Faith and Practice #6

In this sixth 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,

Our Baptist brethren differ from us in church polity in addition to the Sacraments. They and others believe that the congregational form of church polity, with autonomous congregations is the “Biblical”; (or at least the known or pragmatic) way to organize churches.

I am a Presbyterian and believe our form of church government is correct — even if it doesn’t always work as it seems it should. However, I’m a little muddy on the exact Biblical mandate for elders (presbyters), at least beyond the local church. Can you help me (and others) understand this? Is this explicit, or a doctrine we have (rightly), by “good and necessary consequence”?

Alternate / additional question related to this above:

Understanding the Presbyterian form of church government to be the best Biblical model, what is the Scriptural basis for a side body like the SJC in the PCA to function like a “Supreme Court”; and have a sort of final jurisdiction in matters that greatly concern the peace and purity of the Church?

— Mark from Albuquerque, NM

Question: Is it a violation of the Sabbath to have a wedding ceremony on Sunday?  Is it a violation to attend a wedding on Sunday?

— Andrew from Sanford FL

Question: Hi Dr. Pipa,

My question has to do with the nature of the Mosaic Covenant and how it is misunderstood by those who feel that it is a ‘reduplication’ of the covenant of works. Specifically, I have heard some folks say that the Mosaic covenant focused upon the Israelites spiritual standing before God rather than upon their inheritance and continued dwelling in the land. Some have suggested that those who did not inherit the land (including Moses), were also not saved, or did not inherit eternal life. Could you please touch on this subject? Does the Mosaic Covenant deal with BOTH spiritual salvation and physical inheritance, or is it only focused on one of them? Furthermore, do those who hold to a ‘reduplication’ of the covenant of works confuse the spiritual/physical focus of the Mosaic Covenant, and if so, how do they confuse it? Sorry for the length of my question, but I truly look forward to hearing your response.

— Eric from Las Vegas NV

Question: Reformed believers are rightly skeptical of para-church organizations because they sometimes undermine the authority of the Church and the ordinary means of grace. How would you advise or caution a college student involved in a campus ministry such as CRU or Intervarisy, particularly if there is no RUF ministry nearby? How would you advise a young adult from a non-Christian home who desires one-on-one formal discipleship that does not seem to be available in his church (a solid Reformed PCA church)? Thanks very much – I enjoy the podcasts and especially Faith and Practice segments.

— Anonymous

Question: Thanks for letting Dr. Pipa answer my question regarding head coverings.  There are many Christians in Germany who feel that this should be normal practice for one naming Christ, so I needed a good and Biblical response. I have another question for Dr. Pipa, if he is willing to speak about it.

I find the typical practice of monthly communion puzzling.  There is always someone who will be working in the nursery, absent due to illness, or absent for work (police, fire, military).  When I was serving in the reserves I could end up going for months without this particular means of grace.  Is there a good biblical reason for churches to only offer communion once a month?  I see many articles in defense of weekly communion ( and it appears to me, from scripture, that weekly communion was the practice of the early church), but haven’t seen any defense for monthly communion.  Are the reasons simply pragmatic? And, are these reasons adequate to explain the practice of the church?

— Hilary from Germony

Question: What would you say to Christians who are planning to see the new "Son of God" movie, or who hope it will be useful for the purposes of evangelism?

— David from England

Question: First question: Which is more instrumental in the salvation of the believer, Christ’s active or passive obedience, or are they equally so, and why? Second question: Does union with Christ occur before or after justification? Elaborate, please.

— Joel from Lynden WA

Question: We live in bad times, where people blame situations and not their hearts. we can see feminism influences rooted in our society. Sometimes we act as feminists and forget to check what the Scriptures say about determined subject.
My question is about the women life in their homes and churches.
Is it correct the woman works out her home, to support financially her home, or to to pay someone else to watch her kids and her husband while she works out?
Prov 31 tells us about the wise woman that was a helper to her husband that supplied the need of her household on verses 13 -15. But how this works may be submissive of the leadership of her husband?
Thank you so much for your help!

— Virginia from Brazil


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