Home > Mallinak, Questions > Should We Pledge Allegience to the Christian Flag?

Should We Pledge Allegience to the Christian Flag?

January 19, 2007

According to the pledge, the Christian flag symbolizes the Kingdom of Christ. When we pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, we pledge our allegiance to Christ. Pledging to the Christian flag has been ingrained in young people since the early 1900’s.

According to Wikipedia (and other reliable sources), the Christian flag was created in 1897, by Charles C. Overton, the Sunday School Superintendent at Brighton Chapel on Coney Island. It seems that the scheduled speaker failed to arrive for a patriotic Sunday, and so Mr. Overton began a soliloquy on America’s flag. In the heat of patriotic fervor, Overton wished out loud for a flag that could represent all of Christiandom. The details get a bit sketchy as to when the flag was completed, but most say that Overton himself (with the help of a seamstress) presented the flag to his congregation on the next Sunday in 1897.

The Christian FlagLynn Harold Hough, a Methodist Pastor, wrote the pledge itself in 1908. And, as they say, the rest is history. When I was a boy growing up, pledging allegiance to the Christian flag was a part of the daily routine. When I became a school teacher, pledging allegiance to the Christian flag was a part of the daily routine.

A few years ago, in a meeting with the men of our church, we considered a question about the Christian flag. If the Christian flag does in fact represent our Savior and His kingdom, then why do we place it to the left of the American flag? We had an interesting array of answers. But ultimately, the men of the church were unwilling to place the Christian flag in the place of honor.

I mention that because it reveals something interesting about our attitude towards the Christian flag. While we pledge allegiance to it, just as we pledge allegiance to the American flag, do we really view the two in the same way? We would give our lives for the American flag, we say. We pledge our allegiance to that flag. But would we give our lives for the Christian flag? Does the Christian flag represent Christ’s Kingdom the way the American flag represents the United States?

If the Christian flag does in fact represent Christ and His kingdom, then shouldn’t it be given the place of honor on the platform of our churches? And if you would answer no, then why would we pledge allegiance to that flag?

I’ll be straight with you here. I am not certain that the Christian flag is a legitimate symbol of Christ and His Kingdom. I see legitimate symbols of Christ, as given in Scripture. The bread and wine of the Lord’s Table represent Christ. The Church represents Christ. But where did this banner come from? It is hard for me to believe that it is a true representation of Christ, and that I owe any allegiance to it whatsoever.

Psalm 20:5 says, We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

But it seems impossible to argue that this verse is calling for a Christian flag. Is the banner referred to in Psalm 60:4 really the Christian flag? Is that really what God meant when he said he would give us a banner?

To me, pledging allegiance to a flag that represents our Savior and His Kingdom seems inconsistent. We are not to make any graven images, we are not to worship any visible representations of our Lord. So, what are we doing when we pledge allegiance to a visible representation of Him? The entire act seems improper for a Christian, and unnecessary as well. Do we need this pledge? Does the pledge insure faithfulness? Does the pledge make better disciples? Does the pledge increase our faith? In pledging, are we somehow worshipping?

At best, the pledge seems to be a waste of time and words. At worst, it may be sacrilegious. But maybe someone can enlighten us on this…

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Categories: Mallinak, Questions
  1. January 19, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Pastor Mallinak in high school, my mother only attended 1 PTF, there was many negative feelings afterwards, mainly because my mom didn’t feel comfortbale because she drank and smoked, but she did say something interesting, that was that we were a cult because we pledged alligience to an idol, referring to the Christian flag. She actually considered pulling me out, but she was always good about empty threats. Pops really had her wrapped around his finger.

    I honestly didnt know how to answer her, but I always felt uncomfortable afterwards, mainly because she had a point, that necessarily wrong.

  2. January 20, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    No, pledging to the Christian flag does not make us better disciples or anything like that, but I do not think it is a matter of worship just as pledging to the American flag is not. It is not commanded in Scripture, but neither is it condemned. A flag is not a graven image–it simply has a picture of a cross on it. It is just one of those formalities that schools do to show others where our “allegiance” is.

  3. January 20, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    I’ll bite. The flag is a Scriptural metaphor, that is, symbolic in language of the kingdom of Christ. The Hebrew word for “banner” is nace. It is something on a pole. Isaiah 13:2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. Psalm 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. It is also translated “ensign” and “standard” (used 30 times in the OT). I believe it symbolizes believers as an army of God doing spiritual warfare in this world. “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” The flag, I believe, takes the soldier metaphor and gives it a “banner,” essentially saying that the church is an outpost for His kingdom doing warfare in this world for the souls of men with the Word of God. It isn’t necessary, but neither is it wrong, IMO.

