I can’t win with this issue, but I don’t have to. All Americans, especially Christians, should be thankful, thoughtful, and tireless patriots. We should love our country, pray for it, obey its constitutional laws (as long as they are not contrary to God’s Word), and pay our taxes. We should be excited and thrilled as our flag passes in review. We should get chills of delight when we sing The Star-Spangled Banner.
But should the American flag be displayed in our churches?
I am an unashamed, unreconstructed, and unchanging American. I bleed red, white, and blue. I can sing all four verses of America the Beautiful and I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy with a mouthful of saltine crackers without taking a breath!
But does the American flag belong in churches?
I often wear a flag on my coat and display the flag on our front porch daily. I even pray for our leaders with whom I disagree with passion.
But does the flag belong in our churches?
My fellow patriots and especially veterans may not even be willing to consider my arguments but we will remain friends. I understand that veterans, especially those who fought on foreign soil, maybe even leaving an arm or leg behind, may get very emotional about this issue. All of us have had family and friends die on battlefields in wars that were possibly unwise.
But does the flag belong in our churches?
What is the message we send by placing the American flag in a church? The Christian flag is always opposite the American flag so are we saying that Christians have an equal allegiance to both? If the Christian flag is under the American flag on the church flagpole are we saying that the American flag has precedence over the Christian flag? Or what each one represents.
Christians are Christians first, then Americans. But then Christian Englishmen are to be Christians first and Englishmen second. Canadian Christians are to be Christians first and Canadians second. And if this is true in America then it is true in every nation on earth. Christ is first; the nation is second. It is idolatry if that is not true.
The early church forbade Christians from being judges, government workers, or soldiers because Rome was throwing Christians into the arena to be devoured by vicious beasts! By what twisted logic can one argue that those Christians should have the Roman standard in their secret meeting places?
If Christians paid allegiance to Rome, would it not be similar to throwing a pinch of incense into the fire in honor of Caesar? They were good citizens but they would be fools to pay homage to those who were butchering them!
What about Nazi Germany? When it was obvious to the most dull, dumb, and dimwitted German that Hitler was a deranged monster throwing Christians and Jews into prison and concentration camps, could one argue that those Germans “owed an allegiance” to show their patriotism by displaying the German flag in their churches? Of course, the cowardly, conforming, and compromising pastors did that very thing.
Does anyone believe that Christians in China have a Chinese flag in their persecuted, prosecuted, but powerful church? Are they unpatriotic for that absence or is it simply common sense? Why kiss the mouth that wants to bite your head off?
Christ tells us in Mark 12:17 to give to Caesar (government) what belongs to him and to God the things that are His. Are we saying that the U.S. flag is above the Christian flag? Is Caesar first and Christ second? If so, is that not idolatry? “Caesar” sure does not display the Christian flag in official places. In recent years, our leaders have made a concerted attack upon everything the Bible teaches and we are told to recognize the national flag in our services!
Visiting believers from abroad are often horrified and shocked at seeing our national flag in a church auditorium. That indicates that Christ is not Lord of everything and if for a believer, He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.
Is Col. 2:10 true and applicable today or not? Christ is said to be “the head of all principality and power.” Col. 1:16-18 tells us “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
But does the American flag belong in the church auditorium? I think not. However, it is not a hill I want to die on. For sure, if starting a new church or entering a new building, I would not display the flag. The American flag belongs at homes, official buildings, schools, trucks, boats, and even belt buckles but not churches.
Caution: any church official who hastily removes the flag from the church auditorium will experience not only the rocket’s red glare but bombs bursting in air!
Copyright ©2013 Dr. Don Boys, Ph.D.