The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen

Dr. Ryan McGraw was our guest as we discussed a book he edited, The Foundation of Communion with God: The Trinitarian Piety of John Owen.  

From the publisher:
“The Foundation of Communion with God” introduces readers to the Trinitarian piety of John Owen (1616–1683). Ryan McGraw’s introduction to Owen sketches the major events of this important theologian’s life and shows how his circumstances shaped his thought on the themes of the Trinity and public worship. The second part of the book presents forty-one brief selections from Owen’s writings that trace his thoughts on knowing God as triune, on Scripture and worship, on heavenly-mindedness, and on covenant and the church. Appendixes provide readers with a chronological list of Owen’s writings and a guide to them for those who wish to delve deeper into this great theologian’s thoughts.

Dr. McGraw is an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and a faculty member at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

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An Evening of Confessional Concern and Prayer 2015

Pastor Geoff Gleason (Cliffwood Presbyterian Church, Augusta GA) and Pastor Ken Pierce (Trinity Presbyterian Church, Jackson MS) joined us for a candid discussion about an event that is scheduled to be held prior to this year’s 43rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America.

The topics and speakers for the Evening of Confessional Concern and Prayer have been finalized. Admittedly, there are few overtures being brought to the assembly this year, but we will still have a chance to share the conservative, confessional perspective on lingering or new issues within our beloved denomination. More importantly we will have a chance to pray together prior to the opening of the 43rd General Assembly of the PCA. Below are the topics and speakers:

A. PCA Issues (SJC reform & related issues) << Please note that Dr. Sean Lucas withdrew as a speaker AFTER this podcast was recorded.
B. Confessional Issues (flowing from Overtures 2 & 9) by Jon Payne;
C. PCA Trajectory (where is the PCA going?) by Rick Phillips; and,
D. Contemporary Issues (How should we respond to same-sex attraction and marriage within the broader church) by David Strain.

Don’t forget. ECCP is meeting Monday, June 8 at the Chattanooga Convention Center, Ballroom “H” from 7-9 P.M. Please RSVP to cliffwoodpca@cliffwoodpca.com if you are planning to attend.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pcaga.eccp?fref=ts

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Faith and Practice 13

In this thirteenth edition of the “Faith and Practice” segment Dr. Joseph Pipa sits down and interacts with questions from our listeners.  This is a new monthly feature of the podcast and you can get more information about this feature here.

In this edition we dealt with the following topics:

The law of God; children and birth control; The Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity; Head Coverings; Spousal Abuse and many more.

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The New Testament Use of the Old Testament

Dr. Ben Shaw was out guest as we discussed the “New Testament Use of the Old Testament”.  This discussion is based on the Advanced Exegesis class that Dr. Shaw teaches at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Dr. Shaw is the associate professor of Old Testament at Greenville Seminary. He also actively blogs at http://gptsrabbi.blogspot.com/

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Faith and Practice #12

In this twelfth edition of the “Faith and Practice” segment Dr. Joseph Pipa sits down and interacts with questions from our listeners.  This is a new monthly feature of the podcast and you can get more information about this feature here.

In this edition we dealt with the following topics:

Double imputation of Christ, intimacy in marriage and the Lord’s Day, theonomy, sexual abuse in the church, sin in the church and church discipline, exclusive psalm singing, tithing, and others.

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Asking Questions for Faith and Practice

There are now TWO ways in which you can ask questions for the faith and practice segment of the Confessing Our Hope podcast.  You can do it the conventional way, by filling out this form and submitting it to the podcast.  You can also use Twitter and use hashtag #gptsfp when you submit your question.

Twitter information:

Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary: @GPTSeminary
Confessing Our Hope podcast: @GPTSPodcast
Dr. Joseph Pipa: @jpipajr
William F. Hill, Jr.: @WmHillJr

Faith and Practice hashtag: #gptsfp

Faith and Practice #11

In this eleventh edition of the “Faith and Practice” segment Dr. Joseph Pipa sits down and interacts with questions from our listeners.  This is a new monthly feature of the podcast and you can get more information about this feature here.

In this edition we dealt with the following topics:

Covenant of works, the Lord’s Day, Presuppositional vs. Classical Apologetics, Christmas, The Lutheran vs. Reformed views of the Lord’s Supper, Examining individuals for the Lord’s Supper, the Parish model of ministry and others.  

