Scofield's Good Advice

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by swaimj, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. swaimj

    swaimj
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    "The student is earnestly exhorted not to receive a single doctrine upon the authority of this Tract, but, like the noble Bereans (Acts 17:11), to search the SCRIPTURES daily whether these things be so".
    C.I. Scofield
    Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

    Questions:

    Does anyone on the BB DISAGREE with this statement?

    If people who are committed to this statement are committed to this philosophy, will they not ultimately come to correct conclusions?

    If you agree with this statement, is it proper to refer to Dispensationalists as heretics?

    Is it not rather proper to view them as brothers in Christ?
     
  2. Benjamin

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    To me it’s not a matter of disagreeing with the statement but the perception of it. Taken in general I think it is a good statement. Taken from my perspective of a man who strives to indoctrinate his students into a system I find it as a rhetorical persuasive plea to make a doctrine fit, and add to that the understatement regarding his interpretation of “righty dividing” which I perceive that “his” philosophy is to chop the Word to pieces while separating Israel from the Gentiles and making his doctrinal system fit, rather than my perception of “rightly dividing” to mean making a straight clean cut into the Word and examining it as a whole to discern these matters,…and…well, let’s just say I find myself suspicious at the least because of what I believe he is trying to convey when making the statement.


    Obviously “if” they are committed in the sense I perceive they are being instructed to systematically fit by “rightly dividing” they can/do and will reinforce that philosophy, but this is no way supports that they will now come to the correct conclusion. On the contrary, it seems that you are saying that if they rely on a preconceived notion will not that insure they will come to the correct conclusion; of course not, your premise does not support your conclusion in this argument but rather suggests supporting a preconceived notion. At least that’s the way I see it.


    As strongly as I am opposed to the teachings of dispensationalism, I still find it best to avoid the use of the term and do not find it profitable to use it against them.



    Oddly enough, some of the people I find myself most in tune with and appreciating what they have to say on other doctrinal issues, such as HankD, Ed Sutton, and I’ve really liked some of your posts also, among others, are committed dispensational and there is no way I would not consider them as brothers.
     
    #2 Benjamin, Sep 29, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2009
  3. Jim1999

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    I believe the correct understanding of that verse is "rightly understanding.....Not dividing at all..."

    I agree with "brethren in Christ"but this does not exclude the need to correct the brothers in a faulty understanding and division of God's word.

    "All Israel shall be saved........."

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. swaimj

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    Does this mean that if you take it specifically, it is not a good statement? Huh? I really don't know what you mean here. Look at the statement again. Essentially, he says, "do not take for granted that anything in this Tract is true (and I presume that would include his concept of "rightly dividing the Word of truth", with which I am sure you disagree), but search the scriptures to see if it is true, for that is the biblical example of exemplary bible study that we find in the scriptures". I cannot see how you can disagree with this statement in any sense at all.

    My point is, that you would not find a genuinely false teacher making a statement like this. A genuinely false teacher would have some other book than the bible that is his authority, or he would have some direct revelation that he would claim and, based upon it, he would forbid anyone to disagree with him. The fact is that dispensationalists, in the main, from Scofield on are people who love God's word and are committed to understanding it properly. This statement shows that this commitment is at the heart of dispensationalism.
     
  5. Benjamin

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    As a matter of fact, yes, taking it specifically from Scofield and applying his meanings behind “rightly dividing” and in my suspicious perception of his use of the statement and where it is leading (in that sense)…Yes. I don’t know any better way to articulate it but can offer an example:

    Generally, when the devil asked the Son of God to prove Himself by casting himself down, the statement that “it is written” and the following scriptural reference seemed to make the point and generally be a good request for Jesus to jump, but underlying was a motive of deception; specifically, as Jesus pointed out, it neglects the truths in the whole of the Word that “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” and so regardless of the seemingly “good request” the actual value of it was rather meaningless.

    Likewise, generally when Scofield asks other’s not to take his word on it and to be a Berean, on the surface it seems good, but specifically, given the underlying factors of his teachings of studying the Word through “his” systematic study principles designed to “rightly divide” the Word and make the necessary dispensational separations to make his system fit rather makes his request rather meaningless in my eyes.


    He may have very well believed what he taught, I don’t know and so wouldn’t go beyond suspicion. He didn’t have another book, he had another system designed to interpret the Book in a manner to prove dispensationalism which challenged anyone who would disagree with him and which simultaneously formed a philosophical system that could take the argument to infinity.




    I’m afraid where we would disagree here is that I believe “Scofield’s people” are committed to understanding God’s Word through systematic dispensational glasses and that is the heart of the matter.
     
