Table of Contents
A Fundamental Alternative
Compelled to Choose a Different Path
Our vision for our political party is more comprehensive and far reaching than that of any other political organization; and we reject the adoption of conventional means for achieving it. In fact it is the utter failure of man-centered politics and cynicism toward politics-as-usual that compel us to choose a different path.
Those who found their efforts on the shifting sands of contemporary political wisdom are destined to fail. No political work founded on pragmatism and inclusiveness, bought and paid for by special interests, whose platform comes up for renegotiation at every election, and whose primary goal is political power for today, can hope to effect long term national reform. In their haste to capture political power in the short run, they sow the seeds of their own failure and ultimately reap a harvest of irreconcilable conflicts internally, and political ineffectiveness externally. "He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him." (Proverbs 28.22)
Christian political action is called to be more than merely the religious servant of the secular two-party establishment, or an arm of the Republican Party, or just another brand of political conservatism. A Christian political witness must be seen as more than just another special interest group competing in a pragmatic struggle for political power. It must be heard as more than just a voice of protest against the latest liberal innovation.
What America needs is not new legislation, lower taxes, or even constitutional amendments, but responsible statesmen and a different spirit among its electorate. Any political revision will be a temporary and futile exercise so long as the basic principles driving the growth of the secular political establishment continue to operate unchallenged.1 No constitution or form of government, having been designed to operate under a Christian worldview, can survive intact in a society governed by the unbelieving principles of secular humanism. As John Adams said, "Our Constitution was written only for a religious and moral people; it is wholly inadequate for the government of any other."2
Therefore our vision, message, tactics, and demeanor, as well as our candidate selection – and even our party government – must reflect the hope that is within us: they must be fundamentally different, set apart from politics-as-usual. Long accepted political practice and assumptions must be proven worthy of retention or be rejected as relics of failed political conservatism. If we want to achieve what has never been achieved before, we must be willing to do what has never before been done.
Driving a Wedge into the Politics of Unbelief
Instead of attacking the symptoms of the centralist bureaucratic socialistic state, a true alternative must address its root causes. No man can successfully strive against an opponent he neither recognizes nor understands. Our calling is to drive a wedge into the very heart of the politics of unbelief; to expose its underlying fallacies; and to clearly articulate a genuine alternative to the American people. Our success will come in proportion to our ability to fundamentally alter the political debate and to transform politics-as-usual into a contest of basic principles.
A Political Emancipation
Emancipating Americans Politically
The CLP is at heart, a political and philosophical emancipation movement, working to liberate American families from the grip of socialism and its humanistic presuppositions. Today, as never before, American families are burdened with oppressive taxation, a coercive humanistic public education system, and an all-encompassing culture of death, divorce and materialism.
Ideas have consequences, and our national decline has come, not by accident, but because America has accepted and institutionalized the humanistic precepts of socialism. Our hope, therefore, lies not in the veto power, not in electing more conservatives, and not in merely attacking the symptoms of socialism, but in liberating Americans from the very ideas that support and nurture its growth. It is the Christian worldview and the principles of self-government and civil government springing from it that remain the foundation of a free society; and it is the Gospel alone that provides the key to genuine and lasting political emancipation – the Gospel answer to the world’s ills.
A Liberation from the Politics of Disillusionment
Before America can be emancipated politically, the American people must be emancipated spiritually from the bondage of cynicism and indifference toward politics and government. Because the political establishment thrives on a discouraged, apathetic and disengaged electorate, our success depends on our ability to rally a disenfranchised electorate around a cause. We must capture the hearts and imaginations of the people:
In doing so, we raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair, and provide compelling reasons for Americans to actively join or to rejoin the struggle to take back their nation.
Declaring our Independence
We must remind Americans that the two-party system has played an integral role in the rise of socialism and the decline of freedom in America. By reducing the great and noble contest of ideas, envisioned by our founders, into a self-serving competition for political power, the two-party system has handed America’s future over to bureaucrats and special interests. Just as a tree is judged by its fruit, it is time to judge the monopoly of power that has presided over almost 150 years of growth and centralization of government and national decline.
Intimidated by this deeply entrenched establishment, and demoralized by political pragmatism and the "lesser of two evils" philosophy, most Americans have given up and withdrawn from political involvement. Among Christians, abandonment theology and a preoccupation with end time speculation have also taken a heavy toll. The net result has been a general sense of resignation to the status quo and indifference toward pursuing genuine political reform.
The CLP calls on all Americans to join us in boldly signing our Declaration of Independence from the corrupt two-party establishment. Change will not come without risk, and Americans will never be the masters of their government until they first cease being the servants of the two-party establishment. It is time to cast off the soiled garments of politics-as-usual. Just as our forefathers chose liberty over security and principle over pragmatism, we too must be willing to step out in faith, remembering that "Duty is ours; the results are God’s."3
A Christian Civilization
Publishing a detailed accounting of America as a nation governed as a truly Christian order, or sociopolitical system, under the principles which the CLP represents, is one of the most extensive and far reaching components of our vision. Fully developing and recording our vision will be a significant part of our work during the months and years ahead. The wisdom of those who have gone before us and the counsel of present Christian scholars will aid us in this monumental undertaking. While recording it in detail is far beyond the scope of this statement of vision, we can certainly describe the general nature of a Christian order and the rule of law.
A Christian Order
The CLP does not seek to impose a messianic kingdom from the top down, but rather to influence public life through the consciences of America’s citizens and elected officials. We acknowledge the importance of the separation of church and state as jurisdictions, that each may carry out its respective task of proclaiming the sovereignty of God and seeking public justice.4 We also affirm the fact that the Christian religion is inextricably linked to the American form of government, national life and conscience.
The CLP seeks the renewal of a national Christian conscience and the restoration of God’s law as the guiding principle for all areas of life. We seek to revive a national understanding that God’s law is still relevant and binding today, that it is the source of untold personal and national blessing, and that it cannot be transgressed or innovated upon without grave consequences to society. What we desire is not an America that superficially claims "In God We Trust" as it hypocritically builds its institutions on the precepts of socialism, but an America that trusts in God to meet the needs of the nation, the family, and the individual.