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Robert Rollock and the Covenant of Works

Pastor Breno Macedo was our guest as we previewed his topic lecture for the upcoming GPTS Spring Theology conference on the Law of God.  The topic was on Robert Rollock and the Covenant of Works.

Pastor Macedo is the assistant pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Teresina, Brazil and a graduate of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

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Ruling Elders

Pastor Bill Shisko was our guest as we discussed the all important office of Ruling Elder, specifically the identifying and training of these men for service in Christ’s church.

Bill Shishko was born on December 18, 1951 in Putnam, Connecticut, the rural northeastern corner of that New England state. He was raised in a nominal Greek Orthodox home, although he received some early religious instruction at a local Episcopal Church.

Bill went through the turbulent period of the 1960′s and, as a result, became enamored of the Marxist ideology that was then common among young people. He began working in radio at the age of 15. Through a Christian radio program (which was aired on the Sunday mornings on which he worked at the radio station) Bill heard the Gospel presented and was converted in February, 1970.
Beginning in August, 1970 Bill began his college education at Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC. It was there that he first learned the Reformed faith. He became a member of Shannon Forest Presbyterian Church (RPCES), led the youth group of that congregation, and also taught the church’s large adult Sunday School class. He graduated University in 1974, and remained on for two years as a teaching assistant in the history department. During that time he met Margaret Reader, the woman who would become his wife in June, 1976. It was also during that time that the session of the Shannon Forest Presbyterian Church encouraged Bill to attend seminary and pursue a call to the Christian ministry.

Bill attended Westminster Theological Seminary from 1976 – 1979. During the time of his studies he served for one year as an apologetics teaching assistant under Professor John Frame. He also did an internship at a local Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He was licensed to preach the Gospel in 1978.

Following seminary Bill was called to serve as an organizing pastor for a Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod congregation in McClellanville, SC. Ordained in October, 1979, he served the mission church from July of that year through early February, 1981. In January, 1981 Bill was called to serve the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Franklin Square, on Long Island, NY. He began his labors there in February, 1981, and remains as pastor to this day. During his time as pastor of the Franklin Square congregation the church has been blessed with significant numerical growth, and has overseen the formation of two mission churches, one in Mount Vernon, NY and the other in Bohemia, NY.

Bill and his wife, Margaret, have been blessed with six children, Nathaniel, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy, Stephen, and Elisabeth. They count it their greatest privilege to be servants of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to serve Him in the Church of which they are a part. [HT: Franklin Square Website]

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Confessing Our Hope Partners with Banner of Truth

The Confessing Our Hope podcast has partnered with the Banner of Truth Trust in order to facilitate getting solid, Reformed books and materials (hardcopy or ebook) into the hands of our listeners.  Starting with Faith and Practice #11, any listener who submits a question that is chosen for use on the Faith and Practice segment of the podcast will receive a $10 US discount coupon that can be used towards any purchase on the Banner of Truth website.

If your question is used on the program you will receive an email notification with the appropriate code that you will use at the time of checkout.  This can be applied to any purchase (hardcopy or ebook).

To get started, simply send us your question of a theological or practical nature for Dr. Pipa, president of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, to answer.  If your question is used you will receive the $10 US discount code.

Faith and Practice #10

In this tenth edition of the “Faith and Practice” segment Dr. Joseph Pipa sits down and interacts with questions from our listeners.  This is a new monthly feature of the podcast and you can get more information about this feature here.

In this edition we dealt with the following questions:

Question: Is doing seminary work on the sabbath a violation of the sabbath? Certainly it is work that is dwelling on God and the things of God, but it also is work. Is this a violation?

— Ryan from California

My question concerns the relationship between the church and the state. I was wondering if you would present what you think is the Biblical position regarding that relationship.

For instance, let’s say that a president or a king becomes a believer while they are yet in a position of power. Would it be the king’s job to enforce God’s laws upon all of the people, even if a vast number of them are unbelievers, or would it be his job to keep his faith to himself and not let it affect his political decision making? Or is there a middle ground?

Let us use the Sabbath as an example. It would seem that the king has the following options available to him when it comes to people working on Sunday in a non-essential job:

1) He could declare it illegal for any non-essential business to be open on Sunday.

2) He could be completely hands off and let businesses decide for themselves when to be open, though he would publicly ‘recommend’ or ‘encourage’ businesses not to be open on Sundays.

3) He could pass a law that protects Christians from being punished by secular businesses if those believers do not wish to work on Sundays.

