An Open Letter to Les Lanphere

Les,

This week you made a pretty big announcement. You have become convinced of the historic paedobaptist position. As expected, it rustled quite a few jimmies in the various circles that we both run in. Although many of us were not surprised, it is a big deal none the less.

As I listened to your discussion with Tanner, I didn’t hear the guy that I once said was “the embodiment of the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement” anymore. I heard a man who had thought long and heard, researched carefully, learned from great theologians of the past and present, and most importantly… diligently studied the scriptures. I heard someone who could clearly and calmly articulate his position, despite a somewhat blistering cross-examination. I could tell as Tanner interrogated you on your newly adopted position, that he was rehearsing many of the same arguments that you and he had levied together against the view. I no longer heard the young, restless, reformed guy that I’ve been interacting with for the last year… instead I heard a settled and established theologian who, at least in my humble opinion, has shown himself to be tested and approved.

Now, lest the reader misunderstand, I’m not saying this because you’ve adopted a position that I hold. Of course I’m happy that you’ve come to a conclusion that I believe to be a more faithful understanding of the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints than the doctrine that you previously held. However, what changed in my mind is that you were willing to take ownership over what you have come to believe was an error on your part previously. That isn’t easy. It takes a man of integrity to admit that he has been wrong, especially when the thing that he is wrong about is so important. It is the mark of not only a good theologian to honestly assess and reassess his own positions, but the mark of a mature Christian to be shaped by the Spirit’s illumination of the text, and to admit when that illumination leads him away from a position he once held.

I wanted to write this open letter to you to express my gratitude for the example you are providing in this to me and the rest of us in the Pub. You have set a precedent for humility that all of us ought to imitate. I know that there are some who are disappointed, and think you buckled under pressure. There are some who believe that you are simply riding a trend in doctrine. But after having locked horns with you over the past year or so, both publicly and privately, I know you to be a man of integrity who holds his views because of conviction… not convenience.

Cheers and amen!

Your friend and fellow laborer,

-Tony Arsenal

 

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