|Adopted||September 26, 1897 (unofficial)|
January 23, 1942 (official)
|Design||A white banner with a red Latin Cross charged upon a blue canton|
|Designed by||Charles C. Overton and Ralph Eugene Diffendorfer|
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The Christian Flag is an ecumenical flag designed in the early 20th century to represent much of Christianity and Christendom.Since its adoption by the United States Federal Council of Churches in 1942, it has been used by congregations of many Christian traditions, including Anglican, Baptist, Congregationalist, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Moravian, Presbyterian, and Reformed, among others.
The flag has a white field, with a red Latin cross inside a blue canton. The shade of red on the cross symbolizes the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary.The blue represents the waters of baptism as well as the faithfulness of Jesus. The white represents Jesus' purity. The dimensions of the flag and canton have no official specifications.
The Christian Flag was first conceived on September 26, 1897, at Brighton Chapel on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York in the United States. The superintendent of a Sunday school, Charles C. Overton, gave an impromptu lecture to the gathered students, because the scheduled speaker had failed to arrive for the event. He gave a speech asking the students what a flag representing Christianity would look like.Overton thought about his improvised speech for many years afterward. In 1907, he and Ralph Diffendorfer, secretary of the Methodist Young People's Missionary Movement, designed and began promoting the flag. With regard to the Christian symbolism of the Christian Flag:
The ground is white, representing purity. In the upper corner is a blue square, the color of the waters of baptism , 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 ecumenical organization, Federal Council of Churches (now succeeded by the National Council of Churches and Christian Churches Together) adopted the flag on 23 January 1942, 45 years after unofficial use since 1897;the Federal Council of Churches represented Baptist, Brethren, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopal, Methodist, Moravian, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox, Polish National Catholic, Presbyterian, Quaker, and Reformed traditions, among others. The Christian Flag intentionally has had no copyright or trademark rights connected to it, as the designer freely dedicated the flag to all of Christendom. Fanny Crosby wrote the words to a hymn called "The Christian Flag" with music by R. Huntington Woodman. Like the flag, the hymn is free use. On the Sunday nearest September 26, 1997, the Christian Flag celebrated its one hundredth anniversary.
Mainline Protestant denominations in the United States accepted the flag first, and by the 1980s many institutions had described policies for displaying it inside churches. [ failed verification ] During World War II the flag was flown along with the U.S. flag in a number of Lutheran churches, many of them with German backgrounds, who wanted to show their solidarity with the United States during the war against Nazi Germany.The Federal Council of Churches recommended that if the Christian Flag is to be used alongside a national flag, that the Christian Flag should receive the place of honor.
The Christian Flag spread outside North America with Christian missionaries.It can be seen today in or outside many Christian churches throughout the world, particularly in Latin America and in Africa. By the 1930s the flag had been adopted by some Protestant churches in Europe, Asia, and Africa as well.
The Christian Flag is not patented and therefore, "Anyone may manufacture it, and it may be used on all proper occasions."
In U.S. evangelical Christian schools, it is customary for the Christian flag to be displayed opposite the U.S. flag.[ citation needed ]
In Canada and the United States, accommodationists and separationists have entered impassioned debate on the legality of erecting the Christian Flag atop governmental buildings.
Some churches and organizations practice a "pledge of allegiance" or "affirmation of loyalty" to the Christian Flag, which is similar to the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag. The first pledge was written by Lynn Harold Hough, a Methodist minister who had heard Ralph Diffendorfer, secretary to the Methodist Young People's Missionary Movement, promoting the Christian flag at a rally.He wrote the following pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Saviour for whose kingdom it stands; one brotherhood, uniting all mankind in service and in love.
Some more conservative evangelical, Lutheran, Adventist, and Baptist churches and schools may use an alternative version of the pledge:
I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag, and to the Saviour for whose Kingdom it stands; one Saviour, crucified, risen, and coming again with life and liberty to all who believe.
An alternate version that some Lutheran schools use is this:
I pledge allegiance to the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Faith, for which it stands. One Savior, King Eternal, with mercy and grace for all.
Others use this version:
I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag, and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands; one brotherhood, uniting all [true] Christians, in service, and in love.
For the Christian Flag Pledge, it is customary to stand with the hands clasped behind the back, as if in an "at ease" military stance.
An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist churches or denominations, and other churches founded independently from these lineages.
A Paschal candle is a large, white candle used in liturgies in Western Christianity. A new Paschal candle is blessed and lit every year at Easter, and is used throughout the Paschal season which is during Easter and then throughout the year on special occasions, such as baptisms and funerals.
Advent is a season observed in most Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the Second Coming. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year in Western Christianity. The name was adopted from Latin adventus "coming; arrival", translating Greek parousia from the New Testament, originally referring to the Second Coming.
Ecumenism, also spelled oecumenism, is the concept and principle that Christians who belong to different Christian denominations should work together to develop closer relationships among their churches and promote Christian unity. The adjective ecumenical is thus applied to any initiative that encourages greater cooperation and union among Christian denominations and churches.
A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity that comprises all church congregations of the same kind, identifiable by traits such as a name, particular history, organization, leadership, theological doctrine, worship style and sometimes a founder. It is a secular and neutral term, generally used to denote any established Christian church. Unlike a cult or sect, a denomination is usually seen as part of the Christian religious mainstream. Most Christian denominations self-describe themselves as churches, whereas some newer ones tend to interchangeably use the terms churches, assemblies, fellowships, etc. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, biblical hermeneutics, theology, ecclesiology, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.
