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3 – God’s Word vs Scofield’s Notes

Is God’s Word Taking a Back Seat to Scofield’s?

By Kathy Beardsley edited by John Beardsley – April 30, 2016 /Revised August 2018 (All Bible verse references are from the King James Version)


Scofield also took the avenue of publication, not within the Bible text, but by adding his notes (portions of which were plagiarized from Darby’s Bible) within the pages of the Bible. The most damaging evidence of his mishandling God’s Word and application of it, or lack thereof, is mirrored in his personal life.

God is the author of the Bible! By means of inspiring the men who wrote the Scriptures He preserved what He wanted to preserve for our sake. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

C. I. Scofield’s legacy is known worldwide because of his notes. The suppositions created from them based on his private interpretation as well as those from whom he acquired counsel is paramount to the reason the pretrib theory continues to this day. His legacy is one of deceit that has been: covered up by his partners in crime, lauded by some of those contemporary with him who were also ignorant of his true character, and denied by those since who have placed him on such a high pedestal no one dare question his error. Many wonderful, unsuspecting people have been indoctrinated into believing he has rightly divided God’s Word. These same people do not realize they are following an unrepentant forger, and divorcee who abandoned his wife and children.

Though the context of 1 Timothy 5:1-15 speaks to the proper care of widows, I believe verse 8 would be the general consensus of us all when it comes to the care of our families. 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.”

Well before his Bible came into print, and after his alleged conversion in 1879, evidence appears to show Scofield never repented, but instead went to great lengths to cover up (among other things) the fact he was a divorced man with children to whom he occasionally sent a pittance while he grew in popularity and in wealth. If Scofield’s divorce and abandonment of his family had been discovered, he would have been immediately disqualified as a spiritual authority of any kind. The divorce decree dated December 6, 1883 stated, “…the Court does find that the defendant has been guilty of willful abandonment of the plaintiff for more than one year prior to the commencement of this action.”

To this day in fundamental churches (where the rapture/tribulation teaching is most prevalent) if a divorced man had repented and proven himself to be a changed man, he would not be allowed a pastorate. It has been many years since the truth of Scofield’s life has come to light. This begs the question, why has Mr. Scofield been allowed a pass for so long? Wouldn’t he in today’s vernacular be labeled a deadbeat dad? Even now, so many years later the evidence is undeniable, yet the truth is denied, the exposers of the deception are scorned and Scofield has continued to be praised as a great and godly man. No one, regardless of how highly esteemed they are, is above the status of accountability. Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Being as the Bereans means to thoroughly study if these things are so (in this case, pretrib teachings), and if found to be questionable, we should look more closely at the author and or propagator. Many generations have staunchly taken up Scofield’s defense unwilling to see the proof for fear the pedestal they raised him up on would come crashing down. The well documented personal history tells a great deal about: his character, his hypocrisy, deceit, and the life long effort made to cover up his indiscretions, etc. Darby was not successful in pushing his belief of dispensationalism and eventual belief in pretrib, so Scofield and his wealthy underwriters stepped in and incorporated it into the notes of his Bible. Though it was not his first choice, he followed the advice of his publisher at Oxford University Press, and chose the King James Version for the best avenue in selling his Bible and receiving the highest profit from it. Thankfully, God’s Word will not return unto Him void (Isaiah 55:11) regardless of how man mishandles it, but the ends will never justify the means.

If Scofield’s personal life, before and after his alleged conversion in 1879, was made public, his notes would not have been given a second look let alone be allowed to occupy the same space as the Scriptures. Nor would he have been hailed today as a great and mighty man of God. If you take the time to read about the real life of C. I. Scofield, you may find yourself asking, how can a man with that kind of unrepentant reputation his entire life be given a pass while others who have repented of far less in their lifetime are looked on with scorn and forced to step down? The following is the true historical biography of C. I. Scofield.

[The following is taken from J. M. Canfield’s book The Incredible Scofield, condensed by Emma Moore Weston. A partial list of Canfield’s vast resources vindicating his thorough research is at the end of this article.]

In 1833, Elias and Abigail Scofield moved to Lenawee County, Michigan to help her father operate a sawmill on the Raisin River. Their home was on a cleared farm along the river.

They had four daughters from three to seventeen years of age. Their last child, Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, was born August 19, 1843. His mother died three months later. Not long after, Elias married again.

The older sisters soon married. Emeline married Sylvester V. Papin, from a prominent French family of St. Louis, March 19, 1850. He was a law student and became a clerk in the City Assessor’s office and later became head of the department. In 1855, Laura married a young dentist, William Eames. They moved to Lebanon, Tennessee. Cyrus’s sister, Victorine, was listed in the 1860 Census in Tennessee, as living with Laura and William.

