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Tuesday, September 26th | The Christian Flag

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
September 26, 2023 9:00 am

Tuesday, September 26th | The Christian Flag

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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September 26, 2023 9:00 am

In this show, Dr. Shah explains the history and importance of the Christian flag.

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Welcome back, everyone. Today is Tuesday, September the 26th. I'm Ryan Hill.

I'm John Galantis. You're listening to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at ClearViewTodayShow.com. If you have any questions for Dr. Shah or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-5825028, or you can email us at contact at ClearViewTodayShow.com. I'm glad you guys can help us keep the conversation going by supporting the show. You can share it online, leave us a good review on iTunes or Spotify, anywhere you get your podcasting content from.

We're going to leave a link in the description so you can do just that. The verse of the day today comes from Amos chapter 45—I'm sorry, Amos chapter 5, verse 45. There you go. For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel, Seek me and live, but do not seek Bethel, nor enter Gilgal, nor pass over to Beersheba. For Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nothing.

Yeah, and I think there's such a great dichotomy there. You seek me and live, do not seek Bethel, nor enter Gilgal. The church, the building, what we inhabit is important, but it's not necessarily—that doesn't mean that God's presence is at a place, a geographical location. It says, nor pass over to Beersheba.

Gilgal's going to go into captivity. Bethel's going to come to nothing. These places that human beings have set up as monuments to God are not—they don't usher in God's presence by themselves.

And so it says, seek me and live. The church, the physical building of the church and the people should be seeking where God is rather than trying to usher God into where we want him to be. Absolutely.

These places are an avenue. They should never be the end goal. You know, there's nothing wrong with having a place where you come to worship. In fact, that's a wonderful thing. That's a blessing, but it is a temporary thing. It should never be the end goal.

It should never be what you're driving to. It's just an avenue to get you closer to God's presence. That should be the goal, the finish line in the life of every believer. That's right. You know what today is? You know, because I woke up in a good mood. Tuesday. Today is Tuesday. That's true.

I woke up in a great mood. Okay. But now I think it's time to shift gears a little bit and maybe bring out some gripes. A ripe harvest of gripes. It's time for the gripe. Welcome to the gripe vine. These gripes are ripes.

That's enough. That one was really big. That was a big gripe.

That was uncomfortable to hear from everyone. I'm not going to gripe today. I'm going to let my main man David take this one. David has a gripe. He pitched this gripe in the office, and I thought it was so unbelievably sad.

I thought it was so sad that I just had to let him take the conscience. All right, Dave. You've got your floor, my friend. Okay. Harvest your gripe.

I didn't understand how it was sad, but my gripe is, I'm going to get something to eat. Sure. Go to Chipotle. Right. Get a bowl. Okay. Drive to the parking lot so you can eat in the car in the parking lot. Okay. When I parked my car so that I could eat in silence while watching YouTube, somebody pulled up beside me and just parked. So, I can't eat.

Now, you feel like a loser? Yeah, because they're beside me. Okay.

All right. That is pretty weird. I'm sitting here trying just to have a moment of watching YouTube and eating my food. Then, somebody pulls up beside me, and they just park, and they never get out.

I'm like, please. No, I feel like a dork eating out. I feel like a loser eating in my car alone. You have the whole parking lot, and you're going to park right here. That is a little weird. You have the entire parking lot.

You had plenty of spaces. Why right next door? I think it's weird that you go into the restaurant, you're surrounded by empty tables, and you walk past all the empty tables, and you eat in your car. That's my thing. If it's drive-through, I'm tracking with you. No problem. If you're Chipotle curbside, no problem.

But, if you walk into Chipotle, just eat in the restaurant. Well, I can't listen to my stuff on full volume. Do you put your headphones in?

I do, but I want to listen to it out loud. Why? Because the headphones hurt my ears.

Ellie's that way. They have $150, $200 AirPod Pros, and I don't want to use them. I use them often.

I use my Bose headphones very often. But, when I'm in my car, I just want to hear my car speakers, and I just want to listen to it. But, then you also don't want someone to park beside you.

Okay, here's my follow-up question. You had to park at Chipotle to go in and get your food, correct? Why don't you just go back to your car and just eat in the parking lot at Chipotle?

I think that's what he did. No, he said he got in his car and drove somewhere else. Because there was another car beside me. So, you want to eat in an isolated parking lot.

