Cartwright’s Journal out: JK claims Sabbatarians on Mayflower, NR questions the virgin birth, & AC reunion


The latest issue (says #181, print date February 29, 2016) of The Journal was sent out electronically and just received. This was another relatively short edition.

Items covered included claims about the Mayflower, a denial of the virgin birth, and an Ambassador College reunion.

Here is some claimed information related to early Sabbatarians as written by the late John Keisz (died in 1993) as currently reported in The Journal :

The history of the Church of God organization, as we know it in the 20th century, seems hard to trace accurately as to its origin. But, if we look into articles and letters still available to us that have been published in The Review and Herald (a Seventh-day Adventist paper), the Home of Israel (a Church of God paper) and a few references from the Seventh Day Baptist publications, etc., we may draw some conclusions regarding our faith and heritage. Sabbath-keepers in America can be traced to early colonial days. It is evident that there were seventh-day observers among those who landed on the American shores when they arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Local congregations developed in several of the New England states, in some of the Eastern, Southern and later even in the Midwestern States, as time rolled on. …

Were there really any Sabbatarians on the Mayflower, which brought the Pilgrims to America? The evidence seems to be in favor of their presence in the Plymouth Colony. In the month of December 1934 Hugh Sprague, editor of The St. Joseph Gazette (Missouri) wrote an editorial on this very matter, as fol- lows: “Strange as it may seem in the early history of America there was an attempt at suppression of the Christ- mas spirit. The stern Puritans at Plymouth, imbued with the rigorous fervor of the Old Testament, abhorred the celebration of the orthodox holidays. Their worship was on the Sabbath (Saturday), rather than Sunday, and Christmas in particular they considered a pagan celebration. “Later immigrants attempted to observe Christmas as a time of joy, but were suppressed. Governor Bradford, Elder Brewster, Miles Standish and other Leaders were firm against the yuletide spirit as we know it today.”

Sabbatarian and similar In a private conversation between Elder A.N. Dugger and Hugh Sprague after this editorial appeared, the latter stated that the Pilgrims were his direct ancestors and that he very well knew their religious beliefs and practices. In addition he stated that all his grandparents and great-grandparents knew that the Pilgrims of the Mayflower were strict Sabbath observers on the seventh day of the week instead of on Sunday.

While it is true that Puritans were opposed to Christmas, it has been disputed that those arriving on the Mayflower in 1620 kept the seventh-day Sabbath as the known facts suggest otherwise.  Notice the following:

However, despite the claims of Hugh Sprague, there is strong evidence that the Pilgrims actually observed a Sunday Sabbath. One good source of information on this question is the Journal of the English Plantation at Plimoth, which was published in London in 1622. This book is our earliest record of the voyage of the Mayflower and the establishment of the Plymouth colony. It gives a first-hand, day-to-day account of the experiences of the Pilgrims.

Two of the entries in this journal indicate that it was the custom of the Pilgrims to rest and meet for worship on Sunday. In early December 1620, the Mayflower was off the coast of what is now Massachusetts as the Pilgrims looked for a good location for a settlement. According to the journal,

“10. of December, on the Sabbath day wee rested, and on Monday we sounded the harbour, and found it a very good Harbour for our shipping … .”

Then for January 1621, the notes include the following:

“Saturday 20, we made up our Shed for our common goods.
Sunday the 21. we kept our meeting on Land.
Monday the 22. was a faire day, we wrought on our houses, and in the after-noone carried up our hogsheads of meale to our common storehouse.”

All the sources on the Pilgrims that I have examined agree that the Plymouth Colony kept a Sunday Sabbath. It is true, though, that Edmund Dunham, the grandson of Plymouth settler John Dunham, later became a prominent Saturday Sabbatarian [2, pp. 111-112]. (Ward, Doug. The Pilgrim Sabbath. accessed 0305/16)

Presuming the above account is true, then while ancestors to Hugh Sprague, possibly with some ties to an early European in North America, kept the Sabbath, this would mean that the original pilgrim settlers to Plymouth Rock did not.