A Christian order as envisioned by the vision, platform and principles of the CLP would include:
The Rule of Law
America was founded as a government of laws, not of men. Law was intended to exist above, and to prevail over, the personal, special and political interests of men in authority and of those who put them in authority. For justice and liberty to exist, the rule of law must prevail, and for the rule of law to prevail, the source of law must be beyond the reach of men.
The rule of law, therefore, is rooted in an authority higher than man; ultimately in God himself. The rule of law in a Christian order requires that all government policy must be consistent with God’s law and the Christian-based common law. Additionally, Constitutional law serves to restrain the inherent tendency of human government to expand itself to the ruin of individual liberty by confining the state to limited and defined powers.
The rule of law requires the restoration of the state to its role as promoter of "the general welfare" and of "equality before the law," without respect of persons or of special interest groups whether of economic, racial, age, or religious origin. The government is prohibited from being used as an agent of "legal plunder." No social, economic or age group may use the power of government to fund, advance or promote its own interests at the expense of others or to the detriment of the individual liberty. This prohibits transfers of wealth in the form of federal welfare, price supports, unemployment benefits, social security and deficit spending, and any laws which purport to grant rights or advance the agenda of one group at the expense of another’s rights.
The rule of law is intended to ensure that public servants remain public servants and not public oppressors. It likewise ensures that the people not use the power of government, even through democratic means, to oppress fellow citizens.
A Christian Party
Recounting America’s Christian History
We are the party of America’s heritage, but first and foremost we are called to be a Christian political party. Our heritage was great because it was Christian, and Americans, perhaps more than any other people, are accountable to put Christ first in politics. By openly acknowledging that America’s hope lies in genuine Christian reformation, and not in just another brand of political conservatism, a Christian political party offers a fundamental alternative to the unbelieving principles of the secular establishment.6
Our Foundation is in the Word of God
The foundation of this Christian party is laid in the eternal truths of the Holy Scripture and its principles regarding God, Man & Law. "For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus." (I Corinthians 3.11) Its message is that the Lord is sovereign over every area of life, that there is no religious neutrality before God and, therefore, that there can be no separation of religion and politics.7 It seeks to defend the Christian faith as the only basis for sound government by emphasizing the connection between religion, authority, and freedom. It recounts America’s Christian history, her covenants with God, and His abundant providential intervention on her behalf.
Its platform is derived from the careful application of Biblical principles to the issues facing modern society. Through its program it seeks to restore a national Christian conscience by injecting the Gospel into governmental affairs. Ultimately, it seeks to bring every political and social thought and deed captive to the obedience of Christ.
A Christian political party recognizes that in every age there exists a fundamentally religious struggle for or against the universal lordship of Christ, and that the problems facing our nation today are, at heart, symptoms of unbelief. Its methodology, therefore, emphasizes the transformation of politics-as-usual into a clearly defined struggle over basic principles: belief vs. unbelief, Christianity vs. secular humanism, and the Gospel vs. "The Revolution."8 These simple principles have exceedingly vast implications and carry with them the power to forever alter the very essence and scope of the political dialectic. For the first time, the Gospel has become the dividing line in politics.
A Biblical Blueprint for Political Action
A Christian party takes its marching orders not from today’s secular political wisdom, but from the parables of Jesus, the proverbs of Solomon, and the teachings of Paul, which together form a divine blueprint for political action. Paul said "All scripture is…profitable...that the man of God may be...thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3.16) Indeed, the Bible thoroughly furnishes us with clear and precise instructions for every area of life, even for political action.
Blueprints are meant to promote efficiency, avoid waste and guide the building of a structure to a coherent and useful end. But God’s building codes differ from those of the world. Believers are called to build on the Rock, not on sand. The party that builds according to the divine blueprint is blessed with a systematic, long-term and well-defined vision, a clear pathway and genuine hope toward achieving its goals. It is spared the recurring, time-consuming and divisive debates and all the other problems that plague today’s political parties. It is free to direct 100% of its energy toward productive work in striving for its ultimate goal.
Today, most political parties are building houses without blueprints. They make up their design as they go and have no idea what the final product will look like. But only the political party that follows God’s divine blueprint will be set free from the snares and pitfalls of worldly political wisdom. Further, the CLP acknowledges the power prayer provides in the growth and work of the Party. Prayer becomes a defensive weapon as it asks for God’s help and protection, and it becomes an offensive weapon as it asks Him to pave the way in reaching the hearts of people with our message.
Thus a Christian Political party welcomes all who are sincerely drawn to its vision and are willing to subscribe to its principles. Just as early America became a "city set on a hill" that drew families from all nations, our vision will draw families from all walks of life who have become disenfranchised from a corrupt anti-family political system. The open and express declaration of our principles and platform will serve well to draw those who are genuinely called to build with us.
A League of Families
Families: The Basic Building Block of Society
We seek to build our party according to an model that honors the role of the family as the basic component of every other societal institution: economy, education, the church and the civil government. We are not the church, nor the civil government, but a voluntary association of likeminded families working together to exert a Christian moral influence on public life, particularly in the areas of law, justice, and civil government.
We compete, not for the backing of today’s powerful special interest groups, but for the hearts and minds of America’s families. Rather than pandering to big business, big labor, and the favor of a host of self-seeking socioeconomic groups, the Christian Liberty Party was formed specifically to represent the interests of only one group: the American family.
Our vision for growth operates neither from the top down nor from the bottom up, but rather works "to plant the seed, then to spread out the roots, and finally to grow up."9 We build by enlisting families at the local level who endorse our vision and who agree to work for our goals. We equip these families with the principles and their articulation and train them as leaders who will in turn recruit, organize and build in their own localities according to a common vision. As a league of families for Christian order and the rule of law,10 we seek to order our nation and its institutions upon an explicitly Christian worldview that promotes the health and independence of the family unit.
