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Thankfulness in Adversity with Doug Phillips – Episode 077

This Thanksgiving we seem to have less to be thankful for than ever before. It seems every where we turn, the news is dark and foreboding. But when we compare where we’re at to those trials and tribulations those first settlers, the Pilgrims, endured, we really have nothing to complain about.

Join Bill Heid and Doug Phillips for a special Thanksgiving edition of Off the Grid Radio as they discuss the legacy that we enjoy because of the efforts of 50 men and women who survived persecutions at home, trials in travels, and a harsh New England winter to forge a New World based on the freedom that only God can bestow.

Off The Grid Radio
Ep 077
Released: November 23, 2011

Bill: Welcome, everybody, it’s Bill Heid – your host for today’s show. Today’s show is about Thanksgiving, oddly enough. it’s that time of year again and I have a very special guest – someone that is very endeared to Thanksgiving, as much as a lot of listeners here, someone that’s been through a lot with Thanksgiving, taking people to the east coast as well as England for Thanksgiving. He’s the son of Howard Phillips. He’s a pastor, he’s a writer, he’s an attorney and most of all he’s an advocate for the family. I’d like to welcome our friend, Doug Phillips. Doug, welcome.

Doug: It’s great to be here with you today. Thanks so much for having me on.

Bill: You bet. It’s great to have you. What I wanted to talk with you a little bit about – and I want to get to the Pilgrims – our show, Doug, really deals with off-the-grid ideas so we have guests like Joel Salatin and other people that talk about how to plant things. A lot of times we’ll talk about ways to get off the grid. But you’re really involved in getting people off the grid with respect to family. Much like the Puritans, you’ve been able to say “enough’s enough. I’m going to draw a line in the sand. It’s time to say no to certain things.” I’ve always loved that about your work and there’s such a congruity with our Pilgrim forefathers with what you are trying to articulate. To what extent did they motivate you and your ministry?

Doug: I would say that the story of the Pilgrims, and the legacy of our spiritual forefathers up in Plymouth, is probably for me personally the group that I identify most closely with and the group that is most inspirational to me. When I look back in history, there are different time periods in which our spiritual fathers that the Lord gave us did something that impacted us and maybe – I feel me, on a very personal level – in the sense that they gave us a legacy. I think of the early, first century Christians. I think of the Christians that were part of the great dispersion that took place during the first couple of centuries of Rome. I think of a man by the name of Columba on the island of Iona preserved the word of God and sent people to the four corners of the earth with the Gospel. I especially think of the Reformers and the impact that they had on defining biblical orthodoxy and giving a really comprehensive biblical world and life view. But for a group that has a sense of immediacy – an immediate impact on us that exceeds everyone else – there really is nothing like the Pilgrims because the Pilgrims represented the very best of the legacy of all of the spiritual forefathers combined. Here are a group of people that were doctrinally rock-solid. They’re a people that gave up everything for generations that were yet to be born. Here are people that had a clear multi-generational vision. Here are people that were sturdy, manly. The women were godly. They laid a foundation for freedom, both ecclesiastical – in the church, as well as civil – within the state, and we literally are – every day we experience freedom in America and every day you go into your local church and you can worship God with a clear conscience. You are building on the legacy of 50 people – 50 people – who survived a horrific winter. From those 50 people, there have been more than 30 million descendants and an entire country. As you can see, I feel very strongly about the story and I think that if our children don’t understand it, they’re not educated, they can’t be grateful and this Thanksgiving we’ve got a great opportunity to tell the story to them again.

Bill: I think you’re totally right, Doug. I’m thinking about – I want to go back – you get to the point, wouldn’t you agree, where you start worshipping the events and maybe the peripheral issues we all think about – thanksgiving, watching the Macy’s Day Parade, watching the Lions get beat up on TV – all of those great events that we have and you really miss the issue. Just like with so many other holidays, you miss the heart of it. Let’s go back a little bit and talk about – let’s get off the grid and talk about the theological beliefs of these folks. I was reading yesterday in Deuteronomy 26:1-11, there’s this beautiful liturgy about how the Hebrews were supposed to respond after their release. When you come into this land that the Lord gives you for an inheritance and possession and you’re going to dwell inside it, there’s this liturgy. What I was struck by is this must have been so baked into these people where God tells the Israelites “a wandering Aramean am I.” There’s this humility side. It’s amazing – as I read through it I think “these Pilgrim forefathers of ours had to have Deuteronomy 26:1-11 baked into their system somehow, because it was indelibly stamped – so much part of their lives being thankful. They were thankful for “we got here and we’re celebrating with some Indians.” We’ll talk about that in a little bit. They were thankful even in adversity. Do you want to speak a little bit about their theological perspectives? What gave them such a spirit of thanksgiving and adversity?

