Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Pilgrims, What Exactly Were They?

The following is a commentary on the relavance of the Pilgrims and how they suffered so that we could have freedoms.

The saying of Christ comes true in the Pilgrims: "Blessed are they that are persecuted for my names sake, for theirs is the Kindgom of God."

Mayflower Compact

"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&.
Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620."

The celebration of Thanksgiving Day has been lost to American Culture today. Many speak of Turkey Day, or a nice day off, especially since it falls on a Thursday, and for most makes a long weekend. The Pilgrims would be ashamed of the Culture we have today, for they sought to lay a New Culture, a culture “for our better Ordering and Preservation.”

“For our better Ordering and Preservation” was not just a bland statement of “Lets not get off the boat until we are agreed to be governed”, but a solemn Covenant between God, the King and Man. The question should be, why make such a Covenant, why go to such extremes?

To understand the answer to this question the Historical pretext of the Pilgrims should be understood.

Ever since 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the Church door, there was a power struggle between the Papacy, the Catholic Church, and Kings of all nations.
Kings had a vested interest in keeping Papal power in place because it insured the position of the King on the throne. As I Timothy 6:10 says “The Love of money is the root of all evil.” The Kings security was at stake when the Papal system was coming apart.
As a result a fire storm or as the Bible puts it in Revelation, a Thunder Clap or Thunderstorm erupted (Revelation 11:19) These thunderings, voices and earthquakes being the world shaken at its foundations by the word of God and the wars and persecutions being raged against the separation or cleansing of Christ’s Church.
This time was called the Reformation.

During the Reformation many men were raised up by God to lead the Church. Most notably Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox and others.
Because of the intense persecution from separating oneself from the Catholic Church a system of protection immerged inside of the Church. It was called Church Government.
This Church Government helped form chains of command inside the Church where people could be shuffled from one place to another, or be warned of impending doom and escape without being destroyed.
The force behind forming this Governmental System was a book, a book that sold like wildfire. In fact if one were found with this book they would be put to death.

What was this book?

The Bible?


One of Martin Luther’s writings?


How about John Knox?


The book that shook the world and is the building stone for current governmental thought was The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin. This book had such a profound effect on the culture at large that the French people were spearheaded into economic prosperity due to the Huguenots.
Many of the Huguenots fled to America and had descendants that impacted greatly our American Culture of the 1700’s, Paul Revere being one of them.

Because of this Book, John Knox came to Geneva and learned under John Calvin. Out of John Knox came a great revival in Scotland.
England also was penetrated with the Gospel and was reformed in her thinking. Because of the Reformation, Henry VIII caused a rift in the Catholic Church by proclaiming himself the head of the New Church, the Anglican Church or the Church of England. The Puritans were glad that the persecution of the Catholic Church was gone, but now the King was himself a persecutor. The Puritans of this era sought to purify the church, and others sought to be separated.

Because of the Purifying nature and the Separating Nature of the Christian church, Kings and queens did not look at dissenters from the True Church of England lightly. Many would have their tongue awled for preaching truth. Others would have their ears cut off for hearing truth. During the Era of Bloody Mary, Mary I, she sought to restore England back to Catholicism by putting to death over 300 good Christian men and women.

To the Puritans and the Separatists, England was no place to be. England in fact in their eyes was like Egypt. Records of this Era depict those that were fleeing to America as crossing the Red Sea to the Land given to them by God.

The Pilgrims were Separatists, and viewed the World as one that should be cleaned up. They took the Bible verse John 3:16 differently than most would today:

“For God so loved the world that he sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

To them the World was not just people. The World was all that was in it, including people, animals, governments, land and so forth. A culture is what they were seeking to erect, a culture that was governed by God’s Laws. A culture that was self-governed, a concept straight out of the Law of the Lord, with Elders who represented the will of the people, and made sure that this will was in-line with God and his intended Law-Word.

The Pilgrims thus formed the Mayflower Compact or Covenant. As our little ones learn in shorter Catechism class, “A covenant is an agreement between two or more people.” Agreements, Covenants, are what makes a Culture work together and produce.
The Pilgrims understood this concept and did not want people off running around and doing their own thing. They were to be together as a people, to be sanctioned by God as a people, and to prosper as a people.
They took Deuteronomy 28 very seriously, realizing that God would bless or sanction depending on their corporate obedience. The Mayflower Compact insured that this government would be put in place.

The Pilgrims are just one little sect of Christian people that suffered greatly through their first year. What is singularly important is that they Trusted God for their Deliverance and Guidance. They had a job to do: transform the howling wilderness into a habitable civilization, and to bring the Gospel of God to all and show that it Works. It was tough on the Pilgrims to have over 50 people die before the year was out. Tough to have the ground be as rock and not produce.

The marvel of the Pilgrims is that they Represent persistence, and endurance despite all odds. People respect that in others. That is why the Pilgrims are remembered. As Christ says ”Blessed are those that are not ashamed in me.” They were indeed Thankful when the Lord bestowed his blessing upon them by sending Squanto an English speaking Indian and giving the prosperity needed to establish a community.

The Pilgrims ran into many hardships. A good place to read more about their economic impoverishment due to bad covenants between the Shipping company and themselves can be found in a book entitled “Puritan Economic Experiments” by Gary North. This is a short book that tells in details the problems the early Puritans had when facing reality: trying to build a civilization.

And a final note, it is interesting that the Compact is also a Charter document, acknowledging that the King of England owned the land that they were going to be inhabiting. The Charter issue would foment into civil war as the King later in the 1700’s tightened the noose of control as he was trying to use the colonies, as they became, as slave institutions for the fueling of the British Empire.

Again in 1776 the Christian Church by being called the “Black Regiment” spearheaded :

The “ binding of their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD. “ Psalm 149

By writing the Declaration of Independence, a document freeing themselves from the tyrannical rule of the kingdom of England.

In conclusion, do we really understand our Church History, and do we really appreciate the golden nuggets laid down by our forefathers? Do we sing “ Faith of our Fathers” on this day? Or do we relish sitting next to the fireplace eating a nice peace of pumpkin pie and saying “, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.“ Duet 8 :17

Deut 8:11 Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:
Deu 8:12 Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
Deu 8:13 And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;
Deu 8:14 Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
Deu 8:15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
Deu 8:16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end;
Deu 8:17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
Deu 8:18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
Deu 8:19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.


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