A Cynical Look at Thanksgiving

We think of the Pilgrims as religious zealots bound on a divine missions trip.  Well, it might have been the divine providence of our heavenly Father that brought them here but it was the hand of King James who drive them out of England.  When King James took the throne of England he wanted to bring all the believers into agreement with the Church of England’s teachings.  He opposed any reformers who wanted to bring people more in line with what they felt the Bible taught.  He decided that everyone must worship the way he dictated or suffer the consequences.  One Christian sect called the Seperatists didn’t believe that a king should be the head of a church but God alone should be their head.  King James said, “I shall make them conform or I will harry them out of the land, or else do worse.”  It was fear of their earthly king that caused these Pilgrims to seek religious freedom in a new land.  Thank God for persecution.

Many times the Lord allows persecution to spread His gospel to new lands.  The first century church was driven from Jerusalem by the persecution from the Jews who were killing them, otherwise the gospel may have never spread into gentile lands.

King James was a devoted but misguided believer.  His efforts gave us one of the greatest English translations of the Holy Bible yet he persecuted anyone who practiced Christianity differently than he did.  The arrogant attitude of King James and religious spirit that guided him can be seen occasionally in those that teach unless you’re reading a King James Bible you’re reading a false Bible.  How ridiculous.  The KJV is wonderful, a breakthrough for the English speaking reader but it’s not divinely inspired.  The Bible in its original languages (Hebrew, Greek & Aramaic) IS.  In fact there are thousands of errors in the translations that were corrected in later English Bibles such as New King James, Revised Standard and New Living to name just a few.  So please don’t persecute other Christians for worshipping a little differently than you or having a different version of the scriptures…treat each other as children of the King of Kings.

This Thanksgiving remember to thank God for the freedom to worship the way you want in America.  Thank God for the founding of this nation on religious freedom.  Don’t ever let any president, congress or court limit our religious freedom.  And last, remember to thank God for persecution because many times He’s just extending His Kingdom farther.  When you’re persecuted because you won’t work or let your kids play sports on Sundays, because you have a Bible on your desk or because you dared to share your faith in a loving, respectful way with a coworker or another student…THANK God because He’s about to do something world changing through you!!

Take this quiz on Thanksgiving: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/quiz/?id=UHVLR although I disagree with one answer they give…Thanksgiving was a religious holiday.  Who says you can’t shoot guns on a religious day.  Come over my house at Christmas!

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5 thoughts on “A Cynical Look at Thanksgiving

  1. pastorlon says:

    Hey John, I thought Prince Caspian was decent also it didn’t captivate me as much as the book or was as good as the first Narnia Movie BUT still worth owning. I will look forward to the Dawn Treader also. I reread the Chronicles of Narnia with my daughter before the first movie and hihgly recommend to everyone to read the whole set. One of literatures true great treasures.

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  2. John says:

    On the subject of movies, I’d like to make a plug for “Prince Caspian”, the second Narnia movie, which comes out tomorrow on DVD. It was unfortunately sandwiched between “Iron Man” (which was decent) and “Indiana Jones” (which was terrible) at the box office and so didn’t do as well as hoped. (Disney actually moved it from December to that weekend; why, I leave for others to speculate.) Although Aslan is downplayed from the book, with a few minor dialog annoyances, he’s still who’s he’s supposed to be. Although it’s not in the book, my favorite scene is where the approaching army pauses at the sight of a little girl who smirks and pulls out her dagger… because then we pan back to see that Aslan is standing behind her. This to me is a deeply Christian moment.
    I’m very much looking forward to the third movie, “Dawn Treader” because it’s being directed by the same director as “Amazing Grace”. This quells some of my fears. The presence or absence of a certain scene at the end (when we find out Who Aslan really is) will make or break the entire series, so the director is comforting. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that the writers (who I believe are the same for all three) have subtly downplayed the authority of Aslan at all opportunities, which is discouraging. So I anxiously wait to see if we’ll find out the Identity of Aslan or not.

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  3. matt says:

    I like how you talk about the original versions. I try to always look up the verses I’m studying in there original form. It has become a passion of mine. I believe in order to understand the word I need to know the original words that were used in the passage I happen to be studying. It opens up whole new areas of understanding for me. I read your blog whenever you post , so please keep on posting. It has helped me stay a little more focused and generate some thinking on my part.

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  4. pastorlon says:

    John, Thank you for the wonderful insights. I agree that the movie Amazing Grace gave a great presentation of Newton and his repentant heart.

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  5. John says:

    I think all holidays were religious holidays for the Pilgrims. In fact, early documents (circa 1700) show clergy bemoaning the fact that the “new trend” was more on having feasts and less on fasting and being in church on Thanksgiving. I don’t think Ben Franklin, who proposed the offiical holiday much later IIRC, was particularly pious for the time.
    As for King James, John Cleese pointed out that the most interesting thing about his son was that he was 5’6” tall at the start of his reign, and only 4’8″ tall at the end of it. So what goes around comes around. Though it’s hard to imagine the American settlers behaving the way Cromwell behaved.
    The dissenting religious groups in England have a proud tradition. The movie “Amazing Grace” is not to be missed. My favorite line is when John Newton (Albert Finney) says, “I’m getting old and my memory is failing. But two things I remember: I’m a great sinner and Christ’s a great Savior.”

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