Category: Christian Doctrine

Articles and Information Related to Historic Christian Doctrine

Loving Jesus Through Doctrine

So often today we hear someone say, “We need to get away from all this doctrine stuff and just love Jesus.” In this statement many people mean we shouldn’t let secondary issues cause division between us. Jesus did say after all that men will know we are his disciples because we love one another, and all these little things interfere with that.

Well, that’s true for a lot of things. How were you baptized? Do you observe communion once a month or once a week? Do you call it the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, or the Eucharist? Do you use grape juice or real wine? Do you believe in the rapture, and if so are you pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib? Which version of the Bible do you use? Do you tithe on the gross or the net, or call it that at all? And the list goes on. Yes, we could do with a lot less tension in the church over these kinds of things.

But it’s impossible to get away from necessary doctrines with a call for loving Jesus. Think about that. If someone makes the statement above, we could reply, “Why?” Why should I love Jesus? You see, to answer that question requires the teachings, the doctrines we just said we should get away from. For example:

Why should I love Jesus? Because he’s a cool guy. And how do you know that? Well the Bible describes him as… Okay, but why should I believe the Bible? Because it’s God’s Word. And how do you know that?

You see to answer these questions I must invoke doctrine. The Bible is God’s Word is a doctrinal claim. Or how about this example:

Why should I love Jesus more than anyone else? Because he died for you. And why did He do that? Because we are sinners who need saving. What is sin, and what am I saved from? Sin is rebellion against God’s commands which leads to eternal separation from God.

The italicized statements are all doctrinal claims. If I attempt to answer why I should love Jesus I must invoke the very doctrines I am trying to avoid.

Now here’s another wrinkle. Our Lord said that loving Him required obeying his doctrine. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.” John 14:15,21 (ESV) Both words come from the same root in the Greek. In other words, Jesus’s teachings and commands are linked to doctrine. You can’t really have one without the other.

But the commandments involve doctrinal issues. For example, how do I love my enemy when my enemy is oppressing the neighbor I am also to love? What does it mean to leave my gift on the altar until I’m reconciled with the person I’ve offended? What does laying up my treasure in heaven look like when it comes to church giving? What does being always ready for Christ’s return convey? All these are commands that we are to obey, but which require doctrinal instruction to understand when we truly unpack them. Could that be why God gave us teachers?

Doctrine tells us how to obey and why. It should be obvious then, that the noble sounding sentiment, let’s get away from doctrine and just love Jesus, is a self-defeating aspiration.

What Predestination Doesn’t Teach

“The Paul who stressed necessity of faith also affirmed the reality of predestination.”


Many people consider the doctrinal issues of election and/or predestination a Calvinist misreading of Scripture. Some confess feeling genuine fear at the very mention of the words. My experience leads me to believe that such a response is based on thinking the doctrinal viewpoint teaches things it doesn’t. Here is an examples of What Predestination Doesn’t Teach.

Predestination Doesn’t Teach That God Won’t Honor My Faith And Save Me.

Many times, when the subject comes up someone calls attention to all the passages that speak of belief or faith, as if the two are mutually exclusive. That despite my faith God will condemn me to hell because He didn’t predestine me. Does predestination preclude or exclude faith? The simple and biblical answer is no way!

Recall that the person who stressed the following abbreviated examples…

Romans 3:22 righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. or

3:25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, received by faith. Also wrote… Romans 8:29-30 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, additionally he called those whom he predestined. And Ephesians 1:5, 11. He predestined us … through Jesus Christ. In him we have been predestined according to the counsel of his will.

“The Paul who stressed necessity of faith also affirmed the reality of predestination.”

For a further discussion on objections to the Calvinist/Reformed position on this topic check out Pastor Shifflett’s Unconvinced pictured above available in paperback and eBook at

For other doctrinal teachings follow the link.

The Myth of Christ’s Missing Blood

One of the most common criticisms of new translations from those who prefer the King James Version is the claim that the Christ’s blood is being removed from the pages of the Bible. It’s often made to sound as if a huge conspiracy is afoot to demolish this sacred Christian belief. But is the claim true or is the missing blood a myth?

Under The Magnifier

One of the easiest ways to discover the answer is to do a simple word search on virtually any Bible program. I use the Lifeway WordSearch 10. I found that the word blood appears 447 times in the King James version of the Bible. The English-Standard-Version has 431 appearances. Only 14 less. (Hold the jubilant “I told you so” a moment longer.) The New King James has even less, only 424 references to blood. The New Living Translation, Second Edition seems the greatest culprit with only 303 mentions of blood. 134 less references to blood! What should we say about this? Is the blood missing from these alternate versions? In light of the above facts, we have to answer yes.

Hold the jubilant “I told you so”.

There are two things to remember. First is that many times a different phrasing is used. Take for example the story of the woman with the issue of blood. The newer translations express that fact differently. For example, in the NLT2 of Matthew 9:20 we read, “Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him.” Or the NIV2011 version says, “a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.” You see the blood is still there it’s just worded differently.

Or consider the word “lifeblood.” The NIV uses lifeblood twice in Genesis where the KJV says blood, chapter nine verses four and five. The blood is still there, it just won’t come up on a word search for blood. Or the use of the word murder for bloodshed. Most of the so-called examples of missing blood fall into this kind of different phrasing category.

Christ’s Missing Blood?

The second thing to see is that usually the changes have nothing to do with The Blood of Christ. That seems to be the real bone of contention. That somehow removing the word blood affects what we believe about Christ or his sacrificial, cleansing work of atonement. But ii just isn’t true.

The Myth of Christ’s missing Blood in John.

The King James Version Gospel of John has six references to blood. The NLT 2 has five. Those five are the ones that refer to Christ’s blood. The only one missing is chapter one verse thirteen which refers to human blood in the KJV. The other five all speak of Christ’s blood and all five are present in the New Living Translation, Second Edition. They are chapter 6:53,54, 55, 56, and 19:34.

But what about Acts?

The KJV book of Acts has blood 12 times, the NLT 2 only eight appearances. But three of the four missing references have to do with the blood of men: Adam in 17:26, Anyone is 20:26, and Stephen in 22:20. Only in chapter five verse 28 is the reference to Christ and it is rendered death. But there the Pharisees are speaking, and they who don’t believe in Christ. Obviously, we shouldn’t expect them to speak of the blood in an affirming way. The change in wording does nothing to the truth or power of Christ’s blood. Again, this is the pattern throughout the new translations. It is the blood of men that has been removed not the blood of Christ. The missing blood is a myth.

Now this essay isn’t meant to tell anyone which version of the Bible to use or read. All have their weaknesses and strengths. It is intended to keep you well-informed. The argument about missing blood is a myth.

“So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28

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