The Darby - Scofield theology and thesis began in the late 18th century, it is based upon the belief that Old Testament promises given to the faithful called upright and righteous will be fulfilled in this present earth age, and to a nation of Israel. Their doctrines of ecclesiology and eschatology centers upon Israel of this age re-established with a temple and alter requiring blood sacrifice for sin. This teaching despite the New Testament and teachings of Christ is accepted by many Christian leaders. The tenet of this teaching is found today as marginal notation in the Scofield Bible, the property of Oxford University Press, this organization having added significantly to references well after Scofields death. Example of scripture notation's completely out of context, is inserted a warning from God implying that any nation that does not protect Israel (re-established in year-1948) will be judged harshly by God. The promise was made instead to Abram and his seed, explained in the New Testament (as singular, seed) meaning Christ, also the children of Abram from which the name Israel was to begin did not then exist. Darby advanced the theory of ages or dispensationalism by noting that each dispensation places man under some condition; man has some responsibility before God. Darby also noted that each dispensation culminates in failure. Darby saw seven dispensations: (1) Paradisaical state to the Flood; (2) Noah; (3) Abraham; (4) Israel; (5) Gentiles; (6) The Spirit; and (7) The Millennium. By his own testimony, Darby says his dispensational theology was fully formed by 1833. Concerning this Latin Millennium, it is found sorely mis-translated as a numerica of the era (Greek Chilioi - as plural article meaning Thousand's), and in this translation begins invalidating their entire dispensation theory. About the Scofield Reference Bible, Cyrus Scofield participated in the Niagara conferences, here was formed a board of Bible conference teachers in 1909 and produced what came to be known as, the Scofield Reference Bible. This work became famous in the United States with its theological annotations right next to the Scripture. This reference Bible became the greatest influence in the spread of dispensationalism. Their hermeneutical stresses a literal fulfillment of Old Testament promises to Israel, understood by most to mean the land Israel with return of the people now scattered. This "literal interpretation" is heavily debated today, many dispensationalists claim that consistent literal interpretation applies to all areas of the Bible, including Old Testament promises to Israel, as such a distinguishing sign of dispensationalism fact. Dispensationalists argue that the progress of revelation, including New Testament revelation, does not cancel Old Testament promises made with national Israel. This despite the New Testament that teaches Old Testament covenants and promises are fulfilled through Christ only, promises made not to a 'national Israel', but to a faithful and covenant people. Forgetting also both Old and New Testament prophecy regarding a new heaven, earth, and new Jerusalem, are not the same of this earth age yet to be destroyed in acts of desolation likened to beginning of creation, said to be punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. A background history of Cyrus Scofield would indicate that after young age in the civil war, being wounded and returning home, then inducted again upon which he deserts the South to find safe haven in the north, and in Kansas. Apparently in Kansas he finds a well funded supporter, indicated by acquiring a lawyer degree despite never attending a college for necessary education. This historic overview of Scofield is evident of powerful influence within the following records.
In 1877, Scofield had deserted his first wife and his two daughters and left them destitute. According to Wickipedia, this was "perhaps because of alcoholism," but Joseph Canfield asserts: "The very sudden quashing of the criminal charges without proper adjudication suggests that Scofield’s career was in the hands of someone who had clout never available to either Ingalls, Pomeroy, or anyone of the Choteau Clan. But, the career was to be of such a nature that Leontine, the Catholic wife, had to go." Scofield then took as his mistress a young girl from the St. Louis Flower Mission. He later abandoned her for Hettie Hall von Wartz whom he married in 1884. Leontine filed for divorce in 1881, finalized in 1883, listing "abandonment" as a reason. By 1877, Scofield was making a living on swindles and schemes including writing bogus checks. John J. Ingalls and Scofield became partners in a railroad scam which led to Scofield serving time for criminal forgery. In 1879, while he was in prison, a group of Christian women who had a jail ministry witnessed to Scofield where he is said made a profession of faith in Christ. He then began to study the writings of John Darby and embraced Darby’s theology about the rapture and the need for Jews to resettle the land of Israel. Upon his release from the prison, Scofield began to work in the evangelical campaign of D. L. Moody. In 1879, Scofield became acting secretary of the YMCA and was licensed to preach in 1880. This takes us to the 1917 Scofield Reference Bible with consulting editors in the project, being a subject of some debate. Apparently Scofield only meant to acknowledge their assistance, though some have speculated that he hoped to gain support for his publication from both sides of the millenarian movement with this way. With ownership of the Oxford University Press, it has since been slightly modernized in KJV text and a muting of some of the tenets of Scofield's theology.
DeWayne E. Benson
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