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philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 The Scofield Bible: Blessing or Curse?

I recently received a private question about the validity of C I Scofield and his bible. It was not posed in quite such a confrontationist manner as I have expressed it, but I pose it thus to provoke thought polarisation.

Here is my response. Do you agree or disagree?

I used Scofield for about 10 years as a young Christian and his eschatology was mine. I developed a reputation as a teacher of such things, complete with charts and detailed timetables. :-o In the early 1970s I came to realise that I had received all of my 'eschatological light' from Scofield and none from the text itself. As a hypothesis Scofield 'worked' but I began to think there might be other hypotheses which might also work. I was influenced, to a degree, by exposure to other views held by godly men. In the end I put my Scofield on the shelf as a reference book.

Scofield's whole premise is something which I came to challenge. Was it the purpose of the Scripture to enable us to create a timetable of events? Was this ever the purpose of prophecy? I also came to resent the insertion of Scofield's comment into the text; it became impossible to read the scriptures without Scofield interference. I once heard that some Christian Brethren where offended by the fact that Scofield inserted the 'words of man' into the text of 'the word of God'. Tyndale had refused to do this; I think other translators, bible-creators would have been wise to follow Tyndale's example.

The real crunch was my increasing appreciation of the wonders of the New Covenant. Once I had seen the matchless completeness of what God had done and made available in Christ I could never really accommodate the idea of a Jewish 'ps' stuck on to the end of the world's history. This had the effect of aligning me with many Reformed scholars; a rather novel experience for me!

I am currently 'unconvinced' by Scofield and any 'dispensationalist' position. There were some who were much more extreme than him; E W Bullenger was one.

In conclusion,
1. Scofield's Views are unproven and unconvincing to me. I am not troubled by friends who adopt this view, as long as they don't constantly bend my ear to prove that he was right.
2. Scofield's Bible was an aberation and began a trend which continues to this day of men inserting 'paragraph headings' and other 'interpretations' into the sacred text. Perhaps it shows my high view of scripture, but I honestly don't know how they had the effrontery to do it. But then I object to the so-called words of Jesus in red!

I think Scofield Bibles, and Dakes' and MacArthur should be banned for young Christians. They will create lines of thought which inevitably become ruts, and anyone knows how difficult it is to get out of a rut once they are in it. I am happy for these scholars to have their opinions but let opinion be separated from the scriptures; young Christians in particular will not distinguish between inspiration and interpretation.

Even if a young Christian is not convinced by Scofield dispensationalism, he will have to reject the Scofield insertions in his Bible. This will make it increasingly to read the text of scripture as anything more than a proof document. The Bible becomes a commentary on Scofield, (Dake, MacArthur.) His devotional reading will become an eschatological battle rather than a drinking from the pure stream. Let the text be unadorned and let the scholars put their ideas into separate books.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/6/18 11:31Profile
dougkristen
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Joined: 2004/1/28
Posts: 360


 Re: The Scofield Bible: Blessing or Curse?

I like what you wrote, especially the idea of "separate books". As a new Christian almost 19 years ago, I received a Chain Reference Bible and it does not have any doctrine added to it, only a "chain" reference to other scriptures in the Bible related to that verse. Which I thought was helpful to let scripture interpret itself. While I came to Christ by reading many prophecy and Hal Lindsey books, I have since disregarded his writings. There is alot of doctrines out there and just reading the pure stream (sola scripture) is best.

Grace,
Doug


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a Jesus freak

 2004/6/18 11:39Profile
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 Re:

Is not Scofields bible more than prophecy, ie his reference system which its famous for?

Here are a few picture of him in the photos section:
[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/myalbum/viewcat.php?cid=69]C.I. Scofield[/url]


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/6/18 11:45Profile
Jimm
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 Re: The Scofield Bible: Blessing or Curse?

Mr. Bailey

I entirely agree with your statements sir. I was not aware of this fact, “Scofield's Bible was an aberration and began a trend which continues to this day of men inserting 'paragraph headings' and other 'interpretations' into the sacred text.”

