Board in the Eye

He also told them a parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye. (Luk 6:39-42)

After calling us to a heavenly standard of living, Jesus shows the absurdity of leading others while being blind. To correct this blindness takes more than mere knowledge, it takes a transformed life. It’s not enough to know what is right, we must live out what is right if we are to lead others on the right path.

It is easy for us to see the log in our brother’s eye, but not so easy to see the splinter in our own eye. From our perspective the sins of our brothers are often much larger than the sins in our own life. This is primarily caused by a heart that is lifted up with spiritual pride. We act as the Pharisees when we judge others more harshly than we judge ourselves, especially when we claim to know the truth of our own sinful state apart from the mercy and grace of Christ.

When we pull the speck out of our own eye first two things happen. First, we are able to see the problem in our brother more clearly. Second, we are able to see the path that we are to walk on more clearly. In this way, pulling the speck out of our eye helps us to lead by example as we walk more circumspectly as an example to our brother while at the same time being better equipped for removing the log from our brother’s eye.

Many today shy away from the responsibility that we have to confront our brothers and sisters in Christ with their sins. The Scripture makes it clear that we do have a responsibility to Christ and our brethren for such confrontation, but it must be done biblically. We must do it with the proper motivation of love and with the proper methods as laid out in Scripture.

Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, (Luk 17:3)

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. (Gal 2:11)

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." (Joh 7:24)

These verses give us ample evidence that Scripture wants us to judge, but it wants us to do so properly. In Luke 17:3 we are given a command to rebuke our brother when he sins. But this command is balanced with the further command to forgive him. Following the biblical method as set forth in the above passages helps us to rightly judge and rightly love our brethren.

Do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ? If so, then don’t allow them to walk around with unrepentant sins in their life. Confront them in a direct and loving way, being ready to forgive as God moves them from prideful sinning to humble repentance. Rather than lording it over them come to them in humility, understanding that you too have sins that must be dealt with. Show your faith in God and His word by following His methods rather than the methods of men.


The Old Gray Dog Ponders. . : For Whom Did Christ Die?

But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

John 10: 26-28


Nothing in all  the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


       Can there be a more basic question for Christians than for whom did Christ die?  Paul did not think there was.


And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

I Cor. 2: 1-2


       What was so important about the crucifixion that Paul determined to make it his exclusive message? Do we understand the significance for us of Christ's death over 2000 years ago? How can we truly worship Him and gratefully give Him the glory He deserves if we don't understand what He did for us?

       How can we be His ambassadors, if we don't know for whom He paid this awful price? How can we fulfill the Great Commission if we don't understand why we are making disciples? In short, how can we be The Church if we don't understand for whom Christ died?


For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. . .

I Cor. 15: 3


       How can we find peace and comfort in our Christian faith, if we don't understand that which is of first importance? If you don't know for whom Christ died, go and talk to your pastor.  If he doesn't know, or can't explain the answer to you, logically and Biblically,  find another church!

    Don't all denominations believe the same thing about Christ's Atonement?

    No! Some church people do not seem to think the crucifixion of Christ has any lasting importance.

The Rev. Geoff Crago, communications officer for the Anglican diocese of Gloucester, told the paper (the Church Times, an Anglican weekly) he doubted the film (Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ) would revive religious faith."It's not saying the sort of things I believe are right for presenting the gospel in the 21st century," he said.

H. Richard Niebuhr described sarcastically the preference of many in the church today: "A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without cross." 

    The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, have a place on their web site where they explain the differences between their beliefs and others.  Here is what they believe:

The nature of Christ's atonement. Lutherans believe that when Jesus died on the cross He atoned for the sins of all people of all time-even those who have not or will not come to faith in Christ and will spend eternity in hell. Some Presbyterian churches teach a "limited atonement" of Christ, i.e., that Christ's death on the cross atoned only for the sins of "the elect"--those who have been predestined from eternity to believe in Christ and will spend eternity with Him in heaven.

