1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
The Incredible Scofield and His Book by Joseph M. Canfield
Joseph M. Canfield’s thorough, critical review of the legends and historical inaccuracies about Cyrus Scofield and the Scofield Reference Bible (and later editions revised by others) included extensive documentation relating to Scofield’s divorce of his first wife and of his failure to provide for his daughters. Canfield observed that you will not find any Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition) for 1 Timothy 5:8 and for many other verses relating to Scofield’s personal failings. Even worse, Scofield’s notes have promoted dispensationalism and other false teachings used to promote endless wars and the destruction of Christianity.
As a boy, I bought a Scofield Reference Bible because of its cross-referencing system. This system meant that I did not need to carry with me a Bible and a concordance. Luckily, I ignored Scofield’s notes and Ussher dates as being only opinons. Unfortunately, many Christians assumed that anything appearing in a Bible was sacred.
Scofield claimed to have a Doctor of Divinity degree and used the title Dr. Scofield. However, researchers have been unable to verify any studies or any degree. Scofield did not study the languages of the Bible. Born in Michigan, Scofield moved to Tennessee, where he served in the Confederate Army during part of the Civil War (War Between the States). In Kansas, he was a lawyer, a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, and a United States Attorney for Kansas. He spent time in jail for fraud.
Scofield’s first wife came from a prosperous fur-trading family. He spent long periods of time away from his wife and daughters. Later, when he decided to enter the ministry, he divorced his Catholic wife and married a woman who attended his church.
Free from the Law by Grace
Instead of advocating a straight and narrow path of moral behavior, Scofield promoted antinomianism. Since people can never be perfect, the saved are free from the law by grace.
Scofield claimed that Christian churches were failing in a decaying world. However, if there will be a rapture soon, why bother to improve?
Even though Scofield had held political positions, he advocated that Christians stay out of politics because the world cannot be converted. While he supported having missionaries, his advocacy was based upon evangelizing, not on ultimate conversions. Powerful political elites will appreciate not having to worry about Christians who stay out of politics.
Scofield must have been surprised on his death bed because he claimed to believe in the rapture. He wrote extensive notes about Matthew 13 and the Parable of the Wheat and Tares (weeds, used to refer to wicked people). In this parable, Jesus spoke of burning the tares first and placing the wheat in the barn. Scofield twisted this to meaning set aside the tares for later destruction and take the wheat first. Hal Lindsey and others have sold millions of books based upon Scofield’s notes and other proponents of dispensationalism, such as: The Late Great Planet Earth, The Rapture, and The Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad.
Millennial Kingdom on Earth
While Scofield promoted the Postponed Kingdom theory, he provided few notes to the Bible to support the theory. Jesus disappointed those who wanted a Messiah to rule the world. Canfield critiqued the theory that Jesus will return to impose political or theocratic rule for 1,000 years and yet many will choose not to believe during that period.
Scofield’s Expensive Lifestyle
Canfield documented Scofield’s earnings as a minister and his royalties. Scofield could not have made trips to Europe and have lived in several homes on his income. Scofield was a member of The Lotos Club in New York City. Neither his wealth nor his literary achievements were similar to those of other members of this expensive club. Hopefully, future researchers will be able to discover the sources and the agenda of those who promoted the works of Scofield.
Peace or Endless Wars?
Scofield’s views ranged from having a world government and world police to Armageddon prospects for endless wars.
Words Have Consequences
Canfield provided detailed explanations of the errors and omissions in an earlier book about Scofield (The Life Story of C. I. Scofield by Charles Gallaudet Trumbull), a thesis, and in articles. Charles Carlson has posted more recent critiques of Scofield and of the Scofield Reference Bible. After comparing these sources, readers will be able to decide whether Scofield rightly divided the word of truth:
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Charles Carlson, We Hold These Truths
The Incredible Scofield and His Book