Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Squanto and The Providential Hand of God

The Man Named Squanto

A fascinating thing that we see from the historical account provided by William Bradford, about the people we refer to today as the "Pilgrims", is God's hand of provision for their dwindling numbers in the early part of year following their arrival at what they called "New Plymouth".  Their first encounters with native American Indians are interesting and nothing short of miraculous. Keep in mind that the "frontier" of North America would have been literally at the beach line on the east coast. This group of Pilgrims was desperately in need of help in how to survive this new land with its unknown wildlife and other unforeseen dangers and hardships. With that in mind, let’s look at this account from Bradford's journal in the first months after landing at the northern tip of Cape Cod in November of 1620:

"All this while the Indians carne skulking [sneaking] about them, and would sometimes show themselves aloof [remote, unapproachable] off, but when any approached near them, they would run away. And once they stole away their [the Pilgrims’] tools where they had been at work, and were gone to dinner. But about the sixteenth of March a certain Indian came boldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand, but marveled at it. At length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not of these parts, but belonged to the eastern parts, where some English-ships came to fish, with whom he was acquainted, and could name sundry of them by their names, amongst whom he had got his language. He became profitable to them in acquainting them with many things concerning the state of the country in the east-parts where he lived, which was afterwards profitable unto them; as also of the people here, of their names, number, and strength; of their situation and distance from this place, and who was chief amongst them."

"His name was Samoset; he told them also of another Indian whose name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself. Being, after some time of entertainment and gifts, dismissed, a while after he carne again, and five more with him, and they brought again all the tools that were stolen away before, and made way for the coming of their great Sachem [chief, tribal leader], called Massasoit; who, about four or five days after, carne with the chief of his friends and other attendance, with the aforesaid Squanto."

Interestingly enough, what followed is not talked about much today, the next part of Bradford's journal records an agreement that was reached between these two groups. The journal records that "they made a peace with him [Massasoit]" (which continued for 24 years). This is important to note due to revisionist historians today that try to paint a distorted picture of the relationship between these early settlers and Native American Indians.  Just like depravity resides in all men today, it resided in all men at that time too. Just like there are "peaceful" people today, there were "peaceful" Indians back then.  Just as there are "wicked" people today, there were "wicked" people back then (both European and Native American Indian).  One cannot lump all of history into one sock so to speak. When we look at history from a Biblical Worldview, we ought to look at all of it; the good, the bad, and the ugly!  However, what we see in Bradford's account is God's hand at work bringing a group [tribe] of peaceful native Indians to the rescue of this group of English Separatists looking for the early vestiges of religious freedom in a new land. Take note of the items agreed to in Bradford's journal:

"1. That neither he nor any of his, should injure or do hurt to any of their people.

2. That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.

3. That if anything were taken away from any of theirs [the Pilgrims’], he [Massasoit] should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his.

4. If any did unjustly war against him [Massasoit], they [the Pilgrims] would aide him; if any did war against them, he [Massasoit] should aid them [the Pilgrims].

5. He should send to his neighbor’s confederates, to certify them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace. [That is, different tribes should share members to prevent warfare or serve as hostages in case of war.]

6. That when their [the Indians’] men came to them [the Pilgrims], they [the Indians] should leave their bows and arrows behind them."

"After these things he [Massasoit] returned to his place called Sowams, some 40 miles from this place, but Squanto continued with them, and was their interpreter, and was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation. He directed them how to set their corn, where to take fish, and to procure other commodities, and was also their pilot to bring them to unknown places for their profit, and never left them till he died. He was a native of this place, and scarce any left alive beside himself."

