BRITE DIVINITY SCHOOL
FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH: CYRUS INGERSON SCOFIELD’s LIFE STORY
Submitted to DR. JAMES O. DUKE and DR. RUSSELL DALTON
In Partial Fulfillment of
CHHI 70293 – ISSUES IN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LIFE AND THOUGHT – THE BIBLE IN THE PROTESTANT AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
December 12, 2018
CYRUS INGERSON SCOFIELD: PORTRAITS OF HIS LIFE
Who was Cyrus Ingerson Scofield? In 1920, Charles G. Trumbull’s answer to the question was found in his book, The Life Story of C.I. Scofield, a biography of Scofield’s life and legacy. Using notes from personal interviews at Scofield’s Florida vacation home, Trumbull painted a portrait of Scofield which highlights his Confederate service in the American Civil War, his successful law career, and his legacy as a bible scholar, teacher, and theologian whose pinnacle work materialized in the 1909 publication of The Scofield Reference Bible.
In contrast to Trumbull’s positive portrayal of Scofield, Joseph Canfield in 1988 published The Incredible Scofield and His Book which took aim at Scofield’s conversion and sought to discredit Scofield in an attempt to undermine the dispensationalist theology promoted by the Scofield Reference Bible. Unearthing Scofield’s discharge from Confederate service prior to the war’s end and his neglect of his first wife and family, Canfield shed light on Scofield’s tarnished past hidden, for the most part, from his colleagues and followers up till Canfield’s publication.
In 2009 on the one hundredth anniversary of the inaugural publication of The Scofield Reference Bible, R. Todd Mangum and Mark S. Sweetnam published their important work The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church. Mangum’s chapter called for
sound scholarship on the life and legacy of Scofield. Magnum defended Scofield’s character and refuted much of Canfield’s polemic toward Scofield.
Two years later, D. Jean Rushing’s master’s thesis From Confederate Deserter to Decorated Veteran Bible Scholar: Exploring the Enigmatic Life of C.I. Scofield, 1861-1921 was the first work to publish Scofield’s parole letter “in which Scofield recounted his activities after his discharge from the Confederate Army in September 1862” and a “previously unpublished manuscript letter written by Scofield.” Rushing’s publication of the letter “sheds new light on the demise of his legal career.” Rushing comprehensively engages the scholarship on Scofield’s life resulting in a portrait of “a man shaped by his repeated adaptation to changing political, regional, racial, and gender concepts between 1861 and 1921” and “sought a professional and honorable image through both his religious life and his participation in Confederate veteran activities.”
Within the historical development of scholarship on Cyrus Scofield’s life, the following paper argues that Scofield was a man whose life was characterized by tragedies, triumphs, and was an expert at adapting to the changing climate and culture of his day. He was an intelligent and adaptive man whose Confederate veteran status, networked connections, and keen intellect helped move him into places of privilege, power, and prestige, opening the doors for his later life as a minister, conference speaker, and famous publisher.
THE EARLY YEARS: TRAGEDY AND JOY
Cyrus Ingerson Scofield was born on August 19, 1843 in Lenawee County near Clinton, Michigan to Elias and Abigail Scofield. The polar intensities of tragic losses and occasions of joyous celebration characterize Cyrus Scofield’s early years of life. Three months after Cyrus’s birth, Abigail Scofield passed away due to complications from his birth. Death was no stranger to the Scofield household. Prior to Abigail’s death, Cyrus’ two older brothers, Victor Scofield (1835-1837) and Oscar Scofield (1838-1840), both died before reaching the age of two. Left widowed with four daughters and a new born son, Elias Scofield got married in June 1864 to Rebecca Fidelia and the family uprooted and moved to the township of Clinton, Michigan.
In an occasion of celebration, Cyrus’s oldest sister Emeline Eliza Scofield married Sylvester Papin on January 17, 1850 at the First Congregational Church in Clinton, Michigan. The newlywed couple then moved to St. Louis, Missouri where Papin served as the city registrar. Typifying the polar intensities characteristic of Scofield’s early years, on February 4, 1855 Scofield’s sisters Laura Marie and Harriet married in a double wedding only to see Harriet die in childbirth the following year on February 28, 1856. Laura Marie and her husband, William Henry (W.H.) Eames, a dentist, relocated his dental practice to Lebanon, Tennessee in 1858. Cyrus’s step-mother died on June 18, 1859 leaving Elias Scofield widowed with sixteen-year-old Cyrus Scofield and eighteen-year-old Victorine at home.
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR: PRIVATE SCOFIELD
In February 1861, Cyrus Scofield packed up and moved to Lebannon, Tennessee to pursue work and an education. Lebannon hosted the premier Southern educational institution in Cumberland University and also was home to Cyrus’s eldest sister, Emeline, and her husband, Sylvester Papin. As the young Scofield prepared to begin his education at Cumberland University, the Civil War broke out and fall enrollment never took place.
Caught up in the war-time fever of his Tennessee peers, Scofield joined the Wilson County volunteers on May 20, 1861 as they departed from Lebanon, Tennessee. In the Life Story, Trumbull records that “Young Schofield had gone into the Confederate Army, as a matter of course, with his boyhood friends and associates.” On May 28, 1861, the Wilson County volunteer company transferred to Confederate States of America as the 7th Tennessee Infantry and assigned Scofield to Company H for his one-year enlistment.
Private Scofield fell ill in the winter season and was admitted to the Chimborazo Hospital No. 3 in Richmond, Virginia on April 8, 1862. The following month Private Scofield’s one-year service commitment was supposed to end; however, news reached Scofield while he recuperated in the Richmond hospital that the Confederate Congress adopted its first Conscription Act on April 9, 1862. The Conscription Act prescribed three additional years of service to all healthy men between the ages of eighteen thirty-five. Most likely devastated by the prospect of three additional years of service, Cyrus Scofield wrote a letter to General George H. Randolph, Confederate Secretary of War in which he stated “that he ‘desir[ed] to obtain an exemption from the Conscription Act,’ and asked for release from the service of the Confederate States.”
