There is a comedian by the name of Jeff Foxworthy who originated the line, "If you (do this or that) … you might be a Redneck!" On this Thanksgiving Day holiday that started with Pilgrims – just for fun – let's adopt this gimmick to see if "…you might be a Pilgrim!"
Most people remember being a child and drawing the outline of their hand on a piece of paper and then coloring it to look like a turkey. As we approached Thanksgiving Day, I also remember coloring a Pilgrim with the characteristic black coat and knee britches, buckle shoes and that big black hat with the buckle on the front. I've observed that it is still being done by children today.
Pilgrims were Separatists, a movement which sprang up in England around the time of the Protestant Reformation. Pilgrims believed it necessary to separate from the Church of England because it had not gone far enough in breaking away from Catholic rituals and idolatry. Under King Henry VIII and King James I – both of whom forbade separating from the Anglican Church – Separatists were persecuted and jailed. In 1607, the Pilgrims escaped to Holland before eventually coming to America. The mass publication of the Bible had made it possible for many to actually read what the Bible said and to realize the established church's doctrines were sometimes at odds with the Bible.
Did you know that Pilgrims believed that religious beliefs must be grounded solely in the Holy Scriptures? If you believe that, you might be a Pilgrim.
If you reject the veneration of relics, icons and statues as idolatry, you might be a Pilgrim. The Pilgrims believed in only two of the established church's sacraments: baptism and the Lord's Supper. Other sacraments such as confession, penance and others, they rejected as superstitious inventions with no basis in Scripture.
If you reject vain repetitions of scripted prayers, you might be a Pilgrim. They rejected reciting of prayers scripted by men, such as the "Book of Common Prayer" used by the Church of England.
If you reject religious holidays that were invented by man and which are not prescribed by the Bible, nor were celebrated by the early first-century followers of Christ, you might be a Pilgrim. Pilgrims did not observe Christmas or Easter. They believed that these holidays were invented by man, are not taught by the Bible and cannot be considered holy days. John Robinson, who was the pastor of the Pilgrims in Holland before they came to America, taught that man didn't have the right to appoint an anniversary memorial for Christ.
If you believe that Christians should be the best husbands, wives, and citizens they could be, you might be a Pilgrim. A Pilgrim endeavored to mind his or her thoughts and words the whole day, and to restrain from wickedness. Pilgrims desired to live in a righteous way.
If you believe in teaching your children the Word of God and in disciplining your children when necessary, you might be a Pilgrim. The Pilgrims were concerned about their children being drawn away by evil examples in society, so they endeavored to teach them the right way to live to prevent the breakdown of the family and of the larger community.
I would think anyone who professes to be a follower of Christ would agree with some of these beliefs. While I'm not a Pilgrim and do not agree with other beliefs held by them, I have to respect them for their efforts to obey God as they understood His teaching. How about you? Do you want to live your life according the Bible and be a true Christian? Download a copy of our free booklet, "What Is a True Christian?"
The really important question to ask is "If … we might be a true Christian"?