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Christian Flag

Last modified: 2003-07-05 by rob raeside
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The Christian Flag

[Christian Flag] by António Tuválkin-Martins, 8 February 2003

The "Christian flag" is one which I think originated in the southern United States of America with a Baptist-like church group. This group was partly led by a man named Dr. Donald Howard, who designed a Christian education system as an alternative to the non-Christian public school system. This system, called Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) uses this Christian flag to represent itself. ACE then spread around the USA and Canada and even overseas to third-world countries via missionaries, hence spreading the idea of a Christian flag around the world.

The canton is blue. The flag has a white field representing the purity of Christ and a red cross in the middle of the canton, the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus the Messiah with red for His blood. Attached is a rough depiction of the flag with likely all the wrong dimensions.

Josh Treleaven, 15 June 1998

The "Christian Flag" is a white flag with a blue canton and a red cross in it. It was designed by Charles Overton in 1897 to represent Protestants of all denominations. (See the Knopf "Eyewitness Books" volume entitled "Flag".) Of course all the Scandinavian cross flags could be called Christian, considering the story of King Valdemar in 1219 in Denmark, who saw the cross of Christ, and it led him to victory.

Edward Mooney

I believe that The Christian Flag is virtually an exclusively American symbol. Having lived in Sydney for over seven years, I have never seen the Christian Flag displayed (let alone flown) in Australia.
Miles Li, 8 August 1999

I think the original idea was to have a symbol to represent a quasi-ecumenical revivalist movement within American Protestantism in the late 19th century. As to who uses the flag, doing some quick web surfs, I found the following facts:

- Such mainstream Protestant groups as the Methodists and Presbyterians gave explicit sanction to the use of the "Christian" 
flag in churches in resolutions passed in the 1940s. 

- A great many local church websites of mainstream Protestant churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, and, of course, Baptist) mention either the display of the "Christian" flag or the pledge to it. This suggests that its use is rather widespread, beyond just the conservative evangelical bodies. 

- Several sites mention that Lutheran churches began using the Christian flag along with the US flag in churches during the World War II years. They attribute this practice to German-Americans wanting to prove their patriotism. 

- The United Methodist and Evangelical Lutheran churches' websites contain articles expressing disapproval of the display of either the US or "Christian" flags in churches. On the other hand, neither was prepared to say that their use is impermissible.

To put things in perspective, the sizes of the denominations we're talking about here are about 30 million Baptists (of which about 16 million are Southern Baptists); 13 million Methodists (of which about 8 million United Methodists); 8 million Lutherans (roughly 5 million Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and 3 million conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod); 4 million Presbyterians; 2 million Episcopalians. These compare to some 60 million Roman Catholics (virtually all of whom have the S&S and Holy See flags in their churches). 
Joe McMillan, 24 January 2002

A conference of "mainstream" Protestant denominations some decades ago concluded that the "Christian" flag, if displayed, should take precedence in a church over the national flag. Actual practice varies between individual parishes/congregations. The Catholic church my wife and children belong to has the US and Holy See flags in the seating area of the church, with the Holy See flag on the right (US flag code says under that arrangement, the US flag should be on the right). The Presbyterian church to which I belong has the US and Christian flags right at the base of the raised area on which the minister conducts the service. Again, the Christian flag is on the right, the reverse of the US flag code arrangement. But the nearby colonial-era Episcopal church has the US and Episcopal flags hanging on the wall above the pulpit, with the US flag to its own right, as the Flag Code calls for.
Joe McMillan, 15 April 2003

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."
From, located by Ned Smith, 17 June 1999.

At this site also is the history of this flag:

"This flag, like an unplanned baby, was born into the Christian fellowship one hundred years ago, where open arms gave it a loving welcome. Today, it is no longer an infant. Some 244,000 churches display one or more Christian flags in their sanctuaries and classrooms.

In answer to the need for basic information concerning the Christian flag and guidance for its correct usage, Steve's Christian Flag Page has been prepared. May it be a blessing to all Internet surfers in fulfilling this purpose.


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.