03 August 2010


Cyrus Scofield was born in Lenawee County, Michigan, but during the American Civil War he served for a year as a private in the 7th Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A.. By 1866 he was in St. Louis, Missouri working in his brother-in-law's law office. Admitted to the Kansas bar in 1869, he was elected to the Kansas legislature as a Republican in 1871 and 1872 and was appointed U.S. attorney for the district of Kansas. He was forced to resign because of questionable financial transactions and shortly thereafter was jailed on forgery charges.[1]
Perhaps because of alcoholism, he also abandoned his wife and two daughters. Leotine Cerre Scofield divorced him in 1883, and the same year he married Hettie Hall von Wartz, with whom he had a son.[2]
After his conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1879, Scofield assisted in the St. Louis campaign conducted by Dwight L. Moody and served as the secretary of the St. Louis YMCA. Significantly, Scofield came under the mentorship of James H. Brookes, pastor of Walnut Street Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, a prominent dispensationalist premillennialist.
quoted from: Wikipedia

If I had taken the names out and blanked the dates, you would expect the next paragraph to say how this "family values Republican" had assisted in the creation of the Manhattan Declaration. As is he went on to produce a "bible study" course that selectively chose passages to make his dispensationalist case and eventually that course became the basis of the margin notes that combined with the "King James Bible" form the basis for a good percentage of the really bad scholarship and pseudo-theology that infects the American (and apparently Nigerian) protestant right wing.

They are still out there, the pattern is clear, from Scofield to Sanford to Colson -- lawyer and politician with compromised ethics, messy domestic stories and suddenly they are "pastors." "Pastors" who lead not congregations but political movements. I am waiting for Sanford to get on the train and be ordained by some protestant sect or simply start one. Whoever said "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" was wrong -- it is political religion. These guys are responsible for so much damage: they make atheism look attractive to even the faithful!



Rick+ said...

Jim, this is really interesting to me, having been raised in a fundamental sect where the Scofield study materials were on every preacher's bookshelf. This explains a lot.

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions

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