Dr. Robert Sumner passed away in December 2016. The Biblical Evangelist newspaper is no longer being published and the ministry of Biblical Evangelism has ceased operation.

The remaining inventory of his books and gospel tracts was transferred to The Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles and may be ordered here.


Lutzweiler's "Folly" (Part 1)
Dr. Robert L. Sumner, Editor

A Major Book Review . . .

Lutzweiler’s “Folly”

By the Editor

 

David Lutzweiler, the brother of our Significant Trends columnist, has written another attack – he would probably call it an exposé – on Dr. C. I. Scofield, the prominent dispensationalist and editor of the father of all reference Bibles, the Scofield Reference Bible, first released a century ago. David is the man of whom I wrote that suggested wearing black armbands to celebrate the 100th anniversary of that reference work which stands strong for the Deity of Christ, the blood atonement, salvation by grace through faith, the Trinity, the second coming, and all the other fundamentals of the faith. The “Folly” in the title is his idea, but it fits the armband idea perfectly.

David’s book is The Praise of Folly, subtitled “The Enigmatic Life & Theology of C. I. Scofield.” His work is divided into two parts: Scofield’s Legacy (55 pages) and Scofield’s Life (140 pages). In short, the ‘juicy,’ gossipy part is over 2½ times the doctrinal section. Yet he has the audacity to say, “Although this book includes an updated biography of Scofield, it is not primarily about his life” (emphasis added). You could have fooled me (2½ to 1)!

DL (because of space reasons we will use DL for Lutzweiler, no disrespect intended), like fellow writer Joseph M. Canfield and his The Incredible Scofield (for whom we will use JMC; again, no disrespect intended), has an agenda – and it shows! (And for the Scofield Reference Bible we will use SRB.) Also like JMC, DL wants to discredit the theology by attacking the man. As Yogi Berra, whom DL also quotes, would say, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” In short, DL uses the same kind of spin JMC used.

In trying to be fair – and since DL’s positions seemed so confusing, especially in the area of “Reformed” and “Covenant” – we wrote and asked him to explain. DL responded by saying he refused to do so, based on what he learned from A. W. Tozer. In short, if we have misrepresented him in any way, we feel absolved from blame.

He did say, “The only way to handle it is to use Covenant or Reformed … as general terms to put one into the right ball park, and then make inner refinements onward from that point. I think, however, that ‘Modified Covenant’ would suit me.” So he is in the Reformed/Covenant “ball park,” as is his publisher.

DL notes that my review of JMC’s work was “the longest and most scathing of any of the reviews that the book received.” He will note the same about my review of his work.

Incredibly, DL describes JMC as “the redoubtable Canfield,” which means “commanding or evoking respect, reverence, or the like.” You could have fooled me or just about anyone who read either the book or my review of that slanderous work, a hatchet job on Scofield. And he speaks of JMC’s “few flaws.” (Wow! I wish he would be that gracious toward me!)

Interestingly, DL fails to mention another book on Scofield written by a husband and wife team, Analyzing Scofield. Why? Perhaps it was because it was just a rehash of Canfield’s nonsense, repeated with JMC’s permission. Or, perhaps it was that the husband and wife team were of the preterist persuasion and he didn’t want to give them publicity.

Brother James assured me he had pleaded with Brother David not to print the book – in fact, didn’t he say that in one of his “Trends” columns? – but author David herein thanks Jim for helping him with the research, saying without his input “this work could not have been written.” And he said again, using a baseball metaphor, “My younger brother … served as a manager by sending me to the plate … he provided me with not only much of the material but the motivation to try to score the essential run.” Wow; Saint Jimmy, as he calls himself, must have helped tremendously!

A dear friend of mine wrote a book on the second coming recently and when he sent me an advance copy, I not only told him I couldn’t recommend it but I pleaded with him not to publish it. He did anyway, which was his right, but I did not help him with his research! But Dave and Jim are, after all, blood brothers.

David personally sent me a review copy and he wrote nice things in the front of the book, including thanking me for my “invaluable contribution through your review of Canfield’s book,” adding, “It is, as you can see, an indispensable and major part of my work here. I could not have done a satisfactory job without it.” He even facetiously said he thought about putting my name on the cover as co-author but felt I’d object. Boy, would I! Maybe even sue (speaking in the same vein).

