When Will Churches Give Up the U.S. Flag?

Have Southern Baptists pointed the way?

Messengers to the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention renounced display of the Confederate battle flag in a historic, overwhelming vote Tuesday (June 14).

Southern Baptist Convention Parliamentarian Barry McCarty explains the resolution amendment process after a messenger complained about not being allowed to speak after time expired during the afternoon session of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday, June 14 in St. Louis.

The convention adopted late in its afternoon session a resolution that urged “brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity of the whole body of Christ, including our African American brothers and sisters.”

Imagine improved relations with Mexicans and Canadians.

16 thoughts on “When Will Churches Give Up the U.S. Flag?

  1. You seem to be implying that it might be okay for a church to display a U.S. flag. If I have misinterpreted you, forgive me. I don’t believe a church should have ANY national flag anywhere on their property.


  2. Will PCA repent of displaying U.S. flags?

    All this suggests that there was an ugly, coercive side to the story of American flags in churches. But some immigrant and ethnic minority groups embraced the idea of displaying the flag in religious services as a way to affirm their patriotism. Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox immigrants from Europe routinely displayed the flag in parades and meetings in the 1920s.


  3. I would think iconoclasm would need to come top down from the presbytery, so that only those who have had hands laid on them to enable them to hand out grace can put their hands on flags to remove idols. http://proto-protestantism.blogspot.com/2015/11/baptist-polity-american-flag-and-idols.html

    I Corinthians 5 Don’t you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough? 7 Clean out the old yeast in order to be a new batch. You are indeed unleavened, for Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old yeast or with the yeast of malice and evil but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy or idolaters. Otherwise you would have to leave the world.


  4. Patrick Ramsey is pastor of Nashua Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Edinburg, Pennsylvania
    patricks pensees.word press.com What happens when you idolize sola fide

    Now that the reformation is over, being catholic means seeing that the iconoclasm done by the masses (without “gradual” direction from those who knew greek and hebrew) had nothing to do with the gospel in the first place. You can believe the gospel and still be a Nazi, as you can believe the gospel and still own slaves. A congregation is not a “sect” if it’s loyal to one nation among many, but it is a sect if it refuses the water of the Roman Catholic church.


  5. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/anxiousbench/2014/07/the-breaking-of-images/

    Iconoclasm was central to the Reformation experience, not marginal, and not just a regrettable extravagance.
    Yes, we do read of outbreaks of destructive violence and iconoclasm, but these are usually presented as marginal excesses, or understandable instances of popular fury against church abuses. Once we get those unfortunate riots out of the way, we can get back to the main story of tracing the process of Bible translation.

    That’s very misleading. For anyone living at the time, including educated elites, the iconoclasm was not just an incidental breakdown of law and order, it was the core of the whole movement, the necessary other side of the coin to the growth of literacy. Those visual and symbolic representations of the Christian story had to decrease, in order for the world of the published Bible to increase. In terms of the lived experience of people at the time, the image-breaking is the key component of the Reformation. In the rioting and mayhem, a millennium-old religious order was visibly and comprehensively smashed.

    It was also an unabashedly top-down phenomenon. That image breaking we hear about was invariably the work of urban mobs, in societies that were overwhelmingly rural. The Reformation was a war of the cities against the countryside, of the ten percent (perhaps) against the ninety percent. It would be decades or centuries before the new religious order based on books and literacy would disseminate throughout the whole country, including rural areas. Urban communities spent those decades sneering at the religious ignorance of the peasants.

    Carlos M. N. Eire, War Against the Idols (Cambridge University Press, 1989).
    Lee Palmer Wandel, Voracious Idols and Violent Hands (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
    Eamon Duffy, the Stripping of the Altars


  6. What about the churches that display all of the national flags of the world (or the countries where they have missionaries) out in the Narthex?


  7. This business of flags is a mysterious one to me. I had to drive to NE Tennessee during the first week in April for the funeral of my sister-in-law who had died near the end of March following a long illness. While driving through some of the small towns in the mid-South I witnessed more than a few people driving pickup trucks with an American flag stuck into the stake bed hole on one side of the truck and the confederate flag on the other. What does this mean? I’m proud to be an American, but I’m also proud to be a descendant of those who served under the Confederacy? I’m proud to be an American, but I also deserve the right to show that I have Southern roots? I’m proud to be an American, but just don’t try to tell me what I can and cannot do with my Confederate flag, regardless what anyone else might think the stands for?

    Flags convey a message. Look at the picture at the top of the this thread post: the pastor of a congregation displaying the rainbow/pride flag in front of his church (along with a rainbow stole around his neck). The message is certainly clear: we’re mainline protestants (apparently by lack of a backward collar) and we support gay marriage, clergy, etc. Should that sort of thing be displayed by any church? I assume that most of us would say no.

    And as someone already mentioned, some denominations displayed the American flag in their churches during the early part of the 20th Century to show that, though they were descendants of European immigrants, they were Americans to the core and did not support any of the misdeeds of the Kaiser, Hitler, etc. It’s worth mentioning, however, that many of them (Lutherans, e.g.) displayed the American flag on one side of the chancel area and their synodical flag on the other – presumably to indicate to anyone in doubt that they still held a strong 2K belief.

    So among this mass confusion over symbolism the only logical thing to do is get rid of all of them, American flag included. No message conveyed to the congregants except for the one they gather to hear in the first place.


  8. >>>>I’m simply noting the irony/inconsistency of getting rid of the Confederate flag while having a huge U.S. flag stuck in the ridder’s eye.<<<<

    What is also ironic — while "Old Life" seeks to return to historic Christianity, "The Guru Coaltion" is hard at work telling you to vote for Hillary Clinton because she's not as 'evil' as the other candidate.


  9. “…as a sign of solidarity of the whole body of Christ…”
    A coterie of Southern Baptists wishing to display their Social Justice street cred has decided to wage war on the Confederate Flag. And the “whole body of Christ” is supposed to be dragged into this pointless grandstanding between Confederate nostalgists and Evangelical SJWs. How best to explain this Gospel Issue to Christians in Russia, Haiti, South Korea, Pakistan, China, or Jamaica – since Racial Reconciliation and Social Justice are all Gospel Issues now? Are Christians in Syria and Turkey bothered by the Confederate flag? They’re part of “the whole body of Christ” so perhaps they should be asked to take part in this pageantry as well.

    People are discovering new sins and new virtues every single day. Please give me back my Ol’ Time Religion!


  10. @dgh Is it wrong for me to want to send some of my fellow congregants to N. Korea as missionaries?


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