Which of those options do you feel to be the most biblical? Is there an option that I have not considered that you would advocate? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter. Thank you. — Eric from Pennsylvania

Could you please share some resources for training ruling elders? Also, we’ve got a young man in our congregation who appears to have potential for going to seminary. As elders we are trying to help him discern whether he may be called to ministry. Can you please share some wisdom in this regard to enable us to serve this brother and the congregation well? — Randall from Missouri

Question: Could you explain the differences between the 2, 2.5, and 3 office views? Also, how the different sides defend their perspective from Scripture? — Troy from Wisconsin

I have a question about the teaching concerning heavenly rewards. As I have studied, I have found this notion difficult to square with the Scriptures. But, as I have never heard anyone outrightly say that this teaching is false it occurs to me that what I may be suffering from is an unclear exposition of what is meant by this teaching or may simply be in error myself. So, if you will indulge my long explanation/question, I would greatly appreciate the insight you can offer here.

If all that is meant by heavenly rewards is that in the age to come there will be differing degrees of knowledge and communion with God, even as we observe such a difference among believers in this age, then I can understand that. Similarly, if what is meant is that God will bless according to one’s actions according to their stations, such as how a farmer in this age will reap the fruit of the crops he’s planted whereas one who has not will naturally not reap, then that too is not something with which I have a problem. However, the teaching as I have understood it does not work along those lines.

I have generally understood it to mean that, while salvation is by grace through faith alone, the quality of our life in the age to come is determined by the acts we perform in faith. I find this notion problematic for a couple of reasons. First, I see little scriptural support for it and the passage that I have most commonly seen used in support of it, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, is not speaking to that issue at all. Second, it seems to cut against the grain of the way the Bible speaks about salvation as a whole. Since communion with the Triune God, union with Christ Himself, and all the benefits in Him are our inheritance, the notion that there is something in addition to that which we should anticipate and strive to receive seems foreign to the biblical teaching on salvation and the life of the age to come. It also seems to be at odds with reason since it seems to imply that our communion and union with Christ in the age to come is a state that can be improved.

So I submit this hoping for some clarity on the issue. Am I simply wrong and the doctrine is well supported Scripturally counter to what I’ve believed? Have I misunderstood the doctrine? Am I even close to hitting the mark here at all? Thank you for your time and consideration Bill and Dr. Pipa and I am looking forward to seeing you in January!  — Drew from Florida

Two Christian Sabbath questions from a family trying to remember the day in the midst of elders/fellow congregants who see it as legalistic.

  1. How would you respond to the argument that we know that 1st and 2nd century Christians worked on the first day of the week without any obvious efforts to take the day off. Why should we be different? (I think I know the answer to this, but I assume Dr. Pipa will be more gracious and thorough in his response).
  1. We have older children/younger teens who have little interest in keeping the Sabbath — we have, and continue to, instruct them, but beyond that, what are some practical tips to help them use the day profitably, without it becoming drudgery to them?  — Anonymous
  1. Should a church member who is struggling with a besetting sin abstain from the Lord’s Supper? If an elder notices a church member abstain from the Lord’s Supper is it appropriate for the elder to ask the member about it?
  1. How should the session deal with a member who stops attending or appears to be slowing down in attendance? Would the session do anything different if several families are leaving at once, all giving various reasons/excuses?  — Anonymous

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Confessing the Faith

Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn was our guest as we discussed his book Confessing the Faith: A Readers Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith

A Canadian by birth, Chad Van Dixhoorn is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (MDiv, ThM) and the University of Cambridge (PhD). He has taught theology at the University of Nottingham, and has held three fellowships at the University of Cambridge, where he has researched the history and theology of the Westminster assembly and taught on the subject of Puritanism. A former British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, in 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in recognition of his five-volume work on the Westminster assembly, published by Oxford University Press. Van Dixhoorn has lectured at RTS DC since 2008 where he teaches church history and practical theology.

Van Dixhoorn has served as associate minister of Cambridge Presbyterian Church and Grace Presbyterian Church in Vienna, VA, where he preaches weekly. He and his wife Emily have five children. He organizes his free time by coaching little league, losing tennis matches against all comers, and reading NYT bestsellers.

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Church Membership

Dr. Ryan McGraw and Rev. Ryan Speck were our guests as we discussed the important topic of church membership.  What is church membership?  Is it biblical?  Why is it so important in the life of the believer and the church?  Perhaps you have had these questions or have heard them from others.  If so, this broadcast will be very helpful to you.