Cyrus was not listed in the census records in either state. By April 1861, when Fort Sumter was fired upon, Cyrus was visiting his sisters in Tennessee. He never returned to Michigan.

Though not yet eighteen, Cyrus gave his age as twenty-one and enlisted in the Seventh Regiment of the Tennessee Infantry. In April 1862, he was listed as a patient in a hospital in Richmond, Virginia. There was no mention of a wound, so he may have become ill.

In July, he wrote to the Confederate Secretary of War asking for exemption from further duty stating that he was a minor and a citizen of Michigan. He also claimed that he had been visiting his sister in Tennessee when he enlisted, that he had never voted in the South and that his health was broken by exposure and battle fatigue. He promised that in a short time he would enter the militia in Tennessee.

On September 5, 1862, Cyrus was with the Tennessee Regiment when they crossed the Potomac during heavy fighting. A discharge was issued for Private Scofield in 1862 after one year of service. There is no definite record of where he was for the next four years.

Among the refugees forced out of the South by the war were the Lames family and Victorine Scofield. They moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1863 where Sylvester Papin helped Lames open a dentistry office. Victorine married and settled there so that was also the place Cyrus settled. Sylvester placed Cyrus in his office in the Assessor’s Department and directed his training in law.

While working in this office, Cyrus studied to become familiar with the law regarding land grants, titles, and deeds. He got his law education on the job rather than in school. His name is listed in connection with a case in Circuit Court of St. Louis County, December term, 1866. This is the first definite date that appears in Cyrus’s life after the Civil War.

There were dinners, dances and parties in the French society and Cyrus met Leontine Cerre, a Catholic society lady. She seemed taken with the dashing young man from Tennessee. Cyrus married her on September 21, 1866 when he was twenty-four. Daughter Abigail was born July 13, 1867. Marie Helene was born in October 1869. The family then moved from St. Louis to Atchison, Kansas.

Kansas politics was viciously crooked at that time and anyone in Kansas politics was suspected of corruption. Cyrus was deeply involved in it. Some of the problems involved his brother-in-law’s interests and squatters being ejected from illegally-occupied land. Cyrus had engaged a lawyer, John J. Ingalls, as legal counsel to serve the family interests. Ingalls later became State Senator and had to be aware of the corruption and bloodshed. Scofield had some sort of law partnership with lngalls who seemed to sponsor him.

In 1871, Cyrus was elected Representative to the Lower House of the Kansas Legislature from the Fourth District for one term. Re-nomination from that District was blocked, so he filed from Nehama County and was elected from the Eighth District. There is no record to show he ever lived there during that period. The Atchison Directory for 1872-73 lists the same addresses as before. In June 1872, Scofield’s first son, Guy Sylvester was born.

Though Ingalls served three terms in the Senate, he was very immoral and had no concern for the truth. He recommended his friend Scofield to President Grant for U.S. District Attorney for the Federal Judicial District of Kansas. Cyrus gave up his seat in the Legislature and took the oath of office on June 8, 1873. This ex-Confederate soldier solemnly swore that he had “never born arms against the United States.”

That was rank perjury. We know he did military service in the South. Evidently in 1873, he was not concerned about perjury. However, a legal conflict of interest brought his term as District Attorney for Kansas to a sudden end in less than six months.

An article on December 14, 1873 in the Daily Times of Leavenworth suggested something was amiss in the D.A.’s office. A case was pending against ex-Senator Pomeroy, and there were hints that Pomeroy paid Cyrus to keep the case from coming to trial.

A later Daily Times item reported that Pomeroy, Scofield and Ingalls were involved in “the most infamous of all infamous political bargains ever transacted in Kansas.” The reporter suggested that Ingalls and Scofield had received pay-offs from railroad officials and settlers in South Kansas. Cyrus resigned on December 20, 1873 and was not involved in politics again.

Now there is another mysterious time in Scofield’s life. Though he was responsible for the support of a family of four, he disappeared for a period of three to five years. One acquaintance said, “Scofield had a bad reputation, and he just skedaddled out of town.” In his story of Scofield’s life, Trumbull gets around this by stating Cyrus did not like the type of life, associates, and activities related to the D.A.’s office.

Leontine Scofield had problems of her own in this period. The son, Guy Sylvester, died in December 1874, a year after Cyrus resigned from the D.A.’s office. In the Atchison City Directory for 1872-73 Cyrus’s residence is still listed there. The St. Louis Directory for 1877 lists “Scofield, Cyrus I., lawyer. Res. 3029 Dickson, St. Louis, Missouri.” This means Cyrus had written Kansas off–along with Leontine.

Mr. Trumbull’s story states that Cyrus returned to St. Louis to practice law. But the publication, The Bench and the Bar of St. Louis County shows no evidence that C. I. Scofield was ever a member of the St. Louis Bar in the nineteenth century. Mr. Trumbull’s story of a successful law practice is in question since the Court Records of St. Louis show that at one point Cyrus badly needed a lawyer of his own.