Recovering the Primacy of Local Self-Government
By organizing at the family level we acknowledge and reinforce the fundamental maxim of self-government and civil government that declares: "the best government is the government closest to the people." More importantly, we offer to a whole new generation of young Americans experience in the all-but-forgotten "vocation" of citizenship in a self-governing society, and thus an unprecedented opportunity to serve God and their country. By equipping and preparing families to serve in national reform through the restoration of fundamental principles we lay the groundwork for a long-term shift in the political climate while preparing leaders for the future.
Mobilizing Men of Christian Allegiance
By building upon a Biblical foundation, we provide a vehicle and a platform from which believers can contend, in good conscience, for the principles in which they believe. By laying our foundation in general Christian principles we seek to mobilize all families and individuals of Christian allegiance to lead the nation toward Christian-historical reform and renewal in an act of Christian cooperative solidarity.11
A Progressive Party
Replacing a Reactionary Conservative Agenda
Because of its very nature, conservatism as a political philosophy has failed to capture the hearts and minds of the American people. Long a refuge for those who react against liberal innovation, yet lack the insight, the courage or the initiative to aggressively attack it at its roots, conservatism has never found a life of its own. With no vision, principles or program to call its own, conservatism is relegated to living out its existence as the shadow of its opponent (liberalism), to whom, oddly, it owes its very existence.
We must diligently distance ourselves from the mindset of political conservatism, as it is, ironically, our greatest threat. Outwardly it can easily masquerade as a kindred spirit, even as a brother. But it can effectively disarm us by subtly diluting the principles to which our movement owes its very existence. Or it may unexpectedly turn hostile when the Gospel is applied to political action. While we may share many "conservative values," our purpose and strategy are anything but conservative.
The vision of the Christian Liberty Party represents a clear break with every form of conservatism. We are not conservative, neo-conservative, paleo-conservative, ultraconservative, or even religious conservative. We are a Christian progressive party! We have our own principles and our own optimistic, comprehensive, and scripturally based vision to reform, restore, and rebuild America. The breadth of our vision and the magnitude of our mission call for offense not defense, action not reaction, and reformation rather than preservation.
Building a Multi-Generational Movement
A Progressive Party recognizes the long-term nature of its commitment and calling and carefully prepares a vision for a multi-generational movement. A party with a truly progressive vision sees itself as one link in the intergenerational chain of providential history, knowing that one generation lays the foundation upon which the next will build. A progressive party, therefore, draws from the annals of history in order to lay an enduring foundation for the future.
Effecting an Optimistic Comprehensive Reformation
The march of Christianity has always been synonymous with the progress of liberty, law and order, science and technology, culture and the arts. A progressive Christian party – that is, one seeking the fundamental improvement or advancement of society – acknowledges that Christianity is the essential driving force behind every kind of lasting reformation, and directs its efforts accordingly. We are called, according to our divine blueprint, not to take the land overnight, not to win the next election, or even the one after that, but to faithfully and progressively occupy the land "by little and little" (Deuteronomy 7.22; Exodus 23.30) in an optimistic and comprehensive reformation.
Our View of God, Man & Law
God’s Word is the final and ultimate standard of truth for man’s knowledge of God and of His will. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1.7) and "in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians 2.3) Man’s view of God, man, law and government sets the foundation and standard which ultimately governs his actions and attitudes for all of life and living. The Bible, having been inspired by God, is entirely trustworthy and without error. Therefore, it is to be the rule of faith and life, and we are to believe and obey its teachings.
We reject the secular humanistic world-view, which places autonomous man at the center of reason, knowledge and insight for determining social policy12 and law because man exists in a fallen state and therefore is wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.
In any culture, the source of law is the god of that society.13 Law in itself cannot be neutral and must have as its basis some ethical code, which means that all laws are fundamentally religious in nature.
Christian involvement in politics calls for the recognition of God's transcendent law as the standard by which Christians must judge and evaluate all sociopolitical codes (man-made law).14 The principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures are the governing Word for men and nations and provide His law for every sphere by equipping and empowering the individual person, family, church and nation to govern properly.15
All the misery and evils that men suffer – including vice, crime, injustice, oppression, and war – are the result of sin, which is the transgression and rejection of the precepts contained in the Bible.16 Liberty for a people is found only in the Gospel and is a liberty grounded in submission to God’s Word and Law – submission to every truth drawn from God’s Word and to every authority derived from Divine authority.
Our Digest of Principles
Political decision-making and governing must be done in conformity with God's Word; therefore the Christian Liberty Party sets forth its Digest of Principles, deduced from Scripture, upon which the party exists and acts. These principles express deeply held assumptions about the nature of reality and thus form the essential building blocks for the party. We recognize that human formulations of Biblical teaching are only as true as sinful, finite believers can formulate them at any given time. They are not eternal – only the Word of God is eternal.
The Christian Liberty Party’s Principles are grouped as First, Derived and Applied Principles. First, or Biblical, principles are foundational principles forming our theological confession. Derived, or Governmental, principles seek to concretely relate the First principles to various aspects of government. Applied, or Political, principles take both the First and the Derived principles and apply them to the political sphere as working principles and form the foundation of the party platform and its issues.
Applying Principles to Issues
The platform of the CLP is derived from the deliberate and systematic application of our Biblical worldview and principles in a practical way to the relevant political, governmental and social issues of the day.
Because the platform of the CLP is derived from principles that do not change, the platform is essentially a permanent document. Unlike those of other political parties, the CLP platform does not change with every election cycle according to the mood and sentiment of the day. Amendments to the platform, when necessary, must be proposed by the Platform Committee and adopted by a three-fifths vote of the National Committee and pass an audit by the Guardian Committee. The resulting document is the product of a deliberate and principled approach rather than the product of emotionalism, strife and pragmatism.
Permanent planks of the platform shall address issues of fundamental importance. The more temporal issues of the day shall be addressed in the form of nonpermanent platform resolutions to be adopted and reviewed on a more regular basis. This permits flexibility and responsiveness to changing times while protecting the party vision as represented in the platform.