    Everyone believes in "limited atonement."  The question is:  Do you believe Christ's atonement is 'limited' in its power to save or in its scope of those who are saved? Lutherans believe that Christ died for those in Hell.  While they believe Christ died for all -- unlimited -- they believe His power to save is limited. 


But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Heb. 9: 11-12


   Either Christ, by His death on the cross, obtained eternal redemption for those unconditionally chosen by God, and no one else, or He failed. If there is one person in Hell for whom Christ died, then He failed to obtained eternal redemption for that person.

    As I said, everyone believes in 'limited' atonement. That may be exaggeration. Some people have never given much thought to their Christian beliefs. Three Mainline pastors wrote me:


In my former congregation no one could even tell you what reformed was, and if you ask who Calvin was they would have all told you he was the kid with the tiger named Hobs. In fact in my last reformed theology class there were only two of us out of 20 who believed in predestination.  The stated clerk of our presbytery when I asked him what reformed meant to him said" It means as a denomination we are open to change and have the ability to reform the way we do things "The reason the PCUSA is in the mess it is in is because they abandon reformed theology a long time ago.

Yes, I am working to bring the church to Westminster theology.  When I first came to the church in May 03, the head of session did not know that Jesus had existed prior to his birth in Bethlehem.  She has attended this church for about 60 years.   And this is pretty typical for the entirety of the church.   Gross ignorance of all Christian doctrine.   No idea of even the existence of Reformed Theology.   We're "just like the Methodists" syndrome.   Stiff resistance to the idea that the Shepard chooses the sheep. I have made some progress but most are not even aware that there is a problem in the PCUSA.  

I am slowly putting the word out about it.   It would not be a quick
decision for our congregation.   In many ways they are still learning how
to define what they believe and how it is different from many other
religious sounding beliefs.   It would take at least our elders actually
reading the Westminster confession and Catechisms* and then learning what
they mean before they'd sign on to anything binding them to uphold
them.   But knowing about WF has helped begin the learning process and
we've been having some interesting session meetings.

In Christ,


[*How many elders in your congregation have actually read the Westminster Standards and know what they teach?]


    Among those of us who have thought about the meaning of Christ's atonement, we just disagree on what's limited. I have only used the Lutheran church as an example of the differences in beliefs about Christ's atonement.  Does your church believe Christ's atonement is limited in power or scope? Has anyone taken the time to think about this question of "first importance?" Believe it or not, there are pastors in pulpits today who don't "subscribe" to a doctrine of Atonement, or who do not "feel called" to preach about the doctrine of Atonement.  Is your pastor one them?


What the Bible Teaches


"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep . . ."

John 10: 11


       The Bible teaches us that Jesus laid down His life for a definite group of people.  This is the Biblical doctrine of Limited AtonementLimited not in its power or value, but in reference to the number of people for whom Christ died.


But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. . .


       The best way to understand this doctrine is to contrast it with two other prominent views: universalism and general ransom.


       General Ransom and Limited Atonement both affirm that the offer of the Gospel is genuine to all who hear the Good News of Christ.  Universalism insists that everyone is saved, regardless of faith in Christ.


       We see the differences in these three beliefs when we compare two aspects of the atonement:


       1. Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross by which He obtained salvation;

       2. The Holy Spirit's application of salvation to individuals.


       Those who believe that Jesus died for everyone -- Universalists -- believe that Christ obtained salvation for everyone, everywhere, and in every period of time.  If there is a Hell, it is empty.


       Those who hold to General Ransom believe that although Christ did obtain salvation for everyone, the Holy Spirit applies salvation only to those who profess their faith in Christ.  Only those who make a free will profession of faith in Christ are saved.


       Limited Atonement is the belief that Christ obtained salvation only for the covenant people whom God chose before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1: 4); and the Holy Spirit applies salvation only to the elect through regeneration – born again – and drawing us to Christ (John 6: 44).


       According to General Ransom, Christ's death made salvation possible for everyone in the world, but it did not make salvation a reality for anyone.  It remains for the individual to make a free will choice whether or not to accept Christ's sacrifice. It is not a sovereign God's providence which determines salvation, but human will. (Logically it follows that if we choose today, we can un-chose tomorrow.  Humans, not God, determine salvation.)