Doug: I think, first of all, we need to understand that these group of separatists – and that’s what they described themselves – they weren’t Puritans, although they had many similarities to the Puritans. This group of Separatists had been born out of a very unique experience. They were people that specifically had rejected many of the traditions, the man-centered extra-biblical traditions of the Anglican Church and the Roman Church. They were people that had been persecuted heartily for simply believing in Sola Scriptura that the Bible is the foundation. They also were wholehearted advocates of the sovereignty of God. They viewed themselves as instruments in the hands of the Lord, to bring about his purposes for the Kingdom of God. Their lives while important and precious to Jesus Christ were held in the hands of God to do with as he wished. Therefore, they could be courageous, they could be bold. They could be trusting in the Lord. They had to make choices that most of us won’t have to make. They sat in Holland one day to try to decide “should we come to the New World?” Half the congregation said no and half the congregation said yes. It was the sort of discussion that you might imagine would happen. Some people said “but if we go over there, there will be Indians that will eat us alive.” As William Bradford points out – “eat collops of our flesh in our sight while we yet live.” In other words, they would torture people and literally cannibalize them, and that’s what happened to many people when they came to North America. They said “we may die in the cold. We may be separated from people. On the other hand, we can stay here and we’ll have comfort, we’ll have food, we’ll have jobs but we won’t have freedom.” They ultimately said “we’ll take huge risk, huge discomfort, the possibility of death in order to be free.” This comes from the theological perspective that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom – that God is absolutely sovereign and that our lives are about something bigger than our own comfort. The battles that they had been part of in standing up for their beliefs – and remember, they held to a simple faith. They didn’t believe that their pastors should be wearing what they called surpluses or fancy clothing. They believed in the priesthood of the believer. They believed that we shouldn’t be adding things to the Scripture. In terms of how we worship God, they rejected many of the traditions of the Catholic Church regarding prayers to saints and to Mary. They said “we want to have a simple, unfeigned fate.” In some respects, their belief was extremely clear and very simple – “what does the Bible say?” That allowed them to have a sturdy faith when they came over here to a very desperate, difficult situation in the United States and to be successful.

Bill: And, Doug, tell us a little bit about – they didn’t just come over. They were roughed up a little bit. Not only were they roughed up but I think a lot of families realized how much their families meant to them. Some of the families – they remind me of the first homeschoolers in a way, that’s why I bring that up. A bunch of homeschooler forefathers.

Doug: In reality they were because they did homeschool. That’s one way they trained their children, is they came over here and they taught them from home. Talk about difficulty. You and I may go down to the local airport and if you’re like me – I don’t presume that, but if you’re like me, you might find it extremely objectionable the way the TSA manhandles our children and manhandles our self in the name of so-called security. But the Pilgrims had it worse than we ever had, because when they were trying to leave they were lied to, they were cheated, they had soldiers come in and physically grope their wives and their daughters and treat them horrifically, as if they weren’t even human beings as they were trying to leave the country. They were defrauded. They were harried out of the country in different places. It was one calamity after another. When they were on the boat, on the way over here to America, they had sailors that were constantly harassing them, using profane and foul language. But at every step of the way, God showed himself stronger than the difficulty. Their faith in God allowed them to maintain a beautiful witness of the Lord and to maintain the clarity of their objective, that they were coming here for a mission. The mission was to see that their children would be able to supersede them and to follow the Lord, and that they would be a gospel witness to the people here. They would be stepping stones – William Bradford said – to others who would come after them in the building of the Kingdom of God.

Bill: Stepping stones, indeed. I think that there was a time – weren’t they even separated? Was this the second attempt that they tried to make their way here when they were separated from their wives and their children for a while?

Doug: Yes, that’s correct.

Bill: So they men ended up at sea somehow and the women were captured by the soldiers?

