Must the Turning Point in History That Is Upon Us Be Bloody?

May 10, 2024 by David Fowler

Must the Turning Point in History That Is Upon Us Be Bloody?
The present situation in our nation is untenable. And if you have a sense that this untenability is not the result of incidental causes that will pass, allowing our social order to return to “normal,” you know our nation, even each state and community therein, is at a turning point. History shows one of two types of revolution is upon us. Here they are. Though both end in the same place, choose carefully the way you want to get there.
With respect to the nature of revolutions and their underlying cause, I offer the following historical perspective from Law and Revolution-The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition by the late Harold J. Berman, a Jewish Christian and former Harvard Law professor:
Rosenstock-Huessy has shown how the belief in an end-time, the end of the world, has influenced the [six][i] great revolutions of Western history. Each of those revolutions translated the experience of death and regeneration into a different concept of the nation and of the church.
When Christian eschatology was discarded by the Enlightenment and by liberal theology in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a secular eschatology took its place. . . . “So while theology slept, the laity betook itself to other sources of Last Things” – to the eschatology of Karl Marx, on the one hand, and of Freiderich Nietzsche, on the other.
What Were These Scholars Saying about Revolutions?
Rosenstock-Huessy summed it up this way: “No people can live without faith in the ultimate victory of something.”
Therefore, when Christian leaders abandoned the earlier positive eschatology of Christian progress based on the understanding of the nature and scope of the victory won by the ascended Christ over the preceding 700 plus years, and embraced the late 1800s’ eschatology of pessimism—things are going to worse, but Christ will swoop in, last minute, to rescue us—what swooped in was Marx’s eschatology to provide a positive hope for life in this world.
Others like Nietzsche, more soberminded and perhaps realistic about the meaning of godless universe, said it can have no meaning and is running down. So, live in the moment by a will to power, because the universe ends in cold death.
The Three Primary Choices the Change in Christian Eschatology Gave Us
The aforesaid change in Christian eschatology gave use three bloody ways forward.
Enlightenment philosophy, resting on the assumed perfectibility of man by reason unaided by revelation, produced the bloody French Revolution.
Christians with the new pessimistic eschatology tend to hold onto this philosophy in politics, partnering with those who share it, hoping that, together, a bloody revolution can be prevented this time around. Yeah, right.
The God-denying Enlightenment philosophy unsurprisingly led, as Berman noted, to the philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche.
The outworking of Marx’s philosophy, communism, produced the bloody Russian Revolution. Some Christians tend to put their hope for peace in economic communism (globalist) or fascism (nationalist) hoping it will prevent a bloody revolution this time. Yeah, right.
Nietzsche’s philosophy of the übermensch and his will to power was useful to the propaganda of the Nazis, and we know what that gave us.
The American Revolution was bloody, and while tinged with elements of Enlightenment thinking bleeding in from Continental Europe, the conflict flowed from colonists claiming the rights of Englishmen flowing from what is called the “The Glorious Revolution of 1688” in England that was bloodless.
The American Revolution’s Bloodless Predecessor
While the Glorious Revolution of 1688 was bloodless, blood was shed in the preceding English Civil Wars in conflicts between Protestants and Catholics for claim to the official state religion, between Puritan congregational dissenters and the established Anglican church, and between King and Parliament for supremacy.
To make a long story short, Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell, deposed King Charles I (beheading him) and Cromwell eventually took over as Lord Protectorate.
But when Cromwell died in 1658, a leadership vacuum occurred, which led to the English Restoration of 1660. That year, Charles II, son of the earlier beheaded King Charles I, was restored to the throne.
However, after he died, there were concerns that his successor would restore Catholicism as the country’s established religion. That led Protestant leaders in 1688 to “invite” William of Orange and his wife, both Protestants, to “invade” England and claim the crown.
This “invasion” and claim to the crown is called the Bloodless Revolution of 1688. It not only secured the Anglican form of Protestantism for the country, but it was accompanied by a Declaration of Right by which parliamentary superiority over the crown was secured. Both continue to the present and, and the latter was carried into our U.S. Constitution by giving only the legislative body (Congress) the lawmaking power. 
In sum, the Bloodless Revolution was grounded in the monarchy of the past, but it embraced and secured new developments in relation to church and state and crown and Parliament ushered in after the beheading of King Charles 1 and by the Cromwell years.
The rest, as they say, is history until the Englishmen of this country insisted on being treated as Englishmen, not like non-English colonies.
Is a “Bloodless Revolution” in America Possible?
Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that, but for such to happen, the Church’s leaders must restore the long-held but more recently abandoned eschatology of a true “Living Hope” in Jesus (1 Peter 1:3) who is putting all power and authority under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:24, Acts 3:21, Hebrews 10:13, and Psalm 2:8, 110:1), even if progress in His conquest is not apparent in the present moment (see Hebrews 2:8-9).
And they must bring with them ways to bring forward such developments in law and social order as that older eschatology would have led to had it not been interrupted by and replaced with the pessimism that opened the door to Marx and Nietzsche.
Christians who understand that the gospel revelation runs in progressively glorious and hopeful stages from the time sin entered the Garden to Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension, from the Ascension to Pentecost, and from there to the Second Coming can offer, in Him, the only Living Hope available to any of us. The philosophies of dead men only lead to death.
Protestants who continue to offer the Jesus of a fractured, incohesive past and a pessimistic future offer only an abstract living-in-your-head, disconnected-from-present reality hope. That looks like Gnosticism to me.
The truth is the shed blood of the Jesus of history who was promised in the Garden to Adam and Eve made possible a bloodless revolution on our part by which our revolt against God—the fountain from which all our individual and corporate turmoil spring—can end in peace (Romans 5:1).
Without it, our rebellion against God will always lead to shedding some scapegoat’s blood other than that provided for us by Jesus, whether it is that of whites or blacks; conservatives or liberals; chauvinists or feminists; or Christians, Jews, or Palestinians, just to name a few.
In sum, shed blood is going to be required if positive progress is to be made. The choice is between Christ’s blood or our own or, put another way, between choosing the way of Christ or what Christians historically call Paganism.
I close with the ironic thing about where choosing the latter ends, drawn from G.K. Chesterton’s Heretics.
For under independent or individualistic thinking, every man starts at the beginning and goes, in all probability, just as far as his father before him.
But if there really be anything of the nature of progress, it must mean, above all things, the careful study and assumption of the whole of the past. . . . But if we do revive and pursue the pagan ideal of a simple and rational self-completion we shall end—where Paganism ended. I do not mean we shall end in destruction. I mean that we shall end in Christianity. (emphasis supplied).

[i] The six are: Papal (11th Century), Germanic (16th Century), English (17th Century), French and American (18th Century), and Russian (20th Century).

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