by Gene Keith It’s almost impossible for people who have grown up in America to even imagine how difficult life was for the Pilgrims to live in a place where there was no religious freedom at all.
The Anglican Church was the official church of England and the King of England had full control over it. The King appointed the church leaders. The King taxed the people to build the churches and to pay the minister’s salaries.
No one could preach without a license and it was even against the law to attend any church other than the “official” church. It was even a crime to read the Bible in public.
Secret Worship The Pilgrims were the “Separatists. They were forced to hold their church services in secret, because it was a criminal offense to hold church services anywhere but in the official church. …
The Corporation Act of 1661 This Act made it illegal for a non-conformist to hold public office. Prior this, Baptist and other nonconformists held many high government jobs.
The Act of Uniformity of 1662 This Act forced all non-conformist out of the schools and out of the established church.
The Conventicle Act of 1664 This Act made it against the law to be absent from the services of the state church or to hold worship services anywhere but the official church.
Pastor John James On October 19, 1661, Pastor John James was dragged forcibly from his pulpit. He was charged with treason, convicted, hung, drawn, and quartered on Nov. 26. What did pastor James do that brought such horrible consequences? He had preached: Jesus Christ is King of England, Scotland, and Ireland."
" When asked if he had anything to say why sentence of death should not pronounced against him, John James said: "Blessed be God: whom man hath condemned, God hath justified."