Were the Pilgrims Christians? Of course they were. Atheist claims that the first settlers in America were not Christians; also that Christianity was not the religion of our Founding Fathers. This is utter nonsense.
The Pilgrim Separatists used the “Geneva Bible.” This was a translation (with commentary notes in the margin) made by English Calvinist refugees living in Switzerland.
The official English church strongly disagreed with the Geneva Bible’s commentary. King James authorized a new translation. The first “King James Bible” was published in 1611.
Pilgrim Hall Museum also owns a King James Bible, printed in 1620 (shortly before the Mayflower sailed). It belonged to John Alden; Alden was not originally a Separatist but chose to join the community.
Describing the Pilgrims’ Separatist religious beliefs: ORIGINAL SPELLING
“The one side [the Reformers] laboured to have ye right worship of God & discipline of Christ established in ye church, according to ye simplicitie of ye gospell, without the mixture of mens inventions, and to have & to be ruled by ye laws of Gods word, dispensed in those offices, & by those officers of Pastors, Teachers, & Elders, &c. according to ye Scripturs. The other partie [the Church of England], though under many colours & pretences, endevored to have ye episcopall dignitie (affter ye popish maner) with their large power & jurisdiction still retained; with all those courts, cannons, & ceremonies, togeather with all such livings, revenues, & subordinate officers, with other such means as formerly upheld their antichristian greatnes, and enabled them with lordly & tyranous power to persecute ye poore servants of God.”
William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation.
“[They] as the Lord’s free people joined themselves… in the fellowship of the gospel, to walk in all His ways made known, or to be made known unto them.” – William Bradford..
Puritanism in England was essentially a movement within the established church for the purifying of that church-for ministers godly and able to teach, for a simplifying of ritual, for a return to the virtues of primitive Christianity.
Within the Puritan movement there was an extremist group
called the Separatists, and our Pilgrims fall within this category…It had a deep philosophical grounding going all the way back to Scripture and involving the belief that Christians must separate themselves from the world.