Did the Pilgrims come to America because of religious persecution, or for a higher purpose?
In a Christ in Prophecy series titled “America’s Christian Heritage,” Dr. David Reagan interviews a historian who understands what motivated the Pilgrims to come to the New World.
For over forty years the Rev. Peter Marshall has gained national recognition as a teacher and writer on America’s Christian heritage. Because he believes that our nation is in moral and spiritual crisis and that the only hope for restoration is revival, his increasingly prophetic ministry focuses on two major themes — recovering the original American vision with the truth about our Christian heritage, and putting 2 Chronicles 7:14 on national repentance into practice.
Son of the famous Senate chaplain Dr. Peter Marshall and author Catherine Marshall, Rev. Marshall has devoted himself to a continent-wide ministry of preaching, teaching and writing. He has co-authored three best-selling books about God’s call on America and His hand on our history — The Light and The Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet. His ministry is called Peter Marshall Ministries.
The Truth About the Pilgrims
Dr. Reagan: Another thing that I found very interesting in your book The Light and the Glory had to do with the Pilgrims and their motivation for coming to this country. I was always taught (of course you are not taught anything about the Pilgrims today in school), but when I was growing up I was taught that they came to this country to escape religious persecution.
Rev. Marshall: Yes, I was too. We all were.
Dr. Reagan: But, that wasn’t their motivation?
Rev. Marshall: No, again when you do the research, when you look into what these people say, what you find out is that they were missionaries. All you have to do is read the most famous quote from the pen of William Bradford who was the great chronicler and perennially re-elected governor. He said, “They had a great hope and an inward zeal of advancing the cause of the Gospel of the Kingdom of Christ and those remotes parts of the earth. Yet, even though they should be but a stepping stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.”
So, they were missionaries. They weren’t running away from anything, but coming in the response to the call of Jesus on their lives to implement the Gospel and create this just society. Because, as adherence of the reformed faith of the Calvinist wing of the Protestant Reformation, they understood that what Scripture teaches is that we Christian believers are to take the Gospel of Christ into every area of society in whatever nation we find ourselves, wherever we are located.
Dr. Reagan: And that was a guiding principle all through the early history of this country, wasn’t it?
Rev. Marshall: Absolutely! America was to be this miraculous new opportunity provided by God to Christian believers as heirs of the English Protestant Reformation to implement the Gospel and create a society that would really be a beacon of hope to the rest of the world. They knew that human beings aren’t doomed to have to live together raping and murdering and slaughtering one another, but that God has a better way. That is really why America was founded.