Dixon Cartwright on The Journal and his departure from it; plus COGwriter comments


A few days ago, I posted the words in the above article by Dixon Cartwright from the September-October 2017 edition of The Journal: News of the Churches of God (see Cartwright’s Journal out and he’s leaving, also Feast of Tabernacles, leaving an organization vs. leaving the COG, CEM, back page items, and Calendar ads).

In response to a question, Dixon Cartwright sent a letter to the anti-COG Painful Truth website about his reasons for The Journal and his stopping participation in it:

The Painful Truth  has reached out to Dixon Cartwright and inquired as to why he is shuttering the doors of the Journal after 21 years of providing all the churches a forum in which to express themselves. The following is the reply back I received. 

Well, James. You asked why are we (Dixon and Linda Cartwright) shutting down The Journal. Our last planned issue will be dated January 2018 and mailed out in early February.

We’re getting along in years. The same month The Journal turns 21 I will turn 71. I had a heart attack in 2011 and haven’t had the same level of energy since then that I used to have. I no longer have exactly the same reasons for publishing The Journal that I used to have. I started The Journal because my friend John Robinson shut down his paper called In Transition. I tried to get John to keep it going by giving or selling it to me. Our negotiations in that regard fell apart and we could come to no agreement. So when he stopped publishing his paper in January 1997 I started The Journal in February 1997.

My original intent for my newspaper was to help people maintain contact with other COG Christians across the boundaries of the various COG groups and also to provide a forum. We were kind of like a blog before there were blogs. We were different from In Transition in that John’s aim was to have two of his trusted friends check out articles before they were published in In Transition for correctness of doctrine. The friends were Ron Dart and Leon Walker. I did not share the view with John that that was an appropriate consideration for my newspaper. Rather, I welcomed creative essays, even those advocating unorthodox versions of doctrines, and did not feel the need to make sure they were correct or for me to agree with them. As a result, we printed many such opinion pieces — editorials, letters, essays — with many of them disagreeing with each other, frequently in the same issue of The Journal. My main consideration was that writers deal politely with each other in their doctrinal and political discussions, especially since people with different interpretations of Scripture can reasonably prove their varying doctrines from the Bible.

In the beginning I believed my publication, at least my reason for publishing, was almost a necessity: if not a necessity then something that I thought would be a worthy service to the brethren. I still think that it is a worthy service, but not a necessity. Thinking The Journal was almost a necessity was presumptuous and naive. I can further make this point by mentioning my opinion about salvation. I no longer believe salvation is fragile, so to speak. I don’t think Christians or other religious people must get their religion exactly right for them to enjoy eternal life and blissful consciousness in the Kingdom or heaven or whatever the goal happens to be. I do not think God, whatever is the exact nature and definition of God, would set things up that way. Some of my opinion about this is implied in the series I started in 2011 about the Bible canon. I’m still active in a COG (actually, more than one COG) and consider myself a COG member, but I’m not the same kind of a Christian I was in 1997.

I do get some flak from some of the anti-Armstrongism bloggers for supposedly being an “enabler,” as one of my critics likes to say. (He also likes to say I’m insane.) However, I’m not trying to enable anybody. I’m trying to provide a forum and an avenue for fellowship. I’m not concerned about supporting or refuting, for example, Herbert Armstrong or other preachers. If I enable people to communicate and fellowship and voice their opinions, then I guess by definition I am some kind of enabler. Bye.
–Dixon Cartwright

When I first learned about Dixon Cartwright’s planed shutting down of The Journal, I realized that his age and health were factors.

I have known Dixon Cartwright, essentially over the telephone, for the past twenty or so years. I started submitting articles to  The Journal decades ago. I remember the late evangelist Roderick C. Meredith, then of the Global Church of God (GCG), making a public comment that he would like his church to have an article in each edition of The Journal. So, starting then, until his departing from GCG in November 1998 and his starting of the Living Church of God (LCG), I tried to submit an article for each edition of The Journal. No one else in GCG apparently decided to do what Roderick Meredith said about The Journal, as I was the only one who seemed to have submitted multiple articles and small news items on a near monthly basis.

After  the Living Church of God formed, I still submitted articles from time to time.

While I appreciated some of the long articles and interviews in The Journal, I had concerns about doctrinal heresies that were promoted in many articles, and especially in the advertisements. I was particularly concerned that The Journal often became a forum for unitarian views. But with the death of unitarian Kenneth Westby in late 2016 (see Ken Westby died), that became less of an issue. But the positive side of him tolerating unitarian articles and advertisements was that I learned more about unitarianism, which helped me better explain why it was in error (e.g. see Was Unitarianism the Teaching of the Bible or Early Church?).

Throughout the years, although we had very different views on aspects of doctrine and the work, Dixon Cartwright and I always got along reasonably well. I would sometimes ask him for information on matters, such as how to contact various ones once part of the old Worldwide Church of God for research purposes. He would sometimes do the same with me, though I surely asked him for this type of assistance more than he asked me.

In late 2012/early 2013, when it was necessary for me to leave the Living Church of God and officially form the Continuing Church of God (for reasons, see Why Bob Thiel Left the Living Church of God), he was helpful getting me some information that was helpful to handle certain aspects of ecclesiastical information (such as providing COG literature on things like ceremonies, some of which is in or alluded to in the article Ceremonies: Marriage, Funeral, Baptismal, and Laying on Hands).

Furthermore, he published an article about my departure from LCG and the start of CCOG (see Journal Report on Continuing Church of God Leader Bob Thiel). The Journal also published information about the location of our CCOG Feast of Tabernacles’ sites, which helped various ones, not part of CCOG, be able to attend with us over the years.

The Journal itself seems to have filled a purpose, at least for Dixon Cartwright, that is about over. But I still expect to keep in contact with Dixon Cartwright myself.

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