Perhaps he could have thus credited me, but he doesn’t even list my work in his Bibliography and in checking the Index, “Sumner, Robert” is only listed twice and one of those is in error (the name “Sumner” was on the page referenced, but the citation was for “Senator Charles Sumner,” the Yankee gentleman who was beaten severely with a cane by a colleague on the Senate floor for his abolition views). Whoever did the indexing apparently saw the name “Sumner” and immediately put it down as a reference to me; those sloppy mistakes happen in books and I do not want to fault anyone, least of all the author. It reflects more on the publisher than anyone.

To be honest, DL’s work shows much more indebtedness to JMC’s The Incredible Scofield and His Book. (See Chapter 5 of our new book, Fights I Didn’t Start ... and some I did, for a devastating critique of that work, the second longest chapter in the book.) It’s unfortunate I hadn’t seen this work before publishing; I could have added this review to that chapter.

JMC had difficulty finding a publisher – ending up very poorly self-published (I believe it was later reissued by Ross House Books, founded by postmillennialist R. J. Rushdoony, but I never saw anything but the original) – and DL had the same problem – his first self-published effort was DispenSinsationalism: C. I. Scofield’s Enigmatic Life and Errors (wouldn’t that kind of title intimate another hatchet job?) finally ending with ApologeticsGroup, an arm of the ‘Nicene Council,’ a strong Reformed group with a position of rigid Calvinism and postmillennialism. Other really bad titles in the Ross House stable include Kenneth Gentry’s Defense of Predestination and his He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology; Arthur Pink’s Study of Dispensationalism; and a DVD, The Late Great Planet Church, Volume One: The Rise of Dispensationalism.

Without ever saying so, the kind of criticism DL gave what he called JMC’s “various ad hominem comments”; his reference to “shadowy, unidentified ‘hidden hands’ guiding Scofield’s career”; and other kinds of JMC’s unproved, speculative, “over-reaction” remarks, mixing “highly flammable elements,” seem to justify in DL’s mind my calling JMC’s work a “hatchet job”; which, of course, it was!

Yet DL says “the facts in JMC’s book are solidly and irrefutably documented.” When I read that I said to myself, “Whoopee do!” Some of his “facts” – such as Baptist preacher William Miller being a founder of the Seventh-day Adventist cult – were as wrong as a blizzard hitting Dallas in July. As I noted in my review, Miller was “never associated with any cult, nor ever a member of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. In fact, Miller acknowledged his ‘date’ errors and refused to have anything to do with the Adventist cult which sprang from those blunders.”

Alas, DL implies the same thing. He writes, “On October 15, 1843 and again in 1844 thousands of William Miller’s unfortunate followers were anticipating Christ’s Second Coming” (emphasis added). They were not Miller’s followers; they were Ellen G. White’s followers and those in the Seventh-day Adventist cult; it would have been accurate only if DL had said “Miller’s ex-followers,” but that would have ruined the effect he was trying to make, wouldn’t it? The more you can besmirch your enemy’s character, the better your argument – at least in some authors’ minds.

While many of JMC’s facts were true, I noted that his ‘applications’ and ‘interpretations’ of those facts were loony tunes! And even DL faults JMC with “Speculative and the Scriptural defects,” including “ad hominem argumentation.” He concludes that a “positive-thinking principle that much good can come even from bad was proved again.” Can you believe that? How come DL didn’t quote that principle in relation to authors he doesn’t like and accuses of falsehoods, Trumbull and BeVier? Again, it would have ruined the “effect,” wouldn’t it?

For an example of JMC, he would give as a fact something like a blistering attack on Scofield by a Kansas political opposition newspaper which no St. Louis paper repeated (even though it is customary to do so when the second paper feels the story is true and there is a local connection as per Scofield), then JMC would offer his interpretation that failure must have been due to “that special Providence which is alleged to watch over drunks, children and idiots,” a statement he repeated more than once. That kind of malarkey is neither honest nor responsible journalism – yet JMC filled his work with it. Strangely, DL says he saw “great value” in JMC’s work.

DL notes that Scofield was born during a time of great prophetic interest – and he refers to groups rising with false conclusions about it such as S-DAs and Mormons – but he may be forgetting that Almighty God offered special blessing for prophetic study found in His Word, for example The Book of the Revelation: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3, emphasis added). You read, you understand, you do! That promise, incidentally, is about a biblical book DL thinks you need a guide to understand, yet the very promise seems to indicate it is easy to comprehend. (But that is only if you don’t try to interpret everything symbolically and figuratively – if you do you’ll really need a guide – or a gentleman in a white coat to fit you with a straightjacket!)