On May 1, 1862, after giving statements to the Secretary, Scofield completed his rehabilitation and returned to duty with the 7th Tennessee. Though Scofield applied for discharge in April, he did not receive a response until late September 1862. On September 23, 1862, the Confederate Army granted Scofield’s request for discharge sending written instructions to his commanding officer at Martinsburg, Virginia. Released on September 26, 1862, the Confederacy paid Scofield’s transportation costs back to Nashville, Tennessee. Scofield returned briefly to Lebanon, Tennessee before living out the remainder of the war in St. Louis, Missouri.
While Scofield had a legitimate discharge from the Confederate army, he “lacked an exemption from further conscription and worried that Confederate authorities might send him back to the front lines.” Ordered to a camp of instruction at McMinnville, Tennessee, Scofield escaped to Bowling Green, Kentucky then traveled on to St. Louis, Missouri where he took the Union oath of allegiance and was allowed passage. Scofield joined his brother-in-law, S.V. Papin who helped connect him to Col. F.A. Dick. Col. Dick paroled the nineteen-year-old Scofield and gave him a full release from the rebel army on November 18, 1862. Charles Trumbull noted in the Life Story that Cyrus Scofield claimed to serve throughout the American Civil War with the 7th Tennessee Infantry. However, in 1988, Joseph M. Canfield discovered that the Confederate States of America discharged Private Scofield in September 1862. Rushing, in Confederate Deserter, confirmed Scofield’s discharge from service and added details concerning his movements after leaving Martinsburg, Virginia.
SCOFIELD’S LEGAL CAREER: RISE AND FALL
St. Louis, Missouri proved to be a launching pad for the young Scofield. Scofield’s brother-in-law, S.V. Papin, worked as a prominent lawyer and city office holder in St. Louis and served on the St. Louis Board of Assessors during the Civil War. Papin helped Scofield obtain a clerkship in the title examination office for the city of St. Louis. In September 1863, Scofield registered for the Union draft and as a trusted Union loyalist, achieved a promotion to chief clerk in the city title office. During the war years, all of Cyrus Scofield’s siblings settled in St. Louis and remained in each other’s lives.
Cyrus Ingerson Scofield chose to pursue the profession of law in 1865. With the extra funds from the increased salary as the chief clerk, Scofield was able to pursue his law studies. Scofield argued cases in city court as early as October 1866. While in St. Louis, the young Scofield met a young Roman Catholic French woman by the name of Mary Leontine Cerré. After a short time, the young couple was engaged and were married on September 27, 1866 in a civil ceremony. Mary Scofield gave birth to their first daughter, Abigail, in 1867 and in 1869, their second daughter, Marie Helen, was born.
In 1869, the same year Helen, their daughter was born, the Scofield family moved to Atchison, Kansas where Scofield entered Republican politics and served in the state legislature for two terms. On January 10, 1872, Mary gave birth to Guy Sylvester. In 1873, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Scofield as “the highest prosecutor in Kansas, but he resigned his federal appointment amid bribery rumors after only six months.” Allegations of purchased Senate seats and vote buying schemes to push measures in the United States Senate that were favorable the president’s agenda appeared in major city newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and Scofield became connected with the allegations.
In the Life Story, Scofield said he served a two-year term as the United States Attorney and resigned due to “dissatisfaction with the political life.” Joseph M. Canfield exposed the bribery allegations in his biography and believed Scofield to be guilty of bribery or worse. Todd Mangum, on the other hand, defended Scofield and considered the alleged vote-buying scheme a “sting operation” that led to Scofield’s downfall. Cyrus Scofield was never prosecuted for any bribery allegations; however, he never recovered his reputation. In the words of Mangum, “he [Scofield] was brought down by a scandal that destroyed his political career, his legal career, his marriage, his reputation, and really his whole life.”
Following Scofield’s resignation, he returned with his family to St. Louis, Missouri. Scofield proved unsuccessful in reestablishing his legal career and “further descended into petty crimes and unethical behavior.” On December 21, 1874, Cyrus and Leontine’s toddler son, Guy Sylvester, died of scarlet fever. Buried with other Papin and Cerré relatives in Calvary Cemetery, Guy Sylvester was only a few days before his second birthday when he died. Following the death of Guy Sylvester, Cyrus Scofield’s life plummeted. By 1879, loss of profession and the destruction of his reputation left Scofield “a ruined and hopeless man.” In his despair, Scofield turned to drinking and carousing which soon “overmastered” him. Permanently separated for several years from his wife and family who moved back to the family home in Atchison, Kansas, Scofield found himself a broken and lost man at the bottom of a pit with no apparent escape in sight.
“BIBLE CONVERSION”: A NEW BEGINNING
In 1879, Cyrus Scofield was lifted up out of the pit of his despair and “was born again through faith in the Son of God.” The events surrounding Scofield’s conversion is debated. One account claimed that Scofield was converted in a St. Louis city jail. Scofield denied being converted in the St. Louis prison and admitted to Charles Trumbull, in the Life Story, that all sorts of “inaccurate and misleading stories” existed about his Christian conversion experience. In the Life Story, Scofield recounted Trumbull that he prayed with Thomas McPheeters, a prominent warehouse owner and head of the St. Louis Young Men’s Christian Ministry Association (Y.M.C.A.), to receive what he called a “Bible conversion.”
