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The Real Story of Thanksgiving

By Editorial Staff
Published April 21, 2008

When the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock almost four centuries ago, Christians laid the foundations for a republic.

Thanksgiving is a traditional American holiday celebrated on the third Thursday in November. The roots of the holiday date back to the early 17th century when a group of Christians made a difficult voyage from Europe to start a colony where they could worship God in freedom. Their first winter in what is now Massachusetts was devastating, and more than half of them died. The harvest later that year was minimal, but in response to their prayers and faith, the Lord miraculously protected them and gave them an abundant harvest the following autumn. In thanks for God’s many miracles that enabled them to survive and prosper, they celebrated with a feast of thanksgiving, which Americans commemorate today.

While not all the first settlers who came to these shores were Christians, the Pilgrims – and the Puritans who followed them – were strong believers in the God of the Bible. Every part of the society that they established, from government to schools to business to law, was firmly founded on God’s Word and His principles.

Although America has strayed far from these ideals, it is good for all of us – Chinese and Americans – to study the lives of these courageous early settlers. The God who helped them 375 years ago is the same God who helps us today. If you need a miracle in your own life, He is the one to ask.

- Wang Jiapu

When Americans look back to their beginnings, they usually point to the little band of sea-weary pioneers that landed in 1620 at Plymouth Rock. Of the more than 100 Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower, the majority were devout Christians. They were Separatists bent on shaking the Church of England and building a new life in an unknown wilderness, where they could worship the Lord in the way they believed the Scriptures taught.

Halfway across the Atlantic, the Mayflower and her crew faced near disaster in a terrific storm that caused one of the main beams to bow and crack. Although the passengers and crew wanted to turn back, Christopher Jones, the ship’s Master, assured all that the vessel was “strong and firm under water.” He ordered the beam to be secured. It was hoisted into place by a great iron screw that, fortunately, the Pilgrims brought out of Holland. Upon raising the beam, they “committed themselves to the will of God and resolved to proceed.”

The battered ship finally came within sight of Cape Cod on November 19, 1620. The Pilgrims scanned the shoreline just to the west of them and described it as “a goodly land wooded to the brink of the sea,” which was true of Cape Cod at that time. But they had no patent to sanction their going ashore at Cape Cod, for their charter had been issued for the Virginia Colony – still to the south. This was “no man’s land.”

The ship moved out into the deep water again while her occupants pondered what to do. Their decision: the Mayflower Compact. It was intended only as a temporary pact to keep the law and order among themselves in a wilderness where there was no law. Yet that historic agreement laid the foundations of law and order and established the first “civil body politic” in America.

At the heart of the compact lay an undisputed conviction that God must be at the center of all law and order and that law without a moral base is really no law at all.

The compact also rested on a “covenant” agreement, and this too would later help lay the foundations of the American republic. All law, they insisted, would rest not upon a monarchy or a dictatorship, but upon “the consent of the governed.” It was a revolutionary concept for its time.

The day the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, according to their own historian, William Bradford, “They came to an anchor in the Bay, which is a good harbor…compassed about to the very sea with pines, juniper, sassafras and other sweet wood….” And there, said Bradford, recounting the events several years later, they “blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the fast and furious ocean…and a sea of troubles before. ‘Let them, therefore, praise the Lord, because He is good and His mercies endure forever.’” (Scripture quoted from the Geneva Bible used by the Pilgrims.)

From The Rebirth of America, by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation, © 1986. Used with permission.

The Mayflower Compact

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, king, defender of the faith, etc.

Having undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these present solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid, and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony: unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James of England, France, and Ireland the eighteenth and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini [the year of our Lord] 1620.

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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

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God's Law and SocietyGod's Law and Society (DVD)

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God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.

Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!

Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:

1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?

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The United States of America 2.0: The Great Reset (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!

Revival, Resistance, Reformation, Revolution
An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification

In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.

By the 21st century, we need a “Puritan Storm” to sweep away the Hegelian notion that the state is “God walking on earth.” We need revival and reformation in full force to vanquish the problems that plague us as a nation — from government controlled healthcare — to abortion on demand — to same sex “marriage.” This booklet gives a primer on our founders’ Christian idea of government and examines how the doctrine of nullification was woven into the Constitution as a safeguard against federal tyranny. It concludes with the history and theology of civil resistance. A Second American Revolution is coming with the Word of God growing mightily and prevailing! (Acts 19:20).

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 200 pages

A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

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In The Days of These Kings (Book)

Perfect-bound Paperback — 740 pages

The Book of Daniel in Preterist Perspective

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The overarching message of Daniel is that Jesus the Messiah is even now ruling over the nations. He is the King of kings. Daniel tells us that Messiah’s kingdom will advance in the whole world from “generation to generation” (Daniel 4:4,34). Christ’s dominion is “given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:22). Our purpose then is to see “all people, nations, and languages … serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:14,27).

This comprehensive work offers a fascinating look at the book of Daniel in preterist perspective. Great attention is paid to the writings of ancient and modern historians and scholars to connect the dots and demonstrate the continuity of Daniel’s prophecy with all of Scripture.

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