A completely desolate parking lot. Why didn't you just take the food home? Because it was in Wake Forest, and I live in Henderson. I didn't want it to be cold. You wanted to eat right then and there. I think you're sort of trapped, but I would have just ate inside. So, what did you do? Did you just eat, or did you just drive away? I just moved to another spot. What did you do that then followed you? I threw my Chipotle at them. It's passive aggressive enough for them to see that you backed up and moved to another spot. You didn't leave. I just picked another spot so they would know that they offended you. They overstepped. This is your fault. 100%.

We're going to go forward in the episode. I want to know if you guys have ever had a similar experience eating alone in the parking lot, and somebody parks next to you. What is parking lot etiquette for you?

What are the unspoken rules that you just instinctively know or you've been taught by experience? Let us know at 252-582-5028, or visit us online at ClearViewTodayShow.com. We're going to get Dr. Shaw, and we'll be right back. There's a number of ways that you can get in touch with us at Clearview, and share your prayer requests, but the best way is by texting us at 252-582-5028. You can also send us an email at prayer at ClearviewBC.org, or you can download the Clearview app on iTunes or Google Play.

On that app, there's a dedicated prayer wall that helps us to get to know what's going on in your life, how we can pray for you, and how we can take any necessary steps to get you moving in the right direction. Thanks for listening. Now let's get back to the show. Today is your first time ever joining us here on the Clearview Today Show.

We want to welcome you and let you know exactly who's talking to you today. Dr. Abbadan Shah is a Ph.D. and New Testament textual criticism professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of today's show. You can find all of his work on his website at AbbadanShah.com, and I guarantee you he does not eat lunch by himself in a car. Dr. Shah, have you ever gone into a restaurant? Let's take the car out. Have you ever gone into a restaurant and just ate lunch just completely alone?

Unfortunately, yes. There are times that I like to go eat some good Indian food, and neither body is for it. So I'm like, you know what, I'm just going to go sit by myself and eat it. So I have done that.

I do not have a clever segue. Well, I was thinking about delicious flavors that kind of hang around for a little while, and then there's something else that has hung around for a little while, is the Christian flag. You are just the bomb. You know, sometimes it just comes.

Sometimes it just drops in there, and other times you've got to work for it, but sometimes it just kind of drops in there. On today, today is the anniversary of an event. On today.

On this today. It happened on the day. On this today is the anniversary of an event that was held by, where there was a superintendent of the Sunday School of Brighton Chapel, Charles Overton, and he gave this impromptu speech. He gets up there and he starts talking, and he talks about the symbolism behind the American flag that had been around for a while, and people, you know, are used to it.

It was in 1897. But he also proposed the idea that there should be a flag to represent the Christian church. So a Christian flag in addition to an American flag. And from that speech, our Christian flag that we know today came to be. I want to tell you something.

This is the honest truth. Before coming to Clearview Church in 2013, I did not know there was a Christian flag. Really? Nope. I did not know it was a thing. The first time I ever saw it was in Wednesday night, Awana. Dr. Shah, I don't know if you remember, used to lead the pledges.

Yes. And he did the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, and he was like, now we're going to pledge allegiance to the Christian flag. And I remember being like, there's a Christian flag.

Huh? Someone kept this from me all these years. And everybody knew it. The pledge was straight through. It was fun. It was kind of like being a kid again and learning the new pledge. You know what I mean? Wow.

It was fun. Yeah. Flags are very unique, and they go back thousands of years. People may not know that, but they've been around for thousands of years, and most of the times you would see them in battles, and there would be that standard bearer who would hold up the flag. So you know those are our troops, because many times battling armies didn't know for sure, are you on my side or their side? And we think everybody was in uniform, but that's not always the case.

Right. Now, yes, there came a point where people began to wear certain kinds of armor. So you knew that this is the Persian army, and that's the Greek army, or these are the Egyptians, and those are the Assyrians.

But many times people looked the same and had the same clothing. So the flag is what distinguished them. Now, I don't know how that worked out when they got into the heat of the battle. I believe there was a lot of friendly fire. A lot of people got killed because, oh, sorry.

Oh, my fault. Well, not only that, but I'm out there holding the banner, and it's like, oh, I don't have my weapons. I've just got this banner, and you have to smack someone with this huge... Well, if you take the time to sit there and look like, okay, now, we've been in the mud and in the grime, and there's blood all over everybody's stuff, but I'm pretty sure he's wearing red.

But if you take that much time, then you're going to be taken out. It's also like what you mentioned in battle. People would see these banners and these flags from far off. It always makes me think of, like, Lord of the Rings.

