Last modified: 2013-11-12 by rob raeside
Keywords: fire-baptized holiness church | flame | dove |
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image located by Ned Smith
The Fire-Baptized Holiness Church of God of the Americas is a Pentecostal
church with a largely African-American membership (about 160 congregations in
the US, 15 in Jamaica, and one each in Canada, the UK, and the US Virgin
Islands). The church began in 1908 as the Colored Fire-Baptized Holiness Church,
when African-Americans separated from the previously integrated Fire-Baptized
Church established 10 years earlier. That earlier body merged with another
Pentecostal group in 1911 and the resulting organization adopted the name
International Pentecostal Holiness Church. The Colored Fire-Baptized Holiness
church changed its name to the current one, Fire-Baptized Holiness Church of God
of the Americas, in 1926.
The website of the denomination has links to two versions of its flag at http://www.fbhchurch.org/downloads.html. There are two copies of the flag showing the church's logo with a yellow flame, and one showing the flame in red. The latter also has the years 1898-1998 one it, and so I suspect that was a special centennial flag although it is not identified as such. I have provided here a copy of one of the images with the yellow flame. (The church uses a yellow-flame logo on its web pages.)
The flag is white, with a yellow flame behind a voided and shaded Latin cross; a dove proper (naturalistic shading) is placed partly over the rightmost tongue of the flame and partly over the right field. The church's name forms an arc around the flame. The church's homepage (http://www.fbhchurch.org) has a link to a pop-up explaining the logo's symbolism:
Our LogoThe other version of the flag is overall similar but with some minor differences. In addition to the red flame and dates already mentioned (which are arranged horizontally below the logo), here the cross is black fimbriated white. The dove is plain white and wholly over the flame's tongue, and the lines forming the base of the flame extend out beyond the flame.
The cross represents the substitutionary, sacrificial, atoning death of Christ and His subsequent resurrection from the grave. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (Romans 8:34) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8). And if Christ is not risen, our faith is futile; you are still in your sins! (1 Cor 15:17)
The Cross used in the logo of our church is the Cross of Triumph because Christ triumphed over sin and death to gain our salvation.
The dove expresses innocence and purity. It also represents the Holy Spirit and the presence of God as hovering over the water at creation. The dove also hovered over Jesus at His baptism.
...And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (Gen. 1:2b) And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in you I am well pleased." (Luke 3:22)
Fire or flames are often used in the Bible to signify an appearance of God to man. The burning bush in Exodus is an Old Testament example. In Acts 2:3 . . . "tongues of fire" appeared on the heads of the disciples at Pentecost signifying the descent of the Holy Spirit. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2). Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:3,4)
The fire represents the presence of God in the life of His people (the church) through the Holy Spirit. Fire lights up, warms up, purges, and purifies. It is the symbol of the uncompromising God. For our God is a consuming fire.