Faith and Practice #3

In this third 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:

How should Christian, and especially Reformed, parents respond to the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow openly gay boys to join the BSA? Pastor Rick Philips, at the Reformation21 Blog, advised
Christian parents to wait until the end of the year to leave the Boy Scouts. He also seemed to suggest that parents with young boys almost ready to obtain the rank of Eagle might consider staying on until their sons obtain that rank. What would Jesus do? Or, more appropriately, what principles can Christian parents glean from the Holy Word of God regarding this matter?

— Jon from SGray Court, South Carolina

Dr. Pipa,

Thank you for your labors in Christ’s Kingdom. It seems, regrettably, in many cases that full subscription to the Westminster Standards (Confession & Catechisms) by potential officers is becoming more and
more prevalent. When a minister takes an exception to the Confession, in what capacity are they permitted to let their non-confessional position be known to others? The ability to take exceptions seems to be counter productive in our churches. I am not sure exactly what kind of exceptions the OPC allows, but maybe you could elaborate a bit on my questions here?

— Josh from Dallas, TX

What are some ways to involve toddlers in our keeping the Lord’s Day?  How do we manage to devote the day to the Lord when our little ones are at the age where they don’t really know the significance of the day just yet?

— Jessi from Casa Grande, Arizona

What is 1 Peter 3:19-20 referring to?

— David from Coventry, West Midlands, United Kingdom

What advice do you have for those who are new to the Reformed Faith? There are so many conflicting views within the Reformed community concerning things like the Regulative Principle of Worship (circumstances verses
elements), Psalmody (Singing “New” Songs verses Exclusive Psalmody), eschatology (Amil verses Postmil), the duty of the magistrate (Newer versions of the WCF verses the Original Westminster documents), etc. that trying to figure out what to believe concerning these issues can be somewhat overwhelming. Throw in Christian Liberty & one almost becomes dizzy. What are some resources you might recommend and/or other resources you specifically think should be avoided?

— Jessica from Burlington, North Carolina

Dr. Pipa:

I have been struggling with thought of attending seminary because of the climate of the Christian mindset on academics. I see our need for Godly men of the church to mentor and disciple men on their way to the ministry. On the other hand I see the need for deep, extensive learning that seminary provides, but at the same time have heard it can leave men zapped of their desire to shepherd the church.   Obviously Dr. Pipa is an advocate of seminary, being  the President of this Seminary, but I was wondering if he could give an exegetical defense for the need of seminary? Thank you and every blessing.

— Jason from Windsor, Ontario, Canada

How should we answer those who claim that keeping the Sabbath is legalism, similar to that of the Galatians? How are we to biblically draw the line between submission to the government, and necessary disobedience to obey God? Where in Scripture should we look?

— Abigail from Sanford, FL

Dear Dr Pipa,
My question is about church discipline. What is your opinion about a church member that is living out of the church in a sinful life for years without church discipline. This church council (elders and pastors) is under discipline also, as they know about this church member life? What can we do as church against this problem? Thank you so much for your help!

–Virginia from Brazil

How can a believer gain a greater conviction of sin over the sin(s) that aren’t necessarily his/her “darling sin(s)”?  By “darling sin(s),” I mean sins that are peculiar to the believer that
he/she feels most tempted to.

For instance, a believer may fight tooth and nail every day against greed or lust or another sin that is peculiar to them, praying against them, watching for the rising of temptations to those sins in their daily life, and feeling greatly convicted how wicked those sins are.  At the same time, they may recognize they do actually struggle with pride, anger, selfishness which are sinful but they don’t feel as deeply convicted of the heinousness of those sins as they do about their “darling sins.”  The believer doesn’t want to focus solely on praying against one specific sin while other sins are just hanging on…or to just go along acting if sins like pride, anger are somehow
not “as bad.”

What are some practical ways a believer can strive for greater conviction over specific sins they don’t feel as strongly convicted of in their conscience about?

— Nathan from Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Pipa,

When a covenant child leaves the home as an adult and then clearly demonstrates to no longer be a Christian  – what are some guidelines you would give to the believing parents and siblings of this covenant child so that they can best call this person to repentance without being soft on sin?

In other words, how do these parents and siblings have a relationship with the unbelieving family member, if their sin is obvious and effecting everyone else in the family? Is there ever a case when the family gives an ultimatum to the unbelieving family member along the lines of, “Repent or we will not help you?”

For example – a covenant child grows up, gets married. 3 years later commits adultery and leaves their spouse. Refuses to repent. 3 years later the adulterous family member has no money, no job, no work and calls on the family for help but still refuses to deal with their sin. What do they family members do? Would they be enabling the unrepentant family member if they helped him/her?

–Sam from Taylors SC

Dr. Pipa,

I’ve heard you before express disagreement with the practice of observing the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis.  Would you please explain why you believe this practice to be problematic?  Thank you.

— Drew from Clearwater, Florida



  • Jessica "Jess" from Burlington, NC

    Great podcast today! I was thrilled to have my question answered.

    Since, I already have a copy of Dr. Pipa’s Study Guide on the WCF as well as GI Williamson’s (both are wonderful – BTW), I was curious if I could get a signed copy of Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms by Dr. Morton Smith instead?

  • The signed copy has been taken. We might be able to get you another one. I will see what I can do. 🙂

  • Jessica "Jess" from Burlington, NC

    My apologies, it wasn’t crossed off the list so I thought it was available. I got really excited when I saw it. If you can’t, I wouldn’t mind having a copy of Pierre Viret: A Forgotten Giant of the Reformation (Jean-Marc Berthoud)!

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