Before you buy, promote, or tolerate the Scofield Reference Bible, you owe it to yourself to learn something about C.I. Scofield and his theology. It has become very influential today because of the connections of Scofield with Dallas Theological Seminary–“he was also head of the Southwestern School of the Bible in Dallas, forerunner of Dallas Theological Seminary—and because Oxford Press recently added an addition with the Scofield image on it and Thom Rainer’s Lifeway books promotes it with many pages.
“Higher Criticism divides Scripture up into documents which differ from or contradict on another. Dispensationalism divides the Bible up into dispensations which differ from or even contradict one another; and so radical is this difference as viewed by the extremist that the Christian of today who accepts the Dispensationalist view finds his Bible (the part directly intended for him) shrunk to the compass of the Imprisonment Epistles” (Allis, Evangelical Quarterly, Jan., 1936).
Both tear apart the unity of Scripture by cutting and pasting either Scripture itself (as does higher criticism) or biblical history (as does Dispensationalism) to suit their theories. The methods of both undermine biblical unity, albeit different aspects of biblical unity. While higher criticism cuts the Bible into pieces and destroys its unity, so Dispensationalism cuts biblical history into pieces and destroys its unity. And interestingly enough, both share the same roots-theologically, historically, and denominationally. There are two concerns here: 1) dispensationalism as theology, and 2) Scofield, the man. Since the theology comes from the man, let’s consider the man first.”
About Philip Ross
by Phillip Ross • July 27, 2010
What in the world is Ross doing?
In 1983 I had an experience that culminated in 1985 in what is called regeneration. Ordained at First Congregational Church, Berkeley, California, after earning a Master of Divinity degree at Pacific School of Religion, I was confronted by the reality of the Bible as I taught the Bethel Series Bible Study Program at a church I was serving in St. Louis, Missouri. I had read and studied the Bible for many years, but the Bethel Series opened it up to me in a new way. It became real, and it changed me.
I began preaching differently from that time forward, as if the Bible was real history about real people. My preaching disturbed some of the people in various liberal churches that I served. Others in those same churches came to life, much as I had. I decided to preserve my preaching for later reflection and evaluation. That effort turned into a two-volume book, The Work at Zion — A Reckoning, which provides a kind of record of my changing theological perspective.
At the same time, the simple-minded, pie-in-the-sky, other-worldly, wishful-thinking of some of my new conservative friends disturbed me. It seemed to me that people from both ends of the political spectrum had misunderstood the Bible, albeit in different ways. So, I set out to see if the kind of biblical misunderstanding that I observed among various people I knew was new. Were the contemporary churches involved in something new? I discovered that they were not. There is a long history of misunderstanding the Bible.
I turned to the book of James which provided a corrective to the early church. Already in the First Century the church had veered from the truth of the gospel. James saw it and spoke to it. I brought James’ corrective to light in Practically Christian—Applying James Today.