Dozens Accept America As Lord And Savior At First Baptist Dallas Service

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TylerR's picture

Editor

When I, too, surrendered my life to my great god and savior, the US of A, I immediately felt a peace in my heart that passeth all understanding. I look forward to the great plans my country has in store for me, as it renews my inner man bit by bit into its image. I am but a tool for the USA's righteousness, to do the good works which it prepared beforehand, that I should walk in them . . . God bless the USA.  

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

...that my church did NOT make the Sunday service hyper patriotic!  I love my country and am glad for the opportunities I have, but there are more important things out there.

(silently judges Tyler, of course)  :^)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

First Baptist Dallas really DID have services (on June 25th) approximating the Babylon Bee article above (sans, perhaps, the headline's outcome):

http://www.firstdallas.org/events/freedom-sunday/ 

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"Yesterday was “Freedom Sunday” at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.  The pastor of First Baptist is Robert Jeffress.  He is a Trump supporter, Christian nationalist, and prominent court evangelical. As the pictures attached to this tweet indicate, it was a day of patriotic celebration in the church sanctuary.

People waved American flags during the service.

The last time I checked, the waving of the American flag was a sign of support or loyalty to the nation.  Jeffress had no problem allowing such an act to take place in a church sanctuary–the place where Christians worship God as a form of expressing their ultimate loyalty.  Patriotism is fine. Flag-waving is fine.  But I wonder if any of the congregation felt uncomfortable that all of this took place in the church sanctuary on a Sunday morning.

There were fireworks.  Yes, fireworks.  Somehow the pyrotech crew at First Baptist figured out a way to pull this off without burning the place down.  I assume that these fireworks did not represent the pillars of fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness in the Old Testament. (Although it wouldn’t surprise me if someone during the service connected these patriotic fireworks to God’s leading of his new “chosen people”–the United States–through the desert of extreme religious persecution). I also don’t think the fireworks were meant to represent the “tongues of fire” present on the day of Pentecost as recorded in the book of Acts, chapter 2.  (Also, from what I am able to tell from the church website, First Baptist did not celebrate Pentecost Sunday on June 4, 2017).

It also looks like the congregation of First Baptist sung the Woody Guthrie classic “This Land is Your Land.”  I am guessing they did not sing all of the original verses.

How can this not be a form of idolatry?"

https://thewayofimprovement.com/2017/06/26/what-was-being-worshiped-yesterday-at-first-baptist-church-in-dallas/ 

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Related articles (of various takes):

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2017/06/26/first-baptist-dallas-ignores-jesus-worships-america-freedom-sunday/

http://www.christianpost.com/news/was-robert-jeffress-patriotic-worship-idolatry-190297/

https://pjmedia.com/faith/2017/06/29/do-some-evangelicals-go-too-far-in-their-efforts-to-bring-patriotism-into-the-church/

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/3566791/posts

https://www.liberalamerica.org/2017/07/05/gaudy-patriotic-church-service-non-americans-rolling-eyes/

Bert Perry's picture

Larry, I remember people at 4th saying about the same thing at the "Patriotic Musicale", which in its defense was at least not on Sunday morning.  More or less, my take on hyper-patriotism, or the conflation of patriotism with personal holiness, is that it's a lot like confronting legalism in the church.  Nobody admits that they're implicitly trusting in the extra-Biblical rules they've set up for salvation, and in the same way, nobody is going to admit that firing howitzers and waving flags in the auditorium is effectively idolatry.  It may be true, but nobody's going to admit it.  Kinda like the "legalists name their daughter Grace" bit from the Bee.

Really, that's a debate where you offer a few hints of what you really want to say, and then go to win it on your knees.  I'm very grateful for the Bee, though, for picking the fight in a delightful way that....treads the fine line between satire and reality. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.