In CT, Moore comments on the presence of the American flag in churches

Communications Staff — July 5, 2012

Russell D. Moore contributes to a discussion about the display of American flags in church sanctuaries in Christianity Today magazine’s July-August issue. Moore is senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary.

CT‘s “Village Green”  opinion forum asks Moore, Douglas Wilson and Lisa Velthouse, “Should Churches Display the American Flag in Their Sanctuaries?” Moore answers, “Fly it responsibly.”

While he sympathizes with those who fear the flag’s presence could invite the idolatry of  nationalism, Moore suggests that the gospel rightly orients patriotism. He writes:

Patriotism is dangerous, yes, but that’s because it’s a strong natural affection that’s rooted in something good and right. When rightly applied, patriotism is akin to what God commands us to do in showing honor to our father and mother.

When we honor our country, we are recognizing that we are not self-made or self-situated. We are here, placed by God in a particular plot of land because of the sacrifices of forefathers and foremothers we haven’t known. We have a responsibility to our neighbors of all faiths for the generations to come. Patriotism can become idolatrous, sure. So can family affection. But the gospel doesn’t evaporate family love. It just re-narrates it, and situates it in a right context, in which we seek first the kingdom of God.

The same is true for the flag.

The full forum, including Wilson’s response, “Just don’t do it,” and Velthouse’s response, “It’s all right by me,” is available here.


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