  6. Allan

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    Then it seemsm, in 'your eyes', you are attributing his statements to be a wilful deception to influence people to believe his lies. If this is your contention, and it 'seems' so from your posts, then you judging something said based upon nothing more than assumption and bias. That is not a good thing to do in my opinion, as he gives no cause or reason to assume anything more that what is simply stated without preconceived bias and distrust.

    As for me, I don't really agree with Scofield on aspects of his understanding with respect to dispensational theology. However it should be noted that dispensationism and it's views go further back than Scofield (I believe to the 1500's but maybe as early as 1300's) though he is given credit for popularizing it much like Augustine for Amillennial theology.

    Yes, it is a system as all theological views and their various subsections are derived from. However dispensational theology is founded upon the original concepts of early church fathers from the apostles up till about 450ish a.d.
    That foundation was known as chilianism (Pre-Mil) and though there are a few differences between it and dispensationalism (such as pre-rapture), it still maitains or holds to the key elements of Pre-mil teachings:
    1. A literal & physical 1000 year reign of Christ Jesus from Jerusalem
    2. At least 2 main resurrections
    3. A literal person who is the Anti-Christ
    4. Seperation of the Church and Israel, specifically with respect to the Millennium
    5. A literal Earthly Kingdom to be physically established and who's capital is Jerusalem
    6. Satan is not yet bound but will be during the millennium.


    And so are amil's as well as post-mils and all others out there as well. Now where does that leave us :)
    Therefore the argument here isn't even with dispensationalism but systematic theology itself and that it apparently keeps people from going to another view.

    The fact of the matter is that if that person is studying scripture to understand it, then it doesn't matter the systematic theology they are currently under because once it begins to disagree with the scripture they take notice and go with what scripture states over their view. This is why you will find people (both small and great) changing sides from pre-mil to amil and from amil to pre-mil. I believe the problem isn't in systematic study (of whatever variaty) but problem resides in that eschatology is something yet future and no one will really know what is true for sure till that time is upon us, much like those in the days of Christ. Though many were close and others far from it, no one was exact until He manifested the truth to them 'at that time.
     
    #6 Allan, Sep 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 30, 2009
  7. swaimj

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    So, Scofield takes a biblical quote, quotes it in context, and applies it properly, but you think he is acting like the devil. Well.
     
  8. Benjamin

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    Obviously, as you will see below, my suspicions are substantiated and were based on more than what in your opinion assumes my judgments were merely laced with bias and contention.

    Your attempt to put stronger words in my mouth for my perception and suspicion of his schema is neither here nor there concerning his usage of the statement in question being part of a rhetorical persuasive plea to interpret the scriptures through his system as a priority is in fact established by his own words beginning within the introduction in his book.

    Simply, if his statement was as earnest as you or others would have me believe then in the least it logically directly contradicts his prior foremost instructions indicating it is profitless to study while ignoring observance of those dispensational divisions which he claims as the “more important divisions in the Word of truth”. If you can’t see Scofield’s statement to “his students” carrying prior connotations toward persuading his students to foremost study the Word through his systematic dispensational glasses based on his faulty interpretation of “rightly dividing” at it roots, then IMO you should open yer eyes a little wider!

    In context:

    As for the rest of your smokescr…err…post, please excuse me if I don’t go down that road over when pre-trib/anymoment/escapist doc…err…dispensationalism began. If I came into this to debate in opposition to the entire system I would begin by forming a structured argument aimed at the roots concerning who is Israel and challenge you to hold your definition, which IMO your whole system is reliant on first establishing. Maybe sometime, as I’m curious to see you try, though through my experience I doubt the discussion would be able to maintain focus on the subject when the going gets tough and would end over a wavering to hold said definition and refusal to stick to the subject. For now, I’ve said my piece on the OP and need to spend my time focusing on a sermon I am privileged and blessed to be giving on the 11th.

     
  9. Benjamin

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    Sorry you can't quite see my argument in my perspective and are offended by what you believe I think.

    This subject never seems to go over well, does it?

    Peace.
     
  10. swaimj

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    Benjamin, I think it is possible for people of good will to have a reasonable discussion without impugning motives. Your comparison of Scofield's statement to the argumentation of the devil reminds me of the pharisees, who, when they saw Jesus cast out demons, said he did it though the power of Beelzebub.
     
  11. Rippon

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    I am not a Dispensationalist, but I agree wholehearedly with you on this swaimj.
     
  12. Benjamin

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    You brought up the subject of Scofield’s statement for debate but it seems all you want to hear is praise for his statement rather than to take note of the context in which it was given and consider any connotations which would apply to that context. Doesn’t leave much room for discussion when instead of addressing my argument about the context in which it was given you simply take offense and change the subject to a personal attack on me (ad hominem) because you feel I was too harsh for pointing these things out and do this in disregard to what I clearly revealed about Scofield’s "foregoing" instructions to his students about studying the Word before he made that statement. So what was your point in bringing up the subject then? I'm at a loss here...
     