According to the court records, Cyrus had signed a note for a $200 loan, which was to be repaid within sixty days. The note also bore the alleged signatures of Emeline Papin and C. E Betts. When the borrower tried to collect on the note after sixty days, however, he was unable to locate either Cyrus’s home or office. Between closing date for the 1877 City Directory and August, the “law” office had apparently been closed.

Both Cyrus’s sister Emeline and Betts declined to pay the note. A Sheriff’s Deputy stated that a petition was served to Betts on Sept. 14, 1877, although the other defendants could not be found in St. Louis. Emeline was later served a petition in Webster, Missouri. She claimed, though, that she had never seen nor signed the note and asked to be dismissed from the suit. In preparation for the hearing on March 1, 1878, Emeline’s attorney subpoenaed Charles Bass, a teller at the Boatman’s Bank, to testify on her behalf. After that, Simpson withdrew the action against Cyrus and Emeline, leaving Betts as the sole defendant with $219.30 owed–with the interest still accruing. There is no record of payment.

Scofield must have needed funds badly. On May 28, 1877, he took out a ninety-day note for $900, again with the supposed signature of Emeline Papin. This was case 46333. Again there was no payment. Emeline denied endorsement, and Scofield could not be located. A “successful lawyer” does not “blow town” to avoid a process server. It seems probable that Cyrus forged her name. There was a hearing on May 6, 1879, but the papers noted, “Dismissed on motion of the plaintiff.” There is no evidence that the man involved ever got his $900 or that Cyrus made any effort to pay.

Another case strengthens the belief that Scofield was quite active in forgery. Case 44326 involved another note with Emeline E. Papin’s signature for $250 on June 28, 1877. Emeline admitted later that she knew this note was a forgery. Her testimony on May 10, 1878 read: “Mr. Vollmer came out to the house and handed me a letter… I understood that there was a note due and that my brother was in great danger.” It is hard to know whether she was a willing collaborator or if she was unaware her name was being used. According to the understanding in dispensational circles, Cyrus was by this time in the Kingdom and starting on the road to righteousness.

There is no evidence that Cyrus was a successful lawyer serving a respectable clientele. There were periods unaccounted for in his life at this time. It has been assumed that Leontine decided to leave Cyrus at the time and returned to Atchison. In fact, she had never left Atchison. Cyrus’s role as husband and father had been irregular ever since he entered politics. Without regular employment and income, he wandered. As Trumbull tells it, he led the life of a bachelor.

The charges in the forgery lawsuits were dropped without proper adjudication, suggesting that Scofield’s career was in the hands of someone with greater “clout” than Pomeroy or lngalls had ever known. However, that career meant Leontine, the Catholic wife, had to go. According to the Scripture (1 Tim 5:8), a man who does not provide for his own household is worse than an infidel, although that did not appear to phase Cyrus; he never made any effort to clean up the black marks on his record.

The 1912 edition of Who’s Who in America places Scofield’s conversion sometime in 1879, and Trumbull indicates as much in his biography. However, the only definite dates in 1879 tend to raise doubts about what happened and when.

When did the conversion occur? Scofield says he was converted at the age of thirty-six, and it has been assumed the event did take place sometime before D. L. Moody’s 1879-80 Evangelistic Campaign. This places the conversion sometime after his thirty-sixth birthday on August 19, 1879 and before the first meeting of Moody’s ministers in St. Louis on November 25, 1879. As late as November 6, though, Cyrus was still involved with a forgery charge, and that case’s records do not agree with the picture of a new convert trying to right matters of the past. Of course, God forgives the past and changes a man into a new creature if he is really born again (2 Co 5:17), but one expects to see a change of behavior. The details of Cyrus’s conversion are not supported by public records, so we do not know the whole truth about the conversion of a man who has profoundly influenced the church.

As the forgery cases were being dismissed with unseemly haste and without fair settlement, Cyrus entered his new role as a worker at the Moody meetings. Of course, until 1879, Cyrus was close to illiterate in things Christian, so it is unclear what role he could have played in Moody’s campaign.

Scofield’s Christian service was sponsored by Reverend James Brookes, the pastor of St. Louis’s Walnut Street Presbyterian Church. As Scofield’s ideas on prophecy began to take shape, they were sparked by the teachings of his sponsor who was in turn influenced by John Nelson Darby. About 1850, Darby began publishing his dispensationalist writings in Europe, and from 1862 to 1877, he made seven lecture trips to America and Canada to promote his teachings. Brookes’s views of a failing church were also influenced by other theologians who wanted the same prophetic view taught and accepted.