MENTORS AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
Rev. Walter C. Douglas
After his conversion, Thomas McPheeters brought Scofield into “association with strong Christian men” such as, the famous Presbyterian minister of St. Louis, James H. Brookes, the St. Louis Young Men’s Christian Association secretary, Walter C. Douglas himself influenced by Dr. Brookes and also a converted lawyer like Scofield, and Rev. C.L. Goodell.  New to the faith and in search of a Church, Scofield said he felt led to join Goodell’s Pilgrim Congregational Church after his conversion. Scofield was mentored by Goodell which resulted in the birth of Scofield’s preaching ministry in downtown St. Louis. Scofield was issued a local preaching license in 1880 from the St. Louis Association of Congregational Churches. The preaching ministry coupled with Dr. Brookes’ Bible studies would occupy the young convert until he left St. Louis, Missouri permanently in the summer of 1882.
Dr. James H. Brookes
Most noteworthy among Scofield’s mentors was Dr. James H. Brookes. At the time of Scofield’s “Bible conversion” in 1879, his mentor, Dr. Brookes, was one of the most visible American teachers of dispensational theology. As a prominent dispensationalist theologian and pastor, Brookes published more than 250 books and tracts and edited for 23 years the conservative periodical The Truth. Prior to The Scofield Reference Bible, Brookes’ most famous work, Maranatha: or the Lord’s Coming, alongside William Blackstone’s Jesus is Coming, was the most influential premillennialist text.
Brookes offered Scofield a firm foundation in theological training through an invitation to his home Bible studies. As a leader in the dispensationalist movement, Brookes strongly influenced the young convert in three major ways: 1) Brookes’ Bible studies became a feature of Scofield’s later ministerial work in Dallas, Texas and would result in The Scofield Correspondence Course; 2) Brookes would introduce Scofield to the dispensationalist interpretive framework; and, 3) Brookes’ study methodology which included taking notes in the margins his bible and creating a “concordance” to link together themes across the Scriptures would influence Scofield’s premier work, The Scofield Reference Bible.
Under the tutelage of Brookes and Douglas, Scofield grew as a minister and redirected his intellectual mind toward learning all he could of his new-found faith. In August 1882, Scofield was offered the opportunity to temporarily fill the pulpit of the First Congregational Church in Dallas, Texas. And, on a Saturday in 1882, C.I. Scofield reached Dallas, Texas and the following day was in the pulpit preaching to the congregation.
SCANDAL AND DIVORCE
In the summer and early fall of 1881, Scofield’s unsavory past resurfaced through two publications, one in the Atchison Press and the other in the Atchison Patriot and picked up by the Topeka Daily Capital on August 27, 1881. The Topeka Daily Capital article exposed Scofield’s role in the St. Louis forgeries and his defrauding his mother-in-law of money and abandonment of his children. At this point, Scofield had lived apart from Leontine and their children for at least four or five years. In September of 1881, Leontine Scofield signed a divorce petition claiming that Cyrus Scofield “for more than one year…and a long time prior thereto absented himself from his said wife and children” and alleged that the “minor children have all of their lives been under the care of this Plaintiff [Leontine].” Scofield, acting as counsel for himself, denied the allegations and asked the court to dismiss the petition, which the court dismissed on March 4, 1882.
In July 1882, the St. Louis licensing board suspended Scofield’s preaching license due to the press reports unveiling his past deeds. Following the suspension, Scofield left for Dallas to fill the pulpit of the First Congregational Church. Scofield filled the pulpit for nine months before the Church offered him a permanent position. The offer prompted Scofield to petition the St. Louis Congregational Licensing Board for another preaching license. Scofield’s license was reinstated in April 1883 with a less than unanimous vote.
On October 1, 1883, Leontine Scofield filed essentially the same petition for divorce which the court granted on December 8, 1883. Cyrus Scofield was found guilty by the court of “willful abandonment” and “enjoined Scofield from ever interfering with the custody of the children.” Consistent with her Catholic beliefs, after the court granted Mrs. Scofield a divorce on the grounds of abandonment, she began calling herself a widow.
DALLAS, TEXAS (1882 – 1896)
In Dallas, Cyrus Scofield launched a ministerial career that spanned over thirty-eight years. He would spend the next fourteen consecutive years in Dallas from 1882 to 1896 before moving North for a brief period and eventually returning to Dallas until his death in 1921. On December 9, 1883, Hettie Hall Van Wartz and her sister Mattie, northerners who relocated to Dallas, Texas from Michigan, joined First Congregational Church. Hettie Wartz captured Scofield’s eye and shortly thereafter the couple would get engaged and then married on March 11, 1884.
Newly married and at the helm of the First Congregational Church in Dallas, Cyrus Scofield began his Dallas ministry. Conveying power and authority by preaching the gospel as a remedy for the social concerns in the city of Dallas, Reverend Scofield established himself as “a trusted white male member of the evangelical community.” Scofield’s preaching was one aspect among many in his role as the First Congregational Church of Dallas which would help make a name for himself.
Bible Studies: Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
As the permanent pastor of First Congregational Church, Rev. Scofield began a weekday evening Bible class which he said drew people from all over the city including ministers from other churches. The class grew to the extent that Rev. Scofield added another evening meeting at the local Y.M.C.A. Regular Bible studies became a key feature of Scofield’s teaching ministry and eventually contributed to his first major publication the booklet, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth. Published just five years after his ordination in 1888, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth outlined Scofield’s hermeneutic or interpretive method for the biblical text based on his view of the correct arrangement and meaning of key parts of scripture.
Based on Scofield’s interpretation of 2 Timothy 2:15, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth argued for a seven-fold division of the scriptures in which God judged humanity according to God’s revelation in that dispensation. While only an outline of the divisions, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth prefigured Scofield’s later Study Bible project which would offer “a complete analysis of all the Bible” and outline all the divisions of the Bible.
