Christian Flag

Historical facts and character of the flag
Excerpts from Dr. James R. Pollock’s book Congratulations to the Christian Flag.
 The featured speaker failed to arrive for the Sunday School Rally in a Coney Island Chapel in 1897, and – the Christian Flag was born. Like so many of the great and memorable things of history, a Christian Flag was not contemplated or predesigned. A fortuitous happenstance gave it birth. The Sunday School was holding an old-fashioned Rally Day of the kind which was so much the custom in years past. For this occasion, a favored speaker had been engaged, but for some reason undisclosed did not show up. Superintendent Charles C. Overton, in the emergency, called upon his own gifts of innovation to fill in the time. An American flag lay there across the pulpit. Overton addressed his words to the flag and its symbolism. Then like a flash came the thought, why not also a Christian flag? His impromptu but constructive ad-libbing was to produce a verbal picture of what is today, and for the past one hundred years has been, the Christian Flag.

Today 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 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.

All church flags are organizational symbols of specific corporate, legal, religious entities. The Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, United Methodists, Baptists, United Church of Christ, and others have flags, official or otherwise, but limited to their use and ruled by them. Not so with the Christian Flag. This flag stands in its own right, shines by its own spiritual light, true, free, untrammeled, uncompromised. It belongs only to Christ and the Cross which symbol it bears.

 Why is the cross so emphatically magnified in the new Affirmation of Loyalty? The Cross in size is the smallest component of the total flag. And yet the whole message, theological and ecclesiastical, lies in that small but eternal symbol. Without this Cross, this flag would be little more than a decorative piece of cloth. The force of this fact is climactic. If there were no Cross, there would be no post-resurrection Christ, there would be no church. All hinges upon that Cross. This syllogism lifts up and boldly states the historical and eternal fact: the Cross is at the heart of it all.

Many are the theories of the atonement of God and persons through the sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross, and many are the theological nuances meticulously spun out by the Christologists. There is one thing, however, upon which all of the interpretations of the atonement agree, namely, the indispensable centrality of the Cross. Because of that Cross, Jesus is not just another miracle worker recorded in the passing pages of Roman history. He is Christ, the Son of God, sacrificial and triumphant, the Savior of the world, the world God so loved.

So understood, the Cross of Christ on the Christian Flag is the summation of it all. And to be adequate to its high purpose, the new Affirmation of Loyalty to the Christian Flag expressly includes that Cross.

The Affirmation of Loyalty to the Christian Flag is a sacred commitment. Let the congregation celebrate its loyalty to the Christian flag and the Cross which it bears by extending to it appropriate recognition and honor.

The minister or lay person will proceed as follows, saying:

1. Let us stand facing the Christian Flag.

2. Let us repeat the Affirmation of Loyalty in unison.

“I affirm my loyalty to the Christian Flag and to our savior whose cross it bears, one spiritual fellowship under that cross, uniting us in service and love.”

3. Let each person conclude the Affirmation with a slight but positive nod to the Flag. The congregation may now sing one or more verses from a hymn of its choice, such as Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus, or other appropriate selection.

4. Let us now participate in our Christian Fellowship by holding hands in an inclusive chain from person to person and pew to pew during the concluding prayer. The minister or lay person presiding will offer here a brief appropriate prayer, marking the conclusion of this celebration of the Affirmation of Loyalty to the Christian Flag.

Pledge to the Christian Flag
There appears to be more than one version of this pledge to the Christian Flag. One version is:

“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
for all who believe.”

Located by Ned Smith, 17 June 1999.

Many school children in private Christian schools immediately following the pledge to the American flag turn to the Christian Flag right hand still over the heart and recite:

I pledge allegiance to the cross, of our Lord Jesus Christ,
And to the faith for which it stands, one Savior, eternal,
with mercy and grace for all.





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