Flag Waving @ Church

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rhetorician, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    To all who have an ear:

    Let me preface my remarks by saying that I am a patriot and am not a pacifist. Although, I would love to see pacifism discussed here sometime. I love our country and would gladly die for her service on the battlefield ministering to our soldiers as a chaplain in the best of the Baptist tradition.

    "But, I have somewhat to say unto thee!"

    Here goes:
    As I have gotten more education I have come to believe, understand, and be convicted that having American flags alongside the Christian flag in the church meeting house, honor guards with their weapons and carrying the American flag in the church meeting house, saying the pledged of allegiance to the American flag along with the pledge to the Christian flag in the church meeting house, and all other displays of equal commitment to America co-equal to vows of devotion to Christ are wrong.

    We are, especially as ministers, suppose to be committed ONLY to our Lord and his Gospel. Being an American is NOT being Christian. When they are digging through the dirt 1000 years from now and find the "Stars and Stripes" well after America has gone on the ash heap of the civilizations, our Lord's Glorious Gospel will still be preached if He has not come yet!

    Nationalism and patriotism are no substitute for the Christian faith!!! The Gospel demands sole allegiance and commitment! Patriotism run amuck (sp?) is tantamount to idolatry.:tear:

    What say ye of Christ?! Who's son is he?

    Where is your allegiance?:smilewinkgrin:

    sdg!

    rd
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Uh, oh, Rhet, be prepared to duck! There may be a few rotten eggs and tomatos headed your way!:eek: :smilewinkgrin:

    It may be a strictly American custom to have that flag up there with the Christian flag. We never see it in Japan. In fact, many Japanese believe the "Hinomaru" ("rising sun") flag represents WW2 militarism and oppose it.

    I love America and think it is the greatest country on earth. However, as a missionary I often look at some kinds of American patriotism as misguided. We are to be first of all citizens of Heaven as Abraham was portrayed in Heb. 11. As citizens of Heaven, we are to go where our Lord directs us, anywhere in the world. I wonder deep inside how many more Americans would come out to the fields of the world if they set aside their patriotism for a moment and listened to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, telling them to look out at the fields which are white unto harvest. :type:
     
  3. Joseph_Botwinick

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    I am going to have to think about this as I think you have raised some interesting points. Off the top of my head and without really studying the issue, two thoughts come to mind:

    1. Give to Ceasar what is due Ceasar and give to God what is due God.

    2. Our allegiance is to our nation as long as it is subjected to our allegiance to God.

    Please understand that this is not a complete doctrinal study and is probably flawed in several ways, I am sure. If so, then I am open to kind correction.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  4. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
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    I like number 2, Joseph. It describes how I feel about patriotism.

    This is an interesting topic, because there has always been an American flag in the churches I've gone to. I also was taught that patriotism was God honoring. I'll have to think about this for a while..........
     
  5. Dale-c

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    Proper patriotism is always God honoring but note I said "proper".

    I do agree with the OP.

    Another thing to consider is the placement of the flags. I can't remember off the top of my head but either the right or the left flag is traditionally the one of higher honor.
    It would make sense to me that if you are going to have those flags in Church (which we don't anymore) The Christian flag should be in the place of higher honor.

    Government was instituted by Almighty God and so patriotism is a proper thing.
    The very fact that GOd is the creator of government goes to show where true allegiance should be.
     
  6. Brother Bob

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    We tend to carry everything too far and that includes flying flags in our churches. I wonder do you include the posting of the Commandments in our schools also and the Mike being cut off because of the young girl who mentioned Jesus in her graduation. If we want to have our influence on the secular then we probably will have to make some kind of room for them but not to the extent that we have to fly flags and say the Pledge.

    One thing concerns me about this OP and that is if we were overthrown by say "the muslims". What would we give to be able to fly the American Flag in our churches, caves or whereever. As a young lad I never dreamed this could happen but as you said after education, older and hopefully wiser I realize it is a real possibility. Also, we as a nation have given away many of our rights by trying to be "political correct". One day this nation will live to regret going too far on that one also. We get on TV and give the whole world our secrets, they don't need spys for we will tell them. We have sent all of our manufacturing base overseas and if they ever turn on us then we can't even build a computer anymore or even "make a phone call". The U.S. is like Rome they are slowly destroying themselves.
     