The Scofield Correspondence Course
The Bible study classes and his pamphlet, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, were not Scofield’s only ministry successes while in Dallas. Scofield readily mentored other Congregational ministers in “the Southwest regions of Texas, Louisiana, and Colorado as a superintendent for the American Home Missionary Society beginning in 1886.” Scofield also started a training class for local ministers. By combing through the Bible systematically, Scofield put together the material for the training class and “codified the material as The Scofield Correspondence Course in 1895.”  In the first issue of Scofield’s monthly journal devoted to the exposition and practical application of Scripture, The Believer, he promoted the correspondence course and described it “as a series of lessons that would follow a fifty-two week plan, which he believed would ‘form a system of Bible truth.’”
On January 9, 1884, Scofield reviewed his first year of ministry in an annual church meeting. He noted seventy-five members were in attendance at the Dallas church in contrast to the twelve members who were present during his first sermon. Out of the seventy-five members, thirty-nine of them had joined on profession of faith, which Scofield saw as representing his evangelistic success. By 1886, the church had grown to two hundred members and by the summer of 1888 First Congregational church began contemplating the possibility of building a larger meeting space. After the completion of the new building, the church steadily grew under “Rev. Scofield’s leadership with 551 members on its rolls when Scofield resigned his first tenure in 1895.”
In the Life Story, C.I. Scofield referred to Bible conferences as a “formative influence” in his life. As early as 1878, American Christian theologians began dividing into two schools of thought on the role of religion in society. On the one hand, Christian theologians who adopted the new cultural landscape forged by cultural modernism, scientific discovery, and historical scholarship in Biblical doctrine and orthodoxy were deemed at fault of syncretism by theologians who rejected adopting the “Higher Criticism” flooding the North American landscape. On the other hand, traditional or conservative theologians in their approach to the Biblical texts were considered antiquated by liberal or modernist theologians.
Bible conferences emerged out of the schismatic landscape as an alternative to the more liberal seminaries as a way of educating pastors in the traditional or conservative school of thought. The Bible conferences heralded the Bible as the literal Word of God and provided the “supreme rule of faith” in matters of religion and orthodoxy. Scofield was trained at these conferences in matters of conservative theology. He “quickly adapted to the Bible conference program and positioned himself to become a leader in Bible conferences, especially on matters of prophecy.” Scofield, ordained just three years before attending his first Bible conference in 1886, joined the polemic against science and “Higher Criticism” espoused by theologians such “Drs. W. J. Erdman, James H. Brookes, Nathaniel West, and others that taught the Bible with the highest scholarly and spiritual power.”
Northfield Bible Conferences
Dwight L. Moody organized the annual Northfield Bible Conferences in Northfield, Massachusetts, to focus on holiness in the Christian life. Scofield cited the Northfield Bible Conference as his “first introduction to wider fields of acquaintances and service in the Lord’s vineyards.” Scofield was invited to speak by D.L. Moody at the fall Northfield conference in 1886. Following the conference, Rev. Scofield took a three month leave from First Congregational Church to attend Northfield and other Bible conferences in the North. Taking leave to attend conferences became a lifetime practice for Scofield.
The Niagara Bible Conferences
The second major conference which influenced Rev. Scofield was the Niagara Bible Conference founded by his St. Louis mentor, dispensational theologian, Dr. James H. Brookes. At the Niagara Bible Conference, Scofield said he “was welcomed into this fellowship and became a favorite teacher.” The Niagara Bible Conference was the primary institution of learning a “conservative Biblical view and the fountainhead of dispensational training at the time.” Rev. Scofield acknowledged in the Life Story Dr. Brookes’ influence in shaping his method of interpreting the Bible first after his conversion between 1879 and 1882 and then again at the Niagara Bible Conferences between 1887 and 1897.
While at the first conference, Scofield took Dr. Brookes’ teaching on the prophetic study of God’s word and the dispensational truth and arranged the right divisions of the Bible into an outline form which would later be published as Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth the following years, as discussed earlier. Scofield described Dr. Brookes’ teaching “making plain dispensational truth and the great fundamentals of the prophetic study of God’s Word.” Brookes’ influence and mentorship of Scofield would show up later in his life as he prepared The Scofield Reference Bible which took Brookes’ Bible study method of writing notes in the margins of his Bible and his dispensational teaching and placed them together in a Bible for the first time. Though Cyrus Scofield maintained a pastoral ministry for most of his life, the focus of his religious work turned towards the conservative conference ministry after 1886.
NORTH TO MASSACHUSETTS (1896 – 1902)
In 1895, D.L. Moody returned to Dallas for an evangelistic campaign. While campaigning, Moody asked Rev. Scofield, fifty-two years old at the time, to take an appointment as pastor of Moody’s home church of Trinitarian Congregational Church in East Northfield, Massachusetts. The following year, First Congregational Church of Dallas granted Rev. Scofield a one-year leave to move north to pastor Moody’s church. The move to the north opened up new opportunities for Scofield to develop as a professional bible scholar and teacher. Between 1896 and 1909 in the heart of the conservative conference circuit, Scofield was afforded increased exposure and built a reputation for himself as a conservative dispensational, pre-millennial Bible preacher. In 1897, Cyrus Scofield’s mentor and the founder of the Niagara Bible Conference, James H. Brookes died. With Brookes’ death, the Niagara Bible conferences were left without a designated successor and the conference would eventually split over a doctrinal debate and finally close permanently in 1900. While presiding over Moody’s Church, Scofield spent most of his time attending conferences and with family, taking trips abroad. Upon Scofield’s return from a seven-month trip abroad with his family in November 1899, D.L. Moody would die two months later on December 26, 1899. Before Scofield’s departure, he would have a disagreement with D.L. Moody which never was resolved before Moody’s death. However, Rev. Scofield officiated Moody’s funeral and was assisted by Rev. R. A. Torrey.