Like, in the Battle of Helms Deep, when the sun crests the horizon, you see the banners of Rohan come out, and you just know, like, I don't know who any of those people are, but I see that banner, and I know we're safe. That's right. That's really cool. The oldest national flag was, if I'm not wrong, it was a flag of Denmark. So it's going back to like 1478, somewhere there, AD. So that was the first one sort of recorded as a flag. But then again, when you see some of these medieval drawings and paintings, you see flags. Yeah, that's true.

That's very true. Those colors and those symbols, I guess they spark the sense of identity. Like, when I look at that American flag, there's a motion that I feel. Even though I'm looking just at fabric, I'm just looking at colors that have been sewn in, and I don't always consciously think of what they represent, but just the sight of it evokes some sort of emotion or, I guess, patriotic identity. Yeah. And as they were, you know, it says, this article that I'm looking at, as Charles Overton, the superintendent of the Sunday School, was talking about the Christian flag, he chose the same colors that are represented in the American flag, but sort of reworked that symbology to make it inherently Christian.

Right, right. And it sort of, again, like you said, goes back to the American flag from 1777, the old Stars and Stripes. I love that link, too, because we talk about the biblical foundation of America. And, you know, to have that kind of interwoven with the American flag and together with the Christian flag, to see them hanging side by side, I mean, as an American and as a Christian, you look up and you say, that's my allegiance right there. I'm a patriot, and I'm also a Christian. Well, it even says it in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Christian flag. It says, it's to the Savior for whose kingdom it stands. You know, when I see that Christian flag, it should evoke in me a sense of this is not only the coming kingdom, but also the kingdom of God that's at hand right now, living in the church.

Right. Should we get Ryan to do the Pledge to the American flag? I think that's dangerous waters. Dangerous. I think it's really dangerous waters. One of the first times when Ryan first came on board, and I hope you don't mind me telling the story.

No, no, no, go ahead. He was doing the Pledge of Allegiance on a one-night. I don't know if he got nervous. I don't know if you were trying to fly. I don't know what it was, but he left out under, that was actually in the American flag. It was the American flag. American flag.

That was the one that messed up. He was like, I pledge allegiance to the American flag. What was it? I pledge allegiance to the flag. Of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands. And at that moment, this has never ever happened to me in my entire life. At that moment, my mind went completely and utterly blank.

I was like. So you said one nation. One nation. And then all the kids were like, one nation. In America, indivisible. I was struggling.

I was furiously trying to tread water and nothing was coming to my mind. I remember exactly what happened. You were like, one nation, and all the kids said, one nation. And you said, indivisible. And then I remember there was one woman who specifically was like, under God. And then you were like, yes, under God.

Yes, under God. It's rare that I'm completely rendered speechless, but that was the moment. I was like, I don't remember these words. For someone who's never heard the, because when I first came to Cleveland, I'd never heard the Pledge of Allegiance to the Christian flag.

What is it? The Christian flag? Yeah. I pledge allegiance to the Christian flag and to the savior for whose kingdom it stands. One savior crucified, risen, coming again with life and liberty to all who believe.

Beautiful. It perfectly encapsulates everything that the gospel is and stands for. And then our response as the Christians to pledge our allegiance to it. That's right.

I love that. And there was a debate and sort of controversy, I guess a mild controversy that went on for some time as to should the Christian flag and the American flag fly side by side, or is the Christian flag on top of the American flag or is the American flag on top of the Christian flag? So ultimately sort of side by side and which is fine because I am a citizen of this nation and I'm proud of that.

At the same time, I'm also the citizen of a heavenly city. That's right. Which is the New Jerusalem. Right.

And so the Christian flag in some sense, I'm not saying that's what's going to be flying over the New Jerusalem, but in some sense I'm saying that my allegiance also goes to the heavenly country. Yeah. Right? Yeah. One of the first things, one of the first sermon series that I really remember here at Clearview was a series called Heaven Here and Now.

Oh yeah. And it was so profound to hear the way that you described heaven, to hear the way that you described the kingdom of God, because oftentimes we think about that in terms of like an eventual reality, like a far off in the future, like this is going to happen one day. But I remember in that series, I remember you saying, no, the kingdom of God is here, is now. Yeah.