       Limited Atonement is the belief that Christ actually redeemed lost sinners by paying the full price for our salvation.  Nothing more is needed.  He did not make salvation a possibility; He made it a reality. The Holy Spirit regenerates all the sin-dead elect so that we are able to respond to the Gospel.  Affirmation of faith is a response, not a condition.


Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Matt. 16: 16-18


I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.


       The Bible teaches us that God chose for salvation a great number from the fallen human race.  These are the elect, God's covenant people. Christ came into the world to redeem these people. The Holy Spirit regenerates them so that our eyes can see Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Before Christ came, the true seed of Abraham looked forward in faith to the Messiah's redemption; saints since look back in faith, with the assurance that they, too, are the true seeds of Abraham. One sovereign God.  One covenant people. One plan of salvation.


All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

John 6: 37


       This is not a possibility, but an absolute certainty.


Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

John 11: 51-52


The elect are not confined to one race, or one nation.  Neither is it for us to define who these elect are.  Our call as Christ's ambassadors is to share the Gospel with everyone so that it may please God to use our efforts to gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.

"I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. . ."

John 17: 9, 20


On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed for the elect, for whom He would die.  He knew He was not dying to make a universal atonement; He was making a general ransom. He was dying for the elect.  That is the Biblical doctrine of Limited Atonement.

He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you . . .

I Peter 1: 20


    The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross was God's foreordained -- predestined -- plan of salvation for His children.



Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him;  in Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.     In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Eph. 1: 3-14


       The elect are those whom the Father chose before the foundation of the world. We were predestined for adoption according to God's will, not ours.  In Christ we have redemption. It is not a possibility, but a completed fact.  From start to finish, our salvation is the work of a loving sovereign, triune God, who has accomplished this according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.  Nothing has been left to chance. 


Nevertheless, it is important to affirm the importance of sharing the Gospel with the world.

Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city."

Acts 18: 9-10


    Even though many abuse and ridicule us, we are called to share the Good News, and leave the results to God.


Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

Acts 13: 48


God's irresistible grace will enable all the elect to believe. Those whom the Father has chosen will  respond to the Gospel message because they have been drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit, and the Son has paid the full price for our salvation.


"But how can I know if I am one of the elect?"


"But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 
Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Matt. 16: 15b-17



No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

I Cor. 12: 3


    Who do you say that Jesus is?  If you say, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Then know for certain, this is not a "free will" conclusion, but a divine revelation.  If you have responded to the Gospel message by receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior it is because the Father chose you and the Holy Spirit has been working to regenerate your heart.  If you can truthfully say that He is your Lord, you are one of the elect.  You can rest assured, with absolute certainty that you will spend eternity with Christ in Heaven. No one -- not people who tempt you, or Satan, or even yourself . . . no one! -- can snatch you out of Jesus' hand.


"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. . ."

John 14: 1-3


    In Jesus Christ, we are eternally secure because He paid the full price for our sins.  We know for whom Christ died.  Isn't this Good News you would want to share with others?



Blessed Savior, who for our sake did suffer death upon the Cross:

Help us to die to sin and live to Thy glory.

Forbid that we should forget, amid our earthly comforts,

the pain and anguish that our Lord Jesus Christ endured for our salvation.

Grant us this day true vision of all that He suffered, in His betrayal,

His lonely agony, His false trial, His mocking and scourging, and the torture of death upon the Cross.

As Thou has given Thyself entirely for us,

may we give ourselves entirely for Thee,

O Christ, our only Lord and Savior.

In Thy precious name we pray.



Blessed are the saints who are equipped with the sound doctrines of TULIP!

The Old Gray Dog
Jim Tuckett

PS  If this is new to you, if you never knew what the Bible taught about why Christ died on the Cross, talk to your pastor.  If he is not aware of what the Bible teaches, show him.  If he accepts the authority of Scripture, he will begin teaching all the members of your congregation the wonderful truth about our eternal security in Christ.  The confidence the saints will gain from this knowledge will make your congregation more productive in doing God's work in the community in which He has placed.  God will be glorified and the saints will be blessed.