Written Position on Public Policy
As time permits, comprehensive written public policy statements will be prepared on a wide range of governmental and social issues. These statements will illustrate how the application of fundamental principles guides us toward practical political positions. These statements will be used for educational and leadership training purposes.
Redefining the Political Debate
America’s ills are ultimately spiritual. The advent of the humanist worldview has been responsible for an insatiable desire to reconstruct all of Western civilization on new humanistic foundations. The religion of unbelief has been elaborated into a system and applied in a wholesale social experiment. Church, state, family, economy, morality, welfare have all been targeted for comprehensive reconstruction in a utopian crusade for the final emancipation and salvation of mankind. Socialism, communism, anarchy, modern liberalism, and even civil libertarianism are but sects or manifestations of this secular political religion.17
Exposing the Religious Nature of the Conflict
Any genuine long-term solution must expose secular humanism as the principle behind the growth of the liberal establishment with exceedingly broad and destructive implications for society. America can never be restored so long as the ideas that have driven the socialization of America continue to operate unchallenged.
The Christian Liberty Party must, by its very program, transform politics-as-usual into a clearly defined struggle over basic principles. It must demonstrate the radical antithesis in every area of life between the principles of belief and divine sovereignty and the principles of unbelief and the autonomy of man. The CLP must convince Americans that there are, in reality, only two parties:18 one committed to governing under the authority of God, the other by the authority of man.
Attacking the Cause, not the Symptoms
Conservatism in America has failed to stem the tide of this unbelief applied to politics because it has failed to mobilize public support around fundamental principles.19 It has always lacked the courage to offer a clear alternative to the establishment. Most importantly, it has sought to bring about political and social change without Christ or the Bible, and thus it sought to treat the symptoms of the humanist-socialist State without providing a remedy for its underlying causes.
While the times are pulling concerned Americans in the direction of conservative reaction, it is essential that we look beyond politics-as-usual for solutions. It is not what we oppose or how strongly we oppose it that will bring victory, but rather what we stand for and how we seek it. One cannot cure a disease by merely contending with its symptoms and controlling its outward expression; nor can we honestly and effectively fight a fundamentally religious conflict in this way.
Contrasting Belief vs. Unbelief: Ideological Polarization
Through ideological polarization, we must expose the religious roots behind every political philosophy and agenda, forcing Americans to make decisions, either positive or negative, about the subjects under discussion. By putting forth a compelling spiritual perspective, the CLP will provide, for the first time, a fundamental alternative to the unbelieving principles of the secular establishment.
Religion and politics are controversial because they represent the very highest form of ideas: fundamental beliefs. Yet rather than shying away from controversy, the CLP is called to take the political dialogue to its highest level: a contest between fundamental belief systems. Politics, morality, education, economics and welfare are by nature at the forefront of any religious struggle and represent vital opportunities to educate believers and polarize public opinion.
Our success as a political party will come in proportion to our ability to fundamentally alter the American political debate, bearing in mind that in every age the great religious struggle is for or against the universal lordship of Christ. Confrontational, optimistic, and uncompromising tactics will bring the CLP a national reputation as a party with a cause that cannot be ignored. It is time to turn the tables on the establishment.
Articulating a Reformist Agenda
Unveiling the Gospel Answers to Strategic Issues
The effective articulation of our reformist political agenda demands the identification of strategic issues, or program points, upon which the party will focus the main thrust of its attack. These must be key issues, relevant to the struggle for emancipation and possessing the potential to capture the hearts and minds of the people. The real need of our time is the application of the truths contained in Scripture to today’s cultural dilemmas.
Developing our Polemic and Apologetic
Once these key issues are identified, our program will be taken into the public arena through carefully developed polemics (controversial argumentation) and an apologetic (defense of the Christian faith) based on sound biblical solutions and answers which are consistent with the Bible’s declaration concerning God, man, law and government.
Agitate and Polarize through Publication and Promotion
We agitate by exposing the unbelieving foundations of socialist policies, and polarize by contrasting the fruit of unbelief with the power and blessings of the Christian principle. The refutation of false ideas is essential, but our key challenge will be to reach the electorate with a clear presentation of Biblical solutions, utilizing every ethical means to popularize our positions while permeating the culture with the warm sunshine of the Gospel.
Forming Prayer Teams
Acknowledging Dependence Upon God
Repairing the breach in the walls of our national life and conscience will require far more than just the outward work of meetings, materials and multiple members. The CLP humbly acknowledges its dependence on a sovereign God for His regular assistance and help in the building and growing of our party. Prayer becomes a powerful weapon for the CLP members and leaders who seek to do the work of building the Party in the strength He gives them. Prayer provides a great freedom to all who trust in God’s ability to open doors, to strengthen those at work and to draw many others to the work at hand.
Seeking His Help in Restoring America to Christ
America needs a mighty Christian reformation of the heart. A Christian political party acknowledges that prayer becomes a mighty tool as men rely on God’s help to turn hearts and move mountains. It is because America has backslid from God that the CLP believes that the primary work to be done is a work of the heart. America needs Christ! Thus we will seek from the Lord a revival of men’s hearts. We will see Him answer prayer by reaching people in ways that only He can provide. "God at work" in this way will bring great hope in people’s hearts and minds.
Establishing Prayer Teams in Counties Across America
As a political party, we also acknowledge the need for prayer in the work of teaching, enlisting, training and building this party. Thus as we begin to build, the CLP leadership will encourage the establishment of prayer teams in every county across the land. CLP Prayer Teams will set the stage and prepare the soil as both members and leaders ask God to prepare men’s hearts to embrace the message and receive the hope that accountability to God and Christian self-government bring to a nation. America needs a thorough Christian reformation – a revival of the heart; and prayer will be both the offensive and the defensive weapon in the hearts and minds of our members.