And that completely radically changed the way that I read those verses, that changed the way that I thought about what eternity was going to look like and what it means to be a Christian today. Right. And please don't misunderstand us. We're not for a single moment saying that there is not a real heaven, real hell on the other side. Right. And that this life is no different than the life to come. Oh no, this life is passing away. But the life that is coming is the one that will be eternal, is the one in which there is no more sorrow and sin and suffering and tears are wiped away. So we are looking forward to the heaven that is coming, the new heavens and new earth. Having said that, if you look at the definition of kingdom, the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Somebody can find that reference for us. The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. And that does not have to wait till the life to come.

It begins now. Righteousness begins in your heart now. It means you're walking with a new set of standards.

Right. So peace, we don't have to wait till we die and go to heaven and have peace in our heart. No, peace begins the moment you receive Jesus as your savior, as your king. God's peace comes into your heart. We are at peace with God and we are at peace with each other. At least we should be at peace with each other. I know there's ups and downs in lives and there will be conflicts. But overall, you're working from a place of peace and joy.

Joy is something that nothing and no one can take away from us. And so the passage, thank you for finding it for me, David. It's Romans 14, 17.

For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. So why do we say heaven here and now? There's your answer. That's right.

Should we talk? Because heaven here and now was not, you preached that about eight years ago. Right. But it's not done. We're bringing heaven here and now back in a very cool way. That flag is going to fly.

That flag is going to fly, absolutely. We are, I think we've talked about this on the show. We're recording an album, a full album of original music. I don't know if we dropped the name of the album. I don't know if we dropped the title.

If we haven't, I talked to Dr. Shah just the other day, confirmed that it's all good. Heaven Here and Now is coming back. Because that sermon series, other than the Nehemiah series, I think that one touched me the most. Because I had never, no one had ever taken the time to explain the kingdom of God being at hand. You know, Jesus talks in riddles and metaphors and we can't really understand it.

No, we can understand it. He wants us to understand it right here and now. And when people asked him, where is the kingdom? He said, the kingdom is among you. What he was really saying is that where the king is, there's the kingdom.

That's what he was saying. But they didn't understand that. They were thinking, where is the kingdom? When is the Messiah going to set up his kingdom?

When is this new Jerusalem going to be established? Please, discard the idea that they were just thinking about fighting against the Romans or ruling the Romans. It was more than that. They understood the spiritual side of the kingdom of God. They just didn't understand that Jesus, where Jesus is, there is the kingdom. And unfortunately, they did not accept Jesus. They knew what the Messiah was going to be like. They knew his pedigree. It's just that Jesus, this guy, him, him.

No, not him. We agree with everything else, but not him. So they could not receive the kingdom.

So it always remained out of their reach. And I think that's beneficial for us. Excuse me, not beneficial for us. That's important and significant for us because just talking about worship, this album that's coming out, worship is our response to the king being among us. If the king is truly here, like if Jesus were to walk in this room right now, we're not just going to continue the show like nothing happened. We're going to respond. And that's what our worship and this album is supposed to be, a response. So also with that flag, when I see that flag flying, I'm pledging my allegiance.

I'm responding with submission to his authority and to his rule. This flag means a lot to a lot of people, especially as Christians overseas, because in time, this flag sort of spread to other parts of the world. Thank you to missionaries. As somebody wrote in The Christian Advocate, this is back in 1909, the use of the flag has become almost universal throughout the world. Now, where I was, I don't remember seeing the Christian flag as much, but in other parts of the world, especially in places like Africa, the Christian flag had a special meaning. This represented that Christians are there, that we have someone, that we can band together under the same banner. I love that sense of allegiance across national lines as well. It reminds us that the cross, the gospel is the great unifier.

I love the way that it's been said, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. And everybody can come. It doesn't matter where you're from, it doesn't matter what nation you're from, it doesn't matter what background you have. We can all be allied underneath this banner of being a Christian and being devoted to who Christ is. There's also a sense of humility and submission that comes with it.

Even not only the Christian flag, but any flag that you pledge allegiance to, essentially what you're doing is you're saying, I accept the sovereignty of the individual that this nation, or in this case of the Christian flag, the kingdom of God, gives me. I accept that individualness. At the same time, I'm part of a collective. I'm part of a group that is working towards a common good.

You know what I mean? There are times in America, in any nation, especially in Christianity, where I have to put my own self aside and serve. And I think that's what you see in a lot of patriots. When they see that flag, they think of their service.

I don't want to go to war and fight and possibly be killed, but I'm going to because I'm part of a nation that's been good to me and my family. Right. Same also with Christianity. And songs have been written in this regard. One is by Fanny Crosby, the Blind Songwriter. And if one of you all want to read that, or I can read it, it goes on to say, the first verse says, To me, I don't think about that song when I think about the Christian flag. I do think about onward Christian soldiers.

