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Scofield and His Notes
The purpose of this site is to examine Classic Dispensationalism and other Theological trends affecting Christianity in our day and consider the tenets they espouse against the Bible, the website developer is cognizant that he is dealing with a discourse hat is highly complex to nail-down and yielding a number of theories with respect to Christ and His Second Coming if this is to be the case.
In light of the subject’s complexity this writer has embraced the understanding told to us by the Apostle Paul. We know in part and we prophesy in part [1 Cor. 13:9-12].
Covenantalism and Dispensationalism are the major two themes relating to eschatology that surfaced since the Protestant Reformation. Coventalism was a view that was held by the early reformers Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin. It was then embraced by the Luthereans. It predates Classical Dispensationalism by almost 300 years.
A core difference between Covenantalism also called Covenantal Theology and Dispensationalism also called Dispensational Theology concerns our Lord’s Second Coming. The Coventalists are given to Symbolic-Figurative hermeneutic when it comes to interpreting the prophetic parts of scripture, while the Dispensationalists predominantly cling to a Literalist approach.
Thus to the Covenantal Theologian, the 1000 year Millennial is not literally our Lord reigning from earthly Jerusalem as the Dispensational Theologian believes, but rather a figurative scripture that suggests our Lord is now reigning from heaven. .
Another salient difference between Coventalism and Dispensationalism is that the Church is essentially the natural progression from Old Testament Israel. All who come to Christ by faith are grafted unto the True Vine of John 15, and it is the Church that fulfills the promises of all prior covenants and dispensations made prior to its birth. Classical Dispensationalists do not see the Church as Israel. Rather Israel is the “Wife of Yahweh,” that is called to practice the Mosaic Law in the millenial reign, while the Church is “the Bride Of Christ” that was birth in the Dispensation of Grace at Pentecost. Some Dispensationalists believe there is “no difference between a Jew and a Gentile in Christ in the Church age,” however the more radical “hyper dispensationalists” found in the Missianic and the Hebrew roots movement believe that there is a distinction, and that distinction should be honored. Extreme Dispensationalists believe that the entire Church in the Church age is called to “live Jewish,” and not just the Jews in Christ.
The above distinctions are broad distinctions. There are several other distinctions and minutia – sufficeth to say, keeping track of charts and charters has driven this student insane!
In the detail, this writer regards the theology in both systems somewhat of flawed. Papias was an early church father who was born in the first century. He was a literalist who believed the Book Of Revelation was to be taken literally. Eusebius, the first comprehensive church historian, stated that Papias believed in the literal interpretation of Revelations because he was “a fool.”
While the notion of Dispensations—God has worked in different Dispensations—uniquely, in different “ages,” or Classical Dispensations as thought by John Darby and Cyrus Ingersun Scofield with its triune bonded structure of Dispensationalism, Premillennialism and Zionism [DPZ] has been a phonemana of the last 170 years or so. Prophecy with regard to our LORD’s Second Coming has been something this ideology has fueled. And, while many may honor Classical Dispensationalism for what they may say astonishingly and accurately predicting the formation of the modern state of Israel, the Prophetic Movements that spawned as a result were fraught with disappointment that encouraged the formation of cults. Many supposedly spirit filled dispensationalists predicted the Second Coming of Our Lord would be in their lifetime, and advised their following “to sell all they have and serve the Lord” only to be met with “the Great Disappointment.” There was William Miller whose prophesied our Lord’s second coming was to be 1847 and then when that failed he placed it at 1848. Both failed. The Great Disappointment lead to the birth of the “prolific prophetess,” Ellen White, who theorized the millennial reign would be in heaven. Following this was born the Jehovah’s witnesses who believed that they were the 144,000 of Revelations. They prophesied our LORD’s return for 1878, then 1881, then 1914, then 1918 and then 1925. Every single prophecy as to our LORD’s return as being prior to date has failed. Much of this phenomena in this writer’s view has been triggered by Classical Dispensationalism. The Plymouth Brethren, namely, Edward Irving, Mary McDonald, John Darby, and later in America James Brookes and Cyrus Ingersun Scofield were architects that help grow the movement. Prominent seminaries, Fundamentalists and Evangelicals in great numbers embraced the Scofield Reference Bible.
However some looked at Dispensational Theology with great distress. A. W. Tozer who many regarded as a prophet to the 20th century, is reported to have said per David Lutzweiler:
“One of the greatest disasters ever to have hit the Christian church in the twentieth century was the publication of the Scofield Reference Bible.”
While well known evangelists like D. L. Moody–founder of the Moody Bible Institute–embraced the Scofield Reference Bible, per Lutzweiler A. W. Tozer’s relationship with Moody Bible Institute was a tense and strained throughout the 1930s, and 1940s apparently doctrine based. Here it must be mentioned that Lutzweiler was personally hired by A. W. Tozer to work for the Christian Missionary Alliance that Tozer was a part-off. Tozer also “published some of the first articles” of Lutzweiler in the Alliance Witness.
