Is it Time for an Anti-Revolutionary Party in Tennessee?

Feb 18, 2021 by David Fowler

  Is it Time for an Anti-Revolutionary Party in Tennessee?
From time to time, I have had people approach me about the need for a new political party in Tennessee or about “leaving” the Republican Party for the Constitutional Party. But after the “revolutionary" events of January 6th and reading comments this week by Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham, I wonder if an anti-Revolutionary Party is needed. It has been done before.

The state of Republicanism

This week, former Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Flake said Republicans would be the minority party if they did not cut ties with Donald Trump. Then again, with a new poll showing that “30% of Republicans would join the Patriot Party if it were led by Trump,” and “50% of Republicans say Trump should play a major role in the party.” A Flake-type Republican Party will become a minority at the polls, and a party led by Trump would be only a Ross Perot spoiler Party for Republicans.
On the other hand, U.S. Senator Graham said that the impeachment trial speech by Republican Senate Minority Leader verbally indicting Trump and then voting to acquit him had “put a load” on the backs of Republicans who would be running for office in 2022. He clearly doesn’t agree with Flake.
Thus, at the national level, the Republican Party is a mess, but don’t think there aren’t fissures here in Tennessee. There are Republican state legislators who cannot stand other Republican state legislators. There are current Republican state legislators who will not speak with former Republican state legislators in their own community.

The Anti-Revolutionary Party

The last few weeks I have used the God, Law & Liberty podcast series, “Hope and Purpose" to speak on the experiences of Guilluame Groen van Prinsterer and Abraham Kuyper in the Netherlands, which, in time, led to an Anti-Revolutionary Party. Kuyper was eventually elected Prime Minister under the Anti-Revolutionary Party’s label and platform. Their experience is instructive.

It began in the 1850’s when van Prinsterer established a small “anti-Revolutionary” caucus (3 members) within Parliament. Over the years, as it grew and was taken more seriously, he was met with great resistance from what we would describe as the January 6th Capitol-attacking “revolutionary” types and the Jeff Flake/Lindsey Graham/Mitch McConnell RINO’s. He was also met with” hostility” by those  members of the clergy who, he said, operated “under the guise of Christian charity.” 

What is an Anti-Revolutionary Party?

Van Prinsterer stated its purpose simply in his book, Christian Political Action in an Age of Revolution. The anti-Revolutionary party was established on an "anti-revolutionary principle," which he described as “nothing other than the Christian principle.”

But he did not mean “Christian” in the sense of people who believe in the existence of God or even a God who is distinct from that which is created. The problem in America and in the church is not an absence of people who believe in God or even a God who in some way or another created the world. A majority believe that, but it obviously doesn’t mean anything in particular in regard to politics.

No, the problem is that we simply have a lot of wrong thoughts about God (Romans 1:21-23), and our reasoning about God without revelation is futile (1 Corinthians 1: 21: “[T]he world through wisdom did not know God”). I say this because my views of God have been slightly off for most of my life, but as I’ve come to see, they might as well have been way off as slightly off when it came to my understanding of salvation and the purpose of salvation.

Why the Name, Anti-Revolutionary?

The name was intended to make clear the Party’s opposition to what Christians would call a revolutionary principle, that is, a principle that does not acknowledge and act upon the belief that all things come from God, come through God, and are directed in their ends and purposes back to God for the display of His glory. Romans 11:36 could have been the foundation of the Party’s platform. The Party was “anti” this revolutionary principle (“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.” NKJV).

Is now the time?

Quoting 18th Century French statesman, François Guizot, van Prinsterer wrote:
To see things as they really are, is the first and foremost feature of the political mind. It implies a further feature, no less grand, that in learning to see things only as they really are, we learn also to aim only at the possible. And accurate assessment of the facts leads to moderation in setting goals and making claims.

Applying this principle to the present day, I believe an Anti-Revolutionary Party would be viewed as way too revolutionary by most people, against progress, and going backwards, even as it was in van Prinsterer’s time. It would be seen as un-American and unconstitutional. It would be totally misunderstood and misrepresented.

Based on van Prinsterer’s historical experience, and somewhat my own, it would even be misunderstood within the church and among a significant number of the clergy.

That is why I believe the rise of such a political party or citizen voting block, even if only in a particular community or a state, will have to be the product of an organic growth within the Christian laity if it is to have any effect in public discourse. I also suspect it would be necessary to equip a number of Christians who could be ready to soundly defend a citizen voting block against the wide range of opponents it would attract.

Nevertheless, I personally think such development will be needed among Christians if there is to be a change in the direction we are being taken by the humanistic principles currently guiding society, politics, and jurisprudence. However small and humble its beginnings may be, it needs to begin.

If you are convinced that changing political leadership from Republicans to Democrats or vice versa is not a long-term answer to the direction in which our state or nation is headed, then a good place to begin one’s anti-revolution thinking would be this week’s episode of our podcast, God, Law & Liberty.

I will discuss with Dr. P. Andrew Sandlin his newest book, Creational Worldview. Evangelically speaking, it is “revolutionary” in its thesis!

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. 

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