It says, So I think of that song more than the one by Fanny Crosby. Well, we don't think about having to fight this spiritual battle with Christ at the head, of course. But we often think that the Christian life is just something to kind of live and comfort. When things get hard, we pray, and then we just kind of hope to even back out into equilibrium again, not going off and marching into war for Christ. We are actively tasked to push back against the darkness of the world. The Bible describes Christians as the light of the world, and that light doesn't originate from us. We are reflecting the light of Christ that is in us. But in a sense, those are our marching orders.

We are following Christ into battle, knowing that the ultimate war has been won by him, but we are fighting those battles, pushing back against the darkness of this world and being a force for the gospel. I love that picture of being united underneath the Christian flag, with Christ at the lead, being united. And no one has a copyright on it.

Yeah, I thought it was interesting. The Christian flag doesn't have a copyright. This is back in 1917. They said 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 the American flag may be used for general decorative purposes for boys and girls societies and clubs and for the church school, especially on program occasions.

The two flags may be represented and saluted. So there is no copyright. There is no cease and desist that you're going to get if you make a copy of it. Well, it's just like the gospel. It's full and free. That's right. Exactly. I mean, I think that's very poetic, and it's something that kind of, I don't know, it just makes you feel good to know that it's for everyone. You have the choice.

The only thing keeping you from coming to Christ is you. Right. And if I can take a moment while we're talking about the Christian flag, and I know in passing we mentioned the American flag, let me say something about the American flag for a brief moment. The American flag may not seem much to some people today. Some people. I think the majority are happy and proud of it.

But then there are some people who have talked down about it and this and that and the other. Just know that in other parts of the world, especially in war torn or famine infested areas, or there's some kind of a natural disaster, when people see the American flag, guess what they see? They see hope.

They see that there is somebody coming to help them. Now, I know the media sometimes turns it upside down or makes it look like it's some kind of an oppressive force is coming with the American flags and movies. The same Hollywood that thrives on all the freedoms usually makes movies sometimes to make America look like the bad guys. But the American flag looks bad. But it's quite to the contrary in other parts of the world. When people see the American flag, they feel like, yes, there's someone here who's going to fight for justice, who's going to help them.

And let's never lose that. And you can say that because you grew up in another part of the world. I know you've been in America your entire adult life, but as a kid, what was it like? Because you guys were not oblivious to what was going on in the West. You knew very well what America was like. Absolutely.

What was your personal idea on what America was before coming here? I had a big sticker of the American flag pasted on my book bag. Really? Yeah. It was sewn onto my book bag.

That's what I did. It's crazy because I can't think of another country that would have that influence here. I'm Greek, so if I had a Greek flag as a kid, but for you to not be American at all, but America is that influential and that prevalent in the East, that you would still be like, no, I love this. And I put it on my book bag. Took it to school every day. That's insane.

That's amazing. When you first came over for school, was there that first glimpse of the American flag when you were on American soil? What did that mean for you? It was very special, but I was not an American citizen at the time when I first came here. It was still very special, like, wow, I'm going here. But it became very personal when I became a citizen. And this was, I believe, in 2004 when I actually took a test, had to pay a few thousand dollars and take an exam. And I was like super over prepared for the exam. I had everything memorized and everything.

And they simply asked me, it's like, so how many states? But then after all that was done, all my paperwork went through. And then when it came time to take the pledge for the very first time, they gave us all the American flag and I held the American flag. And with my hand on my on my heart, I took the pledge for the first time. So that's when it felt like, OK, I am an American. Yeah, this is real.

This is real. In the same way, I hope more Christians will be proud of the Christian flag. Of course, be proud of the American flag if you're from America, but be proud of the Christian flag as well. It represents our savior. It represents our integrity. It represents who we are in Christ. What do you say?

What do you say like after this? We go and sit in front of the Christian flag and just eat our lunch alone in our car. Just park in front of the Christian flag and just kind of look up.

You want to call in some Indian food, David? Hope you guys enjoyed today's episode. Hope it was educational for you. Learn more about the Christian flag and why it's so important for us. If you guys have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text at 252-58-25028. Or you can visit us online at ClearviewTodayShow.com. Don't forget to stay tuned for more announcements about the upcoming album from Clearview Worship. Heaven Here and Now will be available very soon and you'll hear us talk about it on the show. Love you guys. We'll see you tomorrow on Clearview Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-27 15:34:21 / 2023-09-27 15:47:30 / 13

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