 

 

 

mcgrawDr. McGraw is an Adjunct Professor of Systematic theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 2014-present; Research Associate, Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa, 2013-present; Pastor First Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Sunnyvale, Calif., 2012-present; Pastor Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA), Conway, S.C., 2006-2012; Youth Minister, First Baptist Church, Garden Grove, C.A., 2000-2002; Editor for the Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series (with Joel Beeke), 2013-present; Assistant Book Review Editor, Puritan Reformed Journal, 2011-present.

 

 

speckRev. Ryan Speck was called as the Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in July, 2012. He came to Columbia, Missouri, with his wife and daughters from Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as an Associate Pastor from 2007 through 2012. Pastor Speck received his M.Div from Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

 

 

 

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Faith and Practice #9

In this ninth edition of the “Faith and Practice” segment Dr. Joseph Pipa sits down and interacts with questions from our listeners.  This is a new monthly feature of the podcast and you can get more information about this feature here.

In this edition we dealt with the following questions:

We are cautioned in Scripure not to lay hands on men for leadership hastily. What would you recommend as a practice for recognizing, training, and proving men as elders in the local church. A second question is related to it, do you have any recommendations for the ongoing training/education/discipleship of the men already on session?

–Terry from PA

What means solemn worship and what are its implications for ourselves now a days?

— Manoel from Brazil

What did Paul mean in 1 Cor 5:5 ? Are there some sins that are so grievous in the church that, when they are found out, the guilty party(s) are to be put out of the church without following the steps given in Matthew 18? Thank you for your time.

A few months ago, I heard in a sermon that Jacob’s wrestling with the angel was his conversion. I would like to know what you think about this statement. If you agree, then I would like to know how we are to read Jacob’s vow at Bethel (Gen 28) and his prayer in ch 32:9-11?

–Mel from CO

I have heard that we should not pray asking the Lord to come and be present with us, eg: in a worship service, because God has promised us in His Word that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, there He will be also. What do you think? Is it improper to pray this way?

–Anonymous

What is your interpretation about Matthew 24? (Do you think that Jesus was referring only to the destruction of the temple, only the end of the days or the both?)

–Israel from Brazil

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Listening Live

In the future, Lord willing, we will be offering the “Faith and Practice” segment of the podcast LIVE.  This will allow the listener to interact with the program in real time using either the chat room contained within the live player.  You can also use Twitter.  Some simple instructions:

1.  To listen live go to http://mixlr.com/gpts/ prior to the start of the program.
2.  Follow @GPTSPodcast (if you have a Twitter account)
3.  If you have a question for the program send it to @GPTSPodcast and use hashtag #faithandpractice14

That is all there is to it!  A heads up:  The next live broadcast will be Monday, October 20, 2014 at 3 PM ET.

The Faith-Shaped Life

Dr. Ian Hamilton was our guest as we discussed his book The Faith Shaped Life.  Ian Hamilton has been the minister of Cambridge Presbyterian Church since 1999. Prior to that he served as minister of Loudoun Church of Scotland, Newmilns. He serves on the Board of The Banner of Truth Trust as well as on the Board of Trustees of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

From the publisher:

The Christian life is a faith-shaped life. Faith is the instrument that unites us to Christ, but it is also the reality that shapes how we live in union with Christ. From beginning to end the Christian lives by faith.

The life of faith is not easy. The Christian is engaged in an unrelenting warfare with the world, the flesh and the devil. Every step forward will be contested. The one thing that will keep the believer on track and pressing on is moment by moment trust in God, in his word, in the goodness and perfection of his purposes, and in his exceedingly great and precious promises. ‘This is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith’ (1 John 5:4).

The chapters are intentionally brief and packed with biblical teaching to encourage and challenge both younger and older Christians; and above all to point us relentlessly to Jesus Christ ‘the founder and perfecter of our faith’.

Purchase the book from Banner of Truth

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Faith and Practice #8

In this eighth edition of the “Faith and Practice” segment Dr. Joseph Pipa sits down and interacts with questions from our listeners.  This is a new monthly feature of the podcast and you can get more information about this feature here.

In this edition we dealt with the following questions:

Faith and Practice #8

#1

Short-term missions have come under some scrutiny recently. Some feel they do more harm than good. What is your perspective?
(from the GPTS Facebook page)

–Jim from Norfolk VA

Question: Dr. Pipa, could you please provide a brief critique of Two Kingdom or Escondido Theology. I realize this is an expansive issue and one which John Frame wrote on, but could you provide a perspective from a solid confessional stance please?