D.L. Moody and James H. Brookes: Passing the Baton
Following the deaths of Moody and Brookes, Cyrus Scofield apparently began to consider establishing his own prophecy conference while contemplating getting a study Bible project underway. Between 1900 and 1902, Scofield developed a closer relationship with conference associate Arno C. Gaebelein. Gaebelein proved to be a key figure in helping Scofield see his dream of crafting a study bible come to fruition. Rev. Scofield and Gaebelein shared near identical beliefs as it related to dispensationalist theology and a disdain of “scholarly Bible criticism.” Rev. Scofield invited Rev. Gaebelein to speak at the Northfield Church on
April 19, 1900. After speaking at the Northfield church, the two ministers began conference planning meetings in hopes of beginning a new prophetic conference which would spread dispensationalist theology to ministers and lay people.
The New Vision: Networking and Planning
Gaebelein connected Scofield to three Plymouth Brethren who had been meeting in a small New York bible study and had been the ones to share John Nelson Darby’s dispensationalist theology with Gaebelein. The three men Gaebelein connected to Scofield were “Francis Fitch, owner of a printing business, and two other wealthy men, John T. Pirie and Alwyn Ball, Jr.” Together, the group set out to make Rev. Scofield’s dispensationalist ideas known. Key amongst the group was John T. Pirie whose summer estate located on Hempstead Harbor on Long Island Sound in New York provided the location for the Sea Cliff Summer Conference for ten consecutive years until Pirie’s passing. The first conference was held on July 23-29, 1901. The conference afforded Rev. Scofield the opportunity to act as the leading speaker for the first time in a prophetic conference.
A Study Bible: The Big Idea
The origin of Scofield’s famed reference Bible is contested by both Scofield and Gaebelein’s retellings. Gaebelein recounts an evening stroll with Scofield during the Sea Cliff Conference in 1901. At that time, he recounts that Scofield divulged his plan about putting together a study Bible with footnotes on the pages explaining the Biblical text. Due to a lack of financial support, Scofield told Gaebelein the project had failed to materialize even though he had been thinking about the idea since from early in his Dallas ministry.
In the Life Story; however, Scofield does not mention the 1901 conversation with Gaebelein. Instead, he recounts Alwyn Ball inquiring of him in 1902 about the project. Scofield disclosed his plans for the reference Bible to which Ball in response offered financial support. Shortly thereafter, Scofield said John T. Pirie entered into “a hearty fellowship” with Ball and Scofield to support the project and get it underway. Whether Gaebelein is right or Scofield is not of importance for each of them conceded that “a definite plan emerged for Rev. Scofield to prepare a study Bible beginning in summer 1902.” With the financial support of the conference circuit, Ball, and Pirie, Scofield agreed to resign from his role as pastor at Northfield and return to Dallas to work to prepare The Bible Study Bible, the preliminary title for what became The Scofield Reference Bible.
The Scofield Reference Bible
From 1903 to 1905 Scofield spent time in Dallas as the pastor of First Congregational Church. Focusing his efforts on Bible teaching and Conference lectures, Scofield did not make headway on his Bible project. On September 13, 1905, Rev. Scofield took an extended leave of absence from his congregation, with an annual salary of $1,000, to work on the study Bible. The following two years were spent traveling abroad for Scofield as he worked on the project. “Scofield visited Oxford, England and Montreux, Switzerland where he worked with resident theologians on the study Bible project.” In October 1907, Dr. Scofield returned to Dallas, Texas for a homecoming sermon before going to Crestwood in New Hampshire to finish work on the reference Bible.
On January 15, 1909, Oxford University Press published the first edition of The Scofield Reference Bible, edited by Rev. C.I. Scofield, D. D. Oxford University Press released Scofield’s study Bible for distribution in the United States on April 2, 1909. The success of Scofield’s system was to the extent that many adherents failed to distinguish between the texts and the notes. Scofield fully expected a “novice Bible reader to understand and interpret scripture without the aid of outside commentaries by simply using the annotations printed underneath the Biblical text and the marginal cross-references.” Scofield’s reference Bible was to be a “complete Bible study method contained within his in-text study notes.”
Scofield’s Last Years
Between 1909 and his death in 1921, Scofield continued his ministry endeavors even as his health declined. During this time, he published or collaborated on at least ten more theological works, contributed articles to fundamental publications, engaged in various educational endeavors, and continued The Scofield Correspondence Course. In his last remaining years, Scofield fought bouts of illness and reflected back on his life. He corresponded with his daughters, Abbie Scofield Kellogg and Helen Scofield Barlow, and expressed his lasting love he had for them. “Even though Scofield pledged to extend a generous financial support to his daughters, his self-described ‘Scofielditis’ apparently restrained his generosity towards the two women.”
By 1918, Scofield’s health declined considerably at the age of seventy-five-years old. The summer of 1919 Scofield met with Charles Trumbull at a vacation home in Crescent City, Florida to conduct interviews later published as a series in Trumbull’s periodical, The Sunday School Times and the following year in The Life Story of C.I. Scofield, published by Oxford University Press. Scofield returned to his main home called Greyshingles in Douglaston on Long Island, New York to live out his final days. Scofield fighting a bout of illness apparently wrote to his daughter Helen on May 4, 1921 for the last time before his death on Sunday, July 24, 1921. After his death, Helen Scofield Barlow “would request a copy of her father’s Last Will and Testament only to find her name absent from the important document.” Rushing notes that both daughters were absent from Scofield’s will, written during the same month he had professed his love for them, and instead “left his entire estate, including the substantial royalty payments from Oxford University Press, to his wife Hettie Scofield and his son Noel Paul Scofield.”
