‘Doctrine’ seems to be a word that’s gone out of vogue with a lot of ‘free’ churches as it’s become almost synonymous with the term ‘legalism’ - and who wants to be branded a legalist? There are also a lot of very dry and difficult to access works by writers who use long words and concepts that few of the more general reader can comprehend, making the works inaccessible to ‘John Christian’ who needs to know the foundations upon which His life is based.
When a person converts to christianity - in the sense of a miraculous act taking place within the life of the individual and not simply a cerebral acknowledgement of a creed or a series of statements - he begins a very long journey.
It’s all very well having a simple faith in the workings of God, but He doesn’t intend His people to remain ignorant of those things which are foundational to a correct and sincere devotion to One who’s paid the ultimate price for their freedom. Therefore Peter writes (II Peter 1:5 - my italics) that the recipients of his letter should
‘...make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge’
In these series of web pages, all I’ve tried to do is to show the relevance of the doctrine of the cross for today’s Church and which we all too often gloss over and move onto the more ‘bubbly’ and charismatic of subjects - sometimes at our own peril for, without a correct foundation, we have no basis upon which to define our own experiences.
I hope I haven’t used religious jargon and gobbledegook that I haven’t first explained but, knowing me, that’s always a distinct possibility! I apologise in advance if there are portions that are not easily accessible to all but I’ve had to cover some subjects that have been difficult to strip of their complexity before being presented to the reader.
Finally, as I know that I like a brief, ‘to-the-point’ introduction when I pick up a book to see if it’s worth buying, all I hope is that this book will stimulate you to realise the greatness of the work of the cross and of Christ.
Lee H Smith
All Bible quotes are taken directly from the Revised Standard Version or adapted from it unless otherwise stated.
Actsbruce - ‘Acts’ in the New International Commentary on the New Testament by F F Bruce, Eerdmans/Paternoster Press
Actsmar - ‘Acts’ in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series by I Howard Marshall, IVP and Eerdmans
AEHL - ‘The Archaeological Encyclopaedia of the Holy Land’ (Revised Edition), Edited by Avraham Negev, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Blessit - ‘Arthur, a Pilgrim’ by Arthur Blessit, Blessit Publishing
Colcar - ‘Colossians and Philemon’ in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series byH M Carson, IVP
Dictionary - Chambers 20th Century Dictionary, 1972 & 1977, W&R Chambers Ltd.
Edersheim - The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim, MacDonald Publishing Company
Ephfou - ‘Ephesians’ in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series by Francis Foulkes, IVP
Finney - ‘Memoirs of Rev Charles G Finney’, Charles Finney, Fleming H Revell Company (1903)
Genwen - ‘Genesis 1-15’ by Gordon J Wenham, Word Biblical Commentary, Word Publishing
Gill - ‘The Expositor’ by John Gill, On Line Bible, CD ROM version
Hebguth - ‘Hebrews’ by Donald Guthrie in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series, IVP
JFB - Commentary on the whole Bible, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, The Zondervan Corporation.
Johnmor - ‘John’ in the New International Commentary on the New Testament by Leon Morris, Eerdmans/Paternoster Press
Johnstott - ‘The Epistles of John’ in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series by John R W Stott, IVP
Johntask - ‘John’ in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series by RVG Tasker, IVP
Josephus - The Jewish War, translated by G A Williamson (Revised edition), The Dorset Press. Page numbers refer to this print. Also available as a Penguin classic.
Kittels - Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (in one volume), translated by Geoffrey W Bromiley, Wm B Eerdmanns Publishing Company and the Paternoster Press.
Mathen - ‘Matthew’ in the New Testament Commentary Series by W Hendriksen, Banner of Truth
Matmor - ‘The Gospel According to Matthew’ by Leon Morris, IVP
Mishnah - The Mishnah, Translated by H Danby, Oxford University Press.
Moore - ‘The Last Days of Jesus’ by T V Moore, Banner of Truth Trust (Chapter 19).
Morlove - ‘Testaments of Love’ by Leon Morris, Paternoster Press Ltd
Morris - ‘The Atonement’ by Leon Morris, IVP
NIDBA - New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology, E M Blaiklock and R K Harrison (editors), the Zondervan Corporation
Petgru - ‘I Peter’ in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series by Wayne Grudem, IVP
Petstib - ‘I Peter’ in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series by A M Stibbs and A F Walls, IVP
Pskid - ‘Psalms 73-150’ in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Series by Derek Kidner, Inter-varsity Press
Rombruce - ‘Romans’ in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series by F F Bruce, IVP
Rommor - ‘The Epistle to the Romans’ by Leon Morris, IVP/Eerdmans Publishing Company
Ruthmor - ‘Ruth’ in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Series by Leon Morris, IVP
Strongs Hebrew/Greek number xxxx - Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, James Strong.
Tozer - ‘The Best of Tozer’ by A W Tozer, Christian Publications Inc. Excerpt from ‘Man: The Dwelling Place of God’).