Remarkably, with such limited theological background and training, as well as little real scholarship, Scofield was able to profoundly alter Christian theology. Indeed, the shape of fundamentalism, which has claimed to be Orthodox Christianity, has been determined by the influence of dubious characters like Scofield.

During this time, Friedrich A. Tholluck was teaching something more apostolic. In his study, Light From The Cross, he states his belief in a triumphant church prevailing on earth against Satan (Moody Press, Chicago, 1852.) He places the “Great Tribulation” in A. D. 70, rather than modern doomsday prophecies which foresee freeways littered with driver-less cars. The failure of Tholluck’s views to remain prevalent in this country is largely due to the activities of Darby, Brookes and Scofield.

While involved in Moody’s campaign, which remained in St. Louis until April 1880, Cyrus avoided the reality of securing an income for himself or support for his family left in Atchison, Kansas. He paid his room rent, but sent very minimal amounts of money to his wife, and only occasionally.

After the Moody meetings, Cyrus became Acting Secretary of the St. Louis Y.M.C.A. in August 1880. If he still had a law practice, it did not intrude on his Y.M.C.A. duties.

In July 1880, Cyrus joined the Pilgrim Congregational Church of St. Louis. Rev. D.C. Goodell, the pastor, was a personal friend of Brookes and apparently agreed with Brookes’s views on prophecy. The church issued Scofield a license to preach. He organized and pastored the Hyde Park Congregational Church of St. Louis, where he continued until the summer of 1882. Then someone suggested that he might be the man to fill a vacancy in their Dallas, Texas church.

On July 28, 1881, about the time Cyrus was licensed, Leontine Scofield had divorce papers drawn up, although case number 2161 was not filed until December 9, 1881. Leontine charged that Cyrus had absented himself, abandoned the family, and neglected his duties. Further, she charged that he had failed to contribute to the family’s economic well-being. Scofield denied each and every allegation. The Court issued a decree for Leontine, but somehow the divorce never became final. In March 1882, Cyrus’s lawyer requested a dismissal, which was granted. The case remained in limbo.

Cyrus never disclosed that he had a wife to his congregation; in fact, he gave them the impression that he was a bachelor. In 1883, Leontine became a librarian at the Atchison Public Library. On October 1, 1883, she filed a second divorce petition, and on December 8, 1883 the divorce was granted. Divorce papers deemed Cyrus unfit for custody of the children.

It is assumed that the character of a candidate for a pastorate would be carefully evaluated. No such evaluation could have been made by the church in Dallas, Texas. Converted for less than four years at the time, Cyrus had no theological training and limited formal schooling. He had been admitted to the Bar in Kansas, but had abused that privilege. He was separated from his Catholic wife and family without the benefit of a divorce.

Scofield had received a fair amount of publicity during his political life in Kansas. His sudden disappearance at the beginning of 1874 left editors wondering. The contrast between the politician of 1873, the scalawag of 1874, and the minister of 1881 was too profound to ignore. So we find a Scofield story in the Atchison Patriot that was picked up by the Topeka paper, August 27, 1881. It follows, with the journalist’s misspelling of Scofield’s name intact:

CYRUS I. SCHOFIELD [sic] IN THE ROLE

OF A CONGREGATIONAL MINISTER

“CYRUS I. SCHOFIELD [sic], formerly of Kansas, late lawyer, politician and shyster generally has come to the surface again, and promises once more to gather around himself that halo of notoriety that has made him so prominent in the past. The last personal knowledge Kansans have had of this peer among scalawags was when about four years ago, after a series of forgeries and confidence games, he left the state and a destitute family and took refuge in Canada. For a time he kept undercover; nothing being heard of him until within the past two years when he turned up in St. Louis, where he had a wealthy widowed sister living who has generally come to the front and squared up Cyrus’s little follies and foibles by paying good round sums of money. Within the past year, however, Cyrus committed a series of St. Louis forgeries that could not be settled so easily, and the erratic young man was compelled to linger in the St. Louis jail for a period of six months.

“Among the many malicious acts that characterized his career was one peculiarly atrocious that has come under our personal notice. Shortly after he left Kansas, leaving his wife and two children dependent upon the bounty of his wife’s mother, he wrote his wife that he could invest some $1,300 of her mother’s money, all she had, in a manner that would return big interest. After some correspondence, he forwarded them a mortgage, signed and executed by one Charles Best, purporting to convey valuable property in St. Louis. Upon this, the money was sent to him. Afterwards the mortgages were found to be base forgeries, no such person as Charles Best being in existence, and the property conveyed in the mortgage fictitious.

“In the latter part of his confinement, Schofield, under the administration of certain influences, became converted, or professedly so. After this change of heart, his wealthy sister came forward and paid his way out by settling the forgeries, and the next we hear of him he is ordained as a minister of the Congregational Church, and under the chaperonage of Rev. Goodell, one of the most celebrated divines of St. Louis. He causes a decided sensation.

