I was looking into the history of the Plymouth Brethren, John Nelson Darby, and Cyrus Scofield, and came across an interesting series of videos. I have written of Scofield before, perhaps coming down a bit too hard on dispensationalism (although it still doesn’t ring true for me) and not hard enough on the influence he has had regarding the state-worship of Israel.
“Who cares about the Plymouth Brethren?” you ask. Yes, a small group, and, like many Protestant groups, subdivided into a cornucopia of ever smaller divisions. But the Scofield Reference Bible might be one of the most influential books in the American Protestant landscape – Brethren or otherwise.
Dallas Theological Seminary, ranked number one on this list of Top 10 Evangelical Seminaries in the U.S., is described as follows:
Perhaps no school has had a greater impact on recent theology than Dallas Theological Seminary. Dallas was founded with a very specific purpose in mind: to teach and systematize dispensationalist theology. Before Dallas, the school of thought that divided the Bible into seven distinct historical periods or dispensations (and argued for a sharp distinction between Israel and the church), was largely unheard of.
Which leads me to recall my post on Christian Arrogance.
Now the majority of Evangelicals hold to some variation of this [dispensational] system.
As noted, Scofield has conquered much of Protestantism in America.
So I found these videos on Darby, Scofield and dispensationalism (here and here). If you are interested in the topic, these are worth watching. The speaker is Bruce Gore, who has taught the adult education hour of First Presbyterian Church, Spokane (PCUSA) and taught at Whitworth University.
He states that he once was fully bought in to the presentation of Scofield, although he has since changed his views. However, he also shares his thoughts regarding many of those who hold to these views, as he once did – people who are strong Christian brothers and sisters, as he describes them.
The two videos are part of a ten-part series on the Apocalypse in Space and Time. This series was delivered about six years ago. This was followed up with more videos on Revelation from about two years ago, incorporated into the same series. The entire series can be found here. (Explore his channel and you will find two dozen additional teaching series.)
The first ten videos offer a review of how Revelation was understood over some of the intervening centuries, ending with a video on the Preterist view of the book (to which he is sympathetic, I believe, and which, therefore informs his general disapproval of Scofield’s views). Following what I find to be the too-often Protestant approach, he pretty much skips from the fourth century to Jonathan Edwards in the eighteenth century – as if the intervening years never occurred. This is unfortunate, but the focus on the Protestant scrambled mess of the nineteenth century is worthwhile.
This latter set of videos covers Revelation from beginning to end.
Watching the first ten videos, there was much focus on the nineteenth century movements that consumed Protestantism in America – a dozen people each with a new idea, each founding a movement. I have covered some of this in the past (this post received, by far, more comments than anything else I had written in 2021).
If you were raised on Hal Lindsey and John Hagee, and still hold to those views, this series might not be for you. However, if you hold to these views yet remain open to the possibility that there might be other views worth considering, then you might want to take a look.
Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.