  4. January 21, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    So, should we pledge allegiance to it? That was the question, not the lawfulness of flags.

    • Caleb
      April 3, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      I think we shouldn’t

  5. January 21, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Well, I think that the pledge of allegiance to the Christian flag would be similar to the pledge to the American flag. Is it the flag per se? No. We don’t have any allegiance to the symbol itself, but to what it symbolizes. Does that mean that we actually do? Maybe not, but this is something similar to singing some of the hyms we do without actually meaning it.

  6. January 22, 2007 at 8:28 am

    If we sing Hymns that we don’t actually mean, wouldn’t that be considered a lie?

  7. January 22, 2007 at 9:29 am

    The Baptist FlagMaybe Dave would like this flag better? What do you think? It’s definitely more exclusive than just the Christian flag.  I don’t think the Lutheran church down the road would fly it, but I haven’t yet heard the “pledge” to the Baptist flag.

  8. January 22, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Kent said, “The flag, I believe, takes the soldier metaphor and gives it a “banner,” essentially saying that the church is an outpost for His kingdom doing warfare in this world for the souls of men with the Word of God.”

    Now, I would agree that banners, ensigns, and flags are lawful. But I would then ask, why do we have one banner, one flag to symbolize all of Christianity? The Lutheran church down the street from our church flies the same flag I do.

    In the OT era, banners and flags were regional or tribal. If we would consider the Lutheran church to be a Christian denomination (I do), we at least would say that we are of a different tribe.

    I am doubting the lawfulness of a single flag representing all of Christianity. Is that really what the Scripture passages quoted by Pastor B mean?

  9. Anvil
    January 22, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Why do Christians (of just about any stripe) use one cross to symbolize Christ’s sacrifice? Since many liberal denominations and cults use the cross, does it mean we should never display one either? Many groups that fundamentalists would disagree with hold up the Bible as their sole source of authority. Should we not since it will associate us with those Christian in name only in the minds of the unregenerate? For that matter, the name Baptist is of little use where I live since it describes everything from fundamental churches to way-out cults, to churches that will marry gays. Let’s just throw that name away too. Even the name “Christian” seems of little use in today’s America, since most will claim it, especially where I live. Nonetheless, I still call myself a Christian.

    How about the fact that most Americans are proud of the symbolism of the American flag, even though most of our views of what America should be are nothing like, say, Hilary Clinton’s? There is no doubt that tribal flags will provide more distinction. I would fly an American flag with the others of you that are Americans, but I would not fly the flag of California or any state other than my own. Even so, I would certainly still disagree on many issues with other people in my state, county or city.

    I’m not attached to the Christian flag in the way I’m attached to the cross. But as a symbol of allegiance to Christ (which the other denominations also claim, regardless of the truth of that claim), I can’t see how misuse by some invalidates the symbolism for us. I certainly won’t pick or visit a church by the fact that the Christian flag flies out front, any more than I would if its name included the name Baptist.

    In the sense that I would name the name of Christ, and trust the one Savior who is “crucified, risen, and coming again, with life and liberty to all who believe,” I can quote the pledge in good conscience. I understand the reasons of those of you who cannot, but I can’t see how the Christian flag is that big an issue either way.

  10. Robert Mickey Jr.
    January 22, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    I became uncormfortable with the Christian flag a few years ago and stopped using it. We DO use the Baptist flag that Jeff has mentioned but we do not say a pledge to it.

  11. January 22, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Hey, there’s Robert Mickey! Glad to have you checking in on us. Thanks for your comment.

  12. January 22, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    I don’t care if anyone or nobody uses the Christian flag. I would respect Mallet’s arguments. I think it is good to ask why we do anything. I believe we do represent Christianity and the idea of Christian or Christianity is also fine with me, so the flag is fine too. And yes, Cathy, it is a lie to sing something we don’t mean and to make a pledge we don’t mean, but the pledge itself doesn’t offend me. Thanks.

  13. January 23, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Anvil, you’re hammering. I don’t know if that is fair.

    Note first what I am not saying. I am not saying that “because other churches use this flag, we shouldn’t.” I am not saying that we shouldn’t use anything that Catholics might use (a Bible, a cross, a communion), etc.

    There is a difference between a banner and “the cross”. The cross is a symbol because of Christ’s crucifixion. Those who associate with Christ necessarily associate with the cross. I am not arguing that we should come up with our own cross.