TWOTOT - Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (2 volumes), R Laird Harris (Editor), The Moody Press
Ungers - Ungers Bible Dictionary, Merrill F Unger, The Moody Press
Vines - An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W E Vine, Marshall, Morgan & Scott.
Wight - ‘Manners and Customs of Bible Lands’ by Fred H Wight, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago
Zondervan - The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopaedia of the Bible, The Zondervan Corporation, First Edition.
Below are a list of books that the reader may find helpful to read in order to further study the subjects already taught in this series:
Subject 1 - Proving that Jesus is the Christ
The Genealogy of Christ
I’d like to be able to recommend to you at least one book that deals with the subject of genealogy - even if it wasn’t all that good - but I never found one! The best I can do is recommend that you consult such reference books as Bible encyclopaedias and dictionaries that have a section devoted to it. Whether they be good or bad, at least there will be information there for you to think through and assess.
Subjects 2-4 - Doctrines for conversion
Repentance, Faith, Baptism
When I first began studying these three subjects several years ago, I was impressed by Derek Prince’s ‘Foundation Series’ booklets that had come out through Derek Prince Publications. There’s a great amount of good teaching in them and, though they aren’t in total agreement with the teaching in this course, they’re worthwhile to obtain and read.
These individual booklets have now come out in volume form, but unfortunately I have no idea of the publisher - or even if they’re still available.
The three subjects, although fundamental to the Church, can cause controversy!
Mainly because authors tend to put forward their own pet theory of what happens at conversion, suppressing Scriptures that don’t fit and elevating others that support their own ideas.
I found David Pawson’s ‘The Normal Christian Birth’ published by Hodder and Stoughton along these lines but it covers the three subjects from many viewpoints, aiming to lay down a foundation and theology of conversion.
If it’s still in print, then do pick up a copy to use in your study of these subjects.
Subjects 5-12 - Doctrines of the cross
Redemption, Creation, Propitiation, Covenant, Justification, Yom Kippur, Jubilee, Ascension.
‘The Atonement’ by Leon Morris published by IVP is a must! It has a chapter on all the above excluding Creation, Jubilee and Ascension, but it also includes articles on Sacrifice and Reconciliation. Unfortunately, this book went out of print almost as quickly as it was released.
It’s ‘more technical’ version - ‘The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross’ - is, in my opinion, not as good but, if it’s the only one you can get hold of, then get a copy.
Leon Morris is, for me, the best author/teacher of the cross that I’ve ever read, so I’ve no hesitation in recommending to you whatever books that you can get hold of by him - though especially the one above and ‘The Cross in the New Testament’ published by the Paternoster Press.
Morris seems to have devoted himself to the proclamation of the cross in everything that he writes, including his commentaries. And, being a teacher, he presents the reader with well-structured theology that illuminates the greatness of the work of Jesus.
If you can afford nothing else, then get some of his books!
On the subject of ‘Creation’, I could list a number of books that attack Evolution and defend Creation, but that wouldn’t help you in believing that
‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’
by faith. I therefore must decline to mention these save one. ‘What about origins?’ by Dr AJ Monty White and published by Dunestone Printers Limited has a 21-page section that defends Creation by appeal to the Scriptures before going on to look at ‘The evidence’. This first section is brilliant and I know of no other like it. Again, though, this is out of print.
‘The Fall feasts of Israel’ by Mitch and Zhava Glaser, published by The Moody Press is a good resource book for people wanting to study not only Yom Kippur, but also The Feast of Trumpets and The Feast of Tabernacles - though the latter festival needs a lot of in-depth study to fully appreciate its complexities (my festivals series should be accessed for details of all the festivals)
The book gives good systematic teaching but, as with all the festivals contained in Leviticus chapter 23, a personal study using various sources is much to be preferred rather than relying on one or two works.
I never found a book on the Ascension! I think that’s why I decided to teach on the subject, so as to try and counter-balance the other teaching that’s presented in the Church.
Subject 13 - Miscellaneous Doctrines
Healing, Love of God
Like ‘Genealogy’, I’d like to recommend you a book that adequately deals with the subject of healing from the perspective of the cross but, if there is one out there, I never found it. Most books deal with miracles as they’ve occurred and been witnessed rather than try to establish why the cross has provided for them.
On the subject of ‘Love’, Leon Morris’s ‘Testaments of Love’ is worth getting and, even though many have gleaned good information from C S Lewis’ ‘The Four Loves’, it never did much for me.
All the subjects above came about as a result of personal study with the Lord pointing things out as He felt them important. Whoever desires to teach others must also devote a large percentage of his time to the study and meditation of the Scriptures - grabbing a few Scriptures together and hoping that the Holy Spirit will somehow give you the right words is not good enough.
Some of these articles have taken, literally, years to produce - others only a few weeks though they were based upon months of private study.
So, all I can hope is that if God’s calling is upon your life to teach, you give him the time He needs to develop and train you to be an effective tool in His hands.