I was doing a bible study with my family yesterday, and as they read the text, they were compelled to read the “heading” of the text. With this heading as a subconscious point of reference in your head, you are forced to interpret the scriptures in a certain way. I did not say anything because I am beginning to attain a reputation of being pessimistic and as a person who looks for problems in the world. It is very comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels this way. Thank you.

In Christ

James


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James Gabriel Gondai Dziya

 2004/6/18 11:47Profile
philologos
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 Re:

Quote:

Is not Scofields bible more than prophecy, ie his reference system which its famous for?

Hi Greg
Great photo. Where are you getting these from? Can you see the set of the man? He doesn't have a 'maybe' in him. ;-)

In a strict sense all Bible believers are dispensational. The Old giving way to the New Covenant is a dispensational statement, but while I would see this as biblical 'dispensationalism' Scofield and his fellow-travellers (and Newberry was certainly one) created a dispensational eschatology based on the parenthesis theory that there is a gap between the 69th and 70 week. I find this unnecessary and remain unconvinced.

I don't see how anyone can really say 'the dispensationalists are wrong'. I don't know, but I am convinced 'they don't know' either. It is the certitude with which they propound their opinion that I find irksome. When was the last time you heard a dispensationalist say 'in my opinion the current best-fit hypothesis would be'.

My basic point remains that I think they have misunderstood the nature and purpose of biblical prophecy.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/6/18 12:46Profile
philologos
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 Re:

Quote:
It is very comforting to know that I am not the only one who feels this way. Thank you.



Hi James, (please call be Ron or Philologos)
pedants of the world unite! ;-)


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Ron Bailey

 2004/6/18 12:48Profile
rookie
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 Re:

Brother Ron wrote:


"I think Scofield Bibles, and Dakes' and MacArthur should be banned for young Christians."

Me thinks your up to something. Stiring the pot!

I agree.

IN Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2004/6/18 13:28Profile
Jimm
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Harare, ZIMBABWE

 Not such a striaght arrow!

Hey Ron

I didn’t realize that I was being pedantic when referring to you by your last name. I guess it’s a bit of a “culture shock” for me over here; back home (Africa), it was almost blasphemy for a person to refer to an adult by their first name. My dad was very close to all his brothers and he referred to even the youngest one (there was a 20 year difference) as sir (as it is translated). Over here, I am beginning to see that it actually makes some people feel as if I am exalting them beyond measure, and that I am being too formal. In light of the fact that it causes more harm than good, I will try to lighten up from now on.

Your buddy

James


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James Gabriel Gondai Dziya

 2004/6/18 13:50Profile
philologos
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 Re: Not such a striaght arrow!

Quote:
In light of the fact that it causes more harm than good, I will try to lighten up from now on.


Hi James
The pedantic comment related to your 'fussyness' with the Bible text rather than formalism. What part of Africa is 'back home'? I have visited Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe and S Africa. I know the pattern of respect for 'gray hairs'; our western culture is impoverished by comparison. It is good as long as it doesn't become slavish.

As regards 'lightening up'. Just be yourself; you're with 'family' here.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/6/18 14:01Profile
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Re:

Quote:
Great photo. Where are you getting these from?


I actually got the scofield, g campbell morgan and moody photos from an old book on D.L. Moody's life by J. Wilbur Chapman. There are great pictures all the way through the old volume so I decided to scan some in. I am trying to amase more old vintage photos as part of the SermonIndex perservation facet of this ministry. Its quite inspiring in some cases and also interesting to see these men, as you noted yes Scofield does look quite serious and doesn't look like he's going to bug that much in his theology.

Quote:
I don't see how anyone can really say 'the dispensationalists are wrong'. I don't know, but I am convinced 'they don't know' either.


I have heard someone say we are all abit dispensational in our thinking whether we like it or not. I am not one to through out these men, they are a great fruit to the Church of Christ and the brethren (dispensationalists) are worthy of study and admiration. When it comes to estchatology I tend to ignore most pat answers and come to my own conclusions.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/6/18 18:28Profile





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