    A banner or flag is different than that. I don’t think that your example even of the American flag can be used as an analogy in this argument. For one thing, do you put the American flag on the right, or do you put the Christian flag on the right? Anvil, you need to answer that question. Because it reveals which flag you consider to be legitimate.

    If you all are arguing that the Christian flag is a legitimate symbol for Christ and his kingdom, then tell me if you make it stoop to the American flag.

  14. Anvil
    January 23, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    That’s a fair question. I don’t own a Christian flag myself. The one on our church platform is flown at the same height as the American flag. I can’t remember for sure (tells you how observant I am) if it’s on the right or left, but it is probably (as in most churches) on the speaker’s left. It was a bit harder to find “Christian Flag Etiquette” rules than for the U.S. flag, but the ones I did find indicate that the Christian flag be flown on the right, just as with the U.S. flag. You’ve made me interested enough to speak to the pastor about how the decision was made as to which should have the place of honor. Even as patriotic as I am, I would not be opposed to the Christian Flag being flown on the right, seeing how our allegiance to Christ tops our allegiance to the U.S. A large cross on the wall behind the platform is higher than both of them, so it could still be argued that it is clear from the totality of our symbolism that our highest allegiance is to Christ.

    As you say, we don’t really NEED a banner. To be honest, even the cross is just a piece of wood — it’s Christ and his sacrifice for us that we honor, not really the cross itself. Many men died on the cross, so it’s clear that it’s not the cross itself that is important. We associate with the cross because that is the death Jesus died. If he had died some other bloody, cruel death, then we would associate with that instead. I would agree that neither the cross nor the flag should become an idol through which we attempt worship of Christ. Still, I can’t see how the Christian flag is illegitimate if used strictly as a symbol of Christ and his kingdom. We don’t pledge to either flag or to the cross as part of our worship service.

    I would also not be opposed to changing the pledge (when it IS used) so that it is clear we are pledging our allegiance only to the “Savior, for whose kingdom it stands,” leaving out the part about pledging to the flag itself to avoid any appearance of idolatry. I think it’s understood by most that the flag is just a symbol, but I can see the confusion in the pledge as written.

    For those of you who believe that the Christian flag is not a legitimate symbol, the answer is simple. Don’t use one. I can’t see from what has been presented though, that it is clear from the scripture that use of one is idolatrous.

  15. January 24, 2007 at 5:43 am

    I received some great teaching at a Bible college in East Tennessee. But the first building that comes into view entering campus has a large flag pole. At the top is the American flag, and right below it the Christian flag. That arrangement speaks volumes, and it’s not good.

    I’ll be blunt: for a Christian to pledge allegiance to the American flag is idolatry to the nation. To pledge allegiance to the Christian flag is just weird. If we have been raised pledging allegiance to one or both, we may not want to admit it, but they’re both strangely syncretisitic.

  16. Tom R.
    January 25, 2007 at 1:13 am

    Good day, everyone! I do not read blogs too often, but I came over to this one, and I thought I might as well record an opinion, and see what other brethren think.

    I think we are better off not using the Christian flag.

    1.) We do not get to decide how we are to worship God. If it is not commanded, it is forbidden. ” What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” (Deut 12:32). Consider that “which He commanded them not” is what made strange fire strange fire (Lev 9:23-10:3). This also relates to the second commandment, etc. A search on Google for “Regulative Principle” will deal more with this.

    2.) While the Bible, cross, etc. are specifically related to Scripture, and thus associations that apostate religions such as Popery, baptismal regenerationist Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Methodism, etc. develop which use these symbols do not invalidate them, a Christian flag is different because it is specifically using a symbol invented by a false religion (Methodism) and, without Scriptural warrent, adopted by pseudo-Christian groups. Thus the association is indeed an issue.

    3.) A pledge of allegiance is either an act of worship in relation to the Christian flag, or it is not. (This is different from the American flag, where it is not worship (in the sense of specifically ordained worship, not in the sense that all our lives are to be worship, Rom 12:1ff) because it is a symbol of civil authority, and we are thus submitting to the civil authority in saying that pledge, Romans 13.) In relation to the Christian flag, the one we are supposedly pledging allegiance to is the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore: a.) If the pledge to the Christian flag is an act of worship to Christ, it is forbidden, for in worship whatever is not commanded is forbidden, Lev 10:1-3, Mt 15:6, Ex 20:4-5, etc. We could justify priestly vestments, holy water, incense, etc. if we can justify the Christian flag on the grounds that it is not specifically forbidden, and so it is OK. That is the Catholic/Anglican position, not the Baptist (and other dissenter) position—the Bible position. b.) If it is not an act of worship to Christ, then we are not honoring Him with our symbol. It should then be abolished.