Doug: That’s right. There was a time period of separation. It was one of the episodes in which they were cheated and defrauded and the men were separated from the women. They were thrown in jail. They were heartbroken. William Bradford talks about their tears and the pain they had as they saw their children and their wives taken away from them. It never seemed to end, between defrauding, between persecution from the state, between the difficulty and hardships of weather and conditions. I have to say that I think the typical Christian – professing Christian today – would not endure the first trial that these Pilgrims had, and they had dozens upon dozens upon dozens. This is the kind of man and woman that we need. We need a hardy, sturdy, faith-filled, sovereignty of God believing Christian who’s going to be able to endure difficult times. I think that this Thanksgiving, as we look at our future, we look at our country, we look at the present status of the church – we should be especially encouraged to remember that there were people who endured much for children they never even met. We need to increase our pain threshold for the Lord, if you understand what I’m saying. We need to be willing to make hard choices, to do important things for others and only if we had that spirit and get away from the spirit of sloth, ease, comfort and dependency, are we going to be able to do that. I’ve got to tell you a story. This week I attended a wedding of a friend of mine who was a former Soviet officer in the Soviet Union, who escaped from Russia. He left the Soviet military, he came to America. He had been civilly married and he wanted to have a Christian wedding ceremony and he did. He invited all of his friends from the former Soviet Union to come with him. They were there at this wedding. I spent an evening talking to the people that we fought against 20 years ago. In the conversations I had with them, this one former Soviet officer sat there and told me “being able to worship or to have free speech and all that – all fine and good. But I miss the days when the state took care of everything. I would much rather give up my right to criticize and think if I know the government will take care of my education, take care of my health, take care of all of my needs. That’s what makes a man happy.” I thought “that’s what robs a man of his dignity. That’s what steals from a man his heart and his soul and his spirit.” That’s the difference between the freedom-loving Americans who came from the Pilgrim story versus those that are the product of Soviet Communism and Marxism. We’re heading in America in the way of Marxism. Again, that’s where our President, in many ways, and others are leading us, with health care plans, with federal government benefits. I think this is yet another lesson of the Pilgrims. We have to be a free people. That means, as 1 Corinthians 7 says, “are you called as a servant? Be content. But if you can be free, be free indeed.” We want to be free men. The Pilgrims understood that and that’s why there’s an America today.

Bill: I think you’re absolutely right. What’s interesting is that impulse, Doug, that goes back a long way. As you were saying that I was thinking of Nathan and I was thinking of the Children of Israel – there’s that temptation, “should I stay or should I go?” You probably had 50 percent of those guys saying “I don’t know. Let’s go back. At least we had some food back there. At least we had a place to live. We’re going out into the unknown.” A lot of our listeners are at the point where they may have lost their jobs – there’s anxiety. You think – how much anxiety – the anxiety we all face, even if our house is being foreclosed on, this and that, there’s so many social safety nets here. There’s so much support here. Think of these people and had everything stripped from them and they’re taking their kids as well. Brewster had his kids. What were his kids’ names? Patience, Love and Fear? Were those the ones that came over?

Doug: Yes. He had a child named Love Brewster, absolutely. That was a boy, too, by the way.

Bill: These people brought their kids into the face of death and they loved their kids in a way that you’re describing, Doug, that it’s hard to – in some of the writings it’s hard to imagine just how much they loved their kids, yet they stood firm in all these tests. You sell this book and we get these books from you and sell them. I think to read “Plymouth Plantation” every year – we do that as well in our family. We read that book and it’s such a blessing. I don’t know, is there anything you can say to try to convince people that that’s something that they ought to start as a family tradition? Didn’t your dad do that to you when you were little?

Doug: Yeah, my father did. Every Thanksgiving we read “Plymouth Plantation” out loud. It was an incredible blessing, an incredible joy to us. It’s a tradition I’ve grown up with and I share with my own children. I would say that there have been five or six books that really changed my life. One of those six books is “Plymouth Plantation.” You may have hundreds of books in your library but if you don’t have “Plymouth Plantation” you really don’t have the right kind of a library. You need to have this book. This is the story of our spiritual fathers. It’s the great story of home educators and Christian separatists who gave up everything for a multi-generational vision, who helped to build America. The lessons that are shared within this book are nothing short of awe-inspiring. This is what you need to get. You need to get it – you can get it at Vision Forum, you can find it at a bunch of different places. We’ve reprinted a very beautiful edition of it. But wherever you get it, you have to have it and you have to read it on Thanksgiving Day. Your children will never forget and it will give them great perspective. I’m extremely grateful that William Bradford took the time to write this book. It discusses everything from the laws of the day to the trials to the theology to the little stories. You find out, here we are close to 400 years later – we’re approaching the 400th anniversary in 2020 – they had the same problems then that we have today. They had people that would betray them. They had children – some children that were disobedient. But, having said that, their response to the problems is different than our response today. It was a heroic, biblical, Christ-centered scriptural response to issues. I think we can learn a lot to see. They were people just like we are, with the challenges that we have, but they responded in a way that built a nation.

