The Incredible Scofield and His Book: The Rise and Fall of a Liar

I took a look at The Incredible Scofield and His Book by Joseph M. Canfield on Chalcedon.com . While I did not buy the paperback – I prefer ebooks – I was able to read the pdf for free on the site.

“Dr.” Scofield was a corrupt man, fit to lead a foolish flock. Even his Dispensational System carefully skipped around the breaches of Divine Law Scofield preferred to indulge in, as noted on page 269-270 of the text, from “false oath of office” to “adding to the Word of God”.

From the book

Two parts stand out:

FIRST: When reading about Oxford University’s willingness to publish Scofield’s work in Chapters 28 and 29, I was expecting some implicit sign that the humanistic university — with all the pious fluff and church bells, for the sake of the gullible — had quietly decided to push the Scofield Bible, knowing how it’s dispensationalist system would emasculate and gut the power of the Christian Church.

There is no sign of such foresight: it looks like Oxford University simply knew what would sell like pancakes, and delivered the pancakes. Nothing more.

It wasn’t the cunning of the wicked, but the craven nature of the believers, that gave Scofield his success.

SECOND: On page 290 of the book, when writing his biography, Scofield chose to wrote:

—<Quoted text begins>—

SCOFIELD, Cyrus Ingerson, clergyman; b. Lenawee Co., Mich., Aug. 19, 1843, and reared in Wilson Co., Tenn; S. Elias and Abl. (Goodrich) S: pvtly fitted for coil., but univ. studies interrupted by breaking out of Civil War; m. Hettie van Wart, of Ypsilanti, Mich., July 14, 1884. Pvt. Co. H. 7th Tenn. Inf.May 1861 to close of Civil War; served in Army of Northern Va. under Gen. Lee, and awarded Cross of Honor for valor at battle of Antietam; admitted to Kan. bar, 1869, mem. Kan.Ho. of Rep. from Atchison and Nemaha cos., 1870-1; apptd U. S. atty. for Kan. by President Grant, 1873. Converted toChristian religion at St. Louis, 1879, ordained Congregational ministry, 1883, pastor First Ch., Dallas, Tex., 1882-1895,Moody Ch. Northfield, Mass. 1895-1902 and First Ch., Dallas,1905-7. Has lectured extensively on bible subjects in Europe and America. Mem. S. A. R. Colonial Founders, Soc. Colonial Wars, Club, Lotos, Author, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, 1885, Addresses on Prophecy 1909, The Doctrine of The Holy Spirit, 1906, Lectures on Galatians, 1907, Editor, Scofield Reference Bible, 1910, Bible of 1911, 1911. Head of Scofield Corr. Bible Sch. Home, “Crestwood”, Ashuelot, N.H., and Lotos Club, New York. Office, 156 5th Av., New York.30

 There are several inaccuracies in this entry:

 A. Misstatements or factual inaccuracies:

[snip for conciseness: see the original work for the list]

B. Omission of items pertinent but not known in Christian community:

[snip]

C: Items omitted from Who’s Who but circulated in areas where he ministered or among his followers:

[snip]

Most of the information sounds quite reasonable and would not be checked unless a devoted history buff were working on a serious biographic study of the subject.

But could the discrepancies not have originated through carelessness or misunderstanding? The likelihood of that is virtually impossible for the Who’s Who entry. The story of the law practice in St. Louis, widely circulated in Fundamental circles, has no support in official records. But it has circulated with impunity among Dispensationalists and Evangelicals. Such selectivity is not a matter of carelessness, but rather of careful calculation in deception and how much one may get away with. It further indicates contempt for the intelligence of followers. They could be expected not to check up on any stories, no matter how unreasonable or outlandish. If a system whose interpretation can be faulted uses calculated falsehood in describing its patriarch, can the system (Dispensationalism) have any credibility?

—<Quoted text ends>—

Having a liar as your founding teacher/pastor/prophet is fitting if your father has a natural affinity for lies.

Now, even I would argue for mercy on those who are simply fooled and tricked, as God had mercy on Eve.

But God’s people are expected to verify what is being taught by the words of the Bible and with the Holy Spirit. Also: if you naturally and reasonably want to verify the character of your teacher, any reasonable due diligence check would have revealed Scofield as the fraud he was.

The Leadership We Deserve

That brings us to the bite of the last quoted paragraph: “Such selectivity is not a matter of carelessness, but rather of careful calculation in deception and how much one may get away with. It further indicates contempt for the intelligence of followers. They could be expected not to check up on any stories, no matter how unreasonable or outlandish.”

Christians have earned the contempt of not only the intellectual world, but also earned the contempt of the numerous frauds at the pulpits, on the screen, and at the seminaries.

Every nation gets the leader they deserve.

So does every church.

Time for us to repent, and change our ways.

The particular lie of Dispensationalism is on its way out, but assorted racist lies remain a delight within Reformed and even (gag!) Christian Reconstructionist circles, as shown in the Voddie Baucham Faultlines affair.

This needs to end, if we want to win. Otherwise, God will see to it that we gain no enduring victory.

I should also note the obvious, the Progressive taste for their own yummy lies. Consider the New York Times selective obituary on Gary North (as discussed by David Gordon in his article on Mises.com).

But North himself would have not been surprised by the one-sided slander in the slightest.

In any case: evil people use lies to hide their failings and unjustly steal from others.

Even to the extent of robbing the very Kingdom of God of the victory if they could, and gut the force of God’s Law-Word as well.

But Servants of the Most High may not follow the way of the Father of Lies.

Rise and Fall

Note that Scofield only rose and rose during his life. His fall came later, after the cultural and spiritual damage had set in deep, with the Christian faith routed and in headlong retreat across the Western World.

That’s what hatred of God’s Law, coupled with an escapist-faithless attitude, gets Christians.

Just as Scofield (obviously) and his lazy slacker gullible followers (secretly) liked it.

“By their fruits ye shall know them.”

But King Jesus has chosen another way, the way of victory over His enemies, in time and on earth. Sacrifice… pain… trials… hard work… but, in the end, victory.

Let us follow Jesus — the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the Sinless Son of God — instead of a liar that opposed the growth of His Kingdom in the most cunning and effective way he could.

Those who serve God and His Holy and Just Kingdom shall rise in victory.

Those who serve Satan and his brutalist and oppressive empire shall fall in defeat.

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