The Westminster Fellowship
Clearly and Unequivocally Proclaiming What It Means To Be Reformed Christians http://www.westminsterfellowship.org


The Old Gray Dog Ponders . . . Resisting Temptation


And do not lead us into temptation,
      But deliver us from the evil one.
      For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matt. 6: 13


Get thee behind me, Satan, and push!


    Most of us can find temptations on our own.  (If we are honest, we have to admit that often we go looking for them.)  It is not God's way to keep temptations out of our way.  It is Satan's way to put temptations ever before us. How can Christians, who want to live the New Life in Christ, resist temptation?   

    Here are some practical suggestions every saint can employ.




But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people. . .

I Peter 2: 9


    As a Christian, each of us needs to respect himself for who he is:  a chosen person; a special person; a priest who represents God before the world.


You are a real find,
A joy in someone's heart.
You are a jewel,
Unique and priceless.
It doesn't matter how you feel,
Believe it.
God doesn't make junk!


    Self-respect is not egotistical.  It is reverential.  Before the foundation of the world, the Almighty loved you!  At just the right time in history, Christ died for you!  We are far too valuable to demean ourselves with the petty temptations of this world.


 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. 
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!

I Cor. 6: 14-15


    The best defense against the temptation to drive illegally is seeing a policeman in the rearview mirror.  The best defense against worldly temptations is remembering that we are the Body of Christ.




Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Heb. 12: 1-2


    Jews represent .001% of the world's population, but they have earned 10% of all the Nobel prizes.  Are Jews that much smarter than the rest of us?  Or, could it be that as members of The Chosen People they have higher expectations of themselves?


If you were put on trial for being a "Christian," would there be enough evidence to convict you?



He was born in an obscure village
He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty
He then became an itinerant preacher
He never held an office
He never had a family or owned a house
He didn't go to college
He had no credentials but himself.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today
He is the central figure of the human race.

All the armies that ever marched
all the navies that ever sailed
all the parliaments that ever sat and
all the kings that ever reigned.

have not affected the life of man
on this earth as much as that...

one solitary life.
Author unknown

    As Christians, we are part of the most powerful tradition that has ever existed.  A sure defense against worldly temptations is remembering the sacrifices of those who have gone before us.  We dare not disappoint them.


      A handsome traveling salesman once told me about how he was tempted to cheat on his wife when he was "on the road."  "I never have.  I dare not disappoint her."  He was saved from sin because he could not stand to see the pain that would be in his wife's eyes.

    Some of us might well yield to momentary pleasures if the only price to pay would be ours.  But there are no "victimless crimes."  Our actions affect others.  A strong defense against worldly temptations is remembering the pain we might cause those we love and who love us.

Jesus is with us

 "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Matt. 28: 18-20


  The same Jesus who called us to be His ambassadors has promised to be with us wherever we go.  How would you behave if everyone could see Jesus with you?  He is, you know.  We have a powerful defense against worldly temptations simply by remembering, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.


O Lord of all good life, purify our lives. Help us each day to see Thee more clearly, walk with Thee more nearly, and love Thee more dearly.

Make us humble, brave and loving.  Make us ready for adventure.  We do not pray Thee to keep us from temptations, but that Thou wilt keep us ever mindful of who we are in Christ, of our place in the great tradition of the Church, of our responsibility to those who love us and whom we love, and to the living presence of our Lord and Savior, who is with us always.

In Jesus' name we pray.



Blessed are the saints who are equipped with the sound doctrines of TULIP!

The Old Gray Dog
Jim Tuckett

The Westminster Fellowship
Clearly and Unequivocally Proclaiming What It Means To Be Reformed Christians http://www.westminsterfellowship.org


Men of Ephesus

Do our lives spark riots? Simply living our lives, not deliberately engaging in acts of civil disobedience? When is that last time our day to day lives have caused a problem with the economy? When the average citizen complains of the results of our evangelism because they are losing their jobs or income? Curious questions, of course, to think that just being changed in the heart would so drastically affect the world around us. But we are called to be a stark image that contrasts with the world around us, being in the world but not of it.

