Periodical Reviews -- By: James F. Rand
BSac 113:451 (Jul 56) p. 285
Bowman, John Wick, “The Bible and Modern Religions. II. Dispensationalism,” Interpretation, 10:170–87, April, 1956.
Scofield dispensationalism may be on the wane according to another Christian periodical, but the professor of New Testament at San Francisco Theological Seminary is not aware of it. In a full-scale attack on the Scofield Bible and dispensationalism, he reports that “the fact was so overwhelmingly borne in upon him afresh that this book represents perhaps the most dangerous heresy currently to be found within Christian circles” that he abandoned an earlier intention to dwell at some length on “the genuine excellencies to be found in the Scofield Bible, for there are such.” ‘“To say that there is much true Christian teaching in the Scofield Bible is merely what may as truly be said of Roman Catholic theology, of Christian Science, and of Mormonism.” Scofield dispensationalism is “by virtue of certain dominant concepts which ramify the teaching at every point and which are in consequence never to be thought absent from the author’s mind at any time—something different from the historic faith of the Christian church.” His article is misnamed, however, for the title indicates that dispensationalism will be discussed whereas in an effort to be fair to dispensationalists he has limited himself to an analysis of Scofield dispensationalism. The latter is a more valid title. Perhaps at a later date Dr. Bowman will investigate the writings of present-day dispensationalists such as Chafer, Walvoord, E. Schuyler English, and others, thus bringing his survey up to date. On what does the author base his extravagant claim that Scofield dispensationalism represents “perhaps the most dangerous heresy” extant today? His criticque is fourfold: dispensations are not Scriptural and through them Scofield sets forth several different ways of salvation; in contrast to the eight covenants set forth by Scofield, there are only two, law and grace; Scofield’s distinction between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven is not valid for they are synonymous; Scofield’s doctrine of the apostate church is in error “for there is no such doctrine taught in the Scriptures of either the Old or New Testaments.” In connection with the latter criticism, Dr. Bowman’s reasoning is interesting: the apostate church as a phrase does not occur in scripture, “it may, therefore, be reasonably doubted whether the idea is present there” (on the same basis the Trinity may be eliminated as a teaching of Scripture for the word does not occur in the Bible); in “2 Thess. 2:3, the ‘falling away’ before the appearing of the ‘man of sin’ is mentioned without any attempt on Paul’s part to define...
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