DL described the works of William A. BeVier  and Charles G. Trumbull as “flawed, hagiographical works.” [Our office Random House Dictionary of the English Language (Unabridged), admittedly not the latest on the market, gives a single definition for hagiographical, “the writing and critical study of the lives of the saints”; later dictionaries give two meanings, “biography of saints” and “a worshipful or idealizing biography,” the latter probably being DL’s intent.]

Yet BeVier, as we noted elsewhere, has “three earned degrees, all in history areas, and is obviously a most reliable and competent writer,” a true history scholar). DL’s work could very aptly be described as “hagiographical in reverse” (he demonized Scofield). DL admits his work is “interpretation” of Scofield’s life, and he says he rejected offering a work just giving “the basic facts.”

DL says of Trumbull’s “flawed” (his word) biography that he was “years younger” than Scofield when he wrote it. The inference, perhaps unintentional, is that Trumbull was a kid, a novice. In fact, Trumbull (1872-1941), a lifelong literary man and the son of a lifelong literary man, was pushing the half-century mark at the time and it was only 21 years before his own death at age 69 or 70 (these dates are approximate, based on the year involved, not the month and day, which I do not know and could not find anywhere). Scofield would have been about 77.

BeVier, of course (after teaching at Northwestern, founded by W. B. Riley and followed in the presidency by Billy Graham), thanks to his eagle eye for biblical error and his accuracy as a historian, later became the head of an anti-cult ministry, the Religious Analysis Service, and thereby editor of The Discerner, a cult-exposing journal. I would trust him over several rooms full of men like JMC or DL.

DL speaks of “the millions of devoted admirers who think of Scofield as a near-infallible authority.” He might be right, but don’t put me in that group. While I ‘earned’ a SRB in my early unsaved teens (thanks to the Boy Scouts of America), I understood the footnotes to be exactly that, one man’s opinion. Later, as a born-again Christian, many of them I accepted based on my own study; some I did not. The most valuable aspect to me was the center references which consisted simply of a cross-reference link to other Scriptures, plus an occasional definition of a Hebrew or Greek word. I still, to this day, consider that very helpful. And I still use, in my preaching, a Scofield Reference Bible!

DL likes to use the term DPZ (which he jokes is pronounced “dipsy,” then suggests a transition to “dipsy doodle, a fitting description of the movement”). After he invented the ‘word,’ the ‘pronunciation,’ and the ‘fit’ (actually, the closest real word is dipso, which is an abbreviation for habitual drunk), he used a derogatory definition of dipsy doodle as “apropos” for it!  – hey, if you can’t answer them, ridicule them, like JMC did, even if you have to invent things to do it.

Be that as it may, the letters stand for Dispensational, Premillennial and Zionist. Since the first two are familiar to most Christians, we will just say that Erickson’s Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology defines the third, “A movement attempting to restore the Jewish people to Israel.” DL falsely calls me a DPZ and, while I am a moderate dispensationalist and a positive premillennialist, I am no Zionist. DL admits my friend and mentor John R. Rice was not a Zionist and my position is the same as his.

In the same vein, while I have refrained from so doing, I think a case could be made that many of those screaming the Zionism charge at everyone who says a nice word for the Jew could be described as anti-Semitic! Apparently some of them, given a choice of seeing the destruction of a rogue state like Iran, or an American ally like Israel, would choose Israel. I hope I’m wrong.

After naming John Nelson Darby a “co-conspirator” with Scofield in his “Acknowledgements,” he describes him in the book as “irascible,” which means easily provoked to anger, touchy, irritable, et cetera. He charges Darby with building on “the fabrications” of Francisco Ribera and Margaret MacDonald, using as proof the wild speculations of Dave MacPherson, a gentleman who has had a lifelong vendetta against dispensationalism (his battle was pretty much limited to fighting pretribulationism, at least at the first; I don’t know what he’s done lately). Incidentally, DL calls Dave a “renowned author,” which apparently simply means he holds DL’s position against Scofield. Admittedly, he is probably renowned among the ‘hate Scofield’ crowd.

MacPherson’s squabble was based on his belief that the pre-trib teaching caused – or at least hastened – his mother’s death (when his dad switched from pre- to post-rapture it triggered a big turmoil; his view getting him expelled, as I recall, from his California church – I was a neighboring pastor at the time). And when student Dave tried to “convert” everyone on campus to post-trib at then strong pre-trib BIOLA, he was booted (as was proper; he acted very unethically and unwisely, in my judgment).