Don't miss the significance of this, nothing short of miraculous is the fact that this group of English Separatists were originally bound and chartered for a settlement in Virginia but were blown off course and landed in a desolate location unknown to them.  A harsh winter is awaiting them, and they desperately need help from someone knowledgeable of the local area. Into this God sends an Indian that speaks broken English [Samoset], but who knows another Indian that speaks fluent English [Squanto].  Ask yourself what the chances are that this group of Pilgrims accidentally landing in a location with one of the few if not only friendly English speaking Indians in North America? Coincidence or the providential hand of God?  Today we have all kinds of revisionists historians that have tried to rewrite our nation’s history and rewrite the hand of God out of it...look closely at this and decide for yourself.  Recall Bradford's words that I quoted above, Bradford referred to Squanto as "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation".Bradford records that in late September of 1621, a group from New Plymouth set out to help another group that had settled in a nearby area, that in Bradford's terms had "made havoc of their provisions" and realized that "want [or need] would press them" in the coming winter months. In other word's this group had made unwise choices for their provisions and needed help. So they set out with this group to help them. Bradford records the following:
"All things being provided, Captain Standish was appointed to go with them, and Squanto for a guide and interpreter, about the latter end of September; but the winds put them in again, and putting out the second time, he [Captain Standish] fell sick of a fever, so the Governor went himself. But they could not get about the shoals of Cape Cod for flats and breakers, neither could Squanto direct them better, nor the master durst venture any further, so they put into Manamoyick Bay and got what they could there. In this place Squanto fell sick of an Indian fever, bleeding much at the nose (which the Indians take for a symptom of death), and within a few days died there; desiring the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven, and bequeathed sundry of his things to sundry of his English friends, as remembrances of his love; of whom they had a great loss."
God had used this incredible man, Squanto. God through His marvelous works had ordained for Squanto to be taken to England years before by an earlier north Atlantic fishing expedition. This Indian had learned fluent English, and miraculously had been returned to his native land a few years later. Think about that...think about the time we are talking you realize how utterly incredible those events are?  Then this group of Separatists from the Church of England set out to cross the Atlantic bound for a colony in Virginia...the end up in a place far from their intended destination.  They end up in a place where maybe the only fluent English speaking Native American Indian resides! God uses this man to train and help these early settlers and seekers of religious liberty.

The words of the Mayflower Compact tell us why these Pilgrims crossed the foreboding and dangerous north Atlantic ocean: "Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith".  These words tell us that they came to engage God's creation in a new world, they came to take God principles to the rest of His creation.  Let me be sure about one thing as I bring this to a close; these men were not perfect men, they were flawed men. But God was using them to take baby steps towards the liberty that we see written into the Bible. Lastly, don't miss what happened to Squanto! By all indications God used these Pilgrims to draw Squanto unto Himself, Bradford tells us that Squanto's last dying wish was to know this great God of these Englishmen and I am sure they were more than happy to share the good news of salvation with their Indian friend!

My hope is that you will read this story to your families as you observe our great national tradition and gather for a Thanksgiving meal. Pass on these great historical events that point to the great guiding hand of Almighty God. Give thanks for all our Great God has done for us in this incredible nation, founded for HIS PURPOSES and for HIS GLORY!

Monday, November 24, 2014

America's DNA

The following is a guest article written by my good friend Det Bowers.

Since history is linear rather than cyclical, one of the responsibilities of every era is to embrace the wisdom of previous generations (Job 8:8). Ignoring the wisdom of the ages assures meaningless lives. When a society is only interested in the present, it refuses to appreciate the advantages of recognizing that the one hundred and two Mayflower passengers of 1620 birthed the founding fathers of 1776 and the virtuous patriots of 2014.

Writ large upon the birthright, heritage, legacy and future of America is the DNA of a small courageous folk whose handprints are our own. How did they come to plant such a vibrant spirit in a godless land? The briefest of answers is that they were persecuted for their pursuit of the biblical Christ.

In 1608, a gathering of about one hundred and twenty-five people left the small English village of Scrooby in Nottinghamshire for Holland. Why did they leave? They recognized that the difference between their government’s view of religious freedom and their own perspective could not be reconciled. They were called Puritans by their detractors because they so wanted purity in their worship of God that they willingly sacrificed living with their families in their homeland.

These plain country folk set ashore in Amsterdam but soon moved to Leiden where they stayed for eleven years and became about five hundred in number. The problem they encountered was though they had freedom of worship, they could not maintain their English culture – their children were becoming like the Dutch in their language, customs and worldview. Their options were few, so they returned to England where they regrouped and set sail for the Land of Liberty.

These English Puritans, who would become known as Pilgrims, “thought of liberty as the freedom to do what is right, not to decide what is right.”[i] The diminutive Mayflower vessel anchored near Cape Cod with forty-one adult males who signed the 153-word Mayflower Compact intended this Constitution to serve future generations as one of the people’s founding documents.
Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA today looking seaward to where the Mayflower would have been anchored on November 11, 1620.
Plaque marking first landing of the "Pilgrim" Puritans from the Mayflower. Modern day Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA.
The Mayflower families were overall a knowledgeable and Christian people – they were separated from the Laodicean religion of England. On November 11th, A. D. 1620, America’s first Constitution was written beginning with the words: “In the name of God, Amen.” That inaugural Constitutional Convention went on to state the purpose of their coming to this continent: “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…” These early Puritan pilgrimaging Christians did not come to this land for mere economic opportunity, but to settle and build a new nation in accordance with God’s law in Christ.