In 1924, Lewis Sperry Chafer founded the Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. Dallas Theological Seminary was the first seminary institution in the United States dedicated to teaching dispensational theology as found in The Scofield Reference Bible. The school solidified the lasting impact of Scofield’s dispensationalist approach to Bible study. Scofield’s reference Bible grew in popularity throughout the years and in the first two decades sold over a million copies worldwide. The immense sales from The Scofield Reference Bible accounted for tremendous profits for Oxford University Press for several years. Oxford University Press called The Scofield Reference Bible the “most widely known reference edition of the Bible in English language.”
Scofield’s reference Bible contributed throughout the decades to a strong pro-Israel and Zionist stance within American Christian fundamentalism. Historian Stephen Sizer referred to Scofield as “the most influential exponent of dispensationalism through the canonization of Zionism.” The Scofield Reference Bible also espoused racist ideology as Scofield explained in a note on Genesis 9:25 that the “prophetic declaration is made that from Ham will descend an inferior and servile posterity.” In the twentieth century United States, the “inferior and servile posterity” usually referred to African Americans. The 1967 editors of The Scofield Reference Bible revised the explanatory note related to the descendants of Ham; however, passages in the reference Bible still hold an anti-Catholic sentiment which remains integral to the dispensational system. The anti-Catholic interpretation of various passages influenced Scofield’s relation to his first wife, Mary Leontine, herself a Roman Catholic and their children. In letters to a fellow Congregational minister in Texas, Scofield described the reason for his abandonment of his family as “what he called a ‘mixed marriage case’ which he defined as the marriage of a believer to an unbeliever.” Scofield’s interpretation of the biblical text led him to view Catholics as pagans or unbelievers. Furthermore, Scofield articulated harsher views on “the children of a mixed marriage which he described as ‘unholy, (‘impure’, literally) that is as if from fornication.’” While espousing horrid racist and anti-Catholic ideology, The Scofield Reference Bible made a monumental impact on the North American landscape.
A Contested Legacy
Assessing the impact of C. I. Scofield’s magnum opus, Todd Mangum said, “historically speaking, The Scofield Reference Bible was to dispensationalism what [Martin] Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses was to Lutheranism, or John Calvin’s Institutes to Calvinism.” Historian George Marsden called Scofield “the great systematizer” of the dispensational movement based on his method of dividing and classifying Biblical text for novice readers. Fundamentalist historian Ernest Sandeen called The Scofield Reference Bible “the most influential single publication in millenarianism and fundamentalist historiography.” Scofield’s reference work became a mainstay in study Bibles and a cornerstone of the Christian fundamentalist movement. Scofield’s life and reference Bible would go on to influence “the lives of prominent authors in modern American Christianity including Hal Lindsey, John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, John Hagee, Charles Stanley, and Kay Arthur.”
- Jean Rushing in her M.A. thesis highlights Scofield’s 1879 Bible conversion as the historical line in the sand draw by Scofield’s students as a demarcation of his former life in contrast to his transformed life in Christ. Charles Trumbull first memorialized a portrait of Scofield’s life in the Life Story by depicting Scofield as he wanted to be seen, a decorated Confederate veteran, successful lawyer, and Bible scholar whose conversion in 1879 transformed his life for the better. Joseph Canfield’s 1988 publication of The Incredible Scofield and His Book exposed Trumbull’s portrait of Scofield by scraping away the bright colored shading of Scofield’s unsavory past and cast bleak shadows over the efficacy of Scofield’s “Bible conversion.”
Todd Mangum restored Scofield’s portrait by highlight Canfield’s overreaching mischaracterization of Scofield’s post-conversion transformation. Mangum concluded in The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church in 2009 that “Scofield seemed to exhibit no pattern of deception about his past, especially after the 1879 conversion” and “in the final analysis C.I. Scofield seems to have lived a life of high Christian character.” In 2011, R. Dean Rushing refined Scofield’s portrait by providing previously unpublished material about Scofield’s post-war activities and downfall as a lawyer. Rushing blurred the 1879 conversion line and deemed it unjustified. Rushing provides a historical analysis which argues, “Rev. Scofield carefully cultivated his following by misrepresenting himself as a noble ex-Confederate Bible scholar.”
This thesis has demonstrated, in accordance with D. Jean Rushing’s conclusion, that Cyrus Ingerson Scofield was an intelligent and adaptive man whose Confederate veteran status helped move him into places of privilege, power, and prestige, opening the doors for his later life as a minister, conference speaker, and famous publisher. Shrouding his past in a smoke screen of deception, Cyrus Scofield succeeded in hiding his past life from his followers and building an image for himself through religious conferences, publications, and educational work in ministry after his political and personal ruin in Atchison, Kansas in 1873.
Scofield was successful in pursuing and achieving the societal ideals set forth by the standard of manhood in America in the late 19th century and early 20th century following the loss of his identity after his ruin in 1873. Leveraging his intellect, networks of relationships, and his adaptive abilities, Scofield climbed his way up to the pinnacle of religious success of his day. He influenced generations the generations that followed him in ways still being sifted out by historians and scholars alike. Only time will tell the depths and complexities of Scofield’s impact on American culture, politics, and religion.
BeVier, William A. “A Biographical Sketch of C.I. Scofield.” Master’s Thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1960.
Canfield, Joseph M. The Incredible Scofield and His Book. Vallecito: Ross House Books, 1988.
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. The History of the Scofield Reference Bible. New York: Our Hope, 1943.
Gaebelein, Frank Ely. The Story of the Scofield Reference Bible, 1909-1959. New York: Oxford University Press, 1959.
Gerstner, John H. Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: A Critique of Dispensationalism. Brentwood: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1991.
Hannah, John D., “Scofield, Cyrus Ingerson,” American National Biography.
Kraus, C. Norman. Dispensationalism in America: Its rise and Development. Richmond: John Knox Press, 1958.
Mangum, R. Todd, and Mark S. Sweetnam. The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church. Colorado Springs: Paternoster Publishing, 2009.