The mainline Protestant churches are a group of Protestant denominations in the United States and in some cases Protestant denominations in Canada largely of the theologically liberal or theologically progressive persuasion that contrast in history and practice with the largely theologically conservative Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Charismatic, Confessional, Confessing Movement, historically Black church, and Global South Protestant denominations and congregations. Some make a distinction between "mainline" and "oldline", with the former referring only to denominational ties and the latter referring to church lineage, prestige and influence. However, this distinction has largely been lost to history and the terms are now nearly synonymous.
A free church is a Christian denomination that is intrinsically separate from government. A free church does not define government policy, and a free church does not accept church theology or policy definitions from the government. A free church also does not seek or receive government endorsements or funding to carry out its work. The term is especially relevant in countries with established state churches. An individual belonging to a free church is known as a free churchperson or, historically, a free churchman.
The Federal Council of Churches, officially the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, was an ecumenical association of Christian denominations in the United States in the early twentieth century. It represented the Anglican, Baptist, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Oriental Orthodox, Polish National Catholic, Presbyterian, and Reformed traditions of Christianity. It merged with other ecumenical bodies in 1950 to form the present day National Council of Churches.
Radical Pietism are those Christian churches who decided to break with denominational Lutheranism in order to emphasize certain teachings regarding holy living. Radical Pietists contrast with Church Pietists, who chose to remain within their Lutheran denominational settings. Radical Pietists distinguish between true and false Christianity and hold that the latter is represented by established churches. They separated from established churches to form their own Christian denominations.
Protestantism is a branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that began seeking to reform the Catholic Church from within in the 16th century against what its followers perceived to be errors, abuses, and discrepancies within it.
Protestantism is the largest grouping of Christians in the United States, with its combined denominations collectively comprising about 43% of the country's population in 2019. Other estimates suggest that 48.5% of the U.S. population is Protestant. Simultaneously, this corresponds to around 20% of the world's total Protestant population. The U.S. contains the largest Protestant population of any country in the world. Baptists comprise about one-third of American Protestants. The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest single Protestant denomination in the U.S., comprising one-tenth of American Protestants. Twelve of the original Thirteen Colonies were Protestant, with only Maryland having a sizable Catholic population due to Lord Baltimore's religious tolerance.
Articles related to Christianity include:
Taiwan has a Christian minority, making up about 3.9% of its population. Roughly half of Taiwan's Christians are Catholic, and half Protestant. Due to the small number of practitioners, Christianity has not influenced the island nation's Han Chinese culture in a significant way. A few individual Christians have devoted their lives to charitable work in Taiwan becoming well known and well liked for example George Leslie Mackay (Presbyterian) and Nitobe Inazō.
The history of Christian flags encompasses the establishment of Christian states, the Crusader era, and the 20th century ecumenical movement.
Protestant theology refers to the doctrines held by various Protestant traditions, which share some things in common but differ in others. In general, Protestant theology, as a subset of Christian theology, holds to faith in the Christian Bible, the Holy Trinity, salvation, sanctification, charity, evangelism, and the four last things.
In Protestant churches, the national flag was frequently displayed along with the "Christian Flag" (white field, red Latin cross on a blue canton), which had been created and popularized in American Methodist circles and adopted by the Federal Council of Churches in 1942. Often the staff would feature an eagle final and a cross final, respectively.
The Christian flag indicates that through baptism man shares in this divine victory over evil and eternal death.
Rev. Howard Hynes is the pastor at St. Stephen the Martyr Anglican Network Church, which organized the flag raisings.
Side by side in many of our churches hangs the Christian Flag with the Stars and Stripes—the Flag of White— which forever has stood for peace, having in the corner on the field of blue, the color of sincerity, faith and truth, the red Cross symbolic of Calvary.
On the other side of the sanctuary is a Christian flag.
Most congregations of Russian Mennonite heritage displayed both the national and the Christian flag in the church sanctuary.
In 1968 the Methodist Men of Broad Street purchased flags to be used in the sanctuary of the Church. This involved one United States flag, one Christian flag, flag poles, stands, one eagle and one cross.
Since its adoption by the United States Federal Council of Churches in 1942, it has been used by many Christian traditions, including the Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Moravian, Presbyterian, Quaker, and Reformed, among others.
For as long as anyone could remember, the American flag had been displayed in the front of the sanctuary to the congregation's left — to their right, the Christian flag.
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 flag is white (for purity and peace), with a blue field (faithfulness, truth, and sincerity) and a red cross (the sacrifice of Christ).
Within recent years (1897) a flag has been designed which shall stand as an emblem; (Jesse L. Jones-McKay) 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 heave, 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 use of the national flag in Christian churches has become almost universal throughout the world.
A statement calling on the churches of this country to press for extension of full social, political and economic rights to every citizen without discrimination as to race, color, creed or sex was adopted here this week-end at the three-day biennial convention of Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America. The Council represents 27 Protestant and Eastern Orthodox church bodies in the U.S.
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 indorse this flag and it is equally appropriate for all nations. The hymn written by Fanny Crosby is also dedicated to the free use and followers of Christ the world over.
Miss Fanny J. Crosby, the veteran American hymn writer, has dedicated a hymn, called "The Christian Flag," to the movement, the first verse of which is :— " The Christian Flag!
If a national flag is used alongside a symbol of God's realm (such as the popularly accepted "Christian flag," found mostly in U.S. congregations), the Christian flag is appropriately given a preeminent place.
Feelings of patriotism to the church characterized the period of World War II, 1940 – 1945. The American and Christian flags were presented to the church at this time.
Today the Christian Flag is flying over Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as America.
The Christian flag is not patented, and is free from commercialism. Anyone may manufacture it, and it may be used on all proper occasions. Christian flags may be displayed at conventions, conferences, church demonstrations, and parades, and with the American flag may be used for general decorative purposes. For boys' and girls' societies and clubs and for the church school, especially on program occasions, the two flags may be presented and saluted.