Last week we read about the Matrix of Liberty. This week we’re going to look at the background of the pilgrims so that we can understand more fully why they were so willing to face dire circumstances to travel to America with little to no means to survive that pilgrimage.
The major groups of faith in Christ, in Europe that the Pilgrims evolved from:
Protestants ~ my husband explained to me, “you can see the word PROTEST in Protestant.” They protested against the catholic church and wanted it to be reformed. The government officials were puppeteering the priests to control the people. In the early 1500’s the Bible was not something that people could own or read for themselves, that was illegal (((you know …. like it STILL IS in all of Asia and most all of N Africa TODAY … 2021)))). In 1517 on Oct 31st Martin Luther established what some now celebrate as Reformation Day. Side note: Ironic date or intentional take over of that date since Reformation Day? You decide but the enemy desires to take over what is good and change it for evil. Back on topic, Martin Luther was a divinity professor who proclaimed that Christian faith should be centered from the Bible, not centered from the church and that salvation comes from faith not from good works. This was huge and put his career and life on the line but it started a radical movement throughout Europe.
Anglicans ~ They were the Catholic Church of England. After the rise of the Protestants came a swell of Anglicans. In the mid 1500’s Queen Mary, a fierce Catholic known as “Bloody Mary” persecuted outspoken protestants with a vengeance according to “The First Thanksgiving” by Robert Tracy McKenzie. “She ordered the Archbishop of Canterbury to be burned at the stake, executed perhaps as many as 300 other committed Protestants and prompted 100s more to flee….” After 5 years of that she died and her sister became Queen Elizabeth from the mid 1500s through the early 1600s. She was a middle-of-the-road Catholic, luke-warm for the Catholics and the Protestants alike.
Puritans ~ See that word PURE? This subset of Protestants bucked against the middle-ground stance that Q Elizabeth provided for the Protestant reformation. The Puritans wanted more, so they refined things to the next level. Puritans were big fans of William Tyndale, the Cambridge U Scholar who was the first to translate the Bible in English. Hundreds of Puritans had been exiled from the UK to N Europe during the reign of Q Mary and experienced the reformation movement in it’s birthplace among which was now in the mid 1500s heavily influenced by Calvinism.
Calvinism ~ Calvin was this super smart theologian who became well known in his 20s for his guide, The Institues of the Christian Religion. He wrote it in Latin for academics in Europe. He then translated it in his native tongue, French, so that anyone could read it. His style was simple and straightforward. It was well received and cherished by many and translated in several other languages, it was one of the most read pieces of literature in the 1500s. Calvinism vs Puritanism: They are nearly the same but Calvin established the Presbyterian church government. Luther : Church structure with bishops. Calvin : Individual congregations elected representatives to the presbytery, a higher governing body. Well, THEN! Q Elizabeth dies and King James steps in to rule over England. A dear friend of mine pointed out that this was the guy that the King James version (KJV) of the Bible came from!!! He claimed to be a fan of the Protestants but the Puritans he believed to be downright menacing. Those who challenged the Anglican church were directly challenging his authority. One famous Puritan worth mentioning is John Bunyan who wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress. He was a very rough young man who became a Christian and was eventually led by the Holy Spirit to become a pastor but that went against the Anglican Church who appointed Catholic Priests. He was imprisoned for months at a time, many times, for giving sermons to his congregation.
Separatists ~ Now come the Separatists. I liken them to modern-day Republicans who are also Conservatives who also don’t wear masks at the store. See that word SEPARATE? They took it all the way out there in their beliefs and that’s what they did. The Separatists separated alright and it was a huge hot mess but they made it all the way!!! They fumbled and tumbled to Holland then finally found a way to get to America clandestine but it indebted and enslaved them to their sponsor. There was a lot of internal turmoil among themselves, their revolution was raw and evolving on the spot but God was their True North. It was brutal and they got incredibly sick on the ship, they lost most of each other in their first year in America. They arrived in the late fall with very little food and no time to plant a harvest before winter stormed in. They were in trouble and many of them arrived to America only to be buried straight away.
Pilgrims ~ That’s how you get the Pilgrims, they referred to themselves as “Saints” at the time, the term Pilgrim came some 100 years later. There was no place in the world that appealed to these Separatists. They put their families and their lives on the line. They wanted to find FREEDOM to worship God authentically and they went to every length to make that happen for them and for many generations to come.
If you find this fascinating go watch this trailer https://youtu.be/nwrXHUsNC6E and if you get more pumped, get a DVD of Monumental http://www.monumentalmovie.com/ and watch the whole thing. You’ll be blown away!!!! I’ll be back next Monday with more thoughts inspired by that movie and their workbooks that help to educate us just like the Matrix of Liberty is designed to do.
*This series is contributed by a CLW anonymous writer