The Forgotten Story of the Pilgrims

Pilgrims

I really enjoyed this Thanksgiving article written by Patrick Robinson and I echo his sentiment.  I hope you too will take something valuable from it.

Did you know that an estimated 30 million Americans may have descended from those first settlers called the Pilgrims?

Yet today, many Americans know very little about the Pilgrims and their story. All I learned in school was that the Pilgrims were a bit religious, they dressed in black and white clothing, the men wore funny-looking hats, and they survived because the Indians helped them plant corn. But the Pilgrims’ story is one of incredible faith, conviction, courage, and sacrifice. Though they lived nearly 400 years ago, they have much to teach us today.

The Pilgrims, originally branded as non-conformists or Separatists, were devout Christians who refused to participate in the corrupt English culture and the King’s Church of England. They believed Christ was Head of the Church, not the king! But since the king declared himself to be head of this church, the Pilgrims’ separation was looked upon as an act of treason to the crown! They were “stirrers of sedition.” So, the Pilgrims were left with two choices: Either stay in England and be persecuted as enemies of the crown, or flee England. They fled to Holland.

The Pilgrims lived in Holland for about 11 years, but experienced the corrupting influence of the Dutch culture upon their children. After much prayer, preparation and planning, many of their congregation decided to make the dangerous, two-month voyage across the treacherous north-Atlantic Ocean to the New World. More than half died that first winter, but when given the chance to return to England, those still alive refused to go back. Why?

Why would the Pilgrims choose to suffer such hardships? Why wouldn’t they opt for a life of ease instead? Because the Pilgrims wholeheartedly believed that they could not conform to the corrupt English culture/church of their day. Though branded as “stirrers of sedition,” these people were not trouble-makers! They only desired to live their lives, run their businesses, educate their children and worship God in ways that would honor Jesus Christ.

The Pilgrims drank deeply from the wells of the Protestant Reformers. They understood that the Bible applied to every area of life, and they wanted the freedom for their families to live their lives accordingly. England would not allow such radical views! The political/religious status quo demanded conformity to the system; non-conformists were not tolerated!

So how does this apply to modern America?

The Pilgrims and many other early settlers in the New World sought to practice their faith in every area of life. Our Founding Fathers also understood the importance of religious liberty and protected our free exercise of religion (both inside and outside of a church building) in the First Amendment of our Constitution. But today, the average American is unaware that our religious rights are under attack! Growing numbers of Christians (and other people of faith) are beginning to face lawsuits for living out their Biblical world view. Sadly, many major news outlets seem to be ignoring our plight and other groups are seeking to portray Christians as intolerant, hateful people.

Did you know that many Christian business owners and even Christian charities have been forced to provide birth control and abortion-causing drugs to their employees under the HHS Mandate of “Obama Care?” Still other Christian photographers, florists, bakeries and catering services are being pressured to participate in practices that violate their conscience. These business owners are being sued for not providing products or services for same-sex ceremonies. I wish I could say that these were rare occurrences, but sadly, cases like these are increasing in these United States!

Many Christian business owners and charities are fighting back in the courts but with mixed results. Some judges have ruled against Christian business owners, stating that their businesses have nothing to do with their personal religious beliefs and convictions. Thankfully, other judges have upheld the owners’ individual religious rights to run a business in a way that they believe is Christ-honoring.

It’s time to wake up, folks! Our religious liberties are being trampled underfoot by activist judges and hostile legislation. The insanity of “political-correctness” is fast becoming the law of the land. Ironically, those crying “tolerance” the most seem to be the least tolerant of our Christian values and beliefs! This is not the civilization for which the Pilgrims risked everything to settle here! This is not the nation the Founding Fathers envisioned and established.

Like the Pilgrims, we are the non-conformists of our day; we are the separatists that refuse to embrace the ungodliness of our culture. But we are not trouble-makers! We only desire to live our lives, run our businesses, educate our children, and worship God in ways that agree with the Scriptures. But like the Pilgrims who chose to obey God, rather than man, we too can never obey laws that would force us to violate our deeply held religious convictions.

The forgotten story of the Pilgrims must be recovered in our day, and future generations must learn of the faith and courage of our Pilgrim Fathers. The Pilgrims’ story is more than simply “The First Thanksgiving” celebration. Their story models faith, conviction, courage and sacrifice for us and our children.

The Pilgrims refused to bow down to the tyranny of the King of England and his corrupt political/religious culture. And by God’s grace, I, and many other Christians in this nation, will also courageously stand against the “politically correct” madness of our day.

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