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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