“It was known that Schofield was separated from his wife, but he had said that the incompatibility of his wife’s temper and her religious zeal in the Catholic Church was such that he could not possibly live with her.

“A representative of “The Patriot” met Mrs. Schofield today, and that little lady denies, as absurd, such stories. There were never any domestic clouds in their homes. They always lived harmoniously. As to her religion, she was no more zealous than any other church member. She attended service on the sabbath and tried to live as becomes a Christian woman and mother. It was the first time she had ever heard the objection raised by him. As to supporting herself and children, he had done nothing. ‘Once in a great while, say every few months, he sends the children about $5, never more. I am employed with A. L. Gignac and Co. and work for their support and mine. As soon as Mr. Schofield settles something on the children to aid me in supporting them and giving them an education, I will gladly give him the liberty he desires. I care not who he marries, or when, but I do want him to aid me in giving our little daughters the support and education they should have.'”

If the Dallas church officials had read the newspapers there might have been a different outcome to this story. The Scripture says, “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (1Tim. 3:7.)

Cyrus had a terrible report with the public but was on his way to take a pastorate. He seemed to arrive in Dallas with little luggage. New books came regularly and were used in preparing sermons. If Scofield began “cramming” for ordination as early as April 1882, either Goodell with Brookes’s assistance, was doing a “snow job” among the Congregationalists or else someone not yet discovered had chosen Scofield for a ministerial role, as a step to something else.

On his first full day in Dallas, he spoke twice to small crowds. After one year, the membership was up to seventy-five, including, as new attendants, the VanWark family. Hettie VanWark and her sister joined in December 1883. Cyrus began paying attention to Hettie. Their marriage certificate is dated March 11, 1884, but Cyrus gave the date as July 14, 1884.

Scofield started cottage prayer meetings that were popular and added members to the church. His call as pastor for a one year term came October 22, 1882. In June 1883, his salary was set at $1,500 a year. His ordination to the ministry in October 1883 was conducted while he was a defendant in the second divorce proceeding, which became final in December 1883.

His ordination statement, read in part: “I hold that such faith is always accompanied by that sincere repentance which involves a change of mind toward God, and in respect of the guilt of sin.” His “repentance,” however, did not include restitution to the men involved in the forgery cases or making up for the neglect of his family.

God seemed to bless Cyrus as his church grew numerically. After four years, the church was able to assume its own support. The American Home Missionary Society offered Cyrus the position of Superintendent for Louisiana and Texas. He accepted and served for many years. It meant that he would be absent from July to October to minister at Bible conferences.

He also taught classes at the Y.M.C.A. and training classes for ministerial students.

By 1888, the church had 250 more members and built a new church. Hettie was pregnant then and their son, Noel Paul, was born December 22, 1888.

A Southern Baptist minister, J. R. Graves, published a book, The Work of Christ Consummated in Seven Dispensations in 1883. It has a dispen-sational scheme quite similar to the one which Cyrus used later in the Scofield Reference Bible. Of course, both were similar to the writings and lectures of J. N. Darby of a few years earlier. This work of Graves was circulated in Scofield’s area. Judging from his later dispensationalism, Darby, Graves, Trotter and Kelly must have contributed a great deal.

In 1888, Scofield printed Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth to teach his classes the dispensational view. In 1856, a godly Scot named Patrick Fairbairn wrote a scripturally-based refutation of the whole dispensational business. Unfortunately, Scofield was not enlightened on the matter. The Dallas church agreed to lengthy vacation periods so Cyrus could minister wherever called, carry on the Home Missionary Society work and speak at conferences. They wanted to keep him as their pastor, so they willingly let others fill in for the five months of the year during his absence. These Bible conferences were to reshape a significant part of American Protestantism.

During this time, Scofield was the head of Southwestern School of the Bible in Dallas, the forerunner of the Dallas Theological Seminary. This school is now a major center for spreading Scofield’s views.

The heart of Scofield’s system is the teaching of prophecy that proponents claim restores “lost truth,” which has been lost since the early days of the church. These were actually the heresies lost since Cerinthus in the first century and Ribera in the sixteenth century. Darby’s dispensational schemes were promoted at Bible conferences, particularly the ones at Niagara Falls. The leadership was in the hands of James H. Brookes until his death in 1897. Later, A. C. Gaebelein took the lead but was unable to keep it going. There was “rupture over the rapture” as differing views were held.

As one early writer said, “There is not a Bible teacher or anyone else living in the world today, who has found a secret rapture in the Bible by his own independent study of the Bible itself. These teachers come to the Bible with cut and dried theories which they have learned elsewhere, and twist and torture texts to fit the theory.”

