that same tenacity, today?
Look at the roadblocks which they encountered:
1. King James I was the one who commissioned the translation of the Bible into English and was called the “Defender of the Faith” by those who translated the Bible. Yet, the Anglican Church of England was the very source which was condemning those who then wanted to live by the words of the Bible as committing treason because they expected the king and the clergy to actually obey what God’s word literally said. Isn’t that ironic? Actually, the Puritans rejected the King James Bible and used the Geneva Bible which they felt was more scholarly in its translation. American was founded with the use of the Geneva Bible and not the King James Bible.
2. Therefore, the Puritans, part of the Separatists (who wanted to be separate from the Church of England), did not believe the king should be head of the church and should be subject to God’s laws just like everyone else. Therefore, to be against the Church of England was to be against the king and thereby an act of committing treason. The Puritans therefore had to meet secretly. They looked for a place where they could worship God as the Bible declared. The Puritans were really a local body of believers who sought to worship God with freedom from persecution.
3. They bought passage on a boat to Holland but the captain double-dipped in his profits and sold out the Pilgrims to the English authorities who put them in prison. Amazingly, this did not deter them but made their resolve stronger. They then found passage on another boat; the men separated themselves from the women and children as a measure to try to keep them safe and all were to meet at a rendezvous point to get on the boat. However, the women’s raft landed on a sandbar and they were therefore caught by the English officials. The men made it to Holland and it took about another year to get their families to Holland.
4. The Puritans were committed to help their countrymen understand the truth of God’s word and started printing materials and smuggling them back into England. However, English officials eventually found the source and had the printing press destroyed.
5. They eventually got back to England and purchased two boats, the Speedwell and the Mayflower, to sail them to America. However, after they left England the Speedwell began to take on significant water and so they had to return to England. Then some of them had to stay behind and the rest went to America on the Mayflower. However, it was a ship that was used to carry wine from one city in England to another. It had never sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. A journey that was supposed to take 3 weeks took 8 weeks (66 days). Over 100 people were in a space not designed for even half that number. The seas were rough and people were getting sick not only from the motion of the boat but from all of the waste smell as well. In addition the ship almost sank due to a major beam cracking but they were able to brace it with a huge screw that the Pilgrims happened to bring along with them. Providential don't you think?
6. Once they arrived, it was late in the fall and they had to endure a winter without much preparation. Over half of their number died that winter. Yet, the next spring when the captain was going to return to England, he begged them to return with him, yet they all refused. Not one went back to England. Wow! What resolve! In spite of all of their troubles and setbacks, they still felt that they were on God’s mission for their lives and for the future of their descendants. William Bradford even taught himself Hebrew so he could read God’s word in its original language to understand God even better. Amazing!
See all of the setbacks? What would we have done? What would you have done? Would you have said, “Obviously, God does not want us to do this; after all, look at all of the closed doors.” However, they did not. They maintained their resolve. They maintained their vision. They did not doubt God’s blessings. Over half of their number died and yet they did not doubt. See what a small thread our nation was built upon? Yet, what character upon which our nation was built! There is no doubt as to why they came when one reads the Mayflower compact that they all established: “For the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith…” Our roots and heritage were definitely built upon religious freedom. Yet, weren’t they for separation of church as state? Actually, no. They were against the king being the head of the church and dictating how one could worship. They were not against a Christian-influenced government. Why, because they believed faith in God was the foundational principle for life. Only from that can one establish a moral character. It is a character built from within that has a positive effect on society – not a government dictating one’s actions but one dictating right actions on their own. Then they can teach their children these sample principles to propagate this faith, morality, and strong character. Then, and only then, can they have true freedom. A freedom that can then cause prosperity because people are self-motivated, look out for the betterment of their fellow man, and look to do what is right. Not a right in their own eyes, but what is right in God’s eyes.
Even if we look at our founding fathers, who today, our schools teach were atheists and deists. But really? Were they? Of course not everyone was Christian, but the majority was. Most of those who signed the Declaration of Independence had a seminary degree. The first Bible printed in America was commissioned by Congress – yes Congress! It was printed for use in schools – yes, in schools! And, it was printed to be used by individuals in their homes. Why? Our founding fathers and the government they established recognized the fact that in order for the Constitution to work, people had to have a basic sense of morality and be able to have integrity, character and self-control. That is the type of people the Constitution was to govern. The values upon which it was based cannot be forced on someone. These values have to be within the country’s people. What better way to ensure that than to have people understand what God expects from His creation. These are the people that made America great. These are the principles upon which America was founded that made it great. Are you going to continue to make it great?
This Thanksgiving, thank God for the Puritans and our founding fathers who gave all they had not only for themselves but for their descendants as well so that future generations could have a country where freedom is proclaimed to all. Let’s not take our freedom lightly. And let’s not let it be taken away. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day.
History of the Bible
Have We Missed the Signs?