    Therefore we are better off getting rid of the invention of a Methodist in the late 1800s and giving our hearts and lives in love to God and Christ, as we are commanded in Scripture as the greatest commandment.

  17. January 25, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    What line of NT Christianity invented the terminology “regulative principle,” Tom R.?

  18. Tom R.
    January 28, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    1st century Baptists held to the regulative principle; it was also the traditional Baptist formulation at the Reformation and both before and afterwards. Please note

    http://www.founders.org/FJ35/article1.html

    for an argument against paedobaptism based on the Regulative Principle. It is true that other dissenters from the English Anglican establishment employed the principle against the Anglicans, but that does not by any means make it non-Baptist, for it is Biblical.

  19. Josh G.
    February 11, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    I enjoyed seeing what everyone here has written. I think a lot of us all believe in the same thing (Christ), so this conversation (although a very good one) means nothing(or arbitrary). Nonetheless, it’s always a great thing when we question what we do criticaly. I think that Tom R.’s argument is very strong. However, I believe that IF we do abolish/get rid of the Christian flag, THEN should we not get rid of the (not American) USA flag? Who do we pledge to? (Of course, Tom believes that the pledge of allegience to the USA flag is our “submitting to the civil authority”) I’m not convinced that the pledge of allegience to the USA flag is only “submitting to civil authority”.

    On a side not, I completely disagree with the USA flag in any church.

  20. Sam
    February 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Since the cross is not a Christian symbol but a Roman symbol of death and comes as an idol from Babylon from the Tau where the sign of the cross was given for Tammuz.

    Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
    Ex 20:4-6

    The cross is used as an idol by Catholics; a purely Babylonian religious system as mentioned in REV 17

    • FREDDY GALLO
      March 2, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Only a few can understand the word of God…God said not to make or serve any carved image in the likeness of anything in heaven above or in the likeness of anything on the earth below Ex 20, De 4…And here comes the tempter (devil) and says did God really say not to make or serve any carved image ? And those without knowledge in the word of God will say to the devil God said not to make or serve any carved image in the likeness of heaven above or in the likeness of the earth below and the devil will say to them it is written the authorities that exist are ordained by God Romans 13…The nations idols are in the flags and the flags are high and lifted up on a flag pole and those who are serving them are called idol worshippers…The founding fathers of the U.S. made carved images of the stars and of the eagle in the likeness of heaven above and in the likeness of the earth below and set the carved images of the stars in the flag to serve them and the flag is high and lifted up on a flag pole…Israel is serving the star of heaven to this day Acts 7…Mexico is serving the eagle and the serpent of the earth…Japan is serving the sun of heaven…Canada is serving the leaf of a tree of the earth…The mark of the beast in the right hand or on the forehead is identical to when you put your right hand to your heart or to your forehead and you pledge your allegiance to any flag of any nation…Speaking spiritually the mark of the beast in the right hand means the heart and the mark of the beast on the forehead means the mind for with the heart you believe and with the mind you serve…The beast of Revelation is a man and one day he will sit on the throne of Jerusalem for 42 months and those who are being deceived by the signs of the false prophet will worship the beast as God almighty…The beast and the false prophet will be captured and cast alive into the lake of fire and the devil is chained up and put in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years…To avoid serving carved images, idols, false gods,false doctrines and the like, we must believe what God said in Ex 20 and De 4.

  21. DJC
    September 16, 2012 at 9:14 am

    “I pledge allegence to the Christian flag, and to the Saviour for which it stands…” This is a clear statement that the flag is a representation (stands for) of Christ. A representation of God IS an idol.

    • Caleb
      April 3, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      I find no reason we pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag (made by Methodists). It’s intent was to unite all the Christians.

  22. October 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I don’t think we should pledge to any flag or thing – not even the American flag, and especially in church. It’s wrong. However, if you want a peaceful life, you should just go along with whatever the men of the church say to do. Otherwise, you’ll end up like Laurence Vance.

    However, you were right about placement of the Christian flag

    http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/more/christianflagcode.htm

    • angie
      August 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      God hasn’t called us to a peaceful life though. Jesus said we would be persecuted. If you are never being persecuted for your faith, are you even in the faith? A lot of people need to examine themselves on this (the Bible says to do this daily), specifically when it comes to who they are making oaths and saying pledges to. It all comes down to where your allegiance is – which is where your heart truly is.