Lutzweiler mentions that C. H. Spurgeon regarded Classical Dispensationalism “a Heresy.” Lutzweiler himself prefers to call it a “heretodozy” rather than an “heresy,” preferring to reserve the latter term for doctrines that specifically deviated from the Nizene Creed. Lutzweiler states the names of well known Christians who denounced the Scofield Reference Bible, and he himself became the author of the 4th biography of C. I. Scofield. In this he argued that the first two biographies on C. I. Scofield written by Charles Trumbull and John Bevier were hagiographies, the third written by Joseph Canfield sought to set the record straight, but incorporated a fatal error in part of lacking accuracy at some points in consequence exaggerating conclusions which brought his groundbreaking work into a degree of question. David Lutzweiler says he felt the need to improve on Josephs Canfield’s work and proceeded to write his own biography on Scofield using for his title, The Praise Of Folly: The Enigmatic Life & Theology Of C. I. Scofield.
While it is a very serious and grievous thing to speak ill of any individual, in the interest of cautioning my friends in the body of Christ of the deception associated with the Scofield Reference Bible, I am launching into what could be termed “character assination” which is a very serious thing in the sight of our heavenly Father if frivolously undertaken. Lord help me implement Ephesians 4:15
All I say about Scofield’s life below, is essentially what I have read. Much of this exists and can be researched on the world wide web. In the detail I may have used the wrong names as I am working from memory. I intend improving on this record as my research proceeds. However this is the gist of what I have read and what I believe to be is true.
I would like to say, that C.I. Scofield unlike TrumBull his first biographer who who asserted Scofield’s work was “God-planned, God-guided, God-illuminated, God-energized” had none of these characteristics. On the contrary in my view were resolutely neither God planned, guided, illuminated nor energized by God our Father. In conclusion my research has hitherto lead me to believe Scofield was driven by a “strong deception,” that he should either believe a lie, else work for notoriety or for money. [Psalm 106:15] The one thing that can be said about Classic Dispensationalism and the Scofield Reference Bible is that they both anticipated in terms of a seemingly prophetic manner the formation of the present state of Israel. However, I do not want to hang my hat on that one truth. While I would not go so far as to say that Scofield and John Darby were soothsayers per se, and some may accuse me of exactly that, I would simply say all prophecy is not necessarily from God even though it may be profoundly accurate..
Below are my comments taken from information gleaned from David Lutzweilter’s book: The Praise Of Folly: The Enegmatic Life and Theology Of C. I. Scofield. It also has information of what I could glean from persons who commented on Scofield’s life and work as gleaned from the World Wide Web — the Internet. Much of this information may be googled on the internet. Where I may have misrepresented what these sources have said, is a result of not being able to identify the “Chapter and Verse” in which I discovered this information. How ever I will be working or clearing error in my reporting in the coming days. Reader with this in mind proceed to my next paragraph gleaned from Scofield’s biographical sketches.
Before he was born again at age 36 he was by his own admission a drunk. He claimed a born again experience around 1879, at age 36, but his unstable ways and deceitful approach to life plagued him all through life. Scofield was divorced after becoming a Christian, the written statement being “abandonment” of his wife, Leontine Marie, daughters Abigail and Hazel; Before he got saved the brilliant Scofield got engaged in politics and at age 29 became the Attorney General for Kansas – a presidential appointee at the behest of Senator John Ingalls who Scofield campaigned for. Within significantly less than a year, Scofield was fired from being Attorney general for the state of Kansas, on embezzlement related charges. From then on he tried to make a life for himself away from his family. He was for a while in massachusetts, then St. Louis Moussourie where he was mentored by James Brookes a friend of John Darby. Brookes had taken Scofield under his wing after his conversion at age 36. After conversion via James Brookes, Scofield got acquainted with Darby. Till the age of 36 when he got saved, he was a self-proclaimed alcoholic. God saves many an alcoholic I am no better, however Scofield’s traits of being an habitual deceiver when the chips were down did not leave him. I believe Scofield conceived his way into success. It is said there are records to show that Scofield was imprisoned for 6 months on money related charges. I must add this has not been established. All I am saying is from articles I have read and the book In Praise Of Folly a biography of Scofield by David Lutzweiler. Scofield’s hagiography was dictated by him to Trumbull, and William Bevier’s Master’s thesis on the life of Scofield was shaved so as to portray Scofield in a good light. After all the Scofield Reference Bible had caught on amongst fundamentalists of the day and Bevier’s Father and he himself were acquainted with Scofield. Per David Lutzweiler Scofield embellished his own biography by exaggerating on his behalf as he narrated his life story to Trumbull. Scofield became a member of the exclusive Lotos Club in New York in approximately 1901, it is believed that he was nominated by a prominent lawyer friend who knew Scofield in New York. Remember Scofield was a lawyer. The Lotos club, was made up of leading playwrights, and artists of the day. Mark Twain was a member of the Lotos club as well. Scofield had not been to any seminary, but having found a way into pastorin, and the run of Christian work,. It is said he added a D.D (Doctor in Divinity) to his name quite mysteriously. No proof exists that he was even awarded an honorary doctorate by any institution. No records are there to demonstrate he went to a seminary. He was home spun, under a prophetic-Darbite spell and was born quite brilliant so as to make his way to being the youngest Attorney general of any state in the US at the time–age 29. Additionally Scofield told Trumbull that he fought through the whole of the Civil war, was given a medal of valor, and also an award from a French institution named Academic Francise (d’Historie Internationale) Joseph Camfield in course off researching his own biography attempted to investigative and deduced these were fabrications fabrications.
