If there had been no Scofield Bible there would have been an almost unanimous acceptance of the old Protestant Reformers’ teachings in respect to prophecy and the kingdom of God. If one should follow the usual center column references in a King James Version Bible, he would never be a Scofieldite. Which means that he would not be a dispensationalist, or even a run-of-the-mill premillenarian.
It’s amazing how anyone who knows the Bible and its use of the words “dispensation” and “stewardship” can accept Scofield’s definition as to what a dispensation is. He says, “A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect to some specific revelation of the will of God.” (New Scofield Reference Edition, page 3). But never in Scripture is the word “dispensation” used to indicate “a period of time.” Any analytical concordance will tell you that (or even Webster’s Dictionary). Here are several references where the word is used in Scripture: 1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10, Col. 1:25; Luke 16:2,3,4,8: “oikonomos” a house manager, steward: 1 Cor. 4:1,2; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 4:10. In each case the words “dispensation,” “steward,” “stewardship” is translated from the one Greek word “oikonomia.” Its meaning is clearly not what Scofield says it is. Obviously it simply means a calling or commission, trusteeship and stewardship. If the root of dispensationalism is so completely rotten, so is the tree. Yet how blindly have so-called Bible teachers accepted Scofield’s erroneous premise; and bitterly oppose those who refuse to be thus hoodwinked.
Scofield’s designations of the so-called seven dispensations are just as untenable as his definition of the word “dispensation” itself. There is an intermingling of God’s various ways of dealing with mankind in every one of these fanciful seven periods that Scofield sets forth:
* In the period of “Innocency” there was law, as seen in the commandment God gave Adam in respect to the forbidden tree. This entailed both serious responsibility and challenged Adam and Eve’s conscience.
* In Scofield’s imaginary period called “Conscience” there is no basis for assuming that there was no human government; and there certainly were laws that Cain was aware of concerning the sacrifices and also regarding the killing of a fellow-man. Since Enoch walked with God, and Noah found grace in the sight of God, this was also a period of grace. In fact God’s grace extends from the Eden of Genesis to the Paradise of Revelation. One would think that the poorest theologian would admit that! And throughout this long period of grace, conscience is very much in evidence, as the New Testament clearly shows. (Since this is a Berean-type of treatise, please keep in the Word as you read it. Note your concordance in respect to the word “conscience.”) Although the word is never found in the period that Scofield dubs “Conscience,” it is found about thirty times in the New Testament.
* As for the “dispensation” of the “Kingdom,” which Scofield says is the millennium, the New Testament says it is now here. In fact, that was what Christ came to establish. We enter it through the new birth; and it is a spiritual reality which lifts us into heavenly places in Christ. Again, if you are really a Berean-type of Bible student, let your concordance and the Word of God prove to you the present glorious reality of the kingdom of God.
However, a prominent premillennialist states it truly when he says that the heart of the dispensational system is the notion that God has two peoples, Israel and the Church, with two programs, one earthly and materialistic and the other spiritual. And of course, the Scofield Bible is saturated with this erroneous and purely fanciful theory. From this error springs the multiple of “second” comings; judgments; resurrections; Gospels; etc. And whereas the dispensationalist says this system is the result of “new light,” which the great Protestant theologians of the past weren’t blessed with, actually this mishandling of Scripture goes back to the struggles of the early Church with the Marcionitic heresy. Marcion insisted that the Old Testament God and the New Testament God were different. The former was the God of the Jews, and the latter was the Christian God. So he deleted from the New Testament those writings which he claimed were Jewish; just as the “enlightened” dispensationalist does today. What modernism didn’t accomplish to destroy the Bible this awful system completed. So the unity both of the Bible and of the redeemed has been destroyed by dispensationalism.
The simple truth is this: Jesus said that He was going to prepare a place for His people (believing Jews and Gentiles: John 10:16; 11:51-52; Rom. 11:17-24; etc.) and that He would be coming back to receive all such unto Himself (John 14:1-3). That place is not Palestine, but heaven; and that coming is not in two or three stages, but one grand and final event; and our sojourn with Him is not for 1000 years, but for all eternity. It is certain that the father of believing Jews and Gentiles, Abraham, did not look for any earthly paradise. His heart and mind were not set upon Palestine, but upon the heavenly Jerusalem, where Christ is preparing a place for all of God’s children. He called the land of Israel a strange or foreign country, “for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:9,10). The promised land of the patriarchs was the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 11:13-16; 12: 22-24). Abraham and his friends would be ashamed of the materialistic, nationalistic, and utterly carnal expectation set forth by dispensationalists today. It is amazing how Satan has succeeded in closing their hearts and minds to the present reality of the Kingdom of God, and to our spiritual and eternal inheritance when Jesus returns.
Scofieldism would drag us down from heavenly places in Christ with his notions regarding a materialistic, carnal millennium, whereas Paul would remind us to “seek those things which ARE ABOVE, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” He urges us to set our “affection on things ABOVE, NOT ON THINGS ON THE EARTH” (Col. 3:14); for the things that we can see and touch “are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). Scofield would have us go back to the material and natural kingdom of David where “they were three days eating and drinking” meat, meal, cakes of figs, of raisins, wine and oil, and even oxen and sheep abundantly, “for there was joy in Israel” (1 Chron. 12:38-40). But the eternal Kingdom of God and heaven “is NOT meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, AND JOY IN THE HOLY GHOST” (Rom. 14:17).
That was the kind of kingdom that Christ offered the Jews; and that was the kind of kingdom that Paul preached. That is why they crucified Christ, and saw to it that Paul was martyred. Both Matthew 23 and John 8:36-44 contain Christ’s strong condemnation of the proud and carnal nationalistic ambitions of the unbelieving Jews. Just as John the Baptist previously told the Jews that being a child of natural Abraham would gain them nothing (Matt. 3:7-10), so the whole New Testament makes it extremely plain that only through faith in Jesus Christ could they ever be called the true children of Abraham, and inherit the spiritual promises made to him (Rom. 9:6-8).
Some of Scofield’s theories swallowed hocus pocus by many Christians, although nearly absurd, are nevertheless fairly harmless. But there are other notions he proposed that are spiritually disastrous. His “postponed kingdom” theory, for example, is very harmful to anyone who accepts it as a fact. Scofield’s treatment of Revelation from chapter four on destroys the very purpose of the book. The special blessing of Revelation 1:3 is vitiated completely. His insistence that the Church is a parenthesis unknown to the Old Testament writers destroys O.T. prophecy; belittles the Church which Christ purchased with His own precious blood; and predicates a future salvation following Christ’s return. Condemning the “second-chance-cultists,” the adherents of this heresy propagate a false hope that can lead many souls to eternal ruin. (Study: Luke 24:25-27, 44-46; Acts 10:43; 24:14-16; 26:6-8, 22-23; 2 Cor. 3:14-16; Gal. 3:8 [Abraham had the Gospel preached to him!]; 2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:7,13,15; 2 Peter 3; Luke 17:26-30). Any Berean-minded Bible reader will see that NOW and NOW ONLY is the day of salvation.
How about reading the Bible in the light that it sheds without Scofield notes? You’ll be surprised how the Word, aided by the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, will show you the multiple errors fostered by his notes.
(This was taken from Pilgrim Pathway, July-August 1990, Vol.7, No.4, published by Pilgrim Brethren Press, Petersburg, Ohio. It was originally entitled Prophecy and the Kingdom of God in the Light of God’s Word. It has been slightly edited).
WORLDWIDE CONTACT FOR BIBLE BASED MINISTRIES:
Contending for the Faith Ministries
695 Kentons Run Ave Henderson, NV 89052 USA