Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners? -Song of Songs 6:10
That she is an army is true enough, for the church is one, but many; and consists of men who march in order under a common leader, with one design in view and that design a conflict and a victory. She is the church militant here below, and both in suffering and in service she is made to prove that she is in an enemy’s country. She is contending for the truth against error, for the light against darkness: till the day break and the shadows flee away, she must maintain her sentinels and kindle her watch fires; for all around her there is cause to guard against the enemy, and to descend the royal treasure of gospel truth against its deadly foes.
The church of Christ displays its banners for distinction’s sake. It desires not to be associated with other armies, or to be mistaken for them, for it is not of this world, and its weapons and its warfare are far other than those of the nations. God forbid that followers of Jesus should be mistaken for political partisans or ambitious adventurers. The church unfurls her ensign to the breeze that all may know whose she is and whom she serves. This is of the utmost importance at this present, when crafty men are endeavoring to palm off their inventions. Every Christian church should know what it believes, and publicly avow what it maintains. It is our duty to make a clear and distinct declaration of our principles, that our members may know to what intent they have come together, and that the world also may know what we mean. Far be it from us to join with the Broad Church cry, and furl the banners upon which our distinctive colors are displaced.~ C.H. Spurgeon