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Book Review: The Incredible Scofield and His Book

This book, written by Joseph M. Canfield, was given to me by a friend and I recently finished it. It's a biography of the famous C. I. Scofield who wrote his wildly influential "Scofield Reference Bible".

This is a very detailed, very dry, and very biased biography. I was hoping for more discussion of theology, specifically Dispensational theology that Scofield popularized, but this is really just a biography. The back of the book claims, "This is one of the most powerful books that has ever been written against the dispensational system. It is powerful because it shows how the book that has had the most to do with promotion of that system, The Scofield Reference Bible, originated." It also states, "Here is a book that dispensationalists, as well as others, will do well to read. It is powerful, so powerful we dare say, that if dispensationalists would read it carefully, perhaps half of them would turn from that system." Having now read the book, these claims are laughable.

In fact, the book doesn't talk much at all about Dispensationalism but rather focuses on Scofield's life and often is very nitpicky to make criticism about details of his whereabouts at certain dates/times. The book makes bold claims as quoted above, but falls completely short as it barely touches on theology in the slightest. It is highly doubtful that the author is even a Christian since one of the few bits of Bible doctrine he mentions and rejects is the Rapture which is a very clear teaching of Scripture.

It seems that the research in this book is very thorough--I'll give it that--and it did make a solid case that Scofield was a dirtbag and a fraud. His conversion experience to Christianity is in doubt, he abandoned his wife and kids at one point, he was frequently on vacation away from the church he was supposed to oversee, he had very shady connections, and a host of other character flaws and discrepancies about his life are likely accurate based on the thorough detail in this book. The author should have advertised this as a biography, and nothing more. However, some of the criticism against Scofield is extremely minor which tells me the author was really digging for dirt on him.

In all, as someone not particularly interested in Scofield or his book, I'd have to rate this book 1 out of 5 stars and quite a disappointment.


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