Controversial pro-Trump pastor gives blessing at Jerusalem embassy opening

JERUSALEM ISRAEL- MAY 8 2018 A road sign indicating the direction of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Sergey Orlov  TASS

JERUSALEM ISRAEL- MAY 8 2018 A road sign indicating the direction of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Sergey Orlov TASS

Jeffress made the comments cited by Romney in an address at the conservative Values Voter Summit in 2011, according to the liberal Media Matters group.

Jeffress, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, responded to Romney without mentioning him by name. "Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem", Romney tweeted.

Romney stated on his Twitter account Sunday that, "Robert Jeffress says 'you can't be saved by being a Jew", and 'Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.' He's said the same about Islam.

The U.S. delegation in Jerusalem on Monday to celebrate the opening of the new American embassy includes an evangelical Christian pastor who once said Jews "can't be saved".

In an interview with the Christian Post at the end of 2016, Jeffress declared that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were "on the wrong side of God on this issue" when the USA chose not to veto a United Nations resolution on Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

"Historic Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that salvation is through faith in Christ alone", he tweeted. The message was clear but Hagee said his position was misrepresented and "the ugliest of lies".

Speaking on Fox News Radio, Jeffress said he had a specific plan for his prayer at the new embassy. Jeffress later told reporters that he did not understand the controversy surrounding his comments since they reflected the views held by most evangelicals.

For what it's worth, Jeffress, who has called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a "cult", endorsed Romney for president in 2012.

Jeffress, one of Trump's strongest evangelical supporters, also said that when evaluating candidates Christians should consider, "Is the candidate a Christian?"

Christian leaders in Jerusalem strongly criticized Trump's decision to move the embassy, warning that it would "yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division".

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