These things apparently made it impossible for him, whom I have known since the 1930s (we even went ‘rattlesnake hunting’ together in the Northern California mountains one time), to think or write objectively on this subject. And the literary key to his writings is ‘sarcasm and ridicule’ for all who fail to hold his position. You know, something like JMC.

Was there no teaching in this area before Ribera and the teenager MacDonald (a strange young woman with strange dreams)? Let me reference Dr. Grant R. Jeffrey’s article “A Pretrib Rapture Statement in the Early Medieval Church,” in When the Trumpet Sounds (Harvest House, 1995). He quotes Ephraem the Syrian, in his sermon, “On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World,” as writing: “For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the LORD lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.”

That was in A.D. 323. I think all would agree that he wrote a ‘tad’ before Fran and Marge. This ancient scholar believed that “sore affliction” would last one week of seven years, with “the great tribulation” being 3½ years. He based that on Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy sevens. He sounds like a modern pretrib dispensationalist, doesn’t he, about 1,700 years ahead of his time?

Jeffrey referred to “Paul Alexander, perhaps the most authoritative scholar on the writings of the early Byzantine church,” as concluding Ephraem’s writing differed from others of that period (who taught God would shorten the time in the tribulation to protect His own) by saying the saints would be removed prior to it.

The same author in the same book quoted the illustrious John Gill (Spurgeon’s predecessor) as teaching the pretrib rapture in 1748 in his First Thessalonians commentary. He even called the snatching up of saints “the rapture,” and said it would “be sudden, and unknown before-hand, and when least thought of and expected.” While he is not as clear as a Tim LaHaye would be, perhaps, his language leaves no doubt about what he was arguing.

Too, there is the fourth vision in The Shepherd of Hermas (c. A.D. 110!) which said “the elect” would escape the Great Tribulation. These teachings were not ‘invented’ by Scofield’s friend John Nelson Darby, as DL insists.

Speaking of ‘the irascible’ Darby, did a solid Westminster Confessional Presbyterian like Dr. James A. Brookes succumb to what DL calls the false teaching (he kindly refrains, in print at least, from calling it heresy) of dispensationalism? DL responds that it was an example of “Darby’s marketing effectiveness.” Obviously to DL, the Holy Spirit illuminating His Word had nothing to do with it. While that is not the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:24-32), it comes dangerously close if you believe the Bible teaches the rapture of the church. But then, DL doesn’t.

I don’t recall DL saying so, but Darby made six or seven visits to the United States between 1862 and 1877, spending a total of seven years in this country. He obviously had lots of time to spread his good news.

You wouldn’t get the idea from DL, but whatever else may have been true of those early Brethren, they were not dummies. As William Conrad noted, they were “… highly trained in biblical studies. Craik, Müller, Darby, Newton, Wigram, Tregelles, C. H. Mackintosh and many others had exceptional skill in Hebrew and Greek, as well as theology. They could debate the fine points of biblical grammar and vocabulary with the top scholars of their day.”

And even DL is compelled to admit that almost all of the major Bible schools and many of the leading ministers of the last century were dispensational premillennialists – some even (horrors, gasp) Zionists! However, we joyfully commend DL for admitting something JMC never would, noting Scofield had many solid, positive achievements: “successful pastorates, founding a Bible school, establishing a foreign mission, extensive writing, teaching, and preaching … matched by few other fundamentalist leaders of the day.” If he was trying to be “fair and balanced,” that was good and we appreciate it, even if was about the only nice thing we recall DL saying about Scofield in his entire book.

DL, like JMC, quotes harsh statements by A. W. Tozer about dispensationalism (Tozer did reject it after first endorsing it), but like JMC, DL offers no documentation other than hearsay, “I heard this personally on two occasions.” If Tozer was that strong against such a popular idea of his day, wrote so many books, and edited a magazine for so long (DL described him as “world-renowned for his profoundly insightful and colorful writing and preaching,” a description I accept), why didn’t he ever say anything in print against it that his fans could quote? We have a personal theory, but since it would be judging we’ll not offer it, even though DL confirmed it in our mind by something he said to me privately.

And, based on some other Tozer remarks, he calls the gospel of dispensationalism a “partly new gospel.” We found that strange since all the DPs we know define the gospel in the terms of I Corinthians 15:1-4 and preach a “by grace alone, through faith alone, plus nothing” message! We even believe someone could get saved on just Acts 16:30, 31 (gasp). Every truth in the NT, while much of it is good news, is not part of “the gospel,” defined in the Corinthian passage.

