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Conversion of C. I. Scofield: An American Lawyer

compiled by Hy. Pickering

C. I. ScofieldDr. C. I. Scofield, author of the well-known Scofield Bible was born in the State of Michigan, U.S.A., in 1843. His mother died when he was an infant, but his father brought him up in the fear of the Lord whom he loved. While pursuing his studies, the Civil War broke out, and at the age of seventeen, young Scofield enlisted in the Confederate Army, was engaged in several of the great battles of the war, was decorated with the Cross of Honour for bravery, and when the war was over he returned to civil life in the city of St. Louis, continued the study of law, and in due time was appointed by President Grant as Attorney for Kansas. This office necessitated frequent visits to Washington, and there, in convivial company, he learned to drink.

For fourteen years the young lawyer lived a life of worldly pleasure, forgetting God, yet far from being happy. His father and mother had been true Christians, and he had been brought up religiously, but like many a youth, the restraints of home being withdrawn, he plunged into the world and seemed to be utterly indifferent to eternal things. It was while engaged in his legal profession in St. Louis, that he formed acquaintance with a young man, name Tom S. M'Pheeters, a decided Christian, who was not ashamed to own His Lord, or to commend Him and His Gospel to others.

One day M'Pheeters called on Scofield in his office, and as he was about to leave, with the door-knob in his hand, he suddenly turned round to where Scofield stood, and facing him directly, said, "For a long time I have been wanting to ask you a question, that I have hitherto been afraid to ask, but I am going to ask it now." "I never thought of you as afraid,' said Scofield. "what is your question?" "I want to ask you why you are not a Christian?" said M'Pheeters, courteously. There was a pause of silence, for that question had come so unexpectedly, and was so uncommon among men of his class, that for the moment he was staggered by it. But it was not resented, as with most it would have been, for it was doubtless in the leading of the Spirit of God that the earnest soul-winner asked it, and it was as the very voice of God, the word in due season to Scofield's soul.

The lawyer thoughtfully answered, "Does not the Bible say something about drunkards having no place in Heaven? And I am a hard drinker, M'Pheeters." "You have not answered my question, Scofield," the visitor said. "I asked, 'Why are you not a Christian?'" "I have always been a nominal Episcopalian, you know," said Scofield, "but I do not recall ever having been shown, just how to be a Christian. I do not know how." To answer his friend, M'Pheeters had his answer. Drawing his New Testament from his pocket, and taking a chair in the lawyer's office he sat down, and there and then read passage after passage from the Word of God, showing God's way of salvation simply and clearly. Then he put to Scofield the plain and definite question, "Will you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savour?" "I'm going to think about it," was the answer. "No, you're not," answered M'Pheeters, "you've been thinking about it all your life. Will you settle it now? Will you believe on Christ now, and be saved?

Scofield stood silent for a moment in deep thought. Then turning, he looked his friend full in the face and said, "I will," Then the two men dropped down on their knees side by side in the presence of God. Scofield openly confessed his personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ then and there and while kneeling in his office was 'born o God" (1 John 5:1), and arose a saved man, a new creature in Christ.

Relating the story of his conversion after many years of Christian life and service, Scofield said, "Mine was a Bible conversion. From a well-worn Testament, M'Pheeters read to me the great Gospel passages (John 3:16; 6:47; 10:28; Acts 13:38,39), and I received Jesus Christ as my Saviour, and the passion for drink was taken away." For over thirty years, he continued to preach the Gospel to others, which he had proved in his own salvation, became a co-worker of D. L. Moody, and other evangelical leaders, and gave his last thirty years on earth to the preparation of that Edition of the Scriptures known as "The Scofield Bible," then passed to his rest with Christ in the year 1916, at the age of 77.

From Twice-Born Men: True Conversion Records of 100 Well-Known Men in All Ranks of Life compiled by Hy. Pickering. London: Pickering & Inglis, [193-?]

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