Bill: It built a nation, indeed. Definitely get that book. Let’s talk about once they landed, as Bradford chronicles in here, once they landed they had some work to do. Talk a little bit about the immediate pitfalls and some of the things that happened – you had sickness and, as you said, they were mocked. It makes some of us mad when Tim Tebow gets mocked. These guys were mocked all the way over. They were mocked where they lived. Their ship rests here. What are they facing? What’s happening?

Doug: On the way over, you have to imagine spending weeks and weeks and weeks in a little tiny ship in a hold of a ship, which in God’s providence, thankfully, carried gigantic caskets of wine which broke and sanitized the inside wall, in God’s providence, with the alcohol because it’s a very unhygienic situation, to be all crammed into the belly of a little tiny ship. Very hard. The sailors are mocking them. God strikes one of these sailors dead, just strikes him dead – he dies – and it brings fear upon the rest of the people. All the different stories are incredible. The boat almost sinks, the mast is broken. There’s just one thing after another, but they finally arrive here. They step out of the boat and who’s here to greet them? Nobody, except for Indians that are considering filling their side with arrows. It’s not as if you finish this long journey and you end up and there’s a warm welcome and there’s hot coffee and a nice meal waiting for you. No, it’s freezing cold, there’s snow on the ground. You have to immediately go out, hack down trees and try to build a common house, which is what they lived in, for everyone to survive the first couple of weeks and to let people know – to let the Indians know – that they’re serious. Don’t come after them. In God’s providence, one by one, they are dying, but in order to hide the deaths from the Indians so they wouldn’t seem vulnerable, they take their people out, they bury them at nighttime. The crew, which starts around 100, ends up when all is said and done, just approximately 50 – 52 people make it through the first winter, including seven women. Amazingly – amazingly – these seven women and these survivors ultimately produce 30 million descendants. But what they have to go through is nothing short of incredible. Of course back in those days, you carried your gun to church with you all the time because you have no idea who’s going to come in and when you’re going to be in the middle of a battle. You had sickness, you had privation, lack of food, freezing cold, arriving in the middle of winter, and on and on, and then death. For so many of these people, just imagine, you made it all the way over here and then your husband dies, your wife dies, your child dies. How do you endure such a hardship? Only by the grace of God, and that’s really the story of the Pilgrims, is they were people that lived by the grace of God and they were people that were deeply, deeply thankful and indefatigable in their resolve to do what was right.

Bill: Thankful, again, in adversity is the theme that I get from these guys. Years ago, I used to listen to – and still listen to, occasionally – Greg Bahnsen’s sermon on Thanksgiving and it’s all about being thankful in hard times and thankfulness as a benchmark of true Christianity. Again, you can’t find a better exemplification than with these folks. But they get here … Doug, I was also thinking about the original Thanksgiving when they had – I’m going back in the Bible and thinking about this idea of who’s who and who’s a stranger in the land. I think they found themselves strangers in the land back home, but when they came over here, they appear to be honoring the biblical admonition to honor – they saw themselves as Israelites and as if it was their land, here. Then they saw the Indians as strangers in the land. When they went to give thanksgiving, I think that they felt incumbent upon having them participate in the celebration because the Bible admonishes us to also celebrate it with the Levites and with the strangers of the land. Am I seeing that right?