  23. Michael F
    April 20, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Hi all, first time on this forum. I’ve been researching biblical teachings in relation to oaths/pledges and, as I am assuredly no expert, I find all your comments interesting and something to mull over. I just wanted to make 2 quick points. The first is that I attended a church for several years, and know of quite a few, that use the baptist flag and recite a pledge. It goes something like this (although I know there are variants) “I pledge allegiance to the Baptist flag and the doctrine for which it stands, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, contending for the faith till Christ return. Here’s a website with another version http://baptistflag.org/about/

    The second point (and I’d like some feedback, in love please) is that in my study on this topic I have gravitated toward the position that pledges, which I now view as swearing allegiance, are unnecessary and unscriptural. Here’s my reasons, but please let me know if I’m missing something. In Matthew 5 Christ states not to swear on anything on earth or in heaven because they are God’s and we have no power over anything (paraphrasing). Also in James four he states don’t say tomorrow I’ll do this or that say instead if God will’s it I’ll do this and that. I know God has sworn in the bible, but God is sovereign and has complete control over everything, we are not. So when God swears, pledges, or promises we know assuredly it will come true. The same can not be said for us. Also, I understand people use Roman’s as a proof text that says we should render honor and custom to civil government, but if I swear allegiance to a government and that government ask me to violate my conscious and faith and go against God aren’t I justified in refusing? So should I say that if God will it I will be a good citizen and obey the laws so I may live peaceably, or should I make a pledge that I may break because I have no control (or limited) over the government and it’s ordinances? Thoughts…?

  24. March 21, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I don’t think it matters one way or another if we use a Christian flag, although I only pledge my allegiance to Jesus Christ. I think the bigger question is whether or not Christians should pledge their allegiance to the American flag, and ask themselves why this flag is even inside or outside a church, much less given a place of prominence.

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2011/11/laurence-m-vance/should-christians-recite-the-pledge-of-allegiance/

  25. Caleb
    April 3, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I really don’t see why we even pledge to it. I am a baptist and the Methodists made the christian flag to unite all the Christian Denominations (which i don’t think is right). Though in my Baptist Church and School we still recite the pledge to the Christian Flag.

    The Origin of the Christian Flag:
    “The Christian flag got its beginning at Brighton Chapel (a Methodist Church), on September 26, 1897; when a superintendent of the Sunday-School, Charles C. Overton, taught the class unprepared. He had to come up with a lesson and seeing the American flag he got the idea of a Christian flag. He asked the kids to draw what they thought it would look like. Overton thought about his speech he gave for a lot of years after it. In 1907, Overton and Ralph Diffendorfer, the Methodist Young People’s Missionary Movement’s secretary, began to design and promote the flag they made.”

  26. Mac
    April 18, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Jesus instructed us not to make oaths. His (half) brother (in the flesh), Jamesememphasized the counsel in no uncertain terms, “Above all, my brethren… ”
    The Christian banner is Christ crucified. In ancient times the banners carried before the head of state and before marching troops hung down from a crossbar on a staff in a cross or “T”.
    Every time I’ve seen a “Christian” flag it has been BELOW the US flag, denoting the position of the denomination subordinate to the state (the government).
    Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is subordinate to the Father alone, and His kingdom is above all institutions of men.

  27. FREDDY GALLO
    February 26, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    It seems as if no one understands the meaning of serving carved images ,idols, and false gods…In Ex Chapter 20 , and De Chapter 4, God said , not to make any carved image in the likeness of anything in heaven above or in the likeness of anything on the earth below… NOT TO BOW DOWN OR SERVE THEM…The founding fathers of all the nations of the world made carved images in the likeness of heaven above and in the likeness of the earth below and set the carved images in the flag and the flag is high and lifted up on a flag pole…When you place your right hand to your heart or to your forehead and you pledge your allegiance to the flag of any nation you are committing fornication with the carved images of the flag…The U.S. is serving the stars and the eagle…Japan is serving the sun…Mexico is serving the eagle and the serpent…Canada is serving a leaf of the tree…Israel is serving the star…The devil deceived the founding fathers of the world …The founding fathers of the U.S. made carved images of the stars in the likeness of heaven above and set the carved images of the stars in the flag to serve them and the flag is high and lifted up on a flag pole…They made also a carved image of the eagle in the likeness of the earth below and set the carved image of the eagle on all personnel to serve it…When you serve any carved images of any nation you are idol worshipping the images…The IDOLS of the nations are in the flag and the nations IDOLS are high and lifted up on a flag pole.

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