The Origins of Dispensationalism: The Darby Factor. By Larry V. Crutchfield. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1991. 236 pp. Library binding, $49.00; paper, $25.00.
In this book Crutchfield has put together a thorough survey of Darby’s views on Dispensationalism and compared and contrasted them with both C. I. Scofield and normative Dispensationalism. It contains good descriptions of the views of Darby, Scofield, and normative Dispensationalism, and excellent charts on different aspects of those views.
The conclusion Crutchfield has come to, and which is well defended, is that Scofield probably was not directly influenced much theologically by Darby. Darby’s system of dispensations was very different from Scofield’s. Likewise, Darby’s system is completely built upon the concept of the particular government of God, while Scofiled lacked this emphasis. Instead of adopting Darby’s theology, Scofield likely adopted only Darby’s hermeneutics (of consistent literal interpretation) and developed his own system of dispensations, and his own theology. Crutchfield notes that those who seek to paint Scofield as a clone of Darby have, for the most part, either been ignorant of their works or ungraciously seeking to connect Scofield with separatism.
Darby’s writings can be quite abstruse. Often he was merely making notes and not writing for others to be able to understand what he has written. The Origins of Dispensationalism, then, has the added value in that to some degree it distills Darby’s writings for consumption.
This work is well done and is a valuable for those who have a particular interest in either the history of Dispensationalism or the theologies of Darby and Scofield. However, the focus is probably too specified to be of wide interest to JOTGES readers.
Grace Bible Church