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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 59:19
When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight.Cf. Exodus 17:15 (Amplified Bible) And…
From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere His glory. For He will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along. (NIV)

Numbers 1:52
The Israelites are to set up their tents by divisions, each man in his own camp under his own standard.

John 3:14-16
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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