DL speaks of “the venerators and the vilifiers” in Scofield biographies – he calls his own work “both fair-minded (sic) and thorough” – and refers to the positions as two baseball teams, then announces, “I am hereby volunteering my services to be the umpire.” Really? A member of one of the teams offering to be the umpire? Isn’t he of the same theological/philosophical persuasion as JMC? And isn’t this book a biography that puts down Scofield and his doctrine? That kind of umpire wouldn’t work too well, would it? I would certainly not want to be playing in a game where the calls were being made by such an ‘unbiased’ umpire!

In his scenario, the first batter (biographer), Charles G. Trumbull – a trained writer, a highly respected newspaper man long with the Toronto Globe, a syndicated columnist whose Sunday School lessons appeared in a host of prominent secular newspapers both in Canada and the United States, as well as being the editor of The Sunday School Times for many years“strikes out.” The second batter, BeVier, “is tagged out.” The next batter (JMC, who believes like umpire DL) hit a long, solid triple – but failed to make it home (his vulgar [Random House primary definition: “characterized by ignorance of or lack of good breeding or taste”] language apparently tripped him up when he was rounding third).

It is interesting that the pro-Scofieldites struck out or were tagged out, but the anti-Scofieldite, according to this new and fair-minded (sic) biographer/umpire, hit a solid triple!

The umpire? Oh, he abandoned his home teaching (his dad was a dispensational preacher and accomplished gospel musician), his schooling (Moody Bible Institute, a DP hotbed of dispensationalism when DL attended), and early life – all dispensational and premillennial (but he says “God’s mercy” saved him out of that horrible morass) – to join (he didn’t even get traded) the other team. He says that as an ex-dispensationalist knowing the system from the inside out, he is in a position to be fair. Really? But why would he be so any more than the tens of thousands on the other team – like Dr. James Brookes mentioned above – who were trained in DL’s present position and repudiated it? It is puzzling.

On the first page of DL’s work (the Preface) he questions Scofield’s salvation account (“cast a shadow on his profession of faith”) and goes on to take as fact what JMC charged but couldn’t prove: “he lied about the circumstances of his conversion, faked his ‘D.D.’ degree, lied about his Civil War Record, effectively abandoned his first wife and children, lied about the circumstances of his first marriage, and more.” And the judgmental DL says “personal ambition” was the focus of the last half of Scofield’s life.

While we will say more later, for now: “conversion” (no proof, only sinister speculation, i.e., jailhouse conversion, Flower Mission girl, etc.); “faked his degree” (no proof); “his war record” (questionable, which could also mean for those wanting to be charitable, merely poor recollection at the end of life – based on an interview a year before he died, when he was pushing 80 – 77, to be exact; see comments later on this); abandoned family (define “abandoned,” and we question proof offered); lied about circumstances of first marriage (no proof).

Let me insert now, however, a theme DL harped on – as his predecessor in crime JMC did so nobly (sic) – the charge of forever abandoning and leaving “destitute” his family. Neither has any facts about it so they must speculate, as DL does in this claim: “… the abandonment of Leontine and the children back in Atchison, leaving them destitute.”

While he has absolutely no proof they were “destitute,” the implication given is that he never helped them, but both critics report that when a daughter wanted help to purchase a home, Scofield wrote her about some forthcoming projects that would give him income whereby he could help her and her invalid husband. He wrote, “One [i.e, project] would raise us to $1200 & two to $1700. Would the latter suffice? It would here for a living room, 2 bedrooms, bath., kitchen & small maid's room." The latter amount, he felt, would make a nice little home for his daughter and her ailing, unable-to-work husband.

I checked two internet inflation charts to see what, in today’s mammon, $1,700 would be. One said $30,804.00 and the other said $28,359.40. The trouble with this is that using inflation charts doesn’t seem to work with certain fields, especially real estate. Not only do values fluctuate with areas, using inflation charts for it seem to be way below most other commodities.

To build a new home like Scofield suggested would conservatively be worth over $150,000 today, no matter where it was located (in an area like Santa Barbara it would be over a million). And DL adds to JMC’s quote of the Scofield letter, “A ‘Steel magnate’ is building one like that in Florida which I am to have free use of while I live. Shall I send you a sketch of the Plan?” That doesn’t sound exactly like destitute abandonment to me, offering to build a home like one a steel magnate owned, who obviously wouldn’t be living in poverty. But, then again, I’m not looking for items where I can put a good man down.