Raising up Christian Statesmen
Restoring America to her Biblical foundations and her Christian heritage is not achieved by simply changing the face of government or her elected representatives and leaders. America can only be renewed by a spiritual change in the electorate themselves, for the external condition of a nation is a reflection of the internal condition of her people. Thus the CLP recognizes that a whole generation of Christian statesmen must be raised up whose lives reflect externally the internal work of a Christian character and a Christian worldview. As men and women turn back to the standard of God’s Word and acknowledge the authority of His Son, Jesus Christ, over men and nations, we will be able to raise up a generation of Christian statesmen to lead this nation according to the precepts of Christ.
Setting the Standards for Statesmen
In 1828 Noah Webster defined standard as "that which is established by sovereign power as a rule or measure by which others are to be adjusted." Since the source of power and authority in a Christian nation is found in the one true God, the standards we set for statesmen (individuals who are versed in the science and art of government) must be derived from God’s Word – which establishes the standard for leaders in every sphere of government.
The CLP looks to the Holy Bible for the standards and qualifications of its future statesmen – its leaders and candidates for public office. The CLP acknowledges that men who reject God’s authority over their own life and over the nation are wholly unqualified for public service, for they lack the wisdom and knowledge required for leading and governing people. Men who take an oath to uphold the Constitution and to lead their county, state or nation must fear God and believe in a future state of rewards and punishments. It is in this fear of God that they will be found accountable for both their public and private actions.
The CLP thus adopts character and leadership qualifications from the Bible which were the standards for leaders in the church and civil spheres in both Old and New Testament times. In addition, the CLP recognizes that good leaders are individuals who have demonstrated their aptness to lead by their willingness to study and apply the principles of godly government in their own lives and communities. The Party has established scholarship qualifications for Party leaders and candidates: study experiences which promote the knowledge and understanding of the Biblical principles and practice of self and civil government and a total Christian worldview embracing history, government, law and faith.
Thinking Biblically and Governmentally
In early America "there was always a special emphasis upon thinking governmentally – i.e., in terms of the flow of power and force. Who or what is in control internally and externally? Is God or Satan in control of our thoughts? Is civil government or individual self-government directing our actions? Unfortunately, however, we do not find that inspired emphasis in most …homes or churches today….[While Christianity] is supposed to be at the leading edge of the movement to advance Christ, Christian liberty and Christian truth, for a great many years it has lacked the necessary correlative of true Christian liberty – the clearly, precisely stated and boldly emphasized Christian idea of government.
"When government is taught in most Christian homes and schools today, the emphasis is upon the external, the political functions, the machinery and the men who make, administer and judge the civil law. As necessary as this study is, [neglecting] the whole counsel of God concerning [the source and power of] government….[and the] full expression of the Christian idea of God, man and government in America’s history [has brought tragic consequences upon our nation. Our children] will continue to be ill-equipped to detect and supplant wickedness on all levels of society and government, and will in their ignorance prevent the benefits of Christian liberty, self-government, private property and voluntary union from blessing this nation – and subsequently all nations – for Christ and Christianity. This ought not to be."20 Thus, the CLP steadfastly purposes to work with families and churches to restore among America’s citizens and future leaders a proper commitment to this greatly needed task of thinking governmentally.
Equipping Leaders to Lead
As nations turn away from God’s mandate for them, they begin to reap the judgment of ineffective and unskilled leaders in their homes, churches and civil governments. Eventually individuals rise to leadership who reject God's authority and laws and the whole nation reaps a whirlwind of unconstitutional laws and bureaucratic regulation that trample the God-given rights and responsibilities of its families, businesses and churches.
The CLP is committed, therefore, to raising the standard for future Christian statesmen and is committed to equipping individuals to lead the Party and serve in public office. Leadership is learned by observation, study and apprenticeship, and the CLP seeks to train leaders by giving opportunities for service in the work of the Party.
The message, demeanor, and private life of all party leaders and candidates for elected office must reflect the principles the Party stands for. As a party of principle, we will be more highly scrutinized than any other party. If we are to restore trust and hope to a cynical public, we cannot afford failure in this area.
Electing Candidates and Enacting Law
Achieving Ballot Access
As the Christian Liberty Party develops leaders and organizes state and county parties, individuals will appear who will seek to prepare themselves for candidacy for public office, and an effort will need to be made to meet the various ballot access requirements in the several states.
Providing Candidate and Campaign Support
The CLP seeks to promote the highest quality of candidates for public office at all levels, and strives to provide a level of support for its candidates unsurpassed by the mainstream political parties. In addition to the classes members have taken to qualify as candidates, party nominees and campaign staffs will be eligible to receive training in public speaking and campaigning, and specific preparation for the office sought.
In addition, state and county committees and CLP Voter Clubs may provide assistance and resources, as allowable by law, to candidates and their campaigns. The National Committee will provide campaign manuals to guide local, state and federal candidates in effectively directing and marketing their campaigns. Every effort will be made, within the limits of the law, to provide support and services toward the promotion of a unified national message and an effective party program.
Preparing to Govern
Finally, the National Committee will set in motion a process to develop a plan for governing. A committee will be established to prepare plans for the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. An overall plan for governing is a key component in bringing direction and effectiveness to the CLP-elected caucus and hope to the American people, who are ensnared by the effects of the humanist, socialist agenda enacted into law.
Constituting Our Party
Establishing a National Party: Building an Ark
The vision for a national Christian Liberty Party was birthed in Washington State in the Spring of 2000 when the original Washington state American Heritage Party recognized the need for a unified national and distinctively Christian party. This would be a party unlike any other in American history, free from entanglement with secular politics-as-usual and defensive-minded conservatism. No stone was left unturned in searching for a genuine Christian alternative and the philosophy, method and approach a Christian party must take to avoid the pitfalls of secular politics.