  13. swaimj

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    Benjamin, this is the part that I think you are not seeing in relation to Scofield's statement. Scofield is not saying, buy into to my interpretive grid and then study the bible. This would be a worthless statement. Scofield is saying, read about my interpretive grid, but if you find that the bible contradicts what I am teaching, reject what I am teaching. That is why the statement is valuable. However, if your take on the statement is correct, then I think you are correct, the statement is worthless.

    Two comments: The statement clearly says "...not to receive a single doctrine upon the authority of this Tract...." Since the tract includes the teaching you object to, Scofield is clearly saying that the scriptures take precedence over the Tract. So, I think you are misreading him.

    Secondly, how many dispensationalists today disagree, at least to some degree with some things that Scofield taught? Many, including Allan and me here on the BB. Over time, dispensationalists have almost universally rejected Scofield's concept of a "kingdom of God" that is separate from a "kingdom of heaven". Why? Because we have studied the relevant passages and found that they do not support what Scofield taught. I challenge you to find one professor in a dispensationally oriented seminary who still holds Scofield's view. Even, if you find one, he will be in a distinct minority. This shows that dispensationalists are committed not to a system of theology or to a set of presuppositions, but to uncovering what the Bible says and to propagating that.
     
  14. Benjamin

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    The way I see it Scofield leads into his statement to his students about study goes beyond the “euphemism” of “read about my interpretive grid and consider it” as his closing remark is pre-laced with “persuasive language” beginning with falsity concerning his foundational interpretation regarding 2Tim 2:15:

    (“The word of truth, then, has right divisions,…)

    Within this, he declares that a student recognize this “must be evident” and “one cannot be a workman that needeth not be ashamed without observing them” and that “any study of that word which ignores those divisions must be in large part profitless

    Now to put this in a more “dysphemistic” form to make my point, my take is that he then finishes by saying “wink, wink…BUT…don’t take my word on it, be a Berean as you fit all these aforementioned requirements into place during your study”

    But thank you for graciously acknowledging that if my take on his statement is correct then I would be correct in questioning its true value, and likewise if your take on it is correct then it is of value. If we didn’t disagree there would be no argument and therefore no debate, so I do appreciate this acknowledgment.



    My issue here would be that when you begin studying with an insertion of “rightly dividing” as the foundational principle to study, by your attempt to make these divisions it will necessarily lead to place the burden of proof on to those who do not go into it looking for those divisions. The kingdom is a good example that eventually the philosophical system of intellectualisms developed by Scofield, which I believe whose doctrine emphases that knowledge can be derived from his reasoning as true and are until all aspects can be disproven, but that again, it goes to show that eventually at least some should and will be rejected, but what about the rest? How much time will it take to throw it all out? Answer, it will never happen as long the endocrinal process leading to it is in place, and no doubt it will remain.

    Regarding this, my take is what he has really developed is a philosophical system which makes a claim that takes the argument to infinity by casting the burden of proof on those who do not go into study looking for those divisions. A system has been developed whereby many get caught up in the stimulations from intellectualisms which strive to form methods to reinforce Scofield’s claims that the Word declares that the student should work to makes these divisions and it all based on a poor foundation (interpretation of “rightly dividing”) to begin with.

    Hence, we have arguments over things such as “literalism” when should it apply and when shouldn’t it, “spiritualism” and who is doing it and when as they interpret the scriptures. Scofield’s system then greatly attributed to a never ending circular argument which in my view has it’s beginnings being foundationally rooted on that these divisions should and must be made as Scofield’s introduction to it so expressively reveals as a good example of the commitment of dispensationalist being something that the prerequisites for going into it are to have preconceived notions based on “rightly dividing” and then challenges others through his philosophical systematic means to prove otherwise. Personally, upon recognizing this dilemma and finding major doctrinal errors formed from within the systematic design to make his dispensational system fit, I have discarded any need to so much as even begin to interpret the word on such a pretense.
     
    #14 Benjamin, Oct 1, 2009
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  15. pinoybaptist

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    Thank you, Benjamin, for the insight.
    Even Harold Camping, whom nobody in his right spiritual mind will take seriously, says not to believe him, but believe the Bible, yet, if you happen to hold a different view on what he is teaching, then you are most likely not "saved", or the Spirit has not opened the truth to you, etc., etc.etc.
     
  16. swaimj

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    Benjamin, thanks for your reply.

