Question: Why is Nov. 21, 2020 such an important day in American history?
This Saturday, November 21st, 2020 is the 400th anniversary of a banner, red-letter day in American history. On November 21, 1620, the adult male passengers and crew of the Mayflower hammered out a social contract on how they would govern themselves in the New World. There is a critical historical distinction, often missed by modern readers, between these “Pilgrims” and the “Puritans” who came 6 years later in larger numbers to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
These Mayflower Pilgrims who made up the majority of the Mayflower’s passenger list were 17th century “revolutionaries.” Their theology over the previous century had led them to reject the idea of an official state church and to embrace the vision of the church as a visible, local congregation of Christians who had professed a personal relationship with Jesus – thus their being labeled “Separatists.” In so doing they invoked the wrath of the king and brought serious persecution down on themselves. According to my old Oxford mentor and dissertation advisor, Dr. B. R. White, the Separatists’ developing ecclesiology’s revolutionary implications surprised, but did not deter them from following their theological convictions (B. R. White, The English Separatist Tradition: from the Marian Martyrs to the Pilgrim Fathers, 1971).
The Puritans by contrast were mere “reformers,” rather than “revolutionaries.” They were quite comfortable with an official state-sponsored church model. They just wanted to “purify” the Church of England of what they called the remaining “vestiges of popery” – thus the name “Puritans.”
When the Mayflower Compact was written and approved, it became the first organized attempt at self-government in the English-speaking experiment in the New World. These brave refugees from severe religious persecution under King James I set out consciously and deliberately to form what Abraham Lincoln would later call a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Richard D. Land