The Washington state party envisioned a national political party with the following distinctives:
Motivated by our love for God and country, the Washington state party prepared a three-step program designed to establish a national party:
Chartering Christian Voter Clubs
The first step to building is to introduce the vision, principles and program of the Party to thousands of Americans by hosting introductory meetings across the land. Here individuals and families take the first step by becoming subscribing members of the CLP. Interested persons are also encouraged to join Christian Voter Clubs. These may be unofficial organizations consisting of two or more persons who may or may not be CLP members, or chartered Christian Voter Clubs consisting of three or more CLP members. (A chartered Christian Voter Club may be established when at least three members in a local area apply to the National Party for a charter.) Here in the Christian voter clubs, educational video classes and service opportunities train members in America’s Christian history and her Biblical principles of self and civil government. Here also, members work together to prepare themselves for leadership opportunities, mastering various scholarship levels that qualify them as candidates for party leadership posts or for local, state or federal offices. The chartered Christian Voter Clubs are the center of party life and activity and the stepping-stone to the formation of state and county parties.
Beginning Fifty State Parties and 3,066 County Parties
Finally when five or more CLP members in the state qualify for state party leadership under National Party requirements, these members may apply to form a State Party. To this end, the National Party will provide a State Party Startup Kit and all necessary guidance. All state parties are required to agree with the Party Vision, Principles, and Program, and to operate according to the National Party Constitution and Bylaws.
Each state party thus constituted and established will proceed to introduce the Party in every corner of the state. Through introductory meetings, video presentations and the chartering of more CLP Voter Clubs, additional members will be brought in, equipped and prepared for leadership. When at least two or more CLP members in a county qualify for state party leadership under National Party requirements, they may apply to the State Party to form an official CLP county party. The National Party will provide a County Party Startup Kit for this purpose. County parties conduct county-wide events and programs to expand the Party’s influence. In due course they hold conventions where qualified members seek party nomination and members are edified and encouraged.
Concerned Americans who willingly apply their Christian faith to developing a unified national party at the local level will offer for the first time a Biblical approach to politics and prepare for the day when perhaps each of the 175,000 precincts across America will have its own representative of the vision of the Christian Liberty Party.
We are an unprecedented organization with unprecedented objectives. As such, it is imperative that we build a task-oriented organization commensurate with our mission, principles and methods.
Called to Inspire, Educate and Mobilize
The CLP is a volunteer army called to inspire, educate and mobilize Americans in order to fundamentally redirect the course of the nation. In a volunteer army, every member and every leader works in harmony to achieve a common goal. Each one understands his own task and supports his neighbor in his. No army can function effectively where individualism, strife and special interests rule the day. We are not a private social or debating club that exists to serve the egos and good pleasure of its members. Our party structure will therefore, in many respects, more closely resemble that of a corporation or a church or an army than that of a traditional political party or the civil government.
Subscription and Membership
Subscription means signing one’s name under a statement. Through subscription, individuals join an organization because they are drawn to the vision which it represents, and they pledge their support to help it attain its stated goals. By virtue of a commonly held vision and commitment, every new subscriber proportionately strengthens the organization.
By subscribing to an organization, people endorse its policies; by unsubscribing they do the opposite. The organization grows or shrinks accordingly. In either case, the organization as a whole is left free to pursue its mission unhindered by the strife and power struggles so prevalent in conventional political parties. The concept of subscription protects the party and its vision from the forces of individualism, consensus, and special interests that drive politics-as-usual.
In the CLP, we call our subscribers members. They are men and women who wish to pursue an active involvement in the affairs and leadership of the party. Active members form the lifeblood of the CLP. Members, sustaining members and even volunteers each play a unique role in building the organization and furthering is goals.
The qualifications for membership (the subscription requirements) are listed on the membership application. They include agreement with the party principles and platform and a willingness to serve in a spirit of harmony and goodwill.
Opportunities for Education and Service
The philosophy and organization of the CLP provides an ideal environment for education and service. Because we build by enlisting and equipping families, the CLP offers a new generation of young Americans experience in the much-neglected "vocation" of citizenship in a self-governing society. The CLP represents an unprecedented opportunity to serve God and one’s country through a comprehensive Christian ministry.
As the CLP grows, more and more opportunities will become available, including leadership training, educational programs for adults and youth, the Young Statesmen, home-school programs and, of course, edification and fellowship in the body of Christ. Unlike any other political organization, the CLP is family centered, and even our conventions are intended to be events for the whole family.
Preserving the Party Vision Through Disciplined Growth
No vision for national reform will survive intact for long if sown haphazardly across the nation and allowed to mature by trial and error. The experience of Christian parties, both past and present and from around the world, demonstrates the need for a disciplined approach to party growth and organization. Over time, without an internal system of discipline to stay on course, every principled political organization will inevitably fall victim to the same pressures that have subverted so many other political parties: the lure of congressional seats; the influence of special interests, pragmatism and compromise, individualism and self interest; and philosophical differences among local party subdivisions.
The CLP has developed the following six-point program for party growth and discipline:
The greatest enemy of a party of principle is its own failure to adequately define what it stands for: Who are we? Where we are going? How are we going to get there? Without a clearly defined set of first and working principles, new members will join for different reasons and they will soon pull the party in different directions. Confusion over purpose, focus, and principles will spell the death of the party.
The foundation of the CLP is laid in a set of first, derived and applied political principles. These form the essential building blocks of the CLP worldview and are protected in the party constitution. The political platform and program of the CLP are built upon these principles. Together these form a coherent and comprehensive party message and a definitive party character. In this way we ensure that every new and existing member shares a common understanding of who we are, what our message is, how we will accomplish our goals and how we will build our party.
Our calling is not to achieve spectacular growth over the short term, but to prepare an effective organization for maximum long-term impact. Therefore we have adopted a disciplined approach to party building to promote qualified leaders and to maintain a common direction:A. Planting the seed or "seeding this vision"
We communicate the vision and principles of the CLP to a new county or state through introductory meetings and materials. We then encourage the establishment of CLP Voter Clubs to educate individuals and families in the Biblical principles of government, America’s Christian history and the Christian mission of our party. Individuals who demonstrate the Biblical qualifications of character and leadership will be encouraged to study and prepare themselves for party leadership and public office. Because organizations tend to take on the character of those in leadership, leaders must be carefully promoted and not haphazardly appointed on the basis of a willingness to serve.B. Spreading the roots
We strengthen the organization from the county up by emphasizing the training and equipping of precinct officers and county leaders and by prioritizing local and state elections over federal races, thus acknowledging the primacy of local self-government.C. Growing up
We build and maintain coherence and unity through a disciplined approach that promotes a common vision and spirit among party leaders and subscribers and between the state, county and national organizations.