  7. Dale-c

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    Wow, I agree with you for once BB! :)
     
  8. Brother Bob

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    I figured if we argued long enough we bound to come across something we agreed on like maybe "I love hamburgers".:applause:
     
  9. Brother Jeremy Slone

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    I went to a church that had the flag and the "christian" flag. I really didn't care for it. I thank God for my liberty to worship him not the government. If this country falls and a dictator takes over I am still going to be thankful to the Lord for what ever I have. I heard of preachers talking about politics in the pulpit I don't think I would be attending there very long. I go to the church to give reverence to God not man or country.

    We are in the world but not of it. We are pilgrims passing through for this world is not our home. Your banner over you may be the stars and stripes but mine is love through Jesus Christ for he is love. John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

    But nor do I care for alot of things in meeting houses. people want to make with their hands and uphold in there buildings. Pictures of what they think Christ looked like or Crosses and Angels but thats another topic.
     
  10. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Flags and such...

    To all who have an ear:

    Brothers and sisters;
    Keep the comments coming. The 4th of July is this next week. Maybe we should be forced to think through some of the ideas that have been shared.

    Please keep your comments as nearly as possible to the OP and I believe we will have a spirited and lively discussion.

    It seems that there are more folk out there who might agree on some level with the OP. And it also seems that there may many who have not heard of the idea before.

    Keep them coming!!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  11. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    All generalizations are lies, including this one, but as a general observation, those who are theologically conservative tend to be politcally conservative, as well. And conservatives tend to demonstrate their patriotism with some intensity. Just as we've carried over from our culture into our churches so many things (good and bad), it's not surprising that love for our country is one of them.

    I don't see it as all that wrong. What I do see as problematic is politicking from the pulpit.
     
  12. LeBuick

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    :thumbs: Nothing should be praised or pleged in the house of GOD but GOD.
     
  13. Joseph M. Smith

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    This issue caught my attention several years ago when my wife and I were in
    England, and attended worship with her aunt in a small Baptist church in a Kentish village. Up there at the front, flanking the preacher, were the Christian flag and ... the Union Jack! My visceral reaction was ... what?! is that?! But obviously they are in England and they express their loyalty to their country. I began to see more clearly the contradiction involved in that symbolism.

    Go back to Nazi Germany and the expectation -- nay, requirement -- that Hitler imposed on the German churches that they fly the Nazi banner. Bonhoeffer's Bekenntniskirche would not comply because they saw it as the sign of the demonic run amok.
     
  14. Pipedude

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    I agree with the OP. There was a time when I would have strongly disagreed, but in recent years I've come to consider it improper bringing nationalism into church.

    Our pastor has us face the national flag and recite the loyalty oath each year in the morning service of "God and Country" Sunday. We have people present who aren't even Americans. They're loyal to their own people, not to us. And yet this oath becomes a part of the worship service, so they're left out. How Christian is that?

    And we sing the Star Spangled Banner. I like the song just fine. But I thought we were worshipping God? There is that good old line about "the Power" that hath made and preserved us a nation; but the song isn't about him, he's just there for filler--kinda like the line on the coins "In God We Trust."

    Let's face it, equating the State and God is obviously hardwired into the sinful nature of man, since it has been the unvarying rule among pagans for thousands of years. Among my crowd, sad to say, praising America and praising God are considered pretty much the same thing.

    I don't think anybody's flag belongs alongside Jesus. I do, of course, enjoy decorating the auditorium with the flags of all nations during our missions conference, but that's a totally different situation.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    It was even worse in Japan. Japanese churches were all banded together into a goverment-ruled denomination--those which refused to were disbanded. And each church was made to require a bow to a photo of the emperor (who was considered deity) at the start of the service. Good Christians took to coming to church late to miss the bow.
     
  16. JJB

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    Some years ago I asked, as a Deacon, if the Deacons could take some time together at a future meeting and discuss the subject of the flag at the front of the church. Why did we do it? Was there a reason from scripture that argued for or against the practice?

    Sadly, that discussion never took place. It was seen as anti-American and unpatriotic. The majority of the Deacons thought that since it was not forbidden it was ok and no discussion was needed.
     
  17. StraightAndNarrow

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    I don't support displaying the American flag in the church. We are commanded to be in this world but not of this world. Christians should be separate from any man-made institution except when "yeilding unto Caesar."
     

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