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Featured Thanksgiving and its Calvinist/Arminian Roots

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by 1689Dave, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    Robinson, John (c. 1575–1625), pastor to the *Pilgrim Fathers. Very little is known about his early life. He was a native of Lincs or Notts, probably studied at Cambridge, was ordained in the C of E, and seems to have held a curacy at *Norwich. He later became a *Puritan, joining the ‘gathered Church’ at Scrooby Manor, Notts. In 1608, owing to severe measures against Nonconformity, Robinson and his congregation were forced to flee to the *Netherlands. In 1609 he settled at *Leiden, of which university he became a member in 1615. From 1617 he interested himself in the project of his Leiden community to emigrate to America, as their strict *Calvinism had brought them into conflict with the *Arminianism of which Leiden was a centre. Though he was prevented from joining the Pilgrim Fathers in the Mayflower, he assisted them in their preparations and encouraged them by his letters. He was an able controversialist: in 1610 he published Justification of Separation from the Church, and in his Apologia (1619) he defended the principles of Congregationalism. He also wrote A Defence of the Doctrine Propounded by the Synod at Dort (1624). His Observations Divine and Moral, a collection of 62 essays on spiritual and moral subjects, was published posthumously (1625).


    Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (Eds.). (2005). In The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev., pp. 1412–1413). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
     
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  2. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Plimoth Plantation is a living history museum that preserves the story of the Plymouth Colony. It is a thoroughly secular organization, so its references to religious life in the early 17th century is from a purely historical perspective. Here is what they have to say about Thanksgiving:

    "The American Thanksgiving also has its origin in the faith practices of Puritan New England, where strict Calvinist doctrine sanctioned only the Sabbath, fast days and thanksgivings as religious holidays or “holy days.” To the Puritans, a true “thanksgiving” was a day of prayer and pious humiliation, thanking God for His special Providence. Auspicious events, such as the sudden ending of war, drought or pestilence, might inspire a thanksgiving proclamation. It was like having an extra Sabbath during the week. Fasts and thanksgivings never fell on a Sunday. In the early 1600s, they were not annual events. Simultaneously instituted in Plymouth, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Thanksgiving became a regular event by the middle of the 17th century and it was proclaimed each autumn by the individual Colonies."

    Of course, giving thanks to God is not just for Calvinists. All true Christians should give thanks.

    Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
     
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  3. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    Being a direct descendant of Myles Standish ( off the Mayflower ) and Barbara Standish ( off the Anne ) 14 generations ago,
    the story of "Thanksgiving" is a special one for me.
    Apparently, I've been given the privilege of being a believing descendant of some of the first believers that came to the shores of what would later become the "United States of America".

    As far as my research shows, it began with the people who founded and settled Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.
    Those people, as Dave has indicated in his post above, had fled to Holland from England during persecution and then most went to America on the Mayflower and subsequent ships.

    That first winter killed nearly half of them.
    That next harvest, they commemorated their thanks in a feast, inviting their native American friends of the Wampanoag tribe ( or so the story goes ) that had helped them through that first winter and in the months before and since then.

    But being one of Christ's sheep is even more special.
    Each day and periodically throughout my life, I have given Him thanks for His unspeakable gift...
    To know God and His Son ( John 17:3 ).

    That's where Thanksgiving begins and ends...in the heart, and towards God for His many gifts.
    No matter where a believer's current understanding of His word is, they can take comfort in knowing that their Saviour loves them and gave Himself for them.

    He will provide in times of need, and deliver out of times of trouble.
    That's His promise, and that is why we give thanks.:)
     
  4. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing this fascinating lineage. As I understand the Calvinist did not want Arminian influence on their children, and that was a key motivator in their voyage to America. I'm looking for my notes from years ago on that. But the article suggests this.
     
  5. Dave Gilbert

    Dave Gilbert Well-Known Member

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    I think it was definitely one of them.

    I encourage you to look into the other reasons that they were fleeing their native homeland, and I think that a more composite picture may emerge...
    Reasons like persecution from the religious establishments of the time, whose doctrines included a works-oriented salvation instead of it being a gift from God.

    For example, many people that would later be known as "Particular Baptists" would come to America from England and other places, and do so to escape that persecution.
     
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  6. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    How ridiculous.

    The Remonstrants (Arminians) were in the midst of being repressed by the Gomarists, who'd prevailed at the Synod of Dort.

    The religious toleration that had attracted the Pilgrims to the Netherlands was waning:

    Why the Pilgrims Left Leiden

    "a law was passed forbidding the collection of alms to support ministers, orphans, or old people outside the Dutch Reformed Church. While this was aimed against the Remonstrants [Arminians]...the Pilgrim congregation's charitable activities for its minister, orphans, and old people were nonetheless hereby outlawed, as were those of other dissenters such as Catholics, Lutherans, and Mennonites."

