace of God, those Christians now condemning the terrorists might actually be the terrorists.
Micah Fries, vice president of LifeWay Research, preaching at First Baptist Church of Jackson, Mississippi, told the congregation that the attacks forced him to think about the Christian response to the events in Paris. He said Micah 6:8 kept coming to his mind.
Micah 6:8 reads, "He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
"I kind of think that is the framework of how the church should respond," Fries said. "We have absolutely every right to expect that justice would be sought on behalf of those who were attacked. The struggle for the church, however, is to do justice while not harboring vengeance."
Fries said he believed that's where many Christians are – harboring hatred, anger and vengeance – because they are seldom confronted by such atrocities as those carried out in Paris.
"We're to seek justice because we love His justice, but we're to love those who most viciously hate us. Folks, if we can't love those who hate us, how in the world is Christianity any different than any other belief system out there? Because everyone else right now is bowing at the feet of hatred. Everyone else wants them to get what is theirs."
Fries also pointed to Romans 13 and said the government wields the sword on behalf of the people to ensure justice is properly applied.
"We ought to affirm government activity to wield the sword and seek justice, but you and I personally have to extend mercy, grace and love toward those who most diligently hate us. Otherwise, what kind of Christianity have we embraced?" Fries asked.
Walking humbly with God, he said, means recognizing that "if it wasn't for the grace of God, we would be them. We're not superior. We're not made of greater stuff. But for the grace of God we would be them. And truthfully, those who want to viciously attack those in hatred who attack us – they are them."