Thank you Dr. Pipa. I am grateful for your faithfulness in Gospel ministry and the ministry of GPTS in preparing men to shepherd the flock of God.

–Randall from Missouri

Question: Reading the letters of Paul I can see clearly the pattern of leadership to guide a herd to Christ, a pattern of experienced leadership. I’ve seen a considerable amount of news and singles preachers, elders and deacons theologically prepared, but they have failed when it comes about practical problems because of the lack of mature. Would you ordain new and singles leaders for your church? What’s the practical problems that we can find in this situations?

–Davi from Brazil

Question: Hello Dr. Pipa,

I really enjoy the Faith and Practice segments! I have several questions below that I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on.

1. What is the reformed confessional view of God’s impassibility? How should we defend the doctrine of impassibility, especially as it seems to becoming less popular in modern evangelicalism?

2. What does it mean in 1 Peter 3:21 when it says that baptism saves us?

3. What are the unique features of Gordon Clark’s teachings as opposed to Van Til?

4. Can you explain the Norman Shepherd controversy at WTS from the 70s and 80s? What was Shepherd trying to say and was he outside of the confession at that time?

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions! If you are able to read any my questions on the program, these are the top 4 books I would be interested in. Thanks again for all that you guys have been doing!

–David from Florida

Question: We see online the name, NEW Calvinist. What is so new? How does it differ from the OLD Calvinism? Theologically, and Pastorally, how do we warn people about its danger without disrupting the unity of the Church?

–Arthur from Pennsylvania

Question: Greetings,

My question is whether or not a Reformed believer can benefit from anything at all from the theology of the medieval theologians such as Thomas Aquinas or Duns Scotus? Or is it the case that the medieval period is dark chapter in the history of the church where unbiblical doctrines were propounded and enforced as dogma to be believed by the faithful. Thank you for taking the time to look at my question and for your services to the Church at large

–Micah from Hawaii

Question: What are some of biblical and theological reasons for NOT practicing weekly Communion in any Presbyterian congregation?

–Jesse from Florida

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Mission Work to Particularization

Pastor Matt Figura was our guest as we discussed the process and work involved when a mission work moves to becomign a particularized church.  This was an excellent discussion. From the Faith Presbyterian Church website:

Pastor Matt was born in Southern California in 1972. He was raised by godly Christian parents in a Grace Brethren Church. He enjoyed the companionship of his brother, Adam, during these formative years.

In 1992, Matt attended a conference that changed the direction of his life and future ministry. At this conference he was exposed, for the first time, to Reformed Theology. Matt developed a love for the “doctrines of grace” and decided to enroll in a Reformed seminary upon graduation from college.

In 1995, Matt graduated with a Bachelors degree in Specialized Communications from Cal Poly, Pomona, and had designs on attending seminary in order to train for the gospel ministry. In the meantime, the Lord blessed him with his beautiful wife Jessica, and the two were married December 9, 1995. The Lord has provided the couple with 6 covenant children for which they are most thankful.

In 2000, Matt enrolled at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (GPTS), and the family moved from California to South Carolina. Little did they know at the time, but the Lord planned to keep Matt in seminary for most of the next decade! During this time, the Lord grew their marriage, nurtured their children, and provided a number of opportunities for Matt to gain experience serving in the Church. Matt served as Stated Supply Preacher for Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) in Bristol, Tennessee from 2003-2006. In the summer of 2006 he was called to be the Pastoral Intern at Pilgrim Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Raleigh, North Carolina. At the end of this lengthy internship Matt finally completed his seminary studies, graduating with a Master of Divinity from GPTS in May 2009.

In late-May of 2009, the family was on the move again, this time in answer to the call of the OPC’s Presbytery of the Southeast, who called Matt to be the Church Planter in Cookeville, Tennessee. Matt was ordained to the gospel ministry on June, 12, 2009, and installed as the Pastor-Evangelist of Faith Presbyterian Church, where he has been serving God’s people with joy ever since. He prays that the Lord would bless him with a long and fruitful ministry in the Cookeville area.

Matt enjoys spending time with his wife and children, developing relationships within the church and community, and preaching the gospel at every opportunity. In his spare time he plays tennis and golf.

