Pastor Robert Jeffress of the First Baptist Church of Dallas said on Feb. 18 that Pope Francis should ask forgiveness from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (video below).
Earlier that day, Pope Francis questioned Trump's Christianity by saying, "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel," notes BBC News.
"I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that," the Pope added. "We must see if he said things in that way and I will give him the benefit of the doubt."
Jeffress fired back at the Pope during the "The Sean Hannity Show" radio program, notes Media Matters for America:
Sean, I think the Pope needs to ask Donald Trump's forgiveness for making such an outlandish statement. I want to remind our listeners that it was exactly one year ago this week that 21 Coptic Christians had their heads chopped off by ISIS on a Libyan beach and then ISIS said, "We are coming to Rome next." The Pope ought to think through that very seriously. And the fact that we have a candidate like Donald Trump who wants to protect America, that's not unbiblical.
The Pope is confused between the role of the Church, which is to show compassion, and the role of government, which is to uphold order and to protect its citizens. And I want to make a prediction. I think the Pope has succeeded in doing what no other man on Earth could do, and that is creating a martyr in Donald Trump! I think this is going to send his poll numbers through the roof!
Because I'm telling you, I admire the Pope, I think most Americans admire him, but they don't want the Pope inserting himself in American elections, and they sure don't look to the Pope for advice on American security.
In November 2012, Jeffress tried to link President Barack Obama to the Antichrist, according to The Christian Post. In a sermon preached at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, he said, "President Obama is not the Antichrist. But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist."
In his 2014 book, "Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today," Jeffress wrote, "While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God's law and still win reelection by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God's laws without any repercussions."