Joh 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

If Christ is evident in our lives we ought to be living lives where a changed heart is seen, one where our former lifestyles no longer have rule in our lives. Imagine what would happen to some of the things we so ardently protest, the things that are so contrary to a righteous life. We expect the world to hold to a moral standard that many Christians do not even follow.

1John 5:2-5 Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and do his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith. And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Yet, how often do we profess Christ with out lips and deny him in our actions? We complain about the entertainment industry and it's depraved productions, and then we go and support it financially by purchasing the very products that promote what we revile. Of course we excuse ourselves by saying that all things are permisable but might not build us up, or perhaps some
other justification that allows to to keep the idols of our hearts.... maybe even saying they are things indifferent and not things that affect us.

We aren't even appalled by so much of the entertainment that features fornication, adultery or other debased ideas. No, not even selfishness and greed are repugnant. Instead we laugh and participate, we emulate the forms of status with our possessions and our speach. Virtuous life is a joke and distance ourselves from it, we call evil good and good is called evil.... and yet we want to say we belong to Christ.

Act 19:23-29 And about that time there arose no small stir concerning the Way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines of Diana, brought no little business unto the craftsmen; whom he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this business we have our wealth. And ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: and not only is there danger that this our trade come into disrepute; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana be made of no account, and that she should even be deposed from her magnificence, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. And when they heard this, they were filled with wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the city was filled with the confusion: and they rushed with one accord into the theatre, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel.

A very interesting thing about the riotous reaction in Ephesus by the manufacturers of idols is that they were losing business because too many people were following Christ and doing away with idolatry. No longer did these people buy the lifeless gods when they had the living God to worship. They had rejected their old ways, repented of them and cast them off. The idol foundries were hitting hard times, not because some Christians decided to shut them down or even make laws restricting them, they were shutting down because their customer's hearts were changed and no longer sought the former things.

When is the last time we heard the entertainment industry going to the streets and protested Christians because too few people were buying their work? That has never happened! When has an abortion clinic closed when they lost business because people decided to keep their children? When has a drug dealer left town because users kicked the habit? We work so fervently to shut down places of ill repute, yet when has one closed because it's customers stopped coming due to their heart's conversion?

Indeed we are the ones that protest and complain about empty churches, about a world working against us, about anti-christian bias... we feel we are being discriminated against in so many areas. We say we are persecuted in our jobs, in our lives, in our politics..... and even in our homes. Perhaps then we are the pagans who are irate that our idols are not selling well!

If our lives do not reflect Christ then there can be only one conclusion... and that is that Christ is not within us. We can not profess Christ and deny Him at the same time. If God has placed a real desire to see a world that is changed then that change must occur in us. Unless God changes our heart we are nothing more than idolators who believe only in our own ways rather than rejoicing in God's.

Mat 5:10-14 Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.


The Old Gray Dog Ponders . . . The Salt of the Earth

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You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

Matt. 5: 13


We have gotten accustomed to the blurred puffs of gray fog that pass for doctrine in churches and expect nothing better. From some previously unimpeachable sources are now coming vague statements consisting of a milky admixture of Scripture, science, and human sentiment that is true to none of its ingredients because each one works to cancel the others out. Little by little Christians these days are being brainwashed. One evidence is that increasing numbers of them are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth. They say they believe, but their beliefs have been so diluted as to be impossible of clear definition. Moral power has always accompanied definite beliefs. Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that lives and abides forever. 
A.W. Tozer


    Jesus has taken His newly chosen disciples up into the hills, away from the crowds, in order to teach them what this Gospel is all about.  In His introduction, the Beatitudes, He explained the way to true bliss.  Now He is explaining what the responsibilities of a disciple are.


You are the salt of the earth. . .


    There is no higher compliment that we can pay a person than to say that s/he is the salt of the earth. Jesus gave us that expression. He told His disciples to be the salt of the earth. They would have understood, perhaps better than we, what He meant.