Doug: I think there’s truth to the way you’re explaining it. In God’s providence, you see a number of key events. First of all, when they land up near Nauset Beach in the tip of Cape Cod, they find buried food there from where Indians had once lived and now were gone. They also come into a bit of conflict and they get in their very first fight up there. But by the time they move to Plymouth, and they’ve re-established themselves, they go through a very cautious, cautious courtship with the Indians – from danger and fear to actual friendship, in many respects. This is part of the story of the Pilgrims, is that if ever there was an example of the proper way to interact with an indigenous people, the Pilgrims really give us that example. They showed tremendous respect for the indigenous, they understood that this land ultimately belonged to God, that he was sovereign over the land that came in the name of Christ. But interestingly enough, contrary to what a lot of people said, they didn’t steal land from the Indians or anything like that. In fact, they contracted and covenanted with the Indians and purchased land from them in different places so that they could be there. When the time came for what we think of today as the great Thanksgiving meal, which is not really detailed in “Plymouth Plantation” but is found in some of the other books and stories that we have, which include things like “Mourt’s Relation,” which is another important document from the time of the Pilgrims. We see a beautiful mutuality and a reciprocity of openness where the Indians actually come and they share some food and they are invited and they are welcomed to be part of this great Thanksgiving feast and celebration. You have the local natives, Massasoit’s people who are called the Wampanoag, and then you have the Pilgrims, which are having a meal together and which are benefitting from each other. It’s a wonderful example of the love of Christ, I believe, extended to all, and of God working – even with a pagan and savage tribe of people – to be conduits of blessing for the people of God. Incredibly – incredibly – this relationship blossoms to such an extent that for 50 years, that’s a half a century, there is an unbroken peace that exists between the Wampanoag and the Pilgrim community. That’s absolutely historic. It’s incredible. In fact, Massasoi, the king of the Sachem, the head of the Indians, gives his son, whose Indian name was Metacomet, a Christian name, Philip, and he gives him that out of great appreciation for the god of the white men and their people. The story of what really happened between the Pilgrims and the Indians – you don’t read about it in the history books but it’s clearly documented. It’s an incredible story of the right way for Christians to come and to interact.

Bill: And the story – though the treatment that the story has, and we were talking before about how they were treated in England, how they were treated on their way over here – fast forward to today, you had an unusual experience when you took your family to have a look at this area years ago and found out that this story of mockery and this story of intentional eradication of all of these memories is still there. That spirit of man is still there. I read your piece about that experience and why don’t you tell us a little bit about that and tell us if there’s any updates to what’s going on there with respect to the monuments and so forth.

Doug: I’d like to say, first of all, that God has kept his hand on the city of Plymouth, that it is one of the great landmarks and legacies to our fathers. We need to be thankful for it. There’s no way we can properly communicate our thanksgiving for what the Lord has done up there and in that city. He’s raised up men like Dr. Paul Jehle and the Plymouth Rock Foundation. He’s raised them up to be defenders, watchmen of the wall, for the legacy of the Pilgrims. I’m very thankful. But in the midst of that, of course, Plymouth has been under siege by various radical groups – Communist groups, Marxist groups. And self-avowedly Communist, I’m not just throwing that moniker on them. They describe themselves as Communist and Marxist. I’d say for the last 15 years or more, there have been attempts to thwart the true telling of the Christian story. I, myself, have been harassed, harangued, attacked verbally when I’ve been out on the street preaching near Thanksgiving Day. I’ve had radical Indian movement leaders and Marxists come up and violently argue and try to interrupt and beak up tours and things that I’ve done up there. I’ve had wonderful opportunities to witness and to dialogue with lost men who hate the Pilgrims and who despise America and hate the legacy of God and this country, who worship rocks and spirits and worship man. When you come up to Plymouth on Thanksgiving Day, tragically, one of the things you’re going to see, which is horrible, is you’re going to see markers up on the great hill in Plymouth, overlooking the harbor, which are repudiations of the Pilgrims, which describe the coming of the Christians as an act of mass genocide, which of course is a complete lie. It’s a total lie. These are markers that were basically forced upon the people of Plymouth. There was an event that took place back in – I think it was ’98, may have been ’97 or ’98 – in which the traditional Pilgrim which takes place through the town of Plymouth was interrupted by a group – I call them rent-a-riot – they’re campus radicals and Communists and various others that came up that wanted to get on national television. They started punching out the Pilgrims so that when the CNN cameras were there so they could get on national television. Then, of course, they essentially blackmailed the town council and said “we’re going to make a big deal unless you agree to dedicate hundreds of thousands of dollars to putting up markers in the town which tell our side of the story, which is that the Pilgrims were genocidal maniacs likened to Hitler. Of course, that’s a lie of the first level. It’s an absolutely lie, but you have to understand the source of it. There is a hatred for thanksgiving to God. There is a hatred for the story of the Pilgrims. There’s a hatred for Christianity in America and, regretfully, there’s sympathy within the press and people are easily bullied by fear of reprisal by radical groups. I’m really giving you a super condensed version. If you’d like to read the entire story on what happened at Plymouth Rock, go to the Vision Forum website at www.visionforum.com or visionforumministries.org and type in for our stories on Plymouth because we tell the story of what happened up there. It was really incredible. But I myself have been witness for many, many years to many different acts of historical revisionism, attacks on Christianity and my guess is this year it’ll probably continue. There’ll probably be more. But the great news is that the witness, the Christian witness, and the legacy has been preserved by the Lord and I believe it will continue to be preserved – even radio shows like this one are part of that story, because we’re telling people the truth and we’re giving them access to the documents that contain primary source resources that point them to the truth of what happened.

