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

Download the Free Study Guide!

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?

Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.

Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!

Running Time: 240 minutes

Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information


Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Running time: 105 minutes

Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.

Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

$9.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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Freedom: The Model of Christian Liberty (DVD)

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.

The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

Welcome to the Second American Revolution!

This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.

$14.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!

“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l

Running Time: 40 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

$19.95 — ORDER NOW!

(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)

Click here for more information

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