They Mayflower congregation perceived themselves as pilgrims in the sense that this world was not their home. William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony settlement, left his three-year-old son in England because he was going to secure a better country for his heirs. As our national ancestors, these English Puritan-Leiden Pilgrims established a standard for all future generations inhabiting this sacred soil – and they paid dearly!

The first recorded thanksgiving celebration of 1623 was enjoyed by fifty of those still living who survived the maiden voyage and the first year (in addition to a child who was born aboard the Mayflower after they reached Cape Cod). Only three of the fifty-one were older than forty and there were only four married couples who remained due to the harshness of the winter.

Nonetheless, nature was not their adversary (Eph. 1:11). God was working His purpose in all the matters surrounding His brave pilgrim band.  Though it is difficult for us westerners, we rarely know life’s “whys.” What we do know is that God moves heaven and earth to accomplish His will in the lives of individuals and nations. The sweep of history beggars our vision, imagination and minds (Ps. 73:3; Isa. 55:8; Mt. 5:45; Ro. 11:33).

Because they knew that their God was not a God far from them, they were patient and thankful in difficulty, judicious and thankful in prosperity (Jer. 23:23). Though we never comprehensively know God’s perfect will or the implications of His divine providence, we are reminded of Governor William Bradford’s insight that though he did not know whether God’s will was for the Leiden congregation to settle in America, he did know it was “lawful” and “honourable.”[ii]

America’s foundational history battles today’s individualistic narcissism, egotism and self-centeredness. Our storied past reveals where God was when the Mayflower set sail – He was right where He is today. America’s former days allow devoted Americans to place our lives in the grander story of statecraft and nationhood. The Puritan-Pilgrims were chosen by God “to become His temple in America,” His “citadel of light,” and were “being led in a path that had been walked by another Chosen People.”[iii]

We name the same Name they named and we do so in the very same part of God’s world. We are part of them because they were a congregation of God’s saints. They were committed to something so much larger than themselves. They were in covenant with God and with one another – and with the generations preceding as well as following them. They faced much difficulty, but their difficulties proved the value of a national character birthed by their Bibles.

Just as your theology will determine your address to vexatious developments, your forefathers were looking for the HEBREWS 11:16 country and city. Though they were dogged by unruly elements and hardships of every sort, they did not love the world as much as they loved God’s character and glory (I Jn. 2:15ff.).

The Pilgrims were not grander, larger or more gifted than you. Nevertheless, they may have been more trusting of the God of Scripture. Affix your mind upon the looking glass of Thanksgiving and describe the face you see. From where you stand, how are you treating your ancestors and heirs? Has your affluence and pursuit of life enriched or damaged the covenant God has for you with those around you, with those who have gone before, and with those following you?

Just outside Plymouth there is a cemetery known as Burial Hill. It overlooks the harbor where the Pilgrims built their first church and fort. At the foot of Burial Hill stands First Parish Church. The present congregation of First Parish Church directly denies much of your Bible including the Trinity. They have chosen to sever their covenantal bond with the Pilgrim saints and the godly ones throughout the ages. Why? How has this happened so quickly?

By 1644, Governor William Bradford reported that he no longer saw many of the original colonists because they pursued larger farms. He said of the Plymouth church that she was “an ancient mother grown old and forsaken of her children.”[iv] 

Modern Americans must become a people who will not allow their focus diverted from the Celestial City, the Heaven of God. C. S. Lewis wrote, “Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in.’ Aim at earth and you will get neither.”[v] The Pilgrims were a people who had no home in this world because “this world is passing away” (I Cor. 7:31).

Alexis de Tocqueville pronounced the proven truth that “a false but clear and precise idea always has more power in the world than one which is true but complex.”[vi] Scores of historical revisionists attempt to re-write and falsify America’s history – they shall not succeed. There is nothing historically confusing or complex about where we came from and who we should be.

Christian Americans follow in the path of their forefathers by being willing to risk all as they challenge the fallen gods of this world. They (you!) refuse the approach of those claiming so many rights yet share so little responsibility for preserving America’s foundational historical rights. A twisted governmental culture and foolish society is fostering a fabricated past that allows a people to escape the humble history of their grand nation.

On this Thanksgiving, we are thankful for God’s America. We are not apologetic for how greatly our majestic God has blessed His America. Our covenant commitment must be to turn our families to Christ and return God’s America to God. May it be so in our day!

[i] Robert Tracy McKenzie, The First Thanksgiving (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2013), p. 108.
[ii] William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, intro. Francis Murphy (NY: Modern Library, 1981), pp. 364.
[iii] Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1977), pp. 110, 111, 359.
[iv] Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, p. 370.
[v] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (NY: Macmillan, 1943), p. 118.
[vi] Alexis de Tocqueville, On Democracy in America, ed. J. P. Mayer (1834; repr., NY: Harper-Collins, 1969), p. 164.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The 2014 Elections. Now What?

