PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — It’s Faith Time, our weekly conversation on matters of faith. The Fourth of July, America’s independence day, falls on a Sunday this year. We’re talking about faith and the founders with Pastor James C. Johnson with NorthStone Baptist Church. What special connection do you feel the United States has to Christianity?
Guest: What a privilege we have to celebrate our independence I recently read through the Declaration of Independence just to relive some of it and get a sense of the emotions of that time. I was notating how many times “faith” or “our Lord” was brought up specifically in the very beginning where it says we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, those rights “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness come from our creator. Then towards the end, they have a firm reliance on the divine providence of almighty so a special connection that our country has goes all the way back to our Declaration of Independence.
Anchor: What impact do you think this has on the country today?
Guest: The first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was John Jay and John Jay said the Bible is the best of all books that it is the word of God and it teaches us the way to be happy in this world and the next and then John Jay said we should continue to read it and regulate our lives by its precepts. I’m thrilled at such a declaration as a vocational pastor and as a practicing Christian that he would implore us to do, the same thing that Joshua 1:8 instructs us. That is in order to have good success we ruminate on the word of God.
Anchor: We sometimes talk about the dangers of idolatry. What’s the line in your mind between patriotism or putting the state ahead of God?
Guest: I think when it comes to idolatry it’s an issue of the heart. I personally have a lot of gratitude for being born in the United States of America, I sing the national anthem. I’m not worshiping our country but I’m expressing keeping God on His Throne while thanking Him out of a grateful heart for the many freedoms we enjoy in the greatest country in history, the United States.
Anchor: What are you most thankful for on the 4th of July?
Guest: Probably the freedom of religion that churches have and people have to gather and worship God, to study the Bible, there are places around the world that don’t have those freedoms so I don’t want to take those things for granted. I’m mindful of 1 Thessalonians where the Bible plainly says it is the will of God that we are thankful and I am certainly thankful to exercise my faith in my Lord Jesus Christ.
Anchor: The 4th of July doesn’t always fall on a Sunday, how do you think that modifies the way you’ll approach the service?
Guest: I think we’ll have a strong emphasis on patriotism and a strong reflection on our country and it’s greatness all under the rubric of gratitude. Just thank God, keeping God in His place while at the same time recognizing his many blessings on this country.