Marsden, George. Fundamentalism and American Culture, the Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925. 2nd ed. 1980; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
_________. Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1991.
Phillips, Michael. White Metropolis: Race Ethnicity, and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006.
Rushing, D. Jean. “From Confederate Deserter to Decorated Veteran Bible Scholar: Exploring the Enigmatic Life of C. I. Scofield, 1861–1921,” Master’s Thesis, East Tennessee State University, 2011. http://dc.etsu.edu/etd/1380
Sandeen, Ernest R. The Roots of Fundamentalism; British and American Millenarianism, 1800 1930. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.
Schmidt, David Anthony. “Scripture beyond Common Sense: Sentimental Bible Study and the Evangelical Practice of ‘the Bible Reading.” Journal of Religious History 41, No. 1, (2017): 60-80.
Scofield, C. I. Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, 1888; Findlay: Fundamental Truth Publishers, reprint, u.d.
________. Scofield Bible Correspondence Course, Vol. 1-3, 1890; reprint, Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1907.
________. The Scofield Reference Bible. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments. Authorized Version with a New System of Connected Topical References. New York: Oxford University Press, 1909, revised 1917.
Trumbull, Charles G. The Life Story of C. I. Scofield. New York: Oxford University Press, 1920.
 Charles G. Trumbull and Cyrus Ingerson Scofield. The Life Story of C. I. Scofield. (Oxford University Press: New York, 1920; reprint Wipf and Stock Publishers: Eugene, 2007). Page citations are to the reprint edition.
 Joseph M. Canfield. The Incredible Scofield and His Book. (Vallecito: Ross House Books, 1988).
 R. Todd Mangum and Mark S. Sweetnam. The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church. (Colorado Springs: Paternoster Publishing, 2009).
 D. Jean Rushing. “From Confederate Deserter to Decorated Veteran Bible Scholar: Exploring the Enigmatic Life of C. I. Scofield, 1861–1921,” (Master’s Thesis, East Tennessee State University, 2011), 11.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 11.
 Ibid., 11.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 4, 6.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 13.
 Ibid., 13. Fn. 20.
 Ibid., 14.
 Ibid., 14-15.
 Ibid., 16.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 16; Trumbull, Life Story, 5, 7.
 Trumbull, 8.
 Trumbull, 8.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 19.
 Ibid., 19. See Fn. 69.
 Ibid., 20.
 Ibid., 21.
 Ibid., 22
 Ibid., 23.
 Ibid., 25.
 Ibid., 24.
 Ibid., 24.
 Ibid., 26.
 Ibid., 26. Rushing notes that Scofield never served in a Union regiment and the draft records did not contain any notation as to whether he arranged for a substitute or received a medical exemption from Union service. Rushing, 26. Fn. 104. Cyrus J. Schofield [sic], Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registrations, 1863-1865.
 Ibid., 27. “Arriving in St. Louis as a Union refugee, Dr. Eames established his dental office before Laura Scofield Eames and their children arrived in the spring of 1863. Victorine Scofield also made her way to St. Louis and married local resident Thomas Annan on July 23, 1863.”
 Trumbull, Life Story, 11, 25.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 29.
 Ibid., 29.
 Ibid., 29-30.
 Ibid., 31. “Papin appointed Scofield to oversee the family interests in a settling a land grant claim, informally called the Loisel land case, filed in the District Court. The Loisel land case provided Scofield with the opportunity to establish his reputation as a lawyer in Atchison, Kansas. The 1869 move was due to the land grant requiring Scofield’s full attention.” Also see Trumbull, Life Story, 11.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 28; Canfield, The Incredible Scofield, 61; and Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 39-40, 228.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 25.
 Canfield, The Incredible Scofield, 66.
 Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 42. Rushing notes, “Mangum did not address the discrepancy created by Scofield claiming he served two years in his federal appointment rather than six months.” Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 38.
 Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 42.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 28.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 30.
 Ibid., 30.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 45.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 32.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 49.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 30. Rushing suggests the following on the many conversion stories related to C. I. Scofield; James Lutzweiler, “The Many Conversions of Fundamentalist Saint, Cyrus Ingerson Scofield: ‘Peer Among Scalawags’” and the Golden Goose of Oxford University Press—and East Texan.” (paper presented to East Texas Historical Association, Nacogdoches, Texas, 24 September 2011). Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 41.
 Trumbull, 27, 31; Arno Clemens Gaebelein, The History of the Scofield Reference Bible. (New York: Our Hope, 1943), 22. Scofield told Trumbull the meeting with McPheeters occurred in Scofield’s law office. Arno Gaebelein indicated the two men met through the Y.M.C.A.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 34-35.
 Ibid., 37.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 51.
 Ibid., 51-52.
 David Anthony Schmidt. “Scripture beyond Common Sense: Sentimental Bible Study and the Evangelical Practice of ‘the Bible Reading.” Journal of Religious History 41, No. 1, (2017): 60-80.
David Anthony Schmidt. “Scripture beyond Common Sense,” 62; Also see D. R. Williams, James H. Brookes: A Memoir (St. Louis: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1897), 184.
 David Anthony Schmidt. “Scripture beyond Common Sense,” 63. For an evaluation of the influence of Scofield’s Bible see R. Todd Mangum and Mark Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church (Colorado Springs: Paternoster, 2009).
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 52.
 Ibid., 53.
 Ibid., 53.
 Ibid., 54.
 Ibid., 56.
 Ibid., 60.
 Ibid., 70. “Scofield spoke out against prizefighting in the state of Texas, served as a delegate to a convention of prohibitionists in Dallas in 1887, and beckoned the people of Dallas to avoid the lure of sin found in the theater, cards, gaming, lottery, wine, and makeup. He also addressed the rising divorce and crime in the community by teaching that only salvation could answer such worldly problems.”