I was going to wait until after today’s vote to say this but I’m going to get it off my chest right now. First let me say that no one holds the process and importance of exercising our blood bought right to vote with any higher regard than I do. However, I have to be honest. I want the Republicans to take the Senate and hold or increase their hold in the House if only to thwart the far left aspirations for what Mark Levin calls the coming Benito Mussolini (the President) in his last two years in office.

But all the hype of our elections even with a Republican takeover of the Senate will in the end not do what painfully needs to be done; namely the tough hard work of rolling back the unconstitutional size and jurisdiction of the leviathan federal government. Certainly we have some very good United States Senators and members of the United States House of Representatives, a handful if you will. But even if we had more, the cold hard truth is that the Federal Government is systemically broken. The United States Supreme Court is operating today from what amounts to a 2nd United States Constitution. The one that has been stretched, pulled, twisted, contorted, and perverted for about one hundred years. Because of the perversion of our document from decades of court precedent upon court precedent, the SCOTUS enables the Article I and Article II branches of our government to exercise authority that it does not have and was never intended to have.

The very nature of the original text on the Constitutional parchment was designed to create a limited federal government, a child of the states. Today, that relationship has been reversed and most people see the federal government as the parent in the relationship rather than the child it was mean to be, with very limited powers.

The cold hard facts of the matter are that all three branches of government today are in collusion with one another. Mark Levin posits that there is a fourth branch of government today. The federal bureaucracy that consists in the behemoth executive branch agencies that churn out regulations (laws) in direct violation of Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution. These agencies torment businesses and individuals alike and have no real oversight. Indeed Congress holds “oversight” hearings on some of the more egregious actions of these agencies. But tell me, when was the last time you saw anyone at the IRS or the State Department actually punished for their actions? Congress holds hearings, and we feel really good when they rant on You Tube about the lawlessness….but nothing happens. No one pays a price….and the beat goes on. But the worse thing about the fourth branch of government is they are for the most part unelected and un-appointed individuals, so no matter which party is in power in congress or holding the Presidency, they never leave! So whether we have Democrats in control of congress or Republicans in control, we do see some difference….but the tough hard work of rolling back the federal leviathan is virtually impossible.

So, although I too have poured my time and resources into working to elect Constitutional conservatives to federal office, and taught and encouraged people to get out and vote, I have turned my energies in another direction all the while keeping an eye in the direction of this election. Now that the election of 2014 is over, my focus will be fully on the Convention of States (COS) Project. I am pouring my life (time), fortune (money), and my sacred honor (my reputation) into this effort because it is truly the only real way left to deal with what Washington simply cannot deal with.

The founders specifically predicted a time like this might come…when the federal government would grow so large due to the insatiable appetite for power in "fallen" men and the neglect of the citizenry, and they inserted the most powerful “check” or pushback into the hands of the states in Article V of the United States Constitution. The States have a power under the federal constitution to call for a Convention of States, an amending convention to propose amendments to reign in an “abusive and oppressive”, runaway federal government. “Abusive and oppressive” were the words of George Mason when he stood up on Sept 15th of 1787 and insisted the states be given a final recourse when the congress would not take action to correct the abuses.

The Article V Convention of States is the lawful and orderly process that is left to the states to “check” a rogue, runaway federal government. The legislatures of the states must take this on in order to save the Republic. The good news is that many of them are doing this. There is a move afoot outside and inside the state General Assemblies to call for a Convention of States. Those of us that are working in the national grassroots effort known as the Convention of States Project realize this really is our last shot to correct course. The COS Project has a stated purpose and subject matter call for a Convention of States for the purpose of “proposing amendments to the United States Constitution that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and impose term limits on its officials and members of congress.”

So although I’m very thankful for the great privilege of voting and the ability to exercise my vote today, I am not holding my breath for much to change in our congress. Even the “good ones” cannot bring themselves to do the tough things that are required of them which in some cases would be tantamount to cutting their own throat.

I am however extremely optimistic at the exponential explosion of support that is building in South Carolina and nationwide to convene a Convention of States for a limited purpose of resetting language in the Constitution and forcing all three branches back inside the chains of the Constitutions original intent. In South Carolina alone, our facebook page has grown from just over 300 “Likes” to over 5000 in just two short months! People are coming to understand everything that I wrote above…and they are ready to take their place in history as the states literally do an end run of the Washington D.C. machine and reign in the federal leviathan.