Badges and Symbols

The Cross is depicted on these pages as golden but can really be made of almost anything. Some people call this a Baptist Cross although we are not the only church to use it. It is not a crucifix. The Latin word for a cross is crucis and, unsurprisingly, fixus is Latin for fixed. To be a crucifix the cross would have to show Jesus fixed to it. We don’t deny that the crucifixion happened. On the contrary we celebrate it. It did happen. He died for us. Then he rose from the dead! He is not forever fixed to the cross but lives today. The Cross is a symbol of victory over death.

The logo of Sandown Baptist Church refers to the Holy Spirit, reresented by a Dove. Following his baptism by John, Jesus came up out of the water. At that moment, heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.   And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

The Flame represents Pentecost when the disciples were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. The Rainbow is a symbol of God's faithfulness and his promise to never again destroy the earth by flood. The Water represents our practice of believer’s baptism (click this link).

Doves, fire, rainbows and water are not holy to Baptists or other Christians. We do not worship or venerate objects or symbols. But they do represent people’s experiences of God and the Holy Spirit. Through descriptions of those experiences they become symbols of something far greater.

The fish is also a symbol used by Christians from the earliest days. It comes from an acronym in Greek (spelled out in Roman letters as): Iesous Christos, Theou Yios, Soter which is "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour" in English. The initial letters of those words spell the Greek Word for fish (Ichthus). The fish became a symbol for the phrase and the declaration of faith. The fish was often used at times and in places where being a Christian was dangerous. Today the Baptist Union logo combines the fish the cross and water (to symbolise baptism) into a stylised letter "b".

The Arabic letter pronounced “nun.” is the first letter of the word “Nasara” meaning “Nazarenes”. Moslems have used this word for Christians since the 7th century. It is now being adopted in Lebanon and elsewhere as a symbol of support for the Christians of Iraq under attack by the extremists of I.S.

The Emperor Constantine is usually credited with the first use of the “Chi Rho” on shields and banners carried by his soldiers. It is not original but existed in an earlier form as a marginal mark for important passages in a book. The symbolism is Greek being made up of the first two letters in the Greek word XPIΣTOΣ (Christos). They are superimposed to form a monogram or, more properly, a Christogram. There are many versions of varying degrees of artistry. Some combine the letters Alpha and Omega with the symbol and some include all the letters of XPIΣTOΣ inside a circle forming the ‘O’. (You can trace the lines of the Sigma (Σ), Tau (T) and Iota (I) using parts of the circle and the bars.)

A related Christogram combines Iota (I) and Chi (X), being the initial letters of the Greek words Iεσους Xριστος (Jesus Christ) into a sort of six legged asterix. This also often appears in a circle.

These signs appear in lots of places, on logos and flags, on gravestones and tombs and, significantly, scratched into the walls of dungeons and cells where early Christians were held.

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