Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, 1843-1921

 

Dispensationalist and the Author of the Scofield Reference Bible. Scofield was born in Lenawee County, Michigan, on August 19, 1843. During the Civil War, he served as a private in the Confederate Army, the 7th Tennessee Infantry, Company H. He received the Confederate Cross of Honor for his service. After the war, he studied law in St. Louis, Missouri and moved to Topeka, Kansas, where he was admitted to the bar in 1869. He was a member of the Kansas legislature during the 1872 and 1873 legislative sessions and was appointed United States district attorney for Kansas in 1873 under the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant. However, in his legal career, Scofield began drinking heavily and ran up substantial debts. He was replaced as U.S. attorney and served a brief jail sentence for forgery in 1879. While in jail, Scofield underwent a religious conversion and became a Christian. As a neophyte Christian, Scofield was profoundly influenced and indeed schooled by the Rev. James H. Brookes, the minister of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis also known as ‘The Father of American Dispensationalism’. Brookes helped Scofield in his study of the Bible and introduced him to dispensational teaching. In 1883 Scofield was ordained as a Congregationalist minister and at the encouragement of Rev. Brookes accepted a pastorship of the First Congregational Church in Dallas Texas. Scofield was called as an associate pastor of Moody Church, Northfield, Massachusetts from 1895-1902. After this, he returned to his former Dallas church to continue his ministry. Scofield developed a correspondence Bible study course that became the basis of the work for which he is chiefly remembered, the Scofield Reference Bible, a widely circulated and popular annotated study Bible that was first published in 1909 by Oxford University Press. This Bible teaches the theology of dispensationalism devised in the nineteenth century by John Nelson Darby, and it was largely through the influence of Scofield's notes on the Bible that dispensationalism became influential among fundamentalist Christians in the U.S.A. This belief system sees a distinction between the Church described in the New Testament and the promises made by God in the Old Testament to ancient Israel -- i.e. there are two peoples of God with two different destinies, ethnic Israel (OT) contrasted to the spiritual church (NT). It is one of the intellectual foundations of Christian Zionism, a belief that Christians are obliged to support the Jewish state of modern Israel (as the people of God) not only as a matter of morality but as an item of faith. Scofield's work was based upon the King James Version, but in recent years his notes have been updated and applied to the New International Version as well. His study Bible has now greatly influenced several generations of evangelical pastors; although his ideas have gained widespread acceptance in evangelical circles their acceptance is far from universal. 1

 

1. Taken from the online Wikipedia Cyrus Scofield at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_I._Scofield


 

“So far as the prophetic Word has spoken there is not the least warrant for the expectation that the nations engaged in the present gigantic struggle will or can make a permanent peace. It is fondly dreamed that out of all the suffering and carnage and destruction of this war will be born such a hatred of war as will bring to pass a federation of the nations-The United States of the World-in which will exist but one army, and that an international peace, rather than an army.For once there is some correspondence between a popular dream and the prophetic Word. For that Word certainly points to a federated world-empire in the end-time of the age... It is, of course, possible, nay, probable that some temporary truce may end, or suspend for a time, the present world-war, for ten kingdoms will exist at the end-time in the territory once ruled over by Rome” 2

 

2. Taken from Futureverse website. No longer online. (hard copy available upon request)