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America's Beginnings

God's Plantation - Introduction

by Phyllis Mackall

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When the Christian Broadcasting Network discovered that work on its new International Headquarters would be started during the U.S. Bicentennial year just 12 miles from where the first permanent English colonists in North America had dedicated the New World to Almighty God, Dr. Pat Robertson asked me to research the religious background of these first colonists. This booklet is the result.

We little realized that our quest would take us to so many fascinating persons and places, both modern and historic, or that God would use this quest to touch many lives, and rekindle in others pride in this great nation.

We found to our sorrow that much of our Christian heritage has been laundered out of contemporary history books. We had to go back to books 100 years old to learn the truth. Modern secular writers have conveniently forgotten that the brave Englishmen who sailed to Virginia feared God and loved His Word.

The purpose of this booklet, therefore, is to put Christ back into history, for He was the Rock upon which the Jamestown Colony of 1607 and the Plymouth Colony of 1620 were built.

Examining the settlement at Jamestown, which clung so precariously to the banks of the James River, we discovered a colorful Jacobean tapestry of history. The threads in that tapestry led us back to the exciting courts of Queen Elizabeth I and James I; to the lonely, lost colony on Roanoke Island; to thrilling ocean voyages around the world; to gentle scholars in their quiet studies; and to inspired ministers in their pulpits.

We read some books that depicted the Jamestown colonists as base creatures, and books that pictured them as saints. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Although times change, men's hearts do not, as evidenced in Biblical accounts of great men. James said of Elijah, he was "a man subject to like passions as we are." Men in Elizabethan and Jacobean England had the same aspirations as modern man: they were ambitious; they wanted a good life for themselves and their families; and they wanted to find eternal life through their religion. If anything, they were more introspective than 20th century man, for they lived in a dangerous, disease-ridden age when a man of 50 was considered elderly.

Time and space limited our research to a tiny slice of history: Jamestown before 1620. Our examination of this small fragment of history, however, does not lessen our appreciation of the fine contributions the Pilgrims, Catholics, Quakers, Baptists, Protestants, and others made in the New World. But because Jamestown was settled by English Anglicans, this is their story.

Phyllis Mackall
Virginia Beach, VA
April, 1976

 

For God has allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in him (Ephesians 1:9-10, Philips).

 

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