The National Committee is charged with the promotion of overall party unity, direction and discipline. By their charter, Voters’ Clubs are held accountable to the CLP principles, platform and program. The clubs are under the moral obligation to engage in coordinated activities. Because the local clubs serve as the centers of party activism and innovation throughout the year, their acceptance of the national party vision is an essential part of building a coherent, unified party.
The isolation of principled Christians in a separate organization powerfully contributes to the integrity and influence of the Party. By definitively raising the Christian banner we simultaneously ward off those who would tear us away from our fundamental moorings, even subtly, and attract those who are with us in principle and are looking for leadership.21 The principle of uncompromising independence is essential to building up a core constituency for maximum long-term political impact.
While cooperation with other groups is achieved though temporary alliances and coalitions for specific issues, we must guard against the tendency toward conservative fusionism, which is the blending of the CLP Christian philosophy with political conservatism. Fusionism, by focusing on the goal of short-term political victory, serves to obscure the true religious antithesis in public affairs, thus undermining the very basis for party existence. Fusionism of any kind fails to embrace the long-term significance of building the CLP. The CLP must steadfastly refuse to endorse or cooperate with candidates who will not support the party platform, and fusionist candidates must be refused party endorsement. "The question is not if the candidate’s heart is favorable to Christianity, but if he has Christ as his starting point, even for politics, and will speak out in His name!"22
The Guardian Committee23 is established to evaluate and monitor the integrity of the party program, its platform, and the policies of its leadership. Its singular mission is to ensure their continued conformity to Biblical principles and the party’s vision and mission. Members of the Guardian Committee perform an eldership role and thus must be born-again believers who meet the Biblical qualifications for church elders. To maintain perspective and objectivity, committee members cannot serve in any other party leadership capacity during their terms as Guardian Committee members. They must remain buffered from the pressures of political leadership, and set apart for their essential task.
Candidate schools, local seminars and journalistic editorials in a future CLP newspaper24 will play a key role in providing clear and consistent direction, education and encouragement to CLP voters, candidates and office holders across the nation. This educational effort will serve the dual function of increasing their commitment and effectiveness as unified voting blocks, while also promoting their political maturation as leaders and party supporters. In today’s political climate, even people of principle need a vigorous program of support and encouragement to remain strong in the face of the incredible pressures of politics and government.
The Christian Response to America’s Need
America as we have known it – its values, its beliefs, its national character and its form of government – now stands at the brink of disaster. Faith in man has displaced men’s faith and trust in God. The rise of unbelief and its corresponding socialistic programs have brought a callus disregard for God, His law and the sanctity of life. America has drifted far from her heritage of "One Nation under God."
Politics as we know it has failed America. The two major parties have long since abandoned their adherence to a higher law. The result has been the subversion of our Constitution, a nation buried in debt, and a federal government turned into an instrument of legal plunder. Public policy is no longer determined under the rule of law, but is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Even the lives and futures of the unborn become bargaining chips to be squandered on the ambitions and political convenience of those who seek power today.
America Needs Christ
If it is to avert destruction, America needs more than political reforms. It needs more than isolated revivals within the church. America must undergo a fundamental shift in the way her citizens think and live; in the way they view the role of the family, the church and the civil government; in the placement of their faith and hopes for the future. Until the hearts of the people turn back to God through Christ – until a genuine Christian reformation has permeated and transformed every aspect of society – America will continue on its journey toward destruction.
Indeed America needs Christ. As David Gregg said so long ago, "Divorce your nation from Christ and you ring its death-knell; you link its fate to the fate of Judas. Marry your nation to Christ and you open a new future and secure for it a place among the nations of the world…Tell me how the American Republic will treat Christ and I will tell you the future of the American Republic."25
The CLP therefore seeks genuine Christian reformation, not the futility of a superficial political revision. Christian educational ministries have long sought to bring into captivity every area of life to the obedience of Christ, and with great success. Today, one can attend seminars on the Christian principles of marriage and family, education, business and finance, music, health care, etc. Not surprisingly, in every case the principles of Scripture direct believers to a mode of thinking and living that is fundamentally different from that of the world, even one that is "foolishness to the world."
But What of Politics and Government?
Much has been written on what God and his Word have to say about the principles of law, government and society. But until now no one has been willing to openly, aggressively and faithfully pursue their implementation in an organized and comprehensive manner. While Christians have boldly established many of their own organizations to promote their principles, they have always allowed the world to dictate to them the terms of political action: the parties, the tactics, the political philosophy – even the very purpose and role of government itself. As a Christian community, we have too often played the game according to the world's rules and have failed to bring government and politics captive to the obedience of Christ.
The CLP comprehensively addresses this most overlooked, misunderstood and sorely neglected yet vitally important arena of Christian ministry. Unlike any other political organization, the CLP offers not only principles, but a vehicle, an organization, a platform, an optimistic program, and qualified candidates who will carry the message and implement the principles uncompromisingly. In all this, Christians will be enabled to better compete for their principles in the public marketplace of ideas.
The CLP is an Idea Whose Time Has Come
The history of the last century amounts to a grand indictment of man-centered, two-party politics. It has marked a period of unprecedented growth, centralization and secularization of government; the rise of judicial activism; and the neglect of higher law. It has marked the abandonment of our heritage of strong self-government; limited federal government; and a national conscience towards God.
For too long, God-fearing men and women have tolerated the wholesale slaughter of Christian faith and principles in society. It is time for Christians and patriots to reject the counsel, the systems, and the habits of the world and "to strike out a radically different third way";26 one that is as distinct from the ways of the world as it is worthy of the hope that is in us.
