The Christian Flag: Symbol of Christianity


Just like every country around the world, many religions have distinctive flags that serve as emblems for its practitioners, symbolizing various disciplines and values.

Likewise, the Christian flag is the emblem of Christendom. No matter how many sub-cultures they are under our faith, we too share the same flag. However people, believers inclusive, think it odd for Christianity to have a flag because it is not an organization that is political in nature. However, in this article, we will explore the origin and significance behind the Christian flag.

What Is The Official Christian Flag?

It is an ecumenical (representing many different Christian churches)  flag designed in the 1900s to symbolize Christianity and much of the Christian community. It is colored blue, white, and red very much like the American flag. It was officially adopted by the United States Federal Council of Churches in 1942, and since then, it has been used by many different Christian denominations. This includes Anglican, Baptist​,​ Congregationalist​, Lutheran, Mennonite​,​​ Methodist​,​ Moravian, Presbyterian, and Reformed, among others.

What Does The Christian Flag Represent?

The flag has a white field, with a red Latin cross inside a blue canton.

The red on the cross symbolizes the blood sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary.

The blue represents the waters of baptism as well as the fidelity of Jesus.

The white represents Jesus’ purity and holiness.

The flag has no official specific dimensions.

the Christian flag

History Of The Christian Flag

The Christian flag has a rather intriguing origin. It all started in a small Sunday School Chapel on Coney Island in New York. Charles C. Overton, the superintendent of the Sunday school at Brighton Chapel had put together a Rally Day for Sunday, September 26, 1897.

The guest speaker didn’t show up, so Overton had to give an unplanned speech. Noticing the U.S. flag draped on the podium he was on, he started talking about the symbolism of the American flag. He asked the students what a flag representing Christianity would look like and proposed a flag that should represent the Christian church. 

After that day, Overton went home with his answer, but that thought would linger for a while and go on to become the foundation for the flag we now know. Later, with the help of a local seamstress, Overton created the flag he had described and presented the first copy the next Sunday.

Years later in 1907, he and Ralph Diffendorfer, secretary of the Methodist Young People’s Missionary Movement, properly designed and began promoting the flag. It was eventually officially adopted by the United States Federal Council of Churches on January 23rd, 1942.

Christian Flag Pledge

The pledge had three versions. The first one was written by a liberal Methodist pastor named Lynn Harold Hough who had seen Diffendorfer’s flag. It says,

“I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag and to the Saviour for whose kingdom it stands; one brotherhood, uniting all mankind in service and in love.”

The second version is used by more conservative groups like the Evangelical, Lutheran, Baptist churches, and it is a bit more detailed. It says,

“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 to all who believe.”

This third alternative version has been adopted by some youth groups. It says,

“I pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag, and to the Savior for whose Kingdom it stands; one brotherhood uniting all true Christians, in service, and in love.

Regardless of the version, these pledges all envelope the same thing; loyalty to God, His Kingdom, cause, and our brothers in Christ.

What Does It Mean To Pledge Yourself To The Christian Flag?

Pledging allegiance to a flag simply means showing loyalty as a citizen of the country it represents. Therefore, pledging yourself to the Christian flag means pledging loyalty to God and His Kingdom.

While pledging with words is important, it is even more important that we do so with our actions. Jesus made it clear in John 14:15 that if we indeed love Him or are loyal to Him, we would keep His commands. To be loyal to God is to be obedient to Him and passionate about His cause, which is bringing as many people as you can to His Kingdom. It means always being ready, like a soldier is, to do the will of the One who loved you first and gave His life for you.

Christian Flag Code

All flags operate by an advisory code for displaying them. The Christian Flag didn’t have one until 1938 when a pastor named James Russell created one.

 The Christian flag code states,

‘It should be placed either at floor level, outside the railing to the right of the congregation, or on the right side of the altar, pulpit, or choir as it faces the congregation. When displayed with the American flag, it should be on the same level, to the right of the American flag, and dips only to the cross at the altar.”

The Christian Flag Has No Trademark or Patent

The flag is free for all to copy. Overton made it that way so that all Christians may have access to it. Diffendorfer wrote of it in 1917 saying, 

“The Christian flag is not patented and is free from commercialism. Anyone may manufacture it, and it may be used on all proper occasions. Christian flags may be displayed at conventions, conferences, church demonstrations, and parades, and with the American flag, may be used for general decorative purposes. For boys’ and girls’ societies and clubs and the church school, especially on program occasions, the two flags may be presented and saluted.”

Final Thoughts

From an unplanned speech came one of the greatest symbols of Christianity’s unity and denominational diversity. Truth be told, there’s some conflict in the church today because of our contrast in perspectives.

 But the Christian flag is a reminder that we are one, regardless of the differences in doctrine, skin color, race, or geographical locations. We all belong to the same Father, the same Kingdom, the same Lord. We were all paid for by the same Man and we are bound by the same blood and covenant.

The flag of God’s church isn’t just a cloth on a pole, but a wakeup call for us to look away from the things that make us different, and focus on that which we share; a glorious inheritance and a cause to establish the light of our Father’s Kingdom in the darkness that envelops our world.