This is what I believe about Scofield having looked at his notes in the Scofield Reference Bible. Scofield was a Christian upstart. Mentally brilliant, after hearing Darby who probably influenced many of his notes, as well as obtaining a framework for them from Darby, he just got interested in Prophecy as many do. Being brilliant, I feel he must have thought in terms of making “it big,” within Christendom. His brilliance got him into the Lotos Club, where the “Christian Zionism,” that he learnt from Darby, Brookes found opportunity for success within the writers of the prestigious club now being influenced by Zionism put out by Theodore Herzel in Europe. The framework for the move of the diaspora into Israel by now though in its infancy were being discussed at the Lotos Club. The return of the Jews was anticipated to begin within intellectual circles. I feel Scofield felt he could use his brilliance to skew the Bible towards Palestine. And with this agenda in mind he went about making comments in the Bible. This is essentially what you see in his notes.
Scofield in the name of “rightly dividing the word of truth,” carves the Bible with the view of promoting Christian Zionism. This however, is undertaken with a singular focus in view – his goal is the success of Zionism. I do not at all feel confident that his primary desire was to glorify God by rightly dividing the word of truth. I think he was trying to use his skills for money and fame.
On reading Scofield’s notes, this is what I observe which others have to a similar degree.
Very Early in Genesis his notes Scofield What The SEVEN Dispensations are, and what the Covenants are within each dispensation. Seven Dispensations with more or less seven Covenants.
I really believe Scofield engages in a tactic. He has one essential goal in mind. “How do I ensure that I return the Diaspora into the Land,” with commenting as minimally as possible the reasons for their dispersion. “He cannot offend his Jewish friends at the Lotos Club, nor can he offend the Darbite zionized world of Brookes and the prophetic movements that are taking.
He highlights three covenants that he says are UNCONDITIONAL COVENANTS
Generally each page of Scofield’s Bible has the notes pertaining to that page all contained on the same page. The scripture text lengthened or shortened to accommodate the notes that belong to that page.
What you find in Scofield’s own versions I and II that his primary focus has little or nothing to do with the earlier dispensations. HIS GOAL IS THE FINAL DISPENSATION – THE KINGDOM MILLENIAL REIGN. With this overarching goal in view he constantly skews the scriptural text to get the dispersed Jews into the Millenial kingdom with as little resistance as possible. Dodging wherever possible an encounter with those Pauline scriptures which could legitimately challenge his ambition.
Scofield is a dodger, and his ploy is plain to anyone who wants to critically analyze his work. So when you get to the passages for instance in Leviticus 26, and Deuteronomy 27,28,29 is talking about the “curses” that seem to outgrow the blessings in terms of numeration, Scofield cross references you to the “Palestanian Covenant” and almost totally avoids talking about the curses. Else he throws in some “gobly gook” phyilosophical gargon to mask the real issue for why the Hebrews are being judged. Scofields happiest moment when he can take a breathe of relief is Revelations 12:2 [?] – The diaspora is back, his goal is a achieved, he has successfully dodged all challenges and has seen the Unconditional Promises fulfilled. There are several instances in the scriptures when the prophets or our Lord Himself or writers of the New Testament are referring to Israel and Judah as Sodom or Gomorrah, or Egypt or Jesus saying :”Abraham rejoiced to see my day,” or “If David called me Lord how can you say I am David’s Son.” Scofield completely skirts these issues or mollifies the seriousness of them.
Scofield since he has perfectly calved out his dispensations to put the dispensation of grace between Pentecost and the 2nd coming, does not know quite what to do with the sermon on the mount. So he said, in so many words the Sermon on the is primarily for the Jews it is actually the grace element of the law that the Jews were not practicing. And the Church functiong in the grace dispensation should not be that preoccupied by the sermon on the mount. I do not personally believed that our LORD was bogged down by the letter of the law. He was not of the levites, yet he went into the synagogue and thought the doctors with the authority of any levite.
The Apostles are referring to Israel and Judah in their apostasy as Sodom or Gomorrah and Egypt both in the Major and minor prophets and in Jesus does and tells the Kabbalized Rabbinical authorities that they are white walled sepulchres, and Peter knowing this calls Jerusalem Babylon. Scofield’s avoids commenting on this
Scofield is “known to be crooked” by what he says and does not say. And a zionized church including Fundamentalists and later the Evangelicals are under a spell.
The persons who curse the people are David in Romans 11, our LORD in Matthew 22, 23, and Peter in 5:13. There is a very good possibility that Jerusalem is the Whore of Babylon. But catch Scofield even touching this.