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A Banner or a Flag?

Posted on 11 April, 2016 by David Stanfield

Recently, I received a question from a lady asking me about the difference between a banner and a flag. It’s a good question and well worth answering.

“What is the difference between a flag and a banner? I’ve always thought a banner is something with images that speak a message, whereas a flag is solid in colour with lines and geometric design. Banners can be both vertical and horizontal but flags are only horizontal. Am I close?”

In my opinion, a “flag” is simply the American name for what we in Australia call a “banner”. For example, you say “Fall”, I say “Autumn”.

However, there are a number of reasons why I specifically chose the word “banner” to represent what I do.

First of all, in English, “I’m flagging”, literally means I am running out of energy and strength. This is not the picture we want to give of banner worship and certainly not what we experience!

National flags are also simply called “flags”, even though they do meet just about any criteria for a banner.

Most importantly, I chose the word “banner” to help shift the ideas and culture in the Christian world surrounding the use of “flags”.

Flags have often been viewed as strictly feminine. Waving a flag also usually gives the idea of just waving an object in the air.

However, “wielding a banner” sends a much more powerful message and is inclusive of both genders.

In American culture, the treatment of national flags is more extreme than in most other nations. I think this has also spilled over into the use of Christian flags and thus often creates a barrier for many people using them.

In Scripture, a “flag” is actually a type of water plant. Instead, the Bible uses a number of different words for standards and ensigns. However, most of the five Hebrew words used have been translated as “banner”.

For more information on why I have encouraged people around the world to replace their “flagging ministry” with “wielding banners”, refer to my book Wielding Banners for Worship, Warfare and Ministry › It contains a whole section addressing this particular topic.

Trust my 5 cents are useful!!
David

Posted on 11 April, 2016 by David Stanfield

Your comments and reflections on this post are welcome: Email enquiry@worshipbanners.org

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Banners in the Bible

Isaiah 62:10,11
Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations. The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your Saviour comes! See, his reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him'.

John 12:30-32
Jesus said, 'This voice was for your benefit, not Mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself'.

Isaiah 13:1-4
An oracle concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw: Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles. I have commanded my holy ones; I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath- those who rejoice in my triumph. Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war.

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