Flags, flags, everywhere. But where are the Christian flags?
There are so many flags being displayed today: posted on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media, pictured in blogs, shown on television, texted, carried on the streets, hung from overpasses and buildings. Flags seem to be everywhere — Rainbow Flags, Confederate Flags, American Flags, the flags of many other nations — but where are the Christian Flags?
Two of the best known Christian flags are: 1) the Free Christian Flag (unaffiliated with any Christian group or denomination) and 2) The Salvation Army Flag, also known as The Blood & Fire Flag. (There are also other Christian flags that represent various denominations.)
In January 1907, The Christian Advocate wrote this about the Free Christian Flag:
Within recent years a flag has been designed which shall stand as an emblem around which all Christian nations and various denominations may rally in allegiance and devotion. This banner is called the Christian flag. It was originated by Charles C. Overton of Brooklyn, N.Y., whose first thought of it came to him while addressing a Sunday school at a rally day service. The flag is most symbolic. The ground is white, representing peace, purity and innocence. In the upper corner is a blue square, the color of the unclouded sky, emblematic of heaven, the home of the Christian; also a symbol of faith and trust. in the center of the blue is the cross, the ensign and chosen symbol of Christianity: the cross is red, typical of Christ’s blood
The Christian Advocate goes on to say:
Mr. Overton has dedicated his flag to the Christian world, refusing to copyright or patent it. It stands for no creed or denomination, but for Christianity. Every sect of Christ’s followers can endorse this flag
Here is some more history of the Free Christian Flag:
“The Christian flag is the only free flag in the world. It is different from every other flag, religious or secular, ancient or modern. It is uncontrolled, independent, and universal. Unlike all national flags and all denominational flags of various churches, it has no earthly bonds or allegiances. Christ and Christ alone is its Master. Without limitation, it exists for all the world’s people regardless of sex, race, national boundary, economic condition, affluence, or poverty, politics, slavery or freedom. It cannot be restricted by any nation or denomination. This unique, universal quality makes it like the air we breathe, belonging to all and yet owned by none. For those who want it, wherever and whenever, it is freely theirs.”
“The Christian flag is one of the oldest unchanged flags in the world. It was conceived at Brighton Chapel, Coney Island, New York, Sunday, September 26, 1897, and was presented in its present form the following Sunday by its originator. Call it chance, or providence, serendipity, or the plan of God, on that day, the Christian flag was born.”
“The white on the flag represents purity and peace. The blue stands for faithfulness, truth, and sincerity. Red, of course, is the color of sacrifice, in this case calling to mind the blood shed by Christ on Calvary, represented by the cross.”
“The first pledge to the Christian flag was written by Methodist pastor Lynn Harold Hough in 1908.”
“I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. One brotherhood, uniting all mankind, in service and love.”
Here’s # 2
Here’s some history of The Salvation Army Flag:
“Around the world, The Salvation Army flag is a symbol of the Army’s war against sin and social evil.”
“The red on the flag represents the blood of Christ; the blue border stands for purity; and the yellow star in the center signifies the fire of the Holy Spirit.”
“The flag is used at special occasions such as marriages, funerals, marches, open-air meetings, enrollments of soldiers, farewells, and retirements.”
“The first Salvation Army flag was designed and presented to the Coventry Corps in England by Catherine Booth in 1878. At the time the centre of the flag was a yellow sun representing the Light of Life. This was changed to the star in 1882.”
The words “Blood & Fire” are written inside the yellow star.
–Here’s a challenge: Let’s bring Christian flags out of the closet, out of church buildings and into public view!
Step 1) If you believe in the the message of these two flags, begin to regularly post pictures of them on social media.
Step 2) Begin to prayer walk with a Christian flag in your city, town, or neighborhood. For more information about flag-prayer walking, check out this Facebook page: Prayer walking With The Salvation Army Flag.
I am very wary of flags. Can you find anything in the New Testament that says we should be using flags? I suspect the “Christian flag” idea comes from the secular world and not from anything in the faith. Our “flag” should be our lives, lived faithfully unto God.
“When evil comes in like a flood, I will raise up a standard (flag) against it.”
There is also the Roman Catholic Flag, and the Episcopalian Flag which, due to the sheer number of people in those two denominations would make those flags more recognizable than the Army flag… Then there is also the problem of no one knowing that The Salvation Army even has a flag. There aren’t as many bands on the march anymore, and a glimpse of a flag during a parade isn’t going to imprint that image on anyone’s mind. [if they’re even paying attention]. And, even if people knew what the Army flag represents, so far as the organization, they would have no idea that it a is a symbol of a Christian denomination, since it has no Cross. [and the one at the top of the pole doesn’t count. It isnt easy to see from a distance, and is somewhat obscured by the S wrapped through it]
The Salvation Army as a church is the worlds best kept secret. In most places, if you ask someone what The Salvation Army is, they’ll tell you its a charity. There are very few people who know the Army as a church, and our advertisement is always geared toward social services or donations. While we are experiencing growth in some areas, in others we are in decline, so ‘word of mouth’ advertising by soldiers and attenders isn’t as effective as it used to be, and the decline of open-air meetings has drastically reduced our visibility in many areas.
As far as social media goes…. posting Christian symbols [flag, cross, whatever] is not really a bad idea… however… If our goal is to “win souls for Christ,” we do that by sharing God’s love with the people who read the posts on our walls. You can post all the crosses, and spiritual memes and inspirational scriptures you want: but if you cut people down, treat them like they don’t matter, or start arguments over any and all topics, then all those crosses, memes and inspirational scriptures were posted for nothing. You want to share something? Share your testimony. Let people know that something good has happened and you’re giving God the praise for it. Let them see your struggles, and ask for prayer and let them know that, even though you’re going through a rough patch, you trust that God will bring you through it.
People don’t always care what pictures you post. I have friends who post memes all the time. Yes, they’re nice, they often remind me of God’s love and care for me, but everyone posts them, and it sometimes gets to the point where you just scroll past them [especially the ones that say ‘like if you believe’ or the ones that try to use guilt to make you click “like,” or the “if you agree type ‘amen'” ones.]
I personally believe that internet evangelism on social media is more effective when you speak from your OWN heart, giving your testimony, and sharing your trials and frustrations. People don’t want to see memes, they want to see God AT WORK IN YOU.
Incidentally, in case you weren’t aware, most Christian denominations have a flag. Here’s site that gives you some of them [note: the Army flag is only available through Trade.]
Thank you, Eric, for sharing your insights and information!
Consider this flag: http://www.kingdomofgodflag.info/index.html
Thank you. Love that flag. And also what you say.