Bill: Doug, let’s also talk about this year a little bit. Let’s talk about – I know last year you had done “Seven Things to Do With Your Family” – would you have time? I know you’re getting a little hoarse there, but would you have time to take us down through seven things you can do with your family this Thanksgiving? I think this is so important because we need to be – this spirit needs to be re-engendered, re-animated to some degree in our country. Sometimes you give somebody a little nudge, that’s the Holy Spirit working – a little nudge, a little knowledge, a little information – and they’ll take a step, they’ll read “Plymouth Plantation” and they’ll continue to take additional steps. Would you have time to go over briefly the seven steps to do this year?

Doug: Every year, there’s always fresh ways to celebrate and honor the Lord on Thanksgiving Day. I make this recommendation and the first thing I say is I recommend people, for this Thanksgiving Day, stop and give thanks from the bottom of your heart and the depths of your soul – and I mean deep, abiding, depths of your soul, crying out to God thanksgiving. I think about the Scriptures. I think about Psalm 95 which says “come let us sing unto the Lord. Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving. Let us make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is great and a great King above all gods.” This is a time to really thank him – thank God for his provision, thank God for his protection, thank God for difficulties, thank God for all things. The second thing that I encourage people to do is to share the greatest stories of the Pilgrim fathers and God’s providence. We, at our home, use it as a day for quizzes, for storytelling. We use it to really, really have our children connect to the past and that’s important. Another thing that I recommend to people is that they read at least the fourth chapter of “Plymouth Plantation” – at the very least. I think they should read as much of it as possible and read it out loud. It’s an important, important document and therein you hear the real story of the Pilgrims, and I don’t just mean the Thanksgiving story, I mean the story of their sacrifice. I think that another thing that you can do, and I recommend this, is to take a pilgrimage to the home of the Pilgrims from your house. You can’t maybe drive up to Plymouth this year, some of you can, but what you can do is you can watch the videos – Vision Forum has made a number of them. You can even read an article – I wrote an article on pilgrimage to Scrooby which you can get on our website. You can enter into the story of the Pilgrims and feel as if you’re actually there. I also recommend, as a fifth point, that you take time to read George Washington’s “Thanksgiving Proclamation” at the dinner table. This is really important because contrary to what a lot of ACLU-type individuals have tried to teach us, the truth of the matter is that the American legislature and the Presidents of the United States constantly invoke the name of God, invoke the name of the Trinity, invoke the name of Jesus Christ in their official documents, and George Washington has left us a wonderful Thanksgiving proclamation which is a reminder that it’s appropriate for the chief executive to look to the God of creation and to give Him thanks. I think for a sixth recommendation that I would make to people, it’s to tell the story of God’s providence and the life of your family. God has done a lot. He’s done special things and we really can thank God for that. Finally, the last thing that I would recommend is that we now build upon that legacy, which is to purpose to fight very hard and to hold fast to the things we believe in. In other words, if the Pilgrim legacy is meaningful, if it’s true – and it certainly is – then it means something for our own cause of action of what we’re going to do with our own life. I believe that what it means is that we need to have that Pilgrim spirit. That’s what we want to encourage with our children. That’s what we want to do with them. Those are seven recommendations I make for Thanksgiving and I hope those will be of some help. For those that would like to delve into that a little bit more, they can go to my blog – Doug’s blog – which is found at visionforum.com and they can read more about that story.