    Yesterday, as I was walking on the treadmill, I watched an old episode of JAG. Harm and Mac were on a submarine when a generator went out.  The captain ordered all the meat to be packed in salt.  With modern refrigeration, we often forget that for many centuries salt was the most common preservative in the world. If people wanted to keep things from going bad, they preserved them in salt.

    If Jesus' disciples are the salt of the earth, He means that it is our responsibility to see that things don't go bad.  We are responsible for preservingthe highest standards.







   We have become so accustomed to people making excuses for their failure to live up to their potential, that we assume God will do the same thing.  Jesus says, No; you are to be the salt of the earth. You and I are charged with preserving the highest standards.



. . . but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.



The Theology of Accommodation


Salt Preserves


My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.

James 2: 1

A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.
John D. Rockefeller

    Today, far too many people are more concerned with whom they stand than what they stand for.  When we are concerned about not offending, we are accommodating.



Example: The Kindly, Committed, Grandfather


 Commitment is not enough. It matters to what one is committed. From all I have heard, Chris Glaser is a decent human being. But being a decent and committed human being is not enough. Similarly, that a gay couple may have a committed and loving relationship in no way ameliorates the sinful nature of that relationship. Again, it matters to what one is committed.

My great-grandfather, who also lived in Georgia, was a man capable of great love and commitment. He loved his wife and his children. His daughter, my grandmother, loved him and remembered him as a kind, loving and committed man. He died when I was four years old, but I fondly recall sitting on my great-granddaddy's lap and tugging at his long white beard. I remember him wrapping his arms around me and how I giggled into his snowy beard as he cooed, "snuggle-boy, snuggle-boy." He also was committed and devoted and served causes in which he believed while receiving little or no compensation. His devoted and selfless commitment was rewarded when he was elected Grand Dragon of the Georgia Ku Klux Klan. It matters to what one is committed.

Dr. Earl Tilford



       I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.  But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

II Tim. 4: 1-5



    Christians are called to preserve godly standards.  We can't do that if we make exceptions to accommodate our friendsChristians are called to promote godly purity.  We can't do that if we compromise our beliefs to accommodate those in our society who are committed to ungodly causes, even if they are kindly grandfathers.


I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

    John 17: 15-19


    We are in the world to preserve, promote and exhibit God's standards.  We are sanctified as we do. We do not have the right nor the authority to change God's standards, to re-interpret them to accommodate our friends or culture, or to re-image God so that He no longer resembles Himself, rather He becomes the image of the prevailing cultural standards.

    If we are to be the salt of the earth, we need to change our culture.  We must not allow our culture to change us. If we do, we become good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.


But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.  Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

Rev. 2: 14-16

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

     The Nicolaitans were a heretical sect within the church that preached accommodation with pagan society. They taught that since Christians were freed from the Law, they were at liberty to practice idolatry and immorality.


"It can be an act of faithfulness to terminate the life of an unborn child"
OGA-88-109, "The Covenant of Life and The Caring Community", page 10, adopted by the 195th UPC* General Assembly (1983)

[Every woman has the choice whether or not to have unprotected sex, with the obvious exception of rape.  After she makes that choice, she needs to take the responsibility for that choice. It is morally wrong to shift that responsibility to an unborn child.  Killing a child is neither a moral nor responsible choice; and it is never "an act of faithfulness to terminate the life of an unborn child."]

"I confess that to love Jesus means to live in faithful, monogamous covenants of love. . ." 
Susan Andrews, Moderator of 215th PCUSA* General Assembly

[*The Mainline Presbyterian Church before recent mergers]

The First Presbyterian Church in Yorktown, NY, was the host of a "Universal Worship Service" in which the participants offered prayers to a smorgasbord of gods -- including those who, "whether known or unknown to the world, have held aloft the light of truth through the darkness of human ignorance." The service, which the Presbytery of Hudson River promoted by e-mail to its ministers, included readings from Islam, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, the tradition of the "Divine Female," Native Peoples and Judaism.