This Scofield teaching is concerned with a literal Jewish kingdom to last for a millennium. It was first brought into the early church by some Jews who still could not give up the hope taught to them by the scribes and Pharisees. The Bible does not teach it, and the disciples who had been taught it, rejected it after Pentecost. Jesus warned about it in Mt 16:6-12. Scofield’s work was calculated to promote certain ideas. We must ask ourselves if Jesus ever offered or announced himself as an earthly King or claimed David’s throne? Had he ever in any way suggested he was going to set up an earthly kingdom? He said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world, if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (Jn 18:36.) They could not prove him guilty before Pilate of any offense against Rome.

Philip Mauro, author of numerous books on prophecy in the 1940s, has pointed out that in the New Testament the kingdom is mentioned 139 times. But Scofield avoids comment on 118 of them because they will not sustain the postponed kingdom theory.

In 1890, Scofield started a Bible Correspondence Course which he directed until 1914 when it was taken over by the Moody Bible Institute. Tens of thousands of students scattered over the world were indoctrinated with his dispensational ideas.

Dwight L. Moody was born in Northfield, Massachusetts and in his later years made his home base there. In 1895, Moody’s home church called Scofield to be its pastor for a year which meant Cyrus had to leave Dallas and sever connections with the Missionary Society.

In January 1896, Cyrus submitted his final report for his ministry in Dallas reviewing his fourteen years there. Membership had grown from 14 to 812. The active membership was 533. He sent the report from Northfield, where he was already at work. He arrived there early in 1896, but there was no mention of Hettie or son Noel.

At the end of the year, the Dallas Church called for him to return at a salary of $2,400 a year with two months annual leave. He declined the offer as two months would not be enough time for his wider ministry. He suggested that they seek another pastor and moved his membership to the Northfield church.

In April 1897, Cyrus received word that Dr. James Brookes had died. Later Scofield wrote of him, “My own personal obligations to him are beyond words. He sought me in the first days of the Christian life and was my friend and first teacher in the oracles of God.”

Moody also established the Northfield Summer Conferences for Scripture searching and heart searching. These continued for many years. Robert Scott of Morgan and Scott, a British publishing house linked with the Plymouth Brethren, met Scofield there. That played a role in Cyrus’s later life.

Friends raised money in 1898 to build a chapel on the Northfield campus for Moody’s sixtieth birthday. It was finished in 1899, shortly before Moody died. The chapel was organized as a church in November 1899 and held its first service. Cyrus Scofield was called as pastor. He remained there three more years.

In 1901, several men wanted to revive the Niagara Conferences. A[n] estate was made available at Sea Cliff on Long Island. Arno Gaebelein was at one of the first conferences. Cyrus took leave of his church in Northfield. He reported later that he and Gaebelein walked on the shore until midnight, and Cyrus told him of his plan to produce a reference Bible.

At this time, Scofield purchased eight and a quarter acres of land in the village of Ashuelot, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. He was eager to erect a building on it.

In 1901, Scofield was admitted to membership in the Lotos Club in New York City. This is an exclusive club founded by prominent New Yorkers such as Whitelaw Reid of the N.Y. Tribune and Samuel Untermeyer, the notorious criminal lawyer. Untermeyer was on the Club’s Literary Committee when Scofield’s application was presented. “The club was to promote social intercourse among journalists, artists and members of musical and dramatic professions and representatives, amateurs, and friends of literature, science and the fine arts. At least one third of the members shall be connected with said classes.” Someone must have thought Cyrus could qualify in the literary category. Scofield’s “postponed kingdom” teaching was most helpful in getting Fundamental Christians to back the international interest in the Zionist movement.

Scofield kept up his Club membership until his death. The selection of Scofield for admission to the Lotos Club strengthens the suspicion that someone was directing his career by concerns remote from fidelity to the truth of Jesus Christ.

Because Cyrus was in poor health, he resigned from the Northfield pastorate. By early February 1903, he had settled affairs in Northfield and returned to take up his duties in Dallas. He still covered his summer circuit. Later that year, he realized he must either give up the church or the work on the Bible.

By early 1904, a trip to Europe was planned for research. (No mention is made of Noel on this trip that lasted nine months.) As Trumbull describes it, research there was presumably necessary for a full rounded understanding of all view points.

Mr. Scott, the Morgan and Scott publisher who first met Scofield at Northfield, took the Scofields to his home near Dorking. As Trumbull reports the story, the men discussed a publisher. Mr. Scott took Cyrus to see McHenry Frowde, head of the Oxford Bible Publishing House of Great Britain. He was interested and said he would consult Mr. Armstrong, head of the American Branch of Oxford University Press. And so it happened that the great publishing house of the English speaking world would publish the Scofield Bible.

After about two months in England, the Scofields went to Switzerland, settling at Montreux where Cyrus planned to work on the Bible. However, he was sick and unable to work for four months. Either Scofield or Trumbull slipped up on the story, though, for two pages later Trumbull reports that Scofield spent nine months at Montreux in uninterrupted labor. Gaebelein states that this illness was in 1906, although other sources have Cyrus in Michigan at that time.

