First Baptist Dallas celebrated its annual "Freedom Sunday" last week to celebrate America as the Fourth of July approaches.
The megachurch's celebration featured a 200-voice choir and orchestra and remarks from Christian writer Dave Barton.
Pastor Robert Jeffress told The Christian Post that the annual service has three purposes.
Those purposes, Jeffress asserted, are "to express gratitude to God for His blessings on our country, to acknowledge the Christian foundation upon which our country was built and to declare our nation's duty to obey God if we are to enjoy God's continued blessing."
He added, "We make it clear every year at our 'Celebrate Freedom' service that we are not worshipping America, but we are worshipping the God who has blessed America."
"Furthermore,” he said, “we always declare that our future blessing as a nation is conditioned upon our obedience to God. We close every 'Celebrate Freedom' service as we do every service at First Baptist Church, Dallas, with an explanation of the Gospel and an invitation to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior."
This Sunday's Fourth of July service will be a typical Sunday service, but the congregation will sing "God Bless America." Much of the congregation and church staff are expected to be traveling for the holiday weekend.
In the past, "Freedom Sunday" has faced some criticism. In 2018, Jeffress preached a sermon saying that America was "founded predominantly, not exclusively, but predominantly by Christians who wanted to build this foundation of a Christian nation on the foundation of God's will."
Jeffress later said in the sermon that "secularists, the humanists, the atheists, the infidels" had "perverted our Constitution into something our Founding Fathers never intended."
Christian author Rod Dreher criticized the 2008 event, saying, "You couldn't pay me to sit there and listen to Jeffress preach that poke-in-the-eye patriotism on Sunday, and partake in his church's glorification of the war machine, under the guise of a 'salute to the armed forces.'"
Photo courtesy: Robert Jeffress Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.