 Ibid., 61; Trumbull, Life Story, 61.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 62. “The First Congregational Church members paid for the first printing of Scofield’s pamphlet before the Loizeaux Brothers bought the publication rights to the dispensational tract.” Also see Trumbull, Life Story, 62; and John H. Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth: A Critique of Dispensationalism (Brentwood: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1991), 52.
 Scofield, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, 1888; Findlay: Fundamental Truth Publishers, (1988; reprint, u.d.), 3-4.
 Scofield, Rightly Dividing, 4.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 62.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 63. “The correspondence course proved immensely popular and eventually sold to Moody Bible Institute for $20,000.”
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 84.
 Ibid., 69.
 Ibid.; Trumbull, Life Story, 51.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 52.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 75; George Marsden. Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 13.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 75.
 Ibid., 76.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 53.
 Ibid., 52.
 Rushing, From Confederate Deserter,” 77.
 Schmidt, “Scripture Beyond Common Sense,” 62. After 1875, Dr. Brookes also served as the principal organizer of the Niagara Bible Conference.
 Rushing, From Confederate Deserter,” 77.
 Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, 132. Rushing, “Scripture Beyond Common Sense,” 81.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 52.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 78. Arno C. Gaebelein, The History of The Scofield Reference Bible, 22.
 Trumbull, Life Story, 35.
 William A. BeVier, “A Biographical Sketch of C.I. Scofield,” (MA Thesis, Southern Methodist University, 1960), 58.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 90; Arno C. Gaebelein, The History of the Scofield Reference Bible, 42. “Gaebelein suggested he and Scofield contributed to the divisiveness because of their “imminent return” views, which differed sharply from other conference members with mainstream views on Jesus’s Second Coming.”
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 89. Rushing states, “Scofield later observed that the misunderstanding with Moody resolved itself when the older evangelist entered heaven.” Citing C. Scofield to A.P. Mr. Fitt, 1 July, 1905.
 Ibid., 89-90. The newspaper story did not include the trip itinerary, but it seems that Rev. Scofield may have already been laying the groundwork for his study Bible.
 Ibid., 90; Gaebelein, The History of the Scofield Reference Bible, 42. “Gaebelein suggested he and Scofield contribute to the divisiveness because of their “imminent return” views, which differed sharply from other conference members with mainstream views on Jesus’s Second Coming.”
 Ibid., 90.
 Gaebelein, The History of the Scofield Reference Bible, 38.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 91.
 Ibid., 92.
 Gaebelein, The History of The Scofield Reference Bible, 47.
 Ibid., 47.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 92; Trumbull, Life Story, 75.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 92; Trumbull, Life Story, 76.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 92.
 Gaebelein, The History of the Scofield Reference Bible, 52.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 109.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 109.
 Ibid., 109.
 While Scofield’s alleged adoption of the title of “Doctor of Divinity” or “D.D” is not dealt with in this paper, Rushing provides an excellent treatment of the matter on pages 86-88. See Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 86-88. Rushing’s research found the earliest mention of the term “appeared in a newspaper report published in the Dallas Morning News on November 26, 1885. The News reported, “Rev. Dr. C.I. Scofield officiated at the wedding for a Dallas couple.” Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 86. Todd Mangum suggests the title was adopted as “a practice and value in the community [of Congregationalists] of which Scofield was a part.” Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 47. Joseph M. Canfield concluded that the degree was self-awarded to add a prestigious title to the pastor’s name. Canfield, 188. Mangum chided Canfield that it was amateurish to argue the “absence of evidence as evidence of absence.” Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 46. Rushing disagrees with Mangum’s conclusion and understands Scofield’s silence in the Life Story as deafening. Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 88.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 111. “Between 1915 and 1921, Oxford University Press disclosed $76,847.63 in royalties paid to Scofield, which represented an average annual income of $15,269.46. In 1920, the average family earned just over $1200 in annual income.”
 Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, 222.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 116.
 Ibid., 111. C.I. Scofield, The Scofield Reference Bible. The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments. Authorized Version with a New System of Connected Topical References. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1909), iii.
 Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 7, 17.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 116-117.
 Canfield, The Incredible Scofield, 353. According to Rushing, the Florida vacation home was provided by a “steel magnate” for Scofield’s lifetime use. Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 115.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 116.
 Ibid., 116-117.
 Ibid., 118.
 Ibid.; Frank Ely Gaebelein. The Story of the Scofield Reference Bible, 1909-1959. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959), 5; Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 211. Rushing notes that “Mark Sweetnam provided an excellent discussion on the groundbreaking role of Scofield’s work in American study Bibles.” Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,”118 Fn. 645.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 119.
 Scofield, The Scofield Reference Bible, 16. Note to Genesis 9:25; See also Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 82; Mangum and Sweetnam acknowledged that The Scofield Reference Bible gave “stature and popularity to the curse of Ham” but attributed its source to Old School Southern Presbyterians” rather than Scofield’s acculturation in Dallas, Texas.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 129. Also see Scofield’s comments on slavery as a “kind, patriarchal form” in the Life Story. Trumbull, Life Story, 6. For more on racism and its relation to Scofield and his reference Bible D. Jean Rushing point to the work of Phillips. Michael Phillips. White Metropolis: Race Ethnicity, and Religion in Dallas, 1841-2001. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2006), 51. Phillips argued that Scofield used his racially charged preaching to maintain the status of white elites in Dallas, Texas. Phillips work on Scofield is part of a larger whiteness study in Dallas, Texas.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 112.
 Ibid., 55.
 Ibid., 56.
 Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 195.
 George Marsden revised much of Sandeen’s contributions on the roots of American Christian fundamentalism. Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, 222;
 George Marsden. Fundamentalism and American Culture, the Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 59.
 Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, 222.
 Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 197.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 130.
 Mangum and Sweetnam, The Scofield Bible, 20.
 Rushing, “From Confederate Deserter,” 130.
 Ibid., 127-128.