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Cultivating Biblical Godliness

This week our guest was Dr. Ryan McGraw, pastor of First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale CA and adjunct professor of systematic theology at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.  The topic of discussion is a new series released by Reformation Heritage Books on the subject of godliness.  Dr. McGraw is one of the contributing editors of this new series.

From the publisher:

Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”

Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.

For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.

The distinctive feature of this series is its experiential tone. While some booklet series aim to enlighten the mind, these booklets aim to warm the affections as well. The goal is to promote communion with the triune God and to transform the entire person in thought, speech, and behavior. To this end, we intend to include a wide range of authors whom the Spirit has blessed to skillfully stir up the church to personal holiness and affection to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.

We need a Christianity that puts the transformative power of God in the gospel on display through developing a communion with God that is visible to the world. Our prayer is that through this series, the Lord would revive His church by producing Christians who are full of love for Christ, who deny themselves in order to follow Him at great personal cost, and who know the joys of walking with the triune God. This is the kind of Christianity that we need. This is the kind of Christianity that the triune God has used to turn the world upside down. May He  be pleased to do so again.

Series Editors 

Joel R. Beeke is President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a prolific author.

Ryan M. Mcgraw is pastor of First OPC in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also author or The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath.

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Faith and Practice #7

In this seventh edition of the “Faith and Practice” segment Dr. Joseph Pipa sits down and interacts with questions from our listeners.  This is a new monthly feature of the podcast and you can get more information about this feature here.

In this edition we dealt with the following questions:

Question: Dr. Pipa,

First, I want to express my gratitude for the clarity and thoughtfulness you put in to answering these questions. I believe I am not alone in saying that I am greatly helped by your answers. May the Lord continue to provide you grace, strength, and wisdom in your ministry.

My question is, do you think the analogy of God’s relation to creation being similar to that of an author’s relation to his fictional world is, first, a valid analogy and, second, wise to use in discussing things such as God’s sovereignty and man’s will? If not, is there a valid analogy that is wise to use or are we better off acknowledging that the issue is one that is complicated and not easily reducible in a way that would be satisfying as a soundbite? I ask because, in engaging people, whether believers from another tradition or unbelievers, on such issues, I find that it is usually not the case that a detailed and careful examination of the issue is feasible and am wondering if, in trying to address the issue with brevity with an analogy like the one I referenced above, we often do more harm than good in trying to impart the truth of Scripture’s teaching on the matter.

As always, thank you for your time and consideration. The Lord be with you.

— Drew from Clearwater FL

Question: The Synod of Dort Article 1-17: “Since we must make judgments about God’s will from his Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature but by virtue of the gracious covenant in which they together with their parents are included, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom God calls out of this life in infancy”.

My friend and I had a discussion about this and I would like to hear your understanding. Are all children who die in infancy bound for Heaven or only those with believing parents (covenant children)? Would you please address the scope and extent of the covenant of grace along with the scope and extent of our condemnation in Adam as it pertains to this topic?

Thank you so much for your thoughts and wisdom. I really enjoy your podcast.

— Pete from Des Moines IA

Question: Dear Dr Pipa,

Thank you brother for your faithful ministry of teaching, preaching and preparing men for Gospel ministry.

Here’s my question- The Scriptures clearly teach that homosexuality is sinful (Romans 1, 1 Cor 6 etc). There seems to be a great deal of equivocation among evangelicals on whether “same sex attraction”; (SSA) per se is sinful. Given the sinful orientation of such attractions, I am persuaded that SSA is sinful even if not acted out. Others would argue that temptation is not sinful, but I would not concur with that assessment in SSA.

How does one best respond to this important issue?

— Randall from Manchester MO

Question: In a recent GPTS podcast (#48 I recall), there was brief discussion regarding “Fundamentalists”; I seem to hear this label used by various people in various manners.

First, how do you define this term?

Second, to what degree do you view Fundamentalists favorably and/or unfavorably?

Third, if your answer to the second question does not make it readily apparent, are you a Fundamentalist? Are those at GPTS Fundamentalists?

— Darin from Owasso OK

Question: In Brazil, where the reformed church is recent, people, when talk about Lord’s day think this day is limited by what you can and what you can’t do. For sure, hundred percent who think like that don’t understand what this day means. What would you say about people who condemn other people to go out to eat pizza with brothers in Christ? God keep using you to His glory!

— Davi from Brazil

Question: What advice would you give to those wanting to best prepare themselves and their families for corporate worship in general, and the Lord’s Supper in particular?

— David from England

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