Scofield had a supply of large page, wide margin notebooks purchased for the Bible work. While Cyrus was sick, Hettie cut up an entire Bible and pasted it page by page in the notebooks. Later, Cyrus put his notes beside the text.

Before that time, though, the Scofields returned to Dallas because of lack of funds. It was 1905. The church still wanted him for its pastor, but it needed more attention than he could give and work on his notes. The church called Reverend Irving Carrott as associate pastor at a salary of $1,500 yearly and retained Scofield as pastor with a salary of $1,000 a year. That hardly seems enough to support a family and pay his Lotos Club dues. In January 1906, though, the church raised the salary to $3,000 a year, and gave him his freedom to travel.

Cyrus became ill again and went to a sanitarium in Clifton Springs, New York to gain strength and to work on his notes. It appears that they went by way of New York for he wrote to Gaebelein on Lotos Club stationery dated 2 Sept. 1905: “By all means follow your own views of prophetic analysis. I sit at your feet when it comes to prophecy and congratulate in advance the future readers of my Bible on having in their hands a safe, clear, sane guide through what to most is a labyrinth.” Many believe Gaebelein had much to do with the shaping of Scofield’s dispensational prophetic views.

Miss Ella Pohle, who had helped with the Bible Correspondence Course, joined the Scofields to help with the work for the next year. By May 1906, the three went to New York City with the notebooks. While Cyrus stayed at the Lotos Club, Hettie and Ella stayed some place where work was continued on cross references. Later in May, they moved to New Hampshire to the Crestwood Camp where they stayed in tents–one large one for living and a smaller tent for working.

Scofield’s biographers do not agree on this period. Gaebelein has Cyrus going to Europe in 1904 for two years, falling ill in Montreux for four months in 1906 and arriving back in New York on May 27, 1906.

He supports this by a letter dated May 27, 1906 from Crestwood Camp. If that letter is valid, ship arrivals should show one which fits the travel story. Of the eleven ships arriving that day, none fit the story.

The Bible work continued through 1906, and Cyrus was in constant contact by mail with his seven consulting editors: Arno C. Gaebelein, Henry G. Weston, James M. Gray, Arthur T. Pierson, W. G. Moorhead, William Erdman and Elmore Harris.

In September 1906, Scofield wrote to the Dallas church of his need to go to London for more study. Again the notebooks went to Europe with the Scofields. Once more the biographers are mixed up. Trumbull states that the Scofields stayed in Europe for two years, but this conflicts with church records. Trumbull writes, “The treasures of the Oxford libraries were fully at the disposal of the man who was making himself a Bible scholar by mastering the Bible scholarship of the world…He covered the whole field of such scholarships whether friendly or unfriendly–to the Bible.” (To cover the whole field is patently impossible in the time available.) He did not give a lifetime to study as real scholars have done.

There are so many discrepancies in the stories of this trip, which brings up the suspicion that the trips were for effect and publicity. Finally, in less than one year, the Scofields were back at Crestwood Camp and were again joined by Ella Pohle. The manuscript boxes were stored in a small workshop and the work was done in a small tent. A fire burned the living quarters, but the work tent and shed and all the notebooks were unharmed.

In June, they left Ashuelot and went to Lake Orion, Michigan to do the work. En route, Cyrus went via New York and, on June 5, 1907, signed the contract with the Oxford University Press for publication of the Scofield Reference Bible. It was officially published on January 15, 1909.

Harry Ironside, a dispensationalist and pastor of Moody Memorial Church, Chicago, said, “Alas, how ready are well-meaning people to put the ministry of human teachers in the place of the Holy Scriptures and almost unconsciously begin ‘teaching for doctrines the commandments of men’ never realizing his indictment could be applied to the very system he spent his life defending and propagating.”

One wonders why Scofield’s work took seven years. His ideas had been formulated (or handed to him) early in his ministry. His teaching and correspondence course had followed along the same lines. The Plymouth Brethren, his spiritual forebears, had extensively published Darby’s writings, which he could have culled.