Apparently, a new pastor was called to the church who announced on his very first Sunday that only two Christian services a year would be held from now on (viz., Christmas and Easter).  He planned to lead "worship" like an imam on Ramadan, rabbi on Hanukkah, and so on; enabling Buddhist meditations on off Sundays.

MINNEAPOLIS – To the tribal rhythms of bongo drums, about 200 women – plus a "few good men," as they called them – swayed slowly into the room for the opening worship of the 10th anniversary (and final) Re-Imaginined god Gathering.
They came on this cloudless day, June 19, to praise water, tell their stories and be reminded that, as women, they have creative license to change entirely what has been an orthodox understanding of the Christian faith. After all, they say they believe the Bible is a product of a patriarchal mindset that oppressed women.
"We don't need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff."

PHILADELPHIA – When arguing for church acceptance of homosexuality, most advocates talk about monogamy. But others are bolder.
"I am a strong ally of those in healthy, polyamorous relationships," declared Debra Kolodny. She argued that having multiple sexual partners can be "holy." Kolodyn was leading a workshop at the WOW (Witness Our Welcome) 2003 convention, an ecumenical gathering for "sexually and gender inclusive Christians."


       H. Richard Niebuhr identifies liberal theology under the Christ of Culture label and sees liberals as accommodating Christianity to the prevailing culture.  In Niebuhr's view, Christianity and culture are neither in tension, nor opposed to each other.

       "Liberals are open to the truth of other religions," said Donald E. Miller in The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, Westminster Press, 1983. "Christianity is not viewed as the only expression of man's search for God or of God's revelation to man. . . Liberals tend to assume a broadly ecumenical attitude."

       Whenever we see people compromising God's standards to accommodate someone with a winsome spirit or a kindly demeanor, we see that the Nicolaitans are still at work in the Church today.


"The plain man in the church has difficulty understanding the nature of the struggle. He does not yet appreciate the real gravity of the issue. He does not see that it makes very little difference how much or how little of the creeds of the church the modernist preacher affirms, or how much or how little of the biblical teaching from which the creeds are derived. This modernist might affirm every jot and tittle of the Westminster Confession, for example, and yet be separated by a great gulf from the reformed faith. It is not that part is denied and the rest is affirmed, but all is denied because all is affirmed merely as useful or as symbolic, but not as true. A thing that is useful may be useful for some and not for others, but a thing that is true remains true for all people and beyond the end of time."

J. Gresham Machen 


    Christians are called to preserve and purify.  We are never called to accommodate or excuse.

Salt Adds

Add Something to Where You Are


    Here is a soldier stationed in   Iraq  , stationed in a big sand box. He asked his wife to send him dirt ( U.S. soil), fertilizer, and some grass seed so that he can have the sweet aroma, and feel the grass grow beneath his feet When the men of the squadron have a mission that they are going on, they take turns walking through the grass and the American soil.


    There is the second great lesson:  Salt adds flavor!  If we are the salt of the earth, we must add godly flavor  -- a sweet aroma -- to wherever we are.  If your church disappeared today, would anyone in the community, besides the members, miss it?If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

    The way some Christians live, one would get the idea that Christianity takes all the fun out life.  It shouldn't be that way.  Living for Christ adds meaning and purpose; it does not deprive any of us of anything of lasting value.







What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.

Rom. 6: 21


The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.
Thomas Morell

     What the world calls "fun" more often than not leaves one feeling ashamed afterward.  If we are to be the salt of the earth we need to be showing the world a better way.



O Lord of all good life purify our lives.

Help us to know more of Thee,

and by the power of Thy Holy Spirit, use us to show forth Thyself to others.

Make us humble, brave and loving;

make us ready for adventure.

We do not ask that Thou wilt keep us safe,

but that Thou wilt keep us ever faithful to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In His name we pray.





 Blessed are the saints who are equipped with the sound doctrines of TULIP!

The Old Gray Dog

Jim Tuckett

The Westminster
Clearly and Unequivocally Proclaiming What It Means To Be Reformed Christians