    However, I would point out that few dispensationalists today would interpret the phrase "rightly dividing" in I Tim to mean "divide into dispensations". I don't think that is what that phrase means, and I doubt Allan does either (I am assuming that Allan is a dispensationalist in some form). Again, I graduated from a dispensational Bible college and and a dispensational seminary, and though I am aware that Scofield taught this, I have never had a professor who did, and I know of no academic dispensationalist who is currently being published who holds Scofields' view. The reason is that dispensationalists have translated the I Tim passage and have concluded that it does not teach what Scofield said it meant. Here again, dispensationalists are committed to studying the scriptures and finding out what they mean. We are not captive to some philosophical view held by someone 100 years ago. Dispensationalism is a very dynamic movement. It is not monolithic and it has some extremely intense debates going on within it and almost always has had. The reason is that people within the movement study the scriptures carefully and, consequently, often disagree with each other.

    And Pinoybaptist, Harold Camping is an out-and-out, unadulterated heretic. C.I. Scofield, though he may have been wrong about some things, was NOT a heretic. The statement he made shows this. And the fact that later dispensationalists have acknowledged errors in his writitngs show that dispensationalists take the statement I quoted in its best sense, not the send that Benjamin takes it. Also, I do not know any dispensationalists who think that non-dispys are unsaved or lack the Holy Spirit. Rather, the dispys I know have great respect for people who hold to covenant theology, though we disagree with them.

    And perhaps that is where I should conclude here. Dispensationalists have proven by their practice of correcting Scofield that they take Scofield's statement in its best sense. Benjamin understands the statement in its best sense because he practices it or attempts to practice it himself, yet he accuses Scofield of meaning the wrong thing. I see no evidence for Benjamin's take on this statement either in the statement itself nor in the practice of dispensationalists in the 93 years since the statement was originally puslished. So, Benjamin, it appears that the great suspicion you have of the motive of dispensationalists is unfounded.
     
    #16 swaimj, Oct 1, 2009
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  17. Jim1999

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    Swaimj, I think you will find that the PB's pretty much stick to the old Scofield concept of 7 dispensations. They are prolly the largest users of Scofield Reference Bibles, at least from my experience in Canada and the UK. I am not at all familiar with the USA.

    I know there are corruptions about all the systems, the most common being our supposed link to John Calvin because we mistakenly use the label "Calvinism", when our teaching goes back as far as Augustine, and as we say, the Bible.

    I can't ever recall even suggesting that all others are unsaved, demonic or heretical.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  18. swaimj

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    I understand that you have not and, frankly, no one on the thread has. However, the comparison was made between Harold Camping and Scofield. The suggestion was that Camping would say anyone not in his group may be unsaved or lack the Holy Spirit. My point is that Scofield would not have said such and did not say such and dispensationalists do not say such. So, Scofield is not in the group of people we would call heretics.
     
  19. Benjamin

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    Personally, I continually observe the practice of referencing the foundational misinterpretation of 1st Tim passage finding it rampant and still commonly used today especially among dogmatic dispensationalist as they defend the force fitting of divisions, but consider it good that you and some others have separated from this foundational flaw which calls for division. Yet, it is evident that the wheel that was set in motion remains spinning in the direction to force divisions as the dispensationalist system strives to uphold a distinction between Israel and the Church, division into two purposes of God which is expressed in the formation of two peoples, one with earthly objectives and one with heavenly objectives (correct me if the dispensationalist's position is not to uphold these divisions, by all means).



    Have they proven a practice of correcting Scofield or a practice of admitting and accepting the truth on the authority of the Word upon having been painstakingly proved wrong of attempting to hold on to many of their foundational roots?

    Yes, I understand the Berean statement in its best sense as it is written in heart. And yes, to have “great suspicion” is written there as well from the words of Col 2:8 which tells us to “Beware lest any man spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men,…” so I believe I will continue to wonder why when a philosophical system, which centers on the aforementioned divisions, has been cut of at its foundational roots and strong evidence is shown that not only was the teacher of it incorrect on his founding principles but uses very persuasive language in an attempt to convict his students to study the Word using connotations that it is a “must” to first and foremost infuse said divisions before leading into parading on being a Berean that they are not suspicious as well and that perhaps the spoiling aroma coming from the foundation should give them great reason to question the tradition of going into study while trying to uphold these divisions. Or can you truly say dispensationalists are no longer into the practice of making the aforementioned divisions through using their system regardless of whether or not they have rejected most or all of Scofield’s foundational teachings in how to do so, he having been proved wrong?
     
    #19 Benjamin, Oct 2, 2009
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  20. swaimj

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    The goal of the dispensationalist is to admit and accept the truth on the authority of the word. This is the meaning of Scofield's statement and it is the goal of all dispensationalists, I think. It should be everyone's goal, no matter what their pre-suppositions may be. That is the point of this thread and to point out that it is the motivation of dispensationalists.
     

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