The Pilgrims Were not the Puritans, but Separatists.
Chuck Norris – WND Puritans and Pilgrims (Separatists) both thought the Anglican Church (of England) had become as corrupt as the Catholic Church (of Europe), and both were considered religious dissenters. However, the Puritans believed that the Anglican Church could be reformed, while the Separatists did not.
The latter were booted from England for their religious rebellion, landing in Holland for a while, but eventually setting their sights on a New World (a New Jerusalem) in the west.
Encyclopedia.com explained it this way: “Though theologically very similar to the Puritans who later founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Pilgrims believed that the Church of England could not be reformed. Rather than attempting to purify the church, the Pilgrims desired a total separation.”
The original Protestant Separatists didn’t proclaim themselves Pilgrims at first but “saints.” The roughly 40 Mayflower passengers who were Protestant Separatists called themselves “saints,” who hoped to establish a new church in the New World. They would have reasoned that “saints” is a term used in the Bible (New Testament) for all Christians, rather than referring to an elite few as in the Catholic Church.
Separatists called their non-church-attending neighbors “strangers,” as documented in a National Geographic article on the colony talking about both. However, it didn’t take long for “pilgrim” to become a term referring to all the colonists.