DL, like JMC, made hay over Scofield’s divorce and remarriage. Dave MacPherson, the man credited with “uncovering” that sinister plot, screamed so much about it I finally publicly pointed out that good old Dave was divorced and remarried himself. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Mac has a puff for the DL work in the front in which he speaks of “Scofield’s long-hidden (and shocking) after-life.” Maybe he thought Scofield should have bragged about it, even though Dave has never included his own marital mistakes in his résumé. At least to my knowledge.

About Scofield’s divorce and remarriage DL said, “… even the biased Sumner could not explain away … the unbiblical divorce and concurrent new courtship that Scofield was going through at the same time that he was being examined for ordination.” He is probably right about my bias [a predisposition; precisely as I have a predisposition to the Deity of Christ, the Trinity, the Atonement, etc., I have a predisposition to other Truth] – just as DL is biased on the other side – but he misrepresents me sadly. I spoke as forcefully against Scofield’s actions in this matter every bit as strongly as I did JMC’s misrepresentations. “Could not explain away,” indeed! Nor did I try to; I boldly, biblically and strongly condemned it!

In my section on the subject (F. Marriage and Divorce, in my Fights book) I started it: “Beyond any question of a doubt, this is by far the most serious of all the accusations against Scofield. In our judgment, every other charge fades almost into insignificance when compared to it. While Canfield uses such terms about the two marriages as ‘calculated deception’ and flatly declares Scofield did not have ‘the slightest twinge of remorse’ about what had happened ‘except possibly in the very last months of his life,’ we believe the picture in the Psalms of David’s inward remorse more realistically describes the situation.” And I added, “How wicked it is to judge another's inner motives!”

Then I proceeded: “Here are the facts which none deny,” and I gave all the sordid essentials of the case about his marriage to Leontine Cerre, the divorce, and Scofield’s attempt at reconciliation (it was Scofield who filed for dismissal of the divorce), then the Roman Catholic Leontine again filing for divorce (she filed both times). The divorce became final in December and the following year he remarried.

Note what I wrote next (the emphasis is in the original): “There is no justifying this action in our mind whatsoever! While even Canfield acknowledges Leontine ‘was at times temperamental’ (which he excuses on ‘her Gallic heritage’), that is no biblical reason for breaking a divine wedlock, accepting a divorce, then remarrying within months. Beale, in his In Pursuit of Purity, says Leontine ‘would no longer tolerate his new lifestyle,’ adding that Scofield remarried ‘on the basis of I Corinthians 7:15,’ but he gives no documentation for either statement. BeVier, in private correspondence with this reviewer, suggested the possibility that Scofield, in 1883-84, did not know what the Scripture taught on divorce and remarriage – and that no one, not even his mentor, Dr. James H. Brookes of St. Louis, had instructed him. We think this is probably correct.”

DL also comments about the Beale/Beller statement, “‘Scofield objected to the divorce.’ This is absolute nonsense.” Oh, ‘absolute nonsense,’ is it? Then why did Scofield, on March 4, 1882, file for dismissal (which His Honor granted)? Wouldn’t that be an objection? Later Leontine refiled and eventually she had her way; the divorce was finalized on December 8, 1883.

Regarding Scofield’s quick remarriage, following his father’s footsteps, who remarried shortly [DL, he “lost no time”] after his second wife died, I commented: “This is, indeed, one fact Canfield reveals that is truly incredible.”

Then I wrote about Scofield entering the ministry: “What would we have done if we had been on the ordaining council? It is impossible to say from our present vantage point, since we do not know for certain what Scofield did or did not tell that body. If we had known that a divorce action was pending, we would have recommended another reconciliation attempt for Scofield and a postponement for the council. If the divorce had already been granted (which it had not, of course), we would have walked out, refusing to lay hands on the candidate. We have strong convictions about the qualifications for the gospel ministry. While we are second to none in insisting that there is forgiveness for every and any sin, we nonetheless recognize that some actions have consequences (fruits) not even conversion removes” (emphasis in original). We do, however, accept in good faith a fallen-restored brother who has been ordained by another body, feeling the council had more details than we. If that is inconsistent on my part, so be it.

We then closed that section with a quote from Scofield answering a question about divorce. It seemed to suggest he felt he had biblical grounds for his action. While we disagree, if he so believed – then all the judgmental cussing his critics do is unfounded other than to say his interpretation, in their mind, was wrong.

Does that sound like “could not explain away” to you? You can read the whole section in my Fights book. It is Chapter 5, starting on page 131.