Dr. C.I. Scofield, 100 years later.
God's perfect use of the imperfect.
Today, July 24, 2021, marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of Dr. C.I. Scofield; the editor of the Scofield Reference Bible (the name being changed to the Scofield Study Bible in later printings), first published in 1909. Dr. Scofield’s accomplishments are not limited to this work, however I would assert that this work would be his most influential and his major “claim to fame,” as it were.
His death occurred nearly 43 years before my birth; the first edition of his major work being published about 55 years before my birth. All of these years later, I am still blessed by his work; his obedience to the calling that God had for him. I regularly use the Scofield Study Bible for study, teaching, preaching, counseling, and [successful] evangelizing. Let us be sure however, as I most certainly believe that Dr. Scofield would have strongly insisted, to clarify that the glory ultimately goes to God and His inspired Word contained within and featured in Dr. Scofield’s publication.
Dr. Scofield has undergone a great deal of criticism over the years; some for his doctrinal positions expressed regarding dispensationalism, some for how he conducted himself in his earlier years prior to his conversion, and some for his behavior shortly after his conversion. The doctrinal disagreement regarding his view of the dispensations is certainly something that is rightly subject to, and worthy of a friendly debate amongst true believers, I will say however that I tend to agree with Dr. Scofield in this area…as do I regarding most areas of doctrine. He was an astute and objective Bible scholar who as a rule, let the Text speak for its self. He wasn’t bogged down with denominational and secular dogmas; trying to make them “fit” the Scripture, or worse yet, trying to make the Scripture “fit” them, as seems to be the case with many other scholars.
Where I do take issue is with the criticism of his character. As is the case with every believer before their conversion, Dr. Scofield had not yet been born again and thus had not been sealed with the Holy Spirit. When he was born again, he came to Christ as he was; a sinner, who needed to be saved from all of his sins; past, present and future. When he put his trust in Christ, he was indeed born again; a spiritual baby, as are all Christians when they first completely trust in Christ and receive the free gift of salvation. He became a sinner saved by grace, as am I and are all other believers. He did indeed need to grow, as we all do, and he did, but he started serving God right away (a child prodigy in a way, one may say), even before he may have completely “cleaned up his act”…something that none of us EVER completely do, this side of eternity. I really don’t think that most, if any of his critics in this area have any kind of grasp of what salvation by grace ALONE truly is.
God of course continued to use Dr. Scofield in numerous other ministries, including the production of the best study Bible ever produced, in my humble opinion.
There is much I could say here, but I suppose that what I most want to emphasize is the admonition for you not to wait until you feel that you are “perfect” or “worthy,” or “really ready” to start serving God. Satan would have you stay in waiting all of your life. If you stay in that mindset of waiting, you will never be ready, and you will never truly grow in the Lord, and you will never reach anyone for Him. I will also say, that as the believer serves God, God has ways of purifying him through those works of service; He certainly seemed to for Dr. Scofield. This purifying (positional sanctification) is a lifelong process that ends when we meet the Lord face to face (1 John 3:2).
If you have never put your trust in Christ, do it now. Don’t wait until you are “good enough:” you never will be; nobody that comes to Christ ever is. Come to Him NOW just as you are. You cannot earn salvation; it is a gift (Romans 6:23). By definition, you can do nothing to earn a gift. You come as you are, no matter how sinful you may be. Nothing you have done or will ever do in this earthly life is unforgivable. The only unforgivable sin is to go to your death rejecting the Gospel (blasphemy against the Holy Spirit). Instead, receive the Gospel; the good news. That good news is that Christ died for your sins according to Scripture (the wages of sin is death, but he took the wage for you [Romans 6:23]), He was buried, and He rose again from the dead on the third day, according to the Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), thus conquering death. Believe, as in fully trust Jesus that He alone did this for you. When you do, you have eternal life, present tense; something that you can NEVER lose (Romans 11:29, Ephesians 1:13, John 3:36, Hebrews 1:3, and many others).
Like Dr. Scofield was at his conversion; at the moment that he put his faith in Christ, if you have just put your trust in Christ, you are born again as a spiritual Baby. The Bible is filled with information that is there to assure you, comfort you, guide you and instruct you on how to live the most abundant and fulfilling life; here and in the hereafter; you won’t just know everything right away, and you will have things [sins] to overcome, as Dr. Scofield did. Please start reading your Bible; I would humbly suggest starting in the Gospel of John and going straight through to Philemon, then the first chapter of Hebrews, then Genesis, then Psalms and Proverbs. Read the rest of if after that. You don’t have to stay a spiritual baby for a set amount of time as you did as a physical baby. Even in your spiritual diapers, so to speak, decide to start serving God. If you do, I have a hunch that He will quickly get you out of those diapers; off of the “milk,” so to speak, and into big-boy [girl] britches :-) and on to solid food; purifying you; setting you apart more and more for His service; setting you up for greater and greater blessings and rewards, as was the case with Dr. Scofield.
Let us all view and use our failures and rescues (past, present, and future) as testimonies of victory to God’s faithfulness as opposed to stifling and oppressive balls and chains, as Satan would have us view our failures.
In Galatians 5:16, Paul admonishes believers to walk in the Spirit so we don’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Get started walking in the Spirit today; you then will find yourself having less time and resources to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Your spiritual nature (the part of you that was born again…that may indeed still be a baby) is sinless and cannot sin (1 John 3:9); it has no sin to receive the wage of death; which is why you can and MUST go to Heaven when your earthly tenure is finished. You still have your sinful flesh, and it will sin. There will be a battle (Romans 7:14-25), but as you grow in the Lord, the Spirit will dominate more and more.
In obedience to God, start using the talents that He has given you now. Like Dr. Scofield, in doing so, in one way or another, you will leave a legacy, tailor made by God, for you to leave.
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