Bill: They’ve got to watch the video where you take people through Scrooby – do you want to mention that real quick? I was looking at your face and I know how much all of this means to you, Doug, and when I saw you – you literally broke down. I had a hard time to keep from even having tears in my eyes as I watched you. Make a comment about that again, because I think people really need to go to your site. They really need to go watch this video and read a couple of these articles to give people an impression. Talk about Scrooby just a little bit as we wind down here, but it was such an important piece there.

Doug: I would say that, for me, going to Scrooby was – I’ve traveled all over the world, I’ve been to many, many countries. I just came back from Iceland. I’ve been in the Amazon. I’ve been all over Europe. I’ve been in the Orient. I’ve been throughout Africa. I’ve traveled to many places and I thank God for that. But my journey to Scrooby was a truly life changing and a fulfillment for me because having spent decades studying and telling the story of the Pilgrims, to actually be where the little church began with John Robinson and William Bradford and William Brewster and be in that little community in England and to realize “nobody goes here.” People don’t care anymore. This manor house, which is 1200 years old, has a little marker on it “this is where the Pilgrims met.” And yet, the whole world changed because of a conspiracy of Christ and Christ’s appointed Pilgrims in this land – Christians with a great and glorious vision. The world changed. It’s an incredible thought that handfuls of people, with God’s power and might, can redirect the course of nations. That’s what happened. That’s absolutely incredible. That was a very emotional moment for me, very powerful and I appreciate your mentioning it. I’m going to go back and watch that video – it’s been probably a year-and-a-half since I’ve seen it, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

Bill: We’ll put some links up – Jeremy, if you would, put a link up to that video, that’s pretty important. Doug, as we wind down, any other comments about Thanksgiving, about this year, about what we’ve got in this country? We still have a lot to be thankful for, wouldn’t you agree? We’re in a precarious place, but …

Doug: Here’s what I think. I think that the world is falling apart and I think God has not abandoned America. I think that we have wickedness in our land, we have the murder of the unborn, we have magistrates that do not fear the Lord. And I would argue, even worse, we have a Christian church that has become apathetic. I think I may confuse – I don’t want to – but maybe surprise people when I say that I am far, far less concerned about the outcome of the 2012 presidential election than I am that Christians act with a clear conscience before the Lord. The reason why I say that is because I believe that our hope in this country is not through the political process, even though I believe that that is a domain that’s under the Lordship of Christ that we should care about. But I believe the hope is with the Church of Jesus Christ doing what’s right and having a clear conscience. In fact, I would argue that one of the reasons why we haven’t seen judgment on a biblical level coming down upon this land is because of the faithful remnant that continues to fear the Lord, that have that Pilgrim legacy and that Pilgrim vision. What I’m saying is, what handfuls of people do is far more important than what the majority does. God changes the world through dedicated minorities. That’s what he does. The handful, the remnant of Christians, is more important for the outcome and the blessing of God and the nation than the millions that don’t care about the Lord – not that that doesn’t matter, but we can hope and expect to see God walking with us if we are faithful before Him. That’s the Pilgrim story. What that means is, that we can thrive and prosper in times of difficulty, in Christ. We can do that, in Christ. This country is so full of blessings, it’s absolutely amazing, and we don’t want to get this myopic perspective – this tragic, myopic perspective that there is no hope, that everything is terrible, that the world is completely falling apart. God is in control of the world and He is the sovereign over the United States of America. The Pilgrims, before there was a US, understood the sovereignty. We need to understand it today. When we do this, we can wake up and say “thank you, Lord, I have a house. Thank you, Lord, I have a Gospel opportunity. Thank you, Lord, for the history you’ve given me. Thank you, Lord, for the faith of our fathers. Thank you, Lord, for my children. Thank you, that I can homeschool in freedom. Thank you, Lord, that I still get to be part of the civil process when the majority of the world doesn’t. Thank you, Lord, that I can choose what church I’m going to go to. Thank you, Lord, for my wife. Thank you, Lord, for the hope of future generations. Thank you, Lord, for 10,000 things that I don’t even know I should be thankful for but I know, Lord, that my whole life is a gift of God and you’ve given me much being here in America.”That’s what I think people need to be thinking about this year.

Bill: I don’t know of any way to end it other than that so, Doug, I want to say thank you to you for all the work that you’ve done and everything over there at Vision Forum. I would encourage people to go to Vision Forum and check everything out, your blog, and thanks for enduring with us with your cold. To our listeners, we’re especially thankful for you this year. Thanks again for listening.

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