- Scofield C.I.
- ( 1843-1921 )Fundamentalist biblical scholar and early dispensationalistCyrus Ingerson Scofield was born on August 19, 1843, in Lenawee County, Michigan. Having moved to Tennessee during his youth, in 1861 he fought for a year in the Confederate Army. After the war, he settled in St. Louis, learned law, and began a career in politics that ended in scandal, divorce, and drunkenness.In 1879, Scofield had a conversion experience and subsequently was licensed to preach as a Con-gregationalist. In 1882, he accepted a call to pastor a church in Dallas, Texas, where he was ordained as a minister. After a successful decade in Texas, he cooperated with Dwight L. Moody in an evangelistic crusade in the city. Moody invited him to teach at Bible conferences, including the one Moody personally sponsored at Northfield, Massachusetts.It appears that Scofield initially absorbed dis-pensationalism from Moody. Dispensationalism sees biblical history as divided into several periods, and interprets the Bible's prophetic passages as literal guides to future events. Scofield held to premillennialism, a belief in the imminent return of Christ.In 1890, Scofield launched his own mission-sending agency, the Central American Mission, and began to offer a correspondence course teaching a dispensational approach to the Bible. In 1895, he moved to Northfield to pastor the Trinity Congregational Church and take charge of Moody's Northfield Bible Training School. In 1902, he began to write a study Bible with premil-lennial dispensationalist notes, a project funded by businessman John T. Pirie. The Scofield Reference Bible was published by Oxford University Press in 1908, with a second edition in 1917. Meanwhile, Scofield had returned to Dallas, and in 1908 led his old church out of the liberal Congregational Church. In 1910, he formally joined the Presbyterian Church, USA. He remained active in education via Bible schools, correspondence courses, and conferences until his death on July 24, 1921.Scofield had become enormously influential within the Fundamentalist movement, and his writings retain their importance in the Evangelical movement that grew out of it in the 1940s. His Bible became the most popular study tool at Bible conferences and has continued to be used to the present, often in preference to a revised and updated edition issued in 1967 by several Evangelical scholars as the New Scofield Reference Bible.See also Fundamentalism.Further reading:■ William A. BeVier, A Biographical Sketch of C. I. Scofield (Dallas, Tex.: Southern Methodist University, M.A. thesis, 1960)■ Joseph M. Canfield, The Incredible Scofield and His Book (Ashville, N.C.: the author, 1984)■ Mal Couch, ed., Dictionary of Premilennial Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregal, 1996)■ Arno C. Geabelein, The History of the Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Our Hope, 1943)■ Charles G. Trumbull, The Life Story of C. I. Scofield (New York: Oxford University Press, 1920).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.