If you have a deep love of God and country; if you believe that America has lost her way and have a desire to see her restored; if you recognize that America’s hope for salvation lies outside the realm of man-centered politics, ultimately in God alone; if your desire is to act on your faith by placing your trust in God alone, and not in political alliances with those indifferent or hostile to the principles for which we stand; and, finally, if you agree with the words of John Quincy Adams who said, "Duty is ours; the results are God’s";27 then we invite you to join us in this political movement, which is unlike any other.
Join us as we strive, by the grace of God, to "raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair." Join us as we unfurl the banner of reclaiming our nation in the name of the Lord! "America needs Christ, the rule of Christ, the truth of Christ, the spirit of Christ, the gospel of Christ and the men of Christ."28 Our choice is the same today as when Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, declared after World War II, concerning our nation: "Christ or chaos," "conviction or compromise," "discipline or disintegration."
The Comprehensive Vision of the CLP was written and developed
Copyright © June, 2000 American Heritage Party
1 Harry Van Dyke, ed., Groen Van Prinsterer’s Lectures on Unbelief and
Revolution (Jordan Station, Ontario, Canada: Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1989),
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Bahnsen, Greg L. Always Ready: Directions for Defending the States. Atlanta, Georgia: American Vision, Inc., 1996.
Bluedorn, Harvey. "A Full Defense of Our Constitutional Framework," an unpublished paper, August 1999.
Constitution Party, The: A League of Families for Christian Order and the Rule of Law (a.k.a. The Constitution Party of Illinois). The Constitution. Mt. Prospect, Illinois: The Constitution Party of Illinois, July 4, 1999.
DeMar, Gary. America’s Christian History: The Untold Story. 2d ed. Atlanta, Georgia: American Vision, Inc., 1995.
Einwechter, William O., ed. Explicitly Christian Politics: The Vision of the National Reform Association. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: The Christian Statesman Press, 1997.
Federer, William J., ed. America’s God And Country Encyclopedia of Quotations. Coppell, Texas: FAME Publishing, Inc., 1984.
Hall, David W. Savior of Servant? Putting Government in its Place. Oak Ridge, Tennessee: The Kuyper Institute, 1996.
Hall, Verna M. The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America. San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1966.
Hall, Verna M. Christian Self-government With Union. San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1969.
Jones, Archie P. America’s First Covenant: Christian Principles in the Articles of Confederation. Marlborough, New Hampshire: The Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1991.
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Langley, McKendree R. Emancipation Apologetics: The Formation of Abraham Kuyper’s Anti-Revolutionary Party in the Netherlands, 1972-1880. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminster Theological Seminary, 1995.
Langley, McKendree R. The Practice of Political Spirituality: Episodes from the Public Career of Abraham Kuyper. Jordan Station, Ontario, Canada: Padeia Press, 1984.
Perks, Stephen C. The Fundamental Principles of the Christian Heritage Party of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Taunton, Somerset: The Institute of Christian Political Thought, 1997. (On the Internet at www.kuyper.org/icpt/basis/chpuk.html)
Rogers, Jay, "Politics as Usual or Biblical Law: What Should Be Our Response To Godlessness In America?" The Christian Statesman 143.2 (Mar-Apr 2000): 23.
Rose, James B. A Guide to American Christian Education for the Home and School. Palo Cedro, California: American Christian History Institute, 1987.
Rushdoony, Rousas John. The Institutes of Biblical Law, Volume I. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1973.
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Rushdoony, Rousas John. The Nature of the American System. Fairfax, Virginia: Thoburn Press, 1978.
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1. Why is a foundation that is built on contemporary political wisdom destined to fail?
2. In order to transform “politics-as-usual,” what must Americans seek to provide?
3. What does the CLP hope to liberate American families from?
4. What forms the foundation of a free society?
5. In order to rally a discouraged electorate, what must we do?
6. What quote summarized our responsibility to step out in faith in light of God’s sovereignty?
7. How does the vision of the CLP differ from seeking to impose a messianic kingdom?
8. What are the three divine institutions ordained by God and what is the proper role of civil government?
9. What should the rule of law be based upon?
10. What are the foundations of the CLP and what does it believe is the sound basis of government?
11. The problems facing our nation today are symptoms of what?
12. According to II Timothy 3:16, what is the source of instruction for every area of life, including political action?
13. What does the CLP believe is the basic building block of society?
14. For what does the CLP compete?
15. Why has conservatism been a failure in America?
16. How is the mission and vision of the CLP different from conservatism?
17. As a progressive party, what characteristics does the CLP recognize as necessary to its commitment and calling?
18. What, throughout history, has been the driving force behind lasting reformation?
19. How does Deuteronomy 7:22 instruct us to take the land?
20. What sets the foundation and standard which ultimately govern one’s actions and attitudes for all of life?
21. What worldview places autonomous man at the center of reason?
22. What is the basis of all law?
23. How must political decision-making and governing be done?
24. Differentiate between the First, Derived and Applied Principles of the CLP.
25. Why is the CLP platform essentially a semi-permanent document?
26. What is the resulting document a product of?
27. In order to transform politics-as-usual, what must the CLP do?
28. Why has conservatism in America failed to stem the tide of unbelief?
29. Why are religion and politics controversial?
30. What is the real need of our time?
31. Why is prayer a powerful weapon for the CLP?
32. What is the only change by which America can be renewed?
33. What does the condition of a nation reflect?
34. What, therefore, must Christian Statesmen reflect? Where can the standards and qualifications for such statesmen be found?
35. What did early American political thought emphasize?
36. What are the distinctives of the CLP?
37. What is the purpose of subscription to the CLP?
38. Why is it vitally important to maintain the strict independence of the party?
39. What is the responsibility of the National Guardian Committee?
40. Faith in ___________ has
displaced men’s faith and trust in God.
41. What five things “of Christ” does America need?