Furthermore, I did my own research into the Journal of the English Plantation at Plimoth and found the following accounts:

But the next morning, being Thursday the 21st of December … Saturday, the 23rd, so many of us as could, went on shore, felled and carried timber, to provide themselves stuff for building.

Sunday, the 24th, our people on shore heard a cry of some savages (as they thought) which caused an alarm, and to stand on their guard, expecting an assault, but all was quiet.

Monday, the 25th day, we went on shore, some to fell timber, some to saw, some to rive, and some to carry, so no man rested all that day. …

Friday and Saturday, we fitted ourselves for our labor, but our people on shore were much troubled and discouraged with rain and wet, that day being very stormy and cold. We saw great smokes of fire made by the Indians, about six or seven miles from us, as we conjectured.

Monday, the 1st of January, we went betimes to work. …

Saturday, 20th, we made up our shed for our common goods.

Sunday, the 21st, we kept our meeting on land.

Monday, the 22nd, was a fair day. …

Sunday, the 4th of February, was very wet and rainy . . . Saturday, the 17th day, in the morning we called a meeting for the establishing of military orders among ourselves, and we chose Miles Standish our captain, and gave him authority of command in affairs. (Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, 1622, Part I. A RELATION OR JOURNAL OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE PLANTATION settled at Plymouth in NEW ENGLAND.  accessed 0305/16)

The accounts show that the pilgrims were working on Saturday, and seemed to rest on Sundays.

The Bible teaches:

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)

The account of the pilgrims showed that they worked on the seventh day, and hence did not obey God’s commandment.

It is not wise for Sabbath keepers to claim that those from the Mayflower kept the Seventh day Sabbath as the evidence is against it. Making improper claims can get people to blaspheme the way of truth (2 Peter 2:1-2).

In my view, The Journal should NOT have ran John Keisz’s claim related to the Mayflower.

Anyway, because it did, I decided to put together an article today about early Sabbath keeping in North America.  Here is a link to those who really want to know about it: Early Sabbath Keeping in North America.

The Journal also ran an article by Noel Rudd where he challenges the biblical account that Jesus was born of a virgin:

In this essay I endeavor to demonstrate that the doctrine of the virgin birth is the mother of all heresies.

I read over the article and was not convinced. While there were early heretics who denied the virgin birth, Church of God Christians accepted it as far as I have been able to determine, and I believe scripture clearly supports it.  That being said, while I do like Noel Rudd personally as he assisted me with some research years ago, I disagree with him on this. For some of what I researched on this, see the article Virgin Birth: Does the Bible Teach It?

The Journal also had the following announcement about an Ambassador College reunion:

The plans for the 2017 reunion in Las Vegas, Nev., of Ambassador College students from all three of the long-since-closed campuses are picking up steam as more events are added to the entertainment options for AC alumni. The reunion will run Sunday, March 12, 2017, to Thursday, March 16, at the Orleans Hotel and Casino. Bob Gerringer of Altadena, Calif., an AC Pasadena alumnus and one of several reunion organizers, mentioned that a Hoover Dam tour will become available to reserve, and also possibly a Las Vegas show. “We will also be providing information on some Las Vegas sites— many are free—and other shows, such as Cirque du Soleil, Headliners and more,” Mr. Gerringer said. He also mentioned that breakout sessions are in the offing. They will be “available Monday, March 13, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This spring we will send a survey to help us decide what sessions to offer.” Former AC Big Sandy students T om Williams and Clarke Hockwald are busy communicating with their fellow former Texas students and are modifying the Big Sandy website ( to allow them to register, reserve events and attend.

Ambassador College was started by the old Radio Church of God, which became the old Worldwide Church of God.  Neither the college nor that church organization exist today.

As far as The Journal goes, it also had the usual letters to the editor and other advertisements, various comments, and opinion articles. The advertisements mainly seem to be from possibly Laodicean groups and/or individuals (not all seem to be COG) who seem to think that the ads are somehow doing the work. More of the real work the COGs should be doing are in the article The Final Phase of the Work.

The Journal itself is available by paid subscription (though Dixon Cartwright says some subscriptions are free to those who cannot afford it). It tends to have a non-Philadelphian approach to many matters.

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