Trumbull said, “Scofield was concerned to find and state exactly what the Bible itself had to say on any and every point.” But there are gaping omissions. Scofield does not comment on verses dealing with divorce, family responsibilities and breaches of moral and/or civil law:

His own litany of such breaches:

1873 –false oath of office

1874 –taking bribes

1874 –failure to provide for family

1877 –fraud and forgery

1879 –failure to pay notes

1883 –divorce

1909 –adding to the Word of God

When Scofield received a request from Chicago’s Marquis Publishing Co. for information for an entry in Who’s Who in America. Vol. 7, Cyrus filled it in and returned it. In this 1912 entry, year 1912, we note the following on page 1850:

A. Misstatements or inaccuracies

1. Reared in Wilson Co., Tenn.: no contact before 1858

2. University studies interrupted: no evidence

3. Served in Confederate Army to end of war: discharged 1862

4. Decorated for valor: utterly false

5. Wedding day, July 14, 1884: correct dates are Sep. 21, 1866, and March 11, 1884. Certificates available.

B. Omissions

1. Wife: Leontine

2. Children: Abigail, Marie Helene, Guy Sylvester

3. The divorce proceedings of 1882-83.

C. Items omitted but circulated in areas of his ministry

1. Story of birth in Tennessee

2. Existence of son, Noel

3. The law practice in St. Louis, Missouri

Some readers may feel that too much has been made of discrepancies in Scofield’s stories. Some could have been through carelessness or misunderstanding, but that is not possible with this entry in Who’s Who. The story of the law practice has no support in official records. It seems that whoever prepared this data was very selective and calculated the deception. Can the system be credible if its “patriarch” uses calculated falsehood?

In Trumbull’s biography there are 38 errors in 130 pages. Some could be caused by careless editing or condensation, but there are discrepancies for which the most ready explanation is deliberate fabrication. If Scofield appeared to have a clear mind and memory in 1919, then he must be responsible for being inaccurate. What Trumbull related may be what Scofield wanted known. Trumbull, with Scofield’s assistance, used a pitchfork to do a cover up.

The Scofields moved to Douglaston, in the borough of Queens, N.Y. His only guaranteed income was $600 yearly from Dallas. How did they live, keep a son in school, buy a home, and keep up the dues in the Lotos Club? Scofield and others organized the Community Church of Douglaston. The first meeting was held May 2, 1915 in a store on Main Street leased for services. Their first social affair was a reception honoring Dr. and Mrs. Scofield on February 9, 1916, when he was seventy-three years old.

In 1917, Oxford University Press published a revised edition of the Scofield Reference Bible. The 1909 edition disappeared, and the most widely circulated issue is the one revised in 1917. The greatest change was in placing a date on each page of the text.

Scofield and Charles Trumbull met at the Southfield Bible Conference in Crescent City, Florida and were photographed together. In the winter of 1919, the two met for several days at a home that was made available to Cyrus at Crescent City. Trumbull stayed a while to interview Scofield to get material for a series of articles for the S. S. Times that appeared between May and September that year.

In 1920, the Oxford University Press issued the articles in the book, The Life Story of C. I. Scofield. These books seem to be almost unobtainable today. Trumbull was a competent and experienced journalist, but this writing differs from other writing that bears his name because of inaccuracies. The facts he wrote down do not agree with official public records.

Cyrus last attended service at the Douglaston church on May 22, 1921. In July, one month before his seventy-eighth birthday, the fierce heat of summer distressed him, and there were hours of intense suffering. The family realized recovery was impossible. He was unconscious for two days before the intense pain passed and he fell asleep for good. He passed away at 11:00 A.M. on July 24, 1921 as church bells were ringing. Cause of death: cardio vascular renal disease.

The funeral was on Wednesday, July 27 at the First Baptist Church in nearby Flushing. Several ministers spoke and praised the life and work of Cyrus I. Scofield. He was buried at Flushing.

The Scofield will, drawn up in May, was presented for probate in Queens County on August 2, 1921. Cyrus noted he had provided good and comfortable homes for his wife and son. The entire estate, estimated at $23,004, was left to Hettie and Noel. There was no mention of his first family.

Value judgments are unpopular, but we have a statement from Scofield himself that offers its own judgment: “Character is what we are. Conduct is what we do. Reputation is what is said about us. Character is what we are. A bad man does not habitually do good actions, or a good man habitually do evil actions. We all know these things.”

The most reasonable interpretation of the work of Scofield is that it is neither honest nor valid. As such, it should have the whistle blown, for it is properly outside the line of valid Christianity. It seems many evangelicals are trying to disengage themselves from what now appears to be a tottering wreck, a wreck erected by Darby, Arno Gaebelein and C. I. Scofield. The Scofield Reference Bible did, and is doing, a great disservice to the Kingdom of God.

Thorough research was begun in 1984 by Joseph M. Canfield to compile his book, The Incredible Scofield. His information was gleaned from many sources. Genealogical data was supplied by Ruth Scofield Kennedy from a branch of the Scofield clan.

Other records come from:

University of Michigan Historical Society.

Episcopal Historical Society.

Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis

Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis.

Kansas Historical Society.

U.S. Department of Justice, National Archives.

U.S. Census for Michigan 1869, Lenawee County.

U.S. Census for Tennessee, Wilson County.

Confederate Research Center.

 Next Chapter: 4 – Rightly Defining the Truth

 

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