Back in October I wrote a post in response to an episode of the Reformed Pubcast about baptism. Les said he appreciated the post and the fact that it understood his position, but he did not interact with it (to my knowledge) – nor is he obligated to.
Shortly thereafter I received a message from Tanner asking for help in better understanding the issues involved. I recommended that Tanner study the resources available at 1689federalism.com, including the books listed at the bottom. He told me that he would not have time to do that until after he graduated from med school, but he still wanted to talk on Skype to do the best he could to understand things in the meantime. I told him I’d reach out after I was back in town.
So I reached out to see when he wanted to talk. I never heard back from him, at all.
About a month later Tanner became a paedobaptist. In a recent Pubcast episode, Les & Tanner spend a few minutes discussing it. Tanner says he “studied hard.” I beg to differ. Tanner said he had to “do my due diligence in this.” I don’t think he did. Tanner said he felt he had “sussed out both sides as best he possibly could.” Given the above, that’s not true, unless it’s qualified with “as best he possibly could while in the middle of med school.” Tanner admits “I don’t have a ton of time to get into the nitty-gritty of all this.” As someone who has been studying this issue for 10 years, the nitty-gritty is precisely where the debate lies.
Les & Tanner are nice guys. I’d love to hang out with them. I’d love to talk covenant theology with them. I don’t want to be too hard on Tanner here. I know I certainly couldn’t take the kind of public pressure that comes from being in the position he is, so I don’t want to add to that in a negative way. He has a full plate and everyone is called to do the best they can with what they have, and the reality is you necessarily have to hold to either one position or the other before you’ve fully studied both. But hopefully this gives some perspective to his decision to follow the lead of his best friend and elders (he has been attending a Presbyterian church and sitting under their preaching).
It’s also worth keeping in mind that the Pubcast is not Reformed Forum. They never presented the baptism issue as a balanced presentation of opposing views (did they invite Samuel Renihan on after R. Scott Clark? Did Tanner email him questions after he was on the show?), so I won’t hold them to that kind of standard. It’s an entertaining podcast put together by two brothers in Christ who share what they go through theologically… while they drink beer. I praise God for the two of them, as I know many have been blessed by the podcast.
To those of you who have time to study the nitty-gritty, I encourage you to do so. The resources at 1689federalism.com are a good start (note the “Additional Resources” link at the top). My last post summarizing the baptist reference to Owen’s covenant theology is also a good place to start. I haven’t been in the Reformed Pub in 3 months or so, but if you have any questions, feel free to comment below (or anywhere else on the blog).