Difference between revisions of "BW Influence of Brethren Literature"

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Latest revision as of 19:40, 25 June 2020

A few words should be said about the influence that the Brethren movement has exerted on evangelical Christianity in general. This influence comes more from their literature than from personal contact, although some of their prominent leaders have exerted wide influence in personal ministry outside Brethren circles. There yet remains the task of making a comprehensive survey of doctrinal distinctives that have been originated or popularized by Brethren teachers and writers, but this would be material for a doctoral dissertation at least.

Noel in his History wrote that "During Mr. D.L. Moody's meetings at the Opera House in London scarcely a day passed that Mr. Moody did not spend an hour with Mr. F.C. Bland over the Bible" (I, 105).

H.A. Ironside probably had as wide a ministry in all evangelical circles as any leader outside the great evangelists of international fame. He writes "During the past twelve years I have been pastor of the Moody Memorial Church of Chicago, an independent church standing very largely upon the very truths which the brethren love and from which Dwight L. Moody profited so definitely. This has, in measure, cut me off from that full communion with assemblies of brethren which I enjoyed for years, but has in no sense lessened my love and respect for them" (Historical Sketch, p. 4).

He continues, "That there is a connection between this movement and the present revolt against modernism should be plain to any instructed student of conditions. The Brethren as a whole are fundamentalists. Their fellowship is of such a character that modernism could not be tolerated among them without destroying their assemblies. By far the great majority of outstanding fundamentalist leaders readily acknowledge their indebtedness, in measure at least, to the oral or written ministry of the Brethren" (ibid., p. 7).

Dr. C.I. Scofield was strongly influenced in the early days of his Christian life by Dr. James H. Brookes of St. Louis. Darby once held a Bible conference in Brookes' church, and other Brethren leaders spoke from time to time. Brookes' own magazine, The Truth, which ran for nearly twenty-five years, resembles in content many of the Brethren periodicals. he had emphasized bible study particularly with Scofield, and when the latter went to Dallas in the summer of 1882 he plunged into study and eighteen months later was ordained by a large committee of Congregational ministers.

He soon set up Bible classes in response to the need for lay instruction in the Bible and it was for these classes that he wrote the influential booklet, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, which has gone through many editions with a number of publishers. Scofield personally conducted bible classes from 1890 to 1915, and both the Scofield Correspondence Course and the Scofield Reference Bible grew out of this program. The former is doubtless the most substantial bible study course ever widely circulated and the Reference Bible sold towards three million copies. A New Scofield Reference Bible was published in April, 1967, after ten years of work by a committee of able evangelical scholars. The bible course is still offered to a large number of students by Moody Bible Institute. The fact that the Scofield Reference Bible is one of the focal points of attack by all anti-dispensationalists testifies to its importance.

Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder and president of Dallas Theological Seminary for its first quarter century, was before he entered into evangelistic work an evangelistic singer. He travelled for ten years with Dr. Scofield as his song leader and soloist, his wife helping in a substantial way also. It is not surprising to see that Dallas Theological Seminary stands firmly in the Scofield tradition, although not being in any official way committed to it or to the Scofield Bible. The influence of the heavily Biblical courses of instruction at Dallas for four decades, now a four-year program, with many going on to the doctorate, has naturally led many of its graduates into the teaching field. Most of the Bible institutes and Bible colleges of this country and of Canada have Dallas graduates on their faculties and many are administered by Dallas men. An increasing number of theological seminaries also have faculty men from Dallas. The Dallas Seminary has been graduating over sixty men a year for the past few years. Practically all of these men who do not go into the ministry conduct a strong teaching program in their local churches, and many of them are writing.

Next is a section on Brethren and Dispensational Distinctives