    "The mood of the mob had become ugly towards minorities...in April, 1619, Pilgrim James Chilton was stoned...leaving him senseless in the street....he had been mistaken for a Remonstrant [Arminian], but it was sufficient that he was not of the Dutch Reformed to arouse the suspicion of his attackers."

    "In June, 1619, a law was proclaimed forbidding all dissident religious services, declaring all contracts closed in them (marriages) to be invalid"

    "war against Spain was also threatening...King James had promised [the Dutch] help on condition that he would have direct control over all the English congregations in Holland. Assimilation to the state church of either Holland or England was thus to be enforced. Leiden was no longer a haven for the dissident oppressed."
     
  7. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Oh my word! So now we want to make Thanksgiving a calvie thing? Oh what lengths to prove we are relevant. stupid
     
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  8. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    Are you rewriting history? The OP suggests this along with many other reliable resources.
     
  9. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    It is a "Calvie" thing.
     
  10. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    The religion of the Pilgrims had grown out of the Puritan movement in England. With the English translations of the Bible at their disposal, they had decided to return their form of worship to a New Testament form, rejecting all of the formal rituals of the Catholic Church and the Church of England.

    During the later years in Leiden, their beliefs met some opposition and even heated debates at the University of Leiden from other groups such as the one led by the Arminians. By the last year there, the Pilgrims found themselves ridiculed and sometimes physically assaulted by opponents.

    In fact, James Chilton was stoned by a group of youths and nearly lost his life. The Pilgrim fathers "...therefore thought it better to dislodge betimes to some place of better advantage and less danger, if any such could be found."

    In the end, they concluded it was time to live as a distinct body by themselves under the Government of Virginia. Pastor John Robinson and the elders began to seek a refuge for the entire congregation.

    The Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony:1620
     
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  11. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    Its an arrogant thing
     
  12. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    We need the truth about the customs we practice.
     
  13. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Dave, can you expand on this comment?
     
  14. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    I think for one, Americans rob God of his glory turning Thanksgiving into a day of gorging and feasting and lewd entertainment. Without the slightest clue about the the Pilgrims and what led them here. Many church members are clueless as well. I've taught this view over the decades and have met with little love for the truth.
     
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  15. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for expanding on your answer.

    First, we know that the federal holiday of Thanksgiving is not commanded in the Bible. I am not talking about giving God thanks; I mean the formal holiday. While it is good citizenship to understand the roots of Thanksgiving (see post #2 in this thread), I would happily trade that knowledge among our nation's citizens for a true attitude of thanksgiving to God for all His provisions and manifold blessings. Please do not think I am minimizing Thanksgiving's historical roots. I am not. I am just focusing on having an actual heart attitude of thankfulness.
     
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  16. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    You can minimise what the Puritans incurred so others might stuff their faces. But I think anyone who loves the Church should at least be aware of their trials.
     
  17. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Dave, there are no Puritans in the Bible. I do not see the names of William Bradford or John Alden anywhere in scripture, do you? Also, I never said we should minimize the history of the Pilgrims. I actually posted information on the Pilgrims in post #2. I am stating that the federal holiday of Thanksgiving is not in the Bible. I am going to ask you a direct question and I would like a direct answer. Which is greater, historical knowledge of the Pilgrims or a genuine Christian attitude of thankfulness to God? Which is it, Dave?
     
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  18. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    Thank you Herald/MorseOp/Reformed/etc. !

    The OP's 'history' representations are sorely lacking:

    The truth:

    Chilton was not attacked by Arminians.

    He was mistaken for an Arminian (Remonstrant) by a Gomarist Reformed partisan mob at the height of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) mess:

    https://www.plimoth.org/sites/default/files/media/pdf/chilton_james.pdf
     
  19. 1689Dave

    1689Dave Well-Known Member

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    During the later years in Leiden, their beliefs met some opposition and even heated debates at the University of Leiden from other groups such as the one led by the Arminians. By the last year there, the Pilgrims found themselves ridiculed and sometimes physically assaulted by opponents. In fact, James Chilton was stoned by a group of youths and nearly lost his life. The Pilgrim fathers "...therefore thought it better to dislodge betimes to some place of better advantage and less danger, if any such could be found." In the end, they concluded it was time to live as a distinct body by themselves under the Government of Virginia. Pastor John Robinson and the elders began to seek a refuge for the entire congregation.

    Your version doesn't square with the overall climate.
     
  20. MB

    MB Well-Known Member

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    This is really odd History says that those on the mayflower were persecuted by the church of England defiantly not Arminian
    MB
     
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