Why They Came: Rhetoric Matters

The doctrine of discovery was built on pride, aggression, and disrespect of others.  It condoned methods of aggression for the “end” of “conversion.”  But there was another movement, a remnant, born of true revival, that was arising as well.  In that movement, true conversion was sought, one from the heart and voluntary.  Though not as…

Why They Came: Church by Coercion

What makes the Pilgrim movement so unique is that it stands in such contrast to the coercion practiced by the State Church of England?  The State (in this case King James) was the head of the Church and thus there was little religious liberty.  Richard Clyfton had such pressure when pastoring in Babworth, England where…

Why They Came: Let us not Forget

Consider for a moment the year 1820 at the two hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims.  Daniel Webster came to Plymouth, Massachusetts and on Forefathers Day declared: …let us not forget the religious character of our origin.  Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion.  They journeyed by…

Why They Came: Conversion

Conversion, or spiritual liberty, was the origin and root of why the Pilgrims came to the shores of New England.  Conversion is an act of God whereby He regenerates the heart and puts His Spirit into the believer.  It is an act of surrender on our part, choosing to follow the risen Lord Jesus Christ…

Interesting Providences: Bradford Manuscript

William Bradford, second Governor and historian of the Pilgrims, began his “journal” about ten years after they landed.  With providential foresight, he said the purpose of history was, “That their children may see with what difficulties their fathers wrestled in going through these things in their first beginnings, and how God brought them along notwithstanding…

William Brewster and the Pilgrim Press

Most people think of the Pilgrims as stuffy, mournful souls who dressed in black and never smiled.  The life of William Brewster quickly dispells these myths, for he was a bold leader of the Pilgrim Church.  Born in 1566 or 1567 in Scrooby, England, he entered Cambridge University and became an assistant to William Davison,…

Family: What made Plymouth Unique

Historian and Director Emeritus of the Pilgrim Society Peggy Baker has noted, “Family is at the heart of the Pilgrim story….that makes Plymouth Colony unique amid a sea of other settlements – English, Dutch, French, and Spanish alike – that were almost exclusively masculine… The Separatist movement, from its earliest beginnings, was built around strong…

Pastor John Robinson and the Synod of Dort

During the time the Pilgrims were staying in Leyden a famous synod was called by the Dutch Reformed Church to settle a doctrinal dispute initiated by Jacob Arminius.  Though Jacob had already died, his disciples presented their objections to the teachings of John Calvin.  This challenge was called the Remonstrance of 1610.  Those defending the…

Lessons from the Life of Stephen Hopkins

Stephen Hopkins was baptized on the 30th of April, 1581 in Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England.  The adventures he would experience due to his desire for liberty of conscience could scarcely be equaled by any other who would come on